Book Review

Book Review: The Ace of Hearts (Larkhall Letters #1) by Ashtyn Newbold

Rating: ★★
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 296 pages
Author: Ashtyn Newbold
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: April 14th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A secret venture, a regrettable love letter, and a heart he can’t afford to lose.

Faced with her stepbrother’s betrayal and an unwanted marriage, Alice Rosemeyer accepts an invitation to the estate of Larkhall. Determined to earn her future security without a husband, she begins operating as the anonymous Ace of Hearts, writing love letters on behalf of the men eager to secure a match at the close of the London season. If she can manage to keep her identity secret, her reputation intact, and avoid the arrogant house guest, Mr. Thomas Herring, she might just call herself successful.

When Thomas Herring’s sister marries an indebted man because of a love letter, he has no choice but to marry into money himself. Invited to stay at Larkhall, he sets his sights on the wealthy sister of his host. When she appears indifferent, he stumbles upon an advertisement: a gentleman offering assistance in matters of the heart. An ace, so he is called. But when he turns out to be she, and also a guest at the same house, his task is further complicated—especially as Alice proves herself to be as captivating as she is clever.

With reputations, secrets, and more than one heart at risk, Alice and Thomas become trapped in a game with no rules, a game neither intended to play. Had they been wrong to play love for a fool?

UGH.

I feel SO LET DOWN BY THIS. I was even buddy reading with another friend who didn’t even finish it. Both of us struggled with so many things that happened here.

There was entirely too much focus on the other future couples in this series. Random tangents to set up their story and the main character was putting a lot more effort into everyone else so it felt like the focus was never on her.

When the focus was on her and the budding relationship with Thomas I was only impressed occasionally. They had some cute banter filled moments, but why throw out enemies to lovers than immediately take it away? I saw all of the potential but none of the execution. Not to mention, the same plot device was used over and over again. All of the characters kept playing “games” to get to know one another, tell secrets, etc. and it felt drawn out and over done.

Alright, I’m stopping here. I wanted to love this so badly because the cover is gorgeous, I’ve liked other books by this author and was interested in the rest of the series, but I don’t think I can convince myself to try again.

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, mentions of gambling addiction

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Book Review

Book Review: The Siren of Sussex (Belles of London #1) by Mimi Matthews

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Historical Romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: January 11th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Victorian high society’s most daring equestrienne finds love and an unexpected ally in her fight for independence in the strong arms of London’s most sought after and devastatingly handsome half-Indian tailor.

Evelyn Maltravers understands exactly how little she’s worth on the marriage mart. As an incurable bluestocking from a family tumbling swiftly toward ruin, she knows she’ll never make a match in a ballroom. Her only hope is to distinguish herself by making the biggest splash in the one sphere she excels: on horseback. In haute couture. But to truly capture London’s attention she’ll need a habit-maker who’s not afraid to take risks with his designs—and with his heart.

Half-Indian tailor Ahmad Malik has always had a talent for making women beautiful, inching his way toward recognition by designing riding habits for Rotten Row’s infamous Pretty Horsebreakers—but no one compares to Evelyn. Her unbridled spirit enchants him, awakening a depth of feeling he never thought possible.

But pushing boundaries comes at a cost and not everyone is pleased to welcome Evelyn and Ahmad into fashionable society. With obstacles spanning between them, the indomitable pair must decide which hurdles they can jump and what matters most: making their mark or following their hearts?

GREAT ROMANCE.

Wonderful that this book was a romance because that was definitely the best part of the entire book. I was completely wrapped up in these two star crossed lovers. They were very sweet on each other and all of these tense, yet soft, moments between them had me absolutely swooning.

It also approached a lot of different topics from racism and colonialism to conversing with spirits and falling in love. I did think the spirts sub-plot was a bit out there and didn’t necessarily fit with the book. The author’s note cleared some of that up, but it still didn’t mesh for me with the rest of the story.

I loved that Evelyn was an excellent horse woman and found her way in society. I liked her growth as a character and that she found a supportive friend group. I LOVE good friend groups and now I want to read the next books in this series so I can get everyone’s story.

The audio book was great, DUAL POV and dual narrators too!! Always my favorite aspect of romance books.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Violence: light
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: racism, micro-aggressions, colonialism

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Book Review

Book Review: Miss Lattimore’s Letter by Suzanne Allain

Rating: ★★
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 256 pages
Author: Suzanne Allain
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: August 10th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The woman who never made a match of her own is making matches for everyone else in this hilarious comedy of manners from the author of Mr. Malcolm’s List.

Sophronia Lattimore had her romantic dreams destroyed years ago and is resigned to her role as chaperone for her cousin. Still, she cannot sit idly by when she becomes aware that a gentleman is about to propose to the wrong woman. She sends him an anonymous letter that is soon the talk of the town, particularly when her advice proves to be correct. Her identity is discovered and Sophie, formerly a wallflower, becomes sought after for her “expert” matchmaking skills.

One person who seeks her out is the eligible and attractive Sir Edmund Winslow. As Sophie assists Sir Edmund in his pursuit of a wife, she wishes she could recommend herself as his bride. However, she vows to remain professional and uninvolved while aiding him in his search (especially since the gentleman surely does not return her affections).

Three unexpected arrivals soon show up at Sophie’s door—the man who once broke her heart, a newlywed who is dissatisfied with the match Sophie made for her, and the man madly in love with Sophie’s cousin—all wanting her attention. But when her onetime beau and Sir Edmund both appear to be interested in her, Sophie can’t figure out if she’s headed for another broken heart­­ or for the altar. How can she be expected to help other people sort out their romantic lives when her own is such a disaster?

NOT FOR ME.

For a quick audio book where I was hoping to have a cutesy regency romance play out.

This was not that case.

What I got instead was a mash-up of way too many points of view for a 250 page book. Every character was having their own storyline and while some of the moments were sweet, it just didn’t work. I felt like I didn’t know any of the characters on a deeper level before things were jumping to the next one and so forth. I think there were at least three different love stories woven in here.

I honestly don’t think I have anything else to say. I finished it in a day and don’t remember most of it now because it was easy to forget.

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Two Bells of Christmas by Joanna Barker

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Holiday Regency Romance Novella
Length: 142 pages
Author: Joanna Barker
Publisher: Rose Petal Press
Release Date: November 21st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Christmas is the perfect time to fall in love—unless you’re pretending to be your twin sister.

Cassandra Bell is happy to stay in the shadow of her poised and proper twin sister. After all, her only goal for the Hastings’ Christmas house party is to not make a complete fool of herself. Vivian, however, has much higher aspirations—her heart is set on a proposal from the eligible Mr. Hastings himself. But when Vivian grows ill, she begs Cassie to switch places with her and keep the other conniving ladies away from Mr. Hastings. Cassie reluctantly takes on the role of her twin, certain the charade will end in disaster.

Anticipating a quiet Christmas in the country, Roland Hastings arrives home to learn his matchmaking mother has organized an entire house party to help him find a bride. The last thing Roland wants is to spend the Yuletide season fending off simpering ladies—that is, until he meets Miss Bell. Spunky and unconventional and refreshingly honest, Miss Bell sweeps into Roland’s heart like a whirlwind. A whirlwind he has no desire to escape.

Mr. Hastings is nothing like Cassie expected, and the closer she grows to her handsome host, the harder it becomes to hide her true self—and her true feelings. But falling in love was never part of the plan, especially since Roland believes she is someone else. With Vivian quickly recovering and the house party coming to a close, Cassie is torn between loyalty to her sister and the unexpected yearnings of her heart . . .

The Two Bells of Christmas is a sweet Regency romance novella that was previously published in the Timeless Regency Collection, A Christmas Promise. This edition has a bonus epilogue and new edits.

Thank you to the author for an eARC.

LOOOOVED.

Joanna Barker’s books never let me down. Even her novellas are some of my favorites because she can captivate an audience beautifully with whatever romance she is writing. I AM HERE FOR IT ALWAYS.

I loved both of these characters. Roland and Cassie were the sweetest. There was plenty of interaction between them, lots of soft moments, and kisses in the snow. YAY.

The plot was handled amazingly too. I loved how the twin switch worked out between Cassie and her sister. I love when siblings love and take care of each other and this was no exception. Especially when the go get the girl line comes up? Done. I am a puddle of swoon.

All in all, perfect for the season. You’ll love these characters and this story and I hope it gives all the warm fuzzies it gave me.

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency Holiday Novella
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: none

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