Book Review

Book Review: Carving for Miss Coventry (Sons of Somerset #1) by Deborah M. Hathaway

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 288 pages
Author: Deborah M. Hathaway
Publisher: Draft Horse Publishing
Release Date: July 4th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

He’s determined to finish the job, even if she distracts him…

With his deceased father’s woodworking business now failing, Edward Steele will do anything to see its return to prosperity, even if that means accepting work from the Coventry family far outside of Bath. His two goals? Finishing this new task swiftly and making as few acquaintances as possible. But such things are easier said than done, especially when the Coventry’s daughter finds it necessary to spy on him at every turn.

Marianne Coventry doesn’t mean to stare, but such a task is difficult when a man as handsome as Mr. Steele works right before her eyes. Besides, at twenty years old and not yet out in Society—due to an unmarried elder sister and strict, rule-abiding parents—she will take any distraction she can get. Perhaps turning to a dashing woodworker for entertainment isn’t a wise decision, but does she really have any other choice?

As Edward becomes aware of Marianne’s sheltered life, an unexpected friendship sprouts between them—a friendship her family cannot abide, especially when Marianne begins to realize she’s been living half a life. Still, Edward’s heart remains cautious, for becoming distracted and losing his family’s business would mean forfeiting his livelihood and everything his father worked so hard to achieve. Despite the forces working against them, only the two of them can decide what they want most in life—and if they’re willing to risk everything for love.

NEW SERIES ALERT.

Wow! I loved the first book in this new series (all from different authors!). I think it’s such a unique spin to have the male love interests be from “lower class” regency society. Edward being a carpenter was interesting and I wish I could have seen his work first hand because it would have been beautiful.

Edward is a stoic man trying to change his fortune. After dealing with some terrible rumors he finally gets a chance of balancing out his accounts. I loved his resilient nature and peace of mind that he knew the truth of the matter. The way he looked after Marianne was endearing and throwing in some fake-dating, circa regency time period was such a fun touch!! It was cute and I liked the different path this story took.

Marianne was full of fire and heart. Being stuck in a situation not of her doing and trying to remain optimistic, but also [rightfully so] starting to be worn down from it all. Marianne was a sweetheart who looked past supposed faults to see the depth of those around her. I loved the connection between her and Edward and that kiss in the rain? Instant swoon. HERE FOR IT.

A great story, with a comfortable predictable nature that I needed. It was easy to pick this up and continue reading and I’m excited for this series to continue.

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical altercation
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, gossip, bullying

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Edward and Amelia by Karen Thornell

Rating: ★★★
Audience: Historical Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Karen Thornell
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Release Date: June 6th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The last thing Amelia Kennington wants is to participate in the London Season. But the daughter of a duke is not afforded such opinions. She must put forth a subdued facade, but beneath it is a well-hidden fire that surfaces only when provoked—such as when an overly familiar gentleman startles her and she falls into the Serpentine.

Edward Drayton, the Earl of Norwich, has gained a reputation as Society’s most decorated rake. And while there are benefits to such a reputation, it no longer gives him the satisfaction it once did. This Season, he plans to find a wife—except she seems to find him instead. And she is nothing like he expected.

Scandal is inevitable following Edward and Amelia’s ill-conceived meeting, forcing them to marry. Amelia’s disdain for this man she hardly knows is more than clear, and Edward’s pride is wounded before their marriage has even truly begun. Yet, against all odds, the two slowly let their guard down, discovering the truth of who they married. But when Society gossip, a sister’s jealousy, and long-held secrets threaten their budding relationship, the unlikely couple must determine if their unconventional love is strong enough to withstand the opposition they face.

Thank you to Covenant Communications and Netgalley for an eARC.

IT WAS SWEET.

I am always bound to pick up a marriage of convenience read and this was no different. I loved that aspect and watching Edward and Amelia (especially Edward) bumble around trying to figure out how the whole marriage and falling in love thing works.

Edward wad endearing. I liked his nature and I think his heart was in the right place even if his mind put together the most ridiculous ways of trying to woo Amelia. Gratefully she was taking no crap from Edward and actually made him work for it. Anytime these two were on page having a quiet moment by the piano or talking together and letting walls down I was charmed. I do think these two had fantastic chemistry.

I struggled with the plots involving Edith. Wow she had way too much control over this entire story. I did not like her at all and became increasingly frustrated that she was never put in her place until 98% of the book. It made the ending wrap up way too quickly and not get some of those satisfying moments to the antagonists. I’m glad that Edward and Amelia were able to have an adult conversation about rumors etc. and that the drama for by that point was significantly lessened.

There’s plenty of good things here even I was had some issues with it. I like Thornell’s writing and will continue to read her books. I love a good swoony cinnamon roll lead and Edward delivered.

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: bullying, shaming

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Book Review

Book Review: Otherwise Engaged by Joanna Barker

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 266 pages
Author: Joanna Barker
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Release Date: October 12th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

She’s never been afraid of breaking the rules—until she risks breaking her heart

Constantly stifled by the rules of Society, spirited Rebecca Rowley enjoys finding ways to quietly—or not so quietly—rebel. But riding bareback and avoiding nosy neighbors are nothing compared to the thrilling secret she is keeping from her family.
When Rebecca’s quick thinking saves the life of a young girl, she unwittingly attracts the attention of the child’s dashing brother, Lieutenant Nicholas Avery. As that attention turns flirtatious, Rebecca is forced to tell him the truth: she is secretly engaged—to the one man her family would never approve of. Fortunately, Lieutenant Avery is a navy man with no wish to marry, or so they both assume as they enter into a friendship. Rebecca hopes to change her family’s mind about her betrothed, but the more she comes to know the handsome lieutenant, the more she wonders if she promised her hand too hastily.

After all her carefully laid plans are shattered during a family crisis, Rebecca must force her heart to decide. Should she stay true to the promise she made or fight for the future she’s only just begun to imagine?

SMITTEN.

Wow. I was blown away by this regency! It’s the first one from the author I’ve read and I found it enjoyable on many levels.

One of those being the unique nature of both Rebecca (the narrator) and Nicholas (the love interest). I loved that Rebecca rode bare-backed and was interested in learning how to shoot guns and other things that really added to her personality. Nicholas was a Navy lieutenant who was totally cool with Rebecca’s interests and willingly helped her improve those skills. They were such a match from the moment they met.

Which leads me to my 1/2 star deduction. I struggle with this across genres. I don’t like a current love that takes up most of the book. It takes away from the romance I’m trying to be fall for. Because it always creates instances of cheating (as it did here) and no amount of wording really makes me feel completely fine about it. This one did end that plot line better than I expected so I’ll give it that at least.

Overall, a really great regency. I love this genre, especially when swoony kisses are added in. The writing was beautiful and kept me captivated. The plot moved steadily and I loved the introspection from Rebecca. Even with that one issue I had I liked the way she easily acknowledged she messed up and could apologize and work towards her character arc. Many things to love on in this one!

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: gun use (not in a violent matter), recollection of a bad fall from a horse, medical trauma, depiction of difficult birth, cheating

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Book Review

Book Review: The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels (Dangerous Damsels #1) by India Holton

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical romance + Fantasy
Length: 336 pages
Author: India Holton
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: June 15th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A prim and proper lady thief must save her aunt from a crazed pirate and his dangerously charming henchman in this fantastical historical romance.

Cecilia Bassingwaite is the ideal Victorian lady. She’s also a thief. Like the other members of the Wisteria Society crime sorority, she flies around England drinking tea, blackmailing friends, and acquiring treasure by interesting means. Sure, she has a dark and traumatic past and an overbearing aunt, but all things considered, it’s a pleasant existence. Until the men show up.

Ned Lightbourne is a sometimes assassin who is smitten with Cecilia from the moment they meet. Unfortunately, that happens to be while he’s under direct orders to kill her. His employer, Captain Morvath, who possesses a gothic abbey bristling with cannons and an unbridled hate for the world, intends to rid England of all its presumptuous women, starting with the Wisteria Society. Ned has plans of his own. But both men have made one grave mistake. Never underestimate a woman.

When Morvath imperils the Wisteria Society, Cecilia is forced to team up with her handsome would-be assassin to save the women who raised her–hopefully proving, once and for all, that she’s as much of a scoundrel as the rest of them.

WHAT DID I JUST READ?

Do you ever feel that question whenever you’ve closed a book? Because that’s how this one made me feel. And not even in a bad way because it was verrrrry entertaining. I just have no idea what genre it was hanging out in and exactly what the plot was trying to accomplish. And while that did bring it down a little for me, I think it also really added to its overall charm.

Cecilia and Ned were an adorable match. I love a good assassin falling in love with their mark trope. It worked well here and got more heated than I expected, but still enjoyed. They were clearly into each other and worked well together to help rescue Cecilia’s society.

The society of lady scoundrels (aka pirates) had me laughing. It was utterly ridiculous with the wild dialogue and commentary. I loved it. It was hilarious every time someone mentioned how posh it was to be worthy of being a mark for an assassin and how everyone steals from everyone else, but also, lets get together and steal from this guy too. Ahha, it was comical and spot on humorous.

It’s delightful and silly. The villain is outrageous. Plot’s a bit scattered. Yet, a fun and lighter read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical romance + fantasy aspects
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to one brief open door
  • Violence: physical, gun and swords, swashbuckling, murder

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