So these mini reviews don’t do terribly well in terms of “views” but I like doing them so we’re going to keep it going.
I also read and reviewed (almost) the entire Bridgerton series if you want to check that out here.
Needless to say, I’ve been reading a lot of historical romances. When this “series” started I was reviewing every single historical romance that I read, but it has gotten to the point where I’ve read too many and if I don’t have a lot of thoughts, I won’t share them.
Say Yes to the Marquess (Castles Ever After #1) by Tessa Dare
no date specified, UK
Published: December 30, 2014
TW: body shaming, forced dieting, death of a parent
PLOT: Clio has inherited a castle (requirement for this series) which has given her the push to end her engagement to the man she has been engaged to for the past eight years. She has become the joke of society as every assumes something is wrong with her for the Marquess to keep putting off the wedding. But Clio does not care anymore and goes to find her fiancé’s next of kin to have him sign the papers that would dissolve the engagement. Only problem is, Rafe does not want to sign the papers and will do whatever it takes to get Clio married to his brother.
Thoughts: I wasn’t really a fan of this one. It almost did not feel like a Tessa Dare book. All that to say, it was still a fine book, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
First of all, I did not really care for our characters. This to me is the most important part of any book, especially romances. Clio and Rafe were both fine but did not stand out in any way. The timing of their relationship was all over the place with both claiming to have feelings from childhood, but it did not really feel natural. It also was like insta lovey (fine), but then they resist and then it speeds up and then it slows down before the end? Kind of hard to follow.
Both of them have interesting passions, I don’t want to spoil Clio’s because it was a fun surprise to read about and Rafe is a boxer which is not my thing?? I don’t love seeing people hit each other and don’t really find it attractive (lol) but Rafe’s reason was interesting enough.
I also did not care for the plot and the reason to why Rafe was pushing the wedding so hard was just whatever to me? Honestly probably skimmed the last 20%. What I loved so much in book one (see my thoughts here) of this series was how isolated the charters were from the rest of the world, but in this one the secondary characters take up a lot of page time. I will say, some of the secondary characters were my favorite parts of the book. I loved Clio’s sister Phoebe and Rafe’s coach. Plus, the dog was excellent.
Unless you are committing to reading this whole series or Tessa’s books, I would skip this one.
We do have a plus sized heroine in this one, but I can’t comment on how well it done was. I will say there is a bit with her mom trying to control her weight that could be triggering so if this is a trigger for you, read with care. 2.5/5 stars
Devil in the Spring (The Ravenel’s #3) by Lisa Kleypas
Published: February 21, 2017
TW: child abuse, some violence
PLOT: Wallflower Pandora just wants the season to end so she can go back to working full time on her board game business. However, after ending up alone in a garden with Gabriel St. Vincent she is suddenly compromised. Despite the scandal it would cause, both families are okay with Pandora and Gabriel deciding if they will get married or not. But, that still leaves Pandora and Gabriel with a big decision.
Thoughts: Okay, I’ve read books 5 & 6 of The Ravenels series and for those it did not really matter that I had not read the previous books, but in this one…I kind of wish I had read books 1 & 2. Plus, the heroines of books 4, 5, and 6 are all mentioned here. With the heroes of books 4 & 5 also introduced. It was a little distracting because I was like oh cute kids! OH WAIT THOSE ARE PHOEBE’S KIDS!! Anyways. I don’t think you have to read these in order, but if you’re going to commit, I would recommend it. Pandora and Cassandra are twins, and I was more familiar with Cassandra since I read her book first. It’s weird.
I really enjoyed the beginning of this one, Gabriel and Pandora’s banter and back and forth was so much fun to read. The best parts are when they are hanging out at his family’s house with all their family because all the side characters are amazing too.
They are (mostly) great characters. They both have some hidden depth and reasons for acting the way that they do which made for some interesting surprises while reading. I loved Pandora’s board game business (but wouldn’t it be cute if they played on of them??)
I did have a few issues with this book, Gabriel isn’t the most fleshed out hero, and I wanted a bit more from him at times. He just seemed generic? The best parts were when he was with his family. He does have some swoony lines, but often they felt over the top or a bit much. Same with Pandora, I would have liked a bit more development because some of her decisions did not make sense to me.
Also, I HATE WHEN SYNPOSIS’s put a late plot point in them. I liked the plot that was introduced at like ~70% but the synopsis made it seem like it was going to happen earlier.
Overall, I enjoyed this one, but it was a little all over the place at times. 3.5/5 stars
The Prince of Broadway (Uptown Girls #2) by Joanna Shupe
1891 (?); New York (Gilded Age)
Published: December 30, 2019
TW: toxic father-daughter relationship
PLOT: Florence wants to open the first casino that is for women only and wants Clayton Madden (owner of one of the most exclusive casinos) to teach her the behind the scenes of the casino world. Like how to bribe the cops so they won’t raid your business!!
Thoughts: Liked this one A LOT more than book one in this series. Most of the timing overlaps with book one, so I didn’t need to read that one first. Honestly, unless you’re dedicated to this series, don’t read book one, that one is a lot more plot heavy. This one has a looser plot and focused more on Florence and Clayton’s relationship. While in book one I basically had to force myself to finish it, this one I looked forward to reading and could not put down.
I don’t really have a lot of thoughts besides: What a fun time. Loved the ending! Also, STEAMY in some places *fire emoji* & *side eye emoji*
I’m also glad I liked this one because I bought a copy from a used bookstore before reading it which is something I don’t usually do. 4/5 stars
Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenel’s #1) by Lisa Kleypas
Published: October 27, 2015
TW: death of spouse (prior to novel)
PLOT: Devon and his brother are living a carefree life free of responsibility, just how they like it. But then their cousin dies and Devon inherits a the estate and his cousin’s title. Which is not something he wanted. Kathleen is the cousin’s widow and suddenly in Devon’s way all the time. But, he soon finds he doesn’t mind.
Thoughts: This is an excellent set up to the series, but I found myself not really caring about Devon and Kathleen’s relationship. He is too overbearing and possessive for my liking and she is just repetitive and I don’t feel that her character was developed enough. What’s funny is I read this series completely out of order, so maybe I would have liked book one more if I read it first? Unknown at this point. I do love seeing Devon’s growth in the other series. Him and Kathleen are an excellent couple in those books and I love that they are the “head” of the Ravenel family.
This book really introduces us to the vibe of The Ravenel’s series. We meet a lot of the characters from later books and the stage is set. This one also has POVs from Helen and Rhys Winterbourne who are the main characters from book two which was interesting. But once their plot was introduced I started carting more about them than Kathleen and Devon.
Overall, a solid introduction, but the series gets better quickly. 3/5 stars
Also, I didn’t take great notes on book two in the series so I won’t be reviewing it, but I gave it 3.5 stars if that means anything to you.
PLOT: Amelie is a famous ballet dancer who has been crowned “St. Amie”. She gave the city of Paris hope after a dark time and her image allows her to send her sister to the best schools and have a successful career as a ballet dancer. Benedict is an American doctor who met Amelie 12 years ago and now is back in Paris. They reconnect and Benedict agrees to help Amelie with a ghost problem she has been having.
Thoughts: Look I did not know this was *technically* a sequel to The Widow of Rose House. I mostly followed the plot, but I think it would have been helpful to read book one. I ended up buying a used copy after finishing this.
I really enjoyed this novel! It has a lot of things going on from parents, family, dancing, pressure from society, ghosts, etc. and it works. At times I was a bit confused by parts, but I still enjoyed it. (Did not realize this is technically the second in a series). I did not realize there were going to be ghosts in this and it was a fun and interesting addition to the plot.
Benedict and Amelie’s relationship was really cute and I would have liked to see a bit more of their relationship develop on page as it seems pretty quick (they do have a past, but still). They also sort of fake-date (fake-court) and it was so sweet.
I weirdly even liked the ghost plot. I haven’t read anything with a paranormal aspect in awhile and I liked seeing Amelie’s connections to these women. I also appreciated how Benedict knew about the ghosts from the get go, so she did not need to hide things from him.
Both families were a lot of fun. The Moore family was great and I liked Amelie’s sister, but would have liked to see a bit more personality from her because she seemed a bit too perfect. 3.5/5 stars
*thanks to the publisher for a copy; all thoughts are my own*
Thanks for reading & if you have any historical recommendations please leave them in the comments! I’ve been slowly down on the HR kick, but I just read BOMBSHELL by Sarah MacLean (thank you NetGalley) and DANG it was so good!!