So I keep reading historical romances (although at a slower pace than I was earlier in the year) so I have even more reviews for y’all!! Also, this is like way delayed. I read these a hot second ago.
I’m also doing a giveaway for two historical romances on my Instagram if you want to check it out/enter here. There are not a ton of entries so hop on that if you’re in the USA.
I also read and reviewed (almost) the entire Bridgerton series if you want to check that out here.
Any Rogue Will Do (Misfits of Mayfair #1) by Bethany Bennett
1819, UK (I think)
TW: minor medical descriptions
PLOT: Ethan and Charlotte have a complicated past, but randomly run into each other due to a carriage accident.
One of my pet peeves with books is when the synopsis includes events that don’t occur until the 30% ish mark of the novel. In this case, we get a fake engagement, but it takes forever to get there. Before they start their fake engagement, the book is slow and kind of boring. Historicals that get lost in plot are not my favorites and this one gets pretty plot heavy at times.
I did really like Ethan and Lottie as characters and together. Their chemistry was solid, and I enjoyed when they were on page together. But I wasn’t a fan of the plot and could not get into this story at all. I knew how the drama was going to pan out and I did not really care about the journey. 3/5 stars
*thanks to the publisher for a copy; all thoughts are my own*
Wicked & the Wallflower (The Bareknuckled Bastards #1) by Sarah Maclean
TW: child abuse (in past), violence (from goodreads since I didn’t note them)
PLOT: Felicity is trying to get back into the good graces of the ton and to save her pride claims she is engaged to a duke. Devil is trying to destroy said duke and plans to get Felicity close to the duke only to ruin her.
I’ve already read books two and three in this series but read somewhere that the characters of Sarah Maclean’s upcoming book BOMBSHELL are mentioned in this one, so I wanted to finally read this one. In the end, they are mentioned like once each. I would suggest reading this series before reading Bombshell and maybe reading this series in order since this one sets up the world nicely and there are character cameos later on, but you really don’t have to read them in order.
I really love this series, there is something so refreshing about having main characters who are not part of society and bound by all the rules. Felicity starts the novel wanting to be accepted back into society but realizes soon realizes the people don’t care about her.
Devil and Felicity were great on page together and I loved seeing their relationship grow.
I will say that parts of the ending of this one slowed a bit and I was just ready for everything to get wrapped up. 4/5 stars
Bombshell (Hells Bells #1) by Sarah MacLean
PLOT: Sesily Talbot has wanted Caleb Calhoun for the past two years. He is the one man who has never shown interested in her and has spent the last two years avoiding her. On a trip back to England Caleb and Sesily cross paths and Caleb soon realizes that Sesily and her friends are up to something. (This features the trope of best friend’s younger sister as Sesily’s older sister is best friends with Caleb).
I love how gritty Sarah MacLean’s novels are. Even if the novels cross paths with society the characters tend to not care about society and fight to live their own lives. Sesily is 30, unmarried, and the ton calls her Sexily and yet, she does not care. She just wants to right the wrongs of society and wear fabulous clothes.
Caleb and Sesily’s dynamic is so good. I loved them from their first scene together. They are a couple that I wasn’t fighting to see get together because I loved the journey so much. Their banter, internal monologues, and little glances were so much fun to read. Their dynamic is very much “you should not do that because it’s dangerous and I want to keep you safe” and “I’m going to do what I want because it is what is right” which Sarah MacLean writes so well.
I loved how smart the women are. They know Sesily well and know when she is lying. They don’t let her get away with anything and it was great. I loved the scene with her sister after ~ things happen ~ with Caleb for the first time.
I loved the Hell’s Bells so much. I realize that I rarely see women fighting in historical romances and I did not realize how much fun it would be to see women not only defending themselves but defending others. Also, the moment that the words “Hell’s Bells” are spoken because it was so good.
Also, can we talk about this cover?? Like dang this cover is amazing, and I cannot wait to see what the rest of the covers in this series look like. I also can’t wait to read the other books in this series.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and the only reason it wasn’t perfect was because I wish I had read a few more of MacLean’s novels before reading this one. But, I still gave it 5/5 stars which with me and historicals is kind of rare.
Also, Sarah hosts the podcast Fated Mates and in this episode she talks about the book (spoiler free) and it was a great time.
West End Earl (Misfits of Mayfair #2) by Bethany Bennett
TW: death of a sibling (prior to novel), drowning
PLOT: Ophelia (Phee) Hardwick has been hiding by living as her brother since she was 13 years old and her brother tragically drowned. For the past two years she has been employed by Lord Carlyle (Cal) which has given her a layer of security she has not been familiar with. However, when it becomes clear she is in more danger than she originally thought, the Earl learns her secret and things change between the two of them.
The plot of this historical feels unique and fresh and Bennett does a great job with it. I didn’t love book one in the series (see above) and honestly, I would recommend skipping it. You see Ethan and Lottie here, but you don’t need to know the details. But it looks like book three will follow Cal’s younger sister who has a strong story arc in this novel, so I would recommend reading this one.
I really liked how respectful Cal is of Phee. The second he learns her secret there is no WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME or I CAN’T TRUST YOU, he was just like okay you must have had a good reason, now how can I help? It was nice to not have to do a whole back and forth between them.I really liked Cal and Phee’s relationships with the other characters as well. Especially their relationship with Cal’s younger sister, Emma.
My only critique was I thought the final bit of conflict in the novel was unnecessary and did not make sense with the maturity of the characters.
Also, another stunning cover! The yellow is gorgeous!!
3.75/5 stars I don’t like to give quarter starts, but the last 100 pages of this really turned this into less than a 4 star read.
*thanks to the publisher for a gifted copy; all thoughts are my own*
Hello Stranger (The Ravenels #4) by Lisa Kleypas
TW: surgery, gunshot wound
PLOT: Dr. Garrett Gibson is the first and only woman physician in England. She has spent her whole life working hard, but when she runs into Ethan Ransom (a mysterious man) she considers maybe having some fun.
I liked Garrett and Ethan as side characters much more than I liked them as leads. They were fine, but I was not invested in their stories at all.
I did like the last third more than the beginning, but I honestly just could not get into this story. Garrett and Ethan didn’t seem to have much chemistry or anything in common. I almost felt like they were thrown together. I much preferred the ending when we were with the other Ravenels who sort of balanced the plot out.
Also, as a petty critique, I’m not the biggest fan of the cover. The black and white dress is distracting and the pink clashes so much and is overall distracting. It doesn’t give off what the vibe of this book is at all. 2/5 stars
Also, I shared my thoughts on Never Fall for Your Fiancée by Virginia Heath in our ARC August post if you want to see my thoughts.
Thanks for reading & if you have any historical recommendations please leave them in the comments!