ARC REVIEW: To Marry and to Meddle – Martha Waters

ARC provided by Atria Books through NetGalley.

Martha Waters has become an auto-add author for me. To Marry and to Meddle is the latest installment in her Regency Vows series and I thoroughly enjoyed this one as much as the previous two.

The book delivers a marriage of convenience trope that was executed perfectly! I loved the slow-burn romance between Lady Emily and Lord Julian, and it was such a joy to follow in their journey as their relationship transitioned from friends to lovers. The writing is as fantastic as ever, full of witty banter, well-developed characters, and a swoony romance. There’s always so much emotion within the pages and it made my reading experience so much more immersive and enjoyable. If you are a fan of historical romance and haven’t had the chance to check these books out yet, here is your sign!

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ½

Romance Recs for Fans of Bridgerton

Hello friends! For those of us who loved Bridgerton, it’s no secret that the second season is nearly upon us. March 25th cannot come quick enough! The great thing about the popularity of Bridgerton, even among those who aren’t avid readers, is that more people were interested in reading historical romances. I’ve never been ashamed of my love for this genre, and it makes me really happy that the negative stigma surrounding these books are slowly disappearing and more people are giving them a try. I’ve been working on this post for a while, and since today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is a love freebie I thought it’d be the perfect fit. So if you’re a fan of the Bridgerton show or a fan of the books, or just a romance fan in general: here are some of my favorites that I highly recommend!


THE VISCOUNT WHO LOVED ME – Julia Quinn

I don’t care if you choose to read no other book in the Bridgerton series, The Viscount Who Loved Me is a must. It’s the best book in the entire series and my favorite historical romance, period. Everything about this book is perfection. The banter between Kate and Anthony is amazing, the chemistry is unmatched, and the humor is perfect without being over-the-top.

Hate-to-Love Trope
Heated arguments ✓
Palpable sexual tension ✓
Love declaration that will make you swoon ✓


THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN – Sarah MacLean

If you’re looking for a book that takes every good romance trope and smooshes them all into one entertaining story, The Rogue Not Taken is the book for you. Every time I reread this it’s just as extraordinary and delightful as the first time. This book has everything: it will make you swoon, it will make you laugh, it will make your heart flutter.

Hate-to-Love Trope
Fake Relationship Trope
Forced Proximity Trope
Slow-burn feelings ✓
Steamy scenes ✓


ANY DUCHESS WILL DO – Tessa Dare

Tessa Dare is the absolute queen of historical romance and if you don’t know where to start with trying out these books, you can literally pick up any one of her titles. I’ve read every single one and I’ve yet to be disappointed. Any Duchess Will Do is one of my favorites of hers. Griffin and Pauline are amazing characters, the banter will make you laugh, and the passion between them will set your pages on fire.

Fake Relationship Trope
Witty banter ✓
Swoon-worthy hero ✓
Highly passionate sex scenes ✓


TO HAVE AND TO HOAX – Martha Waters

This book was a complete and utter surprise when I read it and it deserves so much more hype than it received. The story follows James and Violet, and estranged couple who decided to engage in a game of one-upping each other with elaborate pranks. If you enjoyed Sarah Hogle’s You Deserve Each Other, this is the historical romance version! It’s extremely entertaining and makes for a fun, romantic read.

Second Chance Romance Trope
Hate-to-Love Trope
Unresolved sexual tension ✓
Laugh-out-loud scenes ✓


DO YOU WANT TO START A SCANDAL – Tessa Dare

Like I said earlier, you really can’t go wrong with any Tessa Dare book. After being caught in a compromising position and mistaken for a mystery lovers tryst, Piers and Charlotte are forced into a marriage of convenience and a partnership to find the real mystery lovers. My favorite part of this book was watching the love bloom between the two characters, and how Charlotte insisted on wanting a marriage of equality and partnership. Tessa Dare also slips in a joke about eggplants which to this day makes me giggle like a schoolgirl.

Marriage of Convenience Trope
Slow-burn feelings ✓
Brooding hero ✓
Steamy scenes ✓


IT HAPPENED ONE AUTUMN – Lisa Kleypas

What do you get when you mix an uptight British lord with a rambunctious American heroine? Sparks flying and a tempestuous relationship full of arguments, tension, and kissing. Westcliff and Lillian cannot stand each other, and so a majority of the book is Lillian finding ways to get under Westcliff’s skin, and Westcliff struggling to avoid the American hellion.

Hate-to-Love Trope
Palpable sexual tension ✓
Heated arguments that lead to kissing ✓


THE DAY OF THE DUCHESS – Sarah MacLean

If you enjoy having your heart ripped to shreds, please look no further than The Day of the Duchess. This book can only be described as story full of angst and heartache between Serafina and Haven. It’s definitely not as light-hearted as other books on this list, but it’s completely worth the read. It has a happy ever after, no worries there, but be prepared for your heart to get put throw the ringer first.

Second Chance Romance Trope
Angst galore ✓
Emotional turmoil ✓
Sexual chemistry off the charts ✓


A ROGUE OF ONE’S OWN – Evie Dunmore

I don’t think I’ve read another book with as much longing and tension between two characters as this one. Lucie and Tristan have spent years repressing their feelings for each other which creates a dynamic between with enough tension that can be cut with a knife. With a plucky, independent heroine and a roguish hero, there’s enough sparks flying to light up the sky!

Hate-to-Love Trope
Slow-burn feelings ✓
Excellent banter ✓
Sizzling chemistry ✓


THE SCOUNDREL IN HER BED – Lorraine Heath

I like to read HR books for the romance and the smut, not to spend an hour bawling my eyes out. And yet, this book has all three: romance, smut, and enough emotional turmoil to cause heartache. Finn and Lavinia spend the whole book remembering their past love, and trying to ignore the years of yearning and the desire that still blooms between them. There’s just something extra special when characters who were once in love, manage to both grow and change as people and find love again.

Second Chance Romance Trope
Childhood lovers ✓
Angst ✓
Undeniable chemistry ✓


THE GOVERNESS GAME – Tessa Dare

One of the most well-known and frequently written kinds of books in the historical romance genre is the tale of the reformed rake. Many of the books listed above fall under this category as well, but The Governess Game is one of my favorite examples. Chase is refuses to settle down, and Alexandra sets her sights on reforming him. I loved the relationship that eventually grows between Chase and Alexandra, and I absolutely adored the way they formed a family together with Chase’s two young charges.

Slow-burn feelings
Smoldering chemistry ✓
Tortured hero with a heart of gold ✓
Heartwarming story ✓


BOOK REVIEW: The Roughest Draft – Emily Wibberly & Austin Siegemund-Broka

ARC provided by Berkley through NetGalley.

As I’ve begun to grow out of reading YA novels, I was super excited to see Wibbroka writing an adult romance. It’s no secret these two can seriously write and The Roughest Draft was no exception. The concept of the story was great and the chemistry between Katrina and Nathan was definitely palpable in the later half. However, the book is not without its issues.

Unfortunately, the book dragged for a majority of the story. It felt like it took forever to get to the actual meat of the story. The second problem I had while reading was the way in which ‘past’ scenes were written. I always appreciated flashbacks chapters in stories like this, but the way they were placed in the story felt really disjointed. The tone/setting of them also felt so similar to what was happening in the present that I would occasionally get confused.

The Roughest Draft is a great concept. Even with the small issues I had, I still really enjoyed reading this and would definitely recommend to fans of Wibbroka or contemporary romances in general. I hope this duo sticks to adult books and I look forward to reading what they write next!

 

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ½

A Year in Review | 2021 Reading Stats

Hello everyone and welcome to another review of my reading habits this year! Last year was the first year I looked at all my reading stats at the end of the year and I really enjoyed do that, so I decided to do it again. My only and biggest gripe this year was that I was totally on track to reach my goal–I only needed to read THREE books in the entire month of December–but my brain decided to once again have another huge reading slump and I couldn’t even manage that.

I also wanted to break down my reading habits between the first half of the year vs. the second, because I felt like they were totally different. I read way less in the first half, and it felt like I was reading more adult titles and hardly any fantasy books (definitely no fantasy that I liked, at least).


TOTAL NUMBER OF BOOKS READ: 97 / 100

PAGES READ: 38,168

LONGEST BOOK: 645 pages

SHORTEST BOOK: 154 pages

AVERAGE RATING: 3.7 stars

MOST READ GENRE:
This year it’s a tie between fantasy and contemporary romance, and while I’m not too surprised by those results, I am surprised fantasy was that high of a percentage. I was surprised by the big chunk of erotica, although that can be blamed on #smutok 😂

MOST READ AGE GROUP:
A complete difference from years in the past! This is the first year I’ve ever read more adult titles than young adult, and it’s not by a small margin either. In recent years I could feel myself growing away from young adult and now I have the stats to back it up. I still enjoy reading YA books, but I’m honestly much more pickier about which ones I want to read and tend to stick to well beloved authors and series that I’ve already started.

MOST READ FORMATS:
Unsurprisingly, I once again read mostly e-books on my Kindle. I got a library card after I moved into my apartment and I’ve been borrowing a lot more books from the library this year. My goal was to read at least 25% of my books with a physical copy but I did not reach that at all…I actually think I read less physical books 🙈

Another huge change in my reading habits from previous years was the number of ARCs I read. My number decreased by half this year! This was because not only was I not requesting as many titles on NetGalley, but in-person book events are really the only way for me to get physical ARCs and since those have been cancelled for the last two years….💁🏻‍♀️


I’m looking forward to another year of reading some wonderful books and I can’t wait to see how my stats compare at the end of 2022!

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Covers with Flowers & Foliage

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is a freebie. I’ve always been drawn to covers with bursts of flowers on the cover. I think they’re so pretty. For today’s post, I decided to round up some of my favorite covers with flowers and foliage!