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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 ✓
Portrait of a Scotsman was not my favorite book in the series, but it was still as fun a read as its predecessors. Evie Dunmore continues to weave a story full of plucky heroines, slow-burn romance, and themes of feminism.
My favorite aspect of this book was the romance (duh). Lucian and Hattie do not start out on good footing, and it really only gets worse before it begins to get better. I’m a sucker for the angst that arrives along with slow-burn and hostility-to-love romances and I was served a wonderful helping of it in Portrait of a Scotsman. I really loved following Lucian and Hattie’s journey together as they begun to understand one another better and deeper feelings developed.
Hello 👋🏼 I’m still around, although as you can probably tell, blogging has not been on the forefront of my mind. I’ve been reading a lot more lately and starting to find myself reaching for more books so I’m happy I’m getting out of that months-long slump. I really hope that by reading more, I’ll also find the motivation to also get back into blogging because I DO really miss writing posts and reviews, I just can never find the energy or inspiration to actually sit down and blog.
PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION: Emily Henry has clearly found her niche in writing adult contemporary romance because wow. This has the same heartwarming, entertaining, and emotional quality found in Beach Read. The characters were smart, relatable, and delightful. The romance completely delivered on the opposites attract and friends-to-lovers tropes. ARC provided by Berkley through NetGalley. ★★★★★ [review]
THE CROWN OF GILDED BONES: The fact that I had to DNF this makes it the biggest disappointment of this year. When I realized that the thought of reading another chapter filled me with dread, I knew I had to quit. There was absolutely no plot and the book dragged horribly. I read nearly half the book and absolutely nothing happened. I really care about the characters but cannot see myself reading the rest of this book, let alone the rest of the series. I usually love JLA books so I was not expecting this at all. DNF @ 42%
LIFE’S TOO SHORT: This book was breathtaking. As with her other two books, this is more than simply a romance book: it has depth, emotional complexity, and touches on heavy issues. This is my absolute favorite of her books and I cannot recommend it enough. The chemistry between Vanessa and Adrian was off the charts. The yearning and sexual tension was palpable through the pages. I couldn’t have hoped for a better book and Abby Jimenez has definitely become an auto-add author. ★★★★★
THE WOLF AND THE WOODSMAN: A dark, woodsy read? Adult fantasy? Magic? Enemies-to-romance? The word “wolf” in the title? I’m pretty sure this book checked all my boxes, and then some. I was seriously impressed by this debut fantasy novel by Ava Reid! From the excellent writing, to the slow-burn romance and bucketloads of angst, to the atmospheric setting this was such a tremendous story and I can’t wait for it to be out in the world for everyone else to enjoy and gush over! ARC provided by Harper Voyager through NetGalley.★★★★
THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW: While I enjoy reading thrillers, I feel like a majority follow the same basic formula that I’ve read ten times before with thrillers. The chapters were short and sweet and the writing was simple so I was able to fly through this book, which was a huge advantage. Sometimes with thrillers, they seem to drag since a lot of the conflict tends to be internal. I have to give props where they are due, however, and note that I absolutely did not see the reveal at the end coming. That character was not on my radar at all so I was very pleasantly surprised! ★★★½
ANXIOUS PEOPLE: This seems to be such a big hit with other people and I see it on a lot of “favorites” lists, so I think the probably stands more with me than the book. I did not connect with the writing at all. I struggled with the writing and the only way I can describe it is that it felt like it was trying too hard to be both poignant and comical. I also found every single character idiotically stupid, which I think was the point, but their dialogue were so over-the-top silly that became annoying very fast. ★★
WIILDE CHILD: Each book in this series has gotten better and better, but this one truly stole the show. It was pure perfection. With historical romance, a lot of conflict centers around the protagonist and the love interest getting together (don’t get me wrong, I love some good angst), but that’s not the case here. From the beginning, there is no playing games: Joan and Thaddeus make it very clear that they are into each other. The conflict comes from other issues in which the two of them have to work together to succeed and it was so refreshing! ★★★★
Hello friends! My February reading began really well but slowly diminished as the weeks went on because….I moved! Moving into an apartment has sucked what little energy I have left after being back on night shift, and sadly my reading has suffered. I’m really excited about my new place (of course my bookshelves and books were the first to be unpacked and put away 😅) and I can’t wait for everything to be settled so I can have some much needed time to myself!
SMALL GREAT THINGS: The way this book is written is both powerful and provocative. The story centers around racism, internal biases, and privilege. Picoult’s books always leave a lasting impression with me and this was no exception. engaging, thought-provoking book by Jodi Picoult that will leaving a lasting impact on me and my actions. This was an engaging, page-turning story that kept me on the edge of my seat. ★★★★★ [review]
NAMESAKE: Unfortunately, this was very dull and underwhelming compared to Fable, lacking all the magic that made the first one so enjoyable. Most of the plot felt contrived, the pacing was tedious, and interactions with the Marigold crew were missing throughout a majority of the book. A good sequel for wrapping up loose ends, but other than that this really did nothing for the duology. ARC provided by Wednesday Books through NetGalley. ★★★½ [review]
DUSTBORN: I’ve been itching to read a good dystopian/post-apocalyptic story for a while and Erin Bowman knocked it out of the park! For some reason I’m always more critical when reading these kinds of stories but I was so entertained and drawn completely into the story. From the characters, to the plot, to the amazing world-building, this was such a well-written story from beginning to end. I’m hoping to have a full review soon! ARC provide by HMH Books for Young Readers through NetGalley.★★★★
A TASTE FOR LOVE: My first DNF of the year. There was really nothing wrong with this book, it just wasn’t for me for the simple reason that I think I’m beginning to outgrow YA contemporary books (and most YA books for that matter). The plot as a loose Pride and Prejudice retelling aspect that interested me, but unfortunately the rest didn’t compel me enough to continue. I think other readers, especially a younger audience, would enjoy this! DNF @ 36%
THE GIRL FROM SHADOW SPRINGS: After reading Dustborn, I was really excited for another dystopian type story, but unfortunately this really fell flat. The beginning of the book was promising: plucky heroine, interesting world-building, intriguing plot, but the second half of the book had a strange twist of events and I’m still not a hundred percent certain what the heck I even read. There were elements towards the end that felt very out of place with the tone of the rest of the book and in my opinion, should have been left out. ★★½
THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN: There is no better feeling in the world than rereading a favorite and realizing it was just as delightful and extraordinary as the first time! All the hype surrounding Bridgerton has got me feeling nostalgic for my favorite HR books and after rereading The Viscount Who Loved Me, I knew I was going to read this one again very soon. If you enjoy hate-to-love, fake relationships, slow-burn feelings, and witty banter and you’re looking for your romance fix, add this to your TBR!! ★★★★★
#SixforSunday: Authors I’ll Always Read | Top Ten Tuesday: Books with ‘Love’ in the Title | Let’s Talk Bookish: Cliches and Tropes