Romance Review Roundup: Vol. 6

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare (Girl Meets Duke #1)

Publisher: Avon on August 22, 2017

Source: Publisher

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…

If you like historical romance novels, then you’ve no doubt heard great things about Tessa Dare. Maybe you’re tired of hearing everyone rave about her. If that’s the case…look away. Because y’all, THE DUCHESS DEAL is Dare at her finest.

The Duke of Ashbury is in desperate need of a wife to secure his bloodline, an unusual position for a man of his rank. But the badly scarred war hero fears that well-bred ladies will be disgusted by his appearance – much like his former fiancée was – and so he decides any lady will do. And as the first lady to find herself in his company, seamstress and vicar’s daughter Emma Gladstone will do. This is a classic “hate to love you” story with Dare’s trademark wit, charm, and lovable characters.

What makes it really special is the depth of Ash’s character and his struggle to adjust to life with his disfiguring injuries and chronic pain. It’s not treated as some minor character trait or the entirety of his personality either; Ash’s injuries are a part of him and society’s reaction to his appearance has had a profound impact on him. I especially love the fact that Emma doesn’t ignore Ash’s scars or pretend not to see them: she sees the scars and his black moods, but also his gruff tenderness and his tendency to help those in need.

A historical romance with all the fluff and wit you’d expect from Tessa Dare, THE DUCHESS DEAL also delivers an incredible emotional payoff and will make you very invested in these characters and their HEA.

Disorderly Conduct by Tessa Bailey (The Academy #1)

Publisher: Avon on August 29, 2017

Source: Publisher

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone…

This book should be called “UNETHICAL CONDUCT” or “STALKERISH CONDUCT,” because at least then there would be some truth in advertising. What was marketed as a steamy, hijinks filled romance is actually a complete train wreck of a novel that is less a romance and more a lesson in stalking.

I have really enjoyed Tessa Bailey’s books in the past, even though they can be a bit crazy-sauce and her heroes are often over the top. Despite a promising beginning, DISORDERLY CONDUCT is not one of Bailey’s crazy-sauce yet fun books. When Charlie and Ever meet, they have an instant sexual connection, and they both agree that a relationship is off the table. They keep up a no-strings arrangement until Ever breaks it off in pursuit of a real connection with someone. Charlie’s response is to stalk Ever and sabotage her romantic prospects so that they can keep sleeping together. He stalks her online dating profile, pervs on her pictures, and sends in a bunch of guys from the police academy to take over her speed dating attempt. In a word, Charlie’s a creep.

I really don’t understand how this book made it past an editorial team at a mainstream publishing house like Avon. This is problematic romance at its peak, and I was disappointed – and frankly appalled – by the turn this story took.

Good Boy by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy (WAGs #1)

Publisher: Elle Kennedy Inc. on January 31, 2017

Source: Purchased

Hosting her brother’s wedding for an MVP guest list is the challenge of Jess Canning’s life.

A goofy hockey hero and a stressed-out nurse in training collide GOOD BOY, a lighthearted romance perfect for readers who’re looking for a little brain candy.

Jess Canning has earned a reputation amongst her family as the one who can’t finish anything, so when she declares her intention to pursue a career in nursing at her brother’s wedding, many people are skeptical. But not Blake Riley, an easy-going professional hockey player on the same team as Jess’ brother. He knows that Jess can do anything she sets her mind to…he’d just rather she set her mind on him. Convincing Jess that they should revisit their “one time” thing is going to be tougher than he thought, but Blake likes a challenge. And he likes Jess.

At first I wasn’t sure whether I’d like this one, since Blake’s silliness and class clown behavior gets a bit over the top in the opening chapters, but things evened out and I ended up really liking his character. Although GOOD BOY skews heavily towards the cute and fluffy side of romance, there’s some substance here too. Blake is gun shy about starting a new relationship thanks to a terrible (and I do mean terrible) betrayal from his ex-fiancée, whereas Jess struggles with the difficulties of re-entering university after a long absence and subsequent low self-esteem. Luckily this pair are awfully good at supporting each other, and soon their low-key romance is anything but.

GOOD BOY is a sweet, funny romance that’s sure to leave anyone looking for a lighter read smiling. Especially if you’re from Toronto!

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