Review: How to Be a Wallflower

Review: How to Be a WallflowerHow to Be a Wallflower (Would-Be Wallflowers, #1) by Eloisa James
Series: Would-Be Wallflowers #1
Published by Avon on March 29, 2022
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-half-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: This book gave me such a warm feeling. The hero is so amazingly supportive. He knows that he loves Cleo from almost the beginning and the book is how he shows her that he will always be supportive of her. There isn’t much drama in this book (except for the ending) but the relationship between Cleo and Jake was all that I needed.

THE STORY: Cleopatra Lewis had a unique upbringing. While she will agree with her grandfather’s desire that she have a season, she intends on dressing like a wallflower as she intends to never marry. Instead, she will continue with her business interests. One day she meets Jake Astor Addison, an American, and the two quickly are engaged in a battle of minds when Cleo sweeps in and takes a business from right under Jake’s nose. Determined to change Cleo’s mind, Jake proposes a swap — he will design Cleo’s wardrobe for the Season and she will do the same for him.

OPINION: I admit that I’m a sucker for books that are lighter on plot and more focused on the personal development of the characters’ relationships with one another. That’s what I loved about his book. The real conflict here is Cleo dealing with her own past and being able to trust the relationship between Jake and herself.

I thought from the blurb of this book that there would be a lot of conflict between Jake and Cleo, but I found this book to be much more about these characters growing towards one another than I expected.

Cleo has independence and strength and yet her life has left her with scars that she has to confront in this story. She runs her deceased father’s business and is determined to continue to do so, and as such, she doesn’t plan on marriage. At the same time, her mother’s endless affairs have soured her on the idea of romantic love. I was drawn to Cleo because she demonstrated how much she cared for those around her even as she sometimes espoused a cynical view of the world.

Jake is the type of hero who makes it his mission to support the heroine and is a genuinely good guy. The book sets up the story to be an enemies-to-lovers story with a lot of conflict between the main characters. I was pleasantly surprised by how that expectation was subverted. I loved Jake as a character and quickly was rooting for him to show Cleo that he is exactly the man she needs. Jake turns the world over for Cleo. The great thing is that his being an American seemed to fit exactly the path he takes. In a world that seems to be bound by so many rules and expectations, Jake is willing to accommodate where he must and shove aside what he can to be with Cleo.

This book just made me feel comforted and warm inside. This is not a book about high drama and angst. While I like those stories, I have plenty of love for a romance with a highly competent woman who finds a man who is strong and supportive of her. And who will do anything for her without having to first battle against her.

WORTH MENTIONING: The Earl of Lilford and Yasmin are the main characters in the next book in the series THE RELUCTANT COUNTESS. Good thing because I loved them in this book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: HOW TO BE A WALLFLOWER is the first book in the Would-Be Wallflowers series. The hero, however, is the childhood friend of the heroine of MY AMERICAN DUCHESS and she makes an appearance in this book.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

 

four-half-stars

Review: Devil in Disguise

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Review: Devil in DisguiseDevil in Disguise (The Ravenels, #7) by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravanels #7
Published by Avon on July 27, 2021
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Goodreads
five-stars

 

“He would relive that kiss in a thousand dreams. It had been as unlike anything that had happened in his life before, as it would be from anything that came after.”

FINAL DECISION: I guessed the twist in this one almost immediately, but I loved it anyway because this is a wonderful story of two people who fall in love and the plot is almost superfluous. Kleypas does so much was characters who are entirely likable and yet make the romance compelling.

THE STORY: Lady Merritt Sterling, a widow, is running her husband’s business when she meets Kier MacRae, a Scottish distiller. From the moment the two meet there is something between them. But the class differences between them weigh heavily on Kier who does his best to keep his distance from the tempting widow. Merritt, on the other hand, knows from experience that regrets are corrosive. At the same time, someone seems determined to kill Kier.

OPINION: This book just warmed my soul. One this I loved about it was its context. In many ways, this is the story about family, and I loved how the couple here is supported and loved by the families in the story. The romance is luscious, incredibly sexy, but also has a sweetness and loveliness that I really enjoyed. The story warmed my heart as most of the conflicts were external and these are just two really good people. Perhaps life and society and villains might try and keep them apart, but they are decent and kind to one another.

Kier is just adorable (who doesn’t love a Scotsman who is hardworking and responsible and a big handsome man). He is respectful to Merritt and even when he doesn’t see a future for them, he is not dismissive of her thoughts. Indeed, he treats her with respect and talks to her. At the same time, he isn’t a pushover who takes all his cues from her.

Merritt is also refreshing as a heroine. Strong and independent, she also understands sacrifice and compromise. She doesn’t insist on her own way — even if Kier does consider her fondly as “bossy”.

Sometimes I love dramatic angsty books, and sometimes I love books like this: really good people who are making the best choices they can.

WORTH MENTIONING: Fans of Kleypas will get glimpses of plenty of her characters from previous books. Merritt is the daughter of the couple from IT HAPPENED ONE AUTUMN and we also get more of Sebastian and Evie from DEVIL IN WINTER. There are plenty of updates all around!

CONNECTED STORIES: DEVIL IN DISGUISE is the seventh book in the Ravenels series. This series, however, has become deeply entwined with the Wallflowers series. All the books in the Ravenels series that start with “Devil” are in essence spin-offs of DEVIL IN WINTER. This book can be read as a stand-alone, but I highly recommend reading both series — they are fantastic.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley in order to prepare this review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

five-stars

Review: Bombshell

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Review: BombshellBombshell (Hell's Belles, #1) by Sarah MacLean
Series: Hell's Belles #1
Published by Avon on August 24, 2021
Genres: Historical
Pages: 394
Goodreads
two-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: An incredible disappointment. The book was a slog to get through and there was no chemistry between the hero and heroine unlike in the prior series where they appeared. MacLean has been a disappointment for her last several books. I hope she gets back to what made her books magical.

THE STORY: Two years ago Lady Sesily Talbot was rejected by Caleb Calhoun, but she also gained the friendship of a group of women who have mysterious intentions (no spoilers!) Sesily’s scandalous activities have a purpose. Caleb has spent years trying to avoid the sister of his best friend and business partner. The American has his own secrets that keep him away from the frustratingly attractive woman who he can’t forget.

OPINION: This book is a mess. It feels like a collection of “choose your own adventure” romance tropes and sayings rather than a well-constructed story. It took me a long time to write this review because it was almost impossible to be interested enough to get through the book and then to have to write such a bad review for an author that I have loved for about a decade.

The first problem with this book is that there really isn’t any reason for these two to be apart. We are teased with the idea that there is some huge reason why two single people who clearly have the hots for one another don’t get together. Because Sesily is not constrained by the “proper” woman behavior of her day and Caleb is an American who doesn’t seem to adhere to societal restraints himself, there really isn’t an external conflict keeping these apart. Instead, the story relies on Caleb two years ago having pulled away from his growing attraction to Sesily because of “something”. Unfortunately, that reason ends up not being satisfying and seemed really contrived.

I did enjoy the introduction of the other significant women who will appear in the series. Their stories were intriguing, but like many first books in the series, too much time was taken up with developing these new characters. In this book, the introduction of new characters detracted from the main romance. Perhaps this flaw wouldn’t have been so obvious if the book doesn’t also stuff in updates from prior series as well. We get an update on all the Soiled Ss. While I generally am happy to read more about other characters, I kept thinking … when is this story going to progress. Unfortunately, there wasn’t really any interesting plot or conflict, or romance to keep this book going.

I also thought that some moments were highlights, such as when they first kissed. The language and the moment were perfect. This book, however, suffers mightily from being contemporary with a thin veneer of history. I’m not picky about such things, but I read chapter after chapter and thought whether the same story could be EXACTLY the same word for word in a modern story. MacLean is often guilty of putting excessively modern sensibilities (language, attitudes, situations) in her historicals recently, but usually, there is an interesting grounding to history (such as the ice business in the Bareknuckled Bastards series). This story, however, lacked that base and thus it felt more ahistorical than normal.

Endlessly disappointing.

WORTH MENTIONING: There are plenty of references to other MacLean books for long-time readers to discover.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BOMBSHELL is the first book in the Hell’s Belles series. The hero and heroine of this book, however, appear in the Scandal & Scoundrel series (most significantly THE DAY OF THE DUCHESS).

STAR RATING: I give this book 2 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

two-stars

Review: After Dark with the Duke

Review: After Dark with the DukeAfter Dark with the Duke (The Palace of Rogues, #4) by Julie Anne Long
Series: The Palace of Rogues #4
Published by Avon on November 30, 2021
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Goodreads
five-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: Oh, I loved this one! Emotional with lots of longing and (not too dark) angst. This combined with the beautiful lyricism of Long’s writing makes this an example of the reason I’m a big fan of Julie Anne Long’s books.

THE STORY: Fleeing to the Palace on the Thames, Mariana Wylde is considered a harlot as an opera singer who had a duel fought by two men for her favor. Almost penniless and desperate to hide from gossip and those who want her to pay for her part in the duel. The proprietresses of the Palace see an opportunity to promote the Palace and also to help Mariana’s reputation. At the Palace is also General James Duncan Blackmore, the Duke of Valkirk, honorable and deeply respected. A self-made man who gained his own title, Valkirk initially scorns the scandalous opera singer but finds himself drawn to a woman he finds to be intelligent and deeply vulnerable.

OPINION: In the story of Mariana and James, the series gets a fantastic emotional story. What is not to love about the self-made Duke who always does what is right and proper and the woman who has found herself on the seedy side of society’s judgment. The slow entanglement of these two was deeply satisfying.

The Duke is almost twenty years older than Mariana and is a widower with a son who is already an adult. He has structured his life as being proper and above reproach. Now he has reached a midlife crisis of a sort and is having trouble writing his memoirs. His meeting of Mariana changes his life. He finds a new purpose and a threat to his perfectly organized life. The gentle way in which Long demonstrates how James changes throughout the story is what makes her such a great writer.

Mariana’s past is something that she doesn’t apologize for. She recognizes her mistakes but doesn’t enter into society’s condemnation of herself — and neither do the owners of the Palace. Her story is one of self-acceptance and accepting her mistakes.

One thing I really enjoy about this book is that the story is concentrated between these two characters. By centering both of these characters in the Palace, there is an ability for them to spend time together and grapple with their relationship. This is a great device that allows Long to avoid many of the expected interactions between a stuffy proper Duke and the opera singer. The domestic setting allows the book to avoid the setups for Mariana and James to meet and instead allows the story to focus intently on their relationship.

I loved this book because of the emotional resonance of the characters and how deeply invested I became in their relationship.

WORTH MENTIONING: One thing I love about this series is following the development of the Palace itself. I’m rooting for it to succeed as the Palace itself is a central character in this series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: AFTER DARK WITH THE DUKE is the fourth book in the Palace of Rogues series. This book can be read as a standalone although there are characters that appear in other books.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

five-stars

Review: I’m Only Wicked with You

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Review: I’m Only Wicked with YouI'm Only Wicked with You (The Palace of Rogues, #3) by Julie Anne Long
Series: The Palace of Rogues #3
Published by Avon on August 24, 2021
Genres: Historical
Pages: 400
Goodreads
four-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: A solid entry in the series that was slow to develop, but ended in a satisfying fashion. The book is my least favorite in the series as I didn’t find enough emotional conflict in the story, but even an average Long book is better than most books I read.

THE STORY: Hugh Cassidy is an American who has traveled to London searching for a missing woman. Instead, he finds Lillias Vaughn, a lady who is a bit out of the ordinary and strains against acceptable lady behavior. The two meet at the Grand Palace on the Thames where the boardinghouse guests must adhere to rules which require them to interact with one another. Hugh and Lillias, however, have difficulties with the “civilly” part of the rules. Instead, they needle one another as each has interests elsewhere, and yet the two end up in a compromising situation necessitating a hasty engagement. But there is hope that the engagement could be unraveled with a little effort from both of them.

OPINION: I struggled through the first third of this book. There was a lot of talking but not much conflict that felt interesting. Once the forced engagement occurred, the pace of the book picked up and I felt that the relationship between Lillias and Hugh became emotional and engaging. I was willing to give the story time to develop, but less dedicated readers might have given up by then. I’m not sure why that first portion of the book was so unengaging, but I think it might be because so much time is given to explaining Lillias’s unconventional outlook on life. The real conflicts in the story (her other connection) are kept as a surprise and the reader doesn’t really get a good sense of Lillias’s interior emotional life.

At the same time, once the surprise reveal occurs, the emotional depth between these two main characters had resonance. This was a book where I could see the first third of the book excised and then expanded in the last portion. I loved Lillias’s parents who become real characters by the end.

Why did I rate this so highly when the first part was disappointing? Because if that portion did not exist, the story would have been fulfilling just based on the last two-thirds. I finished the book satisfied with these characters’ story even if it took a while to get to the good part.

WORTH MENTIONING: Readers of Long’s Pennyroyal Green series will be happy to know that this series takes place in the same universe. Watch for the reference!

CONNECTED BOOKS: I’M ONLY WICKED WITH YOU is the third book in the Palace of Rogues series. This book can be read as stand-alone although the supporting characters appear in other books in the series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

four-stars

Review: Ten Thing I Hate About the Duke

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Review: Ten Thing I Hate About the DukeTen Things I Hate About the Duke (Difficult Dukes, #2) by Loretta Chase
Series: Difficult Dukes #2
Published by Avon on December 1, 2020
Genres: Historical
Pages: 400
Goodreads
four-half-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: Simply lovely romantic book. The hero and heroine move towards one another in this book without losing themselves. Wonderful read.

THE STORY: Cassandra Pomfret has known the Duke of Ashmont since she was a child. He was once her hero, and she had dreams of them together. But Ashmont disappointed her for years. He barely paid any attention to her and instead has spent his life being idle and wild. Cassandra has built a life for herself doing things of purpose. This life, however, is threatened by her father who refuses to allow Cassandra’s younger sister to have her season until Cassandra marries. Even that prospect, however, is put at risk by Ashmont’s presence, which seems to bring potential scandal in its wake.

OPINION: I really loved this story because Ashmont had to fight so hard for Cassandra. In the process, he grows and changes and finds a higher purpose in his life. There are external factors which push and pull these two characters together and apart, but this book is primarily the interactions between Ashmont and Cassandra. Her deep disappointment in him and his continued attempts to move towards her. I love a redemption story and Chase does an amazing job of making Ashmont’s journey a personal one.

Cassandra is a strong woman who is unwilling to place herself into the hands of Ashmont because she knows that heartache will be the only result — even if he is a duke. Her determination to tell him his failings and then his determination to make changes in his life animate this story.

The story is more romance than sex, and I loved that. I ended the book feeling that these characters had made extraordinary moves towards one another in a warm way.

WORTH MENTIONING: The book has a loose connection with the storyline of Shakespeare’s The Taming of Shrew.

CONNECTED BOOKS: TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT THE DUKE is the second book in the Difficult Dukes series. The romance here is self-contained, and it is not necessary to have read the first book. Because this book overlaps with and continues from the events in the first book, however, reading the books in order gives more insight into the characters and their motivations.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

four-half-stars

Review: Daring and the Duke

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Review: Daring and the DukeDaring and the Duke (The Bareknuckle Bastards, #3) by Sarah MacLean
Published by Avon on June 30, 2020
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Goodreads
three-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: I’ve liked each book in this series less. Unfortunately, this series does not live up to previous ones by this author. The romance was weak, the hero was boring after being built up as the villain in prior books, and the heroine didn’t seem to actually love the hero. I’ve been a big fan of the author, but I was disappointed in this one.

THE STORY: Grace Condry is the Queen of Covent Gardens as the owner of a women’s brothel — where women go to get their pleasure. Her past confronts her in the form of the Ewan, the Duke of Marwick, a man who was once the boy who loved her and betrayed her in order to gain the dukedom. Now a threat to Grace and her brothers, Ewan must be defeated and Grace is the only one who can do that.

OPINION: There is something wrong with a romance that seems to hate the hero. Ewan is inscrutable in this book and he seems to be merely a foil for the heroine’s drama. I prefer books about two (or sometimes more) people changing and growing together which respects both characters. This book doesn’t care about Ewan. All of his growth and change happens off screen and is less believable for that. And, ultimately, his prior “villain” behavior is a trick. I loved redeemed characters, but here it is ultimately the heroine and her brothers who look bad.

This book has a big job — to redeem a villain. I think this book fails. Not because Ewan is not redeemed, but because the book doesn’t do the hard work of redemption. Instead, Ewan is misunderstood from the beginning. Unfortunately for MacLean, there is an amazing book about the redemption of a hero who seems nonredeemable — her own book DAY OF THE DUCHESS. Same general story arch, much better characters, plot, drama and the grovel there was amazing. This book feels like a retread that isn’t as good. In fact, skip this book and read DAY OF THE DUCHESS instead.

I really did love the relationship between Grace, Whit and Devil which was wonderfully loving and combative — just as I expect siblings to be. I also thought Whit and Devil’s insights into what drive Ewan was just about perfect. Two men deeply in love can recognize it in Ewan — even if they don’t want to.

WORTH MENTIONING: There are little Easter eggs for fans of MacLean’s other books.

CONNECTED BOOKS: DARING AND THE DUKE is the third book in the Bareknuckle Bastards series. It is not necessary to read other books in the series to read this book although there is a slight overarching storyline.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC from Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

three-stars

Review: Say Yes to the Duke

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Review: Say Yes to the DukeSay Yes to the Duke (The Wildes of Lindow Castle, #5) by Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #5
Published by Avon on May 26, 2020
Genres: Historical
Pages: 400
Goodreads
five-stars

 

She had powdered her hair, of course, but just around her face he could see little wisps of golden-brown curls. “You have freckles,” he said.

“A few,” she said, shrugging. “I know you’re supposed to hate them, but I don’t.”

Devin discovered that he didn’t hate them either.

FINAL DECISION: Beautiful, lyrical, emotional and just so wonderful. I loved how Viola and Devin fell in love with one another without excessive drama. This book was a slow sinking into a loving relationship with humor and plenty of romance.

THE STORY: Miss Viola Astley feels like a fraud amongst the wild Wildes. Painfully shy and prone to vomit when forced to socialize, Viola’s life changes when she meets a young, handsome vicar. Unfortunately, the vicar is betrothed to a stern, controlling, humorless woman, but Viola is determined to rescue him for herself.¬†Devin Elstan, Duke of Wynter has decided that it is time to marry and one of the Wilde daughters who are having their debut will do. Unseen, he’s decided on the “real” Wilde not the one whose mother married into the family. Upon meeting the “unsuitable” Viola, however, Devin knows that she is the woman for him and is determined to woo her for himself.

OPINION: This has become my favorite series by Eloisa James. There is a boldness and complete willingness to be open to love by the men in the series. Completely undone by Viola, Devin wants her for himself and yet he knows and respects her at every turn. These two truly make one another better and the focus of the book is the relationship they build together rather than outside drama or manufactured misunderstandings.

Viola is the beloved step-daughter of the Duke of Wilde. Despite her loving family, she has always felt inadequate compared to the beautiful, tall and passionate Wildes. When she meets the vicar, she begins to find reasons to believe in herself. When she meets the Duke of Wynter, she is so offended by him that she forgets to be her “mousy” self and instead completely captivates Devin. I loved seeing Viola overcome her shyness and find a place for herself and a purpose.

Devin is controlled and distant after a childhood with a hotheaded and irresponsible father. When he meets Viola, she inspires him to learn to reach out to others and express his feelings. His complete devotion to her was so romantic and incredibly sweet.

I am a big fan of books where the characters actually talk to one another, discuss their issues and feelings and generally act like responsible adults. Discussion and respect can be incredibly sexy as this book demonstrates. These characters always act with respect towards one another and I fell in love with them.

The Wildes as a whole play less of a role here than in prior books, but that lent a great intimacy between Devon and Viola as most of their courtship is comprised of discussions and conversations between the two. That was something that I very much enjoyed.

One of the best parts of this series is that each romance is completely different from the others in the series. Each character, their arc, the issues and tone of the books are different. Plus, I really enjoy the historical tidbits that James includes and which gives a real sense of the real Georgian period where these books are set.

WORTH MENTIONING: The book has a cute secondary romance as well.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SAY YES TO THE DUKE is the fifth book in the Wildes of Lindow Castle series. This book can be read as a standalone. It is not necessary to have read the other books in the series to enjoy this book.

RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

five-stars

Review: The Virgin and the Rogue

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Review: The Virgin and the RogueThe Virgin and the Rogue (The Rogue Files, #6) by Sophie Jordan
Series: The Rogue Files #6
Published by Avon on April 28, 2020
Genres: Historical
Pages: 368
Goodreads

FINAL DECISION: I was ambivalent about this book. There were parts I liked a lot, but there were things I really didn’t enjoy. Ultimately, however, I believe the book ended on a positive note and it was a nice read.

THE STORY: Charlotte Langley is the practical sensible daughter who has a solid if unremarkable fiance who she has known since childhood. When a tonic made by her younger sister goes wrong and she ends up having a hot and heavy encounter with her brother-in-law’s step-brother, Kingston. Kingston has been a rogue, but a recent encounter has altered his thinking. He has been abstaining for months until he is “accosted” by Charlotte. Expectations, reputations and old wounds swirl around this couple as they get to know who the other actually is.

OPINION: This book was really uneven for me. I liked some parts quite a bit, but I didn’t feel that the hero was developed enough. I really liked his character, but the heroine was so much in her mind about her choices that the hero was pretty flat for most of the book. By the end of the book, I really liked him and felt for his pain, and that is what saved the book for me. The book wasn’t very engrossing and it allowed a surface read about the story which worked for me at this time, but isn’t a book that I would love and re-read again and again.

At the same time, I really loved how the relationship between Charlotte and Kingston developed and how she learns to articulate her own desires (both sexually and in her daily life) and how Kingston is “healed” by his relationship with Charlotte. He just wants a family and Charlotte is able to help him get connected.

The final third of this book was really good and I would definitely re-read whole sections of that part. The fact that it ended on a high note for me when the book really begins to focus on Charlotte and Kingston rather than all the other things in Charlotte’s life is when the book really began to take shape for me and the characters really began to connect for me.

I wavered on giving this book three stars or three and a half. Ultimately, the finish on the story left me with good feelings about the story and these characters so I gave it the higher rating.  It was good enough that I ordered a copy of the book for myself.

WORTH MENTIONING: There is an issue of consent in this book. The author is certainly aware of the issue where the heroine is accidentally “drugged” by her sister, but I’m not sure that the resolution really worked for me. Those who have special concerns might want to read more spoilers about the book. The incident does occur right at the beginning of the book so there isn’t much investment in the story if a reader decides the solution doesn’t work for them.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE VIRGIN AND THE ROGUE is the sixth book in the Rogue Files series. This book can be read as a standalone. I have not read any of the other books in the series and although it is clear there are characters who appear from prior books, I did not feel I missed anything.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

Review: The Worst Best Man

Review: The Worst Best ManThe Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
Published by Avon on February 4, 2020
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 368
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION: I really liked the characters in this one, but I found the story slow and uninteresting. There wasn’t really any tension in this one and everything moved so slowly that made it worse. Good moments, but not a re-read for me.

THE STORY: Lina Santos is jilted at the altar by her groom who leaves his younger brother Drew to break the news. A text from her groom on the run to Drew says that what he said convinced the groom to cancel the wedding — the problem is that Drew, recovering from a hangover, doesn’t remember what he said. Years later, Lina is competing for a prime opportunity to help her business as a wedding planner — the hitch, she has to work with Drew in order to have a chance.

OPINION: I was disappointed by this book. The concept was great, the characters I really liked, and the beginning of the book was amazing. The book just went downhill from there for me. Once Max and Lina got together, the book lacked any drive towards the ending. There seemed no drama or tension once the story got started. I was very disappointed and struggled to get through the book. Then the real issues that arise in the book are not actually solved in the end. There is a big gesture, but nothing is actually resolved which was bothersome.

I gave this book 3 stars because I really liked the characters and I enjoyed the way the two talked through their relationship. But the book really needed outside tension because the two are pretty adult and reasonable in their relationship.

Lina is funny and clever and I laughed out loud at some of what she put Max through as they met up again. Max is sweet and very supportive of Lina and does his work without wanting to take over.

I just wanted more than I got here. It was an okay one time read, but I won’t think about picking it up again.

WORTH MENTIONING: The book is often categorized as enemies to lovers. Honestly, this book lacks the tension and drama needed for a good enemies to lovers story. The beginning of the book is amazing towards that but when Lina and Max meet again, the enemy part so quickly dissolves that I don’t think enemies to lovers really describes this book at all.

CONNECTED BOOKS: This book is a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars