Book Review: Destined for a King by Ashlyn Macnamara

I was reading this book while on vacation. Normally that would be good…I’d have time to chill and just enjoy the story. But this particular vacation was a pretty crazy one, and so I didn’t have a lot of down time to absorb the book. Still, once I got into it, I found that I really liked the darker tone amidst the romance.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A woman finds her destiny entwined with that of a bastard knight who takes over her home. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Like a Naughty Cupid
Calista is willful and brave, and when the story begins, she’s shooting arrows at the men taking over her home. She manages to get a shot in on their commander, Torch, who then has to be nursed back to health by her because if he dies, his men will kill her father. It doesn’t take long before she becomes fascinated with him (likely because of his bulging muscles), but she also feels a connection to him that weirds her out a bit. After all, he did just storm her castle (not a euphemism…yet).

Mine, Not Yours
Torch knows he’s destined to have Calista due to the scrying stone he keeps around his neck. So even though they meet under less than desirable circumstances, he’s determined to make her his, even if it means compromising her so she’ll have to marry him instead of the man she’s betrothed to, Torch’s legit enemy.

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Magic Necklaces and Such
The plot seems simple enough, but there’s so much going on this world. It kind of felt like a lighter, more romantic version of Game of Thrones. There’s a bit of magic in the form of the scrying stones that heat up and give visions to their wearers, becoming stronger when the wearer’s mate is close by. Then there’s an order of monks that can see the future by putting themselves into a weird trance that requires blood.

Stealth Mode
There’s also some crazy intrigue. Torch isn’t actually a landless knight, but someone with a past and destiny much greater. The story hints at this at the beginning, and I liked that there’s some suspense until you find out what’s really going on. The title of the book is “Destined for a King,” and that point is drilled hardcore by Calista’s mother, who may also be kind of a traitor? But that turns out okay, I guess. I don’t think she got in trouble for it.


Reading On the Run
I feel like vacation had my brain all over the place, so I didn’t get to really absorb all the nuances of the book. I feel I missed out on some key points, so at some point, I’ll have to go back and read it again. I liked the characters (not really Calista’s mother though), and I thought the magic aspect wasn’t too heavy handed and fit the world well.

What was heavy-handed was that whole “Destined for a King” thing. It was brought up so much. I suppose it was meant as a device to confuse the characters, since Torch “obviously” wasn’t a king, but as a reader who knew what was up (sort of), I didn’t need the reminder.

The Romance Factor
There was definitely some insta-love here. Calista is all about this guy who stole her home, but it’s cool because he’s so sweet to her and she really heats up his scrying stone (not a euphemism). Snark aside, though, I did enjoy their chemistry and I liked that Torch was protective even though Calista was pretty feisty. 3/5

The Steam Factor
Definitely some hotness between these two. I have to admit that I really liked their first sexy time. There was a lot of sensuality and emotion there, and it totally drew me in and gave me some super feels. 4/5

Final Thoughts
Sometimes lack of sleep makes me a little snarky, but I honestly did enjoy this novel and would like to be able to immerse myself in more of this series. World building isn’t always easy, but I think the author has laid a great foundation to what could be an epic series. Looking forward to reading the next one in the series.

Book Review: My Fair Princess by Vanessa Kelly

Confession: I’ve never actually seen My Fair Lady, but I love the concept of it, which was why I requested to read this book. I wasn’t disappointed.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A proper duke is enlisted to help a scandalous young woman learn social graces so she can find a husband. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Highly Independent
Gillian could care less about being socially proper. She says what she wants, does what she wants, and has no fear when it comes to getting into situations others would avoid, like facing down and shooting smugglers. But she’s also fiercely loyal and loves her family, and so when she sees how much it means to her mother to marry well, she agrees to allow the Duke of Leverton to turn her into a proper lady.

Breaking Through Propriety
Charles is definitely known as the most proper of dukes, but that doesn’t stop him from being amused by Gillian’s exploits. Because while she tries to be proper, it doesn’t always work out. She’s fearless ad hates injustice. As they get to know each other and Gillian learns more how to be a lady, Charles realizes that he’s drawn to her wild side and is falling for who she is, not who he’s teaching her to be.


Properly Paced
This was such a delightful read. I thought it was going to go a little slow, but it found its pace quickly and kept me engaged. The love wasn’t instant. Though there was an appreciation for each other’s good looks, their attraction and feelings for each other developed slowly. I enjoyed that as confident as Gillian was, she found herself unsure of how such a proper man would want to be with her.

Send the Rescue Squad Home
As much as I like a damsel-in-distress storyline, I also like a storyline where the damsel needs no rescuing…even if the hero thinks otherwise Gillian was fearless and able to take care of herself through the whole novel, which made me like her even more.

The Romance Factor
The slow burn love story totally hit the spot. Gillian never gives up her true personality and Charles ends up loving her for it. In fact, if anything, she changes him, infusing a little bit of impropriety into his life They were sweet with each other, and when the feelings start blossoming, the sexual and romantic tension goes sky high. 4/5


The Steam Factor
There’s a pretty titillating beach scene, but there aren’t a lot of sexy times. Those few were quality, though, and fit right in with the feel of the rest of the story. 3/5

Final Thoughts
I finished the book realizing I really need to watch My Fair Lady and probably read some more by this author. I liked the writing and the characters, and enjoyed the story and the fact that the author stayed true to Gillian’s character through the whole thing.

Book Review: Highland Temptation

The Highland Knights have become such an entertaining series. I love the suspense and the mystery of the stories and the romance and heat are definitely high. This one was no exception, and bonus: a damsel in distress novel is one of my fave tropes.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A Highlander with his own demons helps protect a young woman who’s been abused by her father and now fears for her life. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Needing Protection
Lady Emilia is familiar with the Highland Knights because they had been hired to protect her father. Unknown to them, however, her father was abusive, so she’s managed to make herself seem meek and unassuming. When she uncovers a secret of her father’s and realizes that he might kill her for her knowledge, she seeks refuge with the Knights.

Dark Demons
Colin has some issues, namely PTSD from his fights at Waterloo. The people he killed in battle haunt him, and he can’t be alone or in the dark without having severe anxiety. However, his need to protect Emilia overpowers that, and he makes a case to take her away from London and hide her in Scotland where her father can’t find her. When his commander notes that traveling alone with the woman will compromise her, the Scot promises he won’t touch her.



Getting Compromised
Emilia and Colin are drawn to each other right away, having felt a bit of a spark when the Knights were protecting her father. So it’s no wonder that in close proximity and with danger looming and threatening to hunt them down, there’s going to be some major groping and out-of-control desires.

Fighting the Darkness
Colin’s PTSD played a major role in the story. His issues are pretty harsh, and yet Emilia doesn’t shy away from him. Instead, she reaches out and promises to help defeat his demons. Her development is good, though she seemed much stronger than one would expect from someone who’d been abused as much as she had. Still, I liked that she became so much stronger around Colin.

The Romance Factor
Though this story has the damsel in distress, the hero was in a bit of distress as well, and I loved Emilia being his strength. Colin and Emilia were a great couple, and I liked the amount of foreplay between them before they actually got to the loving. 4/5

The Steam Factor
The Highland Knights are all pretty naughty, and Colin was no exception. Sexy times were frequent and hot. 5/5


Final Thoughts
An enjoyable read, though much like the other series I’m reading, I’m starting to blend storylines in my head. Even with that though, I was able to remember some key elements and really get into this one.

Book Review: A Taste of Seduction

The problem with reading so many different series’ is that sometimes I forget which series I’m in. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember what I’d read of this one. Thank goodness for Goodreads and past blog posts for helping me get caught up.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
The woman who left him to marry into wealth comes back into the life of a man who’s already in danger from a known enemy. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Young Love
When they were young, Evangeline told Hadley she didn’t care about money or status, that she loved him and only wanted to be with him. And he believed her. So when he received a letter saying that she decided she needed to do what was best for her family and was marrying a Scottish viscount, Hadley was heartbroken. After giving up on ever finding true love again, he now finds himself in an agreement to marry the sister of one of his brother’s friends.


Back in the Picture
When Evangeline shows up with her son, emotions run high. Now widowed, Evangeline has returned to explain what really happened to her. In her mind, Hadley is the one at fault for never coming to rescue her as she pleaded for him to do in her letters…letters that he never received, of course. Because of shenanigans.

Making & Fixing Mistakes
The angst is high at the beginning, because Hadley doesn’t believe Evangeline. When she’s shot because someone is trying to kill him, he realizes how much he still cares for her and has to decide if he should let go of his hurt and agree to start over with her.


Things aren’t that easy though. Hadley and his friends are the target of a psychopath looking for revenge for things their fathers did, and Hadley is worried that Evangeline and her son are going to become involved, putting their lives put in danger. On top of that, Hadley’s brother is being blackmailed, and Hadley is the one who has to suffer the consequences by marrying someone he doesn’t love to keep his brother and his family’s reputation safe.

Quick and Easy
This one was a really quick read for me and though I enjoyed it, I didn’t get fully immersed in it. By this time in the series, the men being targeted know who’s trying to kill them and are trying to apprehend her without getting murdered, so there was some suspense, but not a lot of mystery. Still, the danger plot gave things a sense of urgency and distress towards the end.

Evangeline comes to the rescue to make it so Hadley doesn’t have to marry anyone else. And of course, she has her own secret to share with him…when the time is right. So there’s conflict, but a lot of the romantic angst seemed to resolve easily.

The Romance Factor
I recently read a book with a similar plot line, so it’s possible something was lost to me because of that. I did like the conflict that arose from their misunderstanding, and by the end, they had things figured out pretty well between them. They were cute, but I didn’t get a huge amount of chemistry between them. 3/5

The Steam Factor
Sexy times were mild but sweet. Evangeline had been treated poorly by her husband, and I liked that the story touched on her worries about being with Hadley and how she realized how different he was when it came to making love. 3/5

Final Thoughts
Not a book that grabbed me, but an enjoyable read for the most part. I feel that I would have been a little more into it had I been reading the books from the beginning. It can be read as a standalone…I didn’t have any trouble following the plot or what had been happening. I think reading from the beginning would have made me feel a bit more invested in the characters. I would still recommend this to fans of historical romance and intrigue, and I’m still on board with reading the final book, especially because the plot teaser for it hooked me hard.

Book Review: A License to Wed by Diana Quincy

The first book in the Rebellious Brides series was fun. I like the spy theme and the danger aspect of the novels. This one took me awhile to get into, but I ended up enjoying it and really getting into the romance.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A woman wanting to save her daughter has to seduce a famous spy who turns out to be the man she loved when she was younger. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Dirty Deeds
Elle was told her daughter at died at birth, but now she knows that the girl is alive and being held by a man threatening to sell her into slavery. With her daughter’s well being held over her head, Elle has to seduce a spy known as The Razor, but she doesn’t believe her target is correct when she finds that it’s Will, her brother’s best friend and the man she’d been in love with before a misunderstanding pulled them apart.

Back From the Grave
Will can’t believe Elle is alive, considering her whole family is under the impression that she’s dead. Now he’s involved in the intrigue and needs to find out what she knows about a fellow spy who has disappeared. But traveling with her proves to be difficult. Will has always loved Elle, and those feelings are stronger now that he’s found her again. He’s also extremely jealous of the man she married (who’s now deceased) and bitter about how she callously turned her back on him when they were young.

Communication Makes It Happen
Elle and Will are the classic example of how just talking about things can save years of separation and heartache. After Elle gave Will her virginity, she had hoped he’d pledge his love for her and they would be married. What Elle got was a half-hearted “I guess I can marry you,” or at least that’s what she heard. Will felt guilty about what he’d done, and even though he had the best intentions and wanted to be married to Elle, he thought that she didn’t want to be married to him. And instead of figuring it out, Will went to get a special license without telling Elle, then got called away on a mission, and when he came back, she was married to a French guy.


It’s like a soap opera, but an enjoyable one, and the misunderstandings between Elle and Will lead to a lot of feels and conflict. There’s also the mystery surrounding Elle’s daughter and Will’s unsurety of the role Elle plays in the spy world. Kind of a hot mess.

Stirred and a Little Shaken
I have to admit that I had a hard time getting into the spy stuff because I really just wanted more about Elle and Will. I loved that they were both hurt because I knew eventually they’d figure it out and it would be awesome. Later in the novel, the spy stuff picks up and there is definitely an edge-of-you-seat vibe. There’s a touch of damsel-in-distress, but Elle is actually a strong character who has a strong maternal instinct to get back to the daughter she’s never met.

The Romance Factor
I loved the fact that these two were made for each other and had loved each other for so long, even though distance and her assumed death kept them apart. There is a lot of tension, and even when they get things resolved, they have to overcome one more personal obstacle…as well as dangerous external factors…to get to their happily ever after. 4/5


The Steam Factor
Sexy times are fairly tame but nicely sensual. 3/5

Final Thoughts
This was a nice, chill read that definitely pulled at my heartstrings. Other than the fact that the characters were a little too self involved when they were young to get it together, they were likable and sweet. The intrigue was a little hard to get into, but the danger and romance towards the end made it worth it.

Book Review: MacLean’s Passion by Sharon Cullen

A feisty tomboy heroine and an escaped prisoner who doesn’t want to be an adult? I was totally feeling this premise from the start.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
After escaping from a British prison, a smuggler finds that the boy who escaped with him is actually a young woman who he decides to return to her family. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

That’s Not a Boy
It’s pretty much a given that if a young boy turns up in the vicinity of the hero in any historical romance, 9 times out of 10, the boy is actually the heroine in disguise. And so starts this story, where Colin MacLean is imprisoned with a lad who turns out to be Maggie Sinclair, a young woman who’s grown up wanting to fight and be more of a man than a lady. Colin’s smuggling antics (and his stepping up to save someone else) landed him in jail. Maggie fought at the Battle of Culloden, which is why she’s there. So when Colin is freed by a man he’s never trusted for reasons he doesn’t know, he takes Maggie with him.

Warrior Woman
Maggie’s failure to plan gives her identity away when Colin finds her bathing in the river while they make their getaway and realizes the truth. Trigger the hormones. Colin finds himself attracted to Maggie but also intrigued that a lady would prefer fighting and adventuring to running a home and finding a husband. Unlike other men in Maggie’s life, like her brother, Colin ends up liking Maggie for who she is. Their relationship is definitely one of attraction, but Maggie wants to be a warrior at Colin’s side…an equal to help protect him as he protects her.


I’m Not Worthy
Colin, however, feels he needs to take her home to a brother who’s betrothed her to a vile man, something that doesn’t sit well with Maggie at all. And though he wants to help her, Colin feels that based on his past and the fact that he’s never been worth anything according to his father and brothers (now deceased), he has nothing to offer her and can’t take her with him.

I Do What I Want
I love a feisty female who wants to be seen as an equal to her man, so for the most part, I really liked Maggie. I liked that she had the fight and heart of a warrior, but at one point, she actually starting feeling some of her feminine side. However, I did have some issues with her. There were times when she’d show her youth and throw somewhat of a temper tantrum. Her reasoning was sound, but her execution of emotion was a little irritating.


Predominantly Not Dominant
Colin is your typical hero who feels he can’t be what his woman needs, despite how many times she’s told him otherwise. He also does that whole thing where he fights his feelings until he’s faced with losing her. And when that happens, it’s feels all over the place. I just wanted to give the guy a hug. Also, he was more of a beta male than an alpha male though he had his alpha male tendencies. Kind of the best of both worlds.

The Romance Factor
Their relationship moved quickly, but I loved the feel of it. Most of the time I felt that Colin and Maggie were on equal footing and that they protected each other rather than him protecting her all the time. The emotions were real and high, and the romance was strong with a lot of good chemistry and dialogue between the two characters. 4/5

The Steam Factor
The sexy times were highly sensual, though not as graphic as some books. You definitely know what’s going on, though, and some might get their blush on. 4/5

Final Thoughts
I like this author’s style and her characters. Things don’t drag on, even though there’s a lot of fighting and politics that are touched upon. There are mysterious side characters as well, and I’m thinking we’ll get to them in a future novel. A fun story with a little bit of edge of your seat danger vibe and one I definitely recommend.

Book Review: Her Highland Rogue by Violetta Rand

Clan feuds, Scottish warriors, and a redhead who’s milkshake seems to bring all the boys to the yard, even if she doesn’t want them. Okay, that’s a little exaggerated. Two boys in particular, which sets up a nice conflict for this romance.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A woman with no knowledge of her origins runs away from the clan that raised her when she’s cornered by one of the warriors, only to be retrieved by the clan lord’s son. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Mysterious Past
Aileana has been raised as a McRae, even though her origins are a mystery, and while the family head has always treated her well, some of thee servants have been cruel. Aileana has stood her ground for the most part, but when one of the clan’s warriors gropes her in the kitchens, she runs away, knowing that if she speaks against him, she may bring a lot of pain on herself. He’s a warrior, after all, and seemingly a respected one. So she runs to the mountains and finds shelter with a woman who lives alone and is known as something of a local witch.

Scottish Bodyguard
Errol McRae, the lord’s son, is sent to retrieve Aileana, a prospect he’s not especially thrilled with. But when he finds her and brings her back, he finds himself attracted to her in a way he wasn’t before. Which is inconvenient, considering his father’s health is failing and he’s getting ready to go off to war. But when he finds out why Aileana ran away, he becomes her protector, ensuring that she’s safe from the man who attacked her in ways he hadn’t quite planned on.

Man’s World
I enjoyed this story, but it was definitely set in a time and world where women weren’t listened to or believed. Aileana’s feelings on the man who attacked her wouldn’t have been taken into account if it weren’t for Errol standing up for her. I can usually block that out, because it’s prevalent in many of the historical novels I read, but for some reason, it really got to me in this one.


Hard Knock Life
The story has something of a mystery in that Aileana doesn’t know who her real parents are and has that empty “little Orphan Annie” emotional vibe. Technically, the reader isn’t told until later what the deal is either, but it’s not hard to take some guesses.

Conflicted About Conflict
The bad guy of the piece comes back to make things even difficult, and this was one of the parts of the story that probably made sense for the time but made me extremely mad. The guy threatens Aileana with rape first, then he says he’ll murder her if she goes back to Errol. So she runs away. Again. And if if I think about this logically, I’m like okay, sure. She was scared, because as was proven earlier, women really couldn’t say much. But at the same time, Errol had already stood up for her and had proven he was going to protect her. I mean, it had to happen like that so what happened could happen, but come on. Maybe I just wanted Aileana to be a little bit stronger and feistier?

The Romance Factor
Errol has this “awakening” moment where even though he’s lived in the same castle as Aileana for years, he suddenly sees her as a woman who totally lights his fire. I liked it in the context of the story, because while normally I might wonder at the reality of it, Errol was definitely one who took his fighting and serving seriously, so I can see where he wasn’t looking at women often. Also, the woman had the protection of the house. It wasn’t like she was a hooker. I loved his protectiveness of her and the fact that he knew he was falling in love with her, but like most warriors, had to have the inevitable conflict with himself before he admitted it. 3/5


The Steam Factor
The sexy times are detailed but written sensually rather than naughtilyy (I believe there’s a difference). The effect is the same though. Lots of spice. 5/5

Final Thoughts
While a few minor things annoyed me, I liked this story and the characters. The emotion wasn’t always there, but when it hit, it hit hard, and the story itself, including the mystery of Aileanna’s parentage, kept me hanging on through the end.

Book Review: Angel in Scarlet by Lavinia Kent

I haven’t read much of this series, but I’d read Ruby’s book and enjoyed it, and I wanted to see what other good old fashioned sub/dom fun the series had to offer.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A woman wanting revenge on the man who broke her heart finds herself in a plan that tests her own romantic and sexual boundaries. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

How a Woman Should Act
Angela, like most regency heroines, has been raised to believe that her future husband will want a demure and biddable wife. This doesn’t keep her from showing her spark around Matthew though, at least until he shows interest. Then she turns on her best ladylike behavior, which then turns fairly cold when she catches him with a woman she assumes is his mistress.

What a Man Wants
The last thing Matthew wants is someone timid and quiet. He likes to indulge in bedroom play that most proper members of society find scandalous, and he needs the right woman to play with. When he meets Angela, he’s sure he’s found the one, but when she suddenly turns out to be like all of the other women he’s avoided, he calls their courtship off.

The Weapon of Seduction
The victim of a broken heart, Angela decides to fight fire with fire. Her plan? Seduce him, make him want her again, then turn him down when he asks her to be his. With Ruby’s help, Angela gets her seduction on and pushes past her comfort zone in the name of revenge. Of course, this plan has a few problems, like the fact that she’s still attracted to Matthew, no matter how mad she is at him.


Double Dare
Angela is an adventurous person, and I liked how both Ruby and Matthew helped her find her sexuality and encouraged her to push through her limits. At the same time, she was careful about setting boundaries, such as keeping her virginity. Though we all know that those boundaries go out the window when things heat up, she managed to hold on for quite awhile. It was interesting the way Angela embraced the more daring aspects of her revenge plot and proved she really was adventurous, just torn between who she was and who society wanted her to be.


It’s Your Thing
I’m a huge fan of women in novels finding their sexuality, but I’m also a fan of anyone, man or woman, embracing what they enjoy and not apologizing for it. Sure, Matthew liked Angela and wanted to be with her at first, but when he thought she wouldn’t be able to accept and engage in the things he liked to do, he refused to compromise on what he found pleasurable. There was compromise later, as he didn’t actually make her do anything that he saw she was truly uncomfortable with, but he wanted someone adventurous who would try things with him, and he stuck to that.

The Romance Factor
I didn’t get a lot of emotional surges, but I really wanted these two to end up together. It drove me nuts when they didn’t communicate, especially when everything could have been solved if Angela had just confessed to why she’d started acting weird in the first place. Problem solved. Still, their journey was sweet, and I liked that in the context of the story, it wasn’t just about them getting together, but also about their own personal development. 4/5

The Steam Factor
Matthew is another hero with “dark tendencies,” which I always find to be way tamer than I think they should be. In this case, Matthew is definitely adventurous, but I liked that even though he dared Angela to get a little freaky, he never made her do anything she truly didn’t want to. But when they did get their freak on, it was pretty rockin’. 5/5

Final Thoughts
I wasn’t entirely sold on the whole revenge plot centering around getting a guy to fall for you and then leaving him, because we all know how that ends up. But the story was good overall and I liked the truth or dare aspect to Matthew and Angela’s shenanigans.

Book Review: Spy Fall by Diana Quincy

I read this book on an overnight trip to Kansas City in which I forced myself to catch up on writing and reading while recovering from a nasty cold/allergy thing. I had a hard time getting into it at first, but once it found its feet, it was adorable.

Spy Fall

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
An aeronaut spy crash lands into the son of the marquess she’s supposed to be spying on. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Well, Hello There…
One of the best parts of a romance is the meet-cute. It’s why I prefer the first chance romances to the second chance ones, because there’s more of a chance that we’re going to get to see the meet-cute happen. This story gives one of the more unique ones I’ve ever seen. Mari and her brothers are aeronauts who parachute out of hot air balloons (full disclosure: I read to get the feel and point of the story and I got a little lost in the details). During a jump that goes a little awry, Mari falls right into Cosmo (love that name).

Spy Meets Rake
Mari is feisty and independent and quirky (she has no problem jumping out of the sky but she’s afraid of horses). She also has a secret: she’s a spy.  Her main reason for not wanting to be tied down is that she figures a man would make her give up her hobby and she’s not all about that. There’s also that spy thing, but I didn’t really get that that was an issue.


Cosmo is somewhat of a man-ho who lives a life of excess because he feels guilty about the death of his sister and the fact that had he not been out carousing, he might have been able to save her. His first impression of Mari is that she’s attractive, but mouthy. Her first impression of him is that he’s kind of a jerk. But as happens, they find out quickly that they may want to, you know, get to know each other intimately. Like most rakish heroes, Cosmo doesn’t want a relationship, but he falls in love with Mari despite the fact that her lifestyle scares him.

Quirky Plot Points
I got a kick out of the banter between the two and had some laugh out loud moments. I also thought the side characters and mystery were interesting. I spent most of the book being wrong about who I suspected was the secret villain. I also enjoyed the fact that Cosmo’s house had all sorts of hidden doors and passages. It was a fun detail and of course made for some interesting interactions between him and Mari.

The Romance Factor
Cosmo and Mari have a fun relationship, and though there are definitely some romantic vibes, it doesn’t get too cheesy or sappy. There are a few poignant moments between them, especially when Cosmo freaks out because he thinks Mari is hurt, and I really liked that even though Cosmo is scared of Mari’s sky jumping, he promises not to curtail it since he knows it’s what she loves. 3/5

The Steam Factor
Not only are there some hot scenes, the settings and situations Cosmo and Mari find themselves in lead to the eroticism (and sometimes humor) of the situation. There’s one scene when they’re up in the air in a balloon and another where Cosmo is trying to have a conversation with his father while Mari is under the desk distracting him. That one was kind of awkward, but it also cracked me up. 4/5


Final Thoughts
I loved the unique premise and I thought the mystery and the romance came together well to create a fun and entertaining story. Though it had some more serious themes, it still managed to feel lighthearted. I’m hoping the other books in the series are just as entertaining and well written.

Book Review: A Most Delicate Pursuit by Pamela Labud

I enjoyed the first book in the series and was thrilled when the second one came available to request. I tend to get more contemporary novels through NetGalley, so it’s kind of a treat when a good historical romance comes along to change things up.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A woman determined to never marry becomes the subject of a courtship meant to save her from a dangerous arrangement. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Other Sister
Beatrice is the sister of Caro from the first one (the one who was originally supposed to be pawned off as a bride). Now she lives with her sister and brother-in-law, and though she’s had many offers of marriage, she hasn’t accepted any of them. A few years before, she let someone she thought was going to marry her take her virtue, and she doesn’t want to bring shame to her family when her husband finds out she’s not pure. So she’s decided to just nix the idea of marriage altogether and serve as a governess to a family going to America.


Hunters Without Women
The one man she might have considered, Michael, has also made it clear he has no plans to marry. Like his other hunting buddies, he wants to stay single and live a life free of a woman curtailing his good time. Sure he’s attracted to Bea, but she’s made it clear she doesn’t want to marry, which works out for him too.

Until he realizes he actually does want to marry her, a decision he reaches after agreeing to try to save her from a gross old man who her cousin sold her to and is rumored to have killed his previous wives. Considering the legalities, it seems the only way to get her out of the situation is for her to marry someone else, and Michael seems to be the perfect candidate.

Stronger Than She Seemed
I liked both characters. Beatrice doesn’t necessarily like hunting, nor is she adept at outdoor survival, but when push comes to shove and she has to tend to Michael after he’s injured, she steps up like a boss. At the beginning of the first book, she seemed to be one of those delicate flower heroines, but she’s not. Later, when things with the old gross guy get dangerous, she proves she’s a fighter.

Reputations to Maintain
As for Michael, he’s a rebel who doesn’t care what society thinks (typical for a romance hero). He has a reputation with the ladies and he’s also known for dueling and being a sharpshooter, something that led to him to losing the use of one eye. When Bea tells me him that she’s not a virgin, his reaction is pretty much “So what?” Not really the standard reaction for the time, but definitely what you’d expect of this character who seems to have no effs to give.


Danger Plots
The evil guy trying to take Beatrice gave the story some suspense and action. After Michael saves Beatrice, he has to go to court because of the method he used and the fact that people are crying “murderer.” My first reaction was that the justice system was broken (as it sometimes is). Though at one point I felt like that part dragged the story out, I also thought it gave some great emotion between the characters who were facing the chance that Michael was going to be put to death.

The Romance Factor
There was some great romantic foreplay between these two, and I loved that part of the reason they weren’t pursuing each other was because they were convinced the other one wasn’t into it. There was a lot of good tension and passion between them. 4/5

The Steam Factor
Not as spicy as some, but the sexy times were enough to get some heat on. There’s also forest/outdoor sex, and though it’s fun and all, I hoped there weren’t bugs getting into uncomfortable places. 4/5

Final Thoughts
There’s a bit of a friends-to-lovers thing going on here, which made it that much better. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, even with the bugs and the stupid court system. I’ll be watching for the 3rd book in the series to drop.