Romances of the Month: January 2022

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Welcome to Romances of the Month! This is a monthly blog that offers a round-up of a couple of romance books that I've read for the month, and where I will also share my reviews of each book!

 

A Certain Appeal, book cover

A Certain Appeal Vanessa King

After a betrayal derailed her interior design career, Liz Bennet found a fresh start in New York. Now an executive assistant by day and stage kitten by night, she's discovered a second home with the performers at Meryton, Manhattan's top-tier burlesque venue. Love's the last thing on her mind when she locks eyes with Will Darcy across the crowded club. The spark between them is undeniable--that is, until she overhears the uptight wealth manager call her merely "tolerable." Bennet is determined to write Darcy off, but once their besties fall head-over-heels, they're thrown into each other's orbit again and again. Each encounter begins to feel more heated than the last, but is their chemistry enough to topple that terrible first impression? What's more, when a charming newcomer arrives on the scene with accusations against Darcy, his claims leave Bennet torn. And when a sudden development leaves Meryton's fate in jeopardy, she will have to decide who to trust in time to salvage her design dreams, her heart, and the stage she shares with her found family...

I love Pride and Prejudice, so whenever I see a retelling I always make sure to read it when I get the chance. This retelling had me very excited as I liked the new and changed elements that King decided to do with this story. The burlesque setting was unique and added something new and a bit sexy to the Pride and Prejudice story. I also liked how instead of the story following the lives of the Bennet Sisters, it was changed to be the found family that Bennet had at the Meryton club with the various staff members of the club taking the place and storylines of the original Bennet Sisters, which added a fresh perspective to the story. Another thing I really appreciated with this book was that it had better representation and more inclusive with body positivity, sex positivity, and LGBTQA and BIPOC characters. While I liked the burlesque setting and there were scenes that took place at the club, I did feel that it wasn't utilized enough as I would I have liked a bit more behind the scenes moments at the club. Also, given that this story took place around a burlesque, I was sort of surprised that the story and sexy moments weren't as risqué as I thought they were going to be. The romance between Bennet and Darcy had cute moments as there were fun and flirty banters between the two. As typical, Wickham was there to cause some trouble, but I don't think he had quite an impact as he did in the original book. Unfortunately, besides the interesting burlesque setting and new characters, the rest of the book just stuck too close the original Pride and Prejudice story so my interest started to wane a bit about halfway and I skimmed through it the rest of the way. In end, this was just an okay read for me.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

Steaminess: 🔥🔥🔥

The Viscount Made Me Do It, book cover

The Viscount Made Me Do It Diana Quincy

Hanna Zaydan has fought to become London’s finest bonesetter, but her darkly appealing new patient threatens to destroy everything she’s worked so hard for. With each appointment, the daughter of foreign merchants is slowly seduced by the mysterious former soldier. She’s smart enough to know Griff is after more than he’ll reveal, but whatever it is, the bonesetter’s growing desire for the man just might tempt her to give it to him. Rumors that he killed his own parents have followed Thomas Ellis, Viscount Griffin, practically since he was a boy. More than a decade after the tragedy, Griff receives a tip about his parents’ killer... one that takes him straight to a beautiful bonesetter. Griff is convinced Hanna is a fraud, but she stirs genuine feelings in him that he thought had perished along with his family. Hanna has a gift for fixing fractured people, but can she also mend a broken heart? More importantly, will Griff let her?

I loved the setup of this book and found it to be very unique. I thought that Hanna was such an amazing character, not only was she a smart and capable heroine, but had a very cool set of skills as a bonesetter. Her introduction scene at the beginning of the book was so well done, and it was awesome seeing how she handled those rude men. I also loved the Arab representation with Hanna and her family, and how the Arabic culture, language, and food was a big part of the story. It was truly wonderful to see BIPOC characters represented and being main characters in Regency London when it has traditionally in the past been mainly Caucasians characters only. The bonesetting element was interesting as I wasn't familiar with it before and I enjoyed learning a bit about this medical procedure. I thought the scenes where Hanna used her bonesetting skills to help heal were pretty fascinating. The romance was pretty sweet as the chemistry between Hanna and Griff was instant. There were some hesitancy at first due to Hanna being a bonesetter and her Arab heritage and Griff believing Hanna to be connected to his parents' murder, but once they fell for each other, it happened hard and fast. With the mystery around the murder of Griff's parents, it was interesting at first, but then started to dragged. I liked that Griff told Hanna the truth and that they then became partners to solved the mystery. It was pretty obvious who the murderer was pretty early on, and I had hoped for some kind of twist when it was revealed at the end, but it the mystery was wrapped up neatly. Overall, this was such a quick and enjoyable read. The Viscount Made Me Do It is the second book in Clandestine Affairs series and is an Own Voices book.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

Steaminess: 🔥🔥🔥

Duke, Actually, book cover

Duke, Actually Jenny Holiday

Maximillian von Hansburg, Baron of Laudon and heir to the Duke of Aquilla, is trapped. Under pressure from his domineering father, he must marry a suitable bride before he inherits a title that feels like a prison sentence. In New York to meet a prospective wife, he ditches his responsibilities and appears on Dani Martinez’s doorstep. He’s been intrigued by the no-nonsense professor since he met her at the Eldovian royal wedding and is determined to befriend her. Newly single Dani is done with love—she even has a list entitled “Things I Will Never Again Do for a Man”—which is why she hits it off with notorious rake Max. He’s trying to escape relationships, and she’s resolved to avoid them at all costs. All they want from each other is friendship and a distraction from their messy lives. As their bond begins to deepen, so does their attraction, until they end up in bed together. Falling in love was never part of the plan—Max’s family doesn’t see Dani as a perfect match, even as his heart tells him she’s the one, and Dani isn’t sure she can make it in Max’s world. Can they find the courage to live they life they desire, even if it means risking everything?

As a Love Actually fan, once I saw this title I knew I had to read it. Duke, Actually was the second book in the A Princess for Christmas series, which I wasn't aware of when I picked up the book, but I thought this could be read as a standalone as I didn't feel like I had missed anything from the previous book. Overall, I thought that Duke, Actually was a very sweet and charming read. Max and Dani were wonderful characters and I was really invested in their story and growth. I enjoyed Dani's new "post men" life outlook with her list, and seeing her journey in rediscovering herself. With Max, he comes off as the typically aristocratic playboy, but thanks for Dani, Max starts taking things a bit more seriously, such as finding his passion and repairing his relationship with his little brother. Dani and Max's relationship was a real friends-to-lovers romance done very well. Max was the typical flirt at first with Dani, but you could tell that he was really interested in her; however, Dani wasn't impress by his Duke title and treated him like a "regular" person. The friendship between them really blossomed into something amazing and Max and Dani had great banters. I loved how even though Max went back to his home country, the two of them were frequently texting each other with Max giving Dani dating advice and seeing their bond grow from those text conversations. And, when I say this was a friends-to-lovers romance, it was a real slow burn one as a majority of the book Max and Dani stay as friends and were physically separated by distant. While I was anxious for them to just get together already, I did appreciate that Max and Dani had time to really get to know and understand each other beforehand as it made it more meaningful once they finally got together. Lastly, while it does seem based on the cover that this is a Christmas romance, the story does start out during the holiday, but it actually ends up expanding over a year. However, there was a wonderful dash of Christmas that was a part of the story, and I also loved how Love Actually was incorporated into the story as well; especially, the famous cue card moment.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Steaminess: 🔥🔥🔥

King of Battle and Blood, book cover

King of Battle and Blood Scarlett St. Clair

Isolde de Lara considers her wedding day her death day. To end a years-long war, she is to marry vampire king, Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev, and kill him. But her assassination attempt is thwarted and Adrian threatens that if Isolde tries kill him again, he will raise her as the undead. Faced with the possibility of becoming the thing she hates most, Isolde seeks other ways to defy him and survive the brutal vampire court. Except it isn’t the court she fears most—it’s Adrian. Despite their undeniable chemistry, she wonders why the king——fierce, savage, merciless—chose her as consort. The answer will shatter her world.

I absolutely devoured this book! The book was so addictive, action packed, and fast paced. I was hooked from the start and read through it so quickly. This book had it all and I was here for it: marriage of convenience, enemies to lovers, fierce heroine, high fantasy, sexy times, and vampires! Isolde was such an awesome character who was super sassy and wasn't afraid to speak her mind. I also loved how she could kick some serious butts as well. With Adrian, he was the perfect sexy, dark, and dangerous vampire hero. But, I loved how there was much more to this ruthless vampire king, and seeing Isolde slowly discover this as well, and how it helped build their relationship. Regarding the romance, it was very steamy and spicy! I loved Isolde and Adrian's first meeting in the forest, and the chemistry and sexual tension was there from the start and on a whole other level. You can practically see the steams coming of the pages. Loved the hate-lust that Isolde had for Adrian, and those moments led to some steamy sexy time. The connection between Isolde and Adrian was very strong, and it was quite a journey for Isolde as she struggled with accepting her feelings for Adrian and learning more about him and his country's history and how it all connected back to her. Throughout it all, Adrian was there to simply love and support Isolde, and he embraced her bloodthirstiness. The book ends on a cliffhanger, so I can wait for the next book in the series! King of Battle and Blood was such an amazing read and I highly recommend it for romance readers.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Steaminess: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

 

Comment down below if you have read any of these books and let me know your thoughts on them. Also, share with me some of your romance book recommendations!

Blog Category
Adult Fiction

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