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!
99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough. When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade. Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that's inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.
The cute cover for 99 Percent Mine was what drew me to the book. I also liked the friends-to-lovers romance premise. However, I was sadly disappointed reading 99 Percent Mine. At first I really enjoyed Darcy and Tom's dynamic and enjoyed their banters. I liked that Darcy was fierce, sassy, and quirky, while Tom was sweet and shy and thought that they balanced each other well. But as I continued reading I quickly got annoyed with Darcy as she turned out to be a selfish hot mess, and I just felt bad for Tom. There was definitely sexual tension between the two, but given their long history and their years of unrequited love, I honestly didn't feel any emotional connection between Darcy and Tom and didn't understand why they even wanted to be together. Additionally, I thought that the rest of the plot was pretty boring and I unfortunately ended up skimming much of the book. I kept reading as I was hoping to be rewarded for the slow burn romance, but it was a bit too slow in my opinion and there were no emotional or character growth at all. In the end, given 99 Percent Mine's cute, bright and colorful cover I had certain expectations of the story, but the book sadly didn't deliver.
In the Dark by Monica Murphy
Stuck spending the summer with his screwed up family, Gabriel Walker is bored out of his mind and looking for an adventure. And he seems to find it with the hot girl who lives next door. The attraction between them is instant. Electric. Soon they’re spending every stolen minute together. Talk about the perfect summer fling…Lucy isn’t what she seems. She doesn’t live next door—she’s the girl who’s been hired to house sit for the summer while the family goes on a worldwide vacation. If Gabe wants to believe she’s a spoiled rich girl looking for some fun, she can go along with that. After the summer, she’ll never see him again. They don’t count on running into each other at college. Now Lucy must keep up the pretense of being a rich girl—and it’s exhausting. She knows she’s falling in love with Gabe and she’s scared he feels the same. Will he still care about her when he discovers the truth?
In the Dark was an enjoyable quick read. Gabe and Lucy's chemistry was instant right from the start and off the chart. I really enjoyed their flirting and the two definitely had some really steamy moments. I also thought that both characters were really likable. Lucy felt like a real college student as she was dealing with issues of school and insecurities. At the start Gabe does come off as the typical player, but as the story progressed we saw him grow and change from a player to boyfriend. The twist of them being in the same school was interesting as I wanted to know how the romance, along with Lucy's lie, would play out. I was a bit annoyed that Lucy continued the lie. I understood why she did it at the beginning since it was only supposed to be a summer fling, but once they realized they were at the same school and continuing their relationship she should have come clean. As I mentioned earlier, I did enjoy In the Dark; however, I felt that there were some issues such as class status and family expectations that were mentioned a few times in the story but were not fully addressed. Being from a rich family, it looked like Gabe's parents were often trying to control his life and that they would be against his relationship with Lucy, thus causing a big conflict where Gabe would have to stand up to his parents and defend his and Lucy's relationship, but that didn't happen. Same thing with Lucy's mom as well, especially since Lucy kept saying how super protective her mom was. There was so much potential for some big dramatic moments, and I felt that the author missed those opportunities. Overall, In The Dark was a simple and fun read that has filled with angsty and steamy moments. I recommend In the Dark if you are looking for a sweet and sexy college romance read.
The Scandal of it All by Sophie Jordan
What kind of woman ventures into London’s most notorious pleasure club? An outsider like Graciela, the Duchess of Autenberry, snubbed time and time again by society because of her Spanish roots. Ela longs to take a lover for a single, wild night, and within the walls of Sodom there are gentlemen to suit every forbidden taste. If only she were not so drawn to the smoldering Lord Strickland…a dangerous man who sees beyond her mask, and could ruin her reputation with a mere whisper. Lord Strickland never permitted himself to fantasize about the sultry, off-limits lady, but then he never expected to find Ela in a place so wicked, looking for what he’s more than too happy to give. She may not be to the ton’s taste, but she suits him perfectly. First, however, he must convince her to trust in this dangerous desire—and in the promise of forever unleashed by one wild, scandalous night.
Once I read the synopsis for The Scandal of it All, I knew I had to read it. A scandalous forbidden romance featuring an older heroine/younger hero, yes please! The Scandal of it All was such a wickedly delightful read. Ela was obviously a very different type of heroine that we generally see in historical romances and very sympathetic as well, so I really enjoyed reading about her journey to self-discovery. Colin was a wonderful hero and it is easy to see how Ela fell for him; he knew he wanted to be with Ela and fought hard for their relationship. I also really loved Ela and Colin together as a couple because they were such an unique pairing and the chemistry between them was amazing. The forbidden romance aspect was very thrilling, there wasn't a huge age difference between them in my opinion; however, Colin being Ela's stepson's best friend was definitely scandalous! Their romance does seem wrong, but also so right as you couldn't help but to root for them. I was very curious to see how their romance would play out, as well as the reactions of their families and "the ton" when it was revealed. Colin's grandmother in particular was evil family member done right. My god, I was truly shocked by what she did; it was messed up. I was glad that everything worked out for Ela and Colin and they got their happily ever after as there were so many obstacles standing in their way. However, I would have liked to have seen some justice dealt regarding the Grandmother. Overall, The Scandal of it All was a fantastic read that I highly recommend to historical romance readers.
Devil's Daughter by Lisa Kleypas
Although beautiful young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, has never met West Ravenel, she knows one thing for certain: he's a mean, rotten bully. Back in boarding school, he made her late husband's life a misery, and she'll never forgive him for it. But when Phoebe attends a family wedding, she encounters a dashing and impossibly charming stranger who sends a fire-and-ice jolt of attraction through her. And then he introduces himself...as none other than West Ravenel. West is a man with a tarnished past. No apologies, no excuses. However, from the moment he meets Phoebe, West is consumed by irresistible desire...not to mention the bitter awareness that a woman like her is far out of his reach. What West doesn't bargain on is that Phoebe is no straitlaced aristocratic lady. She's the daughter of a strong-willed wallflower who long ago eloped with Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent—the most devilishly wicked rake in England. Before long, Phoebe sets out to seduce the man who has awakened her fiery nature and shown her unimaginable pleasure. Will their overwhelming passion be enough to overcome the obstacles of the past? Only the devil's daughter knows...
Devil's Daughter was one of my highly anticipated romance books this year. Since Devil's Daughter featured Phoebe, the daughter of Evie and Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent, the main couple from Devil in Winter (one of the GREATEST ROMANCE BOOKS OF ALL TIME!) I had some really high expectation for this book. I thought that my expectations were mostly met as Devil's Daughter was a sweet and enjoyable romance. I was very intrigued by the premise of West being the childhood bully of Phoebe's dead husband, and curious to see how the romance would happen since Phoebe harbored some resentment toward West for what he did to her husband. West and Phoebe were great characters as they were perfectly matched and I enjoyed their dynamic. This was a slow burn romance, so the sexual tension between them was palpable as their chemistry sizzled off the pages, and eventually led to some really steamy love scenes. It was also wonderful to see Phoebe learn that West was nothing like she had expected, and that there was more to him than what she heard from her husband. I was glad that West did own up to his past actions against Phoebe's husband and that he had transformed into such a charmingly smart and caring person. The scenes with Phoebe, West, and her sons together were so adorable and I loved how they slowly became a family. One of my favorite parts of the book was just being back in the Wallflower world again, seeing past characters and how their lives were. I especially loved all the scenes with Sebastian and Evie. However, there were a few issues I had with the book that stopped me from fully loving it as much as I hoped. First was that it was a bit too simple as I had expected more passion and drama, especially because it was a spin-off of Devil in Winter. There was a bit of drama with Phoebe's dead husband's evil cousin, but it was easily dealt with. Another issue was with West, I thought he was a great hero, but I was a bit annoyed with his constant self doubt about his worth and feeling undeserving of happiness with Phoebe. Those few issues aside, I did very much enjoyed Devil's Daughter overall and do recommend this book to historical romance fans. Also, I as mentioned earlier, I loved seeing the previous characters from the Wallflower series in this book, and I hope that Lisa Kleypas will continue to revisit those characters and their children in future books.
Between the Devil and the Duke by Kelly Bowen
He should have thrown her out. But when club owner Alexander Lavoie catches a mysterious blonde counting cards at his vingt-et-un table, he's more intrigued than angry. He has to see more of this beauty—in his club, in his office, in his bed. But first he'll have to devise a proposition she can't turn down. Common sense told her to stay away. But Angelique Archer was desperate, and Lavoie's club offered a surefire way to make quick money—until she got caught. Instead of throwing her out though, the devil offers her a deal: come work for him. Refusing him means facing starvation, but with a man so sinfully handsome and fiercely protective, keeping things professional might prove impossible.
I absolutely loved Between the Devil and the Duke! I have read a few historical romances from Bowen in the past and really enjoyed them, but I have to say that this was one of the best historical romance I've read in awhile. Everything was just so perfect in this book- the story, characters, and of course, the romance! I loved how unique Angelique was from the typical historical romance heroines. While I was very sympathetic to her because her brother was the worst, I also admired how strong and brave she was working hard to try and save her family. Also, one of the best things about Angelique was how skilled she was at arithmetic and how she used those skills to her advantage. I thought it was so funny how in order to get information from shady members of the London Underground Angelique simply just did their books for them. With Alex, I thought he was so charming and clever with an air of danger and mystery which made him a perfect hero. The romance between Alex and Angelique was done so wonderfully. I thought it was so cute how smitten Alex was with Angelique right from the start. It was also great that Alex wasn't intimidated by Angelique's intelligences and, given the time period, actually encouraged her and gave her opportunities to excel. Alex and Angelique's romance was a slow burn, so there were some seriously intense sexual tension between them, which eventually led to some really hot and sexy moments. I really enjoyed Alex and Angelique's romance as it felt real and they were a very well-matched couple that complimented each other. The mystery was another thing I loved about the book. I was so intrigued by the murder, and what really happened to Angelique's father and their fortune. I loved trying to figure out who the real villain was, and I was truly surprised by the reveal as well as with their motive. Seriously, I can not say enough good things about Between the Devil and the Duke as it is truly an amazing romance.
Comment down below if you have read any of these books and let me know your thoughts on them. Also, if you have any romance book recommendations let me know as well!