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review 2017-12-17 21:10
Sweet, romantic, and fun
Do You Want to Start a Scandal - Tessa Dare

What are you doing to me? He'd whispered.

Charlotte had no idea. But whatever it was, he was doing it back.

 

Spoiler Alert:  I like wallflowers and broody dudes. :) So, of course I liked this one. The way our hero was bamboozled by the heroine gets me every time. I would have liked to feel a bit closer to Piers, for some reason his background felt a bit underdeveloped, rushed or not delved into enough. 

Charlotte was so open, honest, and willing to get her man; I quite delighted in her. I would have liked her relationship with Delia to be focused, shown more to further develop her character. 

 

"What if I told you I know the risks, and I'm willing to take my chances?"

"It wouldn't change a thing. Those walls, as you call them…They're part of me now, and they are iron strong." He lifted a hand to her face, skimming his thumb over her lower lip. "Even if I wished to, I wouldn't know how to dismantle them."

"I know," she said quietly. "I know." She wreathed her arms around his neck. "That's why you need me. I'm going to burn them to the ground."

 

These two were spine tingling at times and plain fun to read about. The setting stayed stagnant as they were at a house party which kind of made their developing relationship feel less rounded out but their chemistry helped patch over some of the overall missing elements of the story. 

 

This was fun, romantic, and heavier fluff at times, a Regency to delightfully pass the time.

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review 2017-12-03 02:46
Spindle Cove Series Thoughts: A Lady by Midnight / Beauty and the Blacksmith / Any Duchess Will Do
A Lady by Midnight - Tessa Dare
Beauty and the Blacksmith - Tessa Dare
Any Duchess Will Do - Tessa Dare

Spindle Cove
by Tessa Dare
Book #3:  A Lady by Midnight | Rating:  3.0 Stars
Book #3.5:  Beauty and the Blacksmith | Rating:  4.0 Stars
Book #4:  Any Duchess Will Do | Rating:  4.5 Stars


Apparently it was a nice Tessa Dare marathon for me as I devoured one book after another (and continue to do so).  These books are wonderfully written and so much fun, even if a bit hard to believe based on the time frame and setting.

But what do I care about any of that when all I want is a good time, an enjoyable book, and lots of steamy romance with witty characters, amusing dialogue, and heart-warming moments?

 

 

 

A temporary engagement, a lifetime in the making...

After years of fending for herself, Kate Taylor found friendship and acceptance in Spindle Cove—but she never stopped yearning for love.  The very last place she'd look for it is in the arms of Corporal Thorne.  The militia commander is as stone cold as he is brutally handsome.  But when mysterious strangers come searching for Kate, Thorne steps forward as her fiancé.  He claims to have only Kate's safety in mind. So why is there smoldering passion in his kiss?

Long ago, Samuel Thorne devoted his life to guarding Kate's happiness.  He wants what's best for her, and he knows it's not marriage to a man like him.  To outlast their temporary engagement, he must keep his hands off her tempting body and lock her warm smiles out of his withered heart. It's the toughest battle of this hardened warrior's life . . . and the first he seems destined to lose.



A Lady by Midnight is my least favorite of the Spindle Cove books, thus far, but for whatever reason, I'm not sure I can pinpoint, exactly.  I only recall thinking that while I did like our main couple, Kate and Thorne, I also found them extremely frustrating in their actions, especially towards the ending.  And something about their relationship never did sit well with me, especially with Thorne coming off so intense and dangerous all the time.

Meanwhile, the long lost family who has come to claim Kate were amusing, and while I had the same misgivings about them at first as Thorne did, I later came to find that maybe Thorne was being too much of a possessive, paranoid jerk than was necessary.

Nonetheless, this was still an enjoyable and charming book.

 


 

 

At last, Diana gets a romance of her own! But with the last man anyone in Spindle Cove expects...

Beautiful and elegant, Miss Diana Highwood is destined to marry a wealthy, well-placed nobleman.  At least, that's what her mother has loudly declared to everyone in Spindle Cove.

But Diana's not excited by dukes and lords.  The only man who makes her heart pound is the village blacksmith, Aaron Dawes.  By birth and fortune, they couldn't be more wrong for each other...but during stolen, steamy moments in his forge, his strong hands feel so right.

Is their love forged strong enough to last, or are they just playing with fire?



I hadn't really known what to expect of Diana's turn at being the main heroine, even as this is a novella.  In fact, with her situation, I would have almost expected her to get a full length novel instead, but Beauty and the Blacksmith proved to be quite cute, sweet, and charming... even while I had no idea what our main couple were doing with each other.

I mean, I know what they were doing with each other, but there were a lot of actions that spoke to the contrary of what I thought they wanted with each other.  I'm suspecting that might have been intentionally added angst, just for the sake of having romantic angst.

 


 

 

What’s a duke to do, when the girl who’s perfectly wrong becomes the woman he can’t live without?

Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed this season—or any season—but his diabolical mother abducts him to “Spinster Cove” and insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence.  Griff decides to teach her a lesson that will end the marriage debate forever.  He chooses the serving girl.

Overworked and struggling, Pauline Simms doesn’t dream about dukes.  All she wants is to hang up her barmaid apron and open a bookshop.  That dream becomes a possibility when an arrogant, sinfully attractive duke offers her a small fortune for a week’s employment.  Her duties are simple: submit to his mother’s “duchess training"... and fail miserably.

But in London, Pauline isn’t a miserable failure.  She’s a brave, quick-witted, beguiling failure—a woman who ignites Griff’s desire and soothes the darkness in his soul.  Keeping Pauline by his side won’t be easy.  Even if Society could accept a serving girl duchess—can a roguish duke convince a serving girl to trust him with her heart?



I'm supposing that this Spindle Cove installment was supposed to be some sort of fairy tale meets 'My Fair Lady' crossover, which was wonderful and amusing, and so many things I enjoyed all rolled into one.  "The practical girl's fairy tale," as Duke Halford puts it.  The premise is promising, and the characters were all individually awesome by their own merit.

The character interaction could have been better, and somehow, the romance rang a little false to me, but I enjoyed a few of the exchanges here and there, and loved Pauline's randomly muttered, "Dukes and their problems."  I found I absolutely adored the dowager duchess of Halford before she even reveals the little knitting atrocities to Pauline--after that, I fell in love with her.

And the dialogue was terrific, especially when the duchess was trying to teach Pauline proper diction, among all of her other "duchess training" lessons.

The only quibble I have about this book would probably be the ending.  Somehow, it felt rushed and kind of trampled over the emotional build-up that I thought it was going for.  I'm not sure I know how to describe my conflicting feelings about it, but while I enjoyed how Griff handles the situation, I still felt like there could have been something... more.

Otherwise, this was a lovely read and I can honestly say that I absolutely loved it!


***

I'm trying to decide which 16 Festive Tasks squares to mark these as and have come up with at least two for A Lady by Midnight, and one for Any Duchess Will Do.

 

 


Square 2 | Book themes for Bon Om Touk:
Read a book that takes place on the sea, near the sea, or on a lake or a river, or read a book that has water on the cover.

Square 3 | Book themes for St. Martin’s Day:
Read a book set on a vineyard, or in a rural setting, –OR– a story where the MC searches for/gets a new job. –OR– A book with a lantern on the cover, or books set before the age of electricity. –OR– A story dealing with an act of selfless generosity (like St. Martin sharing his cloak with a beggar).

I think A Lady by Midnight will fit in either of the above two squares (the bolded book theme options), as Spindle Cove takes place on a setting near the sea, and I'm quite sure Spindle Cove would be considered quite rural.  The setting is Regency... which is before the age of electricity, no?  I haven't quite decided which square to choose... and just as well, there were a couple other squares that would work, too.

 

 


Square 15 | Book themes for Boxing Day/St. Stephen’s Day:
Read anything where the main character has servants (paid servants count, NOT unpaid) or is working as a servant him-/ herself.

I mainly bolded the first part of this book theme if only because I'm certain about the Duke and his family employing paid servants in his household.  The second part of this book theme would probably fit as well, but probably on a stretch, since Pauline is a serving girl/barmaid, who gets paid to pretend to take duchess training lessons from the dowager duchess--I'm not sure that actually qualifies her for a paid servant, though, but since the first part of the book theme fits, I'm definitely using this book for this square.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/12/spindle-cove-series-thoughts-lady-by.html
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review 2017-11-28 17:22
The Duchess Deal - Tessa Dare

Emma Gladstone is tired of being pushed around. She may be just a seamstress but she is a damn good one. When an ex-bride-to-be doesn't pay her for the extensive wedding dress she made, Emma decides to confront the jilted Duke of Ashbury to get her final payment. What Emma didn't expect was to get roped into a marriage with the Duke.

Ashbury needs a wife right now who can produce him an heir and when Emma shows up in a wedding dress he makes up his mind and offers to help Emma with her financial problems if she will agree to be his duchess. Because of some other circumstances, Emma reluctantly agrees but she has some of her own stipulations to their marriage.

After spending more time together, Emma and Ashbury start to find a common ground and finally start to have feelings for each other. What started as a strained union, quickly turns into something more.

I just loved both of these characters. Their banter was so great and funny, I found myself laughing out loud often. I really loved Emma's stubbornness and the way she was able to finally get Ashbury to fall in love with her. Overall this was a wonderful book and I would highly recommend it!

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review 2017-11-12 13:01
Possibly my fav 2017 read
The Duchess Deal - Tessa Dare

This book made my cold, dead heart feel all the feels. I am in looooove! Let’s start with our protagonist, Leia, nerd girl extraordinaire, graphic novelist, and soon-to-be mother thanks to a one-night stand at a comic convention with Batman. I mean, I can’t even. I was already so happy.

 

The Almost Sisters has so much depth: it tackles family, sisterhood, fathers, dementia, and reconciling a vision of the American south that is so welcoming with the “second South” involving deeply entrenched racism. There was humour and heart and unlike some other Southern-set stories I’ve read recently, these characters popped off the page, crackling with life and spirit and individuality.

 

I cannot recommend this book enough. It gets all the stars and then some.

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review 2017-09-05 00:49
The Duchess Deal Mini Review
The Duchess Deal - Tessa Dare

Absolutely loved this book. Funny, smart, plucky heroine meets a grumpy, scarred duke who needs an heir. Beauty and the Beast retelling during the Regency era. There are even moments that connect to current politics with a "Nevertheless, she persisted" line--that totally works. Loved it and it was exactly what I needed after being between too many books for too long.

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