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review 2018-01-16 23:17
The Duchess Deal - Tessa Dare

 

The Duchess Deal has everything that normally gets on my nerves:
_It has an insane plot (Ema decides to confront a Duke in order to get paid for a dress she made for his ex-fiancée... but here's the thing, she's a seamstress that works for a modiste -_-?
_It has an alpha douchebag, a scarred alpha douchebag with a LOT of emotional baggage
_The story focus solely on a few number of characters with only a few descriptions of the surroundings... unless we're talking about what drapes Emma is planning to destroy...
_Once again _ because it's Tessa Dare _ we have goats; okay I don't mind the goats...
_ Every single person in the book is slightly deranged; in a endearing kind of way, but still deranged.
_ The main characters spend a great number of pages acting like horny rabbits. o_O
Cute, with a great chemistry, horny rabbits... okay, this may have to go in the positives as well...

As for positives, well the banter is pretty good in a passive aggressive/did I mention insane/ hilarious way.
There's a cat. So bonus point for the cat.
(...)
Oh, Ash's sidekick is pretty funny, LOL

Negatives yes, again... oh the drama that lasts a few pages towards the end, but which is so lame. And pointless... and did I mention lame?
But you know what?
Most of the time I did have fun reading it, lol
 
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text 2018-01-08 17:01
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare $1.99
The Duchess Deal - Tessa Dare

Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.

 

His terms are simple:

- They will be husband and wife by night only.

- No lights, no kissing. 

- No questions about his battle scars.

- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

 

But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:

- They will have dinner together every evening.

- With conversation.

- And unlimited teasing.

- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…

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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 2017-11-13 14:12
Skip it.
My American Duchess - Eloisa James

Can't remember what drew me to the book but it seemed to have a vaguely reminiscent of the background to 'Downton Abbey' (woman from the Northeast US with money gets engaged to a member of English aristocracy) and it has pretty good rating but...I'm not sure why I picked up this book.

 

Merry is a young woman with money who has jilted two men. She accepts a third man...only to realize she has the hots for his twin brother. And the twins don't like each other. But she really wants to sleep with Trent, who feels the same way. And cue shenanigans, drama, fraternal tensions, a switch at the altar, convenient story opt outs and so forth.

 

Initially the book was intriguing with poor Merry trying to ease herself into English society and learning how her uncouth "American" ways make her a fish out of water. But overall the book is terrible. Her intended seems like an okay guy and then we see that is not quite so. Same with his brother, who appears to be a gentleman hero that we're all rooting for and all but then becomes a jerk after a particular event. This seemed to be less of character development (or even a reasonable portrayal of the filters coming off after the relationship has begun) but more plot driven than anything else.

 

There's also a rather convenient switch that helps eliminate an aspect of this love triangle and again, seemed to come out of nowhere only for a convenient (it seems) reconciliation at the end. More plot device (of which there wasn't much) than anything else. 

 

The book is also badly paced. There's a wedding that threw me off because it happened sooner than I thought it would and I wondered what else the author had in mind. Turns out this was just an excuse to write a bunch of super cringe-y sex scenes that makes what's left of the book into a PWP (porn without plot) "romance" that I hate.

 

So, as you can see, this completely didn't work for me. Don't bother!

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