The Viscount Made Me Do It (Clandestine Affairs, #2)

The Viscount Made Me Do It (Clandestine Affairs, #2)

First Lines: Thomas Ellis, Viscount Griffin, was a haunted man.

I read the first book in this series earlier this year, I think, and…I didn’t love it. But I liked the diversity it brought and how the characters were interesting. I just didn’t care for the plot of it. So I thought I’d give the author another chance in the follow up that brought back the tortured Viscount Griffin we briefly met in the previous book.

Hanna Zaydan has fought to become the finest bonesetter in London. She’s worked hard for it, even if most people scoff at her for being a woman, a woman of color, a bonesetter in general, or all three. When she meets the enigmatic Thomas, she knows he’s hiding more than he’s sharing, but with each appointment, she finds herself more and more drawn to him. Thomas, Viscount Griffin, has been dogged by rumors that he killed his family for years. More than a decade later, a tip about the killer’s identity leads him to the beautiful bonesetter. Griff is convinced Hanna is a fraud, but something about her makes him feel things he didn’t think he was capable of anymore. Can Hanna not only set bones but also mend hearts?

This was better than the first book. I liked this a lot more.

Hanna is a bonesetter, which is already a strike against her. Factor in that she’s female and Arab and she’s virtually a pariah to anyone outside of her family. I loved how she knew what she wanted to do with her career and she wasn’t going to let anyone tell her she couldn’t. She was well trained and that was all that mattered. I also liked Griff, who we met in the last book. He has a tortured past and he’s working on healing from the murders of his parents 14 years ago that he blames himself for. Together, they made for an interesting couple.

The story is a bit of a slow burn. Like, there are initial sparks, but because of their backgrounds, they try to force it down. Then they become friends and try to deny that it’s more than that. It was kind of cute how their friendship formed and how it grew into something more. I liked that it built that way.

I still really like the diversity in this series/story. I liked seeing Hanna’s family and their traditions and culture. It really added something special to the story and to their love.

Cute story. I like that everything in this series seems to be about people defying those around them to do what they want with their lives.

Because of Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys, #1)

Because of Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys, #1)

First Lines: It wasn’t that Billie Bridgerton was lacking in common sense. On the contrary, she was quite sure that she was one of the most sensible people of her acquaintance. But like any thoughtful individual, she occasionally chose to ignore the little voice of reason that whispered through her mind.

It’s not until I start writing these reviews sometimes that I realize just how all over the place my reading habits are sometimes. Ok, so obviously this was written by the same author of all the Bridgerton books. I thought it would be cool to dive into this series since I like her writing style and it relates to the Bridgertons. (Billie is an aunt to all the Bridgerton children we met in that famous series.)

Everyone expects Billie Bridgerton to marry one of the Rokesby brothers. The families have lived next to each other centuries and Billie has been friends with the boys for her whole life. She was a tomboy, running wild with Edward and Andrew. Either one could be her husband someday, and Billie knows that’s likely to happen. Of course, there’s one Rokesby Billie just can’t tolerate. George, the eldest brother and heir to the earldom. She finds him to be arrogant, stiff, annoying, and he absolutely detests her. But when Billie and George are forced together through a quirk of fate, a new kind of spark flies between them. Soon, they might just discover that the person they can’t live with is the one they can’t live without…

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike this book. In fact, it was fun to see the previous generation of Bridgertons.

But there was just nothing wow about this one either.

I did rather like Billie. She’s fiery and a tomboy, more capable of running the estate than she is navigating a ballroom. She’s not about to back down from a dare or let anyone put her down. She was fun.

But there wasn’t anything that really made me sit up and take notice of George. He was pretty stereotypical, really. I literally just finished the book and I’m not sure I could tell you any defining trait of his except “future earl.” Pretty much everything about him was how he’s eventually going to have the title. All of his personality revolved around that. So when I see someone as lively as Billie and someone as blah as George…I don’t feel the chemistry.

There were funny moments to the story that I enjoyed. I did have fun reading the weird (absurd) situations Billie kept finding herself in, but so much of the story just seemed disjointed outside of that. There are some subplots that get resolved at the end, but I had to wonder why they were included at all when they only happened over the course of a chapter or two.

Not a bad book, but definitely not the same level of love I had for a few books in the Bridgerton series.

The Duke Heist (The Wild Wynchesters, #1)

The Duke Heist (The Wild Wynchesters #1)

First Lines: Miss Chloe Wynchester burst through the door of her family’s sprawling residence in semi-fashionable Islington, closely followed by her sister Thomasina. Chloe’s pulse raced with excitement. His Arrogance, the Duke of Frosty Disapproval, didn’t have a chance.

I had a stretch here where I was really into romance novels early this summer. (I thought at the time it would be a good distraction from only being able to see my boyfriend on weekends…it was not. They made me miss him more.) This one caught my eye because it looked cute and funny, a combo I really enjoy. Especially if it starts to dip into the realm of absurd.

Chloe Wynchester is forgettable. That’s not a dramatic statement–truly, people forget her days or even hours after meeting her casually. As awful as it can be, it does allow her to blend into any crowd she chooses. When her adoptive father’s dying wish is for the family to recover a stolen painting that’s special to them all, the family turns to Chloe. What no one planned for was Chloe accidentally abducting a Duke in the process. Lawrence Gosling, Duke of Faircliffe, cannot rectify the many mistakes of his father. The estate’s in ruins, the money is gone, and Lawrence can’t fix any of it unless he marries a wealthy peer. Love is not in the cards. Yet when he finds himself being driven down the road at high speeds in an apparent abduction by a beautiful young woman, he fears his plans may have gone to rot…and that his heart may not belong to him anymore.

This was really cute. I wasn’t totally sure what I was expecting from this, but I liked Chloe’s brashness and the eccentricities of the story’s characters and events.

Chloe’s family is made up of a bunch of orphans who were taken in by a Baron they call “Bean” as children. He raised them to feel like a family and if there’s one thing that they all rally behind now that Bean is gone, it’s this painting they got soon after they became a family. But when they discover that the painting is missing and that the Duke of Faircliffe has it, well, game on. They’re going to get it back. And Chloe, who’s used to being invisible to people, is the perfect person to try to get it back. Unfortunately, she’s suddenly no longer invisible to Faircliffe once she accidently abducts him when he entered her getaway carriage…

I thought Chloe and Lawrence were a good couple. Both of them have interesting faults that make them both more loveable and more fascinating. For example, Chloe’s invisibility has to do with her being plain and really laying into that with her wardrobe choices as well. But she actually really hates this invisibility and the way she feels forgettable to everyone she meets. It was an interesting character dynamic that I appreciated.

The love story is excellent as well, the way it unfolds. From the very beginning, Lawrence is a mark to her, and he views her as nothing more than one of those “Wild Wynchesters.” But as they get to know each other and spend more time with each other, everything feels incredibly natural. I liked that. 

On the Way to the Wedding (Bridgertons, #8)

On the Way to the Wedding (Bridgertons, #8)

First Lines: His lungs were on fire. Gregory Bridgerton was running. Through the streets of London, oblivious to the curious stares of onlookers, he was running.

And with this book, we have finally reached the end of the Bridgerton series! I now feel much better qualified to judge/pick apart the Netflix series, now that I know all the characters better. Lol.

Unlike most men of his age, Gregory Bridgerton believes in true love. He’s seen it many times within his own family. And he’s now convinced that when he sees the right woman, he will fall in love at first sight. And that’s just what happens. Except, well, she’s not actually the right one. Miss Hermione Watson is actually in love with someone else. Her best friend, the ever-practical Lady Lucinda Abernathy, wants to save Hermione from this horrid alliance, so she offers to help Gregory win her over. But in the process, Lucy falls for Gregory. And Lucy’s already engaged to someone else, in a betrothal she can’t get out of even when Gregory comes to his senses. So now, on the way to a wedding, Gregory will have to lay everything on the line in the hopes of becoming the only man at the altar for her.

Another solid book in the Bridgerton series. Gregory is the last of the siblings to find love and it was kind of fun to watch that happen to him.

However, I daresay Lucy is a better character than Gregory. There was nothing wrong with Gregory, but I felt like Lucy was more fleshed-out, more well-rounded, more interesting. She’s got a pretty best friend that everyone falls for and she’s left to just watch guy after guy fling himself at Hermione–and never at her. I felt like that really showed us a lot about who she is based on how she reacted to that. I mean, she was just a fantastic person and character for this story. Gregory seems shallow and fickle by comparison.

The story is interesting and perhaps one of the more dangerous books in the series. There are pretty high stakes and things are constantly twisting in different and semi-unexpected ways. It was a fun little adventure, even if it did stretch credulity a bit.

It’s In His Kiss (Bridgertons, #7)

It's in His Kiss (Bridgertons, #7)

First Lines: There were four principles governing Gareth St. Clair’s relationship with his father that he relied upon to maintain his good humor and general sanity. One: They did not converse unless absolutely necessary. Two: All absolutely necessary conversations were to be kept as brief as possible.

Hey everyone! School’s started back up, but I’m still backlogged on reviews I need to get out, so I’m going to try to pop out a few here. This one is, obviously, a continuation of the Bridgerton series. Seemed like a good place to start, considering I seem to do this after almost every weird hiatus.

Hyacinth Bridgerton is…different. Intelligent, witty, outspoken, but probably best in small doses, according to Gareth St. Clair. But even so, there’s something charming and vexing about her that just captures his attention. Gareth and Hyacinth cross paths at the annual Smythe-Smith musicale and, between trading barbs, Hyacinth agrees to help Gareth with a tricky inheritance issue. However, the more they deep in St. Clair history, the more they discover the answers aren’t in the past, but in each other… (oh my God, that was so cheesy, I apologize.)

I liked this one, but as I’ve said with others in this series, I’ve just enjoyed others more. Hyacinth was interesting in her own way. Much like Eloise, she’s outgoing and opinionated–two characteristics frowned upon for women at this time especially. So it was fun watching her get into trouble and speak her mind.

I thought she and Gareth went pretty well together, though I didn’t feel the chemistry as much as I did in some of the previous books. It was still a good fit, though.

This was really just another good installment in this series, but I also don’t think it stands out incredibly either. Proof? It’s been a couple of months now since I actually read this and I literally remember the very beginning of the book and the very end. I completely blanked on the middle. I honestly don’t even remember what the inheritance issue is. It’s just really forgettable, clearly.

But apparently I rather liked it when I read it.

When He Was Wicked (Bridgertons, #6)

When He Was Wicked (Bridgertons, #6)

First Lines: In every life there is a turning point. A moment so tremendous, so sharp and clear that one feels as if one’s been hit in the chest, all the breath knocked out, and one knows, absolutely knows without the merest hint of a shadow of a doubt that one’s life will never be the same. For Michael Stirling, that moment came the first time he laid eyes on Francesca Bridgerton.

As many of you who have been following me know, I have really enjoyed the Bridgerton series. But this book was the one I was probably least looking forward to for the simple reason that I didn’t really know anything about Francesca. She’s just not really in any of the other books, so I didn’t know what to expect.

Michael Stirling, a rake with a long line of heartbroken women in his wake, loves the chase as women flock to him. But never once has he actually fallen for anyone. That changes when he meets Francesca Bridgerton. He falls so hard and so fast at first sight that he knows this is the woman for him. Unfortunately, he’s meeting Francesca as they celebrate her upcoming wedding in thirty-six hours–to his cousin. But now, Michael is the earl and Francesca is free, though she still views Michael as nothing more than her friend and confidante. Michael doesn’t want to express his love for her and ruin things between them…until one night when she innocently steps into his arms and passion takes over between them…

I rather liked this one, which was a little surprising given how little we’ve seen of Francesca so far in the series.

Francesca married at 20, only to become a widow two years later. Broken, she tries to rely on her husband’s cousin-and-best-friend Michael, who also happens to be the new Earl of Kilmartin. However, Michael has been in love with Francesca for years, since the moment he first laid eyes on her. And being around her while grieving for his cousin is too much. He travels to India for a few years, thinking perhaps that when he returns, he’ll be over Francesca. He’s not.

I thought the darkness in this story due to their joint grief and the conflicted feelings they have toward each other really brought something special to this book. It gave it depth and it made them feel more like real people. I liked seeing them struggle and find each other. It meant more because of the struggle.

I also really liked both of them as characters. Francesca has always felt somewhat separate from her family, which she both likes and hates. But she loves them and they support her, of course. She’s strong and independent and she’s got a good sense of humor. Michael is a charmer, able to flirt with anything that moves. But he’s utterly devoted to Francesca and he’s a bit of a hero. They’re good together.

It was a tad confusing at first, but this story takes place at literally the same time as the previous two books. Once I figured that out, I was good, but it did throw me at first.

While this wasn’t my favorite book in this series, it’s probably top 3.