Hello readers! Welcome to my very first romance wrap-up where I try to not feel shame for enjoying romance novels. Fake it til you make it, right? *Nervous laugh*
My goal here is to talk more openly about something I truly enjoy and not feel like I have to defend myself or qualify my interests in any way that minimizes them. If you ever catch me saying something like “I know this is trashy, but…” then please call me out on it. Romance is a perfectly valid genre to enjoy, people put a lot of work into writing these stories, and really, it’s not like any aspect of it is that different than a typical mature themed video game. And there I go, feeling like I have to defend myself. I’d better just get into the wrap-up.
I read eight historical romances this month. First up was The Other Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn. This is the third book in the Bridgertons prequel series the Rokesbys. I have read a lot of Julia Quinn at this point, and she has definitely improved as a writer over time. Her most recent books are some of my all-time favorite romances, and this one did not disappoint. There is a slightly over-the-top plot element later on, but you can really only have so many of your characters almost die of an infection or a duel before your readers start to see it coming, so the plots about spies and pirates don’t actually bother me.
Next I read The Governess Game by Tessa Dare. Tessa Dare is my favorite romance author. Her books are funny and cute and just the right amount of steamy (for me, at least). This book delivered. Alexandra is strong willed and fearless, but you have to be when you are left to make your own way in Regency-era London. Alex has some great friends and a job she enjoys, until one day she meets a duke who mistakes her for a governess and she somehow ends up taking care of two of the most peculiar children she has ever met. This is not my new favorite Tessa Dare book, that honor still belongs to A Week to be Wicked, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time reading this.
Next up I read And the Miss Ran Away With the Rake by Elizabeth Boyle. This is the second book in a series. I read the first book back when I was first getting into historical romance, and I really liked it. I wanted to continue the series, but none of the other books were available through my library. I had a few extra Audible credits at the beginning of the month, so I finally got around to continuing. I enjoyed this book. It includes the family feud trope, which is not one of my favorites, but the characters are amusing and I was definitely rooting for everyone to end up happy.
I next read the third book in this same series, If Wishes Were Earls. I have to say, this is the best title in the series so far. The story itself was, well, it was fine. There were some plot elements that were convoluted, in my opinion, but I’m always willing to suspend my disbelief to some degree for a romance novel. The romance itself was pretty good. The miscommunications between the characters got to be a bit annoying which made the ending fall a little flat for me. But the middle was pretty good, and I liked the flashback scenes.
The next book I read was for the Biannual Bibliothon challenge of reading a book with a cover you don’t like. It was How the Duke Was Won by Lenora Bell. People who like Tessa Dare have told me that Lenora Bell is very similar, so I was excited to try her out. Overall, this story was fun, but it could have been better. There were some moments when the uneven power dynamic and the lack of communication were making me uneasy, which tends to hamper my enjoyment. There was a side character that I thought was hilarious, and she is the protagonist in another book, so I will be reading that one for sure. I listened to this book on Scribd, which I tried for the first time this month. Scribd is a service that allows you to access ebooks and audiobooks for a much cheaper price than Audible. They do change which books you have access to depending on what you’ve been reading lately, but they never limit the actual number of books you consume in a month, which is nice. If you want to try out Scribd, you can get 2 free months by using this link and then I get a free month too.
Next up, I read the first three books in the Scandalous Highlanders series by Suzanne Enoch. These were all just okay to me. I will definitely read the fourth book, but these aren’t my new favorites. These all make use of the highlander trope, which I tend not to like so much. The men are described as being as big as a mountain, or other similar things, and I’m sure it’s supposed to be sexy, but I can’t help thinking Hagrid. Knowing this, maybe I shouldn’t have picked up these books, but I have liked a couple of books with that trope in the past, so I thought I would try these. Also, I’ve like Suzanne Enoch books before, but I just wasn’t feeling the romantic tension to the level I wanted in any of these books.
That’s it for my first romance wrap-up. Let me know if there’s anything else you would like to see in these, or if there are any romances you would like me to read. Happy reading!