Historical Romance

Review: Anyone but the Earl by Irene Davis


Title: Anyone But the Earl
Author: Irene Davis
Genre / Themes: Gilded Age historical, Rowing, Virgin heroine
Release date: 16 April 2019

Author's links: Website / Twitter / Goodreads
My rating: 3 Stars


Octavia Sewell is on track to be the next New York heiress to marry into the impoverished British aristocracy. There’s just one problem: the Earl of Brackley is a detestable bore. Fortunately, she has a plan that will scuttle her marriage prospects once and for all, leaving her free to follow her own interests. All she needs is to convince one of her brother’s friends to go along, and she knows just which one she wants…

Set in the Gilded Age of 1896 New York, Anyone But the Earl includes…
- a scandalous text describing the reproductive process,
- a best friend to help a girl out of the trouble she’s gotten herself into,
- midnight escapades,
- meetings under assumed names,
- Victorian flower language, and
- insurance fraud 


This is a Gilded Age historical, debut by Irene Davis. It was nice overall but not outstanding. 

It started rather slow with too much descriptions and setting the stage and no real action. I liked the heroine though. She is fierce and striving after independence, desperate to escape the arranged marriage her parents (her mother, mostly) tries to force her into. We see her trying to break from tradition, led by curiosity towards life, a desire for something different than just being someone’s wife. 

Enter the hero, a friend of her brother’s from the rowing club – good looking, instant chemistry. A wealthy young businessman, but he is still very traditional re marriage and women’s place in society. I liked seeing him change and acknowledge the heroine's wishes for her/their future. 

I liked that she didn’t have everything figured out from the start, she fumbled her way towards independence and living the life she wanted for herself. There was a gradual realization of her desires, both physical and in general, her dreams of the future. 

The action picked up a lot in the second half and everyone showed their true colours and there were some pleasant surprises there. 

I had minor issues – not a sports romance really, rowing was a hobby for the hero and his friends, I just expected the sports aspect will be more central.

My main complaint has to do with the heroine’s mother and specific incident where I found her alleged behaviour deeply problematic. It was never cleared with the mother whether this is true or no, there is no discussion/apology (assuming it was true). It’s a major thing and I feel it should have been challenged in the text directly.

Overall, this is a solid historical romance debut and despite some flaws here, I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

CW: Attempted assault/rape

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Alyssa Cole

Review: A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole


Title: A Prince on Paper (Reluctant Royals #3)
Author: Alyssa Cole
Genre / Themes: Royals, Fake engagement, 
Release date: 30 April 2019

Author's links: Website / Twitter / Goodreads
My rating: 3.5 Stars


The Reluctant Royals series returns with a good girl searching for the life that’s not too big, and not too small, and the bad boy prince who might be just right for her…

Nya Jerami fled Thesolo for the glitz and glamour of NYC but discovered that her Prince Charming only exists in her virtual dating games. When Nya returns home for a royal wedding, she accidentally finds herself up close and personal—in bed—with the real-life celebrity prince who she loves to hate.

For Johan von Braustein, the red-headed step-prince of Liechtienbourg, acting as paparazzi bait is a ruse that protects his brother—the heir to the throne—and his own heart. When a royal referendum threatens his brother’s future, a fake engagement is the perfect way to keep the cameras on him.

Nya and Johan both have good reasons to avoid love, but as desires are laid bare behind palace doors, they must decide if their fake romance will lead to a happily-ever-after.


This is the third and final full-length novel in the series. After enjoying the previous two and getting a tiny glimpse of the MCs in this one, I was really following forward to reading it. It was nice and sweet but not as good I as expected. I liked both Nya and Johan but there was too much forced drama and not enough real conflict for me to like it more

I appreciate Nya's strength and her ability to be hopeful and feel joy despite the brutal manipulation and gaslighting she endured for years from her father. It was hard to read at times but also rewarding to see her strength in a very dire situation. It was not all smooth sailing for her, she felt lost and confused, betrayed and lonely but she forged through and never gave up. This was also true in the way she built the intimacy with Johan, she challenged herself, pushed herself to ask for what she wanted.

Johan was actually the sweetest, most caring and sensitive hero who were supposed to be bad playboy prince.  I liked his true nature which he was careful to hide from everyone but at the same time, we only hear about his shenanigans and publicity stunts but they never quite felt real to me. They only happened in the past and at present in this story we see him only on his best behaviour.

I liked seeing my beloved characters from the previous books and the new side characters we meet her was a pleasure to read too. There is an enby character coming out story which I found tender and deeply moving. 

With all the things I enjoyed in this romance, there were a lot of small details which I found annoying and which kept taking me out of the story. Nya playing that romancing simulation game even after she got into a fake engagement with the Johan and became intimate with him felt like a betrayal. I wasn't too keen of all the forced drama either. 

Overall, I enjoyed the whole series with A Duke by Default about Portia and Tavish being my favourite. If you are looking for inclusive contemporary romance that is both fun and emotional, I heartily recommend this series.

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Charlie Adhara

Review: Thrown to the Wolves by Charlie Adhara


Title: Thrown to the Wolves (Big Bad Wolf #3)
Author: Charlie Adhara
Genre / Themes: Shifters /Murder mystery
Release date: 01 April 2019

Author's links: Website / Twitter/ Goodreads
My rating: 4.5 Stars

Agent Cooper Dayton is going to meet his boyfriend’s werewolf family. Unarmed. On their turf. 

And he’s bringing his cat. 

When Agent Cooper Dayton agreed to attend the funeral for Oliver Park’s grandfather, he didn’t know what he was getting into. Turns out, the deceased was the alpha of the most powerful werewolf pack on the eastern seaboard. And his death is highly suspicious. Regardless, Cooper is determined to love and support Park the way Park has been there for him. 

But Park left him woefully unprepared for the wolf pack politics and etiquette. Rival packs? A seating order at the dinner table? A mysterious figure named the Shepherd? The worst is that Park didn’t tell his family one key thing about Cooper. Cooper feels two steps behind, and reticent Park is no help. 

There are plenty of pack members eager to open up about Park and why Cooper is wrong for him. Their stories make Cooper wonder if he’s holding Park back. But there’s no time to get into it…as lethal tranquilizer darts start to fly, Cooper needs to solve the mystery of the alpha’s death and fight for the man he loves—all before someone else dies.


This is a great ending of a highly intriguing series. The three books follow the same couple, Agents Dayton and Park and here we finally meet the Parks on their own turf and learn a lot more about the world of the werewolves.

I loved both romantic arc and the further development of Cooper and Park's relationship and the suspense plot which kept me on my toes till the end. I was not very happy with Park keeping so many secrets from Cooper putting in a very difficult, potentially dangerous situation. I wished he trusted his partner and lover sooner but I also understand his reluctance to reveal his past, a past he is deeply ashamed of and regrets. 

We get the see the wolf pack with its complicated dynamics through the eyes of Cooper and just like him, I felt lost initially but I enjoying discovering the next bit and the next and next about Park's family and friends/enemies.

For the the story ends with a solid HEA while also leaving room for more cases for the agents to work on. 

Overall, i enjoyed the whole series and found it very atmospheric and intense, captivating romance with an intriguing suspense plot. I'm here for more stories set in this world if the author chooses to write them. Or for any other stories she might write.

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Contemporary Romance

Review: The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker


Title: The Austen Playbook (London Celebrities #4)
Author: Lucy Parker
Genre / Themes: Romance / Theatre actors / British
Release date: 22 April 2019

Author's links: Website / Twitter / Goodreads

My rating: 4.5 Stars


Freddy Carlton knows she should be focusing on her lines for The Austen Playbook, a live-action TV event where viewers choose the outcome of each scene, but her concentration’s been blown. The palatial estate housing the endeavor is now run by the rude (brilliant) critic who’s consistently slammed her performances of late. James “Griff” Ford-Griffin has a penchant for sarcasm, a majestic nose and all the sensitivity of a sledgehammer.

She can’t take her eyes off him.

Griff can hardly focus with a contagious joy fairy flitting about near him, especially when Freddy looks at him like that. His only concern right now should be on shutting down his younger brother’s well-intentioned (disastrous) schemes—or at the very least on the production (not this one) that might save his family home from the banks.

Instead all he can think of is soft skin and vibrant curls. 

As he’s reluctantly dragged into her quest to rediscover her passion for the stage and Freddy is drawn into his research on a legendary theater star, the adage about appearances being deceiving proves abundantly true. It’s the unlikely start of something enormous…but a single revelation about the past could derail it all.


This story is such a wonderful addition to the London celebrities series. Fun and entertaining but also exploring the complexity of family relationships, together with a look behind-the-scenes of the theatre/TV world and it's not as glamorous as it appears on the surface.

The romance came second at times but all those other scenes really helped show the true colours of the MCs (and the side characters).

I'm a fan of Lucy Parker's writing and this was no exception - engaging, subtle, sarcastic humour that works so well for me. This whole story was very atmospheric both of the English countryside f the whole mansion-owning family in financial trouble. I also very much liked the parallel love stories from the past so closely interwoven with Freddy and Griff's romance in the present day. .

Grumpy misanthropic heroes are my catnip and it made me happy to see this one paired with a bubbly, light-hearted, fun-loving heroine. I really appreciate her journey to asserting her selfworth and finding value in doing the things she enjoys (comedies and musicals), rather than the things others view as worthy (high-end drama plays). I can't stress enough how important and satisfying it was seeing this, anything that brings you joy is worthy and good.

I also love the element of caring about others that was really prevailing in the story. Griff cared deeply for his family, Charlie did too in his own way. Freddy wanted the freedom from her family's legacy and expectations but she also cared people for her family and didn't want to see them hurt.The villains got their due in the end but it felt well deserve with no malice and spite.

In short, I loved everything in this story - the romance, the mystery, the theatre/celebrity world, the family feuds and secrets and past love affairs. Highly recommended read!

PS: I just have to say how much I  loved the proposal scene, it was ridiculous and over-the-top and didn't go according to plan at all, yet it was perfect for Freddy and Griff.

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