Audio Review: The Wicked Wallflower (Bad Boys and Wallflowers, Book 1) by Maya Rodale

wicked wallflowerHeroine: Lady Emma Avery is a respectable wallflower with the nickname the Buxom Bluestocking from finishing school. She is one of London’s Least Likely (to Misbehave) and in her own opinion least likely to be married by the next finishing school graduate ball, which marks the end of her fourth Season. Her long-time “beau” has yet to come up to scratch. Her friends, Olivia and Prudence, propose a wild idea of announcing their engagement. It was risky, but surely a gentleman could not refuse once it was so publically announced. While composing the letter, one of them said if Emma was going to risk scandal then they should go big or go home.

It’s all fun and games until someone actually sends the letter to the newspaper. Then it’s too late — and instead of a financially strapped second son of a viscount, the most eligible bachelor is declared the groom-to-be, and not just any bachelor, but a duke! Emma just knows she is ruined!

Hero: Blake, the Duke of Ashbrooke, is about to find out his past behavior can and will catch up to him. His charmed life of being the toast of a party, London’s most desirable rake and duke, and participating wild dares are not going to help him now. His backers desert him on his difference engine project and stress that it’s because of the man leading the project not the idea. They can’t trust him. Suddenly he needs a respectable wife… or at least the appearance of one until the financing is secure.

When the London Weekly posts his engagement announcement to a women he’s never met, he has the solution to his problem. He arrives at her drawing room to make it official – or failing that official long enough for them to try their hand at winning his aunt’s fortune in this year’s annual Fortune Games. Ashbrooke always likes a challenge so when the lady says no – he takes matters into his own hands.

Review: I loved this book from the main characters to the side characters to the romance. It checked all my boxes. My favorite parts were the love-letter writing on Emma’s bed and then Blake’s fulfillment of their fake courtship. He created a rundown gazebo, built a trellis, and said some of the prettiest proposals. Le sigh. He kind of goofs it all up at the end and could have come around a little quicker, but overall he’s one dreamy duke. The story ends as it begins with a potential scandal in the making. I wholly recommend to anyone looking for a fun and silly romp.

Narrator: I very much enjoyed listening to Carolyn Morris narrate. She pronounced clearly, naturally, and was easy to understand. I loved her portrayal of the hero and heroine and her accent and acting really pulled the story together cohesively. She had a very good presence and gave the story life. I’d listen to her again.

Rating: ★★★★½

The Wicked Wallflower (Wallflower Trilogy Book 1), Wicked Wallflower (Audiobook)

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Audio Review: The Tattooed Duke (The Writing Girls, Book 3) by Maya Rodale

tattoed dukeHero: Sebastian Digby, the Duke of Wycliff, is in need of a wealthy bride. His newly inherited dukedom is full of responsibilities and short on cash. All he wants to do is travel and discover Timbuktu. Unfortunately for him, all his dirty laundry is being aired by The London Weekly negating any chance he has at finding a suitable bride. He can’t prove who it is, but he suspects either his cousin or an employee.

Heroine: Eliza Fielding hasn’t had much to write about for her boss at The London Weekly. She’s about to be fired unless she can produce some scandalously meaty prose. Her undercover disguise as a housemaid in the duke’s household is perfect for getting close to the duke… in more ways than one. But as she gets to know this tattooed duke, Eliza has to wonder if getting her own dream – a column of her very own — is worth more than helping Sebastian obtain his dreams.

Review: This historical romance has a very modern edge. It worked for me where it might not work for others. I bought this book as an audiobook and I enjoyed the narrator, Carolyn Morris, immensely. Her accent work really placed me in the story and gave a sense of sophistication and Regency glamor. Sebastian Digby (whose last name, I must have missed… ha!) is a different duke than you’re used to meeting. He doesn’t want the duchy if it means curtailing his own desires for adventure, but it’s not exactly something you can just pretend isn’t yours. The scene where Eliza sees his tattoos for the first time was deliciously steamy (pun intended.) Eliza is a feisty heroine, who because she’s not gentry, can do things most well-bred young ladies can’t… like hide in plain sight of the hero she’s covering for her newspaper. Sebestian thinks the leak in his household is Eliza, but refuses to really give it credence because he doesn’t want it to be true. Overall a great listen!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Tattooed Duke

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Review: A Tale of Two Lovers by Maya Rodale

A Tale of Two Lovers is the second Writing Girls novel by Maya Rodale. Don’t you just love the cover?

The Situation: A pair of lovers is caught in a compromising situation. Soon all of London knows. There’s just one problem – it wasn’t quite what it looked like!

The Heroine: Lady Julianna Somerset is a widow and a Writing Girl for the London Weekly. Gossip is her thing and she loves secrets, as long as she knows them. The ton suspects she’s the London Weekly’s Lady of Distinction but they have no proof. When she comes across a piece of gossip so juicy she’s ecstatic because she knows her rival at the other newspaper, the Man About Town, hasn’t a clue, and she’ll be the one to break the scandal.

The Hero: Lord Simon Roxbury is not happy. First his father gives him an ultimatum to get married with a short time limit or he’ll be cut off from his allowance. Then the Lady of Distinction insinuates that he was intimate with a man, ensuring that no respectable woman would talk to him let alone marry him. He’s determined to get the gossipy she-devil to recant and hopefully get his old life back.

Review: The public and private battle for control was predictable but cute. They both do stupid things that kind of make you roll your eyes. The heroine wants to eek out as much juice from her Roxbury scandal as possible and plays every situation in such as way as to continually cast doubt on the man’s sexual preferences. The hero causes such a huge ruckus that the ensuing scandal embroils both that can only be fixed by a marriage of convenience. If you’re looking for a romp this is the book for you. :)

The Writing Girls:

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: A Tale of Two Lovers (Writing Girls)

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Review: The Heir and the Spare by Maya Rodale

bookreview2

Every time I read the heroine’s name, which is Emilia Highhart, I wondered if it was a play on Amelia Earhart. Doesn’t it sound like a play on words for you? Anyway, that’s beside the point and doesn’t have anything to do with the story. The story has to do with sibling rivalry and mistaken identity. They are the main plots of this novel.

The Duke of Grafton had two sons. They were twins. His heir, Phillip, was the important one. Devon was the spare. He was only worth something if Phillip got in trouble. Devon would take the punishment… he’d do anything for one scrap of his father’s approval, but getting into a duel for an action he hadn’t committed? Enough was enough!

Five years later Lord Phillip Kensington, Marquis of Huntley, is the soon to be Duke (of Buckingham? – weird title change at the end of the novel). His dying father kept talking about getting married, but Phillip wasn’t interested.

Devon Kensington arrives in London at his father’s request and as the man was dying he decided to come. He passed time idly in London as his brother and had a little run in with a young American girl. The gorgeous redhead turned his head and fueled his lust. One kiss from her was not enough…

Phillip was intrigued by the gossip of this little American, Emilia Highhart and how he had caught her at a ball he didn’t remember attending. Upon learning she was the heiress of Diamond Shipping he was determined to claim her for his own.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Heir and the Spare