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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Review: One Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare

Prepare yourself to be dazzled. One Dance with a Duke is one of those exceptional romances that immediately found its way to my top favorites (ten of which I sent to Jane at Dear Author… if I had finished this book before sending off the list you would most assuredly have found it with the rest.)

The sexual tension is through the roof. The foreplay is salivating. The sex is piping hot.

The hero is scrumptious. The heroine plucky. With dialogue to die sigh for.

In short: fabulous.

Lady Amelia d’Orsay is a plump spinster and a bit of a wallflower with a fondness for embroidery, planning meals, and her stupid foolish halfwit brother Jack. When she discovers Jack owes the Duke of Midnight 400 pounds she confronts the man, stealing his hand with an impetuousness that surprises even her and leads him out on the dance floor.

Spencer Dumarque, 4th Duke of Morland, notoriously known as the Duke of Midnight, is socially inept on many fronts. He gets disoriented and dizzy at inopportune moments, is impossibly rude, and has a fondness for horses so deep he’ll go to any lengths; pay any price to own one retired champion horse, including bankrupting idiotic boys.

This book is the first in the Stud Club trilogy.

The Trilogy Arc: Discover who murdered the leader and founder of the Stud Club: Leopold Chatwick.

Loved the change of pace: A quick marriage – but not marriage of convenience.

The Slightly Illogical: Amelia accepting Spencer’s proposal, signing the register with defiance and surety when he’s accused of murder, and then recanting her trust by bedtime. This strange turn of events allows for some very hot flirting and petting so I was more than okay with it. Of course, she wasn’t really afraid of him and didn’t truly believe him capable of murder; though that’s the excuse she gave him. She was afraid she couldn’t protect her heart from certain heartbreak.

Rating: 5 Stars

Buy: One Dance with a Duke

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Review: Lessons in French by Laura Kinsale

Lessons in French is a feel-good story. It’s cute, lighthearted, and full of whimsy. It was the right novel at the right time. I needed cute, lighthearted, and whimsy. I smiled a lot when reading it and rooted for both of the main characters. They’re imperfect, but that just makes them extremely likeable.

The heroine is as Laura Kinsale describes–an anti-kickass heroine.  Callie Taillefaire is pretty shy. She prefers her animals to men and ballrooms. In ballrooms she’s an absolute wallflower without even trying. She was betrothed three times and all three men left her cold. The people of Shelford love her, but even they have to wonder what’s wrong with her when eighty thousand pounds won’t get a man to the altar. What’s great about Callie is that even though she’s not one of the kickass heroines running around in other romances, she can be fierce and courageous. She’ll even save the hero.

Trevelyn d’Augustin is a very interesting character. He is the son of aristocratic but impoverished French émigrés. Nine years approximately before the story starts, he was in love (or pretty darn close to admitting it anyway) with Callie. That her father did not approve of him is an understatement. One bad episode and Trev runs away to France where he does a lot of things from organizing fights, shooting at Englishmen, becoming a war prisoner, returning to England and organizing more fights, and getting in trouble with the law. He’s avoided Shelford for ages because he’s positive Callie is married with kids, but with his mother extremely ill he can no longer stay away.

They both get a second chance at first love. Trev pulls Callie out of her shell, one hilarious incident after another. Callie gives Trev comfort and quiet strength and a sense of purpose, but she can’t imagine that he feels anything beyond friendship and gratitude for her. So when her sister, Hermione gets engaged to Sir Thomas Vickery, Callie seriously entertains the attentions of an old fiancé. She won’t burden her sister and she won’t stick around with her cousin and his wife Dolly. Trev won’t pursue her romantically because of his legal troubles and because he feels she deserves more than he can offer… and certainly more than this idiot who’s back and sniffing after her eighty thousand pounds.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Lessons in French