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ARC DNF Reviews: Never Fall for your Fiancee by Virginia Heath AND An Heiress’s Guide to Deception and Desire by Manda Collins

Book Cover

Publishing November 9, 2021

Synopsis:

The first in a new historical rom-com series, a handsome earl hires a fake fiancée to keep his matchmaking mother at bay, but hilarity ensues when love threatens to complicate everything.

The last thing Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, ever wants is a wife. Unfortunately for him, his mother is determined to find him one, even from across the other side of the ocean. So, Hugh invents a fake fiancée to keep his mother’s matchmaking ways at bay. But when Hugh learns his interfering mother is on a ship bound for England, he realizes his complicated, convoluted but convenient ruse is about to implode. Until he collides with a beautiful woman, who might just be the miracle he needs.

Minerva Merriwell has had to struggle to support herself and her two younger sisters ever since their feckless father abandoned them. Work as a woodcut engraver is few and far between, and the Merriwell sisters are nearly penniless. So, when Hugh asks Minerva to pose as his fiancée while his mother is visiting, she knows that while the scheme sounds ludicrous, the offer is too good to pass up.

Once Minerva and her sisters arrive at Hugh’s estate, of course, nothing goes according to his meticulous plan. As hilarity and miscommunication ensue, while everyone tries to keep their tangled stories straight, Hugh and Minerva’s fake engagement starts to turn into a real romance. But can they trust each other, when their relationship started with a lie?

My Review

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I was drawn in by the cute cover and description but alas, this book is not for me. The characters are oh-so-flat, the dialogue is stilted and awkward, and the writing stumbles along with almost entirely telling. Also the hero and heroine’s connection is 100% ‘oh no she’s hot’ and ‘oh no he’s hot.’

Hugh has lied to his mother for literal years about a fake fiancee (who is battling consumption and then in mourning for her unexpectedly dead fictional father) and now has to produce a fiancee when his mother arrives. Or, y’know, tell her the truth? But I guess not. But miracle of miracles he immediately stumbles over a woman who clearly needs money and who also shares the name Minerva with his fictional fiancee. What are the chances?

DNF

*Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing an e-arc for review.


Book Cover

Publishing November 16, 2021

Synopsis:

Former lovers become reluctant allies in this delightfully witty historical rom-com from the bestselling author of A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem—for fans of Evie Dunmore, Enola Holmes, and Netflix’s Bridgerton!

England, 1867 : As half of the writing duo behind England’s most infamous crime column, Miss Caroline Hardcastle has quite the scandalous reputation. It may have cost her a fiancé, but she would much rather bring attention to crimes against those ignored by society than worry about what the ton thinks of her.

After Caro’s dear friend is kidnapped, however, she has no choice but to work with Lord Valentine Thorn, the same man who broke her heart. Worse, when her actions put her father’s business at risk, a marriage of convenience may be her only solution . . . but can she trust Val to stand by her? Or will their past repeat itself?

Val–the new Viscount Wrackham–is in an untenable position: His father is demanding he find a respectable bride to secure the succession. Yet the only woman he’s ever loved, Miss Caroline Hardcastle, is notorious for behaving improperly. And she’s never forgiven him for his youthful transgressions, missteps made in the name of familial duty, but ones he still regrets to this day.

As they grow closer to unmasking the culprit, Val sees an opportunity to show Caro he’s a changed man. But can he convince her to give their love a second chance–before death does them part?

My Review:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

This book was…. boring. Which is unexpected for a mystery but there you go. I wasn’t interested in the characters, who all seemed rather shallow and prone to misunderstandings, or the plot, which was a bit thin, or the love story, which was annoying more than anything. If the characters would have just talked to each other there wouldn’t have been a plot I suppose. The writing was decent at least but failed to draw me in.

DNF

*Thanks to NetGalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for providing an e-arc for review.

ARC DNF Review: A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem by Manda Collins

Rating: 1 out of 5.

This book sounded so good and then it just… wasn’t. Mostly that can be attributed to the writing which was stilted and sounded as if the author spent way too much time consulting a thesaurus. I had to read around words to get to the story, which was decent but not enough to keep me reading. If writing style isn’t a make-or-break issue for you then you might enjoy it, but it wasn’t for me.

An example (and yes the entire book is written like this):

“And from the spectacle the police put on today, I doubt they’re prepared to listen to the exhortations of the two ladies whose interview provided the very ammunition to arrest Clark.”

It’s just… wordy, in a way that constantly breaks any tension.

I did like the way Katherine owns a newspaper and is determined to write about the murders for women, but her extreme naivete in thinking she can do so without having any effect on the investigation is a little unbelievable.

Also the chemistry with Andrew – who was conducting the investigation, at least until her story promts his superiors to take him off the case and arrest the wrong man – was nonexistent. The moment they encounter one another again he starts getting sidetracked by lustful thoughts when he’s supposed to be interrogating her? It was awkward and weird.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for providing an e-arc for review