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ARC & Audiobook Review: Lord of Pleasure by Erica Ridley (Rogues to Riches #2)

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Publication Date: May 2, 2017

Synopsis:

Never fall in love at a masquerade…

Nondescript “good girl” Miss Camellia Grenville only ever opens her mouth when forced to sing at her family’s musicales. That is, until the night she infiltrates the ton’s most scandalous masquerade ball on behalf of her sister, and finds herself in the arms—and the bed—of the one man she’d sworn to hate.

Irresistibly arrogant and unapologetically sensuous, infamous rake Lord Wainwright always gets his way. When he accepts a wager to turn his rakish image respectable in just forty days, he never anticipates falling for an anonymous masked lover…or that discovering her identity would destroy them both.

In the Rogues to Riches historical romance series, Cinderella stories aren’t just for princesses… Sigh-worthy Regency rogues sweep strong-willed young ladies into whirlwind romance with rollicking adventure.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was delightful. I had to suspend disbelief a little at the idea that you could spend so much time with someone while masked and they’d have no idea who you were unmasked. But it did make for a lovely story so I forgave it.

I love how Camellia and Lord Wainwright are both playing roles for society. She’s a mouse and a wallflower, he’s ‘the lord of pleasure,’ while neither is really that. Really, one wonders how Lord Wainwright’s reputation got so out of hand. But in secret, they’re much more alike than it would seem. They make a wonderful couple, giving one another strength and courage to be on the outside who they are on the inside.

Camellia and her sisters were determined and outspoken and a joy to watch interact. I hope we get more of them in future novels in this series.

There were just the right amount of obstacles and drama to make it a delicious read and make the happy ending that much more enjoyable.

The audiobook narrator did an excellent job and a very pleasant listening experience. I’ll be continuing the rest of this series in audio and then seeking out more of her narrations.

*Thanks to Erica Ridley for providing a copy for review.

ARC Review: Never a Duke by Grace Burrowes

Publishing Date: April 22, 2022

Synopsis:

Despite having humble origins and a criminal past, Ned Wentworth has learned to dress, waltz, and express himself as elegantly as any lordling. When Lady Rosalind Kinwood’s maid goes missing, her ladyship turns to Ned, precisely because he still has friends in low places and skills no titled dandy would ever acquire, much less admit he possesses.

Rosalind is too opinionated and too intelligent, and has frequently suffered judgment at polite society’s hands. In the quietly observant Ned Wentworth, she finds a man who actually listens to her and who respects her for her outspokenness. As the search for the missing maids grow more perilous, Rosalind and Ned will have to risk everything—including their hearts—if they are to share the happily ever after that Mayfair’s matchmakers have begrudged them both.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this novel, more than the previous novels in the series (though admittedly I’ve only previously read books 5 and 6). A large part of that is that Ned and Rosaline are both genuinely good and likeable people, despite their past and Rosaline’s despicable family. I loved how, as they interacted, they genuinely came to care for one another and do their best to lift each other up. I also loved that it was easy to read and painted a vivid picture of a believable world that sucked me in from the very beginning.

I loved Ned and Rosaline’s determination to save the abducted women and their eventual frank discussion of Ned’s past. I especially loved all the little details, my favorite being Ned’s embroidery. It’s unusual and a seemingly trivial thing but it really showed how much he missed his family and the life that was ripped from him. It also showed his sensitivity and disdain for propriety, as well as how much of himself he’d kept from the Wentworths but was willing to show Rosaline. Oh and the proposal scene was delightful. As was Ned’s tiger Artie, and I greatly hope to see more of him in the future.

I spent portions of the novel feeling as if I had read it before which was very strange as it is an arc and I am quite sure I haven’t. Maybe that was a combination of familiarity with the secondary characters and some backstory from previous novels and a somewhat predictable plot in general? Or perhaps it’s not so much a predictable plot as one that shares themes with other novels I have read in the past. Nevertheless, whatever the reason for the feeling, I still very much enjoyed the journey and was reluctant to close it and leave the world so vividly pressed between the pages.

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

Book Review: Lord of Chance (Rogues to Riches #1)

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Publishing Date: April 11, 2017

Synopsis:

Don’t wager more than you’re willing to lose…

Disguised as a country miss, Charlotte Devon flees London, desperate to leave her tattered reputation behind. In Scotland, her estranged father’s noble blood will finally make her a respectable debutante. Except she finds herself accidentally wed to a devil-may-care rogue with a sinful smile. He’s the last thing she needs…and everything her traitorous heart desires.

Charming rake Anthony Fairfax is on holiday to seek his fortune…and escape his creditors. When an irresistible Lady Luck wins him in a game of chance—and a slight mishap has them leg-shackled by dawn—the tables have finally turned in his favor. But when past demons catch up to them, holding on to new love will mean destroying their dreams forever.

My Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I enjoyed this very much, though not quite as much as her latest books. It was a sweet story and even though things got resolved a little too easily I’m glad I read it.

The audiobook narrator did an excellent job making it clear who was speaking. She also had a very pleasant voice to listen to.

I appreciated that gambling addiction was touched on, as well as a contrast between a childhood full of love and physical security but ostracized by society and a childhood that alternated between wealthy and poor with no security but societal approbation. These issues weren’t discussed in depth, but they were treated with care and the book wasn’t long enough or serious enough for them to be any more in depth than they were.

The relationship was a little too easy, with Charlotte and Anthony going from not knowing one another to married by accident to in love without any real emotional stepping stones, but I did appreciate that they liked one another and cared for one another pretty much from the beginning. They also were able to use their determination to care for one another to make changes in their lives which, with some convenient coincidences, set they up for comfort and security in the future.

Despite my issues with the story, I enjoyed reading it, and I enjoyed watching the events unfold. And, of course, I really do like Erica Ridley’s writing style, which is a make or break issues for me. Everything just flows so effortlessly in her writing, without the stiltedness or tangled prose one finds in certain other authors of the genre.

*Thanks to Erica Ridley for providing a copy for review.