Goodreads Monday: The 11th Percent (The 11th Percent: Book 1) by T.H. Morris

This is a weekly meme where anyone can choose and highlight a random book from their Goodreads TBR. This meme was formerly featured on LaurensPageTurners and was taken over by Budget Tales Book Blog.

Jonah Rowe, a bored accountant and aspiring novelist, is sick and tired of his job as an accountant. He is burnt out from all the office gossip, politics, and double talk, and he longs for his life to matter. Truth be told, Jonah wants anything besides the lame routine of coasting through his workday….only to psych himself up enough to do it all over again the next day. He only wishes that his life had some meaning.

Amidst the combination of writer’s block and society’s expectations to have a “real” 9-5 job, Jonah gets his wish.

His world is turned completely upside down one evening when his vision inexplicably turns blue for several moments. He then receives a warning from a spectral visitor that not only is he in danger, but everything in his life is about to change.

Overnight, Jonah transforms from an overworked, underpaid accountant to the centerpiece of a spectral battle. Will he rise to the occasion? Can he accept that everything he knows about life and death is completely wrong? And, most importantly, will he be able to comprehend and harness the power of the mysterious 11th Percent?

Follow Jonah’s journey in this new breed of ghost story!

Skyseeker’s Princess (Songs of Si’Empra: Book 1) by Miriam Verbeek

Publisher: Independently Published

Date of publication: May 14th, 2020

Genre: Fantasy

Trigger Warnings: Incest (off page, remembered), Sexual abuse of a teenager (off page, remembered), Rape (off page, remembered), Depression (off page, remembered), Grief (on page), Assualt ending in mutilation (on page), Mental Illness (on page), Gun violence (on-page)

Series: Songs of Si’Empra

Skyseeker’s Princess—Book 1

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | Kobo

Goodreads Synopsis:

The cold, stark but beautiful Si’Empra island is dying … Ellen doesn’t think she can help but others believe she’s their only hope.

Ellen’s trained to be the next ruler but her brother’s taken the throne. He’s fiercely determined to possess her body and soul … and she’s horrified. She runs away, aiming to lead a peaceful life far from the clutches of power. But the people or Si’Empra are struggling to survive, their unique societies pitched against one another. Cryptals are key to the land’s survival and subtly nudge Ellen towards healing Si’Empra’s wounds. Duty runs deep in Ellen’s veins. The question is whether reluctance or duty will triumph. In this first book of the Si’Empra series, Ellen tinkers at the margins with challenge, gaining unexpected allies and dangerous enemies.

Get your copy of Skyseeker’s Princess today and dive into the extraordinary world of Si’Empra.

First Line:

The sun was at noon by the time Ellen felt strong enough to crawl to the river for a wash.

Skyseeker’s Princess by Miriam Verbeek

Ellen has dared to escape from her abusive older brother and ruler of Si’Empra Island. Running away was her solution to her situation. But it wasn’t. Her people were suffering, and the island’s native creatures, the Cryptals, were being hunted to almost extinction. It is the Cryptals who save Ellen, and it is the Cryptals who start pushing Ellen toward healing Si’Empra’s wounds. But the question is, will Ellen do it? Or will she ignore what the Cryptals, the Crystalweavers, and the WebCleaners have told her? Can she save Si’Empra from her brother?

When the publisher approached me to read and review Skyseeker’s Princess, I immediately accepted. I was intrigued by the blurb, and I like the cover. I figured the storyline could, too, if both could catch my attention. And it did. I couldn’t put this book down!!!

There are trigger warnings in Skyseeker’s Princess. I will warn that these triggers can be more triggering to people than usual. The author did a great job describing what happened to Ellen without going into much detail.

The triggers are:

  1. Incest (off-page and remembered): Ellen’s mother married her stepson to keep him from touching Ellen. After Ellen’s mother died when she was fourteen, Redel started raping Ellen.
  2. Sexual abuse (off-page and remembered): Ellen was being sexually abused by Redel when her mother stepped in and married him. When her mother died, Redel upped the sexual abuse to rape. There were also vague worries that Redel was sexually abusing his four-year-old daughter.
  3. Rape (off-page and remembered): Ellen was raped repeatedly for years by Redel. Muther (Richard’s mother) was raped after her mutilation and gave birth to Richard.
  4. Depression (off-page and remembered): Ellen suffered from depression while being raped by Redel.
  5. Grief (on-page, off-page, and remembered): Ellen grieves the loss of her mother and father throughout the book. Ellen’s grandmother remembers grieving for her daughter and grieving for Ellen’s lost innocence. Ellen grieves for the lower caste people, and Cryptals hunted like animals by Redel.
  6. Assault ending in mutilation (off-page and remembered): Muther, a high-ranking official in the King’s court, was attacked on a beach. Somebody gouged her eyes out and cut off her hands and feet.
  7. Mental Illness (on-page): One of Redel’s advisor’s wife is mentally ill. She hears voices and sees imaginary people. Redel is mentally ill. He suffers from what I believe is hyperreligiosity and OCD.
  8. Gun Violence (on-page): Guns are used throughout the book to kill Cryptals, Crystalweavers, and Webcleaners. One memorable scene is where Redel goes into the tunnels and massacres the people living there with semi-automatic weapons. Ellen is shot several times by Redel’s supporters while traveling through the wooded areas.

If any of these triggers you, I recommend not reading the book.

Skyseeker’s Princess is a medium-paced book that got off to a slow start. While I’m not too fond of slow starts, in this case, it worked. The author laid out Ellen’s backstory and some of the history of Si’Empra Island. The pacing does pick up towards the end of the book, but it never goes fast enough to confuse me or make me backtrack.

Skyseeker’s Princess is set on a fictional island off the coast of Antarctica. From the descriptions, it is closer to New Zealand than Chile, but I could be wrong. I was fascinated by the island and its geography. There were forests, lakes, rivers, and intricate cave systems. The author didn’t cover half of what this island offers.

The main storyline of Skyseeker’s Princess centers around Ellen. Ellen’s journey to self-acceptance and healing was heartbreaking and unforgettable. I got why she didn’t initially want to help the Crystalmakers or the Cryptals. But once she saw what her brother was doing, she decided to help. The turning point for her was two things. One is the over-taxation of villages and Redel’s horrific attack on the Crystalmakers. Ellen realized that she couldn’t just stand by and let her people starve, and she couldn’t let innocent people be slaughtered. That was when she turned into a leader in my eyes.

I liked Ellen. While I did feel horror (for what was done to her) and pity, the fact that she overcame that was amazing. I understood why she didn’t want to help anyone at first. People just stood by or turned the other way when Redel was raping her. But Ellen was a good person who didn’t let other people get hurt. A reasonable person also fights for people being oppressed. By the end of the book, I loved her. She was indeed the ruler Si’Empra needed, not her abuser of a brother.

As much as I despised Redel, I found the chapters from his perspective very interesting. He was obsessed with Ellen. His obsession then turned to religion. I could see his slide into madness every time the author returned to his POV. What got me was that this small, tiny piece of him knew what he was doing was wrong. But the mentally ill part of him drowned that part of him out. I am very interested to see what he will do in book 2.

The Cryptals, as did the lore that sprung up around them, fascinated me. There were no descriptions of what they looked like, except that they looked like wild animals. They were the ones that initially saved Ellen at the beginning of the book. They were also the ones that gave Ellen her pet dinosaur, Rosa.

I wish there were a glossary at the book’s beginning or end. There was so much lore that I couldn’t keep track of it all.

The end of Skyseeker’s Princess ended on a cliffhanger. I wouldn’t say I like cliffhangers. They irritate me and make me want to throw things. But, in this case, it did its job. I need to read book 2 to see what Ellen will do. Plus, there was a neat reveal about Muther’s identity, too, which makes me wonder if she will be a more prominent presence in book 2.

I would recommend Skyseeker’s Princess to anyone over 21. There is mild language, violence, and nongraphic sexual situations. Also, see my trigger warning list.

Many thanks to Miriam Verbeek for allowing me to read and review Skyseeker’s Princess. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Skyseeker’s Princess, then you will enjoy these books:

Other books by Miriam Verbeek:

Brainstorm (Elements of Mind: Book 1) by Nissa Harlow

Publisher: Nimble Hope Publishing

Date of publication: May 2nd, 2023

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Elements of Mind

Brainstorm—Book 1

Dreamflare—Book 2

Mindquake—Book 3

Headrush—Book 4

Purchase Links: Kindle | Kobo

Trigger Warnings: Vomit

Goodreads Synopsis:

What’s worse than nearly puking in front of a cute guy? Zombies. Definitely zombies.

I’m not feeling so great. I don’t know if it’s something I ate, or if it’s from flipping through one too many teen paranormal romances, trying to find inspiration for an obnoxiously backward creative writing assignment. (Seriously. What kind of teacher asks their students to write a story in their least favourite genre?) But I’m determined not to barf in this stupid vampire book I’m holding, especially not in front of the cute guy who’s checking out the library’s pitiful selection of DVDs. So I make a run for the bathroom… only to have the guy follow me in there. Can you believe it?

But that’s just the first unbelievable thing that happens. When we come out of the bathroom, the library appears to be closed. Weirder still, it’s surrounded by a strange, supernatural storm that definitely wasn’t there a few minutes ago.

Being trapped in a library with a new friend (or enemy—I haven’t decided yet) might not be the worst thing in the world. But it might not be the best thing, either… especially once that weird storm starts spitting out characters that are only supposed to exist in stories, and we find ourselves trying to figure out how to take on a horde of zombies with nothing but our wits, the Dewey Decimal System, and some very strange bookish magic.

Elements of Mind is a metaphysical fantasy quartet that celebrates the power of stories… and the people who create them. Join Sadie on her elemental adventure today!

First Line:

Don’t barf in the book. Don’t barf in the book. Saliva floods my mouth.

Brainstorm by Nissa Harlow

Sadie is not having a good day. First, she has to do a writing assignment on teenage paranormal romances (which disgusts her); secondly, she’s feeling sick to her stomach (which might be partly due to what she has had to read). There is a super cute guy the next aisle over that Sadie keeps checking out. But her stomach gets the better of her, and she barely reaches the bathroom before she throws up on the toilet, her shoes, the floor, and the wall. Sadie wasn’t expecting the super cute guy to follow her into the bathroom to ensure she was OK. And she wasn’t expecting the library to be surrounded by a strange storm that trapped her in the library with the cute guy or fictional characters to appear when the wind ripped out pages of books. When one of the characters throws a zombie manga’s pages into the wind, Sadie and Lincoln know they need to find a way to beat them. But Sadie has so many questions that she doesn’t have the time to get answers for (because of zombies). Will Sadie get her answers? Will they outwit the zombie horde and save the other book characters? Or will they be stuck in the library forever?

Generally, I try not to review short stories or novellas when reviewing books. I always feel that the books are too fast, and some don’t have enough plotlines for me to whip up a good review. But, I was intrigued by Brainstorm. I loved how the author wrote the blurb, and oddly enough, I wanted to see how Sadie and Lincoln ended up in a weird storm that spits out book characters.

Brainstorm is a fast-paced book set in an unknown town in the United States. The entirety of the book is set in the town’s library. Brainstorm is also a short book, more like a novella, with only 66 pages. But it is worth the read.

There are trigger warnings in Brainstorm. There is one, and I went back and forth on putting it here. The trigger warning is:

  1. Vomit: Sadie starts off the book puking in the library bathroom. It was a tad graphic, and if you have a sympathetic stomach like me, you would want to puke too. And guess what? I almost did. I had to put the book down and take a Tums to settle my stomach.

If this trigger warning triggers you, I suggest not reading this book (even though you would miss out!!)

The main storyline in Brainstorm centers around Sadie, Lincoln, the storm, the characters, and them trying to outwit the zombies. I loved it and couldn’t get enough of it. The author puts a different spin on the story by having Jane Eyre, Adele, Gage the vampire, and the zombies appear. It made the book more exciting. I got a giggle from Sadie and Lincoln’s interactions with the characters (minus the zombies).

I loved Sadie. She wasn’t happy about doing her writing assignment and wasn’t afraid to let people know about it. I also liked how she was not so secretly checking out Lincoln (before she got sick). Once she exited the bathroom, she tried to take charge and discover what was happening. And when Jane and Adele showed up, she was determined to protect them. The best lines in the book were when Gage the vampire turned up and started doing his broody thing (think Edward from Twilight), and Sadie was like, “Just get away from me.” I cracked up laughing at that. I also liked that she forgot to tell Lincoln something significant at the end of the book. She, again, made me laugh.

The end of Brainstorm had me wondering what happened. The author added a neat twist to the storyline, and of course, it made me wonder what exactly happened!! She did leave the storyline wide open with the ending. And because of that, I can’t wait to read book 2.

I recommend Brainstorm to anyone over 13. There is mild language, violence, and no sexual situations. Also, see my one trigger warning above.

Many thanks to Nissa Harlow for allowing me to read and review Brainstorm. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Brainstorm, then you will enjoy reading these books:

Other books by Nissa Harlow:

Goodreads Monday: The Beginning (MIND: Book 1) by Jenn Nixon

This is a weekly meme where anyone can choose and highlight a random book from their Goodreads TBR. This meme was formerly featured on LaurensPageTurners and was taken over by Budget Tales Book Blog.

After Dina Ranger loses telepathic contact with her twin brother, Duncan, she breaks into his apartment and stumbles onto a special government unit responsible for monitoring the psychic population. She’s offered a job where she can use her psionic gifts to help people.

Stranded on earth over a hundred years ago, Liam of Shria is searching for a metal needed to repair his ship when he finds Dina inside an alien escape pod and narrowly saves her after she trips the alarm.

As the mystery and their relationship deepens, Liam helps Dina learn the truth behind her abilities while uncovering a plot to rebuild an ancient weapon, exposing dangerous secrets about the alien presence on earth that may change the future forever.

Goodreads Monday: Unbound (Dawn of Deception: Book 1) by A.R. Shaw

This is a weekly meme where anyone can choose and highlight a random book from their Goodreads TBR. This meme was formerly featured on LaurensPageTurners and was taken over by Budget Tales Book Blog.

From the bestselling author of Graham’s Resolution and Surrender the Sun series, A. R. Shaw brings you Dawn of Deception.

In a post-apocalyptic world, Sloane Delaney struggles to keep her daughters safe. With all her neighbors gone and her abusive second husband dead, Sloane and her daughters, Mae and Wren, maintain a dangerous charade to keep looters at bay from their neighborhood. When young Nicole shows up on their doorstep, nearly dead from dehydration and starvation as a result of her father’s growing paranoia, she joins the determined group as they adjust to life without most of the luxuries they had previously taken for granted. Aided by a pack of abandoned dogs, the women are able to project an image of an occupied and active neighborhood until corrupt FEMA agents arrive on the scene, threatening their hard-won sense of security. Fleeing their now-unsafe home, Sloane and her girls head for the woods and an abandoned old house Sloane is sure will be a safe haven for at least a few days. She doesn’t count on the handsome and helpful Dr. Kent having also taken refuge there. With her girls’ lives on the line, can Sloane learn to trust again in this dangerous new world?

Wings Once Cursed and Bound (Mythwoven: Book 1) by Piper J. Drake

4 Stars

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Date of publication: April 11th, 2023

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy Romance, Fiction, Magic, Paranormal Romance, Vampires, Young Adult

Trigger Warning: kidnapping

Series: Mythwoven

Wings Once Cursed and Bound—Book 1

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks

Goodreads Synopsis:

For fans of Sarah J. Maas and Jennifer Armentrout comes a bold and captivating fantasy by bestselling author Piper J. Drake.

My wings unbound, I am the Thai bird princess
The kinnaree
And no matter the cost,
I will be free.

Bennet Andrews represents a secret organization of supernatural beings dedicated to locating and acquiring mythical objects, tucking them safely away where they cannot harm the human race. When he meets Peeraphan Rahttana, it’s too late—she has already stepped into The Red Shoes, trapped by their curse to dance to her death.

But Bennet isn’t the only supernatural looking for deadly artifacts. And when the shoes don’t seem to harm Peeraphan, he realizes that he’ll have to save her from the likes of creatures she never knew existed. Bennett sweeps Peeraphan into a world of myth and power far beyond anything she ever imagined. There, she finds that magic exists in places she never dreamed—including deep within herself.

First Line:

Peeraphan Rahttana closed her eyes and exhaled slowly, letting her senses expand until she was aware of every dancer waiting in the wings, of every stage tech behind the backdrops.

Wings Once Cursed and Bound by Piper J. Drake

Bennet is hunting for a dangerous magical artifact called The Red Shoes. Any human who puts them on is trapped by a curse and forced to dance to their death. He traced the shoes to a community center where a group practiced a traditional Thai dance. He gets there in time to see Peeraphan, also known as Punch, slip the shoes on her feet. What Bennet wasn’t expecting was Punch to be immune to the curse. Bennett is surprised to find out that Punch is a kinnaree, a Thai bird princess. Aware of her heritage, Punch is surprised to discover a world she didn’t know existed. A world where vampires, dragons, sidhe, and werewolves live and protect (for the most part) humans from beings and artifacts that will hurt them. Punch and Bennet look for a way to release the curse while battling a rogue vampire and a human collector of magical artifacts. Will Punch be able to release the curse and remove the shoes? Will she fully accept who and what she is?

Wings Once Cursed and Bound is a fast-paced book in and around Seattle, Washington. There needed to be more exploring of the city or the islands where Bennet took Punch, and I would have loved more description of the city/islands. But that was a minor quibble because I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Wings Once Cursed and Bound main storyline centers around Punch, Bennet, The Red Shoes, and the search for how to release the curse. I wanted to know if the author would let Punch remove the curse on the shoes. I admit I knew nothing about Thai (or any Eastern Asian mythology), and the kinnaree legend fascinated me. I also liked that the author included several urban legends/myths from around the world.

Several side storylines fed into the main one. Fransisco’s evil, devious plan to sell Punch to the collector was a major sub-storyline. Fransisco was a nasty dude, and I wish Bennet had ended him in that significant fight scene. But if Fransisco continues to be a problem in the series, I see why the author let him live. I liked that Punch blossomed in this storyline. And when I mean blossom, I mean she came into her powers. It was beautiful to see.

The paranormal angle of this book was excellent. I read about lesser-known supernatural entities, such as the kinnaree, karin puksa, kraisorn rajasri, tsurubebi, and the will-o’-the-wisp. I liked that the author mixed lesser-known mythical figures with the regular ones (the werewolves, fairies, sidhe, and vampires). At the end of the book, she included a section called Field Notes on the Supernatural and the Paranormal. The author incorporated all the entities and artifacts (such as Bluebeards Bloody Key, the Noose of the Phayanak, and The Red Shoes)mentioned in the book in the field guide. I hope that she includes this in the other books in the series.

There is a romance angle to Wings Once Cursed and Bound. It starts as Instalust (Bennet was very attracted to Punch but held off because he thought she was at least half human) but soon morphed into Instalove. I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not, to be honest. It felt a little forced. I would have loved to see Punch and Bennet’s relationship blossom slowly instead of falling head over heels within a couple of days of meeting each other.

The end of Wings Once Cursed and Bound was interesting. I can’t get into what happened, but I will say that I liked that Punch and Bennet were able to help some of the paranormal entities they found at the mansion. They also found several supernatural artifacts. I was a little grumpy with how Fransisco’s storyline ended, but I am sure he will turn up in the upcoming books, so I wasn’t sweating it. I also liked the insights into the winged fairies, the sidhe, the brownie, the witch, and the werewolf living on the island with Bennet. I wonder if the author will feature one of them in the next book!!!

I recommend Wings Once Cursed and Bound to anyone over 21. There are language, violence, and sexual situations.

Many thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca, NetGalley, and Piper J. Drake for allowing me to read and review Wings Once Cursed and Bound. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Wings Once Cursed and Bound, then you will enjoy reading these books:

Other books by Piper J. Drake:

Goodreads Monday: Anything for Love (Hunter Brothers: Book 1) by Lola St. Vil

This is a weekly meme where anyone can choose and highlight a random book from their Goodreads TBR. This meme was formerly featured on LaurensPageTurners and was taken over by Budget Tales Book Blog.

Winter, I know your ex hurt you, but I’m not him. I can love you; let me…

Winter Bennett is on the worst date of her life, so she decides to bail and go home to her true loves: take out and Netflix. On her way out of the door, she spots her ex-boyfriend with his hot, new girl. Horrified at the thought of being seen, Winter does what any sane woman would do; she bolts into the bathroom and out the back window.

Falling smack-dab in the middle of a sting operation wasn’t part of the plan, but that’s exactly what happened. And now, bullets are flying overhead. Thankfully, a sexy NYPD homicide detective by the name of Wyatt Hunter saves her. He is furious with her for ruining his operation but he’s even more upset when he can’t get her off his mind. Soon he falls for her — hard. Unfortunately, Winter’s heart has been broken and she’s too afraid to let anyone in. Does Wyatt have what it takes to get Winter to give love one more try?

This steamy romance is a roller coaster ride that will make you hot, make you laugh, and even shed a few tears. It’s a full-length standalone novel. NO cheating, NO cliffhangers, and a guaranteed Happily-ever-after! This book has adult content for ages 18 and over.

Goodreads Monday: It’s Just a Little Crush (Lizzie Hart Mysteries: Book 1) by Caroline Fardig

This is a weekly meme where anyone can choose and highlight a random book from their Goodreads TBR. This meme was formerly featured on LaurensPageTurners and was taken over by Budget Tales Book Blog.

The sleepy town of Liberty hasn’t seen murder in…well…ever. Residents are stunned when the body of a young woman is found strangled, and reporters at the Liberty Chronicle are thrilled, rather disturbingly, over the biggest news story to hit town this century.

Lizzie Hart has even bigger problems. Lately, she can’t seem to concentrate on her job as copy editor at the Chronicle with the new hunky investigative reporter, Blake Morgan, swaggering around the office. How can a girl work when she’s using all of her energy combating Blake-induced hot flashes and struggling to repress the giggly inner schoolgirl that’s constantly rearing her dorky head? It’s a good thing that Blake barely knows Lizzie exists.

After an odd string of events, however, Lizzie begins to wonder if Blake is really as fabulous as she has fantasized. When Lizzie and Blake find a co-worker dead, Blake’s personality changes completely—and not in a good way. Even though the police rule the death as an accident, Lizzie immediately suspects foul play and senses a connection to the recent murder. She is determined to bring the killer to justice, but is having some trouble getting her Nancy Drew on thanks to the pesky stalker she’s picked up—Blake Morgan. Wait, didn’t she want him to follow her around and pay attention to her? Not like this. Blake has turned from cool and smooth to cold and downright scary, making Lizzie wonder if he should be next on her suspect list.

Yours Truly, The Duke (Say I Do: Book 1) by Amelia Grey

Star Rating: 4

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Date of publication: March 28th, 2023

Genre: Romance, Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, Historical, Regency, Regency Romance, Adult

Triggers: Domestic Violence (off-page), Child Custody battle

Series: Say I Do

Yours Truly, The Duke—Book 1

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

Yours Truly, The Duke is the first novel in the historical romance Say I Do trilogy about dukes needing to wed to tap into their wealth by New York Times bestselling author Amelia Grey.

Fredericka Hale needs a husband, and fast. She’s been caring for her deceased sister’s three young children, and now a childless cousin has petitioned the court for custody. Fredericka is powerless to stop her, but having a husband might sway the ruling. The last thing Fredericka wants is a hurried-up marriage to a man she doesn’t know—much less love, but she’ll do it for the children. So when the handsome Duke of Wyatthaven shows up with a proposal, she accepts. He’ll help her, and in return, they’ll lead separate lives. But distance cannot keep them from their powerful attraction.

At the top of his game in London, the Duke of Wyatthaven has no interest in marriage. However, if Wyatt doesn’t marry by week’s end, he’ll lose a sizable inheritance from his grandmother. When Wyatt’s solicitor finds Miss Fredericka Hale, Wyatt considers this little hiccup solved. Miss Hale is lovely, and intelligent. Most importantly, she prefers country life to London, so he’s free to continue his life as usual. But when circumstances force Fredericka and the children to show up at the duke’s door, Wyatt can’t deny he’s always been under her spell. Will the duke give up his bachelor lifestyle and give into the fiery passion growing between them?

First Line:

Bold lettering on the stiff paper in his hands blurred as the Duke of Wyatthaven tried to concentrate on the infuriating matter before him. Proposing marriage.

Yours Truly, The Duke by Amelia Grey

Miss Fredericka Hale needs to get married, and it needs to be fast. Being unmarried, she stands to lose custody of her sister’s three orphaned children to her married cousin. Wyatt, the Duke of Wyatthaven, is the answer to her prayers. Like her, he needs to be married as soon as possible to claim a sizable inheritance left to him by his late grandmother. They planned to marry and never see each other again, a marriage in name only. But the best-laid plans often don’t go their course. When Fredericka’s cousin threatens her, Fredericka does the only thing that comes to mind: go to her husband. But will Wyatt and Fredericka be able to overcome her cousin’s schemes? And will they be able to keep their distant but friendly relationship? Or will they fall in love?

I was super happy seeing that Amelia Grey had another series starting. Historical romances are one of my favorite genres to read. Having read her books previously, I knew what type of romance I would get. So, yes, I was thrilled that this book was out.

Before I get deeper into the review, I want to mention this book’s trigger warnings. They are domestic violence (off-page and alluded to), parental death (off-page and remembered), remembering of abuse by a school teacher, and a custody battle. The most graphic of the trigger warnings is the abuse that Wyatt remembers his schoolmates enduring (the teacher never touched him because of his status). If any of these triggers you, I recommend not reading this book.

Surprisingly, the love story between Fredericka and Wyatt was not the book’s main focus until maybe the last few chapters. Instead, the book focused on the children and who should have custody. I found it fascinating how custody worked back in Regency England. Unmarried women were not considered ideal guardians unless there was a male figure in the picture or said unmarried women had money/a title. But, if another relative (a married couple or an unmarried man) pursued custody, the magistrate gave it to them. Marriage or being a man always trumped the woman. Surprisingly, if titles were involved in the custody dispute, the magistrate always deferred to the person with the higher title. So a marquis challenging a duke would not have a chance in court unless it could be proven that the children were being harmed. So, I understood why Fredericka was wound up so tight for 90% of the book. Those children could be taken away from her because of that, and when Wyatt showed up to propose (out of the blue), it was an answer to her prayers.

I agree with the consensus that Fredericka was too controlling during the book. But, saying that, I understand why (see above). She also dwelled too much on the past. She was insanely jealous of Jane and her sister’s relationship and let it color every interaction. I seriously wanted to grab Fredericka, shake her, and say (in the words of Elsa): “Let. It. GO!!!

I thought that Wyatt was the complete opposite of Fredericka. He was too easygoing. At one point, I thought Wyatt would have made a perfect modern-day surfer. He had the Regencybrah” attitude down pat. There was a reason why Wyatt was that way, and when the author revealed why, I wanted to swoop in and hug him. The guilt that he lived with was almost too much for me to read, and the scene with his friend who had the misshapen hand broke my heart.

The children were a massive part of this book, and I loved them. But, they were damaged by the domestic violence they saw and their parents’ deaths. I had tears when the oldest girl yelled at Wyatt not to hit Fredericka and the pain Wyatt had when Fredericka explained why she said that. But they also made me laugh. There is a significant scene with Jane and Fredericka when they walk in on the kids drinking brandy and smoking cheroots (like they saw Wyatt and his friends doing). I know I shouldn’t have, but I laughed. Why? Because it was a typical thing, a kid would do (excluding the smokes and booze). All they wanted was to act like Mr. Lord Duke (as the youngest called him); at the time, it seemed fun.

While Fredericka and Wyatt had sexual tension, the author chose to have them build their relationship. There were a few (well, more than a few) stolen kisses sprinkled throughout the book. I was disturbed that Fredericka could get utterly bamboozled by his kisses. What magic was Wyatt doing with his lips, and where can I find a man like that?

I also liked that this was a clean romance, and when Fredericka and Wyatt finally had sex, it was a fade-to-black scene. Listen, I like explicit sex scenes as much as the next woman, but they get boring (yes, I said it). Sometimes, you must let your imagination do what it does best and imagine things.

The end of Yours Truly, The Duke was cute, but I found certain things unbelievable. I thought having Jane and Fredericka talk, and the past was laid to rest was not believable. Jane was such a dink to Fredericka throughout the book; people do not change like that.

I would recommend Yours Truly, The Duke, to anyone over 21. There is no language and mild violence. There are also very mild sexual situations. Also, see my trigger warning paragraph.

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks, NetGalley, and Amelia Grey for allowing me to read and review Yours Truly, The Duke. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Yours Truly, The Duke, then you will enjoy these books:

Other books by Amelia Grey:

Goodreads Monday: Have My Baby (Crescent Cove: Book 1) by Taryn Quinn

This is a weekly meme where anyone can choose a random book from their Goodreads TBR and highlight it. This meme was formerly featured on LaurensPageTurners and was taken over by Budget Tales Book Blog.

Have my baby.  
That was what my single dad best friend Seth said to me while I was waitressing at the diner. 
His little girl wants a sibling. But Seth is a workaholic millionaire and doesn’t have time to meet someone.
Someone who won’t screw him over, like his kid’s mother. 
Only problem is this someone has secretly been in love with him since high school. I’ve been hiding it forever, not wanting to risk our friendship.
Sleeping with him is my biggest fantasy. And I’ve fantasized plenty, being a virgin. Another thing he doesn’t know.
Now I have to make the biggest decision of my life.
Is having a no strings attached affair just to make a baby better than never having him at all?