A Daring Pursuit (Ruthless Rivals: Book 2) by Kate Bateman

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

Date of publication: May 24th, 2022

Genre: Historical Romance, Romance, Regency

Series: Ruthless Rivals

A Reckless Match—Book 1 (review here)

A Daring Pursuit—Book 2

A Wicked Game—Book 3 (expected publication date: December 27th, 2022)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Davies and Montgomery families have been locked in an ancient feud. But it’s a thin line between love and hate in Kate Bateman’s A Daring Pursuit.

TWO ENEMIES
Carys Davies is doing everything in her power to avoid marriage. Staying single is the only way to hide the secret that could ruin her—and her family—if it was revealed. For the past two seasons she’s scandalized the ton with her outrageous outfits and brazen ways in a futile bid to deter potential suitors. Outwardly confident and carefree, inside she’s disillusioned with both men and love. There’s only one person who’s never bought her act—the only man who makes her heart race: Tristan Montgomery, one of her family’s greatest rivals.

ONE SCANDALOUS BARGAIN
Wickedly proper architect Tristan needs a respectable woman to wed, but he’s never stopped wanting bold, red-headed Carys. When she mockingly challenges him to show her what she’s missing by not getting married, Tristan shocks them both by accepting her indecent proposal: one week of clandestine meetings, after which they’ll go their separate ways. But kissing each other is almost as much fun as arguing, and their affair burns hotter than either of them expects. When they find themselves embroiled in a treasonous plot, can they trust each other with their hearts, their secrets…and their lives?


First Line:

Lady Carys Davies dressed to meet her blackmailer in the same way she dressed for every other social occasion: scandalously.

A Daring Pursit by Kate Bateman

I am a big fan of Kate Bateman’s books. So much of a fan that I never turn down a review offer when the publisher sends me an email. I had been looking forward to reading A Daring Pursuit after finishing A Reckless Match. I couldn’t wait to see the fireworks between Tristan and Carys!! This book didn’t disappoint me.

A Daring Pursuit is the second book in the Ruthless Rivals series. While it is book 2 in the series, you can read this as a stand-alone.

A Daring Pursuit is Carys and Tristian’s romance. Carys doesn’t want to get married and does her best to deter suitors by acting and dressing scandalously. Even with that, she only has eyes for Tristian, her sister-in-law’s brother. Tristian has always been attracted to Carys, but their family’s rivalry and her behavior have kept him from acting on it. When Tristian finds Carys’s secret out, she challenges him with an indecent proposal: one week to awaken her sexually. They are both surprised when he says yes. But, as Carys’s secret becomes intertwined with another explosive one, Tristian is the only one she can turn to. Can years of mistrust be overcome? Can Carys trust Tristian with her heart, along with her life? Or will Carys’s secret be exposed?

I loved Carys. She was the exact opposite of what my vision of a Regency woman should be like. She wasn’t a blushing virgin who had no experience with sex. She also was highly educated and a knowledgeable woman who knew what she liked and disliked. So, her keeping such an explosive secret was definitely in character for her. Also in character was how direct she was with Tristian when she dared him to help her sexually.

I liked Tristian, but I thought he was a bit stuffy and very uptight. But, as the book went on and I got some insight into his backstory, I changed my mind. I loved that he saw a vibrant woman whenever he looked at Carys. I also loved that he built his house for her (even if he didn’t admit it at first). By the end of the book, I loved him.

The romance angle was cute. It was a combination of enemies to lovers/girl next door, and I loved it. I did wish that their romance was more fleshed out. But, in fairness, there was a lot of stuff going on in the book, and given Tristan and Carys’s history, I could see why the author didn’t do it.

I loved everything leading up to the sex scenes and the actual scene itself. I did think that Carys had a big pair of cajones for daring Tristan to help her. I was even more surprised that Tristan agreed. The author laid on the sexual tension thick, and honestly, I couldn’t get enough of it. When they finally did have sex, it was terrific.

The storyline with Tristian, Carys, and the indecent proposal was unique (see above). I loved seeing straight-laced Tristian fall for Carys and the other way around. I did think that a week wasn’t going to cut it, but the author made it work.

The storyline with Howe, Carys, Tristan, and the blackmail/treason was excellent. Howe left such a bad taste in my mouth. Every time he appeared, I wanted to throat punch him, and I did give Tristian props for not doing that. That man was slimy with a capital S. I loved how Tristian ferreted out the treason and saved Carys (and the bear…yes, a bear!!) in the end. Of course, Howe got what was coming to him. I cheered when his wife announced her news (and I giggled a little bit). Talk about karma!!

The end of A Daring Pursuit was excellent. I loved how the author brought everything together. I loved how she tied the storylines with Tristan and Carys’s romance. She also introduced the main characters for book 3 (which I can’t wait to read!!!).

I would recommend A Daring Pursuit to anyone over 21. There is somewhat graphic sex and mild violence.

Rules for Engaging the Earl (The Widow Rules: Book 2) by Janna MacGregor

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

Date of publication: April 26th, 2022

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

Series: The Widow Rules

Where There’s a Will—Book 0.5

A Duke in Time—Book 1 (review here)

Rules for Engaging the Earl—Book 2

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

Get ready for lost wills, broody dukes, and scorching hot kissing all over London.

Constance Lysander needs a husband. Or, so society says. She’s about to give birth to her late husband’s child―a man who left her with zero money, and two other wives she didn’t know about. Thankfully, she has her Aunt by her side, and the two other wives have become close friends. But still―with a baby on the way, her shipping business to run, and an enemy skulking about, she has no time to find the perfect match.

Enter Jonathan, Earl of Sykeston. Returned war hero and Constance’s childhood best friend, his reentry into society has been harsh. Maligned for an injury he received in the line of duty, Jonathan prefers to stay out of sight. It’s the only way to keep his heart from completely crumbling. But when a missive from Constance requests his presence―to their marriage ceremony―Jonathan is on board. His feelings for Constance run deep, and he’ll do anything to make her happy, though it means risking his already bruised heart.

With Constance, Jonathan, and the new baby all together, it’s clear the wounds―both on the surface and in their relationship―run deep. But when the nights come, their wounds begin to heal, and both come to realize that their marriage of convenience is so much more than just a bargain.


First Line:

Only one person in the entire world had the power to make Jonathan Eaton, the Earl of Sykeston, push everything aside and ride like the devil over the fields at breakneck speeds to reach her.

Rules for Engaging the Earl by Janna MacGregor

I have a master list of books where I know there will be a book two, and I want to read book 2 (if that makes sense). The Widow Rules trilogy is on that list, and I had been waiting impatiently for Rules for Engaging the Earl to be published. I didn’t think that I would get the ARC, so I planned to buy it once it was published. When I got the email from SMP asking to review it, I was thrilled, and obviously, I said yes. I am glad that I did because this book was excellent!!

Rules for Engaging the Earl is book 2 in The Widow Rules trilogy. Unlike other books in series/trilogies, readers can read this as a standalone. The author does a great job of going over the backstory and quickly summarizing the plotline of book 1. So go read without being afraid that you will be lost.

Rules for Engaging the Earl’s plotline starts off ten years before the events of book 1. The author introduces Constance and Jonathan and lays the foundation for the rest of the book. It then goes forward ten years, and we see a different Jonathan and Constance. A decorated war hero, Jonathan had been wounded and crippled in battle. He fears an upcoming court-martial over what his commander calls “dishonorable behavior” on the battlefield. That, along with his injury, has made him a recluse. But when Constance sends word that she needs him, he drops everything and goes to her.

Constance has been embroiled in a scandal where the man she married ended up being married to two other women. Constance is pregnant and due any day to add salt to the wound. So, she tells Jonathan about her predicament and asks if he could help by marrying her. Right before their wedding, two things happen: she finds out that she is the legal wife and gives birth to her daughter, Aurelia. But she still goes through with the wedding to Jonathan.

The book then jumps to a year later; Constance lives in London with her daughter. Jonathan has left her but writes constantly. So, she immediately accepts when he asks if she would move herself and the baby to his country house. But she wasn’t prepared for what she walked into.

Jonathan is a shell of himself. He has secrets that he is determined to keep from Constance. But, having Constance and Aurelia at the manor is soothing and helps Jonathan to start to overcome his depression. He starts to question what his commanding officer has told him. But there is a twist. See, Constance has a very successful ship-making business inherited from her parents. An influential peer is slandering her business, and she is determined to battle this individual herself. Things start to get interesting when both Constance and Jonathan realize a connection between Jonathan’s commanding officer and the person trying to bankrupt Constance’s business. What is that connection? Also, will Constance and Jonathan realize their feelings for each other?

This is the 3rd review that I have had to put up, but there are a couple of trigger warnings in Rules for Engaging the Earl. Usually, I do this many over a couple of months. Anyway, the triggers that I noticed in this book are depression and PTSD. If these trigger you, I highly suggest not reading this book.

I loved Jonathan, but at the same time, I wanted to read through the book and shake some sense into him. He was in a deep depression for 85% of the book, and I got why he did some of his things. But still, it frustrated me. But once he came out of his depression and started looking into things, he was on FIRE.

I love Constance too. Throughout this book, she had to deal with so much, and she didn’t once have a “woe is me” moment. Instead, she rose like a BOSS and dealt with everything in her way. And the way she got her points across was fantastic. She had a backbone of steel, even with Jonathan.

Constance and Jonathan’s romance was super sweet to read. I liked that they were sweethearts when they were teenagers. That prologue was one of the sweetest I have read in a while. Their romance grew while they were separated after their marriage (but there was a twist). Seeing how much Jonathan cherished Constance was probably the best thing about the book. Of course, he had to go and almost screw it up, but I firmly believe a combination of depression and fear made him do what he did.

I do have to mention Jonathan and Aurelia’s relationship. Aurelia is Constance’s daughter with her first husband, and why Jonathan married Constance. I liked that the author had their relationship grow throughout the book. Jonathan’s interactions with Aurelia went from hands-off to hands-on. Plus, it helped that Aurelia called JonathanDa” from the first minute she met him. The scene where he called her “his daughter” made me so happy and brought tears to my eyes!!

There weren’t many sex scenes in Rules for Engaging the Earl. But the ones that the author wrote were amazing. I liked that Constance was very aware of what she wanted, sexually, and wasn’t afraid to let Jonathan know. I could think, “Well, at least her marriage did one good thing for her (other than Aurelia).” The author also kept the sexual scenes realistic. She had Aurelia interrupt by crying during the first one. All I could do was laugh and think, “Yup, been there.

The storyline about Jonathan, his injury, commanding officer, court-martial, and depression was well written. I liked how the author had everything tied together. I also liked how she wrote about Jonathan’s depression and PTSD. I had a feeling the CO was up to no good. Mainly because of how he treated Jonathan and his injury. My Spidey sense kept tingling during those interactions.

The storyline about Constance, her dead husband, the will, her business, and the peer trying to ruin her business was well written also. As I mentioned above, she handled everything like a boss. I did like her detective work on the ship’s damage. I also liked how she was trying to figure out why this person was doing what he was doing while figuring out her dead husband’s will.

Once I realized who the common denominator was in both of these storylines, I sat back and waited for the characters to realize it. When they did (towards the end of the book), oh boy, did the fireworks explode!!! All I will say is that the person got what they deserved.

The end of Rules for Engaging the Earl was your typical HEA. The author sets up the romance between the last wife and Jonathan’s other best friend. I can’t wait to read that book!!

I would recommend Rules for Engaging the Earl to anyone over 21. There is graphic sex, language, and mild violence. There are also the triggers I mentioned above.

My Fair Princess (The Improper Princesses: Book 1) by Vanessa Kelly

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Publisher: Zebra

Date of Publication: August 30th, 2016

Genre: Romance, Historical Romance, Historical, Historical Fiction, Regency Romance, Fiction, Regency, Adult, British Literature, Humor

Series: The Improper Princesses

My Fair Princess – Book 1

Three Renegades and a Baby—Book 1.5

Three Weeks with a Princess—Book 2

The Highlander’s Princess Bride—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | Kobo | Apple Books | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

First, Vanessa Kelly brought readers The Renegade Royals. Now, in a delightfully witty new series, she introduces The Improper Princesses—three young women descended from royalty, each bound for her own thrilling adventure . . .

Despite being the illegitimate daughter of a prince, Gillian Dryden is happily ignorant of all social graces. After growing up wild in Italy, Gillian has been ordered home to England to find a suitable husband. And Charles Valentine Penley, the excessively proper, distractingly handsome Duke of Leverton, has agreed to help transform her from a willful tomboy to a blushing debutante.

Powerful and sophisticated, Charles can make or break reputations with a well-placed word. But his new protégée, with her habit of hunting bandits and punching earls, is a walking scandal. The ton is aghast . . . but Charles is thoroughly intrigued. Tasked with taking the hoyden in hand, he longs to take her in his arms instead. Can such an outrageous attraction possibly lead to a fairytale ending?


I have mentioned in other reviews that I am a huge fan of historical romance. I love to be able to immerse myself and pretend, for a little while, that I am in Regency England. Something about that period fascinates me to no end. When I got My Fair Princess to review, I was excited about reading it.

The book lived up to the internal hype in my mind. The author was spot on with the sayings and the tons attitudes. The rigid rules society lived by and how they dressed were spot on. It is amazing what was considered awful, and life ending back in that society is normal in these times.

Miss Gillian Dryden is a prime example of what I stated above. She is the illegitimate daughter of the Prince of England. Her mother had made a bad decision, slept with the Prince of England, got pregnant, and decided to keep the baby. It didn’t matter that she got married to an Italian count; the stain of what she did followed Gillian around.

I liked Gillian’s character. She was spunky, outspoken and she was unpolished. Even though her mother was a Contessa and her stepfather a Count, she wasn’t brought into Italian society because of her birth. So she didn’t have the social graces that most girls of that period did, and I loved it. It was very refreshing to read her scenes because she spoke plainly.

But there was a downside to her character that I didn’t like. She was stubborn and didn’t listen to reason (or Duke Leverton). She took risks that put people and herself in danger. But it did make for an interesting read.

The Duke of Leverton (or Charles Valentine Penley). Oh, where do I begin with him? He has an iron facade, and nothing got to him except Gillian. Seeing his facade starting to crack and then for him not to be “Perfect Penley” was great.

I wish I could say that the rest of the story was as great as those characters. There was some promise when Gillian met Letitia and her husband, but that petered out. She gets a couple of bad nicknames (Doxy Duchess was one), and they all decide to vacation in the summer. I would have loved to see that triangle work its way out. Even the subplot of the smugglers was eh. I figured out who was helping them about halfway through the book.

The ending was cute, and I loved the epilogue.

I would recommend My Fair Princess to anyone over 21. There is sex and mild violence.


If you enjoyed My Fair Princess, you will enjoy these books:

Highland Temptation (Highland Knights: Book 3) by Jennifer Haymore

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Publisher: Loveswept

Date of publication: August 23rd, 2016

Genre: Historical Romance, Romance, Historical, Regency, Regency Romance, Historical Fiction, Scotland, British Literature

Series: Highland Knights

A Highlander’s Heart—Book 0.5

Highland Heat—Book 1

Highland Awakening—Book 2

Her Wicked Highlander—Book 2.5

Highland Temptation—Book 3

Purchase Links: WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis

Jennifer Haymore’s sweeping Highland Knights series is perfect for readers of Maya Banks, Monica McCarty, and Sabrina Jeffries—and as the saga resumes, one of Scotland’s most steadfast warriors shields a broken beauty while she soothes the pain in his soldier’s heart.

When Lady Emilia Featherstone discovers that her despicable father has been scheming against the crown, she turns to the Highland Knights for protection—and retribution. Spirited away to a safe house on the outskirts of London, Emilia is surprised to find herself sharing close quarters with a soft-spoken, musclebound Highlander. Before long, curiosity gives way to an alarming attraction. Emilia has learned firsthand from her father that men are not to be trusted. She just never met one so honorable and loyal, so powerful and, yes, tempting.
 
Ever since Waterloo, Colin Stirling has struggled with memories that haunt him night and day. Driven near to madness, he no longer trusts himself with meaningful relationships of any kind. At least in this temporary sanctuary, Colin can withdraw from the world—that is, until his stunningly gorgeous charge learns the full depth of his pain. In Emilia, Colin sees a kindred spirit with battle scars of her own. He also senses a chance to heal . . . and to find love.


I am a sucker for historical romances. I love the period clothes, the women courting, and the ton’s description, love it all. I love the Scots from this period. They are bad boys in every book I read, and I love it.

This book was no exception to that. But I wouldn’t class Colin as a “bad boy.”  He has PTSD and survivor’s guilt after fighting with the English Army at Waterloo. Emilia is his kindred spirit. She had been abused by her father and carries internal and external scars. Colin and Emilia touched my heart because of what they had gone through.

The story was good. Who doesn’t like a little mystery and intrigue with your romance? I know I do!!!

The only thing I can even complain about with this book is that it is the 3rd book in the series. This is not a standalone book. The characters from the old books come into play here. They talk about what happened in previous books. Which annoyed me.

I would recommend Highland Temptation to anyone over 21. There are sex scenes and a couple of scenes where Emilia is beaten.


If you enjoyed Highland Temptation, you will enjoy these books:

A License to Wed (Rebellious Brides: Book 2) by Diana Quincy

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Publisher: Loveswept

Date of publication: July 5th, 2016

Genre: Romance, Historical Romance, Historical, Adult, Regency Romance, Regency, Spy Thriller, Espionage

Series: Rebellious Brides

Spy Fall—Book 1

A License to Wed—Book 2

From London with Love—Book 3 (review here)

The Duke Who Ravished Me—Book 4 (review here)

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Indigo | Kobo | Apple Books

Goodreads Synopsis:

Perfect for readers of Madeline Hunter, Lisa Kleypas, and Sabrina Jeffries, the Rebellious Brides series continues with a sizzling tale of forbidden love between a socialite and a scholar—who might just be an infamous spy.

Lady Elinor Dunsmore made the mistake of falling for her older brother’s best friend, who vanished after a night of unbridled passion. Six years and a lifetime later, their eyes meet across a Paris salon. Her friends and family believe she’s dead, but Elle is very much alive. She’s now associated with a ruthless general, who wants her to seduce the man who broke her heart in order to learn his deepest secrets. Is Will a mild-mannered scholar—or the notorious agent they call The Razor?

The bastard son of an earl and an actress, Will Naismith always knew he was an unsuitable match for Elle Dunsmore, no matter how powerfully he ached for her. And yet he almost allowed his desires to spoil her glittering future. After the agony caused by Elle’s supposed death, Will has devoted himself to the Crown, but his entire life has been leading up to this unexpected reunion. As much as he still wants her, though, he must not succumb to lust once again. For his mission is delicate—and Elle is delectably dangerous.


I liked this book, even if it was a little “eh” for me. When I say “eh,” it isn’t bad, but some scenes made me roll my eyes. One of those scenes was with Elle’s maid, Sophie. She was a little too uppity for a maid (which makes me think there is a story in itself) for the era. And for some reason, it drove me crazy.

The story between Elle and Will was great. The sexual tension came across my Kindle and was built up. It was intense when they finally did the deed (I will NEVER look at hip tubs the same way again). So intense that I needed to put down my Kindle and fan myself a few times.

The storyline was pretty good too. Taking place in the early 1800’s French society, it described French society to a “T.” From the dress styles to the language to the laws about “bastard children,” it made for a fantastic read.

I couldn’t stand Elle. She rubbed me the wrong way and was too compliant with General Durant. She fought Will every single step of the way and refused to listen to him. There were some scenes where I wanted to reach through the pages and smack her.

3 Things I liked about A License to Wed:

  1. Will’s character
  2. Susanna
  3. the sexual tension

3 Things I disliked about A License to Wed:

  1. Elle (couldn’t stand her!!!)
  2. Will’s father
  3. General Gerard Durant

I would recommend A License to Wed to anyone over 21. There is minor violence, minor language, and graphic sex.


If you enjoyed reading A License to Wed, you will enjoy reading these books:

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