The Duke of Lies… A Review

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Title: The Duke of Lies

Author: Darcy Burke

Publisher: Darcy Burke Publishing

Published: 29 May 2018

Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Summary

Verity Beaumont has suffered domineering men most of her life, first with her father and then with her husband. Free from both men, she has finally found peace. Even meeting a kind and hard-working gentleman who just might be the perfect father her young son so desperately needs. But as she dares look to the future, her carefully ordered world is shattered when her dead husband returns.

Imprisoned in America during the war, Rufus Beaumont, Duke of Blackburn, wants nothing more than to return to his native England. He longs for comfort and safety away from the horrors of battle, only the life he returns to is not the life he left. He must convince his wife that their marriage is worth fighting for, that he’s not the man he was. But when the truth about what happened to him leaks out, he must prove that not everything about him, especially his love for her, is a lie.

Review

Okay to be quite honest I completely forgot I had joined a book blog tour and whats worse I haven’t even downloaded the book till just now but I knew I could make it in time because hellooooo historical romance + ezza = THE BEST COMBINATION OF BOOK READING EVER! So yeah I managed to finish reading the book in under 2 – 3 hours and hence my review for it.

Duke of Lies surprisingly is an okay book. I say I am surprised because I expected there to be some tension or drama whereby the main protagonist will fight and the female protagonist will run away dramatically and the guy will have to chase her and comfort her *I swear I am reading FAR TOO MANY shoujo manga’s* but there weren’t any in this book. Yeah there was tension and drama but not from the two protagonists it was an external source of drama.

SPOILER ALERT BELOW! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

It was refreshing I suppose because the relationship between the two main characters; Christopher ‘Kit’ Powell and Verity (can’t remember last name), was very very healthy and stable. Yes, Kit lied at first saying he is the Duke of Blackburn but Verity was intelligent to see through his lies and confront him and just when I thought Kit was going to lie again he came clean and I am here like ‘WHUUUTTTT???????!!!!!’ and so from then on they were pretty candid and honest with each other, like for real yo. They tell each other everything and I am like astonished because I rarely read such honesty being written between two characters so early in the book.

Aside from the healthy relationship between Kit and Verity, I also enjoyed how the writer wrote Verity to be a smart woman in her own right and not written to be ‘smart’ but dumbing every other character in the book to do so.

Just one thing I didn’t like about the plot and that was the ending whereby the truth of what actually happened to the Duke of Blackburn, Rufus, was revealed. I felt it was very convenient and the plot points not fleshed out properly.

Apart from that I enjoyed most of the book and probably will read more books from Darcy Burke.

*The book was received as an e-ARC by the publishers in return for an honest review

 

Breathless… Review

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Title: Breathless

Author: Celeste Bradley & Susan Donovan

Published: 12 June 2018

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Source: Netgalley

Rating:  4/5

Goodreads synopsis

She was “the Swan.” London’s premiere courtesan. Men want to be with her. Women loathe her success and yet admire her beauty, her riches, her independence. But when the jealous wife of her lover moves to have the Swan banished from her home on the high seas, she winds up crashed against Spain’s rocky coast with no shoes, no clothes-and no name. Taken in by a tortured, sensuous man known as The Artist, the Swan comes to know the woman she wants to be—her artist’s siren.

When Art Professor Brenna Anderson is in danger of losing her post at Harvard, the rule-following, prim professor is at a loss of how to salvage the shreds of her life. But when a new painting in the mysterious Siren collection is discovered in a dusty old house in France, Brenna does the unthinkable—hops on a plane to uncover the identity of the beautiful, enigmatic woman who is the subject of the paintings.

There’s just one hitch—the frustrating, irritating, bold and beautiful art hunter, Fitch Wilder, is also looking for the Siren. He’s been a thorn in Brenna’s professional side for years, but when their individual quests lead them to team up despite being enemies, a whole new sumptuous world of art and culture opens up for the two of them. And with it, they enter a realm of passion and love…

Review

I was quite excited when I was invited to read this book because I was interested to read how the authors were going to merge the two differing perspective between the perspective of the ‘The Swan’ in the past (Regency England-ish) and Brenna who is in the present. These two ladies are our protagonists for this book. It also helped that the book was sold to me as a mystery book with a huge whollop of romance.

After reading it, I have to say that my feelings are mixed regarding this book. Not that it isn’t good, no, the problem here lies with me. I just came to realize that contemporary romance just isn’t my thing. This realization hit me whenever I am reading the third person POV for Brenna’s part of the story, my eyes just glaze over and internally I am just praying that it will be over soon but when I read the historical romance aspect of the book which was written in the first person narrative, there just wasn’t enough material for me to read and I would be wholly disappointed that I had to return to reading about Brenna.

For me, Brenna’s romance with Fitch Wilder was so boring. Boring because of the predictability of it and how fast Brenna fell in love with Fitch, maybe it was longer than I give it credit for in the book but to me it felt like she fell in love with the guy within two weeks because the time lapse between them first meeting to when they fell in love felt so short but then again I am really bad at keeping track of the time anyway so this point is up for debate.

There was nothing for me to root for between these two characters and when Fitch admitted to lying to Brenna and her freaking out and their make up I just felt like ‘Jeez woman, just get over it’. Yes, this lying thing that Fitch did hit a raw nerve because of Brenna’s past and her estranged father but I just could not relate and in all honesty I gave zero shit but had the exposition or reasoning for her freak out been more fleshed out then maybe I would have given her the benefit of the doubt.

All in all I felt like the Brenna and Fitch aspect of the book was just not for me as it was predictable and boring but I live for parts of the book that was in ‘The Swan’s’ POV. Parts of the book which was written in her POV which was in the past was so interesting and dynamic and full of life and intrigue and mystery. The start of the book opened to her literally half-drowning in the ocean in the middle of nowhere so you are like what is going on????? Is she going to be okay?

‘The Swan’s’ POV was just SO good! She had to do many a different things back in her day to survive and prosper and prosper she did. She overcame so many hardships in her life that by the time she met a nice man on this island and was genuinely happy you couldn’t help but be so happy for her as well but the ending of her part of the book just KILLED ME DAMN IT!

The ending left me with a book hangover. I just could not get over it because why? Why would you do that to her? After all she went through that woman deserves eternal happiness!

So, yeah that sums my review.

Present plot: It was okay a bit meh for me

Past plot: THIS SHIT IS WHAT I LIVE FOR!

Hence, the 4 star rating.

*The book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review

Decoupage’ Bitches

Last Sunday (I think it was a Sunday), mom was all like…

“Yo, Ezza wake up we gotta go to this shop opening”

“Why should I even go man?” said I, whilst still wrapped warmly in my cocoon of a blanket.

“There’s free food” shouted mom on the other side of my closed bedroom door.

“Say no more!” I responded as I blinked the sleepiness away from my eyes.

And so I got ready for this so called shop opening and I went dressed in all black with dark blood red lipstick, why you ask? I have no idea. I just felt like dressing like a goth hijabi girl. Even completed the look with 5 inch black suede pumps (Mary Jane’s? I can never know the difference).

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So, anyways we arrived and then all the guests had to go to the second floor of this building to get to the studio and mind you climbing all those stairs definitely made me regret my footwear and that is when it was revealed that the store opening was actually the opening of a decoupage studio.

The inner arts and crafts lover in me emerged like “HULK SMASH” baby!

All I can say was that decoupage’-ing is so much fun! As a promotion the 50 first guests to register can try their hand at decoupage’ by doing it on a coin purse and lemme tell you bitches, it definitely showed my true personality since my coin purse was hella cute!

The studio holds classes for children and adults alike with different prices (naturally) and teaches from the basics to advanced decoupage techniques and you can also try the bundled package classes where you can choose 4 out of 6 (I think) projects and be taught the full range of techniques.

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I’ll share the google map of where the studio is located and will share the contacts for the owner of the studio just in case ya’ll interested in going for a class or two.

Name: Decoupage Villa

Contact: Niza (018-2301995)

Google map: Lot 21 (1st Floor, Sublot 3501, Jalan Piasau, 98000 Miri, Sarawak

 

Top Ten Tuesdays – Books I Hated But Am Really Glad I Read

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This weeks topic is “Books I Hated But Am Really Glad I Read It”

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I really hate this book at how cheesy it is, how Bella is such a Mary Sue, how Bella isn’t emotionally strong, how she is so dependent on Edward. It aggravates me that he is her whole world that she is nothing without him, it pisses me off because I feel that a woman doesn’t need a man to have worth and thus why I am also glad that I read this book because it serves as a marker of my own maturity and a reflection of what I don’t want a woman to be which is helpless without a man. I mean honestly you don’t see Joan of Arc withering away because of her obsessive love over a man.

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If I can survive reading all three of this dumpster fire, I can read anything

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Book makes me question if pharmaceutical companies ever do illegal human testing. Still hated how it lies saying the hero is a woman.

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Discovered a new bookish pet peeve due to said book

 

Top Ten Tuesdays

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This weeks topic is “Books With My Favorite Color On the Cover (or In the Title)”

So, try to guess what is my favorite color based on the books I chose… I swear its easy…

 

A Duke Like No Other… A Review

 

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Title: A Duke Like No Other

Author: Valerie Bowman

Published: 1 May 2018

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Source: Netgalley

Rating: 3/5

Summary

First comes love, then comes marriage. Unless it’s the other way around. . .

General Mark Grimaldi has sacrificed everything for his military career, working his way through the ranks without the benefit of a nobleman’s title. Now, his years of dedication are about to pay off—with an offer for a prestigious promotion to Home Secretary. There’s only one condition: Mark must be married. Aside from the small matter of not actually wanting to be wed, Mark faces another troubling problem: he already has a wife.

Nicole Huntington Grimaldi has spent ten contented years in France without her husband—and without regret. When Mark asks her to return to London and play the part of his beloved wife, she sees her chance. But neither of them is prepared for news that will throw Mark’s future into chaos…nor the undeniable desire they’ve rekindled. Maybe happily-ever-after can happen the second time around in A Duke Like No Other, the next Regency romance from Valerie Bowman.

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Review

I really enjoyed this book, honestly I did, I even overlooked the seemingly random discrepancy in the plot (possibly due to the book not being edited properly it is after all an e-Arc) but I truly felt the plot for this book was lackluster and weak.

The first few chapters started out strong and full of possibilities on the ‘why Nicole and Mark broke up’ mystery; could it be Nicole or Mark cheated on each other? Could it be Nicole had to backstab Mark? What is it? So my hopes on the why was sky high and it was shot down when the truth of their estrangement was explained and the reason just felt inadequate to me.

The reason for their estrangement could be more fleshed out and the author could have gone more in depth because the duration of their estrangement which is 10 years, you would think the reason would be some cataclysmic event or something so when you find out that it is over something petty you start to think really? Really? That was it?

Another reason that my enjoyment for this book was diminished was because Mark was written to be this suave spy-master, all smart, cunning and just overall a pretty intelligent guy hence I was expecting so but instead what I got was this guy who was a bumbling idiot. He interpreted things wrongly or guessed the wrong culprit, like if it was once or twice and had something to do with Nicole I’d understand; estranged wife and mixed emotions can muddle your brain, but it seems like he got everything wrong so again it made me wonder this is the spy-master? Jesus, if he was spy-master then I’m Queen of England.

Last reason that I did not enjoy the book so much was the cheesy ending, it’s just not my cup of tea. I like happy endings but I dislike the cheesy dialogues and the whole ‘Omg, you’re the love of my life BS’, the cynic in me is just like STFU will you. I felt like if you loved each other so much then why 10 years passed before ya’ll did anything? I get back in the day communication isn’t as fast as now what with social media and whatnot but honestly even back then 10 years estrangement is a bit of a stretch.