Review: Not The Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt

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Title: Not The Duke’s Darling

Author: Elizabeth Hoyt

Publisher: Forever

Published: 18 December 2018

Source: Netgalley

Rating: 3/5

Summary

Freya de Moray is many things: a member of the secret order of Wise Women, the daughter of disgraced nobility, and a chaperone living under an assumed name. What she is not is forgiving. So when the Duke of Harlowe–the man who destroyed her brother and led to the downfall of her family–appears at the country house party she’s attending, she does what any Wise Woman would do: she starts planning her revenge.

Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe, is being blackmailed. Intent on keeping his secrets safe, he agrees to attend a house party where he will put an end to this coercion once and for all. Until he recognizes Freya, masquerading amongst the party revelers, and realizes his troubles have just begun. Freya knows all about his sins. Sins he’d much rather forget. But she’s also fiery, bold, and sensuous-a temptation he can’t resist. When it becomes clear Freya is in grave danger, he’ll risk everything to keep her safe. But first, Harlowe will have to earn Freya’s trust-by whatever means necessary.

Review

This book left me shook and not in a good way….

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If you have been following my blog for awhile you may by now know that I just LOVE Elizabeth Hoyt with a burning passion! I have read three of her books (thank you Netgalley) and all of them has a rating no lower than a 4.

Don’t believe me.. here is a list of the books I read by her.

So, I had full expectations to love this book too and imagine my utter shock and disbelief that I did not like nor enjoy this book. How? How even? How did this happen? Did I read it wrong? This shouldn’t be happening… I legit had an identity crisis when I realized this book was just not doing it for me. I mean how? HOW.COULD.THIS.EVEN.HAPPEN???????

The main reason why I didn’t like the book was because the heroine was so unlikable for me. I felt that she was just so full of herself and I just wanted her to get off her high horse and get back down to Earth. Why I felt this way I myself am unsure.

The heroine, Freya de Moray, is the Macha in the secret society called the Wise Woman whereby the post essentially makes her a spy for them. At first, I was really into it because strong female characters are what I live for but the more I read the more I saw that nothing happened. At least no spying happened. Like at all. Elizabeth didn’t show us Freya’s past achievements or whatever for her to attain such a posting. She didn’t show how competent Freya was in being a Macha. I wanted to see and read and live and go through what Freya did in her espionage business but all I got was redundancy which I will explain below.

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The redundancy came in the interaction between Christopher and Freya. They keep playing tug of war with their feelings for each other and after awhile the interaction just bored me out of my mind. They keep going over the same argument of her unable to forgive him for what he did in the past and her fear of losing her independence by being committed to him. These fears are legitimate but how it was written honestly was so tedious to read.

SPOILER CENTRAL!!!

Now to the plot. The plot for me had too many things going on which distracted me from the main plot which was the Wise Woman plot and obviously the romance between Christopher and Freya. I mean you have the sub-plot of having Christopher being blackmailed, the Wise Woman vs the Dunkelders (attempted murder sub-plot), Wise Woman vs parliament (some act that allows witch hunting), mysterious death of the wife of the next door neighbor and what not. For me it felt like so many things are happening at once and you would expect a lot of action but there was just a lot of talk… so much talking.

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Indeed do tell me why I am not enjoying this book

Last but not least was the Wise Woman itself. Again, it felt like all talk no action with them. Maybe because it is just the first book that I felt like I had no idea who these people were and how they worked. It wasn’t fleshed out as much as I had hoped for.

The book for me wanted to be so many things at once yet were none of them at the same time. I am unsure had I read this at a later date I would have enjoyed it more, I don’t know. This book just wasn’t for me. Would I recommend it yeah definitely, Elizabeth is still a talented writer and would I read more books from this series? Absolutely! I need to know that this was just a fluke and will not be a usual occurrence.

But all hope is not lost. I did like one part of the book very very much and that was when Freya proposed to Christopher AFTER she had initially turned him down. I also liked how Christopher gave her space when she needed it to make up her mind about him. I thought that was nice.

*The book was given to me by the publishers via Netgalley in return for an honest review

Top Ten Tuesday

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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 That Take Place In Another Country”

I am assuming this “takes place in another country” to be outside my own country which honestly makes this post far easier because all books I read are outside my country of Malaysia.

UK

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America

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This one is for two countries: America & Italy

Sweden

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Afghanistan

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Europe

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Italy

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Duke of Desire… A Review

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Title: Duke of Desire

Author: Elizabeth Hoyt

Published: 17 October 2017

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Source: Netgalley

Rating: 10/5

Goodreads summary

A LADY OF LIGHT

Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked-and nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him . . . only to find she may have been a trifle hasty.

A DUKE IN DEEPEST DARKNESS

Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.

CAUGHT IN A WEB OF DANGER . . . AND DESIRE

Much to Raphael’s irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involves herself in his life-and bed. Soon he’s drawn both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael’s past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael’s own demons?

Review

Elizabeth Hoyt has completely captured my heart with her Maiden Lane series. I have read three book from this series; Wicked Intentions and Duke of Pleasure and obviously now Duke of Desire, and none of it I have read in the correct order but it didn’t matter because once I read it I was swept away with the current of FEELS!

A little backstory regarding me and this book. I had just finished Duke of Pleasure and I read at the end that Iris was kidnapped! And I was already HOOKED!!!! and obviously she was soon rescued by none other than Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore!!!!! I was already beyond intrigued by this man; was he good? was he bad? what happened to his face? how can a man be so handsome AND beautiful????? WHY IS HE SO MYSTERIOUS????? and then BAM! Elizabeth be all ‘well that is all the teaser I am going to give, you just have to wait until the next book comes out’.

Boy, did I wait. I scoured Netgalley EVERY.SINGLE.DAY in hopes that maybe, maybe today will be the day that it is out on Netgalley and lo and behold!

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The day arrived and I requested it but alas! I had to wait AGAIN! My fear that I wouldn’t be approved gnawed at me. I was worried so worried what if my credentials wasn’t enough. What if the publishers didn’t think my previous reviews weren’t good enough and rejected my request?????!!! I WAITED FOR SO LONGGGGGGG FOR THIS BOOK. SO. LONG.

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Then one morning, I woke up early by accident and as you do, I checked my phone first and the first email I saw was your request for this book was approved from Netgalley but because I request for so many books at one go I am not too sure which book was this and so I opened the email and saw THAT I WAS APPROVED FOR DUKE OF DESIRE! I postponed every other book I was reading for then no other book mattered except this and truth be told I finished it less than a day and it was….

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This book was just SO GOOD! You know how I always bitch and complain when the heroine doesn’t have enough physical prowess or skills to make her an equal match to the hero but in this book those skills didn’t matter. The hero was such a scarred and broken character that he not only wanted Iris but actually NEEDED HER. Iris’s sweet temperament was able to soothe his scarred and ABUSED SOUL!!! Her calm and kind personality was able to help him overcome his abuse and make him able to live a happy and fulfilling life.

The abuse done to Raphael was bad guys. REAL BAD. When I read what he went through it hurt my heart. I was sick to my stomach and to make it worse I know such depravity still exists in the present day. It sickens me at how some humans act like beasts. Heck, I am quite confident that beasts are far better than these people who act or their darkest urges.

In this book, Iris’s other qualities need not be shown as it was showcased in the previous book Duke of Pleasure, where in that book you can see that Iris is really adept with solving puzzles and she is subsequently quite intelligent.

I feel like with this book Elizabeth was trying to show that female strength comes in many forms and one of it is strength of character against adversity even when said adversity comes in the form of your own husband. It takes a lot of mental and emotional strength to be there to support and help a survivor of abuse. Help them overcome their demons and it is harder still if it is someone you love.

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The plot was AMAZING as it handled a lot of sensitive topics and yes there were a few minor blips in the plot especially at the end where Raphael made Iris go back to his actual home (I can’t really remember the specifics) and thus leaving her vulnerable to being kidnapped and used as leverage. So, what he equipped her with the best of his warriors sometimes quantity trumps quality but that minor blip is okay. I can overlook this blip as there were so many other good qualities.

My review is going all over the place but the conclusion is this. THIS BOOK WAS BOMB! IT WAS SO GOOD! PLEASE READ IT!

*Book was given by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review

WWW Wednesdays

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WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words and you just answer three simple questions and BA-DA-BOOM! You are done.

So the three WWW’s are:

  • What are you currently reading
  • What did you recently finish
  • What do you think you’ll read next

Currently reading:

No books man… currently reading nothing… I have been busy doing my crochet and attempting to sell my amigurumi combined with making my DIY calling cards and watching Game of Thrones (I am just in season 1 and it’s killing me to watch it because I like Ned so much not because he was such a good character but because he was such a good and decent man; he was a good father and surrogate father, good husband, good friend, honest, fair, kind AND HE DIED BECAUSE HE WAS A DECENT MAN WHY WHY WHY??? GOD DAMN YOU SNAKE CERSEI AND PYSCHO JOFFREY!)

Recently finished:

Sweet Lord above when I received an email saying that I was approved for Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt, I legit shot out of bed at 5 am, downloaded it and finished it in the same day and holy fuzzballs THE BOOK BLEW MY MIND AWAY! BLEW IT AWAY!!! I almost cried because I didn’t want the series to end and also because I didn’t read the others but hell, will I buy it soon!!! I had waited months to read this book and more because I had to wait to be approved and when I did I was all ‘STOP READING ALL OTHER BOOKS! STOP! STOP! STOP!’. I was reading The Last Weeekend by Laura Disilverio at the time by the way.

The Last Weekend was okay for me. Really could not understand the plot but will discuss more in my review.

Also, finished The Duke and The Scot Beds His Wife by Kerrigan Byrne and I highly enjoyed both of em although I enjoyed The Scot Beds His Wife more because it had more funny moments.

The Right Kind of Rogue by Valerie Bowman was a huge disappointment for me. Rated it a 3 but I will explain in my review whenever it is posted as to why it was a huge disappointment yet I still rated it pretty high.

Jesus, I didn’t realize I had read a lot of historical romance this month. Should spice things up with a dash of thriller or something.

Reading next:

I am just putting this here because it’s customary but we all know I have no list of what to read next. I just go with the flow and the flowing is steering me to more historical romance but we shall see won’t we.

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Top Ten Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and this weeks topic is “Top Ten most anticipated books for the 2nd half of 2017” but I am not big into anticipated books so instead I will change it too “Top Books I am most excited for released on the 2nd half of 2017”. Let’s get started.

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  • Duke of Desire (Maiden Lane #12)
    • Elizabeth Hoyt
    • 17 October 2017
    • I really need to get this book because the hero sounds super awesome! Especially with that scar on his face (not shown in the book though which is a bummer)

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  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer
    • Leigh Bardugo
    • 29 August 2017
    • I have never read anything by Leigh Bardugo but I am assuming she is a good writer and plus it’s Wonder Woman what is there to hate?

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  • Into The Water
    • Paula Hawkins
    • 2 May 2017
    • Not published in the 2nd half of 2017 but hey it seemed like a good read.

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  • Among The Ruins
    • Ausma Zeharat Khan
    • 14 February 2017
    • I was interested in this book because it is a detective-type of story ANDDDD the lead character is a Muslim! Like me! It’s nice to read about other Muslims even if they are fictional.

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  • An Extraordinary Union
    • Alyssa Cole
    • 28 March 2017
    • Another detective-ish story with POC as one of the leads. Romance (Yes!)), Mystery (Yes!), Non-white lead (Yes!).

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  • Hate To Want You
    • Alisha Rai
    • 25 July 2017
    • To be honest, I wanted to read it because of the cover and what it promised. 😛

Review: Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt

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Title: Wicked Intentions

Author: Elizabeth Hoyt

Published: 1 August 2010

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Source: Netgalley

Rating: 4/5

Goodreads synopsis

A man controlled by his desires…

Infamous for his wild, sensual needs, Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, is searching for a savage killer in St. Giles, London’s most notorious slum. Widowed Temperance Dews knows St. Giles like the back of her hand— she’s spent a lifetime caring for its inhabitants at the foundling home her family established. Now that home is at risk.

A woman haunted by her past…

Caire makes a simple offer—in return for Temperance’s help navigating the perilous alleys of St. Giles, he will introduce her to London’s high society so that she can find a benefactor for the home. But Temperance may not be the innocent she seems, and what begins as cold calculation soon falls prey to a passion that neither can control—one that may well destroy them both.

A bargain neither could refuse.

Review

Things I liked about the book:

  • Temperance Dews as a repressed wild child
    • She isn’t your typical historical romance heroine whereby she doesn’t come from an affluent family and neither is she seeking aristocracy. She isn’t even from nobility, so she in a sense is just a plain Jane but boy is the woman passionate and up for anything.
    • Temperance due to the society she lives in and also what her late husband thinks of sex represses her passionate nature which in turn causes her to feel trapped and lacks the sexual gratification that she wants and needs.
    • This bottled up sexual energy soon takes a wrong turn when she decides to have a one night stand with a man when her husband isn’t around and when he dies of an accident on the same day of the fateful encounter, Temperance feels so much guilt over it and completely shuts off her true self and dedicates every waking hour to her family’s foundling home aka orphanage to compensate for her guilt.
  • The kinky and unapologetic Lord Caire, Lazarus Huntington.
    • Not only is he hot, he also has gorgeous silver-white hair. Like some random vampire you pick off the street.
    • He likes some kinky shit. I am talking along the lines of BDSM and that back in the day was the kinkiest of the sort so yeah.
    • I like that he knows Temperance is just as wild as him in the bedroom and so with that he just pushes her to explore things she might or might not like. Like I always say, how would you know if you dislike it if you never try.
  • The sexual tension
    • I feel like Elizabeth Hoyt is a master at writing sex scenes where you think its going to happen at so and so page but it doesn’t so you’re just left unsatisfied and she keeps doing it, making it sooooo close and some random shit-head comes and cuts the moment and you as the reader are just like ‘GET OUT YOU PARTY POOPER OF POOPERS!!!!’
  • The dynamic between Temperance and Lord Caire
    • They are both very flawed people. With Temperance, she cheated on her husband and felt obliged to help at the orphanage as repentance (I don’t look down on her doing this, better volunteering with orphans rather than drowning your sorrows in alcohol) and with Lord Caire, he doesn’t like to be touched and he himself doesn’t even know why is he so invested in his mistresses killer. They both are also very emotionally closed off both towards each other and also to everyone else and I liked how because these two are flawed and broken they fit each other perfectly.
  • The subplot with Temperance’s sister, Silence.
    • First of all, what is up with the name of these siblings? There’s Winter and Silence were their parents 17th century hippies?
    • I liked Silence’s subplot because it shows that she had her heart completely broken by her husband who did not believe her and you can’t even fully blame the husband either. You can also see the character, Mickey, who is a slum king (?) yet is a perfect gentleman. He really honored his word when he said he would not even touch Silence when she came begging for mercy for her husband’s behalf in return that Silence will have to walk back to her home in the morning. Essentially making her walk the walk of shame. So by writing this very intriguing subplot the writer is already luring you to be interested in her next few books (of which I admit I am completely hooked).

What I didn’t like:

  • I didn’t like the ending.
    • It wasn’t like it was a bad ending. It was good it just wasn’t for me. I wanted Temperance and Lord Caire to remain in character and be aloof in their feelings or maybe just a small sign of affection instead of full blown panic attack that he might die in a house fire.

Overall, this book is great! I completely recommend it for everybody!!!

*a copy was kindly provided by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review