Review: Kiss Me at Christmas by Valerie Bowman

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Title: Kiss Me at Christmas

Author: Valerie Bowman

Published: 30th October 2018

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Source: Netgalley

Rating: 3/5

Goodreads Summary

A spirited lady facing spinsterhood. A common man with a noble mission. And a surprise that just might be waiting for them under the mistletoe. . .

Bow Street Runner Daffin Oakleaf abhors Christmas. Carol singing and holiday cheer only remind him of a dark time. When a close friend calls on him for help, Daffin is happy to capitalize on the distraction. But when he learns the lovely Lady Regina is the one in danger, he’s to become bodyguard to the captivating woman…

Regina has one mission: to find a night of passion in the arms of a gentleman. Considered firmly on the shelf, Regina has given up on marriage—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be denied the pleasure married ladies experience. Daffin has long captured her attention…and when a threat calls him to her side, the sparks between them ignite. But how can a hired bodyguard find his way into Regina’s noble heart?

Review

This book was yet another disappointment delivered in the Historical Romance genre to me. I am genuinely surprised that this genre gave me two disappointments in quick succession. This has never happened before.

Right, the reason this book is a disappointment because it started out really strong. Guns blazing right out the window and yet the more I read the more the plot just unraveled itself and at last I was left with a steaming pile of poop. 

Cheesiness aside (because its Valerie Bowman, I know her writing and plot will be cheesy eventually, it’s becoming her signature move) the one thing that annoyed me about the characters and the plot of this book was how idiotic and illogical everything was.

First of all, no spy on Earth will continuously announce themselves to be spies every bloody second (IT BEATS THE DAMN PURPOSE OF BEING A SPY IF YOU ALWAYS ANNOUNCE YOURSELVES TO BE SPIES NO????).

*The meaning of spy literally says to get information from the enemy discreetly…. DISCREETLY!*

Like all right, I understand you are a family of spies I do not need to be reminded of it every single fucking second alright? I have read the previous books. Let’s just get on with the damn plot already. It is so annoying. Oh we are spies this, we are spies that, there is no need to hide behind the door because we know you are there because we are what?.. oh yeah we are spies. Jesus Christ I tell you. I FUCKING BLOODY GET YOU ALL ARE BLOODY SPIES. LET IT GO.

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Same shit except it’s spies in this case.

Don’t get me started on the plot itself. It is so idiotic. So, you’re telling me this Lady (daughter of whoever) who is in love with this Duke who is to be engaged to Regina is behind all of it? All the assassination attempts in the hopes that maybe… MAYBE he will fall in love with her instead. WHAT THE FUCK and mind you all of this is only revealed right at the end of the plot with no exposition and no explanations on how the hell did this even happen. That has to be the flimsiest reason for an assassination attempt I have ever heard in my life. This girls plan is so convoluted and stupid it’s hilarious and bloody comical. 

The thing that annoyed me the most was how convenient it was for Regina to finally marry Daffin towards the end when the whole GOD DAMNED FORSAKEN BOOK was about her just absolutely in mental and emotional torture because he isn’t a blue blood like her and they can’t marry due to their status. Like, she says her uncle is the barrier between her and Daffin for a happily ever after and that he is hard headed that he would never agree for a union between them to ever happen but at the end all that needed to be done was have a few family members sit him down and say that Daffin truly makes Regina happy and he is all for it. 

Do you know how annoying it is when you root for a couple to be together to overcome this (what seems to be a huge ass) obstacle only to realize they made a mountain out of a bloody fucking mole hill. 

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Yeah… It is very annoying.

And it really is disappointing because the book started out really good, writing was great, pacing was great, everything was great, I thought it had nicely timed humor as well but I have no idea why after it passed the halfway mark everything just went to hell.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Ezza’s Right Kind of Rogue… A Review

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Title: The Right Kind of Rogue

Author: Valerie Bowman

Published: 31 October 2017

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Source: Netgalley

Rating: 3/5

Goodreads summary

Can two star-crossed lovers come together―until death do they part? 

Viscount Hart Highgate has decided to put his rakish ways behind him and finally get married. He may adore a good brandy or a high-speed carriage race, but he takes his duties as heir to the earldom seriously. Now all he has to do is find the right kind of woman to be his bride―ideally, one who’s also well-connected and well-funded. . .

Meg Timmons has loved Hart, the brother of her best friend, ever since she was an awkward, blushing schoolgirl. If only she had a large dowry―or anything to her name at all. Instead, she’s from a family that’s been locked in a bitter feud with Hart’s for years. And now she’s approaching her third London season, Meg’s chances with him are slim to none. Unless a surprise encounter on a deep, dark night could be enough to spark a rebellious romance. . .for all time?

Review

This book has made me relieved that I can occasionally dislike a historical romance (HR) even by an author whom I liked their previous work. It has made me see that the reviewer in me is still intact.

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From that, you and I obviously know that I dislike parts of this book that did not allow me to give the rating any higher than a 3. Usually, for HR I adore the main characters; Their strengths, their weaknesses, their quirks, but in this book both characters fell flat for me. The only characters that I felt were worth mentioning and had any complexity was the side character, Lady Lucy.

I also found the romance between Hart Highgate and Meg Timmons highly unlikely and at worst, ludicrous. Does the author genuinely expect me to believe that Hart who has known Meg for years and never bats an eyelash for her and never made any time to get to know her on a deeper level suddenly falls so deep in love all because she had a make over? I feel affronted that the author takes this reader as a fool. I don’t know about you but I feel that if a man you have known for YEARS only truly notices you AFTER you have a make over and ONLY THEN shows any form of romantic feelings, those feelings are questionable at best because it makes me wonder do you like me for my personality or just my looks?

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See it this way, Hart has known Meg for years but only as an acquaintance. He never seeks her out for advice nor friendship. She is negligible in his life and you expect me to believe that he suddenly falls in love with her all because she now looks like a bombshell? A tad bit convenient isn’t it?

If he had known her for years and they are close, best friends close and yet he never sees her as more than a friend and suddenly she changes her looks and he realizes that she is in fact a woman and not one of his ‘bros’ that I can accept.

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Another aspect I cannot ignore was how idiotic Hart was. He point blank refused to listen to Meg and is flummoxed that he doesn’t understand the situation only to realize Meg was innocent in Lucy’s machinations. Honestly, you would have found this out far earlier had you listened to her.

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The plot for this book was weak for me. At first, it was great. Meg finding out Hart is planning to marry decides to pursue her plans to make him fall in love or at least notice her with renewed vigor but towards the end I felt the plot and its plot twists were lost in translation thus not being relayed effectively. The plot reveal whereby the real reasons why the two families hate each other was actually a good plot point had the other aspects of the plot did not muddle it. Like I said lost in translation. If the whole drama between Hart-Meg-Lucy was not so childish the plot reveal would have had the impact it sought out to do.

Overall, the book was not as enjoyable as I had hoped it would be but it will not deter me from reading more works by Valerie Bowman.

And my right kind of rogue is a man who isn’t so caught up with his own woes that he doesn’t see what is smack-dab right in-front-under-his-nose! If he is going through depression or any type of legit mental illness then fine that is a different matter but if the man is so up his own arse well I see that we have to part ways my friend as you and I are not compatible.

*The book was provided by the publishers 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. 😛