A Smart Historical Romance, A Bland Book From a Favorite Author & A Royalty Romance I Actually Liked!

Blame It On The Duke by Lenora Bell

four-stars

Blame It on the Duke (The Disgraceful Dukes, #3)It’s official. Lenora Bell ranks at the top of my favorite historical romance authors list with along with my other HR queens, Lisa Kleypas, Tessa Dare and Sarah MacLean. I fell in love with her smart writing with her fabulous debut last year, and she has only continued to impress me. Blame It On The Duke, like the previous books in this series, was refreshing, smart, and deliciously sexy. She pens her characters with wit, charm and intelligence, and I love that she makes me instantly fall in love with her characters. I adored Alice, and her passion for wanting to travel and explore the world. And I also adored Nick, who was at first, a complete scoundrel of  a hero, who hopelessly falls in love with his heroine. The conversations between the two were funny AND laced with flirtatious moments here and there. Watching the two of them vow not to fall in love, but slowly doing exactly what they said they wouldn’t do, was one of the best parts about Blame It On The Duke. I so love it when I am able to see the characters actually connect on a level that’s deeper than just sex, and I saw exactly that between Nick and Alice as the book progressed. They were swoony beyond words, and I can’t tell you how much I found myself shipping and rooting for them. Besides the romance, I also enjoyed the story line involving Nick’s father and his apparent dementia. Alice, especially, forms a sweet bond with the old man, and she finds herself wanting to help him and Nick. If you’re a fan of historical romance, and are looking for another great author to add to your list, then definitely make sure that Lenora Bell is at the top, because she is one talented writer! I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next, but the wait is going to be torturous!

The Thing About Love by Julie James

two-stars

27246123I was very excited for a new book by Julie James. She has written some of my favorite contemporary romances in the past. I’m not sure why but I found The Thing About Love to be rather boring. Usually, she writes couples with chemistry that you can almost feel on your skin, but here, while I saw the chemistry between John and Jessica from time to time, it wasn’t as potent as I’ve come to expect from Julie James. After a while, I started to get bored with them, and ultimately, I didn’t think that they stood out particularly for me. I did really enjoy the flashback scenes of them at Quantico. I thought the chemistry was definitely there between them when they were younger. I will say that both John and Jessica were likable enough characters as individuals, and they had lots of traits I found to be endearing. I particularly enjoyed John’s loyalty and love for his family, and Jessica had a great bond with her siblings too. I just wished they had more of a spark together as a couple. I wasn’t a big fan of the plot involving the corrupt politician either. It was predictable and once again, a little boring for me. So yeah, overall, I wasn’t impressed by Julie James latest. If you’re new to her books, I definitely recommend one of her older books. They are more addicting than this one was!

Royally Matched by Emma Chase

three-half-stars

Royally Matched (Royally, #2)Honestly, only Emma Chase can get me to read and enjoy books about royalty. This series as a whole is different in tone from Emma Chase’s other series, but it still maintains her trademark humor and sexy heroes. I was quite excited to pick up Royally Matched because I was dying for Henry to meet the woman who would bring him to his knees in Royally Chased. This one totally delivered and I had a ton of fun reading it. The connection between Henry and Sarah was palpable all throughout the book, and the chemistry that they had together was sweltering. I loved how Sarah balanced out Henry’s more wild side. She allows him to bring his softer side to the surface, which turned him into an irresistible hero. And in turn, he allows her more wild side to emerge, making her more spontaneous. One of my complaints with the first book was how cheesy it could be at times. Thankfully for me, the cheese was kept to a minimum here. I was also pretty excited about the The Bachelor-esque plot line going on here. I hate-watch The Bachelor (because that’s the best way to watch that show), so I was eager to see what shenanigans Henry would get into. I will say that that part of the book is very much to the background, unfortunately, but it was still fun to read about the girls who were vying for Henry’s hand in marriage. Overall, Royally Matched was another sexy and fun book from Emma Chase. I don’t think it’s actually possible for her to write a bad book.

 Have you read any of these books or authors? Tell me about your most recent romance read!
Let me know in the comments below!

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Nick
  • Angel @Angel Reads

    I really need to read some Emma Chase. I’ve just heard amazing things about her books. Might have to get them soon.

  • I need to look into Lenora Bell! I haven’t read her books yet. I tend to be hesitant to try new-to-me historical romance authors for some reason.

    I’m sorry to hear that the Julie James book was a bit of a let down. I also love her books. I tried reading the first Royally book from Emma Chase and DNFed it. It just wasn’t for me.

  • Sorry to hear that you didn’t end up loving The Thing About Love by Julie James. I actually really enjoyed it. lol! I’ve never read any of her other books but I definitely want to give them a try too. I haven’t read the other two but I was thinking about checking out Emma Chase. I’ve heard pretty good things about her book. Great reviews, Nick!

  • Bummer for the latest Julie James – love her legal romances. I think I’ll give this one a pass.

    Ugh – for the Bachelor-esque story line in Royally Matched. Not a fan.

    Oh, I just recently read a fairytale-cowboy romance hybrid. But I didn’t realize it was a Christian novel so it was clean as a whistle (in other words, boring. Lol. )

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these, Nick!

  • I shall read Royally Matched because Sarah sounds like a girl I can get behind!

  • I love historical romances, but I don’t pick them as often as I like. I just started Devil in Spring, I finally got my library audio. I added it after your review! Too bad about the new Julie James. I’m picking it up soon. I hope I have a different reaction. I haven’t started Emma Chase’s new series. Great minis, Nick!

    I’m wondering which Laura Florand you bought. Hope you love it! 🙂

  • Oh man, I loved all of these books. Well, all the ones that I read. I’ve heard similar thoughts as yours about the Julie James but I enjoyed it. I enjoyed John and Jessica and while it’s not my favorite, I thought it was still a solid read.

    Lenora Bell is an author that I picked up after reading one of your reviews and holy cow, she’s awesome. I’m so glad that I tried her out because she’s fast become one of my go to historical authors for 2017. Thanks for the pimp, Nick!

    The Royally series is on my TBR radar for the month of April. I’m pretty anxious to start it. I’ve heard good things about it.

    Great post, Nick!

  • kindlemom1

    I for sure need to try the historical writer! I’ve been thinking lately that I need to read more historicals, I always love them so much when I do, I don’t know why I forget about them.

  • I love a good historical romance. I don’t read a lot lately but I used to devour them in HS. I may have to check out Royally Matched.

  • I’m relatively new to the HR world, and Lisa Kleypas and Tessa Dare are my faves too! I’ll have to add Lenora to my list of authors to watch out for! I tried other popular authors like Julia Quinn, but it just… wasn’t the same. Nothing can compare to the funny and swoon-worthy stories of Tessa Dare, and Lisa Kleypas’ Hathaways and Wallflowers!

  • So, I have not read any of these authors, but I will say, you have me quite intrigued by Blame it on the Duke! I like historical stuff in general, but I love the bit about them saying they won’t be together but then not being able to stay apart. I realized I like that trope! The second one sounds disappointing, I am sorry- hopefully her next book will be better! And I don’t really do a lot of royal stuff either, but the last one sounds fun! Great reviews, Nick!

  • I haven’t read any of these, but I plan to read Chase’s series. I’m glad to hear it still has her humor.

  • I totally need to try something by Bell 😀 I still have not
    Oh and I need to read that Chase book I got

  • I enjoyed Royally Matched as well, quirky and fun and I love the humor.

    I also have loved Lenora Bell and even though i have only read book one she is already at the top of my list. She reminds me a lot of some of my favorite authors like Lisa Kleypas, Karen Hawkins and Lorraine Heath. Her writing is superb so I am looking forward to this one.

  • 1. Okay, definitely gotta check out Lenora Bell’s books. I haven’t read any works of hers, but if she ranks up there with Lisa Kleypas, Sarah MacLean, and Tessa Dare, YOU CAN COUNT ME IN. <3 I love it when the scoundrel hero falls hard for the heroine, and bonus points for flirty dialogue!

    2. I usually enjoy Julie James's books too (which, btw, was totally because of your recs) but I might skip this one? It just seems like it doesn't have the usual spark that the others do. Plus, two stars for a contemporary romance?! We can do better than that.

    3. Emma Chase's previous series was pretty good. I'm ALWAYS hesitant about royalty books though. I'm not sure why? There's just something "meh" about reading romances of celebs/stars/princes. I guess I'm more of a fan of the average hero kind of guy, though. Hee.

    – Aila @ Happy Indulgence

  • I have never really gotten into Historical romance. I have tried it and it just doesn’t work for me. The Emma Chase book has me curious but I am still not sure. The reviews are a little mixed….

  • YAAAAAAAAAAAY I am so glad that you enjoyed that new Bell book! I saw it on Edelweiss and you came to mind. I might try her debut again, and see if I like it more the second time around.

    I’ve not read anything by Julie James, and I guess that isn’t going to change (with this book, anyway). Boring romance novels are the worst! Romance novels are usually my pick-me-up, so they had better not be boring!

    Hmmm, Bachelor-esque in what way? It sounds triangle-y (but on a larger scale)? I usually don’t like books involving royalty so I’ve been avoiding this series, despite the good reviews. Did you see that the series has been optioned for film? Pretty cool!

    Excellent reviews, Nick! Have a lovely weekend. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  • I’ve been shying away from Historical Romances lately, and I can’t really say why that is… You piqued my interest with Blame it on the Duke, though… That cover is swoony, and the story sounds really good, too!
    Sorry you didn’t click with The Thing About Love, Nick. It’s always so frustrating to not enjoy a book by a favorite author. At least I know I’m doubly disappointed when that happens.
    I’m not usually a fan of royal love stories… especially if there is any way or shape the characters can be even loosely linked to actual royals. You did intrigue me with your review for Royally Matched, though. We shall see.
    Have a wonderful weekend, Nick!
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

  • Holy crap, Lenora Bell’s in the same league as Kleypas, Dare, and MacLean?! I NEED to read her debut now! Blame it on the Duke sounds really romantic, I love that the characters talk a lot and fall in love in a kind of intellectual way. What a bummer about The Thing About Love though!