A Duke In Shining Armor by Loretta Chase
I have read several books by Loretta Chase in the past, and have enjoyed them quite a bit. I was quite excited to read A Duke In Shining Armor as a result. I found this new start to a historical romance series to be delightful! I always love an unconventional romance and this was certainly that.
On the day of her wedding, Lady Olympia is caught buzzed, crying and running away from the venue in her wedding dress, by the hero, Ripley, best friend of the groom. He attempts to convince her to return back to her wedding, but to no avail, so he somehow finds himself escorting Olympia to her destination. A Duke In Shining Armor is an absolute adventure of a book. It can be tricky to get the romance between a man and his best friend’s fiancee, but it’s done brilliantly here. Ripley and Olympia are complete opposites in personalities, and they clash quite a bit on their journey to Olympia’s aunt’s home, but you know underneath all those quips and fights is an underlying attraction to each other. Olympia herself was a clever young woman, who was very spirited, determined and fiery as a character.
Ripley, as expected, is a complete scoundrel, but he is a good-hearted scoundrel. I adored the dynamics between the two, especially all the back and forth banter and the growing kinship. It was all so entertaining. Loretta Chase knows how to write a really good romance! A Duke In Shining Armor also manages to be relatively drama-free. Sure, there’s a bit conflict that arises in the form of Olympia’s ex-fiance, but it’s nothing too dramatic or overly stretched out. I’m quite excited to read Ripley’s friends’ books next hopefully!
If you enjoy a good historical romance, put this one on your list. You won’t be disappointed.
Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet
I’m a little sad to say this, but as a series finale, Heart on Fire, was a bit disappointing. After very much enjoying the first two books in this series, I went into Heart on Fire with a lot of high expectations, and I think that led to some of my mixed feelings towards this book.
Let me get to the positives first. The characters, as always, were very much engaging. I especially enjoyed seeing how much growth Cat, the heroine, has undergone over the series. She’s much calmer, much more level-headed as compared to the first book. True, she tends to be a very very special snowflake sort of character here, with her having ALL the powers and abilities, but I’ve enjoyed seeing Cat really opening up, forging relationships and finding herself in the process. Griffin was also much different here, and I liked the changes to his personality. Though he is still fiercely protective of Cat, he’s not a total grouchy alpha-male. He respects Cat’s decisions and listens to her. Together, Cat and Griffin are swoonier than ever. I love how comfortable they are together, and I thought they were so great as a couple. They worked together and were each other’s priorities, which made my shippy heart very happy. I also enjoyed getting to know more about the mythology and world-building here. All the gods especially were super fun!
Now onto my main complaint about Heart on Fire: the plot. I felt like it was very slow-moving, and ultimately, I felt like it was missing the excitement I was hoping for from a series finale. Not a lot happens here, and everything rapidly wrapped up in a neat bow at the end, which left me a bit frustrated. I was also a bit disappointed by how little of Team Beta we saw here. I thought they were the heart and soul of the previous books in the series, and their dynamics with Cat and Griffin made the books stronger.
All in all, Heart on Fire is not a terrible series finale, but I expected more. I’m hoping we’ll get to see a spinoff series as there are some story lines that were left unresolved.
About That Kiss by Jill Shalvis
I swear Jill Shalvis can do no wrong with the Heartbreaker Bay series. I’ve loved every book to date, and About That Kiss was no different. Once again, Jill Shalvis has written a sweet and swoony story that left me smiling for hours after I was done reading the book.
Kylie and Joe are so damn adorable together. Seriously, these two are precious. Not only that, these two also had super sexy chemistry between them. I love that Jill Shalvis writes these couple that you can’t help but ship with all your heart. Both of them are initially wary of any kind of relationship, especially after that steamy kiss they share, but fate has other things in store for them. They are forced to work together when Kylie needs help finding a family heirloom (a penguin piece her grandfather carved) that gets stolen. Of course in the midst of figuring out who the culprit is, they are forced to share air space and you can guess what follows! 😉 I loved these two together, and watching them slowly open up and trust each other was the highlight of About That Kiss for me.
I also really enjoyed both as characters. They had great personalities. Kylie, a woodworker – isn’t that very unique – was a total doll. She’s genuine, kind and passionate. Her mom’s romantic drama has led her to be a bit more reserved when it comes to all things love and romance, but you still root for her and hope that she’ll find that happily ever after kind of romance. Joe is just the perfect guy to give her that happily ever after. As a PI, Joe was quiet, stoic and on the protective side. Not to mention, he was ridiculously hot as hell. He has got a soft for his family, pups and Kylie though, which made him stand out among the typical protective romance heroes. Underneath that tough build, he was a sweetheart. I also have to mention Kylie’s hilarious dog, Vinnie, who made me crack up every time he was in a scene.
I can’t recommend the Heartbreaker Bay series enough. It’s got the perfect balance of romance, humor, cute animals, lovable heroines and swoony heroes. About That Kiss is a must read!
I received all three books featured in this post as ARCs for review purposes. This does not affect my rating or review. This post contains affiliate links.