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The Duke and I (Julia Quinn, Bridgertons #1)

4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
Definitely one of Quinn’s stronger works, this is an excellent introduction to her Bridgertons series We have the “Devastating Duke,” who is arrogant partially because he has had to overcome a traumatic childhood (father who ridiculed and ignored him because of his stammer), paired expertly with Daphne, the beautiful but usually overlooked beauty who has grown up surrounded by a boisterous, loving family.  They’re a very nice pairing in part because their backgrounds are so different, one bringing warmth and mirth to the other’s much colder, more solitary existence.  There is definitely some let’s-escalate-this-fight back and forth during the last one-third of the novel that keeps it from being a perfectly reviewed novel for me, but Quinn’s sense of humor (only sometimes over the top), and her deftness at drawing these characters saves it, making it a fun and refreshing read.

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Goddess of the Hunt (Tessa Dare, Wanton Dairymaids #1)

3.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This felt like exactly what it is: a beginning work from a very promising author.  There are interesting characters and passionate sex scenes, but all of the writing and characterization ultimately feels like it could, and should, be more fleshed out.  You’ve got a strong-willed, independent tomboy of a heroine – a woman who rides and fishes with the best of them (and has a hearty appetite to boot).  She’s fun and easy to relate to; the fact that she’s out to seduce her brother’s friend is a nice opening premise.  BUT… this is one of those novels where they fall in love/consummate their relationship almost too quickly, and the second half of the novel is dense with misrepresentations and misunderstandings, where everyone means well, but keeps saying and doing the worst possible thing and hurting each other’s feelings.  Though it’s well written and worth the read, there are many times when it’s just as frustrating as it is good…
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What I Did for a Duke (Julie Anne Long, Pennyroyal Green #5)

4.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This book has wonderfully drawn characters that are complex, yet easy to relate to – both of our protagonists are at initially cross purposes (she is in love with her childhood sweetheart, he is in love with no one, and wants merely to use her for revenge), but their internal growth/self-realizations, as well as their journey towards each other is wonderfully believable, very passionate and also thoroughly engaging for the reader. There are times when the writing gets a little too cutesy/farcical for me, and the timeline in which the story unfolds makes it borderline unbelievable… all of which pulls me out of the story and makes me give it a less than perfect rating. That said, it’s been a long time since I’ve been this engrossed in a historical romance.

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