Review: The Spitfire

Book CoverThe Spitfire by Christi Caldwell
My Rating: 4-5 Stars
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: September 17, 2019
Formats: Kindle Unlimited, eBook, Paperback

The Spitfire is book #5 in the Wicked Wallflowers series. Even though it’s a departure from the Killoran family featured in the first four books, and wasn’t in Caldwell’s original plans for the series, this is the best book of the five.

Clara Winters has left behind the life as a courtesan and madam to become a self-made woman by opening a respectable music hall to be enjoyed by the masses. Henry March is an earl living a tightly-ordered life, obsessed with creating law and order across London. A late-night attack in Clara’s neighborhood leaves Henry nearly dead and Clara as his rescuer and nurse. Despite the provoking thoughts and interesting banter the two have, can their new-found friendship survive Henry’s return to politics?

This story didn’t have an insta-love situation and instead, Clara and Henry grow to know and love each other over many weeks. Both characters changed a lot from their involvement in each other’s lives. Clara grew beyond the shell of a woman who was burdened by her past and Henry emerged as a person who learned to love and appreciate who was around him, not just what he could accomplish.

The plot was engaging and moved quickly. Neither Clara nor Henry are perfect, and their flaws play well into the story. The first chapter kicks off so unconventionally that you can’t help but be hooked.

Henry’s sister, Lila, was a great supporting character in this story. She has her own demons and they won’t be easy to conquer. I’m hoping that she gets her own book someday, as her story is bound to be compelling.

This book was nearly a five-star review from me, which is rare. The reason it lost half a star is a sad but increasingly recent trend in historical romances: there is no epilogue. The final chapter did bring the main plot to a satisfying conclusion. But I want a look at the ever after part of happily ever after. I’m left wondering too much⁠—will they actually get married, will society cause problems, will they ever have children, and much more. Does all of that need answered? No. But without any of it, this story ends with a happily for now.

The Spitfire will release on September 17, 2019.

I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Review: Forbidden Angel

Book CoverForbidden Angel by Sandra Lee Rice
My Rating: 2-Stars
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: out now
Formats: Kindle Unlimited, eBook ($3), Paperback ($8)

Normally I wouldn’t review such a poorly written book that I randomly picked up on Kindle Unlimited, but I was floored that there is a  plethora of strong reviews for this book on Goodreads. The premise sounds good, but the writing technique was poor. The book had several problems:

  • Absolutely no white space/scene break between scenes. Characters would seemingly do the equivalent of teleporting or time traveling (for example: in one scene the two main characters are down by the barn, and suddenly in the next paragraph the male lead is looking out his study window). This was jarring and confusing.
  • Almost-but-not-quite-fully-omniscient point of view. I normally don’t like full omniscience, but I think I would have in this book had it not been for the previous problem of zero scene breaks.
  • Too much side story and too many characters. This book needs an editor to go through and kill those darlings (sorry, Penelope and Michael, and solicitor who likes honey).
  • The villain was too adept at his villainy ways while at the same time being absolutely terrible at it. He’s constantly drunk, and reportedly poor, but somehow can afford to follow people all over the place and find time to stay upright while doing so?
  • The main plot dragged on for so. freaking. long. Again, kill those darlings. This dragged because: 1) too much subplot/too many characters; 2) too much drama with the villain without any actual action taken on it; 3) unnecessary detail; and 4) the “Who is Angelique… really?!?!” subplot.

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Review: Emerald

EmeraldEmerald by Elle Casey
My Rating: 2-Stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: available now
Formats: Kindle Unlimited, eBook ($4), Paperback ($10)

Emerald Collins is a small-town, hippie-esque girl from a community farm, where she lives with her three “moms” and one of her sisters, Rose. Her other sister, Amber, left for NYC and invites Emerald to come visit. On day one of the visit, Sam Stanz—the brother of Amber’s boyfriend, Ty—shows up unannounced, and Amber is pulled away from NYC on business, leaving Emerald and Sam alone.

Along with all that, there’s a ridiculous amount of exposition you need to suffer through at the onset, peppered with Emerald’s childish language and obnoxious musings.

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Review: The Hellion

The HellionThe Hellion by Christi Caldwell
My Rating: 4-Stars
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: available now
Formats: Kindle Unlimited, eBook ($5), Paperback ($10)

The Hellion is book #1 in the Wicked Wallflowers series. While it’s a nice introduction to the Killoran family, it should have been the final installation in its predecessor series, Sinful Brides. For that reason alone, I detracted a star from an otherwise excellent story.

Cleopatra Killoran will give up everything if it means protecting her sisters. When their older brother arranges one of the ladies to be sponsored for the London Season by their former gaming hell rivals, Cleo steps into a world she detests. The timing couldn’t be worse: the Hell and Sin Club was just destroyed in a fire, and suspicions are high regarding her family’s involvement.

Adair Thorne could do nothing to save his family’s gaming hell. In one night, the Hell and Sin Club, along with his home and his future, was consumed in a blaze. Now residing at his brother’s home, he tasked with keeping watch on Cleopatra, and ensuring that she isn’t doing anything devious. This puts the two in constant contact and at constant odds, and soon the couple discover that there’s much more behind the roughened street image they each possess.

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Review: Beg, Borrow or Steal

Beg, Borrow or StealBeg, Borrow or Steal by Susie Tate
My Rating: 3.5-Stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: available now
Formats: Kindle Unlimited, eBook ($3)

Libby Penny is a single mom trying to get through med school while also paying the bills. Jamie Grantham is an accomplished anesthetist and the Medical Education Director, who is aghast when one of his students falls asleep during a lecture. Jamie meets Libby, and sparks fly.

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