Review: Well Traveled (Well Met #4) by Jen DeLuca (Audible Edition)

This series was my favorite obsession last year. I binge read the books and loved them all in their own ways and had no idea that Renaissance Fair romance was even a thing that I would be into but here we are. I honestly thought the third book would be the last as most of the reoccurring characters had indeed met their matches but then this one came up as Dex’s story. If you have read the previous books you will remember Dex as the Ren Fair Romeo who has a ‘girl at every fair’ that he hooks up with. So I thought this one sounded like it would be a solid read and was eager to start it!

This series is so quirky, when I think of hot romances I do not think of Renaissance Fairs as the setting for that, but after reading the first book I was fully hooked and thought this was a really new and refreshing take on a contempo romance. I loved the setting and characters that we continue to meet through out the series. I will say that this particular book is the fourth one in the series and while it can certainly be read as a standalone, there are references to former relationships and character history that might be further appreciated by reading the other books in the series first.

I had high hopes for this one. Mostly because Dax has been in every book, or at least mentioned in every book and his history is well established and the ‘rake’. I was so excited to see the woman that finally swept him off his feet and made him settle down. I was a little surprised that it was a character that we had formerly met (hence why I feel like readers would get more out of this one having read the other books in the series first). Louisa wouldn’t have been my first pick for Dax, but I like Louisa and was eager to see how this whole romance came about and played out on the fields of the Ren Fair!

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Review: Murder in PostScript (A Lady of Letters Mystery #1) by Mary Winters

When I see books with any mention of “Bridgerton-like’ in the summary or taglines, I am at once skeptical and yet can’t pass up on said book based on hope of finding another wonderful series that is indeed like Bridgerton! I often get asked what books would I recommend for Bridgerton fans, and that is such a hard question because there are so many historical romances out there that have a Bridgerton feel but aren’t necessaitly Bridgerton like if that makes sense. So sometimes when I see this statement on books, I become skeptical because there is nothing like Bridgerton but yet like so many others I can’t resist finding then next Bridgerton like book to fall in love with.

That’s how this book came to be on my review radar. It was described as “… the first novel in a new historical mystery series perfect anyone who loves the secret identity intrigue and swoon-worthy romance of Bridgerton“. So naturally I couldn’t resist even though I was skeptical. The idea of a new murder mystery series with a hot romance even if it didn’t quite live up to the Bridgerton claim, intrigued me enough that there was no way that I would pass on this!

I am a huge fan of historical mysteries and romances and any time that the two cross over is a win-win for me. I am always on the look out for new lady detectives and sleuth series to dive into. There are so many good ones out there—-Veronica Speedwell, Lady Darby, Lady Sherlock—and new female detectives are hitting shelves everyday so when I saw this was a debut and a new series, I knew it must be worth checking out if it had already been acknowledged as an upcoming series rather than just a standalone.

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Special Feature: Her Lost Words: A Novel of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley by Stephanie Marie Thornton

I discovered Stephanie Marie Thornton years ago when she was writing about ancient women and their untold stories. I have LOVED all of her ancient women novels and am still waiting for a Boudicca story! But in recent years she has moved more toward the stories of more modern women like Alice Roosevelt and spy  Elizabeth Bentley. She always does an amazing amount of research in all of her novels but truth be told, I do miss the ancient women stories as they were so different and made me feel like I was reading something truly unique and new in a historical fiction world that focuses on marketable and well known figures and women.

But that said, I have yet to meet a Thornton book that I didn’t love. Her latest novel is about Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley! I am super excited for this latest novel as I think both of these women often get missed in having their stories told. Sure we know them for their own literary works but do we really know THEIR stories? That is what Thornton is going to explore in this latest novel! While I might not have been a fan of the book Frankenstein, I do have admiration for the courage, grit, and determination that Mary Shelley must have had to put out such a novel. And with a mother like Mary Wollstonecraft how could she not be a total badass?

This book is out just in time to round out women’s history month so I couldn’t think of a better literary duo to feature than this one! I couldn’t fit this one into my review schedule for this month which is why I opted for a feature instead, but I never miss a Thornton book so know that I will be reading this one a little later this summer and will be posting a review here soon! I am so excited to share my love of Thornton’s books with you guys and encourage you to pick up ANY of her books. You will not be disappointed in the level of historical research and her ability to pick interesting female figures to showcase!

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Review: Hotel of Secrets by Diana Biller

I first discovered Diana Biller when her first novel, The Widow of Rose House, was released back in 2019. I absolutely loved it and thought Biller had an elegant prose that sucked me into the story right away. Plus the romance was sensual, sweet and a little spicy. It was a wonderful mix and I just recall how much that debut has stood out to me over the years. I often recommend it to friends and family, so naturally when I saw this new release, I had to jump on it!

This is Biller’s fourth novel and while I have missed the other two (though they are on my book shelf currently!) I didn’t want to miss this one! I loved the cover, it caught my eye and drew me in. It is colorful and really eye catching and while I hate judging a book by it’s cover, this one made it hard to resist! Knowing that Biller has written such quality historical romances before made me even more excited for this than the cover though. If you haven’t read her books, you are missing out!

Not only did the cover and the author appeal to me, but the description of this book spoke to me. I loved that this book promised to take us to the glittering world of Vienna and indeed a world of intrigue and spies. If you are looking for a historical romance to escape with this spring, that will leave you feeling like you read something ‘new’ and ‘different’ then I think this book fits the bill. It was a pleasure to read this book and another that I will be sharing with family and friends!

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Review: Hell Bent (Alex Stern #2) by Leigh Bardugo

When this book came out, it promoted me to go back and read Ninth House so I could be ready to read this one. I had this whole drama around why I didn’t read Ninth House until now and you can read all about it in my review of Ninth House here. Bottom line, I suspected that I wouldn’t be able to read this latest Leigh Bardugo book before reading the first book in the series and that is absolutely correct. Do not read this book without first reading Ninth House. This book is basically an extension of the first book and it will leave readers disorientated within this book if you read it out of order.

I burned through Ninth House and was eager to start this one immediately following since Ninth House ended on such a cliff hanger. So I cleared my reading schedule and hunkered in with this book, while I didn’t read it as fast as I anticipated, I still read it fairly quickly and found a lot of the things that I loved about Ninth House, still held true in this book. This book also ended on a cliff hanger and I hope we get the next Alex Stern’s book soon! It sounds like this book series is going to be a trilogy but I really hope it’s more than that. I think there is a rich world to mine here and I would be sad if it ended after only three books when there is so much more to unpack and learn about.

If you are thinking about diving into this world of strange dark academia but aren’t sure yet—-I would say go for it. While I had some issues with Alex as a main character in the first book, overall the rich world and strong storytelling made up for the fact that Alex was at times an unlikeable character—while at other times you could cheer for her. Bardugo is an incredibly talented writer so in that you can’t go wrong. I would recommend Ninth House and then immediately follow up with this latest novel to get the full experience!

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