Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt (Maiden Lane #12) *review and giveaway*

A LADY OF LIGHT
Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked-and-nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him…only to find she may have been a trifle hasty.

A DUKE IN DEEPEST DARKNESS
Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.

CAUGHT IN A WEB OF DANGER…AND DESIRE
Much to Raphael’s irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involes herself in his life—and bed. Soon he’s drawn to both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael’s past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael’s own demons?

  

I’m in a deep hole of denial that this series is over. I held the book, read it, devoured it actually and I still managed to delude myself into thinking that this isn’t the end. I had a lot of expectations for this book. This is my absolute favorite Historical Romance series, along with the Wallflowers. This is the longest, most detailed, most immersive historical romance world I’ve ever been in period. So this last book had a lot to live up to….and it so did.

Raphael, Duke of Dyemore is a tortured, brooding man who is haunted by his past and has a singular purpose in his life…destroy the Lords of Chaos. He infiltrates the Lords with the goal of dismantling them once and for all. But they kidnapped the wrong woman to debauch and sacrifice. Raphael rescues her! Under the guise that he will kill her. He has no intention of killing her and soon realizes that the Lords of Chaos will not let them live when they realize that she hasn’t been killed so the only recourse is of course to marry her. And there starts our sweeping story.

For such a short book this had me at the edge of my seat! There was never a lull in the plot. Something was always happening or being discovered or almost always in our reach. The pacing in this was just masterful. Hoyt does one thing well and she does it to perfection. Its always a wonder to me when I read one of her books. They always follow the same basic formula but somehow are always distinct, fresh and delightfully entertaining. This book can measure up to many of the stronger ones in the series I’d say.

There were so many interesting details in this book. I loved how Raphael was half Corsican. I’ve never heard of anyone in any book no matter what genre, being Corsican so that was a nice touch! The Duke’s mother was Corsican and when he leaves England as a young boy he lives there for most of his life and also his servants are all Corsican. I want to hug Hoyt for adding this to the story! She always adds something different to her books!

The vibe of this book was so dark and a little bit gothic. This is literally the shining characteristic for me in an Elizabeth Hoyt historical…..the setting being in Georgian England and the story being darker than most historicals. We have a sadistic side of the story with the lords of Chaos story line, which has been a secondary/primary story line for some books now. When Iris first arrived at Dyemore Abbey I got so many Jane Eyre vibes! Because she’s with a guy she doesn’t know arriving in this huge dark and creepy mansion. She just met this guy at basically a sadistic sex cult, he whisks her away she manages to shoot him but woops he’s actually trying to rescue her and then BAM she has to marry him for her own safety….just wow.

I have to say there were also intense Hades and Persephone vibes in this book and I was lit for them! That is my favorite ship and these two omg dead ringers for Hades and Persephone. I mean come on in the end of the previous book we meet Raphael at a costume party where he dances with Iris and he’s dressed at the Lord of the Underworld. *FEELS*

I have to talk about Iris. Wow I loved her! I didn’t expect to love her as much as I did. She would not take any of Raphael’s shit and she would not back down! Iris, Lady Jordan is a widow in her late twenties. She was in a very loveless marriage with her previous husband who was also 10 years her senior. She thought she was going to marry the Duke of Kyle but he ended up falling in love in the previous book with someone else and got married. Iris was a bit disappointed because she’s tired of being alone so she completely took advantage of her situation when she ended up married to Raphael de Chartres, The Duke of Dyemore. I love that she decided to make her otherwise dire and confusing situation into an amazing opportunity.

While she nurses Raphael back to health (after she shot him lol) she begins to realize he might not be how she thought he’d be like. She wants to know him and try and make this marriage work. Raphael is resistant he fears the darkness and malice of his father might have been passed down to him, he doesn’t trust himself. Watching him open up and feel the light and acceptance that Iris brings into his life left me teary eyed. Iris is resolved to be happy no matter what. She wants the companionship she was always denied; while Raphael is denying himself happiness and companionship.

Guys I simply adored this book. I wish it were longer I ate it up! Seriously I prolonged the reading another day just because I didn’t want it to end. This was a sexy and heartfelt final book. I was a little upset that we end the series in the actual maiden lane but oh well. You will not be disappointed with this tale of redemption and love. It’s so good; you’ll be in denial that it’s the last book just like me 

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About the Author:
Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


stars are an inadequate way of rating this book

I will never forget the first time I found out about Harry Potter. I was in second grade, the other second grade class were all reading this weird little book. They had all just come back from the school library all holding it and by chance the one other girl that I knew in that class walked past me and I gathered up all my courage (I was painfully shy) and asked her…” hey what is that book that you all are reading?” she said; “Oh its Harry Potter” I was intrigued..so I asked her what it was about she said..”oh its about witches and magic”

this feeling overtook me at that moment…..I had to have this book…I’ve never felt something so intense…I wanted to know about magic., I NEEDED to know about magic. So I asked my mom if she could please buy me this book…we didn’t have a car or much money but but she could see how much I wanted this book so we walked to CVS on a lovely September day and they had a cute display of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I had no idea that this wasn’t the first book so I got it and devoured it… and I was immersed in this world of magic and fantasy…it saved me from my not so magical surroundings and in Harry Potter I found another kid who just like me, didn’t fit in with his family and felt totally alone. I went to the library and got my hands on all the harry potter books that I couldn’t buy and when I turned 11 I waited by a window in my old new england house by an even more ancient heater, looking out the window waiting for my owl, to tell me that I would be taken away and off to Hogwarts.

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The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke, #1)The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


So let me tell you about this magical book I read……………………

Guys this book is such a magical delight! It’s the perfect historical romance comfort read. Especially since its Tessa Dare and she always has this harmonious blend of heart clenching romantic, laugh out loud funny and quirky freshness.

The Duchess Deal is about a scarred, broody duke who, after a broken engagement, literally marries the first women he sees! (Yes, I know perfect premise)


“Your Grace, I regret the interruption, but there’s a young woman to see you. She’s wearing a wedding gown.”

……and Emma Gladstone, the unassuming seamstress with a bone to pick with the Duke, becomes his duchess.
He has rules, and so does she and herein starts the story of how they break their rules and fall in love.

The Duke of Ashbury was so broody and I ate it up. He was a lovable curmudgeon who fights his path the love every step of the way. He was scarred horribly in his face during war and isn’t out in society because of it. But he has such a good heart! He’s fiercely loyal to his staff and to Emma<3 he’s also fucking hilarious! He has such a sharp wit; some of the things he said had me in stitches!

“There” He stood back, chest heaving with exertion. “I made you a fire. You may now admire my manliness.”
“I do rather.”

The whole dynamic between them is so swoony! And not only them but the staff in the house all conspiring to get them together was so adorable!
Oh Emma, I fell in love with her. Mostly with the way she loved Ash (double swoon) she brought out the best in Ash, it was lovely to see. She is so caring and gentle but at the same time incredibly strong she is by far one of my favorite Tessa Dare heroines.
The plot went along smoothly I loved how Emma found her little niche with a group of quirky women just like herself (groups of quirky women seem to be a TD trademark) I’m looking forward to reading more about them

Also! Slight spoiler I think…my favorite scene was with Emma and her friends in the bookstore and that mysterious gentleman comes along asking Penelope for book recs! And they switch books! And we don’t even know how name!!! way to string me along Tessa!!! Omg that scene!!!

This book is classic Tessa Dare magic with all the best troupes I highly recommend this book if you want a swoony time.


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The Scot Beds His Wife by Kerrigan Byrne

The Scot Beds His Wife (Victorian Rebels)The Scot Beds His Wife by Kerrigan Byrne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ARC courtesy of netgalley in exchange for an honest review


Oh guys are you in for a good time with this one! The Scot Beds His Wife is an engaging and fresh good time that you won’t want to put down at all.

4.5 stars!

The Scot is Gavin St James, the son of a brutish and sadistic Laird Mackenzie who made his childhood a living hell. Since surviving the trauma that was Hamish Mackenzie, Gavin had that he wanted nothing to do with being a Mackenzie or being his son. He wanted to establish his own name and land and find women to actually love and be unlike his sire in any way possible. The way to do that is to acquire Erradale Castle, the Ross family estate, and make it his….but Alison Ross stands in his way.

Enter Alison Ross. Alison hasn’t been in Scotland since she was a child she lives in America and never wants to go to Scotland. The Mackenzie’s and the Ross’ have bad blood so she will never let Gavin St. James/Mackenzie buy her family estate from her. So when she decides to finally travel to Scotland to stop him formally she gets landed right in the middle of a train robbery.

Here enters Samantha Masters. Sam is married to a notorious train robber and on a heist gone wrong she ends up killing her husband to spare Alison’s life. And here is where the story begins! Alison gives Sam what she’s always wanted a new start and life, her life and off to Scotland she goes to stop Gavin and be free. But oh nothing goes as planned.

Guys this book surprised me so much! I didn’t think I’d like as much as I did. It was so well paced and expertly written. The story was truly unlike any Highland or Historical I’ve read recently. I’ve only read very few books where the protagonist is America so I loved that! Sam was so strong willed and sharp tongued she was never without a pistol or her determination. She falls very easily into her role as head of an estate. I loved reading about all her knowledge of cattle and pistols she was just so much fun. It was so unique to meet orphan Mormon runaway ex train robber Wild West shooter woman end up in the Scottish highlands and falling for brutish aristocratic Scot The idea sounds so Outlandish but it works!

I have to say that this had my all time favorite troupe hate to love! Oh they hated each other and I was HERE for it I giggled every time they bickered and watching Gavin get so flustered at this foul mouth pistol waving American was so amusing.

To Gavin, Sam/Bonny/Alison LOL is so outlandish and so other to anything he’s accustomed to that he very quickly decides that he’ll do whatever it takes to get her on her back as a means to an end for him to get Erradale. He is SO attracted to her but hates her at the same time and she hates him thoroughly that when they come together its so satisfying! Their chemistry was palpable and it kept me glued to my kindle.

I loved every single side character in this book. Seriously I had so many ships it was ridiculous. I won’t say much about them because I don’t want to spoil but I’ll just say: Eammon, Callum and Liam. Speaking of Liam while reading about his dynamic with his wife I kept thinking “wow that would make a great book I wonder if its next” and omg I had forgotten that this is series! And Liam’s book has already been written that’s defiantly at the top of my TBR now.

I have to give a shout out to the writing once again Kerrigan has a way of describing Scotland that left me breathless. And the way Gavin’s blooming love is written was nothing short of perfect. It really glowed through the writing how much he admired her and cared for her imperfections more than anything else. I’m so happy that I gave this series another try and I’m beyond thankful for the publisher for approving me for this ARC!



Buy Links:
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Author Website
Twitter – @kerrigan_byrne
Facebook – @Kerriganbyrneauthor
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Deathless (Leningrad Diptych, #1) by Catherynne M. Valente

Deathless (Leningrad Diptych, #1)Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



“What mirrors we are, set to face each other, reflecting desire.”


Oh what an incandescent fever dream of a book. I want to start by saying that I can’t tell you what this book is about even if I sat on my laptop for days typing. This is a dream, a folkloric tale, a fantasy, a romance, a winter dance, an unbelievable winter, a cacophony of sounds and a world of tastes in a cold birch tree filled Russia.


Where birds can be husbands, worlds exist in a single house, Trees are goblins and your friends with a veela. I guarantee you this will be the weirdest book you’ll ever read. It doesn’t follow any rules. Anything can happen in a sentence. Its Topsy turvy, wicked and cruel; it doesn’t give a damn about your feelings.


This story is about Marya Morevna, Death and Russia.


“I burn, I freeze; I am never warm. I am rigid; I forgot softness because it did not serve me”.

You never know up from down, everything is written in circles this story doesn’t deal with people as we know it. They don’t speak like us or act like us. This is the most Russian book I’ve ever read and I loved it for that. Its an allegory of Russia. It seems to be a painting with words about the Russian soul.


” I look at you and it’s like my throat being cut.”

There is something so alluring about Russia right? a land in perpetual winter, a language so unlike anything, writing so different from the ones we know….its so ‘other’ so out of reach..its almost seductive.

if you want to be seduced by something eerie, juicy and dark; open your mouth and eat this book, core and all.

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The NightingaleThe Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“Men tell stories. Women get on with it. For us it was a shadow war. There were no parades for us when it was over, no medals or mentions in history books. We did what we had to during the war, and when it was over, we picked up the pieces and started our lives over.”

I wasn’t going to write a review for this because this is the type of book that you should just know you should read; the type of book that you hear is good and you trust the praise enough to pick it up. Honestly, this book was an experience. Reading a World War II book is so unlike reading any other sort of book.

This book tore me open and exposed the most resilient parts of me.
I was there with these women, I was going through this. I was surviving and stitching myself back up and putting one foot in front of the other.
I realize I’m not saying much about the book and thats on purpose because you just have to trust me and everyone else who sings its praises and read it. There is a reason it was on the NYT bestseller list for so long.

I will say that this book is lush the writing is so vivid, you see and smell and taste everything…the french food being cooked in a country cottage, the herbs growing in the garden the sound of the Nazi’s marching into the town square and the sweat of fear in each passing day.

This novel is both compulsively readable and bleak
beautiful and disgusting
depressing and uplifting
the dichotomy that is woven throughout is masterful Kristin Hannah has all of my respect she is a prolific writer.

What is the book about?
its about WOMEN, and how they survive and endure


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Royally Endowed (Royally, #3) by Emma Chase

Royally Endowed (Royally, #3)Royally Endowed by Emma Chase
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


“Because he’s gorgeous, but even more than that—he makes me feel wanted. Valued and important, like I’m someone worth protecting. Knowing this man would give his life to shield me, guard me from pain or danger—it’s a heady thing. An arousing, stirring thing. “

3.5 “The Bodyguard” stars.

This was so enjoyable! I adore Emma Chase’s Royally series it honestly has a special place in my heart at this point. Its just the perfect blend of funny, sweet, romantic and steamy coupled with smooth and steady writing. I was highly anticipating this book and it was good!

This book is about Ellie Hammond, Olivia’s sister from the first book and her romance with the royal bodyguard Logan St. James. Their story takes place over a couple of years (Ellie is 17 and Logan is 22 dw nothing happens until later) where we get to see how they slowly but surely started and grew their romance.

The pacing of this book was so great, at least for the first half of the book. I love reading about them when they were younger and watching everything just grow. I enjoy the Dual POV, thats my book catnip.

But sadly enough I started to disconnect from the story around halfway to 2/3 into the book. Around the time the whole secondary conflict rolled around. It was so cringe to me MILD SPOILER –>(there was a crazy stalker guy threatening Olivia and co. ) This conflict cheapened the the rest of the book for me 😦 It made things seem like a bad lifetime movie.

I also felt like there was something missing with Logan’s character. But at the same time I think I would have enjoyed this book at a different time..so this is a classic case of “its not you its me” because I did rather enjoy it.

Besides the bad plot devices I loved Ellie’s character, it was a highlight for me. I really sympathized with her. Every time that she talked about how Logan made her feel safe and cared for in the beginning I honestly shed a tear.

I loved being with her on her journey from teen to adult.. all the while longing for Logan it was so sweet. This was a cute conclusion the the series ❤
We get to see a lot of action from the previous couples as well which was a huge plus.

I’d give the beginning of the book 4.5 stars and the rest 2.5 so it averages out to 3.5 total.

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