A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall

A Lady for a Duke by [Alexis Hall]

Two out of Five Stars

Summary

When Viola Caroll was presumed dead at Waterloo she took the opportunity to live, at last, as herself. But freedom does not come without a price, and Viola paid for hers with the loss of her wealth, her title, and her closest companion, Justin de Vere, the Duke of Gracewood.

Only when their families reconnect, years after the war, does Viola learn how deep that loss truly was. Shattered without her, Gracewood has retreated so far into grief that Viola barely recognises her old friend in the lonely, brooding man he has become.

As Viola strives to bring Gracewood back to himself, fresh desires give new names to old feelings. Feelings that would have been impossible once and may be impossible still, but which Viola cannot deny. Even if they cost her everything, all over again.

Review

I love Alexis Hall’s work. But this was a complete miss for me. I feel like I may be one of the few people who didn’t enjoy this. Which makes me wonder, what did I miss? I was excited to read a trans, historical romance.

Viola Caroll, presumed dead at Waterloo, took this as her opportunity to live as she truly is. She lost her status, her friends, and most importantly, the Duke of Gracewood.

The families reunite and Viola sees how her decision impacted her dearest friend. He’s lost himself in grief, pain, and suffers from PTSD. He lives in a fog of laudanum and alcohol. His sister, who needs to be presented to society, is suffering due to this. As Viola inches further into Gracewood’s life, chaperoning his sister, she becomes closer to the man who’s friendship she cherished in the war so much.

I had a few issues while reading this. The pacing was sluggish. It took me to about 50% in to actually get interested in what was happening. I was close to DNF’ing this one, but pushed myself to keep reading because of all the other reviews I’ve read. The chemistry between Viola and Gracewood was lacking. I didn’t feel any attraction between the two of them. They just existed.

I was more interested in the secondary storyline, involving Gracewood’s sister, rather than Viola and his story.

What I did like, was they romance was NOT fade to black. Which is what you get with so many novels featuring a trans character. It was handled delicately and read just like a romance in the regency era would read.

The portrayal of a character suffering from PTSD in this time period was what I personally feel to be as accurate. It was a misunderstood illness and Gracewood did what he could to deal with his time in war – drug and alcohol abuse.

Overall, it took me several months to read this book. I read twelve other books between starting A Lady for a Duke and finishing it. While this was a definite miss for me, you may enjoy it according to other readers.

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Icebreaker by A.L. Graziadei

4 out of 5 Stars

Summary

Seventeen-year-old Mickey James III is a college freshman, a brother to five sisters, and a hockey legacy. With a father and a grandfather who have gone down in NHL history, Mickey is almost guaranteed the league’s top draft spot.

The only person standing in his way is Jaysen Caulfield, a contender for the #1 spot and Mickey’s infuriating (and infuriatingly attractive) teammate. When rivalry turns to something more, Mickey will have to decide what he really wants, and what he’s willing to risk for it.

This is a story about falling in love, finding your team (on and off the ice), and choosing your own path.

 

Review

Hockey romances are my jam. There’s something about masculinity, the passion for the sport, and the tenderness that can be exhibited by the characters that pull me in. Icebreaker is a great book for those who don’t want all the smut but enjoy the art of flirtation and the development of a relationship.

Icebreaker is branded as a YA novel. I would categorize it as more of a new adult novel. It takes place at a university. There is fade to black scenes and mentions of hookups, but it’s not graphic by any means.

Mickey James III is a legacy hockey player. His father is a pro NHL player and as the predicted number one draft pick, Mikey has a LOT to live up to. Even if he’s not entirely sure if jumping into professional hockey after one year at university is over, staying at university for four years, or not pursuing hockey at all. Add in depression and anxiety? As the first line in the novel says, it makes life wild.

Jaysen is Mickey’s biggest competition in the draft class and the other of our leading men. There’s an intense rivalry between him and Mickey determining who will go number one and who will go number two. He likes to poke at Mickey to get under his skin. He reminded me of a friend in high school, alternative and into screamo.

It isn’t until the two are forced into an icebreaker that the anger melts and once they stop seeing each other as something other than rivals.

The style of writing in this novel makes it an extremely quick read. I read half one night before bed, the next half the morning after. I liked seeing text conversations and Twitter interactions between the characters. It put you further into their world.

The in-game writing was done well. I could picture the plays and actions in my mind without a problem. I also liked seeing the team bonding moments and how that contributed to the main characters’ growth.

Super fun, easy read. I’m looking forward to reading more by A.L. Graziadei.

 

Get your copy here

K.A. Merikan – Author Spotlight

Meet the Authors

KA Merikan

 

K.A. Merikan are a team of writers who try not to suck at adulting, with some success. Always eager to explore the murky waters of the weird and wonderful, K.A. Merikan don’t follow fixed formulas and want each of their books to be a surprise for those who choose to hop on for the ride.

K.A. Merikan have a few sweeter M/M romances as well, but they specialize in the dark, dirty, and dangerous side of M/M, full of bikers, bad boys, mafiosi, and scorching hot romance.

 

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Purchase your copy here

“What I find in my territory is mine to keep. Even if it’s a man.”

Jag. Uninhibited. Possessive. Walks on the wild side.
Dane. Gentle giant. Monster lover. Plays it safe.

Dane always knew his illicit fantasies of rough sex and dangerous men would one day lead him down a path of no return, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t stay away.

After being beaten half to death by his ex, he wakes up in a collar, chained to a wall by a wild man who claims Dane as his property.

From the moment Jag lays his eyes on Dane, he knows he wants to keep him. Big, strong, with colorful ink all over, he is the most unique man Jag had ever seen. But Dane has to be tamed if he is to become Jag’s mate for life.

All Jag needs to do is assure Dane that he will be protected and provided for, because the sparks are already flying. But Dane keeps nagging about irrelevant things like his family, responsibilities, and the Internet. No wonder Jag needs to keep him chained for longer than he expected.

The only way out for Dane is to play the role of Jag’s obedient, loving ‘mate’, and bide his time until he can escape. But while Jag is absolutely batshit, and his junkyard den lifestyle is insanity, he also showers Dane with treats, worships the ground he walks on, and f*cks him like a monster, the way Dane always dreamed of in his most secret fantasies.

 

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Things to know when reading any K.A. Merikan Book – They are DARK. But if you drop by Goodreads or look at the synopsis available on Amazon, the trigger warnings are posted for you to make the decision if you would like to read the book. I strongly recommend everyone read their trigger warning lists before purchasing a K.A. Merikan book. 

If you like dark romances, extremely alpha type men, and even books featuring a lot of folklore, these are definitely books you’d want to read. 

I’ve read the beginning books of several of their series, but I have to pace myself when reading them. I’m not one to dip my toes into dark romances, but when I want to, I always find myself drawn to their work.

 

Connect with the Authors

Website * Twitter * Patreon * Facebook 

Rebecca Langham – Author Spotlight

Meet the Author

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Rebecca Langham is a single mum who lives near the Blue Mountains (Australia). Completing a dual degree followed by postgraduate work, she has majors in English, History, Gender Studies and Education from the University of New England.
 
A Xenite, a Whovian and all-round general nerd, Rebecca is a lover of science fiction, kittens, and caffeine.  When she isn’t teaching History to high schoolers or wrangling children at home, Rebecca enjoys playing broomball and reading.

 

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Purchase your copy here

Aurora Rose slumbers in the city of Oldpass, a cursed kingdom once allied with Grimvein. The victim of a malicious spell, she is powerless to control her own fate. At least, that’s how the story goes.

Now, as Grimvein faces attack, Prince Amir has been tasked with the life-threatening rescue of Aurora, his parents hopeful he will marry the princess and secure safety for their kingdom. Talia, the strongest spellcaster in the known lands, protects and guides the prince in his quest to save a woman that threatens to change their lives forever.

In finding Aurora, the pair will realise the truth about themselves and each other, coming to understand just what – and who – they really want in life.

 

Click on the covers to learn more 

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Why do you need to read Rebecca Langham’s work?  

Epic, sci-fi world building. Her writing encourages further thought into today’s society and the impacts our decisions today can have on tomorrow. I always found it easy to get lost in the stories she has crafted. 

 

Connect with the Author

Website * Twitter * Facebook

Jaclyn Quinn – Author Spotlight

Meet the Author

J.Quinn Author

Jaclyn has been an artist from a very young age. From drawing cartoon characters and evolving into portraits, making jewelry, photography, and now writing. She has an amazing support system in her family and friends and couldn’t be more grateful.
She lives in central New Jersey, love summers at the Jersey Shore, rock music, wine, sexy men, and laughing a lot with her amazing friends and family. Sunday dinners at her parents’ house are crazy, hysterical and you can count on a movie quote…or ten…being thrown out. Insults between siblings is how they show our love for each other!
When she’s not creating, you can find her reading books from her favorite authors. She is a hopeless romantic, starving for passionate characters and always craving that happy ending, whether in reading or in writing my own books.
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Ford Ashton
They say you never forget your first. Who’s they, you ask? Good question. I wish I had the answer because I’ve tried everything to get Abe Manning off my mind. Now he’s here, in Coral Pointe Inlet, staying in the inn that I co-own with my four best friends. Okay, I may have had something to do with that, but these thoughts are driving me crazy. I need to know what happened all those years ago, because if the saying is true, how was it so easy for Abe to forget about me?

Abe Manning
A free trip to Coral Pointe Inlet, the shore town that is the very definition of paradise, is exactly what I need. The best part being there’s no chance of running into two lying liars who lie. For the first time in a long time, I’m able to take a much-needed deep breath. That is, until my past shows up on the beach with a sexy smile and an unexpected confession. It was hard enough forgetting him the first time, and now here he is again—a temptation I’d never been able to deny. I have to admit, though, it’s incredible to know I still have the ability to fluster Ford.

Flustering Ford is book 3 in the Shore Thing series. While it can be read as a standalone, it’s recommended that the reader get to know this hilarious group of friends in Coral Pointe Inlet by starting with book 1.

Click on the covers to learn more
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While Writing ….

I actually can’t listen to anything while writing. I’m easily distracted. Lol
I do, however, always have a lemon-lime seltzer next to me. Not very exciting! Haha
I’m a pantser…which isn’t always easy. I’ve never been good at making outlines.
I absolutely love writing books about found family and small towns. I throw my quirky humor into every book, even the more serious ones.

Connect with Jaclyn Quinn

Website * Facebook Reader Group * Twitter * Instagram * TikTok

I Heart Sapph Fic Pride Collection

Celebrate Love FB

Celebrate love with this collection of delightfully lighthearted romances from some of the most popular authors of sapphic fiction today!

These eight standalone Pride-themed novels have been carefully selected by I Heart SapphFic to give readers a taste of the very best modern sapphic fiction has to offer. Each women loving women story promises to bring all the feels. June is the perfect time to remember that love is love, and everyone deserves a happily ever after!

One of the overarching themes, that I absolutely love seeing, is characters who find a sense of community and a better sense of self. I’ve got several of these on my TBR list and a couple of them are new to me authors!

If you are a Kindle Unlimited reader, these are all available in the KU program!

Davidson King – Author Spotlight

Meet the Author

Meredith Davidson King

Davidson King, always had a hope that someday her daydreams would become real-life stories. As a child, you would often find her in her own world, thinking up the most insane situations. It may have taken her awhile, but she made her dream come true with her first published work, Snow Falling.

She managed to wrangle herself a husband who matched her crazy and they hatched three wonderful children.

If you were to ask her what gave her the courage to finally publish, she’d tell you it was her amazing family and friends. Support is vital in all things and when you’re afraid of your dreams, it will be your cheering section that will lift you up.

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Purchase your copy here

Peace has descended on Black Veil once more, and hope is on the horizon.

Until a new threat arises…

Emil is the head of security, first line of defense for Cain and Black Veil. He takes great pride in his job, is fully prepared to sacrifice everything in order to keep everyone he cares about safe and the world from crumbling. But the Tritons and Sirens have approved a treaty, and the dragons will most likely agree to allow vampires to use their blood for sustenance and protection once again, so all is as it should be. Then Emil meets the emperor of dragons, and his life goes from calm to chaotic in the blink of an eye—loyalty and love now battle for dominance in his head.

Aldrich is the emperor of dragons, and he cannot afford to make mistakes. He and his clans enter Black Veil in the hopes that The Blood Boss will join them in the fight to save his family. Aldrich is ready to lay down his life and for anything else thrown his way—except the crystal-eyed vampire who immediately captures his interest. Emil is everything he has always wanted and would never dare dream of, and when all he holds dear is threatened, it’s Emil who keeps his dragon grounded.

When unimaginable dangers swarm into Black Veil, the vampires and dragons join forces and call upon every living creature in Black Veil to defeat the enemy. While love blooms, lives perish, all to fight a war against the darkness threatening to consume the world. Will Emil and Aldrich claim victory and have their happily ever after, or are they doomed to an eternity apart?

Click the covers to learn more!

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The Writing Process

Emperor of Dragons playlist:

Breath and Life by Paul Dinletir, Audiomachine
To The Stars by Randy Edelman
Play With Fire by Sam Tinnesz, Yacht Money
Angels Will Rise by Twisted Jukebox
One Last Dream by Radical Face
Edge of Dark by Armon Jay
Eternal Flame by Audiomachine

When I write I always have to have something to drink. It’s usually coffee, ginger ale, or water with Mio in it.

For snacks, I pick things that won’t yuck up my fingers so usually grapes, almonds, or pretzels.

Favorite Book this year so far? That is hard. The Trouble With Trying To Date A Murderer by Jennifer Cody is certainly up there so I will go with that.

Princess is my cat, best friend, and writing assistant (Picture attached in email) I never owner a cat before her but when I saw her in need of a home something hit me right in the heart. I can’t imagine my life without her.

Princess

Connect with Davidson King

Website * Facebook Reader Group  * Instagram * Twitter * Author Facebook

Rachel Bowdler – Author Spotlight

Meet the Author

 

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Rachel Bowdler grew up and still lives just outside of Manchester, on the edge of West Yorkshire. She was insistent on becoming a dancer until the first time she put pen to paper, and has been writing ever since. After graduating from the University of Salford with a degree in English and Creative Writing, she delved briefly into the world of photography before becoming a freelance romance author, focusing on her passion of representing diverse characters and relationships in her stories, particularly with queer, curvy, and working-class protagonists. Her dream has always been to smell the pages of her own book, and she accomplished this after self-publishing her first novella, Paint Me Yours, in 2021. Her only wish now is that her words make readers feel warm and fuzzy inside – and maybe to see her book on a shelf one day.

When she isn’t assaulting her computer keyboard or daydreaming about fictional people in her pyjamas, you can find her cuddling and walking her talkative dog, Enzo, enjoying and photographing the rural scenery of the local Pennines, wishing it was time to put up her Christmas tree, and painting with watercolours (but not very well!). 

Her festive debut novel, Honeymoon for One, will be brought to readers in November 2022 with Bonnier imprint, Embla Books.

 

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Purchase your copy here

Though they are polar opposites in many ways, best friends Bryce and Thea are both attracted to all things horror, including true crime — and to prove it, they co-host weekly podcast episodes of Perfect Crimes together with their producer, Mikey, in the dusty basement of Stone Grange’s local bookstore. When a string of murders suddenly begins to plague their small, unassuming town and the police find themselves at a loss, it seems that there’s nobody more qualified to help solve the mystery.

However, it’s soon realized that Bryce and Thea are already more entangled than they could have ever expected, because the murders follow a pattern. Their pattern. With every case discussed in the podcast comes a new imitation of the circumstances surrounding the victim’s death, and Bryce and Thea find themselves trapped in a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the killer, as their friendship — and feelings that they’ve always left hidden until now — is pushed to its breaking point.

When the evidence begins to pile up, conflicting suspicions of the killer’s identity begin to rise, and friends and acquaintances of the duo become victims; things seem to get closer to them with each death. Can they survive the dark shadow following them around town, and remain the strong-willed, closely connected partners in crime they’ve always been? Or will their obsession with murder prove their undoing in a final, emotional showdown as the killer is revealed?

 

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Check out the above books in her Pride sale through the month of June!

Saving the Star, a romantic bodyguard suspense with a Hollywood actress who is facing a threat more dangerous than she can grasp; Holding on to Bluebell Lodge, for fans of soft contemporary, small-town, Hallmark-esque rom-coms; and The Fate of Us, which has a hint of magical realism and fantasy as it explores soul mates and past lives. All of these books are 99p/99c!    

Click on the covers to learn more!

 

Connect with Rachel

Website * Twitter * Instagram

 

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I have playlists for each book I write. I usually listen to a few songs from them before writing or between, but never during because I can’t focus with background noise, unfortunately. Here’s the one I made for Partners in Crime, which was fun because it’s much moodier and darker than my usual works. 

Spotify Playlist for Partners in Crime

 

Alli(son) Temple – Author Spotlight

Meet the Author

 

Photo by Rebecca Burridge Photography

Whether she knew it then or not, Allison has been a writer since the second grade, when she wrote a short story about a girl and her horse. Her grandmother typed it out for her and said she’d never seen so many quotation marks from a seven-year-old before. Allison took that as a challenge and has tried to break that record in all the stories she’s taken on since then. It’s good to have goals, right?

Allison lives in Toronto with her very patient husband and the world’s cutest team of rescue pets. She tries to split her time between writing, exploring Toronto’s parks, and traveling anywhere that has good wine. Tragically, this leaves no time to clean the house.

Alli writes both F/F and M/M romance novels. 

 

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Get your copy here 

A pirate’s home is the sea, sailing beyond the horizon with her true love.

Aboard the Crimson Siren, Captain Cinder finally has the life she’s always dreamed of. Her freedom is restored, her crew is a trustworthy bunch, and the princess who holds her heart is by her side.

But trouble brewing back in Redmere threatens to pull Cinder and Princess Georgina apart before their future can truly begin. Georgina feels a responsibility to help, while Cinder is vehemently against returning to their former home. Instead, she embarks on a dangerous treasure hunt that could cost her everything. Faced with a deadly threat, Cinder pushes everyone around her away just when she needs them most.

Friendships are tested. Risky alliances forged. Yet as storm clouds darken Cinder’s future, one thing becomes painfully clear: Her home is taking on water, and time to save the people she loves is running out.

 

Click the covers to purchase

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Connect with Alli

Website * Facebook Reader Group * Instagram * TikTok

Alli Temple created such an elaborate and rich world in The Pirate & Her Princess series. It was so easy to get lost within the pages. As a reader, one of the most important parts of a story, is how genuine it feels. I was able to connect with several of the characters. She made me laugh, grit my teeth, and sigh with relief.

If you are looking for a story that keeps your attention, will definitely keep you from doing anything productive, check out her books! Run, right now. 

 

If you like Alli Temple, check out: Rachel Lacey, Keira Andrews, TJ Klune

Amy Aislin – Author Spotlight

Meet the Author

Image

Amy’s lived with her head in the clouds since she first picked up a book as a child, and being fluent in two languages means she’s read a lot of books! She first picked up a pen on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class had to stay inside for recess. Tales of treasure hunts with her classmates eventually morphed into love stories between men, and she’s been writing ever since. She writes evenings and weekends—or whenever she isn’t at her full-time day job saving the planet at Canada’s largest environmental non-profit.

An unapologetic introvert, Amy reads too much and socializes too little, with no regrets. She loves connecting with readers.

Pride Month Sale – Keeping Casey

.99 Sale until June 27th

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Purchase your copy here

Casey Preston is the guy with the plan. The list-maker. The one who micromanages his own life.

Spontaneously offering to be his best friend’s fake boyfriend to get Ethan’s annoying team captain off his back?

That’s not thinking things through. It’s not even smart given Casey’s been fighting his feelings for Ethan for years.

Ethan Rain just wants to play hockey and get his college degree. Adding a fake boyfriend to the mix? He doesn’t need that complication.

If Casey were his real boyfriend, though? If he got to keep Casey forever? Now we’re talking.

Click the cover to purchase!

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Connect With Amy

Twitter * Instagram * Website * Facebook

What do I like about Amy Aislin (besides her writing)?

When she says she likes to connect with her readers, she means it. She’s very active in her Facebook group. She is active in other author groups as well. She participates in a lot of fun games and giveaways. She’s as much as a reader as the rest of us. I love checking her Goodreads to see what she’s read and her thoughts on the book.

Amy cares about the accuracy in her work. Fun fact, I got to sensitivity read for her on one of her books.

Also I have an ABSOLUTE love of hockey and I can read her work in one sitting.

If you like Amy Aislin, you should read:

RJ Scott, VL Locey, Rachel Reid, Amy Daws, Beth Bolden