It’s a new month which means it is wrap-up time, friends!
I honestly did not plan to read much in November because I had planned on devoting a lot of my time to NaNoWriMo. Early into the month I really was not feeling in a writer-ly mood and quickly gave up on my latest WiP (to be picked up again sometime in the future) but did manage to write a few thousands words of another WiP that I am much further into. All that is to say, I hardly wrote BUT that allowed me to spend more time reading!
So let’s get into the books, shall we?
Promised by Leah Garriott
I started out the month with a sweet historical swoony romance. I keep saying how much I love the Proper Romance imprint of Shadow Mountain Publishing and this month was no exception. Promised was the first of 4 from Proper Romance that I read in November.
In this book, we follow our MC who had her heart broken and is determined to find a marriage of convenience so she attends a party who’s hosts plan to help all of their guests find a match. Upon being seated between 2 cousins, she sets her sights on the more rakish of them in order to protect her heart but his meddling cousin has other plans. This story has so much going on and I enjoyed it immensely. There are great family dynamics, and touches on topics of livelihood and relations in the early 1800s.
Portrait of a Scotsman (A League of Extraordinary Women #3) by Evie Dunmore
In a similar vein to my first read this month, I stuck with historical romance… but this one was decidedly less wholesome. I always look forward to Dunmore’s installments to this series but I think her first will remain my favourite.
Book 3 was entertaining and I loved that we got Hattie’s story but there was something in this book that didn’t sit quite right with me. Yes I still enjoyed it and was happy with the ending and some of the themes within the book but there were moments where I could not get fully on board in terms of aspects of the romance. I’m already not a huge fan of rake/’devil’ characters in historical romances but sometimes they can be done in a way that I can suspend disbelief. This book was a bit harder for me to do that with. Still had some great moments though and I still love this series.
A Swift and Savage Tide (Captain Kit Brightling #2) by Chloe Neill
Next up we have one of my most anticipated reads of the year and one of only 2 or 3 pre-orders that I actually did for 2021. I was also fortunate enough to receive an eARC from Berkley and NetGalley to read and review early. Truly everything was coming together to allow me to read this book as soon as possible haha. My pre-order even arrived a week before the release date!
In this book, we pick up after a bit of time has passed following the events of book 1. Kit still remains one of my favourite new MCs but all of Neill’s characters are amazing. The action is great, the romance is great… just such a wonderful high seas magical adventure story that brings in questions of class/station, sexism, politics… * chef’s kiss *. For more of my thoughts on book 1 and book 2, check out my reviews.
Healing Hearts (Savage Wells #2) by Sarah M. Eden
So far, Eden can do no wrong for me. I started reading her Dread Penny Society series last year and want to read all of her backlist so I grabbed this one up as soon as I could. I am blasphemous though because I could not find a copy of book 1 in this series so I started with the 2nd but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment at all.
In this book we kick things off with an arranged marriage gone wrong in the Western town of Savage Wells. Our hero (and only physician within miles) has a plan to marry a mail order bride but his ‘bride’ is under the impression she is brought to town to work as nurse. Getting off on the wrong foot but both needing the other for their own purposes, this story is full of swoon and secrets and a whole town of characters that you want to learn more about. I definitely want to get book 1 so that I can learn more about the story behind their characters who we saw quite a bit of in this book.
Dangerous Ground (Fiona Carver #1) by Rachel Grant
I was intrigued to read this one after I read the synopsis of book 2 on NetGalley. I love adventure books and this one sounded like a contemporary adventure with an archaeologist and an undercover photographer on a precarious mission. Sadly, this was probably my least favourite of my November reads and I’m really trying to decide if I want to keep going with the series when book 2 comes out.
My main issue is that there was just SO MUCH information and info-dumping. The general premise and plot would have been able to carry this story but the author felt the need to basically write a textbook about how to be an archaeologist right alongside an interesting story. I would have been fine following these characters and their exploits without knowing what section of the policies they did/or didn’t know or how thermal layers work, etc. It just made he whole thing way longer than necessary and took me out of the story. You can tell that the author has experience in the field but sometimes you can be a bit too close to something to write a fictional story… ya know?
The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen
Another Proper Romance that I had such a good time with. We got some subterfuge, some romance, some murder mystery and a whole lot of fun.
I don’t think this book was ever trying to give a red herring or really take you off the trail of who was good and who was bad but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment at all. I normally don’t like mysteries that are so obvious but the mystery wasn’t the main purpose of the plot and it really worked as an effective device for our 2 leads. I thought the internal conflict for Amelie was well-done because Allen could have written it so make her seem fickle but I found her quite relate-able. Overall it was a very fun read.
The Gentleman and the Thief (The Dread Penny Society #2) by Sarah M. Eden
And here we have my second Eden of the month. Apparently I was in a historical romance/mystery mood and I’m not mad about it. Book 3 of this series recently came out and I have been holding on to this one until I had the 3rd installment in my hands. I was graciously gifted it from a secret santa swap group on Instagram which freed me up to read book 2!
This series follows a secret group of penny dreadful authors who use their abilities to help the less fortunate (namely hard done upon children and women). In this installment, we have a member of the peerage (and secret writer) who is enamored by a local music teacher (who also happens to be a notorious thief). Their lives become more entangled when the underlying baddies of the series are up to no good again and forcing children to steal for them while they run a less than reputable gambling den. This series is a lot of fun and I love how Eden weaves the mystery of who runs the Dread Penny Society and who the Mastiff and his cronies are throughout the books. I’m excited for book 3!
The Devil and the Heiress (The Gilded Age of Heiresses #2) by Harper St. George
I read book 1 and loved it but have been putting off book 2 for a while. As mentioned before, I am note a huge fan of the rake/’devil’ trope but it seems to be one that you can’t avoid in historical romance series. Like Portrait of a Scotsman, there were parts of this book that really didn’t sit right. It felt like there was too much manipulation of our MC by our ‘hero’. I could see how the author was trying to work it out to be more mutual secret pining where they both wanted to be with the other but it still felt uncomfortable at times. The way St. George worked towards the resolution of this particular story was certainly purposeful and I did appreciate it (similar to Scotsman) but I think these tropes in series will continue to be one of my least favourites.
I think I am more excited about the 3rd book because we were able to see more of Max and Lady Helena and I am very interested in their story.
So there we have it! 8 reads for November and a very enjoyable reading month overall.
Are any of these books on your tbr?
We are officially in week 2 of blogmas/bookmas so I hope you stay tuned throughout the month for more!
Until next time, keep reading!