Wednesday, November 30, 2022

November Reading Wrap-Up

Hello, all!

Can you believe we're nearing the end of the year already? I can't wait to get into the festive mood!


Daughter of Redwinter- Ed McDonald; 2/5
The Body in the Garden- Katharine Schellman; 4/5 (re-read)
The Duchess in His Bed- Lorraine Heath; 3/5 
Beyond Scandal and Desire- Lorraine Heath; 4/5
Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard- Tom Felton; *No rating for memoirs
Hamnet- Maggie O'Farrell; 3.5/5
Sorcery of Thorns- Margaret Rogerson; 4/5 (re-read)
The Cloisters- Katy Hays; 3/5
A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder- Dianne Freeman; 3/5
Thistlefoot- GennaRose Nethercott; 2/5


In My Dreams I Hold a Knife- Ashley Winstead; 4/5
A Fire Endless- Rebecca Ross; 4/5
A Wicked Game- Kate Bateman; 5/5
A Light in the Ember- Jennifer L. Armentrout; 3/5
Mysteries of Thorn Manor- Margaret Rogerson; 4/5


The Duke Buys a Bride- Sophie Jordan; 3/5
Lore Olympus, Vol. 3; 4/5
Curse of the Reaper- Brian McAuley; 3/5
One Dark Window- Rachel Gillig; 3.5/5
Clytemnestra- Constanza Casati; 4/5
Two Wrongs Make a Right- Chloe Liese; 3.5/5

Some favorites were: A Fire Endless, A Wicked Game, and Beyond the Wand. Least favorites were: The Cloisters, Daughter of Redwinter, and The Duchess in His Bed.

How was your reading month? What was your favorite/least favorite read?

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 5-24-22
Adult - Historical Romance

The Bride Goes Rogue- Joanna Shupe:
 If it were up to Katherine Delafield, she'd be married by now. She's spent the last year betrothed to the son of her father's late business partner and real-estate tycoon, Preston Clarke, and now she's finally decided she's done waiting. When she ambushes Preston about wedding plans, he tells her in no uncertain terms that there's absolutely no way he's marrying her. Instead of wallowing, Katherine decides to sample all the New York nightlife has to offer and meets a mysterious stranger at a costume ball. The pair get on like a house on fire, but when the masks come off, Katherine is shocked to find it's none other than her ex-fiance. Preston never expected Katherine to be so alluring, and he can't seem to get his mind off of her and how she makes him feel. Is it possible this heard-hearted rogue is falling for his would-be wife?

Wowza, this book! It had everything I love in a historical romance. Witty banter? Check. A strong-willed main character? Check. A rogue with a squishy tender inside? Check. I enjoyed watching Katherine and Preston's relationship blossom from passionate trysts to forging a real connection. Katherine was so determined to take her life by the reigns, and I loved watching her put her dreams of opening an art museum into motion. Preston was one of those loveable anti-heroes who make many mistakes and bad choices, but you still can't help but root for them. Their chemistry was amazing, and they are probably my favorite couple in this series so far. I think the conflict at the end wrapped up a little too quickly (though I did love Preston's top-notch groveling), but other than that, I loved it. I can't wait for Nellie's book next!

Rating: 4/5

Pub Date: 10-20-20
YA - Fantasy

Among the Beasts and Briars- Ashley Poston: Growing up in Aloriya, Cerys was always taught to stay out of the woods. Dangerous creatures and diseases lurk in the forest, but the people are safe as long as they keep within the village limits. A hundred years ago, the first king of Aloriya struck a bargain with the Lady of the Wild, but as his land prospered, the woods deteriorated. After a brush with the forest took her mother and friends, Cerys knows all too well how dangerous the woods can be. But inside Cerys lives a tiny spark of the forest's magic, and when the creatures from the wood destroy her home, it's up to Cerys to try and stop them. She decides to seek help from the Lady of the Wild, and she's joined on her quest by a fox with secrets of his own, and a strangely powerful bear. Together the group must fight their way through the wood, but as they do so, they uncover even darker secrets lurking in its shadows.

I've had this on my TBR for ages, and I'm so glad I finally decided to pick it up. It was so much fun. Poston did such a wonderful job weaving together the world and characters. I loved the idea of this forest magic, and it was so interesting learning more about it and how it affects the people it infects, which was terrifying. I liked watching Cerys navigate through the woods, and the banter between her and Fox was great. I loved their playfully teasing dynamic, and even though I figured out who Fox was, I liked how it all came together. Poston's writing was lush, descriptive, and so easy to fall into. I flew through it, and read the majority in one day because I didn't want to put it down. The plot may have been a bit predictable and had many of the classic YA fantasy tropes, but I would still recommend it if you're looking for something entertaining that would be perfect for the fall.

Rating: 4/5

Pub Date: 7-21-22
Adult - Historical Fantasy

Ten Thousand Stitches- Olivia Atwater: Euphemia "Effie" Reeves has a big problem: she's fallen in love. Mr. Benedict Ashbrooke is a gentleman, and gentlemen don't marry their housemaids, but Effie can't help but dream of becoming his wife. But then she meets a faerie named Lord Blackthorn who is eager to help her fulfill her wish. Effie knows it's dangerous to enter into faerie bargains, but what harm can it do when her life is already terrible? The pair agree that Lord Blackthorn will help turn Effie into a lady, thus winning Benedict's heart within one hundred days, and in return, she'll embroider ten thousand stitches onto his favorite jacket. It sounds simple enough to Effie, but when Lord Blackthorn keeps accidentally mucking up the plan with his good intentions, she realizes that maybe her heart has belonged to another the whole time.

Given my love of regency romance and fantasy, you would think I'd eat this series up. Sadly, I can't help but feel completely underwhelmed by it. I enjoyed the first book but felt it was lacking something, and the same can be said for this one, too. It was as if the plot was never fully formed. Maybe it's because the length is so short, but everything felt glossed over. The characters were one-dimensional, the relationship between Effie and Lord Blackthorn was flimsy, and the plot was boring. Lord Blackthorn was like a dopey golden retriever, and it did make for some cute moments, but that was it. I enjoy the cozy vibe, but I think it would've benefitted by having more magic and a more cohesive plotline.

Rating: 2/5

Thursday, November 24, 2022

End of the Year Book Tag

Hello, all and Happy Thanksgiving to all my US friends!

I saw this tag floating around BookTube so I wanted to give it a go.

1. Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish? 

No, not finishing books stresses me out so I have to finish whatever I'm reading before going on to something else. Unless I'm really not vibing with a book in which case I'll just DNF it rather than putting it down.

2. Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

I just picked up The Cloisters by Katy Hays that I think will be perfect for this time of year. 

3. Is there a new release you're still waiting for? 

I can't wait for A Fire Endless by Rebecca Ross to come out in December. It's the follow up to A River Enchanted which was probably my favorite book I've read all year.

4. What are three books you want to read before the end of the year? 

I'd like to read Hester- Laurie Lico Albanese, and I'd like to continue with my re-reads of the Percy Jackson and Throne of Glass series since I wanted to read them both this year and sorta failed 😅

5. Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite book of the year? 

I mean, sure. I always go into every book hoping it'll be a new favorite, so hopefully any that I pick up will do the trick.

6. Have you already started making reading plans for 2023?

No way. I'm a total mood reader so I never plan out my reading. I just pick up whatever looks interesting at the moment.

Here are the questions if anyone else wants to participate. Let me know if you do as I'd love to see your answers!


1. Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish? 

2. Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year? 

3. Is there a new release you're still waiting for? 

4. What are three books you want to read before the end of the year? 

5. Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite book of the year? 

6. Have you already started making reading plans for 2023?

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

November OwlCrate Review

Hello, all!

The theme for this month was "The Dark Heart of the Forest." Let's get into it!

First up, we had the next installment in their Literary Luggage pin collection. This one was inspired by From Blood and Ash and I really like the design here.

Then we had this bamboo travel toothbrush inspired by The Raven Cycle. I've never read that series, but I love a useful item.

Next, they included another of their Lord of the Rings ceramic bowls. This is inspired by Gondor, and features some quotes around the outside. 

I know I just said I love useful items, but this The Bear and the Nightingale soap dish holder seems so strange to me. I didn't realize enough people use bar soap to necessitate OwlCrate to make this one.

My favorite item was this reusable hand warmer inspired by Lakesedge and Among the Beasts and Briars. Everyone makes fun of the fact that my hands are always freezing (my mom dubs them my corpse hands), so I can't wait to use this.

The last item was a reading planner. As cute as I think these are, I never actually use them because I have my own reading trackers I like to use, so I always pass these off.

The book for this month was The Luminaries by Susan Dennard. This is set in a wild and mysterious woodland world where mysteries lurk and danger stalks the forest at night. Winnie Wednesday must learn to traverse the dark and fight for her life-- even if it means unearthing secrets that are best left uncovered.

I read an ARC of this book a few months ago, and sadly, I didn't love it, but I do think this edition is super pretty. Let me know what you thought of this months box!

Thursday, November 17, 2022

One Dark Window Review (The Shepherd King, #1)

Hello, all!

I've been craving an atmospheric fantasy lately, and I had seen One Dark Window by Rachel Gillig floating around BookTok, and I loved the cover so I figured I'd give it a go.

Pub Date: 9-27-22
Adult - Fantasy

Elspeth Spindle lives in the mist-locked kingdom of Blunder. Hundreds of years ago, its King was betrayed, and the throne usurped. Since then, the infection has plagued the land. Those who catch the fever are sentenced to death before developing the magic that will cause their bodies and minds to degenerate. When Elspeth was young, she caught the fever, but instead of turning her over to the King's cruel guards, her father sent her away to live with her aunt and uncle. For the past eleven years, Elspeth has had to hide the fact that she has magic, but it's getting increasingly difficult now that the monster inside her head is growing stronger.

Elspeth has tried to live a quiet life, not wanting to draw much attention to herself, but when she crosses paths with a highwayman, all that changes. Suddenly, she finds herself thrust into a dangerous quest to steal Providence Cards, the magical keys to saving not just the land, but all those infected with magic. Elspeth is desperate enough to try anything to rid her mind of the monster within, but when her mysterious highwayman turns out to be the King's nephew and captain of his guard, the stakes get higher. With treason on the line, the pair must tread carefully to succeed. With suspicions arising and the darkness within her threatening to overpower her, Elspeth quickly learns that everything has a cost, especially when it comes to magic.

I've been intrigued by this book for a while, and I'm glad I finally picked it up. It has that eerie, creeping vibe that makes it perfect for the fall. I thought the magic system was super unique. It revolves around tarot cards which I don't think I've seen utilized in other fantasy stories. Each card has a different use and way they affect those that wield them, and I found it all so intriguing. It was also interesting to see how the fever manifested in different people. For Elspeth, she essentially absorbed the magic from a card she touched that caused a being to become trapped in her mind. Their dynamic was interesting because you could tell they had some respect for one another, but the monster was ultimately feeding off her. I also liked the relationship between Elspeth and Ravyn, and the interactions between all the secondary characters. When it comes to the actual plot, I did want a little more out of it. I didn't feel like a lot happened, but I was still entertained and am looking forward to continuing the series.

Rating: 3.5/5

Tuesday, November 15, 2022


Hello, all!

It's been ages since I did one of these, so I thought it was about time I rectified that.

Listening to:

Stick Season- Noah Kahan: The only album that could knock out Taylor's Midnights from my most played on Spotify is this one. I'm obsessed with this record. I love the folk-y indie vibe. The whole album is great, but some of my favorites are: "Northern Attitude," "Stick Season," and "Homesick."

Midnights (3am Edition)- Taylor Swift: If Taylor releases an album, it's obviously going on one of these lists. It took me a few listens to really get into the new songs, but now I'm loving it and I'm bummed I won't be around for her upcoming tour! Some favorites are: "Maroon," "Bejeweled," and "Dear Reader."

Being Funny In A Foreign Language- The 1975: I've never listened to The 1975 before, but I heard one song and it was such an earworm that I had to binge listen to the whole album. Some favorites are: "About You," "I'm In Love With You," and "When We Are Together."


Ted Lasso:
My mom recently signed up for a free trial of Apple TV so that means I've got a free trial of Apple TV, and I knew I needed to watch Ted Lasso. I fully get the hype. This show is so good. I tried to savor it, but binged it too quickly and now I have to wait for the next season (and I guess actually sign up for Apple TV!)

Dickinson: Once I finished Ted Lasso, I jumped straight into Dickinson. I love satirical takes on historical figures, and I love Emily Dickinson, so this is perfect. I had seen a few episodes when it first came out and really enjoyed it, so I'm excited to be able to watch the whole thing. 

House of the Dragon: I think we can all agree that the last season of Game of Thrones wasn't the best, so I was apprehensive going into this spin-off, but I ended up liking it a lot. I thought the casting was great, the costumes were gorgeous, and the cinematography was beautiful. I can't wait for next season.


Vanilla Cookie Crunch wax melts:
At any point throughout the day, I'm burning a candle. I got a wax melter for my birthday a while ago, but only recently become obsessed with it, and this is by far my favorite scent I've found. It smells exactly like a buttery shortbread cookie and I can't get enough. I've been stocking up on it so I never run out.

Kyra Pro walking work outs: I like to think I'm fairly good about working out, but I wanted to mix it up a bit. I needed something that was going to be apartment friendly and not too intense, and some of her videos popped up while I was browsing YouTube, and I love them. She has a mix of different work outs, but I've been digging her walking ones. My favorites so far have been the Harry's House, Hamilton, and '90s hits. I definitely recommend checking her videos out if you're looking for quick and fun work outs! Going hand-in-hand with the above, I also wanted to fix my diet. Thanks to my mental health, I gained a ton of weight and was the heaviest I'd ever been, so I signed up for Weight Watchers over the summer and I owe a lot of my success to this blog. My friend told me about it, and everything I've made so far has been delicious. Even if you're not on WW, there are so many fast, healthier meal options on there.

Let me know some things you've been loving lately!

Thursday, November 10, 2022

October OwlCrate Review

Hello, all!

The theme for October was "A Study in Shadows." Let's get into it!

First up, there was this If We Were Villains inspired glasses case. I do like the pattern on this, but I tried to put my glasses in them and it doesn't seem very sturdy or protective, so I doubt I'll get much use out of this.

Then we had the next Literary Luggage pin which was inspired by Gallant. I really like the design and color scheme of this one.

Next up was this double-sided wooden bookmark featuring quotes from A Lesson in Vengeance and The Secret History. I'll never say no to a bookmark and I love the wooden ones, they're such nice quality.

Then we had this Zodiac Academy ID case. I've never read that series and I don't really intend to, so I'll be passing this along, but the design is cool.

Then we had this bento lunch box inspired by The Atlas Six. Since I work from home, I don't really have a use for a lunch box, and I didn't enjoy this book, so I'll be passing this off as well.

This last item we received was the next book in their OwlCrate Classics collection, The Secret Garden. I will admit, I was hoping they would do Dracula since it was October and, you know, spooky things and all that, but I've actually never read this so it's nice to have.

The book for October was The Whispering Dark- Kelly Andrews. This follows Delaney Meyers-Petrov as she navigates Godbole University, a school that seems to contain more secrets than students. Having been accepted into a prestigious program where students are taught to slip between parallel worlds, Delaney soon finds herself hearing voices in the shadows and facing entities that lurk in the dark.

I love the premise of this, and I also love the representation of the main character being deaf. I'm hoping to pick this one up soon. Let me know what you thought of October's box!

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Big thanks to the publishers for these copies!

Pub Date: 11-8-22
Adult - Contemporary

Better than Fiction- Alexa Martin: Drew Young is a self-proclaimed book hater, so the last thing she expected was to inherit her late grandmother's bookstore, the Book Nook. She'd much rather experience things firsthand with her camera than through the pages of a book. Drew knows she's in way over her head, and to make matters worse, a group of elderly book clubbers is intent upon meddling in her love life. Jasper Williams is a best-selling author and hopeless romantic. While at a signing at the Book Nook, Jasper is immediately taken with Drew and determined to show her the wonders of reading. So the pair decide to strike up a bargain: Jasper will curate a list of books perfect for Drew, and she'll show him around Denver to get inspiration for his newest work. With every date, Drew begins to open up more and starts to think that maybe happy endings aren't just fictional.

I've never read anything by Martin before, but this sounded too cute to pass up. There were a lot of things I enjoyed about it. I liked the cozy bookshop and wished it was a real place I could visit. The dates she and Jasper went on were cute. I also liked seeing Drew grow and learn to handle her grief with the help of Jasper and her friends. Despite all that, I never found myself getting too invested in the story, and I think it had to do with Jasper. I need to be able to root for the love interest in romances to feel invested in the story, and he felt a little too one-dimensional for me. Overall, it was sweet but not that memorable.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 11-8-22
Adult - Historical Romance

Never Rescue a Rogue- Virginia Heath: From the moment they met, Diana Merriwell and Giles Sinclair have been at odds. They tolerate each other for the sake of their loved ones, but if it were up to them, they'd never even look in the other's direction. But, of course, everyone believes their verbal jabs are a ploy to hide their mutual pining. Diana is far too independent and has worked too hard to climb up the ranks as a journalist to be tied down, and Giles is harboring a dark secret that could ruin him. When Giles's father unexpectedly dies, Giles inherits a dukedom, and it doesn't take long for someone to sniff out the truth behind his birth. Desperate to uncover his parentage before anyone else, Giles enlists the investigative help of Diana. But as they dive into his past, it's clear the tension between them is more than animosity. Not only are their livelihoods at stake, but their hearts as well.

The whole time I was reading the first book in this series, I was dying over the tension between Diana and Giles, so I was so excited to dive into this one. They have such playful, teasing banter that I adore. It's so fun watching them rattle each other. Both know what buttons to push to work the other up, and every interaction has you going, "Ok, now kiss." The romance was the standout here. It was lovely watching them open up and share the most vulnerable parts of themselves. Diana is such a force to be reckoned with, and I love how Giles not only accepts her the way she is but encourages her to be as bold as she wants. That said, the actual plot of this was a bit boring. Nothing really happens until about the 60% mark, and while the secret of Diana's job and Giles's background was a little interesting, I never found myself invested in either storyline. I still enjoyed Heath's writing style and the secondary characters (once again, we have a sassy butler who steals the show), and I'm looking forward to the next installment.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 11-8-22
Adult - Historical Romance

Some Dukes Have All the Luck- Christina Britton: Much to her parent's dismay, Bronwyn Pickering cares more about insects than finding a husband. After being burned in the past, Bronwyn has finally accepted that she'll never marry for love, but that doesn't stop her parents from threatening her into finding a suitable match. Ash Hawkins, Duke of Buckley can think of a hundred other things he'd rather do than get married. Despite his status, being part-owner of a gambling hell has lowered his chances of a happy marriage. But he's in dire need of someone who can help with raising his three rebellious wards. What Ash needs is a marriage of convenience, and when he stumbles upon Bronwyn, it seems the answer to both their problems is simple. Bronwyn will be able to get out from under her parent's thumb and study her precious insects, and Ash will have someone logical and steadfast to look after his wards. But when feelings begin to stir, the pair realize they've got more than they bargained for.

This was my first book by Britton, and I enjoyed it a lot. I'm always a sucker for a marriage of convenience trope, and I thought this executed well. I loved how Britton made use of the found family trope as well with Ash's wards. Who doesn't love a bunch of kids running around causing chaos in their wake? I enjoyed the relationship between Ash and Bronwyn and how it gradually grew into something more. There were moments of miscommunication that always bother me, but it comes with the territory. I liked seeing the yearning moments between the pair, and while I liked their chemistry, I think it could've been ramped up even more. One of my favorite parts of this was watching how supportive Ash was of Bronwyn and her dream of becoming an entomologist. It was so sweet how he never once believed she didn't have it in her to achieve her goals. Overall, I thought it was a fun time, and I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next in the series.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Blog Tour: Silver in the Mist Excerpt

Hello, all!

Are you looking for a new fantasy to add to your winter TBRs? Maybe one that has asexual representation and centers around palace spies? If so, then you need to check out Silver in the Mist by Emily Victoria.

Pub Date: 11-1-22
YA - Fantasy

Eight years ago, everything changed for Devlin: Her country was attacked. Her father was killed, and her mother became the Whisperer of Aris, the head of the spies. Joining the spy ranks herself, Dev sees her mother only when receiving assignments. She wants more, but she understands the peril their country, Aris, is in. There's a malevolent magic force called The Mists swallowing Aris’s edges, their country is vulnerable to another attack from their wealthier neighbor, and the magic casters who protect them from both are burning out. Dev has known strength and survival her whole life, but with a dangerous new assignment of infiltrating the royal court of their neighbor country Cerena to steal the magic they need, she learns that not all that glitters is weak. And not all stories are true.

You can check out an excerpt below!

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 9-20-22
Adult - Historical Romance

Something in the Heir- Suzanne Enoch: To keep the home she grew up in, Emmeline must follow two firm rules set by her grandfather: she must marry and produce an heir within the first few years of marriage. Emmeline completed the first task and only fibbed a bit on the second. Emmeline and Will Pershing have been married for eight years, and though they tried to have a child, it sadly wasn't in the cards for them. But that didn't stop Emmeline from conjuring up two fake children to appease her grandfather and keep her home. Now, as her grandfather's seventieth birthday approaches, Emmeline, Will, and their children are required to come to the festivities. That leaves the pair with only one choice: find two children willing to play out the ruse, or lose their home for good.

I feel a little duped by this one. I went in thinking it was going to be a fun historical rom-com, but what I got was more of a family drama set in a historical period. There was little to no romance in this at all. Sure, we get little bits between Emmie and Will as they learn that their marriage is more than the transaction they thought it was. Will has always loved Emmie, and Emmie grows to love him, and it was sweet watching them figure that all out, but it was more of an afterthought. The main plot revolves around polishing these two orphans to pass off as their children. There's no denying that George and Rose were precocious little miscreants, but all their pickpocketing and scheming did get repetitive quite quickly. Still, they had me chuckling and smiling with their antics. I did think Emmie and Will's plot was unnecessarily messy and didn't understand why they wouldn't just tell their tenants or those around them that they just adopted the children. I also couldn't stop myself from eye-rolling every time they swore they wouldn't be keeping the kids. You knew they weren't going to give them up and that they'd be a family by the end. I don't think this was a bad book necessarily, it just didn't end up being for me.

Rating: 2/5

Pub Date: 11-1-22
Adult - Contemporary

A Very Merry Bromance- Lyssa Kay Adams: Country music playboy, Colton Wheeler, is used to getting his way when it comes to the ladies until he meets Gretchen Winthrop. The two shared an incredible night together but then Gretchen hightailed it out of there in the morning, and the two haven't spoken since. A year later, Colton and Gretchen find themselves in a bit of a rut. Colton's music career is on the line, and Gretchen, an immigration attorney, is desperately trying to fight for her clients while keeping her practice afloat. When her wealthy, estranged family comes to her with a proposition that'll allow her to better help the community, she's hard-pressed to say no. All she has to do is convince Colton to be the face of her family's whiskey line. To her surprise, Colton agrees to consider her offer, but there's a catch: she'll have to go out on a date with Colton. The more time the pair spend together, the more they can't deny the spark between them. But they both will have to confront their pasts if they hope to have a future together.

I have this habit of finding Christmas, or holiday books in general, a bit cheesy, but Adams had me eating my words. I thought this was so adorable. I loved Colton and Gretchen right from the start. You could tell they had such great chemistry, and I loved how Colton would tease Gretchen to get a rise out of her. He was playful but protective of her, and it was sweet watching how much he cared about her, especially when it came to standing up to her family (who were terrible.) Gretchen was a bit Scrooge-like at the start, but I admired how she let herself be vulnerable and open up. One of the highlights of this series for me is the friendship between all the boys, so I loved all the interactions between them here as well. If you're looking for a steamy read this holiday season, I highly recommend checking this one out.

Rating: 5/5
Pub Date: 9-28-21
Adult - Historical Romance

A Reckless Match- Kate Bateman: Madeline Montgomery was raised to hate Gryff Davies for no other reason than their families have been at odds for centuries. Ever since the pair were children, they delighted in torturing the other with silly pranks. Despite it all, Maddie has harbored a secret affection for Gryff. But with her family close to ruin, Maddie can't afford to be hung up over a Davies. Gryff was planning to spend his time back from war enjoying some leisure time in London, but after an illegal duel sends him back to his country estate, he decides to take up annoying his beautiful neighbor Maddie again. When the pair stumbles upon a smuggling ring operating close to their shared lands, Maddie and Gryff strike a tenuous truce to stop the criminals. But with every darkened tunnel and secret cave they inspect, Maddie and Gryff realize the spark that's been burning between them all these years may not be hate after all.

My favorite thing about Bateman's writing is her characters. They're always so fun. Every time I pick up one of her books, I know I'm going to get top-notch banter and bickering. Maddie and Gryff continuously got under each other's skin with their childish antics, and I loved it. You could tell Gryff was always acting in that boyish way of terrorizing the girl he likes, and usually, I find that immature, but Bateman made it work so well here. I loved how Maddie never backed down from him and gave it straight back. I also love both of their families. They brought another layer of humor to this and made it even more entertaining. I did find the plot of the smugglers a bit bland, but I enjoyed this nonetheless. I can't wait to read more from Bateman, as she's quickly becoming one of my favorite historical romance authors.

Rating: 4/5