Friday, September 18, 2015

SERIES REVIEW: Castles Ever After (1, 2, 3) by Tessa Dare

Castles Ever After
by Tessa Dare
Published: January 28, 2014

In the first in Tessa Dare's captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love . . .

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and… Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

Every time I think of these books, I smile. It gives me good vibes. But before anything else, let me just say that I am a pretty versatile reader. I have preferences, yes, but I usually don't mind what genre a book belongs to as long as it sounds like something I would enjoy. Although, historical romances? I don't really pay them that much attention. Until I saw Romancing the Duke on my Goodreads feed and, after checking it out further, decided that 'Heck, yes. I am going to read it.'

These books are so sweet and cute and funny... I didn't expect to be this addicted but after reading the first book I was already stalking Tessa Dare and her other published works. I recently learned that she had a book signing in our country just a few months ago and I didn't have a single clue. I hate that I missed it since I am now a fan but hopefully there is a next time.

Anyway, this series isn't really directly related with each other. An earl died and bequeathed his castles to the main female characters of each book and... it's their story. That's about the only connection this series has with each other. I was hoping all of the characters would be present in the entire series even if the story focuses on a different pair but... yeah, no such luck.

Romancing the Duke is about Izzy Goodnight who's given up on romance and is more worried about her current impoverished state when a letter arrives to inform her of an inheritance. Say Yes to the Marquess is about Clio Whitmore who's been engaged since she was seventeen but, eight years later, and is still not married. Now she's tired of waiting and is set on breaking her engagement in order to live alone in her very own castle. And my favorite, When a Scot Ties the Knot, whose main character, Madeline Gracechurch, invented a fictional sweetheart just to "avoid the pressures of London society".

I was disappointed with the second book, Say Yes to the Marquess. I wasn't that sold on the romance and I think the story wasn't very... 1800's to me. The funny and sweet parts are still there but it didn't hold the same appeal. I remember telling myself, 'Come on. Smile. Laugh. That was funny!' But, no. I couldn't force myself. Romancing the Duke and When a Scot Ties the Knot are really, really great reads. Seriously, you can't read these two and not enjoy. Even though the second book wasn't that good for me, this series is a must read. I highly recommend it, even to nonreaders of Historical Romances.

“Here’s how it goes. You rise early one morning, Captain. Choose a misty one, when the gloom’s settled like a blanket over the valley.”
He waved his flattened hand before them like an artist painting a landscape. “You strip down to your skin, and then you have a dip in the loch. Wait until she comes looking for you. Because she will. They always do. But pretend not to notice when she does. And then—­just when she’s close enough to see and she’s been watching for a while, you rise up out of the water. Like a dolphin. Or a mermaid. Shooting up through the mist and pushing your hair back with both hands”—­Rabbie thrust both hands through his hair to demonstrate—­“with all the little beads of water trickling down over the ridges of your shoulders and chest.” He danced his fingers down his belly. “Like so.”
Munro snorted. “So he’s supposed to go down to the loch at half-­crack o’ the morning, paddle about in the frigid water for an hour or two, and then emerge? I’m finding it difficult to believe she’d see anything impressive.”

Cute, sweet, funny... everyone should be reading this. You'll be happy by the end of it.

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