Wednesday, September 2, 2015

When You Fall Out of Love

This is not the post I thought I'd be writing today. I was going to have a book review or another discussion up but not this post. Why? Because writing this post, telling you all what this is about scares me. It's terrifying to think that writing these words will give one aspect to this issues I'm not sure I want: certainty. When I put words down, on a computer or paper, it's far too certain for me. And yet, here I am, typing up these words for the whole world to see. But let me back up a little and explain to you why I'm writing this post. And, I want to tell you a story.

Many, if not all, of the books I read has a romance in it. Whether it be the love-to-hate or best-friends-turned-to-love or any of the numerous types of love stories out there, it can be found in books. But the one thing I haven't seen is what happens when you fall out of love. Now, I understand that this doesn't make for the best book around but I can't help but want a book where the main character decides to be single or go explore the world after her romance ends. This isn't to say that she can't find romance anywhere else but I want a book that really, truly, explores the aspect of falling out of love.

So to make my point, let me tell you a story: In high school, I never dated. It was a mix of lots of reasons none of which included thinking I was better than a silly high school romance. Simply put, I just didn't date. It wasn't something I wanted even though I am a die hard romantic. Fast forward to the fall semester of my freshman year of college and like many New Adult books, I met a boy. We went on a date that last about three hours and I thought it was going places. But in the end, it fizzled out. Around November, I knew it was over and I had moved on. I met this new guy and while I thought he was attractive, he was newly out of a relationship with someone I knew and I considered him out of my league.

So during the next semester, I saw more and more of this guy. He was friends with one of my closest friends and the three of us began hanging out. I let go of anything negative thoughts I had and began flirting with him. Long story short, by March of that semester, I asked him out and we began dating. We dated for well over a year and things were going great...but in January of 2015, as a sophomore in college (aka this past school year), something changed for me. I didn't think about him all the time. I didn't look for his texts or phone calls. I didn't have butterflies in my stomach anymore when he called me "sweetheart" and his kisses had lost their magic. I realized that the next two years of my college career were going to be very, very important for me and I wasn't sure if romance was something I needed. Wanted, yes, but not needed.

I reapplied with a sudden, uncomfortable feeling that I had fallen out of love with this guy. He was my first boyfriend and the first guy I share my kiss with (yes, I was 19 when I had my first kiss) and first date and so many more things. Yet, it wasn't enough. The spark had died out and it made me very sad. We dated for the remainder of the semester to bring that spark back but come May, when I was done with my semester, we still didn't break up. It turns out that no matter how we felt, we weren't ready to let go. But about a week ago, we ended it officially.

What I realized is that he was the perfect first boyfriend. He was kind and considerate and made me very happy but he wasn't, at the end of the day, who I needed in my life. He and I had once shared many things but as we'd grown older, those similarities diminished and went away. I want to see the world. I want to learn new languages. I want to bungee jump and sky dive and many other things that scare me. I want to drink coffee and eat macaroon in Paris or watch a theater version of my favorite Shakespeare play in London or learn about the art in Rome. I want to become a lawyer but I don't know what I want to study. I want to have adventures during my college years and make new friends. I want to go clubbing and dance my heart out.

It's not to say that he had to want all of these things for us to have a good relationship. What I'm saying is, I wanted him to want these things for me. I wanted him to support my love for travel and to see new places and even though he did, it wasn't the right kind of support. It was more of a "I'm glad you want to travel but..." That afterthought was always there and it made me seem like a bad person for wanting these things. He talked about missing me and how it would be hard but in times like this, I don't want someone to tell me that. What I want is for a guy to be as excited for this as I am. And I would do the same for him. While this sounds trivial, what I'm trying to say is that I wanted a guy who would support me regardless of what I wanted to do and understand that it wouldn't change how I felt about him. It's not like I won't miss him or that I don't understand what traveling means. It's just that for one moment, just one moment, I want to live in a blissful world where traveling to these far away places is possible without bringing in our relationship.

Because I am that die hard romantic who believes that there is someone out there for everyone, I think that eventually, my prince charming will come. We'll banter and argue and get angry but come back together again. He might be someone I already know or someone I have yet to meet. But for now, I'm okay with being single. I'm still sad that this happened and even though I will love this guy forever, I'm not stating to become okay with not having him in my life.

I feel like I've rambled on so I'm going to attempt to wrap things up. In the end, I want more books that deal with good to honest falling out of love scenarios. I know that sounds boring but I want one regardless. I want a heroine who simply don't love a guy even though he's nice and kind and supportive. Because sometimes, you just fall out of love.

What do you all think? Am I crazy for thinking/wanting this kind of book? Have you ever been in this situation? How did you handle it? 

Image source 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleyas

           It Happened One Autmn by Lisa Kleyas
Series: Wallflowers #2
Release Date: September 27, 2005
Publisher: Avon 
Source: Borrowed from Library 
Four young ladies enter London society with one necessary goal: they must use their feminine wit and wiles to find a husband. So they band together, and a daring husband-hunting scheme is born.

It happened at the ball...

Where beautiful but bold Lillian Bowman quickly learned that her independent American ways weren't entirely "the thing." And the most disapproving of all was insufferable, snobbish, and impossible Marcus, Lord Westcliff, London's most eligible aristocrat.

It happened in the garden...
When Marcus shockingly—and dangerously—swept her into his arms. Lillian was overcome with a consuming passion for a man she didn't even like. Time stood still; it was as if no one else existed...thank goodness they weren't caught very nearly in the act!

It happened one autumn...
Marcus was a man in charge of his own emotions, a bedrock of stability. But with Lillian, every touch was exquisite torture, every kiss an enticement for more. Yet how could he consider taking a woman so blatantly his bride?
I can't remember the last series I fell in love with before I came across the Wallflowers Series. After reading each book, I have to get my hands on the next installment and at this point I have four more books in this series. Anyways, when I came across It Happened One Autumn, I was surprised and excited to see that Marcus Marsden was the love interest to Lillian Bowman. I loved him in the prequel and Lillian was the fiery, opinionated Wallflower I connected most to so seeing them come together was a pleasure!

Lillian Bowman was a woman after my own heart. So similar to my own personality, I loved how vivacious, opinionated and open she was. She was always doing something, rarely sitting still which made reading It Happened One Autumn so much more fun! She was in a world where propriety and lady like behavior was expected but being the American she was, Lillian wouldn't couldn't let society dictate what she did with her life. Seeing her and Marcus butt heads was so much fun. And speaking of Marcus, while he isn't my favorite hero, I liked seeing his turmoil about falling for a woman unlike any he'd ever met before. He's just as stubborn as Lillian but his aristocratic upbringing clashed often with Lillian's freedoms.

And of course I can't talk about a romance if I don't talk about how the two fell in love and let me tell you, It Happened One Autumn had one of my all time favorite tropes. Hate to love romances, for me, are THE best kind of romances. Like, there's no room for negotiation. The next closest would be second chance romance but that's not what we're talking about right now! So from the moment Lillian and Marcus meet, they don't get along. Lillian likes to do what she wants and is willing to fight for it. Marcus isn't used to woman offering their opinions freely or doing what they please. Her American upbringing and his English, nobleman upbringing are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. But no one can stop love and Lillian and Marcus can't help but be drawn to each other. There is so much banter and arguing and awkward situations that I had the goofiest look on my face the entire time I read it!

Overall, I really enjoyed It Happened One Autumn. While Lillian is the one Wallflower, thus far, that I've connected to the most, I didn't love her story as I think I'm going to love Evie's or Daisy's. It might have to do with the immense amount of drama at the very end of the novel. It's going to make reading the next book in this series a very interesting experience for sure but I think the suddenness of the events bothered me a little. Otherwise, another win for Lisa Kleypas for sure! I don't understand how she writes such wonderful stories guys, but I love every second of it!
This book is pretty great but it’s missing something that would make it extremely special. I might re-read this book, possibly more than once. I would recommend this book to lots of my friends and some of my colleagues. 
I LOVE the red! It plays off Lillian's dark hair so well and really like the dress pop!

It Happened One Autumn was such a fun read! I loved the hate to love trope and Lillian is the one Wallflower I connect to the most!

Review: Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas

           Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Wallflowers #1
Release Date: October 13, 2009
Publisher: Avon Books
Source: Borrowed from Library 
Four young ladies enter London society with one common goal: they must use their feminine wit and wiles to find a husband. So a daring husband-hunting scheme is born.

Annabelle Peyton, determined to save her family from disaster, decides to use her beauty and wit to tempt a suitable nobleman into making an offer of marriage. But Annabelle's most intriguing -- and persistent -- admirer, wealthy, powerful Simon Hunt, has made it clear that while he will introduce her to irresistible pleasure he will not offer marriage. Annabelle is determined to resist his unthinkable proposition ... but it is impossible in the face of such skillful seduction.

Her friends, looking to help, conspire to entice a more suitable gentleman to offer for Annabelle, for only then will she be safe from Simon -- and her own longings. But on one summer night, Annabelle succumbs to Simon's passionate embrace and tempting kisses ... and she discovers that love is the most dangerous game of all.
So after falling in love with Again the Magic, I was eager to start the Wallflowers series. Kelly and Alexis both loved the series and I was ready to find out what all of the hype was about. Secrets of a Summer Night is one of those books I love to read when I’m bored or in a bad mood: well written, romantic, and a fun read. But I didn’t expect the one things that made me fall in love with the Wallflowers: the friendship between the four women. Secrets of a Summer Night, while not my favorite of the series, is worth a read for anyone and everyone!

It’s hard for me to figure out what kind of romance Secrets of a Summer Night. Even though Annabelle and Simon Hunt have known each other for a while, Annabelle wasn’t in love with him like Simon was with her. So it’s not a second chance romance nor is it a hate to love romance. But whatever it was, I loved seeing Annabelle open up to Simon and allow herself to be loved. Annabelle, like many women in the 1800s, has to find a husband before she becomes too old. Society people talk and it would ruin her reputation. Her family is also in need of money so an advantageous marriage is necessary. But Simon Hunt, no matter what he does to her when he comes close to her, is not the man for her. So Annabelle decides to fight her feelings. But that only goes that far, of course, and soon, Annabelle find that Simon is a wonderful man. The use of one of my favorite tropes, when one of the love interests gets sick and the other takes care of them, allows Simon and Annabelle to fall in love and truly understand each other. There was, however, some drama in about ¾ into the novel and I can’t figure out if I liked the drama or not. I guess that some drama is necessary in any novel and I have a feeling each novel will have a dramatic climax.

I think what I really loved about this novel is something people might find weird: I liked seeing how society in the 1800s still had a focus on birthright and linage. It’s interesting to see that regardless of how much money Simon has and how well known he is in an industry that is growing everyday, the fact that he has no title does not allow him into the home of the nobility. Annabelle, more into the nobility, no matter how low her rank is, has that over Simon. Seeing Annabelle and Simon understand what their love, what their marriage, will mean for their future. Annabelle has to understand that she won’t always be introduced to everyone’s home as she once would have. But in the end, I loved seeing that for Annabelle, her love for Simon was worth more than her standing in society.

Overall, I really enjoyed Secrets of a Summer Night. It was an excellent beginning to the Wallflower series (since Again the Magic is considered a prequel) and I can't wait for the rest of the series. I loved seeing Annabelle and Simon fall in love with each other. Seeing Annabelle find friends in the other three Wallflowers, however, was one of my favorite parts of this entire novel. There are not enough positive female friendships in books in general so I couldn't be happier.

This book is pretty great but it’s missing something that would make it extremely special. I might re-read this book, possibly more than once. I would recommend this book to lots of my friends and some of my colleagues.

I didn't LOVELOVELOVELOVELOVE this so it couldn't get a LYLAS rating. However, I would recommend this series to lots of people and I will re-read this for sure. It's fun, quick, romantic, and just what I need from a historical romance.

Unlike many romance novels, she's doesn't have her back to the camera with her dress undone so that's a plus. However, it's still pretty similar to most romance novels so there's that.

SoaSN had an amazing blend of romance, fabulous female friendships, and a strong woman willing to do what she must for her family.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas

           Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Wallflowers 0.5
Release Date: January 1, 2004
Publisher: Avon
Source: Library 
She gave him her innocence…

Lady Aline Marsden was brought up for one reason: to make an advantageous marriage to a member of her own class. Instead, she willingly gave her innocence to John McKenna, a servant on her father's estate. Their passionate transgression was unforgivable—John was sent away, and Aline was left to live in the countryside…an exile from London society.

…and he took her love.
Now McKenna has made his fortune, and he has returned—more boldly handsome and more mesmerizing than before. His ruthless plan is to take revenge on the woman who shattered his dreams of love. But the magic between them burns as bright as ever. And now he must decide whether to let vengeance take its toll…or risk everything for his first, and only, love.
When it comes to prequels for adult romance novels, they tend to be about one hundred or so pages. So imagine my surprise when this prequel to Lisa Kleypas's Wallflowers was a full length novel at 391 pages! I'd had this series on my radar for years but it wasn't until I read Kelly's reviews of the series that I decided I'd finally check them out from the library and see how I felt about it. Needless to say, I loved Again the Night and I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

If this book is any indication of what the rest of this series is going to be like, I'm ready for it all. The plot went with two tropes I LOVE: second chance romances and hate-to-love romance. And oh, boy was this a romance I would love! From the beginning, Aline and John McKenna--called McKenna because there were too many Johns on the estate already--had a forbidden romance. I mean, a lady and a servant? That can never happen. And because of this, once their romance is found out, they are separated. Of course, the book really begins when McKenna comes back hell bent on revenge. But what follows is love... Y'all, Aline and McKenna really, truly love each other even when they're young and reading those few chapters, it's so easy to see it. Their love, their loss, and their anger was so palpable that my heart went out to them. There's nothing worse than social class separating two people from being together especially if they are each others one true love. I’m also a die hard romantic so I was basically rooting for them from the very beginning.

As much as I liked Aline, McKenna was my favorite. He’s tall and looks almost ruthless and is an unconventionally handsome which all makes for a irresistible man! While he always knew that being with Aline would be near impossible, he still loved her after all that time--12 years to be exact so I have to insert this gif:
Anyways, back to McKenna! He was hurt after everything that happened with Aline but he never got over her. So when they see each other again, he wants to exact his revenge on her...but he loves her too much to harm her. Seeing his struggle with his feelings, the world's expectations and rules, and just what the future held for me was one of the best parts of this novel.

Now, I liked Aline a lot but unfortunately, there were some aspects of her character I couldn't get past. For one, her big secret--why she wouldn't get close to McKenna--seemed trivial to me. I understand that society was different during that time but the things she worried about seemed ridiculous to me! But more so, it's not as if McKenna would have cared about this secret of hers. I wanted her love for McKenna to be enough for them to get past all of the issues.

Overall, y'all, this was another win for Lisa Kleypas! It's a new series I've fallen head over heels in love with and I can't wait to begin the rest of the books. This was so sweet, romantic, and adorable that I couldn't help be keep thinking of Aline and McKenna even after I closed the book. If you like romance novels, please, please give this book a try! And come back to tell me if you could stop your self from getting the first book in the series.

This book is pretty great but it’s missing something that would make it extremely special. I might re-read this book, possibly more than once. I would recommend this book to lots of my friends and some of my colleagues.

This book was so close to being my all time favorites but alas, it didn't get there! However, I know that I'll be rereading this book if I'm ever in the mood for it and I would recommend it to everyone!

Why oh why do all romance novels have the same covers????? I don't understand this at all!

Again the Magic was a fun, romantic introduction to the Wallflowers Series! It features a second chance romance and it's a whole lot of fun!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Summer of Siblings

Whenever I hear talk about things missing in young adult books, absent parents always comes up. Missing Parents in YA is a problem, yes, but so is the lack of siblings in young adult books. Whether the main character is an only child or has a sibling in the background there are far less books with siblings that are present in the lives of the main character(s). It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a while this summer and when I decided to write more about my own relationship with my siblings, I thought I’d tie it into books (after all, the majority of this blog is about books).

But I should probably talk about what made me think of this topic. This summer has been a quiet one. I didn't do much at all and on a very boring day, I decided to watch Merlin again. My brother had never seen it and I thought it was about time he was introduced to British television. So we began Merlin to see how he would like it. My brother quickly fell in love with the show so we binge watched the entire series within weeks. I fell back in love with the world, the characters, and the show and watching it with my brother, seeing him love a show I already did was wonderful. Afterwards, we decided to watch a few episodes of Psych which quickly turned into a binge watch of the entire series as well. Watching these two shows, my brother and I started to get close.

It's not to say that we haven't always been close, however. Since we moved the U.S., it has just been my brother and me (until our sister joined us four years after we moved) so we are relatively close. But this was different. This time, my brother and I were spending more time together and falling in love with characters who weren’t real but we wished them to be was something I always wanted to share with my brother though books. But he isn’t the biggest reader so I never had that connection with him until now.

Since then, my brother and I went to Washington, D.C. for about three days. Navigating an unknown city with my fourteen year old brother seemed impossible and my mother was worried sick. But we found that it was probably the most enjoyable time of the summer for us. It was just the two of us, talking and laughing and seeing a new city we both fell in love with. My brother, I learned, is excellent with a map and is also very patient. Going to D.C. I’ve come to realize would not have been as much as without my brother.

And it’s moments like these, when all we’re doing is watching TV or walking the streets of a city, where I am incredibly grateful for my brother (both of my siblings, frankly, but this is more about my brother than sister). What would my life be like if I didn’t have him in it? This summer is going to be one of the most memorable summers of my life and I didn’t go anywhere extremely special or do something crazy. The people I was with, the time I spent with them, made this summer one for the record books. It’s the little moments, the little conversations, the laughters that I believe we remember for the rest of our lives.

Whenever we think of siblings in books, Young Adult or otherwise, either they’re not there or are evil and I hate that. My relationship with my siblings is far from perfect but it’s perfect in its imperfections. Why don’t more characters in books have moments like this? Why don’t they have siblings that get mad at them or annoy them or help them get their shit together? Siblings can help you get through hard times or they can cause you grief. I’m not trying to paint a beautiful, utopian, there-are-never-bad-days kind of siblings relationship but there many, many benefits to having siblings. I only wish books showed that.

**All images link to the Goodreads page for the book.

Young Adult

These are just a few of the books I could think of that had siblings mentioned in different capacities. Saint Anything has a complicated sibling relationship but I appreciated how the relationship developed. Just Visiting's sibling relationship was always there even though neither of the siblings were together. To All the Boy's I've Love Before (and the sequel) has a strong, central sibling relationship which I think everyone loves! Who can forget Katniss and Prim's relationship in The Hunger Games? One of the most known, appreciated sibling relationships in the young adult world (just a hunch) shows just how important having a sibling can be. I LOVED the sisters relationships between April, May and June in The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June


The Kincaid siblings in this new series were fabulous and I LOVED reading about them! While they argue and torment each other, the love each of these siblings has for the others is so palpable and I probably loved Second Chance Summer for that very reason. Aline's relationship with her brother and sister and they support they show each other in Again the Magic made the biggest difference in the lives of our main character. Nowhere but Home features a sisterhood that made me so thankful for my own big sister. Queenie and her sister have such a strong relationship and no matter what they've been though, they're always there for each other. Arranged might not be about siblings but I loved Anne's relationship with her brother Gilbert! They make fun of each other but at the end of the day, they're always there for each other. 

What do you all think? Do wish more siblings were in books, YA or otherwise? What have been the most memorable experiences with your siblings?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Review: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

           Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Release Date: May 5, 2015 
Publisher: Viking Juvenile  
Source: Library
Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.
If y’all don't know, I love Sarah Dessen. I’ve reviewed two of my favorites from her on the blog recently and when I heard about Saint Anything, I had to get my hands on it. Billed as the darkest book Dessen’s written, Saint Anything should have become my new favorite Dessen. Instead, I wasn’t as impressed by Saint Anything as I wished I had been. While I loved some of the characters in this novel, I wasn’t as happy with the family relationships and the romance that was a part of this novel. Furthermore, the supporting cast of characters I’ve come to love from a Dessen novel bothered me to some degree.

So, lets talk about the plot because it was probably one of my favorite aspects of this novel. I loved that Dessen decided to talk about a topic not often seen in YA—incarceration. Something that actually affects more teenagers than meets the eye, talking frankly about this situation made me very happy (not that it happens but the fact that it's getting more attention). For those of you who don’t know, I’m a political science major so incarceration rates are something we talk about often. There's more to incarceration than just being put in jail and and example is the racial disparities among those incarcerated so seeing a young white man incarcerated was very different from the narrative we see on TV all the time. And seeing how this event changed Sydney and her family was a big aspect of why I enjoyed Saint Anything. Their family was not perfect to begin with and this allowed Sydney to figure out who she is and what she wanted. I liked that this plot focused on family and self-discovery even if I wasn’t as happy with the execution at times.

But with the good, comes the bad and for me, the relationship between Sydney and her mother was frustrating to boot. The blind way Sydney’s mother treated her brother frustrated me because she didn’t put any blame on Peyton. Parents are not perfect but personally I cannot handle parents who treat their children as if they can’t be touched. For me, this exemplified privilege. Peyton was in a facility where he was well taken care of and could take classes to better himself and call him family often. I’m not saying that this was a negative in the common sense but it was hard for me to look away from. Probably, in my opinion, because of all of the police brutality cases happening recently and since its something I'm looking into often, it was hard for me to truly sympathize with Peyton and his mother. Sydney was easier to deal with and I'm glad that Dessen didn't change Peyton and Sydney's mother.

As for the character, I am so sad that I was disappointed on this front too. Known for her wonderful characterization and romance, I loved Sydney’s characterization to a point. I could understand how she felt when her parents paid more attention to her brother and not her and maybe this is why I wish that she had spoken up to her parents, especially her mother. It was frustrating and annoying and understandable but I wish she had attempted to stand up for herself a little more. Maybe I’m being too picky but I couldn’t help myself. I wanted her to allow her anger and frustration to come through. And as I said, I wasn’t as impressed with the romance. I know that this was more about family than the romance but I felt like Mac and Sydney didn’t have as much of a connection as many other Dessen pairs. I wasn’t as excited or happy when Mac and Sydney finally got together. I knew that they’d end up together and I was happy for the coming together but it didn’t happen.

Overall, I wasn't as impressed with Sarah Dessen most recent release. While I enjoyed the book and the fact that such a tough topic was the main subject, lots of things fell flat for me. The characters, the romance, and the plot itself did not move me as I had hoped it would. I was left wanting more from all aspects of this novel.

It’s an okay book. I don’t dislike it but I'll probably not re-read this book. I would recommend it to some people but it won't be the first book to pop into my mind.

I like this cover a lot actually. The merry-go-around is significant to the story and the deep colors of the cover give off the serious tone of the novel very well.

I wanted more from SA. I didn't love the MC as much as I wanted to, the romance was as lackluster and the family aspect was frustrating.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Review: Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare

           Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare
Series: Castles Ever After #2
Release Date: December 30, 2014  
Publisher: Avon
Source: Borrowed/Gift 
Your presence is requested at romantic Twill Castle for the wedding of Miss Clio Whitmore and . . . and . . . ?

After eight years of waiting for Piers Brandon, the wandering Marquess of Granville, to set a wedding date, Clio Whitmore has had enough. She's inherited a castle, scraped together some pride, and made plans to break her engagement.

Not if Rafe Brandon can help it. A ruthless prizefighter and notorious rake, Rafe is determined that Clio will marry his brother—even if he has to plan the dratted wedding himself.

So how does a hardened fighter cure a reluctant bride's cold feet?

● He starts with flowers. A wedding can't have too many flowers. Or harps. Or cakes.

● He lets her know she'll make a beautiful, desirable bride—and tries not to picture her as his.

● He doesn't kiss her.

● If he kisses her, he definitely doesn't kiss her again.

● When all else fails, he puts her in a stunning gown. And vows not to be nearby when the gown comes off.

● And no matter what—he doesn't fall in disastrous, hopeless love with the one woman he can never call his own.
This book was everything I was hoping it would be and more. I read this within hours of buying the book and had a huge book hangover afterwards. Romancing the Duke is still my favorite (hello, Ransom <3 <3 <3 <3) but Say Yes to the Marquess came pretty close. Unlike the first book where the castle represented an escape for the main character, the castle given to Clio was her independence. This castle was Clio's way of breaking away from all of the things that tied her down and her way of  finding love. It was also the way she put herself first.

So as I said above, I loved Clio. She's head strong and independent and quite frankly, she's had enough. For eight years she's been waiting for Piers Brandon to come back from India and marry her but she's done by the beginning of the book. Once she learns that she's been given a castle, she realizes that this is her chance to do something for her. She's trying to find her place in a world without a husband in a time when women needed men to be considered important. She decides to start another business and make something for herself. Seeing her change throughout the book--she grows so much and really begins to stand up for herself--was so wonderful. Basically, this entire book had me fist bumbling the air because she's strong and independent and doesn't need a man. This quote is basically the epitome of this novel:
Rafe to Clio:"I demand to know the truth. Is there someone else?"  

Clio to Rafe:"Yes. There is someone else. There's me."

His eyes flashed with surprise.

“There’s me,” she repeated. “I’ve spent a great deal of time alone these past eight years. I’ve come to know myself and my own capabilities. I’m resilient. I can withstand a little gossip. Or even a lot of it. I can inherit an estate and devote myself not only to its preservation, but its improvement. Because I’ve taken all those lessons and accomplishments that were supposed to make me the ideal diplomat’s wife—and I’ve made them my own. At some point, while you were roaming the globe, making treaties and dividing the spoils of war, I quietly declared my own independence. I am the sovereign nation of Clio now, and there will be no terms of surrender.”(page 271, ebook)
Does that not make you super happy to read? I loved the feminist aspect of this novel and Clio was the shining star of this novel. That's one thing adult romances do well: they can have incredible feminist women leading the stories. 

Rafe, y'all, what can I say about him? He's exactly the kind of man I love reading about in adult historical romance novels: he's tall, dark, and sexy. He's the bad boy with a heart of gold and he stays as far away from any kind of romance as he can. But he's not a jerk, y'all, even though he's a bad boy so don't worry about that. He doesn't really care about his title and would rather fight for the reasons he's known for. I really loved seeing him open up and fall in love. Even if he didn't want to at first:
“I'm not going to touch her," he said [Rafe] "She's not mine. She never will be."

"Indeed." Bruiser rolled his eyes and dusted off his hat. "Definitely no years of pent-up lusting there. Glad we have that sorted.”
But it's fair to point out that he's not really as original as I'd like but because I don't read a lot of adult romance, I was okay with the unoriginality. So, overall, I really enjoyed Say Yes to the Marquess. It's not my favorite read but still incredibly enjoyable and I can't wait for the next book in this series. But unlike other romance series, the only thing these books have in common is the castles the women receive SO you don't have to worry about reading them out of order! But if you like swoon worthy leading heroes, independent (feminist!) women, humor, and an adorable dog, this is the book for you! 

This book is pretty great but it’s missing something that would make it extremely special. I might re-read this book, possibly more than once. I would recommend this book to lots of my friends and some of my colleagues.  

I wanted to love, love, love this book but it wasn't perfect. It was nearly perfect, though, and I'll be rereading it for sure!

What is with all of these romance novels with women in dresses with their backs open? Is this to show that it's a historical romance novel? I kinda wanted a cover that was more...feminist. Like, Clio is basically kickass and I wanted a cover that would show her strength.

I really enjoyed reading SYTTM even though it wasn't perfect. I LOVED the feminist MC and the romance was incredibly fun.