Wednesday, March 2, 2016

When a Scot Ties the Knot (or When a Grump Beats Her Slump)

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Series: Yes, #3 in the companion series Castles Ever After
Release date: August 25th, 2015
Publisher: Avon
Length: 376
Source: gift


This is going to be part review, part fangirling, and part me battering on about how my evil slump is FINALLY, FINALLY BROKEN! And it's all thanks to Tessa Dare and the wide world of historical romance.

If you'd asked me two days ago if I liked historical romance, I would have said "hell, yeah! That's one of my favorite things in the world, have you met me?" Then, if you were the rude sort of person who asks people to clarify/defend their position when they claim to love things, you'd ask me which historical romance books I'd read in my life--as in pure, classic romance, as in "would be shelved in the romance section of a bookstore" romance.

And I'd answer "Er...Um...Well.." and slither out of frame.

I really love romance (duh, I might have mentioned this once or a thousand times) and I even really love romance novels--but for some reason I don't read them. I used to be way into "chick lit" when that was the hot thing back in the Stone Age, particularly Sophie Kinsella, but somehow I never found my way into the world of classic romance novels like Tessa Dare's. Even though I always knew I'd like them. I think it was because I didn't have the foggiest notion of where to start. I hang out in YAlandia, and that's where all my bookish knowhow is. I need a mountain guide to lead me through the valleys and peaks (ooer) of Romancelandia, giving me the scoop on which authors I should go for and which books are Gillian bait.

I'm sooooooo lucky/grateful/pleased as punch that Christina sent me When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare as a belated Christmas present. As i mentioned in my post the other day, I have been slumping HARD. I hadn't finished a book in about two weeks. I'd started a bunch, and I'd liked almost all of them, but I didn't seem to be in the mindset to read. I felt broken.

Apparently all I was missing was a frothy, funny, delightful, sexy, smoochy, divine romance novel to cure all my ails. Oh my god, did I love this book something ridiculous. It has so much spirit, and voice, and humor. It has the kind of fun and ridiculous premise that i live for in romance, with all sorts of banter and sexual tension and delicious set-ups.


Maddie Gracechurch is a lady in Regency Era England who is exceptionally awkward, prone to panic attacks in large crowds, and just wants to stay at home with her books and her drawing pencils, if you please. So she invents a convenient, hot, mysterious Scottish fiance named Capt. MacKenzie, using him as an excuse to get out of all the various events of the London Season. She writes him letters, keeping up the charade, and when she no longer needs her fake fiance, she pretends he's died. To say she's shocked when the real Capt. Mackenzie shows up with all her letters, ready to marry her, would be an understatement.

But of course, he's heartless and damaged and fresh from the war, brutal and nothing at all like she'd imagined. They don't like each other, know, of course they do. But of course of course, there's CHEMISTRY, and a meeting of the minds, and they strike a deal for a convenient marriage between them (which is TOTALLY on my list of fave tropes), which leads to all sorts of banter and swoons and sexy times and romantic complications and lobsters and jokes and OH GOD YOU GUYS I GIGGLED AND SNORTED AND SWOONED AND SIGHED AND I HAD THE BEST TIME READING IT SUCH A GREAT TIME THAT I HAVE BEEN RENDERED UTTERLY INCOHERENT JUST THINKING OF IT.

And oh my god, clearly I have not ventured outside of my lovely YA kingdom enough, because halloo sexy times scenes that are truly SEXY, I have missed you, welcome, please stay

listen here you vacuous sack of uselessness

Maddie is basically me if i were plopped into a historical romance section. She's awkward and shy but not meek or pathetic. She lets her lies roll away from her, she's a bit self-centered, but she's a very good person. Also, she's completely hilarious.

I read it in one sitting. One sitting. I went from reading less than 100 pages from several books in two weeks to blazing through 300+ in a matter of hours. It felt so good. I felt like me again. YAY FOR READING, YAY FOR ROMANCE, YAY FOR TESSA DARE!

I immediately ordered the rest of her Castles Ever After series (Romancing the Duke and Say Yes to the Marquess which oh my god how can I NOT love books with titles like those?). I've got my eye on the rest of her oeuvre, but if you have ANY MORE romance title/author recommendations, PLEASE leave them in the comments! They don't have to be historical, though obvs that's my jam, and they don't have to be funny, though again, that is fully my jam. But recs for anything remotely in the vein of Tessa Dare would be much appreciated!


  1. Oh my goodness, you discovered Tessa Dare! She is one of my auto-buys and her Spindle Cove series is divine. I will single out book 2 in that series; A Week to be Wicked. It's one of the greatest historical romances I have ever read.

    I also highly recommend Julie Anne Long & Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series for historical kissing books.

    I started reading these before I started reading YA and I was super excited to discover so many new authors and series' I had yet to read. I hope you feel the same joy if you continue your Historical Romance binge ;-)

  2. I don't know if I've ever read anything straight up classic romance, but have you tried OUTLANDER? They're humongous, but addicting and some of the best books I've read in a while. Plus, the actor who plays Jamie Fraser in the Starz show is delicious.

    1. Also, it's UF, but Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series is super good too, especially if you're a fan of werewolves and fae.

  3. This sounds great! I'm definitely adding it to my TBR. As far as other romance books, I've heard good things about Sarah MacLean, who also writes historical romance. I have her book "A Rogue by Any Other Name" (which again, perfect title) but haven't read it yet.

  4. So glad you loved this! I love Tessa Dare. I've sort of fallen into the Romancelandia world over the last year or two and it's been amazing! I'm reading more than I ever have, and I'm just having so much fun. Tessa Dare is amazing! You should read Julia Quinn too!

  5. I need to read Scot bc I thought Romancing the Duke was SO much fun. I laughed a lot, way more than expected, and the sexy times were good too :D I forget, have you read the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig? It is a series of regency romance spy novels, framed by a modern day story, who is researching the spy known as Pink Carnation. And she has a grumpy love interest too! Their story carries over slowly in all the books, but each book stars a different historical spy couple. They are a LOT of fun! I read them awhile ago and still have the last 3 to catch up with. But it's a very good companion/sort of sequel series that all fits together and seems like they might be Gillian books!


    Courtney Milan. All of them. Start with the historicals, move on to Trade Me.
    Lynsay Sands' The Countess - Evil twin shenanigans.
    Julia Quinn's Bridgertons, particularly the first four.
    Jennifer Crusie's Bet Me - Contemporary love letter to food and telling meddling mothers to go fuck themselves.
    Connie Brockway's Other Guy's Bride - Sexy times in an Egyptian tomb!!
    Sarah MacLean's Nine Rules to Break - This one has highs and lows, but it also has disguising yourself as a boy and duels, sooooooo...Gilly book.

    I've also heard good things about Lisa Kleypas's Wallflowers and Hathaways series, but I haven't started them yet.


    -Anything by Julia Quinn. My personal favs are the Bridgerton series, The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever, Brighter than the Sun, and the Smythe-Smith Quartet.

    -The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

    -Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

    -The Desperate Duchesses series by Eloisa James

    -ALL THE TESSA DARE ESPECIALLY SPINDLE COVE. I also super loved One Dance With A Duke and The Scandalous, Dissolute, No-Good Mr. Wright is the CUTEST novella of all time

    -The entire Malory family series and The Devil Who Tamed Her by Johanna Lindsey

  8. Romance novels were my jam in high school! I still have a soft spot for them but I don't read them as much as I used to.

    One of my favorite authors was Lisa Cach. She writes across the genre: paranormal, contemporary, historical/paranormal. She's a very underrated author, IMO.

    J.R. Ward's books were great paranormal, sexy romance, before they became more urban fantasy stories that didn't really focus on the world she had built. Those lost their appeal for me with her book Lover Unbound.

    Hope you find more romance novels to enjoy!

  9. Tessa Dare is wonderfuuuuuuul! You MUST read her Spindle Cove series! It is absolute perfection! And has the cutest novellas EVEAH!
    Also, Kristen Callihan's Darkest London series. THE SWOONS. THE MAGICAL SWOONS.

  10. Haha welcome, welcome, I'm glad you gave Tessa Dare a try. She's one of my favourite romance authors! Her Spindle Cove series is great, too, it features really unique ladies. I really enjoyed this one, the plot was great!

    Other than that, I love
    - Julia Quinn (if her Bridgerton series seems a bit much to begin with, Because of Miss Bridgerton, the first in a new series, comes out in March - you don't need to read the Bridgerton series firs).
    - Sarah MacLean
    - Karen Hawkins

    I saw someone recommended Outlander - give the tv series a try if the books (there's 8 or 9 of them and they're LONG) seem like too much work. I read the first one and it's good, but the tv series is really gorgeous (but trigger warning for rape).

    You also might want to steer clear of older romances (like pre-2000) because even though they're considered as classics, you often get scenes of rape or dubious consent and the heroes are generally on the asshole side of alpha.

    I hope you find some favourites!

  11. Yes! Tessa Dare is AMAZING. I am glad you enjoyed this one and beat your slump with it! Reading slumps are the worst.

    If you are looking for another charming, fun, light, but still substantial book, Julia Quinn is a good way to go, specifically What Happens in London. You can also never go wrong with Courtney Milan. Ever. She is who I recommend by default when saying that romances CAN, in fact, be splenidly feminist but also amazingly romantic.


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