Cover Shot! The Trouble with Being a Duke by Sophie Barnes

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

The Trouble With Being a Duke by Sophie Barnes looks like a cute retelling of Cinderella.  I love the dreamy cover, too.  This hits stores August  2013.

    

Sometimes happily ever after…

Anthony Hurst, Duke of Kingsborough knows the time has come for him to produce an heir. But first he must find a bride. When he meets the most exquisite woman at his masquerade ball, he thinks his search is over…until the breathtaking beauty runs off. With few clues other than her figure, her scent, and the memory of her kiss, Anthony must find his mystery lady.

…needs a little bit of help.

Isabella Chilcott can scarcely believe it: she is finally at the Kingsborough Ball. As a child, she dreamed of dancing a waltz here and now, thanks to a gorgeous gown she’s found in the attic, Isabella is living her fairytale fantasy. And she’s waltzing with the Duke of Kingsborough himself! But she must escape before he discovers her secrets…for she is not who she pretends to be, and falling in love with Prince Charming is the last thing she can allow herself to do…

Review: Real Men Don’t Break Hearts by Coleen Kwan

 

 

 

Title:  Real Men Don’t break Hearts

Author: Coleen Kwan

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Ally Griffin is horrified to learn her new landlord is none other than the infuriating playboy Nate Hardy–the man she blames for getting her jilted at the altar six years ago. Plus, now her ex-fiancé is back in their hometown of Burronga, Australia, to marry his beautiful new bride…for real this time. Everybody’s treating Ally with kid gloves, as though she’s still heartbroken, but she’s just fine, thank you very much.

Nate Hardy is tired of his high-flying city career and bachelor lifestyle and is looking for something more real. The last thing he needs is to find himself undeniably attracted to Ally, the woman with whom he never saw eye-to-eye. But is he even capable of what Ally wants and deserves?

As Ally tries to pull her life out of the rut it’s fallen in, she doesn’t count on Nate stirring up her emotions. A short-term fling with the resident bad boy is practically irresistible, but only if she can guard her heart…


Review:

Real Men Don’t Break Hearts is a fun, quick read.  It’s about second chances and changing your outlook on life.  Both Ally and Nate learn to forgive and put the past where it belongs – in the past.  They finally take the lessons learned from a few challenging moments in their lives and start to look to the future.  Ally is especially chained to her past, having suffered a heartbreaking and humiliating breakup six years earlier.  Having been burned painfully by her fiancé, she turns her focus on saving her grandmother’s souvenir shop and decides that she’s not ready to trust again.  After being jilted at the alter, and worse, having hated Nate Hardy, her intended’s cousin, deliver the news, she’s not willing to put her heart at risk like that again.

Nate, a delinquent in his younger days, made it big in Sydney, but now he’s looking for something else.  All of his money and fancy toys don’t mean anything to him, and he’s searching for a new direction, and a new purpose, for his life.  He decides it’s time to face his past, as well as make up for some of the poor choices he made when he was younger.  Moving back to Burronga, the small town where he grew up, he reopens his deceased brother’s landscaping business.  Along the way, he is forced to realize that neither he, nor his older brother, were blameless for their poor reputations and the reluctance of some of those in town to welcome him back home.  Especially Ally Griffin.  He’s always thought of her as prissy, but as he gets to know her, he begins to think that he’s judged her unfairly.

I enjoyed how both Ally and Nate are made to reassess their opinions of each other as the story progressed.  Ally is having a hard time making ends meet at the shop, and she’s past due with her rent.  When she discovers that Nate is her new landlord, she’s terrified that he’ll kick her out, causing her to lose both her business and her home, the apartment above the shop.  She also hasn’t forgiven him for destroying her relationship with her ex. She has blamed him for years for being abandoned at the altar, and having to come to terms with her anger and resentment is hard for her.  She has blamed Nate for so much for so long that it’s hard to just let it go.  As she gets to know him better, though, she begins to realize that she misjudged him and that he’s not the cause of her relationship dissolving.

Nate’s attempts to make amends for his past mistakes makes an engaging backstory.  He’s matured and realizes what a turd he was when he was a teen.  He defaced public property, harassed the next door neighbor, and committed petty crimes.  He was on a ruinous path, and now he realizes how lucky he was to be able to put that behind him.  I liked the interactions between Nate and the neighbor and her crabby dog the best, and felt moved by Nate’s attempts to fix the relationship that he and his brother broke.

Real Men Don’t Break Hearts pushed all the right buttons for me.  Enemies to lovers, redemption, and discovering your path in life, one that makes you happy and enriches the person you are, are all themes I love to read about, and Coleen Kwan explores them with compassion and compelling prose. This is the first book I’ve read by her, but it won’t be the last.

Grade: B

Review copy provided by publisher