Reviews tagging 'Toxic relationship'

A Duke by Default, by Alyssa Cole

4 reviews

marareading's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional funny hopeful lighthearted relaxing medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.75

I got the audio version of this book from my library. I adored the first in this series. This one didn't hit as hard for me. I love that both books in the series so far have been international and involve many nationalities in the MCs. The accents in the narration though were way off in this book. Though set in Scotland, everyone sounded Jamaican, and that threw it off and definitely pulled me out of the story. I will read book 3 in a physical form. 

In this sequel we are following Portia. She is newly sober, and getting her life together. Arguably running from it. She has taken an apprenticeship in Scotland to learn sword making and use her art history major to spend a summer in a new culture helping a master swordsman with his armory. Tavish, said master swordsman, has his own baggage he is working through. He is a grumpy Scot. They start getting to know each other and begin to realize they compliment each other more then they thought.

I didn't love all the early references to Tavish being "older", and references to this big age gap, given she is 28, and he is 38 on this book. That isn't old, and that is barely an age gap. It is made to sound like 38 is just an insane age to be dating to considered for a relationship. It felt weird. The ending felt a bit rushed. I also wish we had more resolve with the things Portia dealt with throughout with her self doubt,  ADHD, and relationship with her parents. We don't get to see a path for her on many of these things. 

I did love the rep for ADHD, and the banter between our MCs. The way she learned to help herself and not everyone was wonderful. I will continue on the series, but again, likely not in audio.

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lakeness's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging emotional funny lighthearted relaxing medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

I really like Portia, her struggle with self esteem was sadly very relatable. The adult ADHD diagnosis was great too, but I'm confused how she's been regularly seeing a great therapist she trusts but who never suggests she may be neurodivergent. Why did she have to find out from a random youtuber and not the mental health professional in her life?

The mangling of the British peerage was a strange decision (the Duke of Edinburgh would be the Queen's husband, illegitimate children don't inherit titles, etc etc) but sure whatever! Tavish was a fun grump and he's gratifyingly lefty even if he does say shite way too much.

The third act felt very clumsy to me. It's so rushed and hastily tied up on the last page.
SpoilerThe drugging was unnecessary as heck! They had enough conflict to work with already, a photograph of Portia kicking the ex-Duke guy in the balls would have served just as well. And then it gets hand waved away like it's not a huge fucking deal to get roofied and end up in the tabloids while working on your sobriety! Upsetting :(
I feel like I complain about the pacing with every Alyssa Cole book so maybe it's just me not vibing.

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the_vegan_bookworm's review against another edition

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lighthearted slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.25

I hated Portia in A Princess in Theory, but Cole managed to create a character that I came to appreciate and root for throughout this book. Portia was fun and in some ways really relatable, and she had great chemistry with Tav. I couldn't stand the ending, however, and the book was riddled with plot holes.

Spoiler Making the Queen the sassy side character was a bizarre choice for me. The whole plot point with the nail polish made no sense. How would her nails be that visible in photos to notice the difference? How would no one with her IRL see that change? Don't you have to submerge your nail into the drink for it to work?
Why did no one suspect Portia might have been drugged instead of managing to get smashed in the span of like 10 minutes after not drinking for months? That's such a weird assumption to make when you've been present for her recovery journey! The final conflicts  between Tav and Portia were also pointless. How is it a misunderstanding when you literally tell someone to leave and go back to America? Do we ever address the sister knowingly letting her brother drug Portia? What was the point of him drugging Portia in the first place?

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memorable's review

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adventurous emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

I really like this series! I didn’t know I was one to like stories of royalty, but here I am.
I didn’t like Portia in the first book as a side character, but learned to love her in this book! It all made me understand her more and knowing where she’s coming from, her actions are understandable!
The ending felt somewhat rushed, I had the same feeling listening to the first one, too. There is such a huge built-up and then after the climax everything happens somewhat fast. I really like the story nonetheless and I definitely want to read the other books of the series, too!

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