Book Reviews: First Comes Like and Books 2 and 3 of the Bridgeton series

First Comes Like by Alisha Rai

Goodreads blurb: Beauty expert and influencer Jia Ahmed has her eye on the prize: conquering the internet today, the entire makeup industry tomorrow, and finally, finally proving herself to her big opinionated family. She has little time for love, and even less time for the men in her private messages—until the day a certain international superstar slides into her DMs, and she falls hard and fast.There’s just one wrinkle: he has no idea who she is. The son of a powerful Bollywood family, soap opera star Dev Dixit is used to drama, but a strange woman who accuses him of wooing her online, well, that’s a new one. As much as he’d like to focus on his Hollywood fresh start, he can’t get Jia out of his head. Especially once he starts to suspect who might have used his famous name to catfish her… When paparazzi blast their private business into the public eye, Dev is happy to engage in some friendly fake dating to calm the gossips and to dazzle her family. But as the whole world swoons over their relationship, Jia can’t help but wonder: Can an online romance-turned-offline-fauxmance ever become love in real life? 

My take: 3.5 out of 5. I got an ARC of this book from the publisher (it is published mid February). This was an extremely fun read and a quick one too, finished it off in one sitting. I enjoyed that the characters are relatable, real, nuanced and flawed. You could understand them and their insecurities. I am not Muslim, nor can I speak on the culture, but I appreciated the respect I felt was shown in the book, for Jia’s religion and how that affects her relationship with men. As for my predictability index, although like any good romance you kind of know the end, there were some twist and turns that I didn’t see coming so big points for that. I enjoyed the relationship between Dev and his niece and would actually have liked some of that dynamic shown more, and her relationship with Jia. I had not read the previous Modern Love series, but liked this story description, and now you can call me a convert. I must now go back and revisit the stories of Katrina and Rhiannon  (Who make small but interesting appearances in the book). A very relevant, non plot point for this book: It provided another example of the wonderful diversity that has come in the way of romance fiction in the last couple of years. A hijabi wearing heroine joins the ranks of black, latin, indian, autistic and plus size characters that I have read about during the last year and I’m the more enriched for it.

Over the holidays (like i think over 70 m households according to an article I saw) I became obsessed with the show Bridgeton (if you haven’t watched it, go to netflix right now). After I saw that the source material was 8 books, one for each of the Bridgeton kids, I realized that I had to get into them as a second season is probably going to take over a year (if we are lucky) to hit the airwaves. Here are my thoughts for Book 2 and 3 and after some articles on the series for your reading pleasure (yes i miss the lavishness of the series (the dresses!) , but now i use my imagination for it)

The Viscount Who Loved Me: Bridgerton (Bridgertons Book 2) by Julia Quinn

Goodreads blurb: 1814 promises to be another eventful season, but not, this author believes, for Anthony Bridgerton, London’s most elusive bachelor, who has shown no indication that he plans to marry.
And in truth, why should he? When it comes to playing the consummate rake, nobody does it better…
—Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, 
April 1814
But this time, the gossip columnists have it wrong. Anthony Bridgerton hasn’t just decided to marry—he’s even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended’s older sister, Kate Sheffield—the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate is the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams…
Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes do not make the best husbands—and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate is determined to protect her sister—but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony’s lips touch hers, she’s suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself… 

My take: 4 out of 5. I really enjoyed this one. Maybe it was because i was just out of my Bridgeton netflix binge and wanted more of the family stories, but it was a very quick and enjoyable read. There is so much background as to what makes Anthony who he is that I found quite interesting, he definitely becomes more multidimensional from the first story. Additional, I’m loving the empowered regency women. Kate is a great character, not your traditional damsel and I was here for that! A cute story that I Can’t wait to be brought to the screen next. We all know who Anthony is but i have some serious casting ideas in my head for Kate.

An  Offer From a Gentleman: Bridgerton (Bridgertons Book 3) by Julia Quinn

Goodreads blurb: Will she accept his offer before the clock strikes midnight? Sophie Beckett never dreamed she’d be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton’s famed masquerade ball—or that “Prince Charming” would be waiting there for her! Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother. But now, spinning in the strong arms of the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton, she feels like royalty. Alas, she knows all enchantments must end when the clock strikes midnight. Who was that extraordinary woman? Ever since that magical night, a radiant vision in silver has blinded Benedict to the attractions of any other—except, perhaps this alluring and oddly familiar beauty dressed in housemaid’s garb whom he feels compelled to rescue from a most disagreeable situation. He has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, but this breathtaking maid makes him weak with wanting her. Yet, if he offers his heart, will Benedict sacrifice his only chance for a fairy tale love?

my take: 4 out 5. I was prepared to like this less than book 2 just based on the premise, as the whole Cinderella situation seemed a bit cliche. However I was mistaken. It’s actually quite a good book. I was totally into the story, loved their romance and quite enjoyed the character of Sophie. There were even some tears shed, I will not lie! Benedict is not as interesting as Anthony though. I love how the books totally wrap up everything in a nicely tied bow. We not only get one epilogue, but with the two epilogues. This one I will say its the least steamy of the three books so far, not PG at all but less R than the the other two. I love the continuation and a little bit more into the happily ever after (because of course you know there is a happily every after no?) Its under consideration that Lady Violet might be the nicest and most understanding character in the whole of the series, it boggles my mind that there was such a supportive mother in Regent times, especially when you compare her to the other nightmares that are presented here. I might have to do a thorough analysis of which Lady Violet I like most: Bridgeton or Downton abbey.

Some Bridgeton articles:

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