Cover Image: Bombshell


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Member Reviews

Even though I haven’t read the companion series for these characters, there’s no way I’m going to pass up a new Sarah MacLean book and this one was fantastic. 

I love love loved Sesily. She’s clever and knows her worth and so full of heart. Caleb is stand off-ish and stern and absolutely smitten. Together they’re all sorts of flirting disguised as banter-jabs and so much longing, it was delicious. Oh, and I am loving this new set of ladies. 

Plot wise, it was great. There are a few layers and threads, but it’s such a great set up for the other books. I loved that Sesily spoke her mind and stood up for what she wanted and while Caleb tried to protect her, he realized she didn’t need it. 

Overall, I devoured this story and loved these characters and hate that there’s going to be year until the next one. 

**Huge thanks to the publisher for providing the arc free of charge**
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Bombshell by Sarah MacLean 

I knew, I just KNEW, when we first met Sesily Talbot that we were going to be gifted with the perfect Sarah MacLean story, and I was👏🏻not👏🏻disappointed 👏🏻. 

We first met Sesily Talbot in the Scandal & Scoundrel series where she makes an appearance in all three books. While a reader could enjoy this new novel/series without reading those books, it would be a disservice to the character development. You should at least read book 3 of the prior set (The Day of the Duchess) for your initial introduction to Sesily & Caleb, but do yourself a favor and read all three—I promise you won’t regret it 😘

As for Bombshell, we are introduced to quite the merry band of aristocratic marauders Sesily has become a part of, with the mission of bringing down the villains of the ton, be it abusive husbands, lecherous employers, or anyone else who’s power lets them escape the rest of society’s judgment. As we watch this group of women in action, Sesily’s path keeps crossing with Caleb Calhoun, the bar owner that only ~seems~ like he is immune to her charms. But as Caleb begins digging in to Sesily’s secrets, she brings uncovering his secrets as well…

I adored this book. Sesily is a firecracker, and there was just the right amount of angst between these will-they-or-won’t-they-lovers, but what made it even more exciting was the entire group Ms. Maclean has built—my only complaints that I don’t have the patience to wait for the rest of the books in this series! 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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I loved this book! I actually haven't read many Sarah MacLean books, but this definitely made me want to read more of her work. Sesily Talbot is a kickass woman protecting other women with her group of other powerful and smart women. I loved the other women in the group and I'm really looking forward to reading their stories. Feminists galore!  It's a slow burn romance with a honorable and respectable hero. I loved their banter and the mutual pinning. Highly recommend!
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Sarah MacLean is an autobuy author for me and with the first book in the Hells Bells series she knocked it out of the park!! 
I absolutely love Siselly Talbot! She is a take no prisoners, knife weilding, kick ass women who doesn't want to let people who are abusing their powers win.. Siselly and her tight knit group of friends are working in the shadows, and thats how they like it.. They are protecting women, when no one else can or will step up... When during one of their plans, things go slightly sideways when Caleb Calhoun, see her wander off and knowing that she gets herself into trouble constantly decides hes going to follow. Caleb and Siscelly have a bit of a complicated history, they both think the other arent interested but they both have some strong feelings for each other which has led to some miscommunications. It doesn't help that Caleb has a few secrets of his own, and spends most of his time in Boston.

Siscelly is the one that saves the day, while she wants someone.. namely Caleb.. to standby her side, she can absolutely take care of herself.. In fact the only time she gets into some tight spots is when she is worried about him.   I could feel the chemistry between them jumping off the page, and was rooting for Caleb to get his head out of his butt, and let himself love Siscelly. 

The ending was great, Siscelly and her friends are masterminds at what they do and it absolutley shows..  I absolutely can't wait for more books in this series..
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Perfect for fans of Evie Dunmore's League of Extraordinary Women series! Hell's Belles is not just a fun new series from historical romance master Sarah MacLean, it's a fun new patriarchy-smashing Victorian girl-gang series that picks up where the Scandal & Scoundrel series left off. For those of you who can't remember — me, always me — or haven't picked them up yet, the Scandal & Scoundrel series tells the story of Sophie, the youngest, and Seraphina, the oldest, of the five scandalous Talbot sisters, known to Society as the Soiled S's. Because Society is awful like that.

Society is no less awful in "Bombshell," but it eventually will be if Sesily Talbot, the most scandalous of the Talbot sisters, and her group friends/vigilantes have their way. Sesily is unapologetically bold, sexy, independent, and handy with a knife. She's also inconveniently, ill-advisedly attracted to her sister Seraphina's American business partner, Caleb. The feeling is mutual — except the undeniable attraction on Caleb's side is a little more than just ill-advised and inconvenient. It's perilous and impossible. Will Sesily jeopardize her pursuit for justice to pursue the affections of the only person who has ever really seen and understood her? Will Caleb jeopardize everything he's worked his entire life to protect to be with the only person who has ever felt like home?

This is a slow-burn, mutual-yearning romance with a strong female lead and an honorable love interest. I felt like the yearning got in the way of the story and chemistry at times, but Sesily's banter is <chef's kiss>, the sex scenes are <fans self>, the action adventure is <eats popcorn, riveted>, and the cast of characters set up for the rest of the series is <add to cart>.

[Note from an indie bookseller's perspective: I do wish this series (and more feminist historical romances in general) were being made available as trade paperback originals. We sell a lot of romance, historical and contemporary, but our customers are far less likely to pick up mass market paperbacks with classic clinch covers.]  

My thanks to #NetGalley and #Avon for a digital ARC.
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Yes!!  There were feminists in historical least I hope so!

Lady Sesily Talbot has spent the last few years becoming a scandal.  Her moniker, Sexily, has been bantered around and now everyone believes the worst of her.  Little do the men of the time and her social circle know, she and her band of merry female co-conspirators, are taking down the men who are abusing their wives, girlfriends, and other females, or who are being cruel to others.

Caleb Calhoun, best friends and a business partner with Sesily's sister, decides that he needs to be Sesily's champion, because he is more than an little attracted to her, and is worried about her safety.  Sesily heartily disagrees and their banter is fabulous as she tries to go about her 'business' but keep Caleb in the dark!  He's not going to let that happen...he thinks!

I loved this book.  There is intrigue, danger, explosions, tight dialogue, and ultimately love.   

This is the first book in the Hell's Belles series, I can't wait for the rest!

I was given this book by the publisher and author.  The review is my own.
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It seems like I've been waiting for this story forever but it was all worth it.  It's finally Sesily Talbot, the last of the unmarried Talbot sisters.  Their father won his baron title in a card game with Prinny & the ton barely tolerates the family,  The daughters are labeled The Soiled S's or The Dangerous Daughters - lock up your bachelors the girls want titles.  Throughout the previous sisters books Sesily  has been the one with the wicked sense of humor and devil may care attitude.  At the ripe old age of 30 she's grown into her own, society be damned.  I love this lady, she's a liberated thinker and has the cash to go with it.  Her friends are set to be the next HEA's in the Hell's Belles series.  Determined to make a difference in the world is a brave path to take even with skilled and loyal friends. 

Her love interest is Caleb Calhoun who we first met in Day of the Duchess.  He's a stoic American & actually leaves the country to get away from our girl.  Ouch. Caleb's inner dialog was driving me crazy, he thinks about his secrets, mulls them over, but never gives us a clue what's what.  He's a complicated man but in truth he and Sesily are kindred spirits and I like their HEA.  There's a wonderful, crazy lead up to the actual HEA, it was so much fun.  I read this book in one day, now I'll have to twiddle my thumbs until the next one comes along.

I am voluntarily posting an honest review after reading an advance reader copy of this story.

#Hell'sBelles  #Bombshell  #SarahMacLean  #AvonBooks  #HarperCollins  #historicalromance  #Netgalley
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I was a big fan of the Bareknuckle Bastards series and was glad to see elements from that series woven into this story. Sesily reminded me quite a bit of Grace, which was no bad thing. Caleb was confusing at times, but the discrepancies in his behavior are later explained by the issues with his identity. Altogether, a wonderful romance and an exciting read. Will definitely keep an eye out for the rest of this series!
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It's absolutely no surprise that Sarah MacLean has knocked another one out of the park.  She is the master strong female leads, multi faceted heroes that we LOVE to love and of weaving a story filled with feminism, strength and fun without a heavy hand.  I appreciate so much how she drops bits and pieces from other stories into her books.   The story was tension filled, but also not overly stressful.  It was the perfect book for an afternoon by the beach.
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let me just say: HELLS YES to Hell's Belles.

Sesily is everything. The Hell's Belle's are everything. I live for Sarah Maclean's subversive, sexy, wonderful books.
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Sarah MacLean is a master at crafting strong romantic heroines who are intriguing. Her first novel in the Hell's Belle's series is no exception. Sesily captures your attention from page one as we see her enter into a mysterious world where she helps seek justice for women who had been wronged. Sesily has been rejected by society, but she uses this to further her mission to help other women, and her adventures are intriguing. Her love for Caleb is equally exhilarating from start to finish. The pacing of the book is excellent and readers will find it hard to put down as they discover how Caleb and Sesily come together for their happily ever after.
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I am always a fan of Sarah MacLean and look forward to new releases.  I am also a big fan of all types of historical romances and I love how the author in this particular series uses the darker, seedier parts of London in which to set the stories in.  We are definitely not dealing with “refined”society, but new money and people who are willing to work, even though it’s frowned upon by high society.  In the book Bombshell, the main character is Lady Sesily Talbot and she is perfectly content embracing her reputation for scandal.  Caleb Calhoun is an American, who came back to England for the birth of his friend’s baby.  Caleb’s friend is Sera and she just happens to be Sesily’s sister.  They have a thing for each other, but try really hard to ignore it and each other.

Sesily is part of a syndicate of sorts.  They work to right the wrongs done to women by men in many different ways.  From fighting, public shaming and other undercover operations to help people who need to be helped or who have been unfairly targeted. 

As a reader, I kept expecting Caleb to flee at any moment. You can just tell he wants to get on the next boat back to the states. He starts to get an idea of what Sesily is up to as his own secrets start to unravel and he is targeted by hired thugs.  As the suspense builds, there is a lot of action and the romance is quite swoony.  The sexual tension builds throughout the story and the chemistry between them sizzling.  I love the resolution and the happy ending.  I am really looking forward to the rest of this series and getting to know this world and the characters better.  Oh, and the cover is amazing!  It totally sets the mood and the tone of the book.  Well done to the cover designer.
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Sesily is in love with her sister Sera’s best friend and business partner Caleb, who fled England for the United States two years earlier and is back for the birth of Sera’s baby. But the minute Sesily thinks Caleb might return her feelings, he’s ready to run. While Caleb has plenty of skeletons in his closet, so does Sesily, being a member of a society of women hellbent on righting societal wrongs. Only Sesily and her friends and their wily ways can rescue Caleb from his perilous past. 

This first installment in the Hell’s Belles series fits in nicely into the rich story world MacLean created in her other Regency romances, and BOMBSHELL provides a spin on the best friend’s little sister trope. Sisily’s besties provide great potential series heroines. Sisley has the brains and courage to be a great operative. Her willingness to get hands on with the bad guys highlights her fierceness. 

Caleb’s need to flee feels infuriating until his secrets are revealed. The dastardly villain relies on his title and privilege while the ton suspects his heinous crimes and association with hired thugs, making him a formidable opponent.

While I throughly enjoyed Sesily and Caleb’s story, I feel the other love stories in the series have the potential to be even more fun. All in all, BOMBSHELL provides a great new series starter. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Thanks to Avon Books, an imprint of Harper Collins Publisher, for providing an Advance Reader Copy.
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Bombshell is the first book in Sarah’s Hell’s Belles series.  What a way to start a new series!  Sesily is the last unwed Soiled S and Caleb Calhoun is the American who co-owns a tavern with Sesily’s sister, Sera.  Sesily and Caleb Calhoun have not seen each other in two years, and even though Caleb knows he should, he can not seem to stay away from Sesily.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I couldn’t put it down.  I am so looking forward to the next book in the series.
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A slow start, but once it got going, it got going. I wonder if it was slow at the start because setting up this specific subset of MacLean's world took a little bit of time and uh, it was slightly boring. That said, I am invested NOW in this group of people, and will happily consume any and all books about them. (Pretty sure we got teasers of what the next two books will be.)

Also, the little dip into the world of the Soiled S's was nice, as I really did enjoy those books ever so much.

Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for the ARC.
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There are some authors where you automatically purchase their books as soon as you get a whiff of a new series, knowing that you'll tear through them in a day, and your brain will be in for a treat. Sarah Maclean is that author for me. 

Her new Hell's Belle's series features a gang of intelligent, dynamite women running around London society, doling out justice, and causing all sorts of mayhem (to the consternation of the menfolk around them). If you've read previous series, this is Sesily and Caleb's book (which I didn't realize I was dying for, until I got this).  If you are into the trope of the hero denying he ever had feelings for the heroine and some snarky flirting, look no further. It was a bit rushed after a certain point, but I was heartily along for the ride even though it's not perfect.

Based loosely around a real women's crime syndicate (but with arguably better morals), I am excited to see future books featuring this fun group of women. 4.5 stars from me!
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*3.5 Stars*
In classic Sarah MacLean fashion, we have a woman who has a mind of her own and in this instance, a lot of bravery. Lady Sesily Talbot has found a group of woman that are like-minded. They are done with men trying to keep them down and have decided to do something about it.

Caleb Calhoun is an American who is trying to stay away from Sesily but then promises her older sister to watch her. Their attraction is undeniable and when they are together, it is steamy. Sesily is not a blushing virgin, she’s already thirty years old and knows what she likes and Caleb is there to give it to her (with some resistance at first, of course). But Calen and Sesily have a little history and they’ve been pining for one another since they met.

Sesily is fantastic. She fights, she’s a fantastic aunt (and she doesn’t want kids and is happy with that), she is smart and charming, and sexy as hell since Caleb can’t seem to resist her. I love that she was open to her friends about everything.

I think this is a great start to a new series about strong women who go after what they want! I liked that there was even a Samoan character, which was such a nice surprise.

Random Notes:
Triggers: violence

It will be fun to learn more about the other women in Sesily’s crew. I love how they were all different, smart, brave and each with their own talents.

I’m sure I read the book where Sesily and Caleb met but it was so long ago and for the life of me, I cannot remember what happened in it. But I don’t think you need to necessarily read it to know these two want each other badly.

Final Thoughts:
I think this is a great start to a new series about feminist women in a historical romance setting. I love Sesily and Caleb’s chemistry, they are amazing when they stop fighting one another. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
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I have been waiting for Sesily and Caleb's story for a very very long time and it did not disappoint! These two were always quarreling with each other and I loved their banter. Their quips and humor did not disappoint in Bombshell - the newest book in a new series by Sarah MacLean.

Sesily Talbot also known as "Sexily" has embraced her reputation. She is one of five sisters and they've never had it easy in society. Sesily and her gang of fierce and ruthless girl friends have decided to take on the worst men of London aristocracy. Those who deserve a lashing and worse are the ones that they are after. When one of these escapades almost goes south it's Caleb Calhon, the American that comes to Sesily's rescue.

Caleb can't seem to stay away from Sesily no matter how hard he tries. He's hiding his own secrets and it's best if he doesn't become entangled with Sesily. But everywhere he turns, she's there. Taunting him with her warmth and light. Will Caleb be strong enough to stay away from Sesily...or rather will Sesily let him stay away?

Oh, how I loved these two. Already I was anticipating their story and once I started reading Bombshell I could not put it down. It was funny, so swoony and the suspense had me hooked in! I love not only the romance, but also the colorful characters that we are introduced to.

As always, Sarah MacLean had the perfect amount of angst, romance and humor balanced out in Bombshell. While sometimes the first book in a series can have a lot of word building or seem tedious, I never felt that way with Bombshell. I already need every single one of the Hell's Belles stories - a few who I've maybe guessed already!
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3.5/5 stars

Bombshell is one of those books that got me super excited for the rest of the series, even if it wasn't my favorite Sarah McLean.
Our heroine, Sesily, is part of Hell's Belles, a girl gang bent on justice in 1830's London. She's wealthy, non-aristocratic, 30 (so old for a historical! Lol), with a penchant for trouble. She's fun, but at times I found her a bit too much. I really, really love when heroines are strong and can go up against men without physical strength, which makes me absolutely thrilled for Imogen's story. 
Caleb is a pining hero (I love a good pine), though there were a few plot points that didn't stick with me as to why he was hiding alone. Overall though, he was a perfectly good historical romance hero with big thighs which have been all the rage in romance since the release of The Witcher.

Enjoyable read, can't wait for Imogen's story!
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The first in a spin-off series, this is Sesily and Caleb's story and it does not disappoint! Sesily is part of a group of strong women who act to right wrongs, using their various talents and often facing dangerous situations. Caleb has long been in love with Sesily but has secrets of his own, and he only wants to keep her safe. There are unexpected twists and turns along the way to their happy ending, and I cannot wait to re-visit these characters in subsequent entries!
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