Cover Image: Bombshell

Bombshell

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Member Reviews

I've become obsessed with Sarah MacLean over the past year, so I'm sad to say that this was just an okay read for me. The first 50% of this was sooooo slow, I was tempted to DNF it multiple times. I was so excited to read another feminist historical romance with strong badass heroines, however there was too much telling and not showing for me to really see their strength and character. I didn't always feel the chemistry between Sesily and Caleb, but I was still living for the angst and really fell for Caleb as a hero. I also feel like this story lost me once the far-fetched plot twists hit in the second half. Regardless, this is still a Sarah MacLean book so I still loved the writing style and will continue to pick up everything she writes in the future. Also, especially with how slow of a build this was and some of the more intricate plot setting, I am much more excited to pick up the rest of the books in this series. 

And I just have to say - this is still probably my favorite historical fiction cover that released in 2021. I mean the stepback-esque back cover? STUNNING.
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I listened to this story over my winter break and I have to say, the reader for it brought the story to life in ways I haven't seen in audiobooks. She brought each character to life with their own accent and inflections and the personality traits of each character just made this one a WOW in my book.  The story itself was fun, flirtatious (just like our heroine), and full of action and adventure.  She works in the shadows with a few other ladies to bring down the more cruel of the male ton society members and when her own crush crashes in on one of her missions she is left with no other choice then to kiss him.  He left England to get away from her, his own temptation, and to hide from his past, but the upcoming birth of one of his good friends, and business partners, brings him back to England and back into the allure and frustration that is Sesily Talbot. These two were so much fun and got into so much trouble together, and when the sparks flew they exploded. Loved it (and REALLY loved the audiobook of it) and cannot wait for more.
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I won’t lie… I was so scared to read this book, that I dragged my feet and I really shouldn’t have. But the expectations were so high for Sesily and her American, and us readers had been waiting for so long for their story. That being said, Bombshell delivered a really great book. While there are definite moments where you want to shake Caleb to bits for his stubborn refusal to reveal details about his past faster. The pace at the end is a bit of a whirlwind for all the conflict resolution and HEA. The world building and side character development in this book are A+++. I am so beyond in love with this “girl gang” and can’t wait to read all of their individual backstories. Overall, this is a 4 star read and a solid start for a new series for MacLean.
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Sarah MacLean, as always, has my heart. Her ferocious heroines are not just feminist as a word for “strong” or “not like other girls,” but are actually feminist to their core, to their backgrounds and complex inner selves and the things they want and the way they act on the page. 

Sesily and Caleb may not be my *favorite* MacLean couple, but only because the bar is so high. Nevertheless, I now have a physical copy of the book and many rereads in my future. I can’t wait for the next installment of Hell’s Belles. 

I received a digital advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Sarah Maclean that’s all I need to say. This is an amazing book passionate hero and passionate heroine. Miss Maclean writes these amazing women that just are strong, and resilient. She’s very much the historical romance writer of our day.
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This was such a fun book full of angst, romance and humor. Now I have not read the series where we meet the hero and heroine but I feel like this is a great tribute to the fans who could not wait for their story. Cant wait for the next book in the series!
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This hit all my buttons - sexy, swaggy and swoony!!  Who says that all historical women were victims? I loved that the hero completely accepted the heroine for who she is. 

Can’t wait for the next one!!
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Such a unique take on the historical romance. I really loved the characters, both main and side. The side characters were even more interesting and I cannot wait to read about their lives in the rest of the series.
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Overall really enjoyed, but what kept it from being a 5 star for me: 

1- talked a lot about the past, which I had super recently read about in the direct companion book to this one. (Not anyone's fault, but I read that book specifically to be able to read this one, so it felt redundant to keep repeating info I'd just learned.)
2- The ending was too rushed. Going from learning about Caleb to the end was kind of jarring and I don't think I got a ton of time to get used to it.
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***ARC Provided by the Author***

I struggled with this title. There were parts of it that I enjoyed, but overall I just found it to be dark and it didn't feel happy, rather sort of awful.

I enjoy dark romances, so that was not the problem...I think it was the overall feeling of...tragedy...for lack of a better word in this one that made it really not work.

I finished it, as I wanted to see how it ended, but I am not able to recommend this title.
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A historical romance that has a rebellious heroine who could care less about what others think of her and her choices to not be a proper woman and follow the rules that society has set for women. During the time period in which this story is set it is highly frowned upon for a woman to be anything but a respectable young woman that will be a obedient and accepting wife.

Our heroine, Sesily, has amazing confidence that allows her to stand up for herself. She isn't afraid to speak her mind and out men- specifically Caleb- in their place. She is a fierce and strong women that has made waves in society and she is proud of it.

The Hell's Belles (Sesily, Adelaide, Imogen, and The Duchess) step out of the conformities that society has set for them and it's amazing. They use their "faults" that society sees in them as a strength and don't let themselves be walked over for them.

This story uses one of my favorite tropes that I never see enough of which is her sister's close friend to lovers. Not to mention the use of both Caleb and Sesily being in love with the other person but never pursuing it due to thinking the other doesn't feel the same.

The romance within this story was truly wonderful and so was the bond between Caleb and Sesily even before things got deeply romantic between them. The slow burn pinning was so well done, and when they romance really blooms I couldn't get enough of it. I am a sucker for moments in the rain and this book definitely didn't disappoint. That scene was one of my favorites.

I truly can't wait to read more about the Hell's Belles and read the other women's stories. Adelaide's is next and I'm so very excited for it. I'm excited for both The Duchess and Imogen's books as well. I can't wait to see what all plays out for all the women in the Hell's Belles.

Thank you NetGalley, Avon, and Harper Voyager for this ARC.
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I read a good amount of Sarah MacLean, so I know what to expect with her romance books. Bombshell was pretty in line with my expectations: in some ways it was very compelling, and in other ways utterly ridiculous.

I know Sarah MacLean likes to write bad-a$$ girl romances, and I deeply appreciate that, but I think sometimes she crosses the line from conceivable to historical-punk-fever dream. Is that a bad thing? I'm not sure.

I think if the pacing had been brisker, I could have overlooked the flaws in the plotlines, but I found my attention dragging a bit though the middle. Even though there was plenty of action, it felt a bit long at times. I did enjoy the pining and the chemistry, though I wish they just communicated better all along.

A fun read that kept me wanting to read more, but with lots of plot holes and ridiculous antics.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
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Crazy fun and romantic. The banter was superb and had me smiling and giggling. I am definitely going to like this next series.
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This was the first Sarah MacLean book I've read, but it won't be the last! I would definitely recommend trying this great Historical Romance!

I received an e-ARC from the publisher.
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I can’t believe I put this one off for so long, I’m honestly kicking myself. But it was well worth the wait because this got me out a pretty major reading rut. 
Bombshell is my new go to for introducing HR to people new to the genre. It’s unapologetically feminist (which I can see is pissing a lot of folks off) and quite modern. I thought it was fun and refreshing and completely unique. And fairly spicy😌Sesily is SO FUN, not at all concerned with a society that was always resentful of her families climb to nobility, and fiercely protective of the women who don’t have the ability to dispense with propriety- even when they don’t know she’s helping. She’s a walking scandal and I desperately want to drink whiskey with the lady. 
Along with her unlikely gang of friends, she’s dispensing justice to the scum of the Ton. They’ve got a good system in place, ruining abusers and swindlers, and there’s almost nothing more she could want. Almost. 
Enter Caleb, her sisters American best friend and business partner, who Sesily has always harbored feelings for. 
They’ve been separated by an ocean for nearly two years in his attempt to distance himself from her, but when he comes back to London and discovers what Sesily and her friends are up to (and she they’re trying to take down), he feels the need to protect her… all while trying to hide his own secrets. 
Caleb and Sesily have *major* chemistry, and the breadcrumbs sprinkled throughout for the other couples in this series have me CRAVING the next books. 
If you hate anachronisms, be warned, they are numerous. But, personally, I recognize this is fiction written for a modern audience so I’m not going to split hairs over modern use of language. 
Thank you Avon and NetGalley for the ARC!
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In Sarah MacLean's Bombshell, the first installment in the Hell's Belles historical romance series, this daring new tale is dangerously sexy and breath-taking in every page. For Lady Sesily Talbot, she's the youngest and unmarried among her sisters. She lives a free life and is out on a mission to right the wrongs with her gang of lady friends who have a bone to pick with the crooked elite in society. But at the night at the ball, she ran into Caleb Calhoun, a former flame from two years, and an American with a secret to hide. They kept run into each other and chasing each other.  But though they had so much animosity between each other from the past, they both have a sole mission they conspired to work on together: to bring down Viscount Coleford. For Sesily, it's for he's robbing the helpless by making them poor; for Caleb, he wanted to keep his secret identity to himself and avoid his capture at all cost and with good reason. Caleb couldn't stay away from Sesily and didn't want to put her in danger. He loved her too much to do it. But if he knew Sesily, she had a trick up her to sleeve to bail him out of a jam and to make things remotely possible for them with a fitting ending.
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Bombshell is the debut novel in Sarah Maclean's Hell's Belles series. While it took me awhile to get into Sesily, I really grew to love her, and Caleb's story. Turns out Caleb is really the one in need of saving in this romance novel. I adore the two of them and glad I stuck with it. I really look forward to reading more books in this series and can't wait to hear who's coming next!
Thank you netgalley and Avon and Harper Voyager for the ARC
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Sesily Talbot has long accepted her role as London's biggest scandal. Instead of letting the title rule her life, Sesily embraces it. Outrageous dresses, disappearing into the night, but there are also things the ton does not know and Sesily plans on keeping it that way. 

Caleb Calhoun loathes London and all the temptation it brings, especially Sesily Talbot. He will do everything in his power to stay far far away. Until, he can't. When Sesily older sister asks him to keep an eye on her. Caleb may just get a scandal worthy of London's best. 

I had really high hopes for this new series! I have loved the Dangerous Daughters, but Sesily's story seemed to fall flat. While it can be read as a standalone, I HIGHLY recommend reading the Scandal & Scoundrel series. There is a lot of information needed to understand the characters and the family. 

All and all, it was a good read. Just lacking the fire we saw from the other Dangerous Daughters. Sesily fire seemed more like a flicker.
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I am just getting familiar with Sarah MacLean’s work but I really enjoy everything I’ve read so far. I am very much looking forward to the next books in the series!
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I lost interest about halfway through this, and I haven't wanted to pick it up again. I'm sure readers who like Sarah MacLean will also like this book. There's banter, adventure, and steam.
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