Cover Image: Duke, Actually

Duke, Actually

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Member Reviews

I loved everything about this book, especially the fact that it was a true, genuine friends-to-lovers story. 75% of this book was Max and Dani growing into their friendship. Even though they came from different worlds, lived in different countries, and had different hang-ups in life, they saw each other in a way nobody else did. Max and Dani each saw into the soul of the other, the good and the bad. They supported each other, talked about everything and nothing, and felt like the best, most comfortable version of themselves. Their friendship felt true and heartfelt and I had so much anticipation for when and how they would become more. 

I thought it was written perfectly and their arc from friends to lovers was perfectly timed. I loved that their relationship wasn’t rushed. Max and Dani are the epitome of relationship goals.
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It’s never too early for a Christmas read in my book!  This is book 2 in a series and can be read as a standalone, the couple from the first book appears in this one, so if you enjoyed it, you will like having them as part of the story again.

I absolutely adored this book and the epilogue was so perfect.  I’m still swooning over it!

The banter between Max and Dani is perfect. The book had me smiling and laughing throughout. I true Rom-Com with slow burn and steam.  It was wonderful to watch the relationship evolve between the two in a fun way that moved the story along, and also to get a glimpse of the couple from the pervious book.

Did I fall in love with Max?  Yes, yes I did.  
It’s a 5 star rating from me for sure!

Melli’s Book Breakdown
-Narrator POV
-Book 2 In series (can be read as standalone)
-enemy-ish to friends to lovers
-h dealing with ex husband
-Slow Burn
-Royal Romance

Thank you to Harper Collins Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC in return for an honest review.
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Dani is in a rough patch. Recently separated from her cheating husband who she works with, and her best friend just moved across the world to get married to a royal. Enter Max, a fellow royal she met through her best friend. They're just friends, possibly best friend, until they both realize their friendship is a little more than they both want to be, but how could it possibly work out? They live in different countries, and Dani has a list of things she wont do for a new relationship, including compromising her job, living situation and being away from her family. But they realize that living apart without each other is harder than they realize.

I absolutely adored this book! I felt like this should have been a sequel to a different book I didn't read though. Everywhere I checked it said it wasn't but I felt like I was missing a bunch of info in the beginning. But it didn't ruin the book for me either way. it is technically a Christmas book although a good portion of it happens outside of Christmas. Max was so charming, and wholesome. I felt so hard for Dani. the secondary cast of characters were both cute and evil. There were just enough twists and turns and nothing felt too dragged out. I finished this a couple of days ago and I'm still thinking about it now!
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Jenny Holiday had me from the get go with Dani and Max's witty banter. There is so much to love about these two characters. Watching their friendship grow and change, as well as their life goals, drew me into the story even more. And then, of course, there are the characters you love to hate--Vince and Max's father, ugh! When I first started the book, I wondered if I would be confused by a dog with the same name as the male lead, but Jenny made it super cute, and I fell for the dog too! Although this is so much more than a holiday romance, there are enough Christmas scenes (the holiday plays quite a major part in the story) that it would make the perfect book to get in the mood for the season. A sweet romance with some spicy parts and true-to-life struggles. Thank you to NetGalley for the e-ARC.
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This adorable book had such a perfect vibe for the start of the holiday season and kicked off my holiday romance reading in style. Like the author's holiday book last year, A Princess for Christmas, it had that Hallmark movie vibe although the holiday feels were more understated this time around. The MCs, Dani are the best friends of the previous couple and meet during the initial preparations for Leo and Marie's royal wedding. Dani, a tenure track NYU lit professor, is Leo's best friend and is going to be his "best woman", while Max, a wealthy baron, is Marie's former fiancé and best friend and is going to be her "man of honor". Max immediately is attracted to Dani, but she's coming off a bad breakup in which her lit professor spouse dumped her for a 20 YO coed, so she has declared herself to be post men and doesn't want anything to do with him. 

However, when Max comes to NY for a short visit and looks Dani up, she asks him to be her date to an NYU departmental holiday party that her ex will be also be attending, and from there, a lovely friendship grows between them. Max has the usual wealthy playboy reputation but Dani soon learns that there is a witty, clever heart of gold under that uncaring tabloid exterior. After he leaves to go back to Eldovia, they start texting and calling each other. As their friendship grows over the course of the next year, and as Dani slowly heals, so does their mutual attraction, until finally she comes for an extended visit and they give in to the sparks that have been there from the beginning. Their romance was a lovely slow burn, in keeping with both their characters. By the time they finally got together, I was so invested and just liked them so much that I wanted nothing more than for them to be happy. Much as I enjoyed last year's book, this one was even better.
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Duke, Actually is the follow-up to last year’s A Princess for Christmas, featuring Leo’s best friend Dani and Marie’s best friend Max.  Max contacts Dani while he is in NYC and Dani asks him to accompany her to her faculty holiday party where her loathsome ex will be in attendance.  Thus begins a friendship between Dani and Max that eventually turns in to more,  This a slow burn romance featuring witty banter between the main protagonists.  I enjoyed the way Holiday took scenes from the movie Love, Actually and changed them to suit a romance novel,  Duke, Actually is a great book to enjoy at the holidays or any other time of year.
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I'm a huge fan of Jenny Holiday's books! I've never met one I hadn't liked, though I definitely have my favorites... and this is a new favorite! Infinitely better than its predecessor, A Princess for Christmas, this story has two likable, independent, and entertaining main characters who seem to be made for each other. A Christmas for Princess was almost *too* Hallmark, until it took a sudden, steamy turn in the middle, whereas Duke, Actually has better balance. The build-up and banter throughout the book make it an enjoyable read for the whole journey. Couple that with some Christmas magic and a dash of royalty, and we have a winner! I really hope this series continues (Max's younger brother, please???) as I love nothing more than a good open holiday romcom. 

Thanks to Avon for my eARC! All thoughts and opinions are my own.

5 stars - 9/10
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Last holiday season I read and enjoyed A Princess for Christmas and couldn't wait until December to read the follow up, DUKE, ACTUALLY - a rom-com with serious Love, Actually vibes mixed with romance festive steam. Imagine a Hallmark movie- but make it spicy.

I loved seeing Dani and Max's (actually a Baron- not a Duke) heartfelt, blossoming friendship turn into more. You start out drinking cozy, delectable hot cocoa and then (record scratch) someone spiked your Egg Nog.  It's a slow, simmering build-up as she finalizes a divorce and he rethinks his wild image. But it's so much more than a love story- their friendship truly brought out the best in each other and the way they support each other was positively endearing.  The ending may have been predictable- but it was cinema-ready and I loved it! 

This could be read as a stand-alone, but I enjoyed it more with the background from A Princess for Christmas.
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This book was an absolute delight! Put me in the Christmas spirit even as I read it sitting outside with temps in the mid-80s. in October.  Love the continued story of the Eldovian royals and hope there are more stories to come!
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I throughly enjoyed this book! it wasn’t your standard cheesy Christmas romcom, though it had its moment that fit well. Dani and max were both great characters and I loved how they really knew each other before getting together. also this book had me laughing out loud. Highly recommend!!
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Duke, Actually is my first Jenny Holiday book and the follow up in the A Princess for Christmas series. I have not read the first book so all the characters were new to me. I think i would have enjoyed the book a little more if I had read the first one but this book really can stand on its own. It tells the story of Dani, a literature professor in the process of divorce, and Max, a baron from a small European country in the Alps. The two are brought together as their best friends prepare to marry. They become long distance friends before moving their relationship to something more.

I really liked both Max and Dani. I like that Dani set boundaries for herself and stuck to them. I enjoyed that Max respected her enough to along with her boundaries. They had really fun banter and it’s one of the few book that I have actually enjoyed the main couple’s time apart as much as their time together. I also really enjoyed the cast of side characters, especially Max’s brother Sebastian.

I was a little nervous going in that this was strictly going to be a Christmas book but was pleased to find that it took place over the course of a year. This helped the book not fall into the insta-love category. It also cut down on the Christmas cheese which I really appreciated. I’m going to have to go back and read the first book in the series so I can see where this all started.

Thank you to NetGalley and Avon for the ARC.
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I have no words for how incredibly delightful this book is. It's the ultimate friends-to-lovers sweetness wrapped up in the story of two people finding themselves and figuring out how they want to live life. 
I liked Dani from the start. She's smart, she knows what she wants, and she's not letting the bad things that have happened recently (such as her husband leaving her for a former student) get her down. Max is wry and fun and perfectly willing to let his (mostly false) reputation precede him. They make an adorable pair and I spent most of the book waiting for them to realize how perfect they are for each other. And they're only the main characters in a story that gives side characters the chance to develop into fully-fleshed individuals that contribute to the story. 
This is technically the second book in a series because it has tons of mentions of the situation that brought another couple together and how Dani and Max met, but this volume is totally readable by itself. 
Overall, a delight of a rom-com just waiting to make you swoon with happy romance endorphins. 

Many happy thanks to NetGalley and Avon for the delightful read!
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Eyeball candy. I finished it in one night. Spectacularly good! I really enjoyed the story arc- the fact that the relationship didn’t go from 0-60 immediately. It felt like a natural i.e. real progression. Can’t wait to read more by this author!
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More than a Christmas romance!

Professor Daniela Martinez is post-men while waiting for her soon to be ex-husband to sign the divorce papers with of things that she would never give up again for a man. Maximillian von Hansburg called her wanting to take Dani to dinner because their best friends (A Princess for Christmas) were getting married in Eldovia leading to them becoming friends.

I loved Duke, Actually because Max and Dani surprised me because I thought it would be the usual Christmas romance with the couple falling in love quickly but they become friends before any of the romance starts slowly. But as with any good romance there has to be some drama especially with Max’s family.

P.S. Max minimus was adorable!
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Duke, Actually is the sequel to A Princess for Christmas but can be read as a standalone. I did like A Princess for Christmas but I loved Duke, Actually! 

We met both Dani and Max in the first book, as best friends to the couple. Dani has sworn off men (she’s post-love) and Max is known as the Depraved Duke for his womanizing ways. They form their own friendship but eventually start feeling not-so-friendly feelings for each other.

I really loved their friends to lovers relationship! They had a lot holding them back but they couldn’t resist the pull of each other. Their friendship is so easy and fun, with tons of banter and honesty between them. They push each other to be better and expand the path they each think they are on.

It’s got a little steam, a lot of heart, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! A great holiday read.
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Thank you to Netgalley for a copy! Oh my word, this book was adorable. I was expecting Hallmark Christmas movie level of cringe, but this was so smart and funny and sexy. This was a very slow burn friends to lovers, and I LOVED watching Dani's and Max's friendship blossom. You could tell that they genuinely cared for each other outside of something romantic. Both were also very well written and given so much depth. I was going to wait and read this during the holidays, but I thought what better time than now. And boy am I glad I did. This is my first novel by Jenny Holiday, and now I'm interested in her other ones. This is definitely going to be a buy for me when it comes out.
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3.5 STARS 

This book was an ARC I received through NetGalley

So when I first started reading this book, I was very confused. The relationship between the characters was established that they knew each other. Which makes sense when you find out this is the second book in the series. I would recommend that those who want to read this book, the first one "A Princess for Christmas" This book isn't marketed as the second book in the series on Goodreads If it was and I had read the first book. I feel as though the relationship would have been more impactful. 

Now, once I got into the story. I think that it has some very strong elements. The development of the characters' friendship over the year was great and the tension built was great. I think that it is a cute contemporary romance that will definitely be fun to read in the wintertime.

This book focuses more on the romance and development of the friendship of the characters. I think that for those who are looking for the more spicy contemp romances. This isn't the book for you. This has a couple of scenes but not too much detail. If that is what you are looking for, then this will be the perfect book for you.
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Gosh, I absolutely loved this!

Granted, as someone who is marrying a man who lives in Europe, I might be a bit biased based on the plot of this novel, but hey, who cares?!

Duke, Actually is the follow-up to Jenny Holiday's novel, A Princess for Christmas. This time we follow Dani and Max, the best friends of the couple in the original novel. You do not need to read the first one at all to enjoy this as everything is easily explained backstory-wise. Dani is a University professor going through an emotional divorce after her husband leaves her for an ex-student who is far younger than either of them. Dani is trying to put on a brave face at school because she's up for tenure, but having to deal with her ex as well as the judgment of those around her has her a bit on edge. Also, her best friend Leo has moved to Europe to marry the Princess, Marie, as depicted in A Princess for Christmas, so she's a little lonely despite writing off men.

Enter Max, a baron and Marie's initial love interest. Max and Marie are BFF and were planning to marry as friends until she met Leo, so now Max is a bit on the outs as his family is pressuring him to marry. He has no interest in his family, as his father is an abusive alcoholic, but takes much of the burden as possible so his brother, Sebastian, can live a bit more freely. This, of course, does not work the way he wants it to.

Max is in NYC, Dani is there, and they agree to meet up as they know one another. Max has a reputation for being a playboy, Dani has sworn off all men that don't meet the criteria of her self-made list, and the two decide to become friends. They hit it off well and the chemistry is fantastic between them. From their first meeting, you're rooting for them to get together.

Of course, the novel has its roadblocks and they can't get together right away, but Holiday does a great job at establishing them as friends, confidants, and romantic partners. They both are a bit bitter and hurt from previous relationships and find it hard to show vulnerability, but they're able to open up to one another in very natural ways. I love that Dani is a strong, driven woman of color who has let things she wants fall to the side because of love and is now trying to figure out who she is as a person on her own. It reads incredibly honestly, and she was a character a think a lot of women in their 30s can relate to. Max was hot as hell, witty and fun, while also allowing himself to grow and not assuming he knows everything in all situations.

The couple is very well matched, very equal in terms of life status (yes, Max is royalty but Dani has a doctorate and is a professional), and have such wonderful chemistry you can't stop reading. I absolutely love Christmas romances and this one knocked it out of the park for me. This deserves to be a great Christmas movie, not just a half-assed adaptation for Hallmark. It's really lovely and everything you wished those Prince Christmas movies on Netflix lived up to. A very fun read!

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*Thank you to Netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review*
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If you like the Christmas Prince movies on Netflix, you’re definitely going to like this book! It has a cutesy but realistic love story between a (sort of) recent divorcee who’s sworn off love and a duke (excuse me, baron) who has issues with his title. The reluctant friends to best friends (aka soul mates) to lovers is one of my favorites because Dani and Max bring out the best in each other and do everything to push but also support each other’s endeavors. I love the accuracy in Latinx representation Daniela exhibits, and Max’s growth regarding family dynamic, but most of all I love Maximus Minimus. ⁠
Spice: 1/5⁠
Stars: 5/5⁠
Trope: “Love, Actually” pages, friends to lovers, aristocracy & peasant love story⁠
Triggers: Alcoholism (Max’s dad)⁠
Thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review and the opportunity to read this work of art.
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I was predisposed to like this book. My book club read A Princess for Christmas last year and I really enjoyed it. Like Princess, Duke, Actually is a Hallmark movie without all of the cringe-y elements. Dani and Max are both witty, charming characters and I loved watching them fall in love. I did, however, have a few quibbles.

One, I feel like everything leading up to them maybe starting a relationship took a long time. I liked their back and forth but I would rather have a little less of that and a little more of them considering a relationship.

Two, I feel like the happy ending was a little rushed. There's always obstacles in this book and I feel like they went from impossible to gone in about 5 seconds.

Three, I liked the very last scene but I wish every romance novel didn't end this way. It's fine, it was still very cute in this instance, but it did make me sigh a little.

Overall, I really enjoyed it and I hope Jenny Holiday continues the series! I really like all of these characters.
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