The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

GoodReads Summary:
Kristen Petersen doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.
Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen—especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length.
The Friend ZoneReview:
I’ve heard many mixed reviews about The Friend Zone. I am in the upper half. I really enjoyed this book. There were a few things that I didn’t love, one of which Kristen coming uncomfortable close to cheating on her boyfriend who is in the Marine Corps (I’m a military wife and we don’t support cheating or almost cheating in this house.) Despite that, I was pulled into the story. I really enjoyed Josh and Kristen becoming really good friends before anything even remotely romantic happened. I liked that their friendship was most of the story.
I don’t like the secret-keeping or miscommunication tropes. So, when Kristen chooses not to tell Josh about her infertility issues, I was annoyed. I spent most of the book screaming in my head at Kristen to just tell Josh the truth. I thought the characters were realistic and interesting. There were more issues Kristen had than just ‘wanting to protect Josh’s future.’ Her own personal issues were a big part of why she wouldn’t let herself actually be in a relationship with him. I thought their issues went on a little bit too long, but they were solved in the end and I was happy with how their story played out.
Now, the supporting characters. I adored Kristen’s best friend Sloan and she did not deserve to be done as dirty as she was by the author. Though the author’s next book is Sloan’s story so I’m interested to read that one. I loved Sloan and Kristen’s friendship. I also loved Josh and Brandon’s relationship. The supporting characters were some of my favorite parts of the story.
Overall, this was a fun story but also completely devastating. The author takes ‘kill your babies’ seriously and I hate her a little for it. But I had fun reading this book. The characters were realistic with issues that should be talked about more.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker

GoodReads Summary:
Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.
On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.
Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life.
The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counselors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.
Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.
Say You Still Love MeReview:
After hearing nothing but good things about K.A. Tucker I decided to give her books a try. I was so pleased when I started this book because I didn’t know anything about it and I totally love books set in summer camps. This story alternates between the past and the present.
In the past, Piper is sent to work at the Wawa summer camp to work as a counselor for eight weeks. I absolutely adored this setting. It was so much fun and I felt like I got to vicariously live through Piper to live my dream of being a summer camp counselor. I really enjoyed the young love romance that she finds with Kyle. It had a ‘lust at first sight’ aspect, but their falling in love took time and didn’t move too fast. I liked that it covered good topics, like having sex for the first time and not moving too fast. There was a bit of underage drinking. But I really enjoyed these chapters. There was a mystery aspect because there was some big issue that happened in the second to last week of camp and we wait for most of the book to finally find out what happened. I liked this because it was suspenseful and interesting.
Then there’s the storyline in the present. Piper is about to take over the company her father owns. Don’t ask me to tell you what this company does because I honestly have no idea. But, she’s a woman in a corporate world so she deals with some idiot men that continually underestimate her. I did like that not all of the men were like that, but the drama with one specific man that kept going over her head to her father was great. Seeing Piper figure out how to take him down a peg was really interesting. I liked the father/daughter aspect of the story too. She’s working out how to get her father to stop trying to fight her battles and stop letting the problem character go to him instead of her. Then there’s Kyle in the present. He has secrets, but we don’t know that until Piper learns them. I liked their relationship. They’re trying to figure out if they can get back what they had. I thought it was well done and I really enjoyed it.
Overall, this was such a great book. I’m very excited to read more by this author. The characters were ones I was invested in and really cared about. The story had mystery and suspense. I just loved this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas

GoodReads Summary:
Four young ladies at the side of the ballroom make a pact to help each other find husbands… no matter what it takes
Proud and beautiful Annabelle Peyton could have her pick of suitors—if only she had a dowry. Her family is on the brink of disaster, and the only way Annabelle can save them is to marry a wealthy man. Unfortunately her most persistent admirer is the brash Simon Hunt, a handsome and ambitious entrepreneur who wants her as his mistress.
Annabelle is determined to resist Simon’s wicked propositions, but she can’t deny her attraction to the boldly seductive rogue, any more than he can resist the challenge she presents. As they try to outmaneuver each other, they find themselves surrendering to a love more powerful than they could have ever imagined. But fate may have other plans—and it will take all of Annabelle’s courage to face a peril that could destroy everything she holds dear.
Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers, #1)Review:
I used to read Lisa Kleypas in high school. But it’s been many years since I’ve read any of her books. After reading some newer historical romance I decided I wanted to try some of the historical romance that I loved in my younger years. This was one of those.
I thought this story was fun. It was definitely entertaining. I love the concept of the wallflowers befriending one another and coming together to help each other catch husbands. The friendships of these four girls was most definitely my favorite part of the story. These girls are hilarious and outgoing and they make each other more confident. I’m continuing this series 100% for the friendship of the wallflowers.
The romance was actually pretty good in this book too. It’s an enemies to lovers story that follows Annabelle as she’s in her last season and desperate to get a husband to hopefully pull her family out of financial ruin. I think that’s what made me not hate her motivations. She’s only doing this for her mother and her brother. But the romance was pretty good. It was well developed and I really enjoyed seeing the couple fall in love even though they both really didn’t want to. I also enjoyed seeing Annabelle end up in a marriage that is very different from what she’d planned for her entire life. Simon Hunt is a businessman and not a part of the peerage. So, he doesn’t run in the circles that Annabelle’s hoping to become a part of. This was an adjustment for her and I think made the book that much better.
Overall, this was a fun and entertaining read. I liked the romance and the friendships were excellent. There were some great steamy scenes and I just all around had a good time reading this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

GoodReads Summary:
If faking love is this easy… how do you know when it’s real?
When her partner of over a decade suddenly ends things, Laurie is left reeling—not only because they work at the same law firm and she has to see him every day. Her once perfect life is in shambles and the thought of dating again in the age of Tinder is nothing short of horrifying. When news of her ex’s pregnant girlfriend hits the office grapevine, taking the humiliation lying down is not an option. Then a chance encounter in a broken-down elevator with the office playboy opens up a new possibility.
Jamie Carter doesn’t believe in love, but he needs a respectable, steady girlfriend to impress their bosses. Laurie wants a hot new man to give the rumor mill something else to talk about. It’s the perfect proposition: a fauxmance played out on social media, with strategically staged photographs and a specific end date in mind. With the plan hatched, Laurie and Jamie begin to flaunt their new couple status, to the astonishment—and jealousy—of their friends and colleagues. But there’s a fine line between pretending to be in love and actually falling for your charming, handsome fake boyfriend…
If I Never Met YouReview:
This author is new to me. This is only the second book I’ve read by Mhairi McFarlane, but I enjoyed all I’ve read so far. This is the author’s newest release and I enjoyed it so much. I think I prefer this one over the other that I’ve read. Mostly because this has tropes that I adore (read: fake dating and ‘there’s only one bed’).
One of the things I love about Mhairi’s books is that while they are technically a romance, there’s so much more to the story than that. The romance seems to take a back seat to the character development. Laurie has just been broken up with by her partner of more than ten years, the man she thought she was going to spend the rest of her life with. I can only imagine how she felt, but the author does a really good job of showing the emotional effect of this breakup. Laurie doesn’t let this break her. She lets herself mourn and then decides that she’s going to do something about it. At first, her goal is to win her ex back (which was a little annoying because he sucks.) But she eventually realizes that he isn’t worth the gum stuck to the bottom of her shoe. Enter Jamie. He’s the stereotypical womanizer (or is he??) and they get trapped in an elevator together. They come up with a fake dating plan that is supposed to benefit them both. And hilarity ensues. They pose for Instagram and go on fake dates, but end up creating a really wonderful friendship. I really liked their friendship. It was well developed and seemed to develop naturally rather than being insta-love.
The friendships in this story were also wonderful. That’s something that this story has in common with the other book by this author that I read. The main character is learning about herself but has an excellent support system in her friendships.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was fun and heartwarming, but also deep and thoughtful. I will definitely be reading more by this author.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

GoodReads Summary:
You always remember your first love… don’t you?
If there’s anything worse than being fired from the lousiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else. Reeling from the humiliation of a double dumping in one day, Georgina takes the next job that comes her way—bartender in a newly opened pub. There’s only one problem: it’s run by the guy she fell in love with years ago. And—make that two problems—he doesn’t remember her. At all. But she has fabulous friends and her signature hot pink fur coat… what more could a girl really need?
Lucas McCarthy has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but he’s also turned into an actual grown-up, with a thriving business and a dog along the way. Crossing paths with him again throws Georgina’s rocky present into sharp relief—and brings a secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows what happened twelve years ago, and why she’s allowed the memories to chase her ever since. But maybe it’s not too late for the truth… or a second chance with the one that got away?
Don't You Forget About MeReview:
I’ve been reading so much romance lately that I’ve been searching for new authors to read. Mhairi McFarlane came up in my search so I picked up two of her books from my local independent bookstore. I’m glad I did because though these are romance books in an assumed way, they’re more character-driven by the main character learning more about themselves.
I loved this book because I related so hard to Georgina. She’s been bouncing around different jobs in the food industry. Her family looks down on her for her lack of stability. I just could relate to her not yet finding her place in the world in a working sense. I really enjoyed her finding a new place to work that she just loved and felt at home. But (gasp) her first love is one of the brothers that owns the bar. And (gasp again) he doesn’t remember her. I love their budding friendship and eventual reconciliation about the past. I thought this book was so well done. There were hard topics covered and in a thoughtful way.
Overall, I didn’t know what to expect from this story but there was such great character development. There were great friendships and learning moments. I will definitely be reading more from this author.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Guy on the Left by Kate Stewart

GoodReads Summary:
It started with a lie. A night of blurred lines between a teacher and a student.
I wasn’t her student, yet it was the single most defining night of my life.
I’ve never been the man she thinks I am.
Most people have no idea about the life I’ve lived or the words that ring true when it comes to me—still waters run deep.
But you’d be hard-pressed to find a coed on the TGU campus who knows otherwise…because I’ve never corrected them.
The clock is ticking down, it’s Fourth and Inches with the ball inside the one-yard line and the focus is on me, The Guy on the Left. I’ve never felt like a football god, inside I’m…just Troy.
It’s time to set the record straight.
For my son, I‘ll find the strength.
In her eyes, I’m determined to gain redemption.
I will have them both, even if I have to take my eye off the ball.
The Guy on the Left (The Underdogs, #2)Review:
After finishing the first book in this series, I was really excited to continue the story and hear more about Troy’s story. Right from the beginning, I was interested, but also sort of annoyed. Because we got to see an outside perspective from the first book, it was a little annoying that certain aspects weren’t really shown in this book. I’ll explain what I mean in a bit.
Troy is trying to show Clarissa that he’s grown up and isn’t the teenage boy that lied to her about his age anymore. I loved this aspect of the story. I really loved that Troy was so serious about stepping up and being a father to Dante. This was one of the best parts of the book. He’s so aware of what his role is compared to what he wants it to me. I loved the parts with Clarissa and Troy coming together to be good parents for Dante.
Let’s talk about the romance. I totally love it and I’m really here for it, but…Troy is a fuckboy and I didn’t like that it wasn’t really shown. It was talked about in abundance in The Guy on the Right because Theo is making breakfast for all the girls that Troy has a one night stand with, but it’s not really addressed in The Guy on the Left. I didn’t like that I was sort of left wondering how long he kept up with his one night stands and when he stopped them because he loved Clarissa. Aside from this, I liked the scenes that were in both books. I liked that Troy and Lance seem to be sort of friends and confide in one another. I enjoyed the romance and I liked that Troy was finally standing up for himself to fight to have this relationship with his son.
Overall, I liked this book. It was enjoyable. I was entertained the whole time. The sex scenes were pretty great (read: sexting scene was totally hot). There were good friends in this book, as there was with the first. I loved Clarissa’s best friend, Parker (also I want her to get her own romance.) Troy’s friends were not as involved, but still present and I liked them too. I didn’t like this book as much as I liked the first in the series, but I still enjoyed it and I will definitely be continuing onto the third book where we learn about the mysterious Lance.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Guy on the Right by Kate Stewart

GoodReads Summary:
Strike One – My mother named me Theodore after her favorite chipmunk.
Not cool, Mom.
I‘ve spent most of my life answering to Teddy, because I couldn’t make Theo work.
Except for here. College. The place where all bets are off, and I’ve managed to redeem myself.
There’s only one problem, my new roommate, Troy, is football royalty and looks like he stepped off the set of an Abercrombie shoot.
Doesn’t matter, I cook a mean breakfast for his panty parade, and we get along well.
And anyway, this year I got the girl. And she’s perfect.
That’s right. Theodore Houseman, former band geek, now marching band rock star has finally landed the girl of his dreams.
Everything is perfect.
That is, until Troy takes a good look at her.
I’m not going down without a fight. As a matter of fact, I’m not going down at all. As glorious as these days may be for my all-star roommate, Laney is my end game.
I may not know much about play strategy, but I’ve been the good guy my whole life. I’ve been listening and I know exactly what women want. Framed in a picture standing next to me, Troy may seem like Mr. Perfect, but he’s underestimating the guy on the right.
Spoiler alert: In this story, the underdog is going to win.
The Guy on the Right (The Underdogs, #1)Review:
I loved this book. It was so sweet and so much fun. Our couple, Theo and Laney, meet one night at a party. But they don’t exchange information or really even see each other’s faces. But then they have a meet-cute in the grocery store and their friendship starts. I loved that they started as friends. I’m such a huge fan of the friends to lover’s trope that I was so happy to see it in this book.
I loved that Theo and Laney were both well developed. They both are almost done with college and they have history and experiences that they bring with them. Theo is trying to move past his last relationship that really left him hurting. And Laney is a serial dater that’s never been in love. They were wonderfully vulnerable with one another and I loved every part of it.
Then they start dating. There were some pretty steamy sex scenes and they were great. I loved their relationship. I loved that they kept learning new things about one another after they actually started dating. I just really enjoyed their relationship. I love that their families were included.
I also want to mention the friendships. Laney’s best friend was the best. She’s hilarious and I loved her inclusion in the story. She added so much fun and laughter to the story, but she was also there when Laney was feeling her lowest. She was the best friend a girl could ask for and I loved her.
Overall, I just loved this book. I had so much fun reading this story. It was exactly what wanted it to be. I’m very excited to continue the series. The next book is Troy’s who is a typical party boy (but we find out he’s actually not at the end of this book). So, I’m interested to see what this author will do for the next book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

What You Wish For by Katherine Center

GoodReads Summary:
Samantha Casey loves everything about her job as an elementary school librarian on the sunny, historic island of Galveston, Texas—the goofy kids, the stately Victorian building, the butterfly garden. But when the school suddenly loses its beloved principal, it turns out his replacement will be none other than Duncan Carpenter—a former, unrequited crush of Sam’s from many years before.
When Duncan shows up as her new boss, though, he’s nothing like the sweet teacher she once swooned over. He’s become stiff, and humorless, and obsessed with school safety. Now, with Duncan determined to destroy everything Sam loves about her school in the name of security—and turn it into nothing short of a prison—Sam has to stand up for everyone she cares about before the school that’s become her home is gone for good.
What You Wish ForReview:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I’ve heard great things about Katherine Center’s books so when I saw this one up on NetGalley I thought I’d give it a try.
I absolutely adored this book. I love books about people that love books. So, following an elementary school library in her quest to try and save her school. She tries to make her library a safe place for the children and teach them to love reading. I just loved that. But when beloved principal and founder, Max, dies, someone new is brought in to replace him, someone that Sam knows already. But she doesn’t know this new version of him. He’s trying to change everything she loves about her school, the place she’s made her home. And she’s not going to let that happen. I loved the community aspect of this book. The town comes together because they care because they love where they live. They come up with fun and funny things to make Duncan do and I loved it.
Duncan is a man with a past, but Sam is missing the part of his past that has caused such a big change in him. So, until she learns his history, she’s determined to make him leave the school. But when she learns of the trauma, he’s experienced she decides to help him become his old self. I loved his story. He’s a man that’s been through some serious things and it shows. But once he starts opening up, he starts to heal.
I really loved that this was more than a romance novel. There was romance in the best way. Two people that made one another better, that helped heal one another. Their relationship was full of conflict but was handled so well and so sweet. I absolutely adored this book and I will be reading more of this author’s work.

Quotes:

“I took him to the library. Where else? My beautiful, magical, beloved library…home of a million other lives. Home of comfort, and distraction, and getting lost—in the very best way.”

“It was the best way I knew how to turn them into readers: to catch those little sparks when they happened and turn them into flames.”

“I wasn’t a stranger to grieving, to the way it drowned you but didn’t kill you—only keep you submerged for so long you forgot what air and sunshine even felt like. I knew that grief set its own timeline, and that the only way out was through.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

GoodReads Summary:
Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.
When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.
Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.
99 Percent MineReview:
As I said in my review yesterday for The Hating Game, enemies to lover’s isn’t my favorite trope. So, I think I just assumed that 99 Percent Mine would also be a story that included that. I’m a little mad at myself for not looking more into it because this book is one that includes my favorite trope, childhood friends to lovers (probably because this is how my own love story went down.)
99 Percent Mine follows Darcy as she works with her twin brother’s childhood best friend, Tom. The two are working to remodel the house of Darcy’s grandmother. It was in her will that the house was remodeled, then sold and the sale money would be their inheritance. But there’s a lot of memories within that house. Those memories, along with Tom’s arrival, bring back Darcy’s feelings for him. So, when she finds out that Tom and his fiancé broke up (four months ago) she literally tells him to get in her.
I loved this story so much. Darcy was so awkward and tried to hold back her thoughts before they made it out of her mouth. And she even succeeded sometimes, but when she failed it had me laughing so hard. I like that Darcy isn’t the typical girl. She’s got a heart condition and she’s a bit of a rebel. She’s traveled the world to take photographs, but right now is working on finding a new direction.
Tom has just quit his job and taken half his fellow coworkers with him to start his own construction business. I loved this aspect of the story because I feel like I grew up on construction sites. Tom is hesitant to let Darcy finally pull him in because he fears that once she does, she’ll leave again.
I really enjoyed the two talking and opening up to one another, reconnecting and learning that the other has always loved them. Their friendship and the eventual relationship was so enjoyable. It was hot and sweaty, but also sweet and thoughtful. I thought the conflict of Tom being Darcy’s brother’s best friend was a good one. Everyone knows you’re not supposed to make a move on your best friend’s sister.
I loved the family ties and friendships. This book was funny and sweet and I totally loved it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

GoodReads Summary:
Nemesis (n.)
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.
Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.
If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth-shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.
Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.
The Hating GameReview:
I know everyone loves the enemies to lover’s trope, and while it’s one that I think is fun and enjoyable, it’s not my favorite. I think that’s why it took me so long to pick up this book. Everyone that I know that has read it gave it at least four stars if not five. Despite that, I just didn’t think I’d ever pick it up. But with having to stay home I’ve been binging all my romance and contemporary books, so eventually, I ran out of books. I made a rather large order from my local indie bookstore and figured I’d see what all the hype was about. I’m so glad I did.
I absolutely devoured this book. I totally loved it. Lucy was hilarious. She’s the child of strawberry farmers. She collects smurfs. I just loved her. She’s confident and sassy and everything I wanted her to be. I loved that she worked in the publishing industry, but I would have liked more for her to have worked a bit more directly with books. When she and Josh have to compete for the same promotion, things get interesting.
Josh starts off as this jerk (read: asshole.) But the further we get into the book and the more we learn about him, the more I couldn’t help but love him. His banter with Lucy was hilarious. I actually found myself laughing out loud a few times (which always gets me funny looks from my husband). I loved that Josh taught Lucy to stand up for herself so that people would stop letting the fact that she’s nice be a reason to walk all over her. I loved that Lucy made Josh more confident.
Overall, this story was so much fun. I adored the enemies to lover’s dynamic. Their relationship was hot and fun and exciting, but it was also sweet and romantic. I had so much fun reading this that when II finished I had to immediately pick up Sally Thorne’s next book, so keep your eye out for that review later this week.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

GoodReads Summary:
Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.
His terms are simple:
– They will be husband and wife by night only.
– No lights, no kissing.
– No questions about his battle scars.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.
But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
– They will have dinner together every evening.
– With conversation.
– And unlimited teasing.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…
The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke, #1)Review:
I’ve been avoiding historical romance for a few years now and I honestly don’t know why. I read a ton of it in high school. I think maybe I thought I wouldn’t like it anymore, but I needed a change of pace from all the contemporary romance I’ve been reading. Tessa Dare is a well-loved historical romance author, so I thought I’d give this series a try. Oh boy, am I glad that I did.
I adored this book, so much that I finished it in one sitting and way after when I should have gone to bed. But I just couldn’t get enough. I liked that Emma was sassy and spoke her mind. She was doing what she needed to make the best life she could for herself. So, she was a seamstress. But then she meets the Duke of Ashbury and he gives her the offer of a lifetime.
I loved the Duke. He was rude and disagreeable. But Emma saw that as a challenge. She does her best to change how he sees himself, to show him how she sees him and make him believe it.
This book was sad but sweet. The characters taught and learned from one another. I just all around loved it. I loved the new friends Emma made. I loved the developing relationship between Emma and Ashbury. It wasn’t quite hate to love, but it was definitely fun. I immediately bought the next two books and can’t wait to read them.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Love at First Like by Hannah Orenstein

GoodReads Summary:
Eliza Roth and her sister Sophie co-own a jewelry shop in Brooklyn. One night, after learning of an ex’s engagement, Eliza accidentally posts a photo of herself wearing a diamond ring on that finger to her Instagram account beloved by 100,000 followers. Sales skyrocket, press rolls in, and Eliza learns that her personal life is good for business. So she has a choice: continue the ruse or clear up the misunderstanding. With mounting financial pressure, Eliza sets off to find a fake fiancé.
Fellow entrepreneur Blake seems like the perfect match on paper. And in real life he shows promise, too. He would be perfect, if only Eliza didn’t feel also drawn to someone else. But Blake doesn’t know Eliza is “engaged”; Sophie asks Eliza for an impossible sum of money; and Eliza’s lies start to spiral out of control. She can either stay engaged online or fall in love in real life.
Love at First LikeReview:
I picked this book up randomly at Target one day. I wish I hadn’t, or at least that I had looked up some reviews before buying. This book follows Eliza. She sees her ex post an engagement announcement on Instagram and her way of venting is to make fake posts with rings from the jewelry store she owns with her sister. Right from the start I knew what was coming and I knew I wasn’t going to like it, but I couldn’t stop. It was like watching a train wreck and not being able to pull my eyes away. Eliza just kept doing more and more things that made me hate her.
So, she accidentally posts this fake engagement picture on her Instagram and instead of deleting it or, I don’t know, changing the caption to promote her store, she decides to find a boyfriend to try to con into proposing. Incredibly, it works. While she’s dating Blake, she starts getting all kinds of offers for free wedding venues and flowers and even a wedding dress, as long as she’ll promote the brands to her followers. I hated everything about this. She just kept digging herself into a deeper and deeper hole and manipulating Blake the whole time. I really hate the “keeping secrets to protect the other person” trope. It makes me so mad and wants to smash the keys and type nonsense.
Overall, do not recommend. I wish I had DNF’d this, but I just couldn’t stop reading it to see how the train wreck ended.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

GoodReads Review:
England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women’s suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain’s politics at the Queen’s command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can’t deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.
Sebastian is appalled to find a suffragist squad has infiltrated his ducal home, but the real threat is his impossible feelings for green-eyed beauty Annabelle. He is looking for a wife of equal standing to secure the legacy he has worked so hard to rebuild, not an outspoken commoner who could never be his duchess. But he wouldn’t be the greatest strategist of the Kingdom if he couldn’t claim this alluring bluestocking without the promise of a ring…or could he?
Locked in a battle with rising passion and a will matching her own, Annabelle will learn just what it takes to topple a duke…
Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women, #1)Review:
I haven’t read a historical romance in literal years. So, I was hesitant to pick this one up, but as I’ve mentioned in a few of my reviews lately that I’ve been on a romance binge. Bringing Down the Duke is a book I’ve seen recommended a fair amount lately, which is the whole reason I picked it up. I ended up really enjoying it. It was such a fun story and very different from the historical romances that I’ve read in the past.
We follow Annabelle as she attends Oxford, as a part of the first class of females that have been allowed to attend the school. I thought this was a really interesting take. I liked Annabelle. She was determined to succeed at school so that she could better her life. She’s coming from a less than favorable situation at home. She’s made mistakes in the past and is determined to move forward and make the best of her situation. Enter the complication. As a part of her scholarship, she’s joined the woman’s suffrage movement and that puts her in the path of Sebastian, the Duke of Montgomery.
Sebastian is the typical prickly Duke. He has enormous responsibilities that come with the title of Duke. He’s had to bring the Dukedom back from the brink of ruin (thanks to his alcoholic father) and that weighs on him. Sebastian has been burned, by family and by past relationships. So, he’s not looking for a new wife. He’s not looking to get involved with Annabelle.
But as we all know, they get involved. I loved this romance because he’s a Duke and she’s the daughter of a vicar. It’s not a suitable marriage in this time period, so Sebastian offers for Annabelle to become his mistress. This does not go over well and it was mildly hilarious. I really enjoyed the romance. They have their differences, but deep down they’re both good people and they work well together.
Overall, this was a really fun book. It wasn’t the typical historical romance. It focused on women’s rights in this time period and the fight for women to keep their property after marriage. I loved the topics covered. I loved the romance. I just really enjoyed this one.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

GoodReads Summary:
Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction.
Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.
Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club.
Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assists Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even though she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.
Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club, #2)Review:
Undercover Bromance was even better than the first book. We follow Braden Mack as he tries to figure out his love life. He gets dumped by a girl because he’s just going through the motions and doing what he thinks she wants her to. While he’s on his final date he runs into Gavin’s sister in law, Liv. He also sort of got her fired. I really loved Mack. He’s a guy with a lot of heart. He just cares. He has strong morals and wants to do whatever he can to help. This comes off a little bit as trying to be a knight in shining armor. He wants to come to the rescue. This is a trope that annoys me sometimes, but it didn’t in this book. His desire to help comes from a good place. He just genuinely wants to right the wrongs that he finds in the world.
Then there’s Liv. She’s a prickly girl and doesn’t need help from anyone. She won’t take money from her sister to start her own restaurant, which is how she’s ended up working at one of Nashville’s hottest restaurants for a huge scum bag. When she catches him sexually propositioning one of her coworkers she flips. She’s determined to take him down. Liv is trying to find a new job is the chef business but she’s being blackballed.
These two team up to take down Liv’s old boss. This was wicked funny because all Mack wants to do is help and Liv wants to do this by herself. She doesn’t need help from anyone, but Mack is determined to be involved. There’s an attraction between the two and it’s hard to resist once they start working together.
Overall, I enjoyed this one. It was fun, despite the serious topic of sexual harassment (it’s honestly more than that, but I don’t know what else to call it.) I thought the topic was handled well. Even when Liv is not handling the topic well when talking to the girls that have experienced this harassment, she’s called out on it. I liked that she was called out for being wrong. I really cannot wait for the next book in the series, especially since I believe it is the Russian’s book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

GoodReads Summary:
The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.
Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major-league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.
Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.
Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner-hero and win back the trust of his wife.
The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club, #1)Review:
This was another book that I picked up because my bookish internet people were just absolutely raving about it. I’m glad I picked this one up because it totally had me laughing out loud. I loved the concept of a male book club that reads romance with the purpose of helping other men fixing their relationships. I love that the men come together to discuss the book in more than just the sense of what they’ve learned from it.
We follow a baseball player, Gavin, as he’s trying to win his wife back. She’s left him because she’s been faking it during sex for years. But it wasn’t just that and he doesn’t realize this until after the book club takes him in and helps him. I loved seeing him realize how he was wrong and what he can do to win his wife back, what he can do to make up for his lack of doing.
This story was just honestly so much fun. I am really excited to continue this series. I’ve already read the second book and I’ll be reviewing that one next, but there’s more coming and I’m beyond excited to read them.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.