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.

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

GoodReads Summary:
Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.
The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster. There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.
There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo. Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractedly cute.
Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.
Save the DateReview:
After not totally loving her other books, I was hesitant to pick this one up. But amidst all the virus chaos, I’ve only been able to read fun romance (which I’m certainly not complaining about.) This was exactly what I was looking for.
We follow Charlie, the youngest of the Grant family. She’s trying to help keep everything together for her sister’s wedding. But, with the family and all the other visitors, there’s bound to be problems. I know some people thought the wedding antics were predictable, but I thought it was so fun and funny. Anything that could have gone wrong, did. Seeing Charlie and the wedding planner’s nephew try to scramble for solutions was so entertaining.
My favorite thing about this book though was the siblings. I have a big and crazy family so all the siblings and their games and traditions really hit home with me. It made me miss my family (who live in a different state than me) and I wanted to be fifteen again playing manhunt at my elementary school playground. I loved the family feels, but they weren’t all good and I liked that too. Charlie’s being faced with some hard realizations and that made me love this book even more. She’s learning that her brothers and parents aren’t perfect. They’re just people.
Overall, I adored this story. It was fun and silly. There was such good family dynamics and a smidge of romance. This book was everything I wanted it to be and I will definitely be recommending it. (Antonia, if you’re reading this you will have to borrow this once you move closer to me.)

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 Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts

GoodReads Summary:
Ryder is the hardest Montgomery brother to figure out – with a tough-as-nails outside and possibly nothing too soft underneath. He’s surly and unsociable, but when he straps on a toolbelt, no woman can resist his sexy swagger. Except, apparently, Hope Beaumont, the innkeeper of his own Inn BoonsBoro…
As the former manager of a D.C. hotel, Hope is used to excitement and glamour, but that doesn’t mean she can’t appreciate the joys of small-town living. She’s where she wants to be – except for in her love life. Her only interaction with the opposite sex has been sparring with the infuriating Ryder, who always seems to get under her skin. Still, no one can deny the electricity that crackles between them…a spark that ignited with a New Year’s Eve kiss.
While the inn is running smoothly, thanks to Hope’s experience and unerring instincts, her big-city past is about to make an unwelcome – and embarrassing – appearance. Seeing Hope vulnerable stirs up Ryder’s emotions and makes him realize that while Hope may not be perfect, she just might be perfect for him…
The Perfect Hope (Inn Boonsboro Trilogy, #3)Review:
This was probably my favorite book of this trilogy. I really loved Hope and I loved Ryder too. He seemed like a more fleshed-out character compared to his brothers. But I still thought he was a bit lacking in the sense of learning about him. He, like his brothers, is a well-adjusted adult that comes from a really nice family. I really loved the whole family aspect of this series. The Montgomery family and the whole town was just so wholesome.
Hope, however, has got issues. She’s getting over a serious betrayal by her ex and his whole family. I really liked finally getting to know all the details about what happened because it’s talked about in the previous books but not in detail. I also liked getting to see Hope moving forward from that part of her life. She’s sort of the outsider of the town, but she never really feels or is treated that way. I loved seeing her come into the town and just become a part of the family. I loved her friendship with Clare and Avery.
Finally, the ghost. I really loved the mystery and romance of Eliza. She’s pushing the couples together. She’s a romantic that just wants to find her lost love. I loved them coming together and working toward helping Eliza. I also really loved the connections we find out about Eliza and the rest of the characters.
Overall, I enjoyed this series. I liked watching the Inn being built and then opening. I loved the characters and their relationships. It was just a really fun series to reread.

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.

Fight or Flight by Samantha Young

GoodReads Summary:
The universe is conspiring against Ava Breevort. As if flying back to Phoenix to bury a childhood friend wasn’t hell enough, a cloud of volcanic ash traveling from overseas delayed her flight back home to Boston. Her last-ditch attempt to salvage the trip was thwarted by an arrogant Scotsman, Caleb Scott, who steals a first-class seat out from under her. Then over the course of their journey home, their antagonism somehow lands them in bed for the steamiest layover Ava’s ever had. And that’s all it was–until Caleb shows up on her doorstep.
When pure chance pulls Ava back into Caleb’s orbit, he proposes they enjoy their physical connection while he’s stranded in Boston. Ava agrees, knowing her heart’s in no danger since a) she barely likes Caleb and b) his existence in her life is temporary. Not long thereafter Ava realizes she’s made a terrible error because as it turns out Caleb Scott isn’t quite so unlikeable after all. When his stay in Boston becomes permanent, Ava must decide whether to fight her feelings for him or give into them. But even if she does decide to risk her heart on Caleb, there is no guarantee her stubborn Scot will want to risk his heart on her….
Fight or FlightReview:
I’m going to be honest here. I mentioned in a review of another book that since everything going on with the virus started, I’ve pretty much only read romance. This is a book that is a part of that. I’m also writing this review after having read almost ten books since this one. So, I already don’t remember every detail. This review will be short because of that.
I liked this book from the start. Ava has a one-night stand with Caleb after burying her childhood best friend. She’s full of emotions she’s not ready to delve into, so she dives into a hot guy instead. That’s something I can get behind. But when the two run into one another back in Boston, things continue. I liked their relationship, at first. But when things start to get serious and Ava is ready to try to make things work in a more serious relationship, Caleb ghosts her. This made me mad, but not overly so. This is super common. He didn’t want anything more series. But his reasoning made me mad. He shared hard details about his past with Ava right before ghosting her. He opened up and instead of telling her that he didn’t want that, he just avoided her. So, she confronts him and he says exactly what he knows will hurt her down to the core. Because of course, she’s shared some hard details of her past with him too. So, he says incredibly hurtful things to her and immediately regrets them. This trope makes me so mad. Why would you make your character hurt another in a way that cuts them to the core and then somehow, they can get better from there? Nope. As soon as Caleb said purposefully hurtful things to Ava I knew I didn’t like this book anymore. I don’t support crap like that.
Overall, this was a fun book for the most part. I think most romance readers would enjoy it. The characters are well developed. The relationship is great for most of the book. I just didn’t love certain parts.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Burning Shadow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

GoodReads Summary:
When Evelyn Dasher crossed paths with Luc, she was thrown headfirst into the world of the Lux—only to discover that she was already far more involved in their world than she ever suspected.
Because the Luxen aren’t the only ones with a hidden past. There’s a gap in Evie’s memory, lost months of her life and a lingering sense that something happened, something she can’t remember and nobody is willing to tell her. She needs to find out the truth about who she is—and who she was. But every answer she finds only brings up more questions.
Her search for the truth brings her ever closer to Luc, the Origin at the center of it all. He’s powerful, arrogant, inhumanly beautiful, extremely dangerous…and possibly in love with her. But even as Evie falls for him, she can’t help but wonder if his attraction is to her, or to the memory of a girl who no longer exists.
And all the while, a new threat looms: reports of a flu-like, fatal virus that the government insists is being spread by Luxen. A horrifying illness that changes whoever it touches, spreading panic across a country already at its breaking point.
The Burning Shadow (Origin, #2)Review:
I will forever be a fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her several times and she’s always absolutely delightful. I adore her as a human and I adore the words and stories she creates for the world. I also have to mention that the first book in this world (Obsidian) is the book that inspired Antonia and me to even create the blog. So, I will always rave and support this author.
Now, about the book. This is the second book in the Origin series and I just love it. It’s angsty and dramatic and there are aliens. Do I really need anything else? No, no I don’t. I love the inner struggle that Evie is dealing with after learning her own backstory in the last book. She’s struggling to accept that she used to be someone else and it’s an interesting struggle. I loved seeing her move forward from this and really try to become a part of the good things that Luc is doing. She stands up for what she thinks is right (against hateful people) and I loved those scenes. The mystery of the missing pieces of time was also interesting. It added drama to the story, especially when the pieces started to come together.
Overall, I really had fun with this book. I love Luc and Evie. I loved their romantic scenes (and I loved that sex was included because, surprise, teenagers have sex!!) I didn’t always love Luc’s overreaction but I’m hoping this is addressed in the next book, especially because Evie tries to tell him to cut the shit. This was a fun, fast-paced story and I’m already dying for the third book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.