A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore

a rogue of one's own by evie dunmore
a rogue of one's own by evie dunmore

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore was the first ever historical romance that I ever read – and what a great first historical romance to start with. Naturally, I preordered A Rogue of One’s Own as soon as I finished the first book. 

A lady must have money and an army of her own if she is to win a revolution—but first, she must pit her wits against the wiles of an irresistible rogue bent on wrecking her plans…and her heart.
 
Lady Lucie is fuming. She and her band of Oxford suffragists have finally scraped together enough capital to control one of London’s major publishing houses, with one purpose: to use it in a coup against Parliament. But who could have predicted that the one person standing between her and success is her old nemesis and London’s undisputed lord of sin, Lord Ballentine? Or that he would be willing to hand over the reins for an outrageous price—a night in her bed.
 
Lucie tempts Tristan like no other woman, burning him up with her fierceness and determination every time they clash. But as their battle of wills and words fans the flames of long-smoldering devotion, the silver-tongued seducer runs the risk of becoming caught in his own snare.
 
As Lucie tries to out-maneuver Tristan in the boardroom and the bedchamber, she soon discovers there’s truth in what the poets say: all is fair in love and war…

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Book Review: One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

book cover of one to watch by Kate Stayman-London

book cover of one to watch by Kate Stayman-London

I am a junkie for The Bachelor – I watch The Bachelor, Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, and the Canadian versions. I know it’s a trash show, but something about it is oddly addicting. There are dozens of issues with The Bachelor, but one of the main issues is the lack of representation. Soon, the show will be featuring its first black Bachelor after 18 years – yes there have been 18 years of only white male leads. The contestant side of things has been pretty homogenous too – most years there are 90% white contestants. There is also a total lack of body diversity – there has only ever been one plus sized contestant ever. Given all of this, I was over the moon to be able to read a realistic take on what a season of The Bachelorette lead by a plus sized woman would be like.

Real love…as seen on TV

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers–and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition–under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men–and herself–for a chance to live happily ever after.

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Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Book cover of Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Book cover of Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Historical romance has long been a genre I’ve skipped – I don’t know why but whenever I think of historical fiction I think of mass-market paperbacks with women in satin dresses and Fabio on the cover. There’s certainly a market for those books but I’ve never considered myself as that demographic. So when it came time to make my Book of the Month selection and I saw Bringing Down the Duke was one of the options, I decided to finally give historical romance a whirl. Sadly, it was in part due to the fact that it didn’t have a stereotypical historical romance cover (as shallow as that is). Judgements aside, Bringing Down the Duke turned out to be a phenomenal book and one of my new favorites.

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….

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Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

As someone who works in the tech industry, I was thrilled to read a book where the female lead is a programmer. I work in a largely male dominated industry, and seeing female STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) representation in the books I read really feels like a step forward. Get a Life, Chloe Brown is a decent read with great diversity and charactesr but with a major pacing and plot issues.

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamourous family’s mansion. The next items?

Enjoy a drunken night out.
Ride a motorcycle.
Go camping.
Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
And… do something bad.

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Well Met by Jen DeLuca

This was my August Book of the Month – and yet another hit for my monthly choice. Honestly, if you’re in a reading rut or have a hard time choosing books, give Book of the Month a shot. I was initially a little hesitant about this book, with the ultra cute cover and title. I went in expecting a light, cutesy read, but was surprised by this books depth and quality of story. One side note, the fact that this book wasn’t titled All’s Faire is a real lost opportunity.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

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