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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The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Sometimes I avoid books just because there is too much hype about them. There’s nothing worse than getting excited about a book because everyone is loving it and then having it fall short of your expectations. I sincerely wish I hadn’t held off on reading this book – it was deeply realistic, heartwarmingly romantic, and relatable in ways I hadn’t expected.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

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Recursion by Blake Crouch

I am a huge fan of the Book of the Month monthly subscription – every month I promise myself I’ll only get one book, but every month I end up maxing out my box. I love comparing with other people about what they chose for their monthly read – and Recursion seemed like the hot book of  June 2019. So without reading the summary or knowing much about it I picked it.

Memory makes reality.

That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

That’s what neuroscientist Helena Smith believes. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious memories. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.

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