G. Bianco, 2019
Evie Dunmore’s debut novel, Bringing Down the Duke, was a September Book of the Month choice, and has been receiving accolades throughout the past couple of months for being one of the bets romance and debut novels of the year. This historical romance set in 1879 England is alight with passion, wit, and humor and will have readers hooked on every word.
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 and is tasked to 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...
Who knew the 1880s could be so steamy!?!? This debut novel really hits the nail on the head with this Victorian Era romance. The time period the novel is set in is refreshing. It’s an antiquated love story, yet it appeals to modern-day readers, feminists, and Victorian scholars alike!
The slow burn of the romance in this novel is paced out perfectly and keeps the reader engaged. The characters are just fantastic! The headstrong and persistent woman, the cold-hearted and brooding duke, and the rest of the cast of characters really pulls this whole novel together. Readers will devour this book and be obsessed, wondering how Annabelle and Sebastian’s romance will play out.
With the feel of an Austen novel (but with more steam), Bringing Down the Duke is a creatively written story that will have the reader turning page after page wanting to see what’s going to happen next!
Kate Clayborn’s newest romance novel, Love Lettering, will have you looking at signs everywhere you go! Known as The Planner of Park Slope, hand-lettering icon Meg Mackworth is busy designing beautiful custom journals for New York City’s elite. She also has a knack for reading signs that other people miss. Like when she sat across from Reid Sutherland and his gorgeous fiancée, and knew their upcoming marriage was doomed to fail. But no one would notice the secret word that Meg wove into their wedding program, right? She hadn’t counted on sharp-eyed, pattern-obsessed Reid.
When Reid tracks Meg down after a year to find out how she knew that his life would implode on him, Meg doesn’t have an answer. She’s already too busy dealing with a looming deadline, a broken friendship, and a bad case of creativity block. That is, unless Reid can help her find inspiration among the city she loves and he hates? As the two begin to form a connection, both Meg and Reid try to ignore the fact that their friendship might be turning into something more. But the signs are there—irresistible, indisputable, urging Meg to heed the messages Reid is sending her, before it’s too late.
Simply put, this is a really inventive and unique story! The emphasis on words, letters, and numbers really makes the story stand apart from other romance novels. As many readers and writers probably know, using the right words can make or break the meaning behind them. This novel shows how words, letters, and numbers affect people in different ways. The games Meg and Reid play are so interesting to read about and the way Clayborn describes the letters Meg sees is detailed and beautiful. The reader can really visualize the letters and see the beauty of Meg’s world.
What also makes this novel stand out is the fact that it’s not just a love story; it’s a story about a woman trying to reevaluate her priorities and they way she approaches hardship in her life. The romance aspect of the novel was sexy and fun and watching Reid and Meg both open up to one another is so much fun to read about, but Reid and Meg’s connection only helps to make their faults and insecurities shine.
The whole setting of New York City and Brooklyn really solidifies the idea that New York is a city where anything is possible. Where two adults can walk around taking pictures of old street signs and not turn a single head; where a celebrity and a calligrapher can become friends; where someone can run away from one scandal and end up running into another one; where someone can find love and create her own family when her biological one is in shambles. Overall, this is a great story that will inspire anyone to follow their dreams and take destiny into their own hands. Sometimes, following the signs will lead you on the right path.
*I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion
“The first rule of this book club: You don't talk about book club.” At this tagline, it’s clear to see that Lyssa Kay Adams’s novel, The Bromance Book Club, is going to be a whirlwind of fun. This witty and unique romance has the book community abuzz with rave reviews and (spoiler alert) this one is going to be another one!
Pro baseball player Gavin Scott's marriage is in trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he freaks out at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship and Thea asks for a divorce. When Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him, in walk his friends with a plan: Welcome to the Bromance Book Club. Desperate to save his marriage, 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 how to save his marriage. But it'll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for him to win back the trust of his wife.
What at first seems like such a laughable and cheesy book will have you sucked in from page one! The whole Bromance Book Club is well meaning and hysterical and the cast of characters that Adams creates is just genius.
Readers will be laughing from the first chapter at the humor, sarcasm, and situations Gavin and the bromance book club get into as well as Gavin’s hapless attempts to win Thea over. I was laughing out loud on page two, binge-read the book in two days, and I just wanted more!
What I really liked was how Thea had her own agency. It wasn’t just a man trying to seduce a woman; it was two people rediscovering their love for one another. The alternating points-of-view helped show the struggles both Gavin and Thea have and how it affects their marriage and love life. It also shows just how much they truly love the other person, despite not being able to properly convey it sometimes, and how two people can somehow find their way back to one another.
Romance fans will be laughing and swooning at this couple falling back in love with one another and their meddling friends and family that get involved along the way. I can’t wait for Adam’s next book in the series to come out in March 2020!
Writing duo Christina Lauren know how to write a good romance book. With over a dozen books published and thousands of readers worldwide, it shouldn’t be a surprise that their enemies-to-lovers story, The Unhoneymooners, is such a hit!
Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in pretty much everything. However, her identical twin sister, Ami, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her love life is something out of a rom-com and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests. Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man. When the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs. Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of... lucky.
Everything you could want from a romance book is in this story! I completely devoured this book and I still wanted more! It was just the right amount of cheesy and I found myself giggling almost the entire time at the awkward situations and sarcastic jabs between the characters. It was a quintessential enemies-to-lovers story that was witty, funny, and heartwarming.
While some people may find this book too cliche, I found it to be endearing and fun! Not only do we see romance, we also see Olive trying to figure her life out and stop comparing herself to her twin sister. She must also learn to not be so cynical and take agency in her own life and not base everything on luck and fate. By taking matters into her own hands and finding her truth, Olive finds true happiness and learns to live herself a little more.
This is a light and breezy read that will satisfy any romance mood. Anyone who loves a good love story should immediately grab a copy of The Unhoneymooners and be prepared to fall in love with it like I did. You won’t be disappointed!
Since it's almost the end of the year and I'm super behind on reviews, I decided to do what I'm calling a Multi-Review! Basically, instead of writing a full review of each of these books, I'm going to do a shorter review of a few different books and compile them all together in one post! This idea was inspired by @grayscalebooks 's post on Instagram so shoutout to her for the idea! Without further ado, here are some of my Super Mini Reviews:
The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson
This YA fantasy book about a girl trying to save her kingdom’s legacy was a good read! The plot was pretty good and Josephson does a great job of creating such a fantastic world. The characters are developed well and Thia’s issues with depression and self confidence make her a little bit more relatable to the reader. I really liked the characters but I didn’t fall in love with them as much as I was hoping to. I’m still going to read the sequel to see what happens next, but also to see a greater character development. I think this series is bound for greatness and this debut novel was a great starting point for it.
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Romanov by Nadine Brandes
This retelling of the story of Anastasia and the Romanov family shows what might’ve happened to the royal family if magic actually existed. It is a very slow moving novel. The entire first half can get a bit redundant, but then the pace picks up a bit, with the major climax scene being way too quick! Midway through I was finding it hard to understand Zash and his flip-flopping between fondness for Nastya and putting up his Bolshevik front. However, this story does mix fact and fiction very well and the author even includes a note at the end of the novel explaining what was fabricated and what was historically accurate. The story does turn into a moving story about forgiveness and hope even in the bleakest of times, and makes it worth the read!
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Circe by Madeline Miller
Miller’s retelling of the sorceress from Greek Mythology really shows the true feeling of mortality and the things we as humans take for granted. The novel has a stream of consciousness flow to it, just telling of Circe’s life, until about a third of the way into the story when events start occurring that influence Circe’s future. The different parts of the book mesh very well together and intertwine beautifully. The descriptions and inner thoughts of Circe are metaphoric and breathtaking, like her visualizing places like Aiaia. Miller’s insight on the way the world works (which is perceived through Circe) is astounding and simply beautiful. Any fans of Greek Mythology will find this book fascinating and it definitely lived up to the hype of being a Book of the Year 2018 from Book of the Month!
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
The Queen of Nothing is out to the public and after waiting almost a year for its release, fans are buzzing about the stunning conclusion to Holly Black’s The Folk of the Air Series. Readers were left reeling after the conclusion of The Wicked King placed Jude in a place of no hope or solution for her current situation. Now, readers will finally see what Black has planned for Jude, Cardan, and the rest of Elfhame.
Jude Duarte has learned the hard way that power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. When she released her control over Cardan, the High King of Faerie, she didn’t expect him to exile her immediately after they said their marriage vows. Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. When her twin sister, Taryn, comes for Jude’s help, Jude realizes that the time to take back her power is now. Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing and as Jude slips deep within enemy lines, she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics. And, when a powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land and forces Jude to choose between her ambition and her humanity…
I refuse to believe that this book series is over. The writing was witty, detailed, and just amazing! The plot itself was dramatic, shocking, and enthralling. Readers won’t be able to put this book down and will just devour it from start to finish. Most importantly, long awaited answers will be given to the burning questions left at the end of the previous book.
The character development of Jude is amazing to see and with the lies and deceptions of the Faerie Court, the plot twists just kept on coming. I found myself liking certain characters, like Taryn, more in this novel than I did in the previous two books. Jude and Cardan’s relationship is one of the best enemies-to-lovers relationships I’ve ever read. The reader really gets to see their relationship develop and transition into the “lovers” aspect of the trope. They learn to trust each other for their sake and the sake of the Faerie kingdom.
While the prologue and epilogue perfectly set up and conclude the story, respectively, I just wanted this book to be longer. Overall, this novel was paced out very well. Everything was perfectly balanced in the story; there wasn’t an overabundant amount of gore or violence and the romance is satisfying, but not too raunchy either. There were just a few plot points or details that could’ve been fleshed out and lengthened.
I truly didn’t want this novel, or series, to end. The Queen of Nothing is the conclusive ending readers were hoping for and hits all the right notes, while retaining the aspects that fans love about Faerie. Fans of the series will be satisfied with this conclusion, but will also be begging Black to continue Jude’s story; I know I am!
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!