A Rogue of One’s Own (A League of Extraordinary Women #2) by Evie Dunmore

Lady Lucy, a young woman with a high social background, has been living on her own since her father kicked her out of the house when she was 17. Thankfully one of her aunt’s left her some money which allows her to live comfortably, if not frugally. Lucy uses her independence to continue to fight for women’s rights. When her consortium finally gathers enough money to purchase a publishing house that prints a set of women’s periodicals their plans to use them for the Suffrage movement are foiled when the other half is sold to her nemesis, Tristan, Lord Ballantine. He has always gotten under Lucy’s skin, and now he is in her way! Their sizzling chemistry distracts her from her purpose, but as she gets to know him she is surprised at his hidden depths.

I didn’t think it was possible to like a book better than the first. I loved Bringing Down the Duke, but A Rogue of One’s Own? Even better! This series is set during the Women’s Suffrage Movement in England at the turn of the 19th century. Men held all of the rights over woman, considering them purchased when married. Lucy is determined to never get married but she needs society and their wealth and privilege to continue her fight. She has always considered Tristan to be a rake, believing all of the stories about his conquests. He certainly plays the part but as he discovers more about her world and how women are not ok with their treatment he is enraged on their behalf. This paragraph below, I hope doesn’t give anything away but explains why I liked this story so much.

“Until now, she had not been sure how her lover would respond to realities most people refused to see. Until now, she had not been entirely certain whether he would fall victim to the peculiar, selective blindness which afflicted so many otherwise perfectly sensible people when confronted with something ugly; whether he would claw for explanations, no matter how ludicrous, or would try to belittle away what unnerved him rather than face inconvenient truths.”

A Rogue of one’s own by Evie Dunmore

Maybe it’s the time I’m living in right now, with what is going on in the US, but this quote struck me to the heart. Lucy fell in love because Tristan opened his eyes and could see her struggle and he was not going to stand by without supporting her. Oh, this was a powerful moment in the book for me, as it was probably meant to be.

I’m a particular fan of historical fiction and I’ll admit, I love a good romance. What makes this series different is the place in time, the depth the author goes to make the reader feel like this world is real, and some of the accurate historical notes she adds to the tale. A League of Extraordinary Women is in a league of its own; entertaining, educational, heartbreaking, and sizzling with heat. I recommend this series, and this novel whole-heartedly. It’s on my best list for the year so far. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!

Click this link to purchase!* A Rogue of One’s Own (A League of Extraordinary Women)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you should purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: Murder in the East End (Kat Holloway #4) by Jennifer Ashley

Head cook, Kat Holloway, can’t resist helping those in need and when she finds out some children have gone missing from London’s Foundling Hospital she decides to investigate. As a single mother whose daughter is growing up with another family, Kat is aware of how quickly her daughters circumstances could change. Helped by her friends she quickly delves into the mystery and despairs over finding the children unharmed.

This series takes us downstairs from the society folk Kat serves and gives us a behind the scenes look at what the lower levels of society in Victorian London may face. Each novel in the series ensnares the reader in the mystery while captivating our minds and hearts with the strength of Kat’s character as well as those of the staff and friends around her. What could be a simple tale ends up having many layers and gives depth to these simple people who are just trying to work to survive a harsh landscape. Kat Holloway navigates these various levels of society never forgetting her circumstances and how a wrong word can affect she and her daughters survival. Murder in the East End laid bare the fine line she walks as well as the emotional balance she strikes between her friendship and love, no matter the level of society those people reside in.

What did I think of Murder in the East End? I enjoyed not only the resolution to the mystery but also how Kat’s relationship with Daniel moved to the next step emotionally. After being betrayed by her husband Kat is very careful with her feelings but Murder in the East End revealed secrets that allowed Kat to give Daniel her trust, and hopefully her heart will follow. I’ll admit to being fascinated with the Victorian era as well. Society is filled with rules and yet below stairs their lives are much more base. The contrast between the two makes the division between classes even more apparent which makes novels riveting reading. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of the ARC from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest.

Click this link to purchase!* Murder in the East End (A Below Stairs Mystery)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you should purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

The Duke, the Lady, and the Baby (Rogues and Remarkable Women #1) by Vanessa Riley

I was intrigued by the synopsis of the description of a West Indian heiress as a heroine in a regency romance. Patience Jordan is of mixed blood, as is her son, and despite her light skin, that difference has made living in England difficult. Her husband had kept her in the country, trying to protect her from the unkindness she’d receive in “society”, which actually put her and their son in harms way when he died. Left in the hands of his disreputable uncle, Patience was sent away to Bedlam so he could retain control of her son’s fortune. When this story starts with Repington now in charge at her former home, it allows Patience to disguise herself and infiltrate her old household in order to care for her son.

Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington was a strategist in the war and knows that there’s more to Patience’s story and bides his time in figuring her out. They engage in their own skirmishes and of course, find themselves attracted to each other. However, this isn’t a bodice ripper of a romance. The Duke, the Lady, and the Baby is written in a rather old fashioned style which was kind of refreshing, but also felt a little stodgy. I love slow burn romances where the characters get to know each other, but the old fashioned dialog made these characters feel stilted rather than warm.

I had really high hopes for this novel and the future of this series. There is a league of women who help other women in bad circumstances and future novels will surely tell those stories, but I wanted this novel to deal more with the difficulties of being of mixed blood during this time in history and felt like other than a few comments about her accent and being secreted in the country, it was glossed over. Repington didn’t seem too concerned with his future Duchess’s acceptance into society, but as an analytical man who just wanted to get back to war, I guess there were bigger issues on his mind.

The other thing that was a little out of whack for me was that Repington was portrayed as a “Rake”. Meaning, he’s had no issues with the lady’s in the past, and he certainly seems to think he’s pretty charming despite his injuries that have incapacitated him. That devil may care charm played false to me and I had trouble buying him as a cad, at least at that time in his life. I think if he had been a bit more self deprecating? It just felt kind of sad I guess, and not true to the character.

So, you can see my difficulties with this one. I didn’t hate the story. I don’t read too many romances that involve babies, so the motherly aspect was new and interesting to me. I liked Patience a lot, actually. She was smart, dedicated, sassy, and interesting. So, I guess my problem was with the hero, although I didn’t dislike him, I just didn’t like them together. I did finish the novel despite my misgivings, so I’m giving this one a 3.0 rating for a solid good, but not great. ❤️❤️❤️

I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley for an honest review and it was honest!

Click this link to purchase!* A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby (Rogues and Remarkable Women Book 1)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you should purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: To Have and To Hoax by Martha Waters

What was once a love match between Lady Violet and Lord James Aubrey has become four years of polite conversation at breakfast and sleepless nights in separate bedrooms. Yet, when Violet receives word that her husband is unconscious after falling from a horse at their country estate she rushes to make sure he is well. When they meet up by accident at a country inn she realizes that he wouldn’t have told her he was well. She decides to get even in a scheme where she pretends to be ill just so he would know how he felt. When he catches on to her game he decides to see just how far she’ll take it.

When I read the synopsis I thought this sounded like a cute story. I like historical romances and an enemies to lover trope is always one of my favorites. To Have and To Hoax started off fun, but unlike Violet, I didn’t have to fake my approaching headache. Violet and James’s pettiness tried my patience pretty quickly.

To Have and To Hoax wasn’t all bad. The writing was very good, the side characters were really interesting, and the hero and heroine weren’t completely unlikeable. The game playing was just about 50 pages too long. I would’ve liked more chapters of the early days of their marriage so that I’d be more invested in them as a couple before they had their big argument. Unfortunately that was where the story started. It didn’t give me a lot of time to care and so I had little patience.

I tried very hard to not hold a fake illness against the author since this was written quite awhile before we got stuck in “quarantine” and took that into consideration in how this may have affected my enjoyment of this novel. I gave it a half star higher than I would’ve if I’d had the same feelings on a different day of reading this novel. ❤️❤️❤️❣️

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!

Click this link to purchase!* To Have and to Hoax: A Novel

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: A Wicked Kind of Husband (Longhope Abbey #1) by Mia Vincy

Cassandra and Joshua DeWitt have been married for two years and haven’t seen each other since their wedding day. When Cassandra shows up at their London house and her husband is in residence she convinces herself that the house is big enough for the two of them. When her husband is accused of betraying her in her marriage, she leaps to his defense and all of a sudden they are forced to portray a happy union. Of course, spending all of that time together leads to grumbling tension and intense attraction.

When your favorite writing duo speaks out about enjoying this novel you just have to take a look. I was pleasantly surprised at this historical romance. Joshua was a different kind of hero. Once part of the peerage until his father’s bigamy was discovered he has made his fortune in business. His frenetic energy made him seem rather ADHD but Cassandra’s soothing influence gave him a more mischievousness that I’m not sure the author intended.

Cassandra, also was something other than she appeared. Smart and confident on the outside, she was actually desperate for the love and affection of her family who have blamed her for their rather dire straits and boredom. Cassandra and Joshua were an interesting pairing and I enjoyed this quick paced love story very much.

There were plenty of antics and bickering, as well as a bit of a mystery for them to solve together that paired them off rather quickly. If you like sassy historical romances this one is just different enough to elevate it to a 4.5 rating, but then a little humor always gets an extra .5 from me! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

Click this link to purchase!* A Wicked Kind of Husband

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase through the above link I receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: Brazen and the Beast (The Bareknuckle Bastards #1) by Sarah MacLean

Lady Henrietta Sedley has declared her twenty-ninth year the Year of Hattie. She has a plan for her own renaissance from old maid spinster/virgin to deflowered business woman, in charge of running her father’s shipping business. When she finds a beautiful man tied up in her carriage, the Year of Hattie starts to go awry. Well, with the exception of the deflowering plan. that seems to be right on track. Unfortunately, after finding Beast in her carriage his revenge plan gets set in motion and when it butts heads with the Year of Hattie? Well, a new plan needs to be made.

I have never read a Sarah Maclean historical romance, but this one definitely got put on my radar by a bunch of book reviewers who raved, with good reason about how different these characters were and how refreshing that change made to the story. Hattie is a modern woman in every way except the time she’s living in. In today’s world she’d have been the President of the boardroom. Smart, witty, and able to out think the men working around her. She was also a healthy size. As with the women of today, she was aware that her size and intelligence made her unattractive to men of her time. Her fortune made her more attractive, but her father’s dukedom was not inherited but “gifted” for good services and dies when he does. So the “Lady” in her title is more a courtesy than an actuality.

“Beast” or Whit, as he’s really named, is an actual son of a Duke, albeit one born on the wrong side of the bed. After a traumatic childhood living on the streets, he and his brother “Devil”, from the first novel, have created their own kingdom in Covent Garden, the slums of London. When he finds himself tied up in Hattie’s carriage he must find revenge upon the person who put him there and he thinks Hattie will lead him to that person. This begins their game of cat and mouse, and as that game plays out their attraction to each other hampers each others plans but it’s their wit and intelligence that seals their fates.

I can’t finish this review without mentioning Hattie’s friend Nora. She’s the daughter of a Duke, likes to where men’s clothing and is the sidekick and sometimes instigator of Hattie’s adventures. There is a hinted at romance between she and Whit’s female Man at Arms. I loved that this queer romance was introduced and hope that they get their own story or novella. She’s a hoot and I think her story would be fascinating!

I love a good historical romance, especially one that veers away from established trope’s for this genre. Hattie is someone that a woman in any age can identify. She has self doubts about her looks and struggles to excel based upon her own skills and not her feminine genitalia. Unfortunately it takes a special man to overlook the more’s of the time they live in. Whit is just that man and their story is told in a riveting way in Brazen and the Beast. By the way, I didn’t read the first novel before picking this one up and whereas I’m going to go get it immediately, I didn’t miss out on any key plot lines without having read that novel first. Fear not! Read on historical lovers!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions around the Blogosphere

“As with all of the Sarah MacLean books I’ve read, this one gets stunning marks from me. Whit and Hattie are wondrous. I love their world. ” Snark and Squee

“I really enjoyed their banter and there are some very sexy scenes between them. Hattie managed to accomplish all her goals in the end, bravo for her. She did it all with class and sass!” Past Midnight

Click this link to purchase!* Brazen and the Beast: The Bareknuckle Bastards Book II

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (12/16/19)

Happy Monday everyone! I ran across this post on Book Date and liked the idea of sharing what I’m currently reading, and hopefully hearing about what you’ve picked up off your shelf. So here goes!

JUST FINISHED

When your favorite writing duo posts a note about a wonderful historical romance, when they write romantic fantasy, you just have to give it a try!

FIRST SENTENCE READ: “The trouble began with brandy.”

Click this link to purchase!* A Wicked Kind of Husband

JUST STARTED

FIRST SENTENCE READ: “Cara tried to act casual as she walked along the motel’s cracked, weedy sidewalk, but she knew she looked like what she was: a kindergarten teacher–well, almost–who was scared out of her mind.”

Click this link to purchase!* Risk It All (Rocky Mountain Bounty Hunters)

Now that you know what books I’ve got on my shelf, what are you reading this fine Monday?

Deb

*Amazon associate- I’ll get a small stipend if you should purchase the book through the above links.

This Chick Read: The Princess Plan (A Royal Wedding) by Julia London

When Eliza Tricklebank receives an anonymous tip about who murdered the secretary of the visiting Prince Sebastian of Alucia she doesn’t hesitate to print it in her gazette. When Sebastian shows up on her door wanting to follow up on that tip Eliza doesn’t act deferential, instead treating him like an ordinary man, and sends him on his way after chastising him for his rude behavior. This doesn’t deter Sebastian, in fact, it intrigues him. When he shows up again to apologize they decide to pursue the investigation together, the tension between them quickly turning from irritation to friendship.

When I read the synopsis for The Princess Plan for some reason I thought it was a modern romance. So, imagine my surprise when I realized this was a historical. Our heroine, Eliza is not your typical historical woman. She’s “on the shelf” at 29 and because of that status doesn’t give a hoot how she’s perceived in society. This gives her character a modern edge that makes her extremely likable. I couldn’t help rooting for her to become his future bride.

The murder takes place at the start of the book and the intrigue and investigation set a fast pace for this romance. Our prince is not just in London for fun, he’s actually trying to complete a trade negotiation as well as find a bride to bring back home to Alucia. The murder of his closest friend allows the reader to see the lonely life of this prince. The contrast to Eliza’s “normal” upbringing, as well as her cheekiness, makes her an irresistible candidate but they of course have obstacles to overcome. I won’t spoil how this is accomplished, but it makes for a fun novel to read! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a free copy of the book through NetGalley and the publisher for my honest review and it was honest!

Click this link to purchase!* The Princess Plan (A Royal Wedding)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

What Are You Reading Wednesday

I found myself in a reading slump and have quite a few books I need to read and review. One genre that always helps me get out of a slump is historical romance. It’s a genre that I love and this book in particular looked fun. Part mystery, part historical romance, and so far it is engaging and has captured my interest!

The one thing I don’t love? This cover!

Synopsis:

Nothing gets the tongues of London’s high society wagging like a good scandal. And when the personal secretary of the visiting Prince Sebastian of Alucia is found murdered, it’s all anyone can talk about, including Eliza Tricklebank. Her unapologetic gossip gazette has benefited from an anonymous tip about the crime, prompting Sebastian to take an interest in playing detective—and an even greater interest in Eliza.

With a trade deal on the line and mounting pressure to secure a noble bride, there’s nothing more salacious than a prince dallying with a commoner. Sebastian finds Eliza’s contrary manner as frustrating as it is seductive, but they’ll have to work together if they’re going to catch the culprit. And when things heat up behind closed doors, it’s the prince who’ll have to decide what comes first—his country or his heart.

What are you reading today?

This Chick Read: Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Destitute daughter of a vicar, Annabelle Archer earns a place as one of the first female students at the illustrious University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship she must join the women’s suffrage movement and try to gain the backing of a man of influence. Her target? Sebastian Devereaux, Duke of Montgomery and political advisor to the queen. Her beauty catches his eye and despite her fellowship with independent women he’s drawn to her. Can she hold him at arms length while still earning his backing of their movement? Can he convince her to become his without the promise of marriage? Evie Dunmore’s debut novel is atypical of other historical novels in that it dives into the politics of this time and the societal divide a lack of income and good background creates between a man and woman. Bringing Down the Duke was an intricate love story, but also a historical eye opener.

Despite the fluff that the word “Duke” brings to a historical romance title, this novel was anything but. The intricate love story between Sebastian and Annabelle was revealed a piece at a time and was enthralling, don’t get me wrong, but it was the history of the time and how that impacted these two characters that held my attention. I can only recall having read one other novel set during the women’s suffrage movement and as an independent woman myself (even though American), I’m very interested in how and when women’s rights were fought and granted In England. The fact that Evie Dunmore chose this time for a romance gave it a more modern feel.

Sebastian started off the novel as you would expect. Frigid Duke taking all of his responsibilities very seriously gets upended by a beautiful woman. BUT because of the setting we get to see how his thoughts change about women’s rights as Annabelle is threatened through her actions while fight for them. That makes Sebastian different than other historical romance heroes giving the story more impact. In real life a Duke couldn’t consider a woman for his wife if she wasn’t in the correct societal rank without throwing away his own livelihood and lands. Of course in romance novels there are no rules and Dukes marry whomever they want, but this novel doesn’t seem to throw away those societal rules and the Duke’s decisions propel not just the romantic side of the story but the historical plot as well.

I liked Annabelle a lot. She was smart, educated, pretty, but also had a head on her shoulders. She was no innocent and new how her actions would affect her future, but also the future of those around her. She was always thinking ahead. Her attraction to Sebastian was HUGE, but she was no ninny. She knew what it meant if she became a mistress or a wife. Her decisions were based upon real life plot lines and not romance novel plot lines. That made her so much more interesting and real!

Bringing Down the Duke is one of those novels where you pick it up not knowing what you are going to get. The only hint is from the picture on the front where the woman is seated in the saddle of the horse and the Duke is behind her when usually their placement would be in the reverse. A very subtle hint at her independence. I don’t want to give the impression that there isn’t any tension or romance between these two characters. There is plenty of food for the bodice ripping romantic! These two have heat, and their romance was riveting. Even more so because of everything that was happening that I mentioned above! Also, Annabelle’s friends in the movement were interesting and fabulous and hopefully their stories are to come in future novels in the series.

Bringing Down the Duke was everything I love in a historical romance. Riveting characters, sexual tension, and interesting details about the time they are living in. This is a novel that I can easily recommend to anyone who enjoys a great historical romance!

❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

I received a free copy of this ARC through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!

Opinions from around the Blogosphere!

“Bringing Down The Duke is one of the best debut’s I have read, it is simply stunning! The character’s are beautifully written, each one sparkles with life, the story is fun and original, it is an exciting, gorgeous and mesmerising love story. Evie Dunmore captivates and enthrals the reader with her intelligent, passionate and dazzling writing.” Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Click this link to purchase!* Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate