REVIEW: Bringing Down the Duke – Evie Dunmore

Title: Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women #1)
Author: Evie Dunmore
Rating: ★★★★½

Another historical romance written by a debut author that absolutely thrilled me! Bringing Down the Duke had me hooked from the beginning and it was nothing short of a fun, page-turning story.  

What is this book about? Annabelle Archer, a poor vicar’s daughter, earns entrance to Oxford on a scholarship. However, in return for the scholarship she must join the women’s suffragist movement and she’s tasked with gaining the support of the Duke of Montgomery.

What did I like? There’s so much to praise about this book. The wonderful characters, the simmering attraction between Annabelle and Sebastian, the witty banter and humorous writing. Everything came together perfectly to create this very compelling story. The relationship that develops between Annabelle and Sebastian was amazing. The author did a fantastic job writing the tension and passion between the two of them and I really loved how they overcame the obstacles of their love.

What didn’t I like? I’m having such a hard time trying to think of something I didn’t like.

Overall thoughts: Bringing Down the Duke was a fun, delightful read about a bluestocking heroine with strong convictions and the duke she finds herself falling for. Everything about this debut novel was perfect and I really recommend this story for fans of historical romance!

ARC REVIEW: The Kingdom of Back – Marie Lu

34213299Title: The Kingdom of Back
Author: Marie Lu
Rating: ★★★½

ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter.

“And then one night you realize that you have given him so much of yourself that you are nothing but the curtsy and the smile and the quiet. That you are nothing.”

What is this book about? The synopsis is definitely a bit misleading (at least to me). I was expecting a fantasy story with musical aspects something along the veins of Wintersong. However, The Kingdom of Back is a historical fiction focused on the bond between siblings with some fantasy elements mixed in. The book follows the Nannerl Mozart and her relationship with her brother as they discover and cultivate their prodigious musical talents together.

What did I like? I’m a big enough person to admit that prior to this book, I was unaware of Wolfgang Mozart’s equally talented sister, Nannerl. Once I had read up about her on Wikipedia, I was able to better appreciate Marie Lu’s story. She gave such an important voice to Nannerl and I loved how true to history the book’s events were. Even the mention of the Kingdom of Back was really well done and did a great job giving insight to the possible thoughts and emotions Nannerl might have had about her success and place in the world compared to her brother’s.

What didn’t I like? The Kingdom of Back was a lot slower paced and longer than I had anticipated. Because it was lacking in action and focused more on Nannerl’s inner monologue, I struggled to push through parts of the book.

Overall thoughts: The Kingdom of Back was a totally different type of story than I had been expecting: the book is more historical fiction than fantasy. Marie Lu’s lyrical writing focuses on music and sibling love, however the book’s slower pace and lack of action failed to keep my attention.

BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY: Beyond the Shadowed Earth – ARC Review

Welcome to my stop on the Beyond the Shadowed Earth book tour! Thank you to Fantastic Flying Book Club for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour host! 


ABOUT THE BOOK

book coverTitle: Beyond the Shadowed Earth (Beneath the Haunting Sea #2)
Author: 
Joanna Ruth Meyer

Release: January 14, 2020
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Genre: YA Fantasy

It has always been Eda’s dream to become empress, no matter the cost. Haunted by her ambition and selfishness, she’s convinced that the only way to achieve her goal is to barter with the gods. But all requests come with a price and Eda bargains away the soul of her best friend in exchange for the crown.

Years later, her hold on the empire begins to crumble and her best friend unexpectedly grows sick and dies. Gnawed by guilt and betrayal, Eda embarks on a harrowing journey to confront the very god who gave her the kingdom in the first place. However, she soon discovers that he’s trapped at the center of an otherworldly labyrinth and that her bargain with him is more complex than she ever could have imagined.

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Review

What is this book about? Beyond the Shadowed Earth is a companion novel to Beneath the Haunting Sea rather than a sequel. The story is about Eda, who makes a small appearance in Beneath the Haunting Sea as the antagonist. Here, Eda loses the empire she fought so hard to gain control of and sets out to find the god with whom she made a bargain with years ago.

What did I like? Honestly, the thing I enjoyed the most about this book was Eda. She’s not written to be a very likeable character–she manipulated, lied, and murdered her way to be Empress. She’s selfish and power-hungry, yet it made the story that more intriguing to read. And because she was such a flawed character, it made her growth at the end that more meaningful and satisfying.

What didn’t I like? Parts of the story were slower which made hard to capture my attention, but other parts are very action-packed which makes up for the slower sections.

Overall thoughts? Beyond the Shadowed Earth is another well-written, fantasy story from Joanna Ruth Meyer. I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves reading books about flawed characters and redemption stories.

★ ★ ★


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

authorJoanna Ruth Meyer hails from Mesa, Arizona, where she lives with her dear family, a rascally feline, and an enormous grand piano. When she’s not writing, she’s trying to convince her students that Bach is actually awesome, or plotting her escape from the desert. She loves good music, thick books, looseleaf tea, rainstorms, and staring out of windows. One day, she aspires to own an old Victorian house with creaky wooden floors and a tower (for writing in, of course!).

 

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GIVEAWAY

Win one of two finished copies of Fireborne (US/CAN only).

✨ ENTER HERE ✨


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REVIEW: Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

41150487._SY475_Title: Red, White & Royal Blue
Author: Casey McQuiston
Rating: ★★★½

The first slide says: SEXUAL EXPERIMENTATION WITH FOREIGN MONARCHS: A GRAY AREA. Alex wonders if it’s too late to swan dive off the roof.”

What is this book about? Red, White & Royal Blue is a warm, amusing story about self-discovery and an enemies-to-friends-to-lovers romance between Alex, the First Son of the United States, and Henry, the Prince of England.

What did I like? Who could help but love these characters? Alex and Henry were such soft, tender-hearted men and I felt giddy the entire time as their relationship and feelings unfolded between them. I also really enjoyed how funny the book is. It’s no secret I’m a big fan of rom-coms, and some of the one-liners in this book were absolute gold. 

“How dare Henry come into Alex’s house looking like the goddamn James Bond offspring that he is, drink red wine with the prime minister, and act like he didn’t slip Alex the tongue and ghost him for a month.”

What didn’t I like? For whatever reason, this book seemed to really drag. I think it’s because at some parts of the book, the plot seemed to stall out which left me inpatient for it to get on with already. I also found some of the political aspects of the story to be unrealistic and overly-romanticised for the sake of the novel, which is fine-it’s fiction, but bothered me enough that I don’t think I enjoyed the overall story as fully because of it.

Overall thoughts: Red, White & Royal Blue is a heart-warming, romantic story about two young men coming to grips with who they are and who they want to be. As always, I absolutely loved the hate-to-love aspect of the story and Alex and Henry are such wonderful characters it’s hard not to root for them throughout the book.

ARC REVIEW: Ashlords – Scott Reintgen

42281865Title: Ashlords
Author: Scott Reintgen
Rating: ★★★½

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. 

What is this book about? Ashlords follows the point of views of three characters from three very different backgrounds as they enter an annual competitive race featuring phoenix horses. Is it as awesome as the premise sounds? Yes.

What did I like? The premise of Ashlords is unlike any other I’ve read. Scott Reintgen did such an amazing job creating the plot and the world in this book. The entire concept of phoenix horses and using alchemy to rebirth different breeds of the horses was so well-developed and extremely interesting. Once I got into the meat of the novel, it was hard to pull my attention from its pages.

I also really loved the characters. The story follows three different protagonists from very different backgrounds. Ashlords focuses on more than just the horse race, but also on the political intrigue and the unrest brewing between the different people of the empire. The characters–Imelda, Adrian, and Pippa–become important pieces in the war and revolution to come.

What didn’t I like? Pippa’s POV was told through second person, which was hard for me to get into in the beginning of the book, but after a while I became accustomed to reading her chapters. I understand that it was done to help distinguish from the other POVs, but Scott Reintgen did such a great job making each voice unique that I didn’t think it was necessary.

Overall thoughts: Ashlords was a fun, fast-moving story about phoenix horses, a troubled empire, and meddlesome gods. Once the plot got going, it was hard to put this down and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel!