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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

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I have been looking forward to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue for several months. I had it preordered on Amazon, and I was very excited to finally read it. I read the whole book yesterday, alternating between the Kindle version and the Audible version- thank you, Whispersync for allowing me to “read” and fold laundry at the same time.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a YA novel written by Mackenzi Lee. Its protagonist is Henry Montague, a young 18th century aristocrat who is generally perceived to be a rake and a wastrel. As the story begins, Monty is about to embark on his Grand Tour, accompanied by his best friend Percy and his annoying younger sister Felicity. Monty is looking forward to a year of debauchery, but his hopes are dashed when he finds out that this is strictly an educational experience. Monty’s father also issues a clear warning that Monty will be cut off if he doesn’t stop cavorting with other boys. The biggest problem with this sword of Damocles is that Monty is desperately and unequivocally in love with Percy.   Continue reading

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Murder on Black Swan Lane by Andrea Penrose

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I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Murder on Black Swan Lane was written by Andrea Penrose. This mystery, set during the Regency era, is the first in a new series featuring the delightfully dynamic duo of Wrexford and Sloane.

When the charismatic Reverend Josiah Holworthy is found murdered in a church, it is a shocking crime. Suspicion falls on The Earl of Wrexford, who has been known to be one of the targets of Holworthy’s sermons against debauchery. Wrexford didn’t do it, of course, but can he convince Bow Street of his innocence? Continue reading

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Duke with Benefits (Studies in Scandal) by Manda Collins

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Duke With Benefits is the second book in Manda Collins’ Studies in Scandal series of Regency romances.   I enjoyed the first book in the series- Ready Set Rogue; Daphne and Maitland had some delightful interactions as secondary characters, so I was very excited when I found out that they were the main characters in the second book of the series.

Daphne is a mathematical genius, and her arrival at Beauchamp House provides her with the opportunity for independence from her n’er do well father. Daphne also has a secret that she has been keeping from her new friends- it appears that Celeste Beauchamp wanted her to solve a cipher. As legend has it, the solution to the cipher leads to an enormous treasure. Continue reading

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Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare

 

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I recently listened to the Audible edition of Tessa Dare’s Do You Want To Start a Scandal after purchasing the Kindle edition and adding the audiobook at a discounted price.

Even though the basis of the plot utilizes a fairly common trope- the forced engagement- it is apparent even from the beginning that this is going to be a rather unconventional story. To begin with, a young child claims that he heard noises coming from the library in which our hero and heroine are discovered. But wait, there’s more- the aforementioned child then proceeds to imitate the noises he heard. This, of course, shocks the house party guests, but it had me doubling over with laughter.

It should be noted that although Charlotte and Piers were in the library together, they were not, as Piers so eloquently puts it, the “mystery tuppers”. However, he declares his intention to marry Charlotte to preserve her reputation. Charlotte is less than pleased with this development; her mother is a known schemer, and the consensus is that Charlotte has tricked/trapped Piers into marriage. Continue reading

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Unicorn Crossing (Phoebe and Her Unicorn) by Dana Simpson

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I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Unicorn Crossing is the fifth book in the Phoebe and her Unicorn Adventure series by Dana Simpson. My three girls- especially my oldest- are big fans of this comic, so I was very excited about the opportunity to share this with them.

Phoebe is a fairly average girl, with one notable exception: her pet unicorn Marigold. Phoebe and Marigold navigate a fairly typical American childhood with a good sense of humor. This dynamic duo experiences seasons, holidays, school, friendship, and more. A fairly small ensemble rounds out the cast: Phoebe’s parents, her friend Max, and her frenemy Dakota. There are plenty of pop culture references, with a notable geeky slant. Continue reading

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Perennials by Mandy Berman

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I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Perennials is author Mandy Berman’s debut novel. I was looking forward to reading this book because I spent seven summers at sleepaway camp as both a camper and a counselor, so I could relate to the subject matter and wanted to see how this (albeit fictional) account compared to my own experiences.

Rachel lives in an apartment in the city with her single mother and Fiona lives in a big house in Westchester with her family. But when they meet at summer camp as girls, they find that they have a lot in common.   Continue reading

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The Lost History of Stars by Dave Boling

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I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Lost History of Stars is a novel by Dave Boling. I was looking forward to reading this book because it is set in South Africa, just like one of my all-time favorites- The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. Almost immediately, I realized there was a connection between the books: in The Power of One, the English protagonist is severely bullied by Boer boys at his boarding school as punishment for the abuse their grandparents suffered in concentration camps at the hands of the English. The Lost History of Stars is an account of life in those camps as seen by a teenage girl.

Lettie is sent to a concentration camp along with her brother and mother after their farm is burned to the ground by the English. Her father, older brother, grandfather, and uncles are all conducting guerilla operations against the English. Conditions in the camp are bleak, and disease is rampant. Lettie is rather stoic about her experience, and tries to find pleasure in small moments. One of her most treasured possessions is her English dictionary, which she reads for comfort and to pass the time. Continue reading