TBR vs What I Actually Read in July

Since I’ve been doing Recent Reads and Wrap Ups over on my BookTube channel, I thought it would be fun to compare my TBRs vs what I actually read here on my blog.

I’m a mood reader, however, I really like having a TBR every month to use as a guideline. The list of books that I own and need to read is kind of insane – not to mention my Audible Escape, Scribd, and Hoopla books that I want to read – so narrowing it down to dozen or so books that I want to focus on is helpful in choosing my next read. It also helps me make sure I’m reading more diversely.

 

July TBR

 

Key

✘ = Did Not Read

✓ = Read

/ = Currently reading

✂ = Did Not Finish

*  = Author of Color, BIPOC Authors

 

*Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon

*Sin & Ink by Naima Simone

*The Space In Between by Brittainy C Cherry

The Guy on the Right by Kate Stewart

*You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson 

*Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley

*With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

*Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender 

*Rhapsody by Kenya Wright

Docile by KM Szpara

The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune 

*The Groom Will Keep His Name by Matt Ortile

 

Other Books Read

*Neighborly by Katrina Jackson

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

*The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata (Reread)

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (Reread)

*Purple Lotus by Veena Rao

House of Night Graphic Novel by Kent Dalian

Saint by EM Snow

*How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi

Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

What You Wish For by Katherine Center

A Change in Tide by Freya Barker

Jane by Aline Brosh McKenna

*Monstress Vol. 1 by Marjorie M. Liu

Eidolon by Grace Draven

*Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper

*Check Please by Ngozi Ukazu

*Stargazing by Jen Wang

Smitten by Lauren Rowe

*Jo & Laurie by Margaret Stohl and Melissa De La Cruz

The Forbidden Man by Karina Halle

*Hands Down by Mariana Zapata

Radiance by Grace Draven

June 2020 Wrap Up

For full reviews of the books I mention in this post, be sure to check out my Recent Reads posts!

 

All of the books I mention in this video can be found and purchased on my storefront here.

 

June Stats

Total Books: 28
Audiobooks: 21
EBooks: 2
Physical Books: 5
Fiction: 25
Nonfiction: 4
5 Stars: 12
4 Stars: 9
3 Stars: 4
2 Stars: 1
1 Star: 0
DNF: 0

June Standouts

Least Favorite: Twilight Graphic Novel
Favorite: Take a Hint Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
Most surprising: Becoming by Michelle Obama
Biggest Disappointment: On the Rocks by Kandi Steiner
June Rankings 
These are all the books I read in June listed and ranked from least favorite to favorite.
*=Author of Color, BIPOC Authors

Unrated

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White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

 

2 Stars

Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 1 (Twilight: The Graphic Novel, #1)
Twilight Graphic Novel Vol. 1 by Stephanie Meyer

 

3 Stars

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On the Rocks by Kandi Steiner

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* Rafe by Rebekah Weatherspoon

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My Favorite Souvenir by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland

4 Stars

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*Once More Upon a Time by Rostand Choski
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Hard as It Gets (Hard Ink, #1)
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5 Stars

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Recent Reads: June 1-13

Since my wrap-ups are so long at the end of the month, I decided to break it up into two different posts. You can watch the video of this wrap-up here:

 

Here are the books I read from June 1 – June 13.

*=Author of Color

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On the Rocks (Becker Brothers #1) by Kandi Steiner

3 stars
This is a small town contemporary age gap romance. Ruby is 19 and the daughter of the mayor of the small town. Noah works at a popular whiskey distillery. They meet when Ruby is visiting the distillery to purchase a wedding gift for her husband-to-be. So, if you are not a fan of cheating, you probably won’t be a big fan of this book. Granted, her fiance is an awful person, but the demonizing of his character seemed too convenient. It also occurs after there is already emotional cheating. Putting all of that aside, I did enjoy this book and I definitely want to read on in the series. I’m super curious about all of Noah’s brothers, and I’m assuming each brother has his own story.
Buy Now

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*The Boyfriend Project (The Boyfriend Project #1) by Farrah Rochon

4 stars
This contemporary romance is about three women who find out that they are all dating the same guy via a viral live tweet of his date with one of them. Both the main character and another of the women crash the date and become friends. They all decide to swear off men and focus on themselves. Of course, that is when the main character falls for someone. I loved the friendship in this book, in fact, more than I was interested in the romance. I LOVE reading books that feature women in STEM and our main character, Samiah, works for a tech company. Daniel, the hero, was fine, but he was very forgettable. I definitely think Samiah deserved someone a better and more interesting.
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*The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

5 Stars
I borrowed this audiobook from my library, but I absolutely need to own this.
This is a coming of age, story about a girl who feels out of place, even in her own family, until she discovers her passion for spoken word poetry. This book is told in verse and when you listen to the audiobook, it’s such a beautiful experience since the author narrates this herself.

I’m a big fan of spoken word poetry, so I appreciated her inflections and the way she read the lines, but I also wish I had this book in physical format as well. In fact, I’m planning on buying the physical copy as well so that I can underline my favorite parts and pull quotes from it. Not to mention the cover is gorgeous.
Buy Now

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Handsome Lawman (Handsome Devils #3) by Lori Wilde

4 stars
This is a book I read for a secret TBR. It’s a contemporary small town cowboy romance. This series follows attractive brothers that are very popular in this small town. Trent is the sheriff of the town and the first time he meets the heroine, it’s because she is being accused of theft. Erin is new in town and running away from her past.

This book was light, fluffy, and super cute. It’s was a nice palette cleanser read. I always love reading about animals in romances. This one was a little off-putting because the hero is basically forced into taking in Erin’s foster puppy, which any pet owner knows, is never a good idea. No one should ever be pressured into owning a puppy. However, it was adorable seeing Trent fall in love with the puppy.
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*The Man I Can’t Have (Ward Duet #1) by Shanora Williams

3 stars
This book is available on Audible Escape – it’s also available on KU. This is a story of a rich housewife and artist whose husband is constantly away for work. She hires a landscaping company to redo her backyard. Marcel is the owner of the landscaping company and they have an immediate connection.

This is a new-to-me author and I didn’t read the synopsis going in to this, so I had no idea what I was in for. I read this last week and honestly I’m still kind of reeling by how unexpected this book was. There were a lot of elements of this book that were pretty middle of the road, a typical romance. But then there were a few dark and gritty things thrown in that maybe seemed a little out of place to me. The ending felt like it came out of nowhere and I’m not really interested in reading the next book in this duet.
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Insidious (Tales from the Dark Side #1) by Aleatha Romig

4 stars
I read this book because it is Steph, from Steph’s Romance Book Talk’s favorite book and a few fellow romance booktubers and I read it and had a live show discussion about it with Steph.

I want to preface this by saying, I went into this completely blind with absolutely no expectations, whatsoever.

This is a very dark romance with so many trigger warnings, I’d say if you have any triggers whatsoever, it may be best to avoid this book.

I don’t even know how to describe this book. Basically, our main character is married to a very powerful and wealthy man who is dying. She has a contract with him which basically takes away her consent. He likes to watch her with other men and she has no choice in the matter.

There are no “good” characters in this. Everyone is some shade of awful human being, including the main character. But I loved her. Where you’d expect her to be extremely submissive, she’s actually quite badass. I’m always here for the vengeful, dark, heroine. I’m very interested in reading more by this author.
Buy Now

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White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

I read this book for the Blackout Buddy Read. This is a book by a white author to educate other white people about racism. This book does what it intends. It made me uncomfortable. It forced me to look at myself through a different lense. It gave me the history lesson they don’t teach in schools.
Buy Now

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*Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi
4 stars
This is a super short Audible exclusive fairytale about a king who trades the love between himself and his queen in exchange for life. The story begins a year and a day later when they realize that just because their love was taken away, doesn’t mean they can’t find their way back to it.

I originally rated this book 3 stars because I felt like it was just meh. I didn’t really like the way the story was told, it felt very juvenile, though I know that was the intent. It was told like a fairytale.

As I thought more about this book, I realized the parallels this story draws between this fantastical stories with witches and magic and a very common, real life thing that often happens between married couples. The king and queen were in love, but that love is taken away from them. How often do we hear about married couples who fall out of love because they have grown apart instead of together? They either have to find their way back or go their separate ways. And much like how the two characters in this book didn’t realize they had the ability to fall in love again, a lot of married couples often don’t realize that same thing.

Needless to say, I bumped up the rating to 4 stars.

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*Can’t Escape Love (Reluctant Royals #2.6) by Alyssa Cole

5 stars
OMG THIS BOOK WAS SO ADORABLE AND I WISH IT WAS LONGER! I read the first book in this series, but I did not read the second, however, after reading this book, I am determined to read the rest.

This is such an adorable, geeky, love story with such great rep. The main character is Black, disabled, a total boss bitch who runs a super successful website, and is SUPER nerdy in the best way. The hero is nerdy in his own way, he’s really good at puzzles and is a little socially awkward.

The premise is my favorite thing on the entire planet. The heroine is the only one who watches the heroes livesterams because she loves his soothing voice and it helps her sleep. So when he stops livestreaming, she has trouble sleeping. So, she reluctantly sends him an email asking him to send her audio clips of his voice.

As someone who is obsessed with people’s speaking voices to an embarrassing degree (I’m looking at your Jonathan Groff), this was the love story I didn’t know I needed in my life.
Buy Now

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My Favorite Souvenir by Penelope Ward, Vi Keeland

3 stars
This is available on AE and KU. few people were raving about this book in our Romance Booktubers Ask Us Anything liveshow, so I knew I wanted to give this author duo another try. I’ve read a few books of theirs in the past that I didn’t love, but also didn’t hate and this one was honestly no different.

Though, I did really love the premise. The heroine decides to go on her honeymoon even though her wedding was called off, but something happens and she can’t get a hotel room in the middle of a snow storm. She notices a guy scheming to get a hotel room and decides to get in on the scheme so she can get one, too. They end up hanging out and going on an impromptu road trip together.

I loved that entire aspect. I loved the meetcute and the road trip. But, much like a lot of the other books I’ve read by this duo, it just missed the mark for me a bit. I think it had a lot of potential, but it ended up falling flat. I didn’t love the bit of magic (tarot card reader) aspect, I don’t think it added anything to the story, it was really unnecessary and forced. I also didn’t love the epilogue.

I don’t usually mind epilogues that tie everything in a pretty bow, but this one felt unnecessary and extra also.
Buy Now

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Hard as it Gets (Hard Ink #1) by Laura Kaye

4 stars
This book took me so long to read because I read a physical copy and had to keep putting it down for different readathons and ARCs, but I finally finished and I really enjoyed it!

This entire series revolves around a tattoo parlor called hard ink and this group of men who were in the military, but have been dishonored due to a series of intricate lies. I’m guessing the entire series is them trying to unravel and bring to light the truth.

This book introduces you to the entire situation and characters without being info-dumpy or boring. The only downside is I’ve found that I don’t typically like romantic suspense novels and this was one. I found myself not really invested in the whole suspense storyline and wanting to just be immersed in the romance because it was so good. I can’t wait to read the other books in the series because I’m so interested in all the other characters. I really hope the hero’s brother has his own book because I loved him from the second he walked on page.
Buy Now

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All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto by George M. Johnson

5 stars
This is the most recent book that I read, and I read it completely on a whim. It’s a book that has been recommended on instagram for those who are looking for Queer Black representation. For some reason I thought this was ficton even though the title clearly states it is a memoir.

I was pleasantly surprised and extremely invested in everything this author had to say. I feel like his story is so important and I’m so glad it is classified as YA even though there are some explicit scenes. Perhaps because there are explicit scenes. He addressed so many questions he had himself growing up queer and black that I feel will be so beneficial to young people who rarely see themselves in media.
Buy Now

May 2020 Wrap Up

BLACK LIVES MATTER.
Visit this link for ways you can help.

*= I am trying to make a more conscious effort to read books by authors of color. I know many others are as well. Moving forward, I will be annotating books by authors of color with an asterisk. Please let me know if I missed one or mislabeled one.

Stats

Total: 28
DNF: 3
Rereads: 0
Ebooks: 7
Physical Books: 2
Audiobooks: 19
1-Stars: 0
2-Stars: 0
3-Stars: 8
4-Stars: 8
5-Stars: 12

DNF

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*Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson
I received this as an eARC from Netgalley. This is a contemporary romance about a woman whose mother-figure has passed away, leaving behind her 4 adoptive sons. Some of them want to close her knitting store, but one wants to keep it open and enlists the help of our heroine. The author, Kwana Jackson, also goes by KM Jackson, is a Black author. She has a big backlist of contemporary romance novels under the KM Jackson pen name that I definitely want to check out.

I think this book was just a case of bad timing and burn out for me. I found myself skimming pretty early on in this book because it felt like the story wasn’t moving forward at all. Scenes were lasting too long to keep my attention. It was actually pretty disappointing because I was really excited about this book! I don’t knit, but I crochet, and I liked hearing about yarn and knitting in Penny Reid’s Knitting in the City series, however, I had to put this one down.
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Becoming Mrs. Lockwood by LI Lynn

I talk more about this in my 7yo Picks my TBR video, but this was a book that Roree picked out for me. I think I heard this is a Twilight fanfiction, but it’s another one that reads like fanfiction, however, is extremely different than the original. It’s about a girl who is on vacation with her mom in Las Vegas, but hasn’t been able to see any sights since her mom is gambling all day and night. Since she is underage, she can’t go with her. All of that felt like a stretch to begin with, but then this super hot guy spots her from across the room and immediately is in love with her and takes her out to see Las Vegas. There is also an age gap in this, but it isn’t a good one. She’s a very immature 18 year old who is still in high school. This is mentioned when they first meet, yet he still pursues her. It just… rubbed me the wrong way. Like, how can this be instalove and still be a 500+ page contemporary romance. I DON’T UNDERSTAND!
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Taming Her Mountain Man (Bear’s Tooth Mountain Man #1) by Cameron Hart

I read this for the Weekend Contemporaryathon, so I talk more about that in my Contemporaryathon Vlog. It’s about an adoptive girl that is running away from her shady adoptive parents to her estranged grandmother’s cabin in the mountains where she meets this older, loner mountain man who is running away from his past. This is a novella, so it’s obviously very instalovey. What put me off of it was the main character and the instalove wasn’t done well. She’s another one who is SO immature that I was weirded out by the age gap. I think I’ve found that I don’t mind age gaps as long as there isn’t a big difference in maturity levels.
Amazon

 

3 Stars

 

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Remind Me (Magnolia Sound #1) by Samantha Chase

This was a book I just randomly listened to off of Hoopla before I realized I have a limit on how many books I can read on that app. My library just got Hoopla, so I’m still learning. To be completely honest, I remember next to nothing about this book and the next one on this list.

If I remember correctly, it is a second chance romance about a girl who has moved away from a small town in North Carolina. She had a summer fling with her grandfather’s neighbor, but she moves away to NY to be a successful woman in tech (as they do in these types of romances). A hurricane is threatening the town and they are being asked to evacuate, but her grandfather is refusing to leave, so the hero stays with him.

I want to take a moment here to talk about this. I live in FL and have lived through many hurricanes. Some that were scary (Irma), some that fizzled out to be nothing but some wind and rain. Either way, living here my whole life has taught me that when there is a mandatory evacuation, you GTFO ASAP. Hurricanes can and have flattened entire communities.

Anyway, this book was just meh. I didn’t really care about the characters. There wasn’t a lot of chemistry. It was just ok.
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The Royal Treatment (Alaskin Royal Family #1) by MaryJanice Davidson

I recently did a video talking about the books that got me through my Twilight hangover back in the day, and Mary Janice Davidson’s Undead series was on this list. When I came across this book on Audible Escape, I was curious to see how her contemporary romances would be.

And it was as I expected. Just meh. This is an alternative/futuristic reality in which Alaska is it’s own country or something weird like that. Anyway, they have a king there who is looking for a wife who would make a good princess for his son. He ends up setting up our main character with his son.

A couple of things were weird about this. First, the who Alaska thing seemed unnecessary, like, just make up a country like everyone else does. Second, she didn’t really do anything that I saw for the King to think she was so amazing. Something I did find interesting, was this was almost opposite of instalove. Both of them seemed pretty neutral about each other aside from sexual chemistry until the very end. I actually really appreciated that.

Also, the synopsis calls this book erotic. It’s not. If I did steam fans like Steph, I’d give this one 3 steam fans.
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PS It’s Always Been You Part 1 by Lauren Blakely

I read this one for the Weekend Contemporaryathon and talk about it in that vlog. Let’s be real, I read this for Scott Eastwood’s narration… and it was pretty disappointing. The book and his narrating. He had a lot of awkward pauses. Anyway, the time it’s going to take me to tell you what this book is about is pretty much as long as it took me to listen to this audiobook. It’s about this daredevil, reality TV show guy who once hooked up with this girl who is some sort of historian, but ends up ditching her for his career, until one day they end up having to work together. And that’s it. That’s the whole story. The End.
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Abducting Abby (Dragon Lords of Valdier #1) by SE Smith

I 100% do not remember reading this book at all. This is what happens when I go crazy adding audiobooks to my favorites in Hoopla (which I use as my TBR) because I got over-excited about having a new service.

This is a short, smutty, sci-fi romance that I picked up because… dragons. Abby creates and sells luxury artwork from her cabin in the mountains when one day an alien space ship crash lands in the woods near her and she ends up saving the guy inside not realizing that he’s a dragon shifter.

Now that I’m remembering the story, I did enjoy reading this one, it just wasn’t anything particularly special. I think I may actually move on in the series, though. If you like the whole fated mates thing, you’ll like this one. It’s no IPB, but it’s good for IPB hangovers. Averie – you should totes give this one a try!
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Fire in His Blood (Fireblood Dragon #1) by Ruby Dixon

Ruby Dixon is the author of IPB, and I was super interested to see how her other books are. This series is a fated mates dragon shifter post-apocolyptic romance. It’s pretty long, I was expecting it to be short like IPB, but it’s not. And I feel like I would’ve liked it better if it was. It just got a little repetitive. I did like when there is a communication barrier between the hero and heroine in these types of books. Especially when the hero recognizes that she’s his mate, but she’s like WTF, dude, back off. And I especially, especially like when they respect consent despite the communication difference. I’m over here like, “IF AN ALIEN DRAGON SHIFTER WHO HAS INVADED OUR PLANET CAN UNDERSTAND CONSENT, WHY CAN’T YOU, BROCK?”
Amazon

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Racked and Stacked (Blacktop Cowboys #9) by Lorelei James

I read this for a secret TBR that I’m in the middle of right now because when I do secret TBRs it takes me years, so I’m not going to talk about this one too much. Just know it’s a cowboy romcom, enemies to lovers.
Amazon

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Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

This was an ARC I received from Netgalley. It’s Berkely’s first F/F published romance, which is awesome for the author. And I think this is OWN voices, but I’m not sure. I had super high expectations going into this one – I didn’t realize how high until the book didn’t meet them. It’s about a woman who works in the entertainment industry, I think she’s a director or producer, and her assistant. The media thinks that they are dating because of something that happens while paparazzi were around. This is a SUPER CRAZY INSANE slow burn. Like… the first kiss doesn’t even happen until 75% into this book. Don’t get me wrong, I adore slow burn. Mariana Zapata is my favorite contemporary romance author, but the burn was so slow in this one, it affected how I felt about the relationship. I started not caring after awhile whether they got together or not.

I can see how some of the scenes were supposed to be super full of tension, but I think because it took so long for the relationship to develop, I just wasn’t as invested.
Amazon

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Shy Girls Write It Better (Some Girls Do It #1) by May Sage

I read this one for Contemporaryathon and talk about it in the vlog. It’s about a woman who writes erotic romance and accidentally gives her hot boss a copy of one of her manuscripts instead of a report and instead of getting mad, he wants to give her real life BDSM experience because she writes it so badly.

Overall, this was pretty good for a short, smutty read. I don’t love the overly innocent, inexperienced heroine to begin with, so that definitely affected my rating. Also the fact that she’s supposed to be a super successful romance author and she knows she sucks at writing BDSM, but yet she continues to do it? I don’t know, something about that entire aspect of the premise was off to me and I think this book would’ve been better without it.

I did really like that the hero wasn’t your stereotypical alpha, though. That was refreshing.
Amazon

4 Stars

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Point of Retreat (Slammed #2) by Colleen Hoover

I read this book for Contemporaryathon. It’s the sequel to Slammed which is Colleen Hoover’s debut novel, a contemporary romance involving slam poets. Obviously it’s so much more than that, I mean, it’s Colleen Hoover. At first I wasn’t sure if this book was necessary before reading it, but Layken and Will’s story definitely wasn’t done.
Amazon

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*Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee Ahdieh

Renee Ahdieh is a Korean-American author and this book was a unique twist on Mulan. This book was as beautiful and badass as the cover.

I’ve always been partial to the story of Mulan, but I love how much more intricate this story was in comparison.

Our main character doesn’t magically have all sorts of powers and though she is a badass, it’s because of her quick-thinking bravery, and resilience, not any magical skill.

The writing was also one of my favorite things about this book. It was beautiful and fit so well with the story itself. I felt like I was experiencing everything our main character did, right beside her.
Amazon

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*The Marriage Game by Sara Desai

I received this ARC from Netgalley. I believe this is an OWN voices novel. It’s a fun enemies to lovers romance where our main character, Layla, moves home with her big family after a humiliating break up that essentially lost her her job. Her father sets her up, not only with the office above his restaurant, but also with some arranged marriage prospects (without her knowledge). Little does she know, he also rented out the space to Sam, CEO of a corporate downsizing company. Read my review here.
Amazon

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*The Fire Between High & Lo (Elements #2) by Brittainy C Cherry

My monthly Brittainy C Cherry novel. If you don’t know, I discovered BCC this year and fell in love with her books. I’ve been reading at least one of her backlist titles per month. She is a Black author, by the way.

This is a sunshine and grumpy, friends-to-lovers romance about two teenagers who have very rough home lives. Our hero’s mother is struggling with bad addiction which has trickled down to him and has been affecting him since he was a young child. Our heroine’s mother, though successful, is cold and disinterested. Though they come from completely different backgrounds, there is a lot they have in common that bring them together and they become really good friends.

This wasn’t my favorite BCC. That being said, It was still a really good, emotional story that I’ve come to expect from her. I think the main reason why I couldn’t give this 5 stars as I have literally every other BCC I’ve read, is because there is a lot of drug use and addiction in this novel and it’s just not my favorite thing to read about.
Amazon

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Mind Reader by Kirsty McManus

I read this book for Contemporaryathon and talk about it in my vlog as well. This is one of those novellas that I found for free on Kindle and downloaded because it sounded fun. The hero can see other people’s soul mates and knows when they will meet. Until he meets our heroine, a woman who works in the STEM field who thinks it’s all BS. Their paths cross and sparks fly.

This book is perfect for those who prefer a lot less steam. It’s very fade-to-black.

This book was a lot of fun to read. I had a lot of expectations going into this book, and I expected it to be pretty predictable, but it surprised me a few times. Though the beginning as a little rough, it starts from the hero’s POV and he was kind of douchey, but the book ended up being super sweet.
Amazon

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*The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

I believe this is OWN voices for the latinx rep. It’s a romantic comedy between a woman who has been left at the alter and the groom’s best man and brother. Because of this, it is a hate-to-love, but it’s so much more. The hero is dealing with issues of his own self worth in comparison to his brother (the ex-groom). The heroine is dealing with prejudice in the workplace.

I feel like this book is a little underrated. It’s not my favorite enemies to lovers, but I think it is a lot better than many of the reviews I’ve read for it were. There are a lot of complaints about the male narrator in the audiobooks and I agree, but it didn’t completely put me off of the book because of it.

I thought that the humor was really good, it was awkward in some areas, and the issues both of the characters were dealing with played out really well.
Amazon

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*Girl Gone Viral (Modern Love #2) by Alisha Rai

Alisha Rai is a South Asian American writer. This was a refreshingly diverse bodyguard romance with fantastic panic disorder rep. Katrina is an ex-model and divorcee to a very wealthy man, she also suffers from debilitating panic attacks, so when a couple in a coffee bar live tweet an interaction between herself and a man who approached her and it goes viral, she’s not only in danger, but it also triggers her anxiety. Her long-time bodyguard whisks her away from the spotlight and sparks fly.

I almost didn’t read this, but I’m so glad I didn’t listen to some of the sub-par reviews, because I really enjoyed this book. First of all, it’s a bodyguard romance and he’s been pining after her for a long time. There is also great anxiety rep.

I had to take away a star only because I felt like the build up of tension between these two characters was so good, but when they finally got together, I was a little let down and I couldn’t put my finger on why exactly.
Amazon

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*Desolate (Grace #1) by Autumn Grey

Autumn Grey has officially been added to my list of authors I need to read their entire backlists alongside Brittainy C Cherry, Mia Sheridan, and Sarina Bowen. Autumn doesn’t have as many books in her backlist as the others, so I’m going to have to pace myself.

I didn’t know what this book was about going into it for Contemporaryathon. I just saw the author’s name and picked it up. Autumn is a Black author, by the way. I recently read Fall Back Skyward by her after buying it from her at Shameless Book Con last year, and I fell in love with it.

This book is a forbidden new adult romance between a man who is planning on becoming a priest and a woman who is wrongfully considered the town whore. As soon as I realized the premise in this book, I was hooked. And the characters, oh my goodness, the characters and their chemistry were so potent. From the moment they met and how fascinated our hero is with the heroine, despite his dedication to God. How he can’t seem to tear himself away from her.

I will say, my only complaint is that this is a cliff hanger. It is part of a trilogy which is complete and I will be reading on in it. That and the hero started driving me crazy at the end because he wouldn’t make a freaking decision, but like I said, I loved this book.
Amazon

5 Stars

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Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz

I need to preface this by saying that I know Hannah Moskowitz has said some problematic things on Twitter recently. I haven’t seen them myself, I’ve only seen references, but I do want everyone to know that going into this novel.

With that being said, this book was such a great and refreshing representation of chronic illness in YA. I have Multiple Sclerosis and though none of the characters in this book have that exact illness, they do have their own and they do have similar experiences and thoughts.

The two meet at, I believe, an infusion center. Some place that many with chronic illnesses are very familiar with. And there is great chemistry and bonding and banter from the beginning. There were so many moments where I found myself nodding vigerously as they talked about healthy people vs. people with chronic illnesses. What it’s like to be surrounded by healthy people when you are not. Being limited and defined by your illness. Big topics that were well portrayed.

I definitely felt seen.
Amazon

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Grin and Beard It (Winston Brothers #2) by Penny Reid

I’m slowly but surely making my way through this series and so far I’ve been loving every second of it. Normally I’m not a big fan of the fame element in a romance novel, but it was a little easier to swallow with this book because it was the heroine who is famous. Our heroine is a comedic actress who gets rescued by our hero, a park ranger, in a small town where she is filming her upcoming movie.

Fame plays a big part in this, which I normally don’t like, but there was something about the dynamic between her outgoing, charisma mixed with his southern charm that I loved.
Amazon

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Beard Science (Winston Brothers #3) by Penny Reid

So far the first book is still my favorite, but this comes in close second. This is Cletus’s story, and he’s such a big weirdo I was wondering who he was going to end up with. It was NOT the heroine. Where Cletus is super smart and manipulative and quirky, our heroine is very polished and put together and naive. She has lived under her mother’s thumb working at a very successful bakery.

Nobody in town takes her seriously, especially Cletus, until she blackmails him and they are forced together. Soon, he realizes there is a lot more to this seemingly shallow woman.

I loved this book so much more than I thought I would, given the main character. I thought, when we were first introduced to her that she was going to get on my nerves, but honestly, her character growth and unexpected depth made me change my mind entirely.

And I’m such a fan of quirky heroes, so I loved Cletus, too.
Amazon

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Powertools: Collection 1 (Powertools 1 & 2) by Jayne Rylon

You guys. I never would’ve expected a super steamy reverse harem novel would be so high on my list, but here we are.

I talk a lot more about this book in my Contemporaryathon vlog, but in short, I loved this book because though it was ridiculous, there was a strong romance in both of the two short stories. I also was totally into the whole summer vibe of the first book and the immersive autumn vibes of the second book. Also, the hero in the second book is so swoony and I fell so hard for him.
Amazon

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The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Mackenzies & McBrides #1) by Jennifer Ashley

Yay! A historical romance I LOVED! I knew it was only a matter of time until I found one that hit the spot for me and it was absolutely this one.

This was a rec from a comment on one of my videos and they freaking nailed it.

This is a historical romance between a widow and a man with autism. Of course, back then, they just thought he was mad and threw him and everyone treated him so horribly because of it. Seriously, my heart absolutely broke. However, our heroine is the only one who truly understood him, or at least didn’t look down on him. I also absolutely loved her. Because she has her husband’s fortune, she doesn’t need to marry. In fact, men are lining up for her. She also isn’t a naive, innocent virgin. She knows what she wants and she goes after it. She’s smart and witty.

This was everything I am realizing I love in a romance novel.
Amazon

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*Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda

This freaking book.

So, I haven’t seen this musical yet, but I am such a huge fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda and the music – especially Jonathan Groff’s song, though, I’m biased because I’m obsessed with him. I’ve watched performances and interviews and I’m so excited about finally getting to see this on Disney Plus on July 3. I can’t contain myself.

I actually downloaded this audiobook when it went on sale a while ago, but I picked it up on a whim last week and finished it in a day because I became obsessed.

I loved seeing how this musical became the phenomenon it is. I loved hearing Lin’s thought process behind creating it. How he wanted to depict these historical figures in a modern, much more diverse way, using a genre of music that was not associated with Broadway at all. From the choreography to the costumes – it was absolutely fascinating.

I just… I need July 3 to be now.
Amazon

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Lover Her or Lose Her (Hot & Hammered #2) by Tessa Bailey

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this one. So many people complained about how the hero was way to alpha for them and I kept thinking, “Well, jeez, if he’s too alpha for them, he’ll definitely be too alpha for me.” But, honestly? He wasn’t.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, he’s definitely alpha, but I adored his reasoning for it.

Anyway, this is a second chance romance between a married couple who have a ton of chemistry in bed, but have lost touch of each other in every other way. So, when our heroine has had enough, she decides to leave her husband.

But he is not having it. To him, she is his everything. It’s kind of the opposite of The Bromance Bookclub because he thinks everything is fine since the sex is still really good, but that’s not the case. I loved how this book really dove into love languages and how both people must understand the other’s language and support it.

And there was so much longing, it made my heart hurt. Yes, he was very alpha. He very much wanted to be the one who provided for his wife, however, I wasn’t bothered by it AT ALL.
Amaz

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
OMG this book was so sweet, I couldn’t handle it. It’s a whimsical fantasy that, if I had to explain it in one word, it would be charming.

It’s about a man in his forty’s who has led a very mediocre life thus far. He lives for his job, which is to evaluate orphanages for extraordinary children for a very corporate overlord of a company. He’s sent on a highly classified job to check out this orphanage for especially gifted, some think dangerous, children.

It’s very elementary school x-men.

And oh my goodness, the character growth and the relationships that are built, both familial, romantic, and platonic are all so strong and vibrant. This book absolutely lives up to the hype.
Amazon

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Beach Read by Emily Henry

This is another book that absolutely lived up to the hype. Though the title might lead you to believe that this is going to be a fun, light read, it’s really not. There is a lot of substance behind this book that the title and cover do not allude to.

Aside from a swoony romance and hilarious banter and writing, we are dealing with grief, with loss, with resentment … a lot of heavy topics woven between this romcom story about two writers who have challenged themselves to write each other’s genre, one literary fiction, one women’s fiction/romance.
Amazon


The Edge #0.5-2 by CD Reiss

These are all short, but super intense military suspense romance novels. I feel that the prequel is required reading for this series because it sets up the relationship so solidly, that despite the craziness that this couple goes through in later books, you root hard for them. The couple meet in a war zone, one a surgeon who works for 8 days straight saving lives and one a psychiatrist who is trying to keep him standing and sane – along with all the other medics and soldiers. I felt like this book was so well researched and gorgeously written. CD Reiss is called the Shakespeare of Smut for a reason. The steamy scenes were just as intense as the rest of the book.

I absolutely plan on reading the rest of this series!
Amazon

Contemporaryathon Wrap Up

Last weekend was Contemporaryathon (from Friday to Monday) and I ended up reading a total of 10 books and DNF’d 1.

Don’t get too impressed, all of the books I read over the weekend were under 250 pages!

Let’s talk about the books and what I thought of them!

Let’s get the DNF out of the way…

Taming Her Mountain Man by Cameron Hart

DNF

In this book our main character has just turned 18 and inherited her estranged grandparents’ cabin in the mountains. She runs away from her creepy adoptive parents to secretly move into this cabin she inherits. When she gets there she meets this attractive older man who is a bit of a loner. The premise seemed like something I would really like because I’m all about the loner, but I was so annoyed with the main character. I didn’t mind that she was younger than the hero or that she was a virgin, but what I didn’t like was that she was also incredibly immature. I don’t mind age gaps when the younger heroine is mature for her age and that’s why she has so much chemistry with the older hero, but since she was immature it made the relationship uncomfortable to read about. So… I ended up DNFing this one.

Shy Girls Write It Better (Some Girls Do It, #1)

Shy Girls Write It Better by May Sage

★★★

This is a contemporary workplace romance where our heroine has a side hustle writing erotic romance novels. One day she accidentally gives her boss’s boss a copy of one of her manuscripts instead of a report and he is intrigued. He also notices that she is not great at writing BDSM scenes and, of course, he wants to give her some real world experience.

This book was ok. I didn’t really understand why the heroine was writing about BDSM if she knew that she wasn’t good at it. There was something about her naivety that annoyed me, but otherwise I did enjoy the premise. I also liked the hero. The fact that he easily could’ve been the cocky alpha boss, but wasn’t was a nice surprise. I don’t think I’ll move on in the series just because I have a feeling all the heroines are going to be a little mousy and that can get on my nerves after a while.

Powertools: Collection 1 (Powertools #1-2)

Powertools Collection 1 by Jayne Rylon

★★★★★

Yup. I gave this one 5 stars.

This is a reverse harem novella that includes two short stories involving the same five construction workers.

The first story takes place in the summer time with our heroine who is renovating her house while these construction workers are working on the house next door and the second story takes place in the autumn at her friend’s bakery that is getting renovated.

This book was surprisingly good. Yes, it was ridiculous and I think the fact that I expected that going into this was helpful, but what I was not expecting the romance to be so strong in both of the stories. Particularly in the second book, the hero was so freaking sweet and it was actually romantic – not something you’d expect from a reverse harem novel at all!

Beyond that – I love how each of the stories were seasonal. The first book felt like summer and the second had all the autumn vibes.

Point of Retreat (Slammed, #2)

Point of Retreat (Slammed #2) by Colleen Hoover

★★★★

This is the second book in the Slammed series that I read a few months ago. It’s a contemporary new adult romance that has a slam poetry element in it.

I didn’t initially realize this was a series, but it makes sense as to why it is. The couple’s story definitely wasn’t finished and I think this wrapped it up nicely. I believe there is another book in this series as well, which I think may be a little overkill, but we’ll see.

This wasn’t my favorite Colleen Hoover, but I haven’t disliked a book I’ve read by her yet – and that is true for this one. I felt just a little disconnected from these characters since it has been a little while since I’ve read the first books – and I don’t recall being particularly in love with them in the first place, but overall it was a good story with Colleen Hoover’s signature great characters.

Mind Reader

Mind Reader by Kristy McManus

★★★★

This interesting contemporary, magical realism romance has such a cute premise: the hero can predict soul mates and when others will meet them.

I anticipated a few things going into this book and I was wrong for quite a few of them. This was both good and bad. It was bad because I was excited about a few of the things I was predicting, but it was good because I think it would’ve been boring if this was too predictable.

The hero was a little cringy in the beginning. I thought that he was going to get on my nerves a lot more than he did. This book actually turned out to be really sweet with very low steam, so for those of you looking for a short, sweet, low-steam romance, this is a great pick!

P.S. It's Always Been You: Part 1

PS It’s Always Been You by Lauren Blakely

★★★

This super short audiobook is a second chance romance between a woman who works with historical items and an adventure/reality TV show host. It’s part of a series of super short books and I’m honestly unsure why they are all broken up. Seriously. This audiobook was, like, two hours long.

And this book was fine. I always want to like Lauren Blakely books more than I do. They have a lot of potential, she creates really likable characters in interesting situations, but lately I feel like the books I’ve read by her have been somewhat lackluster.

She comes out with a TON of books per year and it makes me wonder if maybe if she focused on writing fewer – and perfecting those – then maybe they’d be a lot better.

With that being said, I really do appreciate how much she is involved in the making of her audiobooks – and how much she loves on her narrators. She’s really in touch with the audiobook world which is nice because I feel like it gets neglected by authors more often than not.

Cutting Edge (The Edge, #0.5)

The Edge Series Books 0.5 – 2 by CD Reiss

★★★★★

This is an intense contemporary military romance between a military psychiatrist and a military surgeon.

And I’m officially obsessed.

The prequel to this series is so important, so I highly recommend starting there if you are planning on reading this series. I felt like my heart was racing the entire time I was reading this book for so many reasons – between the intensity of the romance and the fact that their relationship was building in the middle of a warzone in the first book – then the turn the books take in the first and second books – whew!

It’s so clear to me, in these books, why I love CD Reiss so much. She’s a beautiful writer, who obviously puts a lot of time into researching the topics she is writing about. She’s able to mix beautiful prose with super taboo and steamy scenes without making them seem raunchy or cringey.

I can’t wait to finish the ARC I’m reading right now so that I can finish this series!

Desolate (Grace, #1)

Desolate (Grace Trilogy #1) by Autumn Grey

★★★★

This is an emotional contemporary romance between a guy who has wanted to become a catholic priest his entire life and a girl who was mislabeled as the town slut by her abusive ex boyfriend.

Autumn Grey is quickly becoming a favorite author of mine and I’ve only read two of her books, but man… I adore her books so much.

I always appreciate when authors build the chemistry between love interests and that is something that this author does really well, especially in this story. I fully understood the conflict that the hero is going through between wanting to pursue his lifelong goal of becoming a priest like the uncle he looks up to and not being able to stay away from this girl that he has been drawn to his entire life.

My one complaint is that I felt a little disenchanted with the hero after a while. I wanted him to suck it up and make a decision. This book also ends on a cliffhanger with no HEA or HFN, however it is part of a trilogy.

The Fire Between High & Lo (Elements, #2)

The Fire Between Hi & Lo by Brittainy C. Cherry

★★★★

This is a new adult contemporary romance between a hero with a troubling home life and an addiction problem and the heroine who is able to see the bright side despite her issues with her mother.

We love BCC around here. I’ve been slowly making my way through her backlist and haven’t found a book I disliked yet. Though this wasn’t my favorite, it was mostly because of the subject matter rather than anything to do with the romance or the story. I’m not a big fan of drug use and addiction in books and one of the main characters is dealing heavily with both.

I think my favorite part of the book was the meetcute. Although, I feel weird calling it a meetcute because it is actually quite a sad situation.

Overall, this was a very successful readathon! I always aim to read around 5-6 books for weekend readathons, so reading double that many was great! I definitely felt like I was on a roll and didn’t want to stop reading all weekend, so it worked out!

April 2020 Wrap Up // Books I Read in April

FEBRUARY STATS
  • 32 Books total
  • 6 Re-reads
  • 2 Secret TBR reads
  • 1 DNF
  • 1 two-star book
  • 6 three-star books
  • 9 four-star books
  • 8 five-star books
  • 26 audiobooks
  • 3 hard copies
  • 4 eBooks
  • 3 currently reading
  • 1 readathons: Smutathon
REREADS

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The entire Pucked series by Helena Hunting.
I kept saying that I’ve been wanting to reread this whole series – and I finally did! This time around I realized how much more I liked Book 6 than before! Book 5 is still my all-time favorite, but Book 6 is up there with Book 1 and Book 5 now!
Goodreads

 

REREADS


Beach Read by Emily Henry
This is absolutely adorable and I’m loving it so much! I’m hoping to finish this one today. It’s a romance about two authors in neighboring beach house that have some history. One is a romance writer and one is a literary fiction author.
Goodreads

Fire In His Blood by Ruby Dixon
This is a dragon shifter, post-apocalyptic fantasy romance by the author of Ice Planet Barbarians. I like IPB better so far, but this one has a lot of potential.
Goodreads

1 secret book!

 

DNF

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Jock Row (Jock Hard #1) by Sara Ney
The main character in this book was SO annoying and I could not stand it. She gets kicked out of a frat party for basically being super annoying and holier than thou. I don’t think you are supposed to agree with the frat guys who kick her out, but I certainly did. It’s a romance between her and the athlete who has to guard her from coming back into the party. She was the worst and I couldn’t take it anymore, so I DNFd it. I don’t see myself picking this up again.

Goodreads

 

★★ 2 STARS

January (Calendar Girls #1) by Audrey Carlan
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This is about a girl who becomes an escort to make enough money to save her father from gambling debt. The main character was the “not like other girls” girl and I couldn’t handle how judgey she was. The hero is ok, but his character wasn’t well developed.
Goodreads

 

★★★ 3 Stars


Menace (Scarlet Scars #1) by JM Darhower
This is a scarred hero dark mafia romance. Check out my Spring Break Wrap Up to see my thoughts.
Goodreads

Fighting for Everything (Warrior Fight Club #1) by Laura Kaye
This is a military, friends-to-lovers romance. Check out my Spring Break Wrap Up to see my thoughts.
Goodreads

Assigned a Mate (Interstellar Brides Program #1) by Grace Goodwin
This is, essentially, an alien mail order bride romance. Check out my Spring Break Wrap Up to see my thoughts.
Goodreads

Hard Hitter (Brooklyn Bruisers #2) by Sarina Bowen
This is a contemporary hockey romance. This was fine. I didn’t find the hero very likable, even though I tend to like grumpy heroes and the heroine was pretty forgettable. Coming off of the high of Brooklynaire, not much could compare, though, so I can’t fault it for that. I really do like this series so far and plan on continuing.
Goodreads

The Loner’s Lady by Jessa Kane
I read this short novella for Smutathon. This is about a girl who is pretending to be her best friend’s girlfriend, but she ends up falling for his dad instead. This just was a little too extra for me. I felt like everything was rushed and ridiculous. Granted, that’s kind of the nature of this type of book, but Katee Robert has already proved to me it can be done well. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a good example of that.
Goodreads

I Dare You by Ilsa Madden-Mills
I read this for Smutathon because it was a short audiobook I found on Audible Escape. This book was fine, but not very memorable. It actually has a cute premise, it’s a new adult sports romance about a girl who develops a relationship with someone who text her from an unknown number.
Goodreads

 

★★★★ 4 Stars

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
This is a thriller following the story of a woman whose sister had gone missing years ago and present-day disappearances that are affecting her. I feel weird rating this highly only because it’s so graphic and gruesome and entirely messed up. But I could not stop reading this book. I really need to read more thrillers.
Goodreads

The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years #1) by Sarina Bowen
This is new adult friends-to-lovers sports romance with disability rep. I talk more about this in my Spring Break Wrap Up.
Goodreads

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
This was an adorable friends-to-lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers YA Contemporary romance that involves camping and forced togetherness. I talk more about this in my Spring Break Wrap Up.
Goodreads

Pipe Dreams (Brooklyn Bruisers #3) by Sarina Bowen
This is the same hockey romance series as Pipe Dreams. I actually read this series out of order, I read the first book first, but then I skipped ahead to Brooklynaire, and ended up going back to this one. I didn’t mind that, though, mostly because this book takes place during the same timeline as Brooklynaire, but you get a different perspective. This one is a second-chance romance that was a little hard to swallow, in my opinon, which is why I took away a star.
Goodreads

Cherish Hard (Hard Hitters #1) by Nalini Singh
This is a second chance contemporary romance that had a really great meetcute and such a good book boyfriend. I talk more about this in my Spring Break Wrap Up.
Goodreads

Inappropriate by Vi Keeland
This is a story about a woman whose vacation video gets leaked to her boss, which gets her fired. It’s obviously not fair at all, so in a drunken rage she sends a hate-email to her boss’s boss. And so begins our story. I read this one completely on a whim. I saw in it my wish list for Audible Escape, and decided to give it a shot. I’ve never loved anything by this author, but I’ve never strongly disliked anything either. This one I definitely liked more than other books I’ve read by her, but it wasn’t quite 5 stars. What I did really enjoy was that there was much more to this book than you would expect given the premise. It was more emotional than I anticipated.
Goodreads

The Happy Ever After Playlist (The Friend Zone #2) by Abby Jimenez
This takes place in the same world as The Friend Zone, only this time we are following the friend of the heroine in that book. I don’t really want to say more because I feel like it is spoilery to The Friend Zone, just know there is a rockstar element in this book. I think I am one of the only people who really liked The Friend Zone. I completely understand the issues many readers had with the ending of that book, but I still really, really liked it. In fact, I liked The Friend Zone more than this one (I gave that one 5 stars). I’m not going to lie, I thought I was going to adore this book and though I really liked it, I didn’t love it.
Goodreads

Theirs for the Night (The Thalanian Dynasty #1) by Katee Robert
This is an MMF romance about a girl who goes out to a club with her friend on her birthday and ends up going home with two guys – who happen to be a prince and his bodyguard. This was the group read for Smutathon. As usual, I think Katee Robert does such a great job with super steamy, short romances. I really like this one, though maybe not as much as I liked Your Dad Will Do. I think i’m going to enjoy the rest of this series a little bit more than I liked this one.
Goodreads

Better When It Hurts (Stripped #2) by Skye Warren
I decided to read this book for Smutathon because it was on Audible Escape and super short. It’s a gritty stripper romance. I’ve been wanting to read more Skye Warren books, and though this wasn’t my favorite, I definitely want to read more of her books.
Goodreads

 

★★★★ 5 Stars

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J Mass
This is SJM’s first adult fantasy novel – it’s full of pretty much every type of fantasy creatures including angels and faeries. I talk more about this in my Spring Break Wrap Up.
Goodreads

Art & Soul by Brittainy C Cherry
This is a YA romance between a musician and an artist who have to work on a school project together. I talk more about this in my Spring Break Wrap Up.
Goodreads

Misconduct by Penelope Douglas
This is a forbidden romance between a teacher and her student’s father. I talk more about this in my Spring Break Wrap Up.
Goodreads

Brooklynaire (Brooklyn #1, Brooklyn Bruisers #4) by Sarina Bowen
I have no idea what series this book belongs to because it takes place in the same world as Brooklyn Bruisers and in some places it is listed as part of that series and others it is listed as the Brooklyn Series. Either way it can be read as a standalone. It follows the story of a quirky millionaire who owns an Apple-like tech company and a hockey team. It’s a friends-to-lovers workplace romance with so much longing and swoon, I can’t even. I’m so in love with the hero in this book and how much he pines after the heroine without her ever knowing.
Goodreads

By the Book by Amanda Sellet
This was an ARC from Netgalley. It’s a YA contemporary romance about a girl who reads a lot of classic and historical novels and creates a scoundrel survival guide for the girls at her school based on the books she’s read. It was super cute, but written in a very particular way that may not appeal to everyone – review to come!
Goodreads

Your Dad Will Do (A Touch of Taboo #1) by Katee Robert
This was a highly anticipated read for me ever since I saw that Katee Robert was planning to release it and it lived up to what I hoped for it. This is a super short, super smutty, super taboo romance about a girl whose fiance cheats on her, so in revenge she sleeps with his dad. A lot of people say this one lacks plot, but they still really liked it, and I don’t disagree, but I also didn’t mind. I had so much fun reading this one and it made me fall even more in love with Katee Robert.
Goodreads

The Butterfly Project by Emma Scott
This book was recommended to me by a subscriber friend, Taseen, in the comments of one of my videos and I feel like you guys know me so well, because I loved this freaking book. I did not realize that this is about a character I loved from the Full Tilt duet. She’s a tattoo artist who is trying to publish a graphic novel that is very personal to her and when she gets rejected she almost leaves New York, but ultimately ends up staying when she’s able to become roommates with our hero. They have an adorable meet cute and omggg the hero in this book. He’s one of those characters who is such a good person who is put in bad situations. Both of our characters are dealing with guilt from their pasts, but slowly healing together. I’m kind of obsessed with him, he’s one of my favorite book boyfriends.
Goodreads

Wolfsong (Green Creek #1) by TJ Klune
I knew I was going to love this book, but I didn’t know how hard I would swoon. For some reason, I don’t know why I expected that this book wouldn’t be as romance heavy as it was. I think maybe because it’s about werewolves and I figured it’d be more about that than the romance and while the world was well-developed, the characters were well-developed, and the plot was interesting, the romance was also extremely strong. I feel like a lot of the time you’re sacrificing one thing for another, but it truly felt like this book didn’t lag behind in any of those things. Even the writing was excellent.

But honestly, it was the swoon in this book that tipped me over the edge. My heart hurt in the best and worst ways while reading this book and I can’t get enough.

Goodreads

March 2020 Wrap-up // Books I Read in March

FEBRUARY STATS
REREADS

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Marriage for One by Ella Maise
Audiobook from Audible Escape

I re-read this book in preparation for my book club.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Jack and I, we did everything backward. The day he lured me into his office-which was also the first day we met-he proposed. You’d think a guy who looked like him-a bit cold maybe, but still striking and very unattainable-would only ask the love of his life to marry him, right? You’d think he must be madly in love.

Nope. It was me he asked. A complete stranger who had never even heard of him. A stranger who had been dumped by her fiancé only weeks before. You’d think I’d laugh in his face, call him insane-and a few other names-then walk away as quickly as possible. Well…I did all those things except the walking away part.

It took him only minutes to talk me into a business deal…erm, I mean marriage, and only days for us to officially tie the knot. Happiest day of my life. Magical. Pop the champagne… Not. It was the worst day. Jack Hawthorne was nothing like what I’d imagined for myself.
I blamed him for my lapse in judgment. I blamed his eyes, the ocean blue eyes that looked straight into mine unapologetically, and that frown on his face I had no idea I would become so fascinated with in time.

It wasn’t long after he said I was the biggest mistake of his life that things started to change. No, he still didn’t talk much, but anyone can string a few words together. His actions spoke the loudest to me. And day after day my heart started to get a mind of its own.

One second he was no one. The next he became everything.
One second he was unattainable. The next he seemed to be completely mine.
One second I thought we were in love. The next it was still nothing but a lie.

After all, I was Rose and he was Jack. We were doomed from the very beginning with those names. Did you expect anything else?

GOODREADS

 

★★★ 3 Stars

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Dancing at Midnight (The Splendid Trilogy #2) by Julia Quinn

Read my review in my Historical Readathon Wrap Up post.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Lady Arabella Blydon has beauty and a brain, and she’s tired of men who can see only one without the other.

When a suitor tells Arabella he’s willing to overlook her appalling bluestocking tendencies on account of her looks and fortune, she decides to take a break from the Marriage Mart. During an extended stay in the country, she never expects to meet Lord John Blackwood, a wounded war hero who intrigues her like no other man.

Lord John has lived through the worst horrors of war… but nothing could have been as terrifying to his tormented heart as Lady Arabella. She is intoxicating, infuriating… and she makes him want to live again. Suddenly he’s writing bad poetry and climbing trees in the pitch-dark night… just so he can dance with her as the clock strikes midnight. And even though he knows he can never be the sort of man she deserves, he can’t help wanting her. But when the harsh light of day replaces the magic of midnight, can this tormented soul learn to love again?

GOODREADS

 

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Sins of a Duke (Scandalous House of Claydon #3) by Stacy Reid

Read my review in my Historical Readathon Wrap Up post.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

All of the young ladies whispered about the Duke of Mondvale in hushed tones, their eyes following his tall, dark figure with barely disguised lust. For the newly-ostracized Lady Constance Thornton, he is magnetic and altogether desirable. Irresistibly so. Since her reputation is already ruined in London society, why shouldn’t she be impudent and dance with the scandalous “Lord of Sin”?

Little does she know of his plans.

The beautiful and innocent Lady Constance is no mere plaything for Lucan Wynwood. She will be his revenge. By ruining her, he will have his vengeance against her brother. Except that the Lady Constance is full of surprises…and now she could well be the ruin of him.

GOODREADS

 

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Silent Melody (Georgian #2) by Mary Balogh

Read my review in my Historical Readathon Wrap Up post.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Lady Emily Marlowe was beautiful, wild, and unspoiled. She could not hear or speak, though she listened with her eyes and answered with her smile. She was betrothed to a man who would have her as a pretty possession, a captive listener. But there was only one man for her—the dark and reckless Lord Ashley Kendrick, the childhood amour who inspired her fantasies—then left for India and found another love.

Seven years and countless dreams later, he returned to her, and love was born with a dance, a minuet that stirred her soul, a song so passionate it has no words.

GOODREADS

 

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Off Sides (Off #1) by Sawyer Bennett

Check out my Backlist Readathon Wrap-up for my thoughts on this book.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

“I’m not sure what possessed me to do it. Maybe it was the impossible expectations I faced, maybe it was my own self-loathing. But I just knew I needed something different to happen. I needed someone… something… to derail me from my current path. Otherwise, I would become lost… a hollowed out shell of a man. So I did it. I approached her, then I pursued her, then I made her mine. And my life was saved…”

Ryan Burnham is the privileged son of a U.S. Congressman and captain of his university’s hockey team. While he is on the verge of fulfilling his dreams to play in the NHL, his parents want him on a different course. One he is expected to accept for the sake of his family’s public image.

Forced her to abandon her music career after the heart breaking death of her parents, Danny Cross exists on the opposite side of the tracks from Ryan. She is struggling to make her own way, working two jobs, attending college part time and volunteering in a homeless shelter. She is on a mission to build her own success.

With a chance meeting, their vastly different worlds collide, causing each to evaluate whether they are truly on the correct path to self-fulfillment and happiness. Can their relationship survive? Particularly when others are against them every step of the way. A lot can happen in just ten short days…

GOODREADS

 

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Tithe (Modern Faerie Tales #1) by Holly Black
Check out my Backlist Readathon Wrap-up for my thoughts on this book.
CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Welcome to the realm of very scary faeries!

Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother’s rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms – a struggle that could very well mean her death.

GOODREADS

★★★★ 4 Stars

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Love from A to Z by SK Ali

Check out my Backlist Readathon Wrap-up for my thoughts on this book.
CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.

An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.

When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.

Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her.

Then her path crosses with Adam’s.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.

Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.

Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

GOODREADS

 

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Borne to be Wilde (The Wildes of Lindlow Castle #3) by Eloisa James

Read my review in my Historical Readathon Wrap Up post.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

The richest bachelor in England plays matchmaker…for an heiress he wants for himself!

For beautiful, witty Lavinia Gray, there’s only one thing worse than having to ask the appalling Parth Sterling to marry her: being turned down by him.

Now the richest bachelor in England, Parth is not about to marry a woman as reckless and fashion-obsessed as Lavinia; he’s chosen a far more suitable bride.

But when he learns of Lavinia’s desperate circumstances, he offers to find her a husband. Even better, he’ll find her a prince.

As usual, there’s no problem Parth can’t fix. But the more time he spends with the beguiling Lavinia, the more he finds himself wondering…

Why does the woman who’s completely wrong feel so right in his arms?

GOODREADS

 

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Scandal in Spring (The Wallflowers #4) by Lisa Kleypas

Read my review in my Historical Readathon Wrap Up post.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

After spending three London seasons searching for a husband, Daisy Bowman’s father has told her in no uncertain terms that she must find a husband. Now. And if Daisy can’t snare an appropriate suitor, she will marry the man he chooses—the ruthless and aloof Matthew Swift.

Daisy is horrified. A Bowman never admits defeat, and she decides to do whatever it takes to marry someone… anyone… other than Matthew. But she doesn’t count on Matthew’s unexpected charm… or the blazing sensuality that soon flares beyond both their control. And Daisy discovers that the man she has always hated just might turn out to be the man of her dreams.

But right at the moment of sweet surrender, a scandalous secret is uncovered… one that could destroy both Matthew and a love more passionate and irresistible than Daisy’s wildest fantasies.

GOODREADS

 

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How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway

Check out my review in my March Wrap Up on my Booktube channel.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Swipe right for love. Swipe left for disaster.

By day, Mel Strickland is an underemployed helpdesk tech at a startup incubator, Hatch, where she helps entitled brogrammers—”Hatchlings”—who can’t even fix their own laptops, but are apparently the next wave of startup geniuses. And by night, she goes on bad dates with misbehaving dudes she’s matched with on the ubiquitous dating app, Fluttr.

But after one dick pic too many, Mel has had it. Using her brilliant coding skills, she designs an app of her own, one that allows users to log harrassers and abusers in online dating space. It’s called JerkAlert, and it goes viral overnight.

Mel is suddenly in way over her head. Worse still, her almost-boyfriend, the dreamy Alex Hernandez—the only non-douchey guy at Hatch—has no idea she’s the brains behind the app. Soon, Mel is faced with a terrible choice: one that could destroy her career, love life, and friendships, or change her life forever.

GOODREADS

 

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Bloom by Kevin Panetta, Illustrated by Savanna Ganucheau

Check out my Backlist Readathon Wrap-up for my thoughts on this book.
CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band—if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom . . . that is, if Ari doesn’t ruin everything.

Writer Kevin Panetta and artist Savanna Ganucheau concoct a delicious recipe of intricately illustrated baking scenes and blushing young love, in which the choices we make can have terrible consequences, but the people who love us can help us grow.

GOODREADS

 

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Scorpio Hates Virgo (Signs of Love #2) by Anyta Sunday

Check out my review in my March Wrap Up on my Booktube channel.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

This year is all about healing the heart, Scorpio. It’s time to leave negative attitudes and stoic facades at the door and let others see the real, more vulnerable you.

Percy Freedman is not grieving. Absolutely not, take that back at once. No, he’s entirely sure that selling his dead aunt’s home and leaving the neighbors he’s known for years is the sane thing to do. Who in their right mind would keep the house that smells like all the hugs he’ll never have again?

Nobody, that’s who.

Well, except his cul-de-sac neighbors. They all seem to think some paint and new furniture will clean the emotional slate. They all want him to stay.

Even his nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Especially his nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Lured into a game of Sherlock Gnomes, Percy finds himself hanging out with his neighbors more than might be considered healthy. Along with juggling new and surprising verbal grenades from Cal, and his burgeoning friendship with Gnomber9, Percy is starting to wonder if selling might have been the grief talking after all . . .

That’s right, Scorpio. With a little patience, heartbreak might be a thing of the past . . .

GOODREADS

 

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The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

Check out my Backlist Readathon Wrap-up for my thoughts on this book.
CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

“Ah, life- the thing that happens to us while we’re off somewhere else blowing on dandelions & wishing ourselves into the pages of our favorite fairy tales.”

A poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. the princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while you serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. Explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations.

GOODREADS

 

 

★★★★★ 5 Stars

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Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women) by Evie Dunmore

Check out my review in my March Wrap Up on my Booktube channel.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

A stunning debut for author Evie Dunmore and her Oxford Rebels, in which a fiercely independent vicar’s daughter takes on a duke in a fiery love story that threatens to upend the British social order.

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….

GOODREADS

 

 

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Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Check out my review in my March Wrap Up on my Booktube channel.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

GOODREADS

 

 

 

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The Silent Waters (Elements #3) by Brittainy C Cherry

Check out my review in my March Wrap Up on my Booktube channel.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Moments.

Our lives are a collection of moments. Some utterly painful and full of yesterday’s hurts. Some beautifully hopeful and full of tomorrow’s promises.

I’ve had many moments in my lifetime, moments that changed me, challenged me. Moments that scared me and engulfed me. However, the biggest ones—the most heartbreaking and breathtaking ones—all included him.

I was ten years old when I lost my voice. A piece of me was stolen away, and the only person who could truly hear my silence was Brooks Griffin. He was the light during my dark days, the promise of tomorrow, until tragedy found him. Tragedy that eventually drowned him in a sea of memories.

This is the story of a boy and girl who loved each other, but didn’t love themselves. A story of life and death. Of love and broken promises.

Of moments.

GOODREADS

 

 

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The Highwayman (Victorian Rebels #1) by Kerrigan Byrne

Check out my review in my March Wrap Up on my Booktube channel.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

They’re rebels, scoundrels, and blackguards—dark, dashing men on the wrong side of the law. But for the women who love them, a hint of danger only makes the heart beat faster…

STEALING BEAUTY
Dorian Blackwell, the Blackheart of Ben More, is a ruthless villain. Scarred and hard-hearted, Dorian is one of London’s wealthiest, most influential men who will stop at nothing to wreak vengeance on those who’ve wronged him…and will fight to the death to seize what he wants. The lovely, still innocent widow Farah Leigh Mackenzie is no exception—and soon Dorian whisks the beautiful lass away to his sanctuary in the wild Highlands…

COURTING DESIRE
But Farah is no one’s puppet. She possesses a powerful secret—one that threatens her very life. When being held captive by Dorian proves to be the only way to keep Farah safe from those who would see her dead, Dorian makes Farah a scandalous proposition: marry him for protection in exchange for using her secret to help him exact revenge on his enemies. But what the Blackheart of Ben More never could have imagined is that Farah has terms of her own, igniting a tempestuous desire that consumes them both. Could it be that the woman he captured is the only one who can touch the black heart he’d long thought dead?

GOODREADS

 

 

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Desperate Measures (Wicked Villains #1) by Katee Robert

Check out my Backlist Readathon Wrap-up for my thoughts on this book.
CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

My Savior… Or My Ruin?

One night, and my entire life went up in flames. All because of him. Jafar. As my world burned down around me, he offered me a choice. Walk away with nothing but my freedom… Or rise to his challenge and win my fortune back.

I bargained.

I lost.

Now Jafar owns me, and even as my mind rails against his rules, my body loves the punishments he deals out when I break them.

But a gilded cage is still a prison, I’ll do anything to obtain my freedom.

Even betray the man I’m falling for.

GOODREADS

 

 

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That’s Not a Thing by Jacqueline Friedland

Check out my review in my March Wrap Up on my Booktube channel.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Meredith Altman’s engagement to Wesley Latner ended in spectacular disaster—one that shattered her completely. Years have passed since then, and now she’s about to marry Aaron Rapp, a former Ivy League football player and baby-saving doctor. As they celebrate their engagement at a new TriBeCa hotspot, Meredith is stunned to find the restaurant owner is none other than Wesley, the man she is still secretly trying to forget.

When Meredith learns that Wesley has been diagnosed with ALS, her feelings about their past become all the more confusing. As she spends more time with Wesley and is pulled further under his spell, she discovers what kind of man her new fiancé really is—and what kind of woman she wants to be.

GOODREADS

 

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Undercover Bromance (The Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams

Read my review here.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction.

Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.

Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club.

Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assist Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even while she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.

GOODREADS

 

 

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The Reed Rivers Trilogy by Lauren Rowe

Check out my review in my March Wrap Up on my Booktube channel.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Swallowing lies has never felt so good.

Reed freaking Rivers. I wouldn’t trust a word out of the arrogant music mogul’s mouth if his gold-plated tongue were notarized. The Man with the Midas Touch would say anything to get me into his bed, and I know it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want him to succeed.
Indeed, the moment I laid eyes on Reed while he was speaking at an on-campus event I’d crashed, my body physically ached to feel his golden fingers—and tongue—all over me. Unfortunately, though, I can’t give into my powerful craving to jump Reed’s cocky bones. Not until I’ve figured out my best strategy with him . . .
The truth is Reed has something I desperately want. Something my heart desires even more than my body craves one night of delicious fun with the yummiest man alive. Reed assumes he’s running this game of seduction. He thinks he’s a thirty-four-year-old big cat on the prowl, and I’m nothing but a blushing twenty-one-year old field mouse with stars in my eyes.
Yeah . . . no.
As Reed is about to find out, he’s not the only cat on the hunt in this game of cat-and-mouse . . . .

BAD LIAR is the first book of the standalone REED RIVERS TRILOGY. The full trilogy is BAD LIAR, BEAUTIFUL LIAR, and BELOVED LIAR, to be read in order.

GOODREADS

 

 

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Truth or Beard (The Winston Brothers #1) by Penny Reid

Check out my review in my March Wrap Up on my Booktube channel.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Beards, brothers, and bikers! Oh my!

Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James, recent college graduate and perpetual level-headed good girl, has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life.

His friendly smiles make her tongue-tied and weak-kneed, and she’s never been able to move beyond her childhood crush. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her…

But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks. Not helping Jessica’s muddled mind and good girl sensibilities, Duane seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the local biker gang, the Iron Order.

Certainly, Beau’s magic spell is broken. Yet when Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, now more dangerous than ever, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk?

GOODREADS

Historical Readathon Wrap Up

The Historical Romance Readathon wrapped up on Sunday and I’m really glad I participated. First of all, it was hosted by some of my BookTube favs: RemarkablyLisa, PeaceLoveBooks, and LaceyBookLovers. They did such a great job hosting.

As I mentioned in my TBR for this challenge, I’m not a big historical romance reader. My sister and my mom are huge HR readers, but for whatever reason – probably because of the book covers to be completely honest – I’ve never gotten into the genre.

However, I’ve been intrigued by a lot of the books thanks to these booktubers. So, I decided to participate.

The books I chose were books that my sister and mom gave to me, as well as one recommended by Lacey.

Overall, this was a successful readathon. I read five books during the week, but I didn’t have any five-star books.

I have certainly read a few five-star historicals, but I just didn’t vibe completely with the books I read during the readathon.

I haven’t given up on the genre, if anything, I’m more motivated to find some that I love, but these were all just ok or pretty good.

 

Here’s what I read for the Historical Romance Readathon

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Sins of a Duke (Scandalous House of Calydon #3) by Stacy Reid

Bingo Categories: Titled Hero, In a Series, Pub after 2000, Rake, By an Author of Color
Rating: ★★★
I really loved the first book I read by Stacy Reid, My Darling Duke, and I’m not going to give up on this author just yet.

I really enjoyed the premise of this book, which is about a Lady who has been shamed in society because of her mother’s indiscretions and a rakish Duke who is secretly responsible for starting the rumor about her to exact revenge on her brother.

I felt like this had a lot of potential, but I ended up getting a little annoyed with the heroine. The Duke was kind of a jerk to her – very hot and cold – throughout the entire book and she just kept chasing after him. She wasn’t necessarily needy, but I still felt like she needed to hang on to some form of her dignity. I just didn’t see why she was putting up with him.

That really was the only complaint I had against this one, otherwise I enjoyed it. It’s a short book and the length felt just right – nothing dragged on for too long and it didn’t feel rushed either.

 

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Scandal in Spring (Wallflowers #4) by Lisa Kleypas

Bingo Categories: Pub before 2000, In a Series, Wallfower
Rating: ★★★★

This was my first Lisa Kleypas, and it won’t be my last. Lacey LOVES this author, so I looked on Scribd and found this one. It was available and the shortest one I could find – and I also really liked the premise.

It’s about somewhat flighty Daisy whose businessman father is demanding she marry ASAP, otherwise he is making her marry one of his favorite ruthless employees, Matthew. Matthew is very business-savvy and seemingly just like Daisy’s father (which isn’t a good thing), so Daisy has no interest in marrying him. However, people aren’t always what they seem and sometimes chemistry is hard to deny.

I can already tell from this book that I love Lisa Kleypas and I’m going to enjoy other books in this series. I really liked the side characters in this novel, and I can tell that Daisy’s sister likely had a novel before this one that I really want to read because I loved her sister and her sister’s husband.

There were quite a few really entertaining scenes in this and I felt like Daisy and Matthew had great chemistry and banter. I subtracted a star only because the story dragged a bit. I felt like there was a lot of unnecessary drama toward the end that I could’ve done without.

 

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Silent Melody (Georgian #2) by Mary Balogh

Bingo Categories: Titled Hero, Pub Before 2000, In a Series,
Rating: ★★★

I was most excited for this book out of all of the books I chose for this readathon. My mom really likes this author and I really liked the premise.

It’s about Lady Emily who is mute and deaf, she’s also wild and free and an artist. Growing up she would follow around family friend Lord Ashley until he moved to India. Ashley and Emily had a strong connection, they could read each other really well and had their own way of communicating, so when he left, Emily took quite a blow. Fast forward and Emily is no longer a child, she’s a beautiful Lady in society about to get betrothed and Ashley returns, married and with a child.

This book had so much potential, but it rubbed me the wrong way from the very beginning. I was fine with the relationship Ashley and Emily had when she was a child, until Ashley – a grown man – kisses 13 year old Emily in a very adult way when he leaves. I get that this takes place in a different time period, but it totally skeeved me out. The story would’ve worked just fine without that. Their connection was completely innocent before it happened, and to me, that totally ruined it.

I liked the book well enough, but I could give or take Lord Ashley. I didn’t really like his character.

 

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Born to Be Wilde (The Wildes of Lindow Castle #3) by Eloisa James

Bingo Categories: Pub before 2000, In a series, Set outside of London, POC MC
Rating: ★★★★

Lacey recommended this book for the POC MC category, and I thought that the premise sounded promising.

It’s about Lavinia who, under desperate circumstances, proposes to her long-time friendly rival, Parth… and gets rejected. Instead, he offers to find her someone to marry, even though he is harboring some serious feelings for her.

This definitely lived up to my expectations based on the synopsis. There was just the right amount of drama, there was great chemistry between the characters, and I just loved Parth. I’m a big fan of the hero who “loves from a distance” aspect and I totally understood why he initially turned down her offer to marry. I also liked the history these two characters had with each other.

 

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Dancing at Midnight (The Splendid Trilogy #2) by Julia Quinn

Bingo Categories: Scarred hero, Bookish MC, Published before 2000, In a series
Rating: ★★★

This was a bit of a disappointment. I was totally here for the bookish, smart main character and a grumpy wounded war hero thing, but … I just felt like it wasn’t done well. Or, at least, it could’ve been done much better.

I was hoping for more of a brooding hero and more of a witty main character, but both of them fell pretty flat. The entire book kind of felt forced somehow. To be completely honest, I kind of immediately forgot about this one as soon as I finished it.

 

February 2020 Wrap Up

FEBRUARY STATS
  • 18 Books total
  • 1 Re-reads
  • 0 two-star book
  • 1 three-star book
  • 5 four-star book
  • 11 five-star books
  • 16 audiobooks
  • 0 hard copy
  • 2 eBook
  • 3 currently reading
  • 1 readathons
REREADS

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The Best Thing by Mariana Zapata

Audiobook purchased from Audible

I read the ebook for this when it came out and the audiobook was released in Feb., so I gave it a listen.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Some things are easily forgiven. Other things… not so much.

Lenny DeMaio made herself a promise: she was done.

Done thinking about him.

Done worrying about him.

Done reaching out to a man who clearly didn’t want to be found.

Too bad no one gave Jonah Collins the memo.

GOODREADS

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★★★ 3 Stars

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Saving Angel (Divisa #1) by JL Weil

Audiobook available on Audible Escape

This book was Twilight, but with demons.

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With millions of pages read in the series and thousands of copies sold, Saving Angel will transport fans of Twilight, The Mortal Instruments, and Divergent to a world unlike any other… Now includes bonus novella Losing Emma!

I couldn’t help but wonder what my life would be like if we had never moved to the ho-dunk town of Spring Valley, Illinois. Sure the internet service is splotchy, there is nothing but miles of wheat fields, and I probably wouldn’t be faced with death at every corner.

My only neighbor in this god forsaken town is…well, there really is only one to describe him—hot as hell. With his sinful dark looks, unusually silver eyes, and kissable lips, there is something about Chase Winters that is more than meets the eye.

Of course I am determined to find out.

Chase might be drool-worthy, but he is also insufferable, arrogant and…in short a d-bag. Our relationship is anything but love at first sight. Not even close. There is something weird about the family living next door.

What I hadn’t expected to find is an underworld of trouble.

Chase and his cousins Lexi and Travis are Divisa—half-demon, half-human. Getting them angry is hardly in my best interest, not if I want to live.

As it turns out, that might be the least of my problems. I’ve been tagged by Hell.

Now every ugly, nasty being from hades is on my trail. I have suddenly became a magnet for demon disaster, and the only way I am getting out of this alive is by putting my life in the demon spawn’s hands.

One wrong decision and my butt is toast.

Buy now to find out if Angel survives…

GOODREADS

 

★★★★ 4 Stars

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The Infatuation (The Josh and Kat Trilogy #1) by Lauren Rowe

Audiobook available on Audible Escape

This book wasn’t anything earth shattering, but it was nice being back with the Morgan family and reading Lauren Rowe.

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It’s a war of wills between stubborn and sexy Josh Faraday and Kat Morgan. A fight to the bed. Arrogant, wealthy playboy Josh is used to getting what he wants. And what he wants is Kat Morgan.

The minute Josh Faraday meets feisty, vivacious Kat Morgan, he wants her. Not for a relationship, of course. He doesn’t do those. He wants her in his bed. But, to his shock and extreme frustration, Kat won’t play by Josh’s rules like all the others. No, this stubborn woman declares she won’t so much as kiss Josh until he divulges some highly personal information . . . But it’s something Josh has never told anyone, and won’t be telling Kat. Not over his dead body, no matter how gorgeous and sexy she is.

But the chemistry between the pair is explosive, scorching hot electricity like nothing he’s felt before. Oh, God, he’s got to get a taste. He figures all he has to do is wear the sexy woman down with is patented “playboy razzle dazzle”—show her the hotness she’s missing out on and she’ll cave, like all the rest . . . The only problem with that strategy? It’s Kat’s strategy, too: she plans to wear Josh down and get what she wants by showing him the hotness he’s missing out on.

It’s a war of wills. A match to the bed. Who will crack first? And when they do, will either of their hearts be on the line?

INFATUATION is first book of the JOSH AND KAT TRILOGY. The next two books are REVELATION and CONSUMMATION, to be read in order.

GOODREADS

 

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Raze (Scarred Souls #1) by Tillie Cole

Audiobook available on Audible Escape

This book was overly intense.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

To take back life, one must first face death…

One man stripped of his freedom, his morals…his life.

Conditioned in captivity to maim, to kill and to slaughter, prisoner 818 becomes an unremorseful, unrivaled and unstoppable fighter in the ring. Violence is all he knows. Death and brutality are the masters of his fate.

After years of incarceration in an underground hell, only one thought occupies his mind: revenge…bloody, slow and violent revenge.

Revenge on the man who lied.

Revenge on the man who wronged him.

Revenge on the man who condemned him and turned him into this: a rage-fueled killing machine. A monster void of humanity; a monster filled with hate.

And no one will stand in the way of getting what he wants.

One woman stripped of her freedom, her morals…her life.

Kisa Volkova is the only daughter of Kirill ‘The Silencer’ Volkov, head of the infamous ‘Triad’ bosses of New York’s Russian Bratva. Her life is protected. In reality, it’s a virtual prison. Her father’s savage treatment of his rivals and his lucrative and coveted underground gambling ring—The Dungeon—ensures too many enemies lurk at their door.

She dreams to be set free.

Kisa has known only cruelty and loss in her short life. As manager of her father’s death match enterprise, only grief and pain fill her days. Her mafia boss father, in her world, rules absolute. And her fiancé, Alik Durov, is no better; the Dungeon’s five-time champion, a stone-cold killer, the treasured son of her father’s best friend, and her very own—and much resented—personal guard. Unrivaled in both strength and social standing, Alik controls every facet of Kisa’s life, dominates her every move; keeps her subdued and dead inside…then one night changes everything.

While working for her church—the only reprieve in her constant surveillance—Kisa stumbles across a tattooed, scarred, but stunningly beautiful homeless man on the streets. Something about him stirs feelings deep within her; familiar yet impossibly forbidden desires. He doesn’t talk. Doesn’t communicate with anyone. He’s a man beyond saving, and a man she must quickly forget…for both their sakes.

But when weeks later, out of the blue and to her complete surprise, he’s announced as the replacement fighter in The Dungeon, Kisa knows she’s in a whole lot of trouble. He’s built, ripped and lethally unforgiving to his opponents, leaving fear in his wake and the look of death in his eyes.

Kisa becomes obsessed with him. Yearns for him. Craves his touch. Needs to possess this mysterious man…this man they call Raze.

GOODREADS

 

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Thirty Day Boyfriend by Whitney G.

Audiobook available on Audible Escape

This was so good for such a short book!

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GOODREADS

 

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Disgrace by Brittainy C Cherry

Audiobook available on Audible Escape
Not my favorite by this author, but still really good.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Each day I prayed for my husband to love me again.

After fifteen years together, he walked away from me, and into the arms of another.

I didn’t know how to cope. I didn’t know my worth. I didn’t know how to exist without him by my side.

All I wanted was for him to come back to me.

Then, Jackson Emery appeared.

He was supposed to be a distraction for my mind. A summer fling. A confidence boost to my bruised heart.

We were perfect for one another, because we both knew we wouldn’t last. Jackson didn’t believe in commitment, and I no longer believed in love. He was too closed-off for me, and I was too damaged for him.

Everything was fine, until one night my heart skipped a beat.

I didn’t expect him to make me laugh. To make me think. To make my sadness somewhat disappear.

When our time was up, my heart didn’t know how to walk away.

Each day I prayed for my husband to love me again, yet slowly my prayers began to shift toward the man who wasn’t right for me.

I prayed for one more smile, one more kiss, one more laugh, one more touch…

I prayed for him to be mine.

Even though I knew his heart wasn’t destined to love.

GOODREADS

 

★★★★★ 5 Stars

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War (The Four Horseman #2) by Laura Thalassa

I liked this as much as the first in the series and was surprised by how different it was.

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They came to earth—Pestilence, War, Famine, Death—four horsemen riding their screaming steeds, racing to the corners of the world. Four horsemen with the power to destroy all of humanity. They came to earth, and they came to end us all.

The day Jerusalem falls, Miriam Elmahdy knows her life is over. Houses are burning, the streets run red with blood, and a traitorous army is massacring every last resident. There is no surviving this, especially not once Miriam catches the eye of War himself. But when the massive and terrifying horseman corners Miriam, he calls her his wife, and instead of killing her, he takes her back to his camp.

Now Miriam faces a terrifying future, one where she watches her world burn town by town, and the one man responsible for it all is her seemingly indestructible “husband”. But there’s another side to him, one that’s gentle and loving and dead set on winning her over, and she might not be strong enough to resist.

However, if there’s one thing Miriam has learned, it’s that love and war cannot coexist. And so she must make the ultimate choice: surrender to War and watch humankind fall, or sacrifice everything and stop him.

GOODREADS

 

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Get a Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Loved the chronic illness rep and Talia Hibbert writes the best steamy scenes.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

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 glamorous 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.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

GOODREADS

 

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Passion on Park Avenue (Central Park Pact #1) by Lauren Layne

This was very refreshing, my second fav Lauren Layne after Blurred Lines.

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For as long as she can remember, Bronx-born Naomi Powell has had one goal: to prove her worth among the Upper East Side elite—the same people for which her mom worked as a housekeeper. Now, as the strongminded, sassy CEO of one of the biggest jewelry empires in the country, Naomi finally has exactly what she wants—but it’s going to take more than just the right address to make Manhattan’s upper class stop treating her like an outsider.

The worst offender is her new neighbor, Oliver Cunningham—the grown son of the very family Naomi’s mother used to work for. Oliver used to torment Naomi when they were children, and as a ridiculously attractive adult, he’s tormenting her in entirely different ways. Now they find themselves engaged in a battle-of-wills that will either consume or destroy them…

Filled with charm and heart and plenty of sex and snark, this entertaining series will hook you from the very first page.

GOODREADS

 

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The Bromance Book Club (The Bromance Book Club #1) by Lyssa Kay Adams

This book lived up to its premise.

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The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, 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 saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

GOODREADS

 

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Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

I’m FINALLY reading this series… and loving it!

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The first book in the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer! See where the futuristic YA fairytale saga all began, with the tale of a teenage cyborg who must fight for Earth’s survival against villains from outer space.

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

With high-stakes action and a smart, resourceful heroine, Cinder is a Cinderella retelling that is at once classic and strikingly original.

GOODREADS

 

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Fix Her Up (Hot and Hammered #1) by Tessa Bailey

I got so many Lucy from The Hating Game vibes from this!

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Georgette Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town, but she picked balloons instead of blueprints and they haven’t taken her seriously since. Frankly, she’s over it. Georgie loves planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh, just not at her own expense. She’s determined to fix herself up into a Woman of the World… whatever that means.

Phase one: new framework for her business (a website from this decade, perhaps?)

Phase two: a gut-reno on her wardrobe (fyi, leggings are pants.)

Phase three: updates to her exterior (do people still wax?)

Phase four: put herself on the market (and stop crushing on Travis Ford!)

Living her best life means facing the truth: Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, ever. Nobody’s asking the town clown out for a night of hot sex, that’s for sure. Maybe if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who paints faces for a living. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and tabloid favorite?

Travis Ford was major league baseball’s hottest rookie when an injury ended his career. Now he’s flipping houses to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. But he can’t even cross the street without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there’s Georgie, his best friend’s sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she proposes a wild scheme—that they pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job—he agrees. What’s the harm? It’s not like it’s real. But the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there’s nothing fake about how much he wants her…

GOODREADS

 

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One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Audiobook available on Audible Escape

This freaking book was SO good! It’s everything love triangles should be.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

GOODREADS

 

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Leo Loves Aries (Signs of Love #1) by Anyta Sunday

Audiobook available on Audible Escape

THIS BOOK WAS SO FREAKING ADORABLE AND SWOONY I CAN’T EVEN!

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A new person will enter your life in the early year, Leo. Look past any moments of frustration they might bring and laugh—this could be the start of a thriving friendship.

Theo Wallace usually laughs at the horoscopes his mom sends. Still hung up on his ex-girlfriend and practically friendless, this one begs him to reconsider. Because a friendship that stuck, that thrived…

Well, that would be a reason to leave past pains behind and look to the Bright Future.

When his sister Leone challenges him to find her the perfect date for a spring wedding, Theo uses it as a chance to make new friends. Theo’s ex economics tutor and newest roommate Mr Jamie Cooper seems to be a possible and convenient match. Real convenient. Like written in the stars, convenient.

All he has to do is make sure this Jamie is good enough. Could really be the one for her, and the friend for him.

But watch out, Leo, the stars have a surprise in store…

GOODREADS

 

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A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti

This one hurt a bit.

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When everything has been taken from you, what else is there to do but run?

So that’s what Annabelle does—she runs from Seattle to Washington, DC, through mountain passes and suburban landscapes, from long lonely roads to college towns. She’s not ready to think about the why yet, just the how—muscles burning, heart pumping, feet pounding the earth. But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t outrun the tragedy from the past year, or the person—The Taker—that haunts her.

Followed by Grandpa Ed in his RV and backed by her brother and two friends (her self-appointed publicity team), Annabelle becomes a reluctant activist as people connect her journey to the trauma from her past. Her cross-country run gains media attention and she is cheered on as she crosses state borders, and is even thrown a block party and given gifts. The support would be nice, if Annabelle could escape the guilt and the shame from what happened back home. They say it isn’t her fault, but she can’t feel the truth of that.

Through welcome and unwelcome distractions, she just keeps running, to the destination that awaits her. There, she’ll finally face what lies behind her—the miles and love and loss…and what is to come.

GOODREADS

 

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Credence by Penelope Douglas

This could’ve been an, “Oh, hell no,” but it was a HELL YES!

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Tiernan de Haas doesn’t care about anything anymore. The only child of a film producer and his starlet wife, she’s grown up with wealth and privilege but not love or guidance. Shipped off to boarding schools from an early age, it was still impossible to escape the loneliness and carve out a life of her own. The shadow of her parents’ fame followed her everywhere.

And when they suddenly pass away, she knows she should be devastated. But has anything really changed? She’s always been alone, hasn’t she?

Jake Van der Berg, her father’s stepbrother and her only living relative, assumes guardianship of Tiernan who is still two months shy of eighteen. Sent to live with him and his two sons, Noah and Kaleb, in the mountains of Colorado, Tiernan soon learns that these men now have a say in what she chooses to care and not care about anymore. As the three of them take her under their wing, teach her to work and survive in the remote woods far away from the rest of the world, she slowly finds her place among them.

And as a part of them.

She also realizes that lines blur and rules become easy to break when no one else is watching.

One of them has her.

The other one wants her.

But he…

He’s going to keep her.

GOODREADS

 

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Behind the Bars (Music Street #1) by Brittainy C Cherry

Audiobook available on Audible Escape

My favorite read of the month and my favorite Brittainy C Cherry book so far this year!

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When I first met Jasmine Greene, she came in as raindrops.

I was the awkward musician, and she was the high school queen.
The only things we had in common were our music and our loneliness.

Something in her eyes told me her smile wasn’t always the truth.
Something in her voice gave me a hope I always wished to find.
And in a flash, she was gone.

Years later, she was standing in front of me on a street in New Orleans.
She was different, but so was I. Life made us colder. Harder. Isolated.

Caged.

Even though we were different, the broken pieces of me recognized the sadness in her.
Now she was back, and I wouldn’t make the mistake of letting her go again.

When I first met Jasmine Greene, she came in as raindrops.
When we met again, I became her darkest storm.

GOODREADS

 

January 2020 Wrap Up

JANUARY STATS
  • 21 Books total
  • 8 Re-reads
  • 0 two-star book
  • 2 three-star book
  • 4 four-star book
  • 7 five-star books
  • 18 audiobooks
  • 3 hard copy
  • 0 eBook
  • 0 currently reading
  • 2 readathons

 

 

REREADS

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Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3) by Richelle Mead

Audiobook purchased from Audible

My niece was reading this series for the first time and I decided to join her and reread them! I forgot how much I loved this series 🙂

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

WHAT IF FOLLOWING HER HEART MEANS ROSE COULD LOSE HER BEST FRIEND FOREVER?

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a Dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

Rose knows it is forbidden to love another guardian. Her best friend, Lissa – the last Dragomir princess – must always come first. Unfortunately, when it comes to gorgeous Dimitri Belikov, some rules are meant to be broken…

Then a strange darkness begins to grow in Rose’s mind, and ghostly shadows warn of a terrible evil drawing nearer to the Academy’s iron gates. The immortal undead are closing in, and they want vengeance for the lives Rose has stolen. In a heart-stopping battle to rival her worst nightmares, Rose will have to choose between life, love, and the two people who matter most… but will her choice mean that only one can survive?

GOODREADS

  

 

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Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #4) by Richelle Mead

Audiobook purchased from Audible

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri’s birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s—and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can’t wait for their real lives beyond the Academy’s iron gates to begin. But Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he’s out there, somewhere.

GOODREADS

  

 

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A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers #1) by Brigid Kemmerer

Audiobook purchased from Audible

This was the first time this book was (FINALLY) available on audio and after reading the newest book in the series, I definitely wanted to go back and reread this one.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Fall in love, break the curse.

Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

GOODREADS

  

 

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Keepsake (True North #3) by Sarina Bowen

Audiobook available on Audible Escape

I talked about this book in a video I recorded and it made me want to reread it!

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

There’s a first time for everything.

Lark Wainwright used to be fearless. Her life was a series of adventures, each one more exhilarating than the last. But her recent overseas adventure was one too many. Now she’s home and in one piece. Mostly. But her nights are filled with terror.

When her best friend offers her a stay at the orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps at the chance to spend fall in Vermont. But her nightmares don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of the Shipley Farm to soothe her when her dreams prove too much.

Zachariah is a survivor, too. It’s been four years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult where he grew up. He’s found a peaceful existence on the Shipley’s farm, picking apples and fixing machinery. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. He doesn’t always know what to make of a world where movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV or spoken on the phone.

Actually, there are a lot of things he’s never done.

Zach and Lark slowly grow to trust one another. One night they become even closer than they’d planned. But Lark may still be too broken to trust anyone. When she pushes Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he’s good for much more than farm labor.

GOODREADS

  

 

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Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan

Audiobook available on Audible Escape

After reading Keepsake, I wanted to read this one. Gotta love those virginal heroes!

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

When Bree Prescott arrives in the sleepy, lakeside town of Pelion, Maine, she hopes against hope that this is the place where she will finally find the peace she so desperately seeks. On her first day there, her life collides with Archer Hale, an isolated man who holds a secret agony of his own. A man no one else sees.

Archer’s Voice is the story of a woman chained to the memory of one horrifying night and the man whose love is the key to her freedom. It is the story of a silent man who lives with an excruciating wound and the woman who helps him find his voice. It is the story of suffering, fate, and the transformative power of love.

GOODREADS

 

 

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Series by Jenny Han

Audiobook available on Audible Escape

I read this series for the Lunar New Year Weekend Readathon also in preparation for the release of the second movie based on the second book, PS I Still Love You. I so enjoyed coming back to Lara Jean’s world! #TeamJohnAmbrose

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New York Times bestselling author Jenny Han’s beloved novels are now available together for the first time in this delightful hardcover boxed set!

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

GOODREADS

 

 

★★★ 3 Stars

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My Best Friend’s Ex (Binghamton #2) by Meghan Quinn

Audiobook available on Audible Escape & Kindle Unlimited

I read this book for Smutathon. It was my Forbidden Romance pick. I DNF’d the first book in this series, so I didn’t have high hopes for this one … and it lived up to my expectations.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

When I found an eviction notice taped on my apartment door, I had two options: find a comfortable cardboard box to call home, or move in with Tucker Jameson.

Seeing that cardboard makes me feel itchy, I chose the latter. Which shouldn’t be that big of a deal since Tucker is one of my good friends. And because he’s still pining after his ex-girlfriend and I’m trying to finish my nursing degree, there is nothing to worry about in the romance department, making my last semester an easy one to conquer.

Boy, was I wrong.

Rules are set, dinners are made, conversations are had, and a shirtless, swoony roommate walks around in nothing but a pair of black briefs, ruining me for every other man.

Before I know it, I turn into a panting, lust-filled woman begging for Tucker to kiss me, touch me, and show me exactly what is hiding under those briefs.

But with great orgasms, comes great consequences.

Tucker might be my friend and roommate but he’s also my best friend’s ex-boyfriend, making him completely off-limits. At least that’s what my brain is telling me, my heart is speaking an entirely different language.

GOODREADS

 

 

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Water Bound (Sea Haven/Sisters of the Heart #1) by Christine Freehan

Audiobook available on Audible Escape

This book read like a mass market paperback. I think if I was still in my Black Dagger Brotherhood phase, I would’ve liked this more, but it was a little too cheesy for me.

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On the shores of Sea Haven, six women touched by great loss have come together in a sisterhood strengthened by the elements—a bond each will need as new love and danger enter their lives…

The last thing Lev Prakenskii remembers is being lost in the swirling currents of the ocean. Just as quickly, he is saved—pulled ashore by a beautiful stranger. But Lev has no memory of who he was—or why he seems to possess the violent instincts of a trained killer. All he knows is that he fears for his life, and the life of his unexpected savior.

Rikki has always felt an affinity for the ocean and the relentless flow of the tides. Now, she can’t deny the seductive pull of the enigmatic man she rescued. But soon they will be bound by something even stronger: the tantalizing secrets that threaten to engulf them both in a whirlpool of dizzying passion and inescapable danger

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★★★★ 4 Stars

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Easy Virtue (Virtue #1) by Mia Asher

Audiobook Available on Audible Escape & Kindle Unlimited

This was my Out of My Comfort Zone choice for Smutathon and it was surprisingly good despite its taboo subject and cliff hanger ending.

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Love is selfish…

My name is Blaire.
I’m the bad girl.
The other woman.
The one who never gets the guy in the end.

I’m the gold digger.
The bitch.
The one no one roots for.
The one you love to hate.

I hate myself too…

Everyone has a story. Are you ready for mine?

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Let’s Get Textual by Teagan Hunter

Audiobook Available on Audible Escape & Kindle Unlimited

This was my Recommended to You choice for Smutathon. I really liked the premise of this one and it was done well.

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A wrong number is supposed to be just that—a wrong number.

Delete. Done.

Do not continue to text. Do not flirt.

A wrong number shouldn’t be the first person on your mind in the morning, or the last at night…and you’re definitely not supposed to talk them into buying a baby goat.

Because that would be weird.

When Zach Hastings and I get into a wrong-number mix-up, we don’t follow the rules. We keep texting and flirting, because he’s wicked funny and perfectly nerdy and a wonderful distraction.

I’m not looking for love, and Zach definitely had the wrong number.

But maybe…

Maybe he’s the right guy.

GOODREADS

  

 

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Roar (Stormheart #1) by Cora Carmack

Hard copy purchased from the author at Shameless

I was plesantly surprised by this contemporary romance author’s very first YA Fantasy!

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In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

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★★★★★ 5 Stars

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The Gravity of Us (Elements #4) by Brittainy C. Cherry

Audiobook available on Audible Escape & Kindle Unlimited

I read this book for Smutathon. It was my Enemies to Lovers pick. This was also my first book by this author and I absolutely fell in love! I want to read everything she wrote!

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Graham Russell and I weren’t made for one another.

I was driven by emotion; he was apathetic. I dreamed while he lived in nightmares. I cried when he had no tears to shed.

Despite his frozen heart and my readiness to run, we sometimes shared seconds. Seconds when our eyes locked and we saw each other’s secrets. Seconds when his lips tasted my fears, and I breathed in his pains. Seconds when we both imagined what it would be like to love one another.

Those seconds left us floating, but when reality knocked us sideways, gravity forced us to descend.

Graham Russell wasn’t a man who knew how to love, and I wasn’t a woman who knew how to either. Yet if I had the chance to fall again, I’d fall with him forever.

Even if we were destined to crash against solid ground.

GOODREADS

 

 

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A Heart So Fierce and Broke (Cursebreakers #2) by Brigid Kemmerer

Hard copy purchased from Barnes & Noble

This was my most anticipated read for 2020 and it was everything I hoped it would be.

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Find the heir, win the crown.

The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom.

Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places.

GOODREADS

 

 

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Eleanor & Grey by Brittainy C. Cherry

Audiobook Available on Audible Escape & Kindle Unlimited

This is the beginning of my attempt to read Brittainy C. Cherry’s backlist. I really, really liked this one, too!

CLICK FOR SYNOPSIS

Greyson East left his mark on me.

As the young girl who first fell for him, I didn’t know much about life. I did know about his smiles, though, and his laughs, and the strange way my stomach flipped when he was near.

Life was perfect…until it wasn’t, and when we were forced to go our separate ways, I held on to our memories, let go of my first crush, and wished for the day I’d find him again.

When my wish came true, it was nothing like I imagined.

I couldn’t have known when I took the nanny position that it would be his children I looked after, that my new boss would be that boy I used to know, that boy who was now a man—a cold, lonely, detached man.

The smile and laugh I had loved so much were gone, now distant memories. Every part of him was covered in a fresh pain.

When he realized who I was, he made me promise to do my job and my job only.
He made me promise not to try to get to know him, not to recall the memories I’d treasured all this time.

But, sometimes, I saw the boy I’d once known in his stormy eyes. I saw the Greyson who smiled and laughed, who had stolen a young girl’s heart, and there was no doubt in my mind that this boy was worth fighting for.

I was given a second chance with the one who’d left his mark on me. All I hoped was that somehow I’d leave a mark on his soul, too.

GOODREADS

 

 

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Pestilence (The Four Horseman #1) by Laura Thalassa

Audiobook purchased from Audible, Available on Kindle Unlimited

I read this because Jessica from PeaceLoveBooks always gushes about this series. And she was so right! This is such a unique romance.

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They came to earth—Pestilence, War, Famine, Death—four horsemen riding their screaming steeds, racing to the corners of the world. Four horsemen with the power to destroy all of humanity. They came to earth, and they came to end us all.

When Pestilence comes for Sara Burn’s town, one thing is certain: everyone she knows and loves is marked for death. Unless, of course, the angelic-looking horseman is stopped, which is exactly what Sara has in mind when she shoots the unholy beast off his steed.

Too bad no one told her Pestilence can’t be killed.

Now the horseman, very much alive and very pissed off, has taken her prisoner, and he’s eager to make her suffer. Only, the longer she’s with him, the more uncertain she is about his true feelings towards her … and hers towards him.

And now, well, Sara might still be able to save the world, but in order to do so, she’ll have to sacrifice her heart in the process.

GOODREADS

 

 

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Rage (Stormheart #2) by Cora Carmack

Audiobook available on Audible Escape

This book was a lot more fast-paced than the first book and I really, really liked it.

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Princess or adventurer.

Duty or freedom.

Her Kingdom or the Stormhunter she loves.

If Aurora knows anything, it’s that choices have consequences. To set things right, she joins a growing revolution on the streets of Pavan.

In disguise as the rebel Roar, she puts her knowledge of the palace to use to aid the rebellion. But the Rage season is at its peak and not a day passes without the skies raining down destruction. Yet these storms are different—they churn with darkness, and attack with a will that’s desperate and violent.

This feels like more than rage.

It feels like war.

GOODREADS

 

 

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A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

Physical book purchased from Books a Million

I fell so hard for this book for so many reasons. The anxiety rep was one of the best I’ve read.

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A girl who can’t speak and a boy who can’t hear go on a journey of self-discovery and find support with each other in this gripping, emotionally resonant novel from bestselling author Sara Barnard. Perfect for fans of Morgan Matson and Jandy Nelson.

Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life. The condition’s name has always felt ironic to her, because she certainly does not “select” not to speak. In fact, she would give anything to be able to speak as easily and often as everyone around her can. She suffers from crippling anxiety, and uncontrollably, in most situations simply can’t open her mouth to get out the words.

Steffi’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to help him acclimate. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk. As they find ways to communicate, Steffi discovers that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it. But as she starts to overcome a lifelong challenge, she’ll soon confront questions about the nature of her own identity and the very essence of what it is to know another person.

GOODREADS

 

 

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My Darling Duke (Sinful Wallflowers #1) by Stacy Reid

Audiobook from Scribd

I haven’t read a historical romance in such a long time, but I was drawn to the premise and it so delivered.

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Miss Katherine Danvers is a desperate wallflower. Her family is on the brink of financial ruin, and it is up her to save her mother and sisters from a life of indignities. So she transforms herself into the incomparable Kitty Danvers, the fiancée of the enigmatic and reclusive Alexander Masters, Duke of Thornton—once dubbed the mad, bad, and dangerous catch of the Season.

Ten years ago, society and the woman Alexander Masters loved called him a monster, after a tragic accident left him scarred and confined to a wheelchair. His heart exists in cold, lonely exile, until he learns he has a fiancée—a deceptive, clever, and utterly intriguing woman he’s never met. Miss Danvers will now learn the consequences of engaging herself to the beast, for Alexander is determined to make her his. Soon, they are involved in a chase, a clash of wills, and though he once vowed to never love again, he burns for the enchanting Miss Danvers. And denying his heart may cost him an exquisite love that happens only once in a lifetime.

GOODREADS