5-stars

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Title: Xeni

Author: Rebekah Weatherspoon

Series: (Loose Ends #2)

Format: Audiobook

GOODREADS


♡ Marriage of convenience
♡ Scottish hero
♡ Friends-to-Lovers
♡ Can be read as standalone
♡ Interracial Romance
♡ Bisexual main characters
♡ Black author
♡ 🥕

Review

This was on my list of books that I wanted to read by the end of the year. I read Rafe a few months ago and only thought it was ok, but this? This book was SO good. It’s my favorite by Rebekah Weatherspoon so far.

In order for Xeni to claim her inheritance, she has to marry Mason, who she has just met at the funeral. This book was all things marriage of convenience to friends to lovers deliciousness with a big teddy bear of a Scottish hero. The chemistry between these two was on fire. I loved Xeni and Mason and most importantly, I loved them together.


Representation

Characters: Black heroine
Author: Black Author


Trigger Warnings

Because of potential spoilers, trigger warnings are listed in white. Please highlight to see the list of trigger warnings.
Death of a loved one, family drama


Audiobook Performance: 4 stars

4-stars


Butterfly Rating: 4 Stars

4-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Yes


Bookshelf Placement: I NEED IT!

This cover is so gorgeous!


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars

 

 

 

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Top 10 Fav Series/Duologies That I Read in 2020

Hey, hey! I’m back with another 2020 Favs post/video!

If you’d like to watch the video, you can check it out here:

Otherwise, keep reading!Bergman Brothers Series by Chloe Liese

Filthy Rich Americans Series by Nikki Sloane

This is quite possibly the most bingeable series that I’ve ever read! It’s definitely not for everyone (extremely taboo), but I adored it!

Beautiful Hearts Duet by Emma Scott

This is an emotional new adult romance with a great love triangle. It has one of my favorite grumpy heroes in it!

Daughter of the Pirate King Duology by Tricia Levenseller

I read all of Tricia Levenseller’s books and I adored this duology! It continued with the tradition of ruthless badass heroines that I love and heroes that actually deserve them.

Grip series by Kennedy Ryan

This is MY FAVORITE series by Kennedy Ryan and Flow is my favorite book by her. I’m so invested in Bristol and Grip’s romance – they FIGHT so hard for their HEA and it’s heartbreaking and educational and gorgeous.

The Edge Series by CD Reiss

I still need to finish this series, but I’ve loved everything I read so far. This was such an intense military romance with a suspense element.

Victorian Rebels series by Kerrigan Byrne

I ADORE Kerrigan Byrne’s style of dark historical romances, she goes places that most Historicals don’t and I loved every second of it! Also, these are THE BEST dark heroes!

The Reed Rivers Trilogy by Lauren Rowe

I waited SO LONG for this series and it lived up to my high expectations. If you love a-hole heroes with a heart with lots of great groveling, you need to read this!

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

I adored every single book in this series, the second one the most. They’re such delightful feminist romcoms!

The Elements Series by Brittainy C Cherry

No one writes grumpy heroes like Brittainy C Cherry – especially with a heavy dose of emotion. This is one of my favorites by BCC. Just FYI this series can be read as standalones because there isn’t any real connection between them all.

Unloved by Katy Regnery

4-stars

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Title: Unloved

Author: Katy Regnery

Format: Audiobook

GOODREADS


♡ Wild hero⁣
♡ Wildnerness setting⁣
♡ Loner hero⁣
♡ Broken hero⁣
♡ Romantic suspense⁣

Review

This book had the makings for everything I love in a romance: a wild, broken hero and… ok, well, that’s it. So, I probably should have loved it and though I really did like it, there was something lacking for me and I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly it was.⁣⁣
⁣⁣
It wasn’t really the fact that there was a pretty brutal attack scene in it (trigger warnings for that!), but maybe it had something to do with the chemistry between Brynn and Cassidy or lack thereof. It wasn’t BAD at all, it just wasn’t as earth-shattering as I expected it to be.⁣⁣
⁣⁣
Also I’m not usually a huge fan of survival stories because they give me anxiety, but that’s 100% a me thing.⁣⁣
⁣⁣
Anyway, the premise is SO good. A hero who has locked himself away in the wilderness because he’s afraid of becoming like his serial killer father and a girl who stumbles into his path needing him to take care of her. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
I’m not sure how I feel about the ending and the whole nature vs. nurture discussion, but overall I liked this book, I just didn’t love it.⁣


Trigger Warnings

Because of potential spoilers, trigger warnings are listed in white. Please highlight to see the list of trigger warnings.
abuse, blood, death, trauma, loss of a loved one, assault, mass shooting, serious injury


Audiobook Performance: 4 stars

4-stars


Butterfly Rating: 3 Stars

3-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Nah


Bookshelf Placement: Nah


Book Boyfriend Rating: 3 stars

3-stars

 

 

 

Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After #1) by Tessa Dare

#-stars

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Title: Romancing the Duke

Author: Tessa Dare

Series: Castles Ever After #1

Format: Audiobook

GOODREADS


♡ Historical romance
♡ Blind hero
♡ Fandom
♡ Different classes
♡ Beauty and the Beast Retelling
♡ I hate everyone but you hero
♡ Enemies to lovers

Review

This was such a great historical romance beauty and the beast retelling by an author who is quickly becoming one of my HR favorites!

Izzy is the daughter of a famous author who is left with nothing when he passes, except for an already-occupied castle. A creepy castle that is occupied by a mean, scarred and blind hero at that.

This is the perfect set up, in my opinion. And, of course, in true Tessa Dare fashion it was wonderfully executed as well. I loved this romance so much, but what I wasn’t expecting was how much I would love Izzy’s entire storyline revolving around the books her father wrote and the whole fandom aspect. It was unexpected and adorable.


Representation

Characters: Deaf hero


Trigger Warnings

Because of potential spoilers, trigger warnings are listed in white. Please highlight to see the list of trigger warnings.
death of a loved one, poverty


Audiobook Performance: 4 stars

4-stars


Butterfly Rating: 3 Stars

3-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Maybe


Bookshelf Placement: It’s there!


Book Boyfriend Rating: 4 stars

4-stars

 

 

 

Before I Ever Met You by Karina Halle

3-stars

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Title: Before I Ever Met You

Author: Karina Halle

Format: Physical Book

GOODREADS


♡ Age Gap Romance⁣
♡ Forbidden Romance “Lite”⁣
♡ Father’s Coworker/Friend⁣
♡ Sunshine hero⁣

Review

I’ve absolutely loved some books by Karina Halle (The Forbidden Man and Love in English), I’ve felt indifferent about some (The Pact), and I DNF’d one (Darkhouse), so I wasn’t sure where I would land with this one.⁣

To be completely honest, I don’t remember much about this book, but from the notes I took while reading it, I really liked it LOL!⁣

The book opens with the hero in a crappy marriage. His wife has just told him that she’s pregnant – something that was entirely unexpected because he had a vasectomy, however, he’s still excited. He’d gotten the procedure for her, even though he wasn’t sure about it. It turns out, though, that it isn’t his baby. (This isn’t a spoiler, it happens in the very beginning of the book.)⁣

Fast forward several years, he’s divorced and doing fine. You’d expect him to be this grumpy hero, but he’s actually the opposite. The heroine, who is several years younger than him has left a terrible relationship and is now a single mom. She moves in with her parents and gets a job at her father’s work as his partner’s assistant. The hero is her father’s partner. ⁣

I love, love, loved how protective of her she was without being overbearing and the fact that his nickname for her was “Dream Girl” is SO swoony. ⁣

Aside from being slightly forgettable, though, I didn’t understand her father’s character AT ALL. Her relationship with him and how he handles their relationship was just weird and inconsistent. Also, there is a trope that I was absolutely expecting in this and was SO disappointed when it happened. Ugh.⁣

Anyway, overall, I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. I had to take away an extra star because of the ending. If you’re going to read Karina Halle, I’d still recommend The Forbidden Man or Love in English.


Trigger Warnings

Because of potential spoilers, trigger warnings are listed in white. Please highlight to see the list of trigger warnings.
Surprise baby, talk of past abuse/toxic relationship, pregnancy


Butterfly Rating: 3 Stars

3-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Nah


Bookshelf Placement: Already there


Book Boyfriend Rating: 4 stars

4-stars

 

 

 

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

5-stars

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Title: Clap When You Land

Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Format: Audiobook

GOODREADS


♡ YA Contemporary
♡ Written in verse
♡ Beautiful, highlight-able writing
♡ Amazing audiobook narration
♡ Emotional
♡ Strong family elements

Review

Ughhhhhh the WRITING in this book. So. Good.

I’m such a huge fan of contemporary poetry, so this book was everything I wanted.

It’s the story of these two sisters, one living in New York, the other living in the Dominican Republic, who only find out about each other when their father is killed in a plane crash.

There isn’t really a romance in this book at all, but there is a super sweet sapphic romance with one of the sisters.

Much like her other books, I need to read this both as an audiobook and physically. Elizabeth Acevedo narrates her own audiobooks and does such a great job. She’s duet narrating in this one with another narrator who also was really good. I need to read the physical book because there were so many beautiful lines that I need to highlight!

Also, at the end of the book, she includes an authors note talking about the actual plane crash that she based this novel on and how so many of the victims had such interesting stories, including those who were leading double lives with secret families.


Representation

Characters: Dominican, LGBTQIA+
Author: Dominican


Trigger Warnings

Because of potential spoilers, trigger warnings are listed in white. Please highlight to see the list of trigger warnings.
Death of a loved one, attempted sexual assault, plane crash


Audiobook Performance: 5 stars

5-stars


Butterfly Rating: 1 Star

1-star


Re-read Worthiness: Yes

For highlighting purposes.


Bookshelf Placement: Yes!

 

 

 

Free & KU Books I Downloaded in December

I am notorious for overloading my Kindle with free eBooks, so I decided to exploit that particular habit and share with you the books that piqued my interest in the month of December.

You can check out the corresponding video here:

43242142._SY475_

The Pool Boy by Nikki Sloane

Available on KU

This is an age-gap romance in which the heroine is older than the hero.

45156972._SY475_

The Stopover (The Miles High Club #1) by TL Swan

Available on KU

I loved this one! The heroine gets upgraded to first class where she meets the hero. They have a one night stand and a year later she finds out he’s the owner of the new company she works at!

52276459._SX318_SY475_

The Takeover (The Miles High Club #2) by TL Swan

Available on KU

I also loved this book! The heroine is a widow and single mom of three trouble-making boys. She works at the company that the hero is attempting to take over. It’s an enemies-to-lovers romcom.

42600605._SY475_

That Second Chance (Getting Lucky Book #1) by Meghan Quinn

Available on KU

An adorable small town romance between a widow and a new-to-town teacher.

48926533._SY475_

Forbidden Planet (Rise of the Gladiator #1) by Cheree Alsop

Downloaded for free

This is a space opera bodyguard gladiator romance!

22386195

The Sinners on Tour Boxed Set by Olivia Cunning

Downloaded on sale

A steamy rockstar romance series!

20639200

Mounted by a Monster: Under Her Bed by Mina Shay

Downloaded for free

I mean, the title says it all. There is a monster under the heroines bed and the only way to “soothe” it is to… well, you know.

55817016._SY475_

The Prince and the Troll (Faraway collection) by Rainbow Rowell

Downloaded for free

A man befriends the “thing” that is living under a bridge!

55672914._SY475_

The Nine-Inch Difference by Cleo Peitsche

Downloaded for free

A menage between a woman who is looking to purchase an AI for “pleasure” and the owner of the company that she mistakes for an AI for sale!

30991325

Filthy Marcellos: Lucian by Bethany-Kris

Downloaded for free

A motorcycle club romance that is potentially a star-crossed lovers situation.

53054108._SX318_SY475_

Hating the Boss by Kristen Granata

Downloaded for free

An enemies to lovers romcom / one night stand gone wrong.

42424937._SY475_

Seduction Games: (Game for Cookies Book 1) by Allyson Lindt

Downloaded for free

A menage where a gamer girls gets invited into her gamer friends relationship when she’s down on her luck.

40025656._SY475_

The Necklace: The Dusky Club, June 1962 by Linda S. Rice

Downloaded for free

A time-travel rockstar romance!

56356906._SY475_

Snow Queen (Haunted Ballet Book 1) by Ava Quintana

Downloaded for free

A romantic suspense where ballerinas from The Nutcracker are going missing.

34916467._SY475_

Vampire King (Adult Fairy Tale, Cinderella #1) by Joanna Mazurkiewicz

Downloaded for free

A Cinderella retelling, but make it vampires.

55127966._SY475_

Lies We Share: A Prologue by Ella Miles

Downloaded for free

A mysterious dark romance.

40383133._SX318_

Little Dove by KC Decker

Another mysterious dark romance – the heroine has a dark secret and she’s lusting after her bad boy neighbor.

55354115._SY475_

Hearts Reclaimed (Ardor Creek Book 1) by Ayla Asher

Downloaded for free

An enemies-to-lovers home renovation romance. The hero is a widower and the heroine’s fiance has cheated on her.

43242142._SY475_

HOOPS Holiday: A Holiday Collection by Kennedy Ryan

Downloaded for free

A holiday novella that takes place in the Hoops world between a sports reporter and a hall of fame basketball player.

The Forbidden Wish (The Forbidden Wish #1) by Jessica Khoury

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Title: The Forbidden Wish

Author: Jessica Khoury

Series: The Forbidden Wish #1

Format: Physical Book & Audiobook

GOODREADS


♡ YA fantasy romance
♡ fairytale retelling
♡ irreverent hero
♡ badass heroine (& female side characters)
♡ longing
♡ female friendship

Review

OMG THIS BOOK WAS EVERYTHING I WANTED! I’ll never forget hearing about this book from the author at a book convention – an Aladdin reimagining, except it is a romance between Aladdin and the female genie that he discovers in the lamp.

I’m so surprised that this book isn’t more popular! I love, love, love the genie’s backstory and the entire lore behind the genies. They are feared among Aladdin’s people and the genie is cursed because of her relationship with her first “master” that turned into an extremely close friendship. Her first master ended up dying for her and the entire story is from the genie’s point of view in second person because she is telling the story to her friend/first master.

The struggle that the genie goes through with loving humans was heartbreaking, because she’s only ever been burned by doing so, and then here comes Aladdin. I also liked that while she had magic and was pretty powerful, she wasn’t all-powerful and not your typical badass heroine.

Aladdin was also such a great hero. He was exactly like the Disney version, irreverent and charming.

I like how the Jafar and Jasmine characters were incorporated into the story as well. I really, really liked the princess, even though she’s not always on the same side as the antagonists.

If you like fairytale retellings, definitely give this one a try.


Representation

Characters: BIPOC


Trigger Warnings

Because of potential spoilers, trigger warnings are listed in white. Please highlight to see the list of trigger warnings.
death of a friend, slavery, kidnapping


Audiobook Performance: 5 stars

5-stars


Butterfly Rating: 4 Stars

4-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Yes


Bookshelf Placement: Already there!


Book Boyfriend Rating: 4 stars

4-stars

 

 

 

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

4-stars

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Title: Serious Moonlight

Author: Jenn Bennett

Format: Physical Book

GOODREADS

Review

I’ve read two other books by Jenn Bennett previously and while I liked the others a lot more, I still enjoyed this one.

The heroine in this story is obsessed with true crime and Sherlock Holmes, so I appreciated how she assessed nearly every character she came across by giving them a suspect profile. I thought that was a really cool way to expand on characters without being info-dumpy. The heroine randomly hooks up with this guy that she meets at a cafe, but freaks out and ends up leaving him before they can talk afterward. She thinks she’s never going to see him again, until she gets a job during the late night shift at this sketchy hotel and he happens to work there, too. Meanwhile, he’s been searching for her and even put an ad in the missed-connections personals looking for her.

I had fun reading about their reluctant relationship and I learned a bit about narcolepsy that I didn’t know before, but ultimately I found a good portion of this book a little boring. My mind kept wandering and when I tuned back in, I didn’t really miss too much. I can’t really put my finger on why because the characters were interesting and had great chemistry, but I just wasn’t that invested in the story.

Overall, this is my least favorite Jenn Bennett, but I still plan on reading the rest of her backlist because I really liked her other two novels that I’ve read (Alex, Approximately and Starry Eyes)


Representation

Characters: BIPOC hero


Trigger Warnings

Because of potential spoilers, trigger warnings are listed in white. Please highlight to see the list of trigger warnings.
Medical issues, death of a loved one


Audiobook Performance: 5 stars

5-stars


Butterfly Rating: 3 Stars

3-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Nah


Bookshelf Placement: Already there!


Book Boyfriend Rating: 4 stars

4-stars

 

 

 

20 Favorite Standalone Romance Novels of 2020

The entire month of January will be dedicated to my favorite books of 2020!

Today I’m sharing my favorite (mostly) standalone romance novels along with a few that are in series, but I either didn’t read the whole series or I didn’t consider the entire series a favorite.

There will be a separate list of my favorite series of 2020 because I’m the worst at narrowing down lists.

Of you’d like to watch this video, you can check it out here:

Heartbreak Warfare

Heartbreak Warfare by Heather M Orgeron & Kate Stewart

Super emotional military romance with one of the best love triangles I’ve ever read!

Transcendence (Transcendence, #1)

Transcendence by Shay Savage

An adorable caveman romance!

The Forbidden Man

The Forbidden Man by Karina Halle

Age gap forbidden sports romance where the heroine is older than the hero. I love love love how the hero worships the ground the heroine walks on!

Sea of Ruin

Sea of Ruin by Pam Godwin

The dark pirate romance I didn’t know I needed in my life!

Hands Down

Hands Down by Mariana Zapata

MZ always makes it to my year-end favorites list, and this year was no different. This is the slowest burn friends-to-lovers yet!

Brooklynaire (Brooklyn, #1)

Brooklynaire by Sarina Bowen

One of the few billionaire romances I love because the hero is pining after the heroine and she has no idea.

Fall Back Skyward (Fall Back, #1)

Fall Back Skyward by Autumn Grey

An emotional second-chance romance with an epic love (and a deaf hero that I adore!)

Wolfsong (Green Creek, #1)

Wolfsong (Green Creek #1) by TJ Klune

This is super popular for a reason! This m/m shifter romance was so swoony and sweet..

Love Her or Lose Her (Hot & Hammered, #2)

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

I adore how obsessed the hero is with his wife in this marriage in distress romance!

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Mackenzies & McBrides, #1)

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley

Ian is one of my favorite historical romance heroes. He’s on the spectrum and the heroine is a widow.

Radiance (Wraith Kings, #1)

Radiance (Wraith Kings #1) by Grace Draven

Quite possibly the best friends-to-lovers romance I’ve ever read between two beings who aren’t attracted to one another, but become very good friends.

Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers, #1)

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

I loveeee the pining in this small town romance and the hero is such a great bearded southern gentleman.

Smitten

Smitten by Lauren Rowe

SUCH A SWEET low-angst contemporary romance between two musicians.

Leo Loves Aries (Signs of Love, #1)

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

This was such a fun new adult romance that took me by surprise!

Credence

Credence by Penelope Douglas

I didn’t think I’d love this super taboo romance as much as I did.

Behind the Bars (Music Street, #1)

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

My favorite BCC of all that follows a couple’s super emotional journey from high school to adulthood.

The Doctor (Nashville Neighborhood, #1)

The Doctor by Nikki Sloane

This is the perfect blend of Your Dad Will Do and Birthday Girl.

Xeni (Loose Ends #2)

Xeni by Rebekah Weatherspoon

My favorite Rebekah Weatherspoon so far with a steamy marriage of convenience.

The Rakess (Society of Sirens, #1)

The Rakess by Scarlett Peckham

The perfect feminist historical romance for those who don’t like historical romances.

Love in the Wild: A Tarzan Retelling

Love in the Wild by Emma Castle

THE TARZAN RETELLING OF MY DREAMS!