The Takeover (The Miles High Club #2) by  T.L. Swan 

5-stars

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Title: The Takeover

Author: T.L. Swan 

Series: The Miles High Club #2

Format: Audiobook

GOODREADS


♡ Office Romance
♡ Enemies-to-lovers
♡ Single mom/widow
♡ Great banter

Review

This is another situation where if I read the synopsis, I probably would’ve skipped this book because I’m not a huge fan of single moms. Especially single moms of multiple (kind of annoying) kids. Also reading “He was powerful, arrogant, and infuriatingly gorgeous” about a hero usually is cause to make me skip the book, but I’m glad I didn’t.

Similar to the first book, I appreciated that the heroine didn’t just roll over and take it when the hero was a jerk, she gave it right back and their banter was amazing.

Though I raised my eyebrows at some of the choices Tristan made when it came to Claire’s kids, I also really appreciated the fact that he wasn’t immediately The Perfect New Dad. He was annoyed by the kids (because they were annoying) and they scared him away (with good reason). But he also had a great comeback in that regard.

I also thought that Claire, despite having a spicy attitude with Tristan, needed to use some of that strength when it came to parenting (I still have so many questions when it comes to a lot of her choices – and this is why I don’t love romance novels with kids, because I get a little nit-picky at parenting choices). I think Tristan balanced her out pretty well, if he did overstep boundaries a lot, and I especially loved how things turned out with her oldest son and Tristan.


Audiobook Performance: 5 stars

5-stars


Butterfly Rating: 4 Stars

4-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Yes


Bookshelf Placement: Need!


Book Boyfriend Rating: 4 stars

4-stars

 

 

 

The Stopover (The Miles High Club #1) by  T.L. Swan 

5-stars

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Title: The Stopover

Author: T.L. Swan 

Series: The Miles High Club #1

Format: Audiobook borrowed from Scribd

GOODREADS


♡ Workplace romance⁣
♡ One Night Stand ⁣
♡ Sassy heroine⁣
♡ Great banter⁣

Review

I’m actually glad I didn’t read the synopsis for this book before picking it up because a surefire way to get me to skip a book is to read the word “billionaire” in the description. I’m so over billionaire romances, however, I really, really liked this one.

It’s my first by TL Swan, but I’m thinking this author can likely pull off billionaire romances for me simply because her heroines aren’t these naive, meek women who bend to the hero’s every whim. Where there could’ve easily been an uncomfortable power imbalance, the fact that her heroines can give as much as they take made me love this book.

Yes, there was a lot of drama and back and forth, but the banter was so on point, I was absolutely living for it every second of the way.

I don’t think I even mentioned what this is about, and the premise is actually really great. The heroine, while on her way to a dream job interview, gets upgraded to first-class and ends up sitting next to a guy she otherwise never would have batted an eye at, yet ends up spending one super-steamy night with him and not seeing him again… for a year. When that year is up, it turns out he owns the company in which she is newly employed.

I found that there were a lot of things I’m usually annoyed with that happened in this book, yet I didn’t mind. The hero is pushy, but the heroine pushes back and I think that was kind of the same throughout.


Audiobook Performance: 4 stars

4-stars


Butterfly Rating: 4 Stars

4-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Yes


Bookshelf Placement: Yes


Book Boyfriend Rating: 4 stars

4-stars

 

 

 

Husky by Jessa Kane⁣

5-stars

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Title: Husky

Author: Jessa Kane⁣

Format: eBook borrowed from Kindle Unlimited

GOODREADS


♡ Short & super-steamy⁣
♡ Big Cinnamon roll Hero⁣

Review

Yes to everything about this novel. ⁣

Parker, the heroine, is a fashion designer who just got her big break, but is feeling uninspired by the stereotypical male models she’s surrounded by, so when she needs inspiration for her line of mens clothing she needs to debut, she decides to wander around the city. She ends up at a pub where she meets the attractive, husky bartender who suddenly gets her creative juices flowing.⁣

This book was like the more mature version of Hefty by this author only in that the hero doesn’t think he’s good enough or deserving of the heroine – which I LIVE for. There are so many swoony, steamy moments between them because of this.⁣

It was short and steamy and perfect for Smutathon.


Representation

Characters: Plus size hero


Butterfly Rating: 5 Stars

5-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Yes


Bookshelf Placement: Maybe


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars

 

 

 

The Initiation (Filthy Rich Americans #1) by Nikki Sloane *FAVORITE*

5-stars

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Title: The Initiation

Author: Nikki Sloane

Series: Filthy Rich Americans #1

Format: Physical Book Received in Hello Lovely Box

GOODREADS


♡ Obsessive love interest
♡ Love triangle
♡ Reality TV show level drama
♡ Taboo
♡ Bingeable
♡ Surprising

Review

I feel as though I was not appropriately warned about this book. First, for how intense it is and, second, for how I would be forced to ignore my entire readathon TBR to read the ENTIRE REST OF THE SERIES.

I RARELY binge series anymore. I have so many books that I want to read, and binging series is time consuming, especially in the middle of a readathon, however… I was given no choice.

This book and certainly this entire series is absolutely 100% NOT FOR EVERYONE. It’s extremely taboo, there are toxic people and toxic relationships, but man, can Nikki Sloane pull it off.

There are some books that have extremely realistic settings with realistic characters and everyday relationships that I have absolutely no buy-in with… then there are books like this that are so over-the-top and crazy that I’m completely invested in. I can’t put my finger on what exactly the difference is, other than the storytelling.

Nikki Sloane made me love so many things that I normally roll my eyes at in books: entitled and over-privileged stupid rich characters, American royalty, super alpha heroes, toxic relationships, and so much drama… Normally these are all reasons for me to skip a book entire, but instead I couldn’t stop reading them.

There were so many moments in all of these books where I had to stop and question myself. Why am I OK with this? Why can’t I stop reading? And it wasn’t in the way I read After, where it was an absolutely dumpster fire, but I had to know what would happen… I couldn’t stop reading this series because I actually liked all these extremely problematic and flawed characters. I was invested in these relationships and what was going to happen to them.

I just… there are no words.

And let me just say… the moment I found out what the “initiation” actually was AND the fact that I was OK with it… definitely had me questioning my own morals.


Trigger Warnings

Because of potential spoilers, trigger warnings are listed in white. Please highlight to see the list of trigger warnings.
Dubious consent, Nonconsent, taboo, bullying, cult, cheating, toxic relationship, misogyny, sexual assault


Audiobook Performance: 5 stars

5-stars


Butterfly Rating: 5 Stars

5-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Absolutely


Bookshelf Placement: Already there!


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars

 

 

 

His Beauty by Jack Harbon

5-starsOverall Rating: 5 Stars

Title: His Beauty

Author: Jack Harbon

Format: eBook Borrowed from Kindle Unlimited

GOODREADS


Beauty and the Beast retelling
Short & steamy
Taboo
New favorite

Review

I am such a sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings and when I saw that Jack Harbon wrote one, a novella no less, I knew I had to read it for Smutathon.

It did not disappoint.

This book stood apart from all the other retellings I’ve read. It was short and steamy and graphic and even brutal sometimes, and I loved every second of it.

Did I mention that The Beast was never a human in this book? Nope. He was full beast the entire time. We love a good taboo Beauty and the Beast retelling that somehow works. Perhaps my favorite part of the book was when Jack thanked Katee Robert in the acknowledgments for giving him the inspiration to write and publish a novel that tapped into his dark and taboo side.

Trigger Warnings

Because of potential spoilers, trigger warnings are listed in white. Please highlight to see the list of trigger warnings.
blood, death, taboo, kidnapping, toxic relationship, imprisonment


Butterfly Rating: 4 Stars

4-stars


Re-read Worthiness: YES


Bookshelf Placement: NEED


Book Boyfriend Rating: 3 stars

3-stars

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

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