Monday, July 2, 2018




Well, summer arrived pretty early here in Texas, so none of that awesome outdoor reading I'd been hoping for. Not that it kept me from reading 28 books this month. Yet that doesn't feel like enough or at least as much as I'd like if I'm going to maintain a book a day through the end of the year. But we did take vacation in June to visit the best blogging friend ever, and despite being reading buddies, we didn't get much reading done, if any.

Not that I'm complaining. :) I also hit a reviewer milestone over on Goodreads earlier this month: 1500 reviews since I joined in December 2010. Crazy pants.

And without further ado, here's what I've been reading lately...

(More on why I've gone to this format here in lieu of traditional reviews for each.)





Y O U N G   A D U L T


Rose Daughter - If you can believe it, this was my first Robin McKinley novel. I know. But the good thing is, I found it absolutely lovely, and I know that when I get to Beauty, I'll love it, too, especially knowing how the rest of you adore it. I've been told before that this author's work is right up my alley, and it really is: lyrical and haunting, full of magic and folklore. I'll definitely be making time to check out the author's backlist, including her other BatB retelling. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

Spinning Silver* - Naomi Novik simply writes some of the best fierce heroines, characters who have become some of my favorites. These young women are crafty and cunning and clever and their willingness to do whatever it takes to help those in need, contrary to whatever limits society places on them, is almost unparalleled. This story was so focused on these brave females and saving their kingdoms that there was little time for romance, though I didn't actually miss that aspect as much as I thought I would. I had some difficulty with the unacknowledged switches in the point-of-view at first, but I grew more accustomed to it the longer the story continued...even at the last when there was yet another perspective added. It actually helped that each character's narrative voice was so different and it allowed an understanding of what was happening in both kingdoms on a much broader scale. All in all, I absolutely loved this book. More than Uprooted? I'm not sure...I love both stories for different reasons, but they're definitely on the same level. I just don't know if I could pick a favorite... 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Listen to Your Heart - This was cute and I enjoyed it more than the last couple of Kasie West novels. This was more of an end-of-summer story, but hey, there's a lake in it, so yeah. I appreciated the support system that surrounded the MC, especially there towards the end, and how despite how messy things got, it was still pretty low drama. I still maintain that I've probably outgrown young YA like this author's books, but I would absolutely love if my daughter wanted all my copies of her work. West's novels are adorable and timely and fun, and honestly, kind of hard to pass up, no matter how old you are...or feel. :P 🌟🌟🌟🌟


The Dark Days Club & The Dark Days Pact - Re-read because I'm getting antsy for The Dark Days Deceit. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

A Torch Against the Night - I've re-read An Ember in the Ashes before so I only felt compelled to re-read this one so I'd recall enough to start Reaper...and it's seriously a good thing I did because I'd forgotten SO MUCH. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

A Reaper at the Gates* - DAMN! This series is going to kill me; this installment nearly did. I am just in awe of the plotting and foreshadowing and just everything. I'm usually a little irked when they keep adding books to what supposed to be a stand-alone or a duology, but not in this case. Give me more! Just don't break my heart in the process. I might post a longer review at a later date, but suffice it to say, this book was amazing. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ


Love à la Mode* - I just love books set in Paris. With food. And an adorable romance to boot. So it will come as no shock that I found this book completely adorkable. Kids who love cooking getting a chance to learn from a master chef in Paris? C'mon! That's too cute to pass up. The characters were so relatable and they formed such amazing friendships and, well, I'm not usually this envious of fictional characters but these kids were living the life and having one heck of an adventure. I do wish some things had been sorted sooner rather than later, but the story was seriously cute regardless. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Summer Days and Summer Nights - See my full review from earlier in June. But if I had to pick, I think my favorite story in this anthology was the one written by Leigh Bardugo. 🌟🌟🌟


*ARC received from publisher for review purposes. This does not affect my review in any way.




A D U L T


Eversea - Ugh. A cliffhanger in a romance novel? WTF? I mean, this was a sweet movie star and hometown girl love story...until it wasn't. Then it was all drama and predictable scenarios and...I don't think I need to read the sequel to know how it all turns out. Maybe if I'd read this back at Christmas time when I was all about the cheesy, schmaltzy romance movies, I'd have enjoyed it more. 🌟🌟

See Jane Score - Dated but fun. But I guess since it was written at the turn of the century (21st, lol), that kinda makes sense. I keep trying sports romances and I just think maybe they're not my favorite thing. Or maybe I'm reading the wrong ones? Too cute maybe? And I actually grabbed the wrong book by this author. I meant to snag Nothing But Trouble, so I'll give her another shot before moving on completely. =) 🌟🌟

Power of Five - I'm glad I waited a few days to review this, otherwise I'd probably have said something I'd regret, and you're never supposed to put anything on the internet that you'd be embarrassed for your parents or children to see. ;) But damn was this story hawt. And character-driven. It's the first book in a reverse harem series and not a whole lot happens but it was super engaging and steamy AF. It's not all about the sexy times but rather the bond being forged between four fae warriors and the mortal woman that magic has claimed for their quint. And I'm dying for the next book, which luckily comes out on the 29th. =D πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ


Beast - What a completely different spin on the traditional BatB story! And oh the charade the hero finds himself in because of wounded pride. I really enjoyed the writing, though I did favor the first half over the second due to the secrets and lack of communication between the characters. And the narrator for this book was fabulous. I liked this book so much more than expected and immediately downloaded all of the author's books that were available in the Audible Romance Package. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Proposition - This was a reverse makeover story -- think She's All That or My Fair Lady -- wherein a sophisticated spinster takes on a bet to turn a rat catcher into a gentleman by changing his clothing and speech patterns. But as luck would have it, his transformation -- and the man himself -- helps turn her into more than the dowdy wallflower she's accepted herself to be. It started off great, but by the end, I was rather meh about the whole thing. The hero pressures the heroine...a lot. And the heroine does a complete about-face, which was completely at odds with her character, transformation or not. Plus, that ending was just a little too perfect for my taste. 🌟🌟

Sleeping Beauty - Really beginning to think Beast was a fluke. I really enjoyed my first Judith Ivory novel and because of that, I immediately downloaded everything else of hers that was available to me. Only to be very meh about the second one and end up DNFing the third out of sheer boredom. She does have a very unique take on retellings, but she'll have to do better than that to hold my interest. DNF


The Kiss Quotient - Well, this book - likened to a reverse Pretty Woman story - was just absolutely wonderful. It's adorable and quirky but also angsty and genuine and full of so much love. I really appreciate how the author handled every aspect: sex and consent, the heroine's Asperger's syndrome, the love interest as an escort, family devotion, and well, just everything. I just knew I was going to love this novel! Equal parts sweet and sexy, it ranks right up there with The Hating Game for me...which I've read six times in the last year, if that tells you anything. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Good Girls Don't - Meh. I was bored. Also, I might have a book hangover from The Kiss Quotient and am unable to see beyond that? And I didn't really like the heroine and her trust issues, despite being the biggest liar in the story. And I didn't really care much for what I saw of the rest of the Donovan family, so I think I'm done here. 🌟🌟

His at Night - Um, so, I may have just kicked off another Sherry Thomas binge. #sorrynotsorry Anyway, I could see this as a kind of prelude to her Lady Sherlock series, what with the mystery element and the use of chloral as a potential cause of death. But the characters were vastly different, and this book was much steamier than Lady Sherlock has been heretofore. I get a kick out of the "tricked in to marriage" trope, but pair that with a spy pretending to be a bumbling idiot and I am here for it. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Private Arrangements - I've read this story before: girl tries to ensure herself an engagement by dishonest methods -- usually getting herself caught in flagrante delicto with the groom-to-be -- and the betrayed groom discovers her deceit and makes her pay for it by leaving her to lead a separate life after the nuptials have commenced. However, I have not liked them half so much as this one. It may be entirely due to the author, who is among my favorites and could quite possibly do no wrong in my eyes, but I think it's also due in part to the fact that though there was a decade of separation for the couple, there were attempts in between to reconcile, however unsuccessfully. No matter how hard each tried to deny it, the love that they shared prior to the untimely betrayal still lingered. Oh, how they fought it fiercely. This was a love-to-hate-to-love romance, if you will. PLUS, there's a secondary romance that is just utterly delightful...and it's also a second-chance romance. I just love how I can think I've read it all when it comes to historical romance, and then Sherry Thomas comes along and proves me wrong. 🌟🌟🌟🌟


Beguiling the Beauty - So, this is the series where I read the third book first, back at the beginning of the year when I first subscribed to the Audible Romance Package. But the thing is, I don't think it really matters because all of the Fitzhughs are mentioned in this book as if their stories are all happening concurrently (or close enough to it). I remember thinking that I probably wouldn't care about the others as much as Helena, but that just isn't true. Venetia's story is just as complicated, and although it reminded me of another tΓͺte-Γ -tΓͺte aboard a ship -- and with one of the lovers unaware of the other's identity -- moreso because I just read it, I do believe I enjoyed this one more. Not just because this was written by Sherry Thomas, though there is that, but also because this story focused more on the characters outside of who they were during their brief interlude. There's also the reveal and proving that they are more than what society has deemed them. It was quite brilliant and now I can't wait to read Millie's story. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Ravishing the Heiress - My takeaway from this book: Millie has the patience of a saint and also she deserves much better than Fitz. So much better. Not that I didn't like Fitz, but FFS, grow a pair and own up to your responsibilities and quit wishing for things that can never be. So, yeah, this was probably my least favorite in the Fitzhughs series and even so, I still find myself liking it, chiefly for the sense of righteous indignation it left me with on behalf of Millie. I'm a firm believer that books should make you feel things, even if the feelings are not exactly pleasant. 🌟🌟🌟

Tempting the Bride - Since I'd already read the first two books, might as well finish off the series with a re-read of the only book I'd read previously. I think it's a toss up whether I prefer this to Beguiling the Beauty, now that I've read both. But this one's got unrequited love and amnesia and hate-to-love and an illegitimate child with a pet turtle...so, maybe this one. :) 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Delicious - I didn't think I would love this story. It seems so very different from all of Sherry Thomas' other stories. From outside, anyway. But I did love it! It's a Cinderella tale, except she falls in love with Aladdin. The main character isn't a corseted debutante or even a blue-stockinged spinster; she's a chef. She lets her prince charming go because of his far-reaching political aspirations and she doesn't want to be the thing that keeps him from reaching his goals, especially since he's already come so far from his humble beginnings. But a decade later, they're given a second chance at love, and it's kind of magical...and delicious. ;) But it becomes rather a comedy of errors as a love rectangle evolves and parentage is discovered, and well, it was absolutely charming. I can't believe I have no more Sherry Thomas novels to read until The Hollow of Fear releases later this year. 😭 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


My Best Friend's Ex - My first experience with a Meghan Quinn novel was Three Blind Dates, which I adored, so I decided to give this one a try. This type of relationship is tricky, but I think the author pulled it off without too many dramatics or making it seem sordid. I think that because I read this book first though its a sequel/companion novel to Co-Wrecker, I probably enjoyed it more than I would have, had I read the books chronologically. I probably would have thought Tucker was a douche of the highest order and never thought twice about continuing the series. As it stands, I actually have some misgivings about reading Sadie's story, since she's the Ex in My Best Friend's Ex. Still, Tucker and Emma's story was sweet and sexy, heartbreaking and hopeful, and I am interested in reading Tucker's friend Racer's story. ;) 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Husband Trap - Identical twins...always trappin' folks. :P One twin decides, on her wedding day no less, that she no longer wants to marry her duke. To save the family from ruin and scandal, her identical twin sister steps in as her and proceeds to marry the duke. Hilarity and drama ensues. This story is exactly as fun and harebrained as it sounds, but as delightful as it sounds, I don't think I'll be reading the sequel because the twin who did not marry the duke is featured in it and she was kind of just absolutely the worst. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Chocolate Thief - This was just so dang cute, even the second time around. And exactly what I needed on a crappy Monday when nothing was going right. A book about chocolate doesn't quite beat the real thing, but it's a close second. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


Power of Five and Mistake of Magic - Yes, you saw that correctly...I did indeed read Power of Five twice in one month. Once via ebook and re-read via audio so I was prepared for the sequel. Not that there was any chance I wouldn't be. And this book was just as good as the first installment, not that I've come to expect anything less from this author. It's so much more than a reverse harem story, though I don't regret that aspect at all. I just love the bonds and the depth of emotion, especially on the part of the quint as it's not just from the heroine's point-of-view. All five perspectives are represented, and knowing what was going through everyone's head gave so much more insight into the bond. The situation with the trials is interesting, too, but as short as these books have been, I don't know how it'll all be tied up in the next book. I'm hoping it's not anyway...I could read a dozen more books in this series and still want more. Also, you should be proud of the restraint I showed because I refrained from interjecting about a dozen smutty jokes and innuendo into this review. πŸ˜‚ 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟



Have you read any of these? What did you think? Find any new titles to check out? ;0)

Until next time! Happy reading!



4 comments:

  1. Looks like you've been reading a lot! I read An Ember in the Ashes a few months ago and really didn't enjoy it much... it felt very slow and boring to me. I felt like it didn't live up to the hype. I might have to continue with it.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

    ReplyDelete
  2. I loved An Ember in the Ashes! I need to read the sequels *_*

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, lots of great reading! I still need to read The Dark Days Club - guess I need to get on that. LOL Glad you love the series so far though. I've been hearing really good things about The Kiss Quotient, so that's awesome you enjoyed that too.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

    ReplyDelete
  4. I just read A Torch Against the Night and it was alright. I plan on continuing the series, but I haven't understood all the hype yet.

    One hyped book I am thrilled about is Spinning Silver. I'm so glad you loved it and I can't wait to get my hands on it.

    ReplyDelete

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