reading

Fav Reads: March - July 2018

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So, as you may have noticed, it's been awhile! I normally like to post these lists every month, but this year has been crazy. So crazy and busy, my site has been down for a few months as I redesigned it, and really just life. But I'm back, yay! If you've read any of my previous posts, you also know I usually write micro reviews for the books I loved each month. You won't find that here this month, and I'm honestly not sure if I will go back to that. Time will tell. 
With all that being said, I read a lot of fantastic books while I was away and I want to share my favorites with you here! Have you read any of these? What did you think? Anything I'm missing out on? Let's discuss in the comments!!!

March

Simon vs The Homosapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Tempt the Boss by Natasha Madison

Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas

April

Unconventional by Isabel Love

Unforgivable  by Isabel Love

The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen

The Hot Shot by Kristin Callihan

Bad Intentions by Charleigh Rose

The Eagle by Jillian Dodd

The Society by Jillian Dodd

Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

May

Welcome to the Dark Side by Giana Darling

Sombra by Leslie McAdam

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Roomies by Christina Lauren

Piece of Work by Staci Hart

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

June

The Bombshell Effect by Karla Sorensen

Snapshot by Rebel Farris

July

Perfect Vision by L.M. Halloran

Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Ricochet by Krista & Becca Ritchie

 

 

 

Fav Reads: February 2018

I'm a mess, y'all! These five books here are probably the only ones I read in all of February because: edits + rewrites + a deadline months overdue + mom shit + just fucking life, man = a self-imposed ban on reading until I GET THIS SHIT DONE. So yeah, that means I read very little and haven't read anything since. BUT... those five books I did read? Love them. LOVED. THEM. They were fantastic. You should pick them up and read them (and I believe almost all of them are available in Kindle Unlimited, so if you subscribe to it, you really have zero excuses). I don't have much to say about these right now because my brain is fried, but seriously guys, these are so good!

 
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The Beau & The Belle by R.S. Grey

Oh, what to say about this one, other than I loved it? Seriously loved it. I enjoyed the fact that Gray decided to start Lauren and Beau's story at the beginning, in the past. They were some of my favorite chapters. Lauren is so awkwardly, adorably relatable. And that doesn't change much when we hit her adult years. I absolutely loved that about her, it made her so real and endearing. The chemistry between her and Beau was so great. The way New Orleans is described makes me want to take a trip there like yesterday.

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Dangerous Hearts / Destined Hearts by K.K. Allen

I LOVE a great rock star romance. LOVE. When that story is mixed with some suspense, burning hot bedroom scenes, and a cliffhanger that makes you want to pick up the next book immediately, I'm sold! I quite literally devoured these books in about two days. I was lucky I'm so late to the K.K. Allen/Stolen Melody duet, because I didn't have to wait at all to see where Lyric and Wolf's story was going to end. Angsty and emotional, Lyric and Wolf create beautiful music together in more ways than one. Allen took their story places I wasn't expecting, which is always a rare treat. This is the first of her work that I've read, but they won't be the last. I can't wait to devour more of her work!

Living Out Loud by Staci Hart

I haven’t read a Staci Hart novel in quite awhile, and not because I was actively avoiding them, but more so because I really need the time to sit down with her Hearts & Arrows series, so I've kind of ben waiting for that. So, anyway, it’s been awhile, and I decided, fuck it, I can't hold out any longer, I'm just gonna go ahead with Living Out Loud and come back to H&A when I have the time. So glad I did! Living Out Loud reminded me of all the reasons why she’s one of my favorite writer’s. Annie and Greg’s story is sweet, beautiful, not super high on the angst, but still delivers so many feels and emotions. Their dynamic, the path of their relationship, everything was just perfect the way it was. Get ready for a bit of a slow burn, but trust me, it's so worth the wait. I've never read a Jane Austen book (I know, I know), but Hart's adaptations of them make me want to change that!

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

I know I mentioned last month that I don't read Historical Romance as much as I used to. After moving on to Contemporary and New Adult Romance, I found it really hard to go back to HR. After reading and loving one of Julia Quinn’s books last month, and having Lord of Scoundrels highly recommended, I decided to jump into another one. I was not disappointed. Far from it. This might be my favorite HR ever and it’s definitely on my list of all time favs. This book is so witty, charming, and sexy. It is so incredibly fresh and modern that it’s hard to believe this book was written over 20 years ago. The banter between Jessica and Dain is so on point I had a smile on my face for much of the book. The characters are so different than what I’m used to with this genre, and it made for a fantastic read. If you are on the fence with this one or are new to Historical Romance, just make the leap. You won’t be disappointed.

My Favorite Reads of 2017

So, I'm a little late with this list, but man 2018 has been a little crazy so far! And while most of us are in the full swing of a new year, I'm still looking back, fondly, at the books I read and loved last year. Let me tell ya, I loved a lot. I'm talking so many books that it was a huge struggle to get my list down to 27 standalones, 3 duets, and 5 series! It feels like every year I find more and more amazing books. The talent out there is crazy, y'all!

So here is the list of my favorite reads of 2017. The books listed didn't all come out in 2017, they were just books I read for the first time in 2017. Also, In order to save time and space, I decided not to write my thoughts on each book, but I have linked each listing to the post it originally appeared on that does have my thoughts, if you're interested. Also, just a quick note: I have broken things up by standalones, duets, and series. There will be some books that appear on the standalone list that are part of a series. Those books can be read as standalones. There are books that appear on my duets list that might have one or two other books in the series, but I felt like you couldn't read one of these without reading the other, so they felt more like a duet to me. Just felt like I should disclose that from the start!

If you've read any of these books, I would love to hear your thoughts and discuss in the comments! These are in no particular order and my hope, as always, is that you might find a new book or author that you love too! 

And, in no particular order:

STANDALONE NOVELS

DUETS:  

SERIES:

Fav Reads: November 2017

November was a crazy, crazy month y’all! As some of you may know, in addition to this writing thing and the mom-ing I do, I also have an online shop where I make and sell super cute crochet items. I’ve managed to avoid doing any craft shows in the five years I’ve been in business for various reason (main one being my super clingy 2.5 year old). I was invited to take part in a local show with other mom-owned small businesses and decided to take the leap. I had almost no stock, so November consisted of me crocheting my fingers off and trying to maintain my sanity. Thank God for the two seasons of Nashville I needed to catch up on and a nearly endless supply of Hallmark/Lifetime holiday movies to get me through the late nights.

Okay, so the point of all that is: all that work left me with very little time to write or read. Which made me kind of sad. But the books I did read? A-fuckin-mazing. Seriously. 

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The New Camelot series (American Queen / American Prince / American King) by Sierra Simone

I’ve grouped these books together because you can’t read one without reading the others. If you’ve read my book wrap-ups before, you probably already know that I tend to veer away from highly hyped books. Reality for me never lives up to the hype, so why disappoint myself? Well this is a case where something greatly hyped not only lived up to it but surpassed it. I only knew a few things going into this series: that it was a modern take on the King Arthur legend, that it was highly emotional, and it was super filthy. These books were all those things and so much more. I can’t and won’t say much because these need to be experienced with as little spoiled as possible and I still have trouble articulating all the things I felt reading these books. They were so well-written, so smart, and so fucking filthy (seriously the filthiest books I’ve ever read). And the heart. There is so much heart and emotion and heartbreak (yes, I even shed a few tears). It’s so rare to get a book, let alone a series, that contains all of these elements. Read these, and then feel free to reach out to me for some hair stroking and conversation when you’re done.

Spider by Ilsa Madden-Mills

I enjoy a good rock-star romance, and Spider does not disappoint. It actually takes the rock star trope and the step-brother trope and creates a story I wasn’t expecting. This isn’t a typical rock star story; while it’s what Spider does, it’s not a huge focus of the story. The forbidden love aspect of the story goes beyond Spider and Rose being step-siblings. At the heart of this book, it’s a story of how two broken people find love and healing in each other. I loved reading their journey and that epilogue made me smile in a way few have.

Bad Habit by Charleigh Rose

Oh angsty goodness! I read Misbehaved earlier this year by Rose and absolutely loved it, it’s one of my top reads of the year. When I heard about Bad Habit I anxiously awaited its arrival, and I was not disappointed. I adore all the sexy, angsty goodness that is a usual hallmark of NA books, and Bad Habit has that in spades. As much as I liked Briar, I loved Asher. Seriously, he was not at all the stereotypical alpha asshole so prevalent in NA. After finishing this book in less than two days I’m left waiting for the follow-up books with some of the side characters. Anyone else dying to find out Dare’s story?!?

Fav Reads: May 2017

May was a crazy month for me. Between both of my daughters' birthday's this month, planning and hosting their party, a slight relapse of my health conditions (fibro and me/cfs seriously suck), and general family/life madness, I was a busy girl. So busy that it cut into my reading time. And I seriously hate when life gets in the way of my few, true pleasures, don't you? While I was only able to read about 10 books this month, I loved 6 of them, so I count that as a win overall. This really was such a fantastic month of reads for me. Have you read any of these? Loved them, hated them? Anything else you read this month that you couldn't put down? I would love to discuss in the comments.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

I haven't read a really good fantasy novel in a long time; a couple years at least. Probably not since the last Mortal Instruments book. I got kind of burnt out on the genre and avoided it for awhile. This book brought me right back in. It was a slow read and a long read for me, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I loved getting drawn into this world that Maas created, loved getting attached to the characters. I'm invested now and I'm dying to read on and see what happens next.

Bombshell by CD Reiss

This was my second book by Reiss, and the second one that's on one of my favorite lists (Hardball was one of my top reads last year). She has a way of creating incredibly realistic, flawed characters that you can't help but fall for, and in many cases, relate to. Bombshell contains some of my favorite things in a romance: a sexy single dad, a hot movie star, a precocious and special child. Oh, and the steam in her books. Serious fire.

Bright Side by Kim Holden

I was really late to the game with this one. I was obviously living in a vacuum and hadn't heard about it until maybe six months ago. Even then, I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it. I get that way when I come across things that everyone seems to fervently love. I figure it will never live up to the hype, so I avoid it. But then I was in the mood for something that would gut me (because I love that shit), and this book crossed my mind, and I figured, why not? I'm glad I did. It gutted me a bit and I definitely cried (if you've never read any of my other posts, this is something that does not happen very often, it's hard to melt my cold, icy heart). So I know you're wondering, do I think it lived up to the hype? Mostly. Is it my favorite gut-wrenching, yet inspiring story? No. But I really did enjoy it, and it was definitely one of my favorite reads this month.

Ruckus by L.J. Shen

This is the third book in Shen's Sinners of Saints series, and I know I'm going to be dying waiting for the next one. That shouldn't put you off from reading Ruckus (or any of the other books in the series). Each story is a standalone, each featuring one of the infamous Hotholes introduced in Vicious. I love how alternating between past and present reveals why two of the Hotholes are the way they are. It adds depth and heart to characters that might otherwise be unlikable (to some; personally I love a good asshole hero). While Jaime (Defy) is still my favorite Hothole, Dean might be a close second, plus, it's hard not to love Rosie too.

All About the D by Lex Martin and Leslie McAdam

I love every single thing Lex Martin has written. EVERYTHING. And this was my first time reading anything by Leslie McAdam (but it definitely won't be my last; I have a plan to devour all of her books). I've been waiting for this story for what feels like forever, and I was not disappointed. I don't want to give too much away, but I found All About the D to be funny, heartwarming and sweet. Oh, and super, super sexy. I absolutely loved Josh and Evie. And I think you will too.

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

I just finished this book last night and I'm already feeling hungover. Finding words to explain why I loved this book so much is impossible right now, I'm just too close to it and it's hard to say much without giving important plot points away. The p.o.v. and way the story is told and unfolds won't work for everyone. Either will the subject matter. It's obvious that highly emotional books that gut you are kinda my thing. There are so many things I related to and saw myself in, other things I was so glad I didn't. This book is the perfect example of how beautiful and heartbreaking the messiness of love and life can be.

Fav Reads: April 2017

So, I decided to try something new this month by creating a to-be-read list/collection on my Kindle to help focus my reading. I just wanted to see if it would help increase the amount I am reading each month. The list was a mix of books I've been meaning to read for forever and newer releases. I thought I was a onto a good thing. But the month started with a book that took me forever to finish, one that I actually regret spending so much time on. It just wasn't good. Then came a whole slew of new releases I wasn't anticipating or some great sales on books I've been meaning to get came up, and my list went up in smoke. I still managed to get 15 books under my belt, which still seems to be around my average this year.
 

I'm ok with the list not exactly working for me this month, because I ended up reading some freaking amazing books that I fell in love with. I mean, I'm sure that would have happened even if I had kept to the list, but I have no regrets. Here were my favorites for April, in no particular order:

The Perfect Illusion by Winter Renshaw

Winter Renshaw is a one-click author for me. No matter what it is, I buy it the minute I can, and I'm never disappointed. The same goes for The Perfect Illusion. It takes the fake fiancée/spouse trope and turns it on its head a bit, especially with a little enemies to lovers vibe thrown in there. I liked both Mari and Hudson, and I found most of the secondary characters enjoyable as well. I devoured this one quickly and found myself smiling when it was over.

Heat Wave by Karina Halle

I love, love, LOVE flawed characters. I really do. Even if I can't relate to the flaws, I still love reading about them, maybe because it makes it all seem more real and relatable. Ronnie and Logan are two flawed, stubborn characters, and I enjoyed every bit of them. Throw in some elements of taboo, a beautiful location, and secondary characters that help lighten the mood, and you have the yumminess that is Heat Wave. 

The Gravity of Us by Brittainy Cherry

The Gravity of Us is the final book in Brittainy Cherry's Elements Series (a series of standalones that are not connected). I loved them all, and this one was no exception. She does angsty, sad, and beautiful love stories so freaking well. I don't want to say too much, because I feel like these books are best left to be experienced. I will say that I felt like Lucy and Graham's story had a quiet intensity to it, which worked well for this story. While this wasn't my favorite of the series (The Silent Waters is, if you were wondering), but I would not skip this one!

Managed by Kristin Callihan

I read Idol, the first book in the VIP Series (a series of standalones) last year and loved it. That being said, I probably love Managed even more. The back and forth between Gabriel and Sophie was amazing and so, so funny. I am not always or even usually a fan of slow-burn romances, but this one was done so well and I completely got why there was a ramp up. While Managed takes place in the world of rock stars, it is so different than the average rock star romance. It's really worth the read!

Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

I was expecting to be disappointed by this one. It happens to me almost every single time I decide to jump in and read a book that seems to be loved by all. That, surprisingly, did not happen with Royally Screwed. Quite the opposite, in fact. I LOVED Royally Screwed. So. Much. I loved that Olivia had a backbone, and I loved the dynamic between her and Nicholas. And those sex scenes were absolute fire! My one qualm, (and it's not a major one), is I feel the ending was wrapped up pretty quickly and I would have loved to see it drawn out a little more, but it didn't diminish the story, for me. I'm definitely looking forward to the next two books in this series (they are standalones).

 

My Favorite Reads of 2016

I always knew I wanted to use this space for more than just writing about my own writing and publishing journey. I wanted to share some of my daily life, but more than that, I wanted to write and share about the reads that stuck with me. The books that moved me, that wouldn't let me go. I decided to create a list of my favorite reads of 2016. Creating a list from 200 books was not easy. I ended up with a list of 20 books and 10 series that I loved.