June July 2018 Review Recap
I haven’t done a monthly recap in so long! Now that Wicked Book Weekend and all the summer traveling is over, I will be getting back to the blog and posting some new reviews. In the meantime, here are the last 2 months of book and audiobook reviews I have done. I have read 8 more books but haven’t caught up on my reviews yet!
First of all, I chose my Top 21 Summer Reads. I am slowly making my way through the list. How many have you read?
Click the graphic or title for each book to be taken to the in-depth, spoiler-free review that includes quotes, graphics and my likes and dislikes.
“This is what it’s like to want someone with every fiber of your being. This desire for her, I feel it everywhere—inside me, along my skin, in my heart, in every goddamn cell in my body. It’s like a force of its own, obliterating everything else.”
Lauren Blakely gets it right every single time. Her audiobooks make the story even better because in her head, she writes for audio. I haven’t found another author whose books translate to audio so well. But no matter how you read it, Come As You Are is another winner for Lauren Blakely. While it may not be overly unique or memorable it has everything you love about Lauren’s writing: A smart, dirty-talking alpha hero who respects women, a heroine you love, fun banter, hot sexy times, great dialogue, and a feel-good vibe. Come As You Are is another reason Lauren Blakely is one of my favorites!
“You’re going to be waiting a long time, so saddle up and enjoy the slow burn, because the man is the master at it.”
My feelings for One Baby Daddy are mixed. I think there are a few reasons it wasn’t my favorite Meghan Quinn book, but the biggest was that it just felt like a typical surprise baby/hockey romance. There was nothing unique about it. Also, my expectations were very high. This had been my favorite series by one of my favorite authors, and it had a character I already loved. For me though, usually I need to love the heroine to love the book, and I never loved Adalyn. That being said, I still liked the book. There were parts I absolutely LOVED. But to me, One Baby Daddy almost seemed rushed to publication. It was just missing the unique quality that makes Meghan’s books so special. She is still absolutely a top favorite author, but you can’t love every book equally, and that’s OK, because I know some said this was their favorite of the series.
PS: I still bought a signed copy to complete my series set, and I do recommend reading it if you read the series and want to know what happened to Aiden.
“Actually, you look like a fine wine, aged to perfection, sweet on the palate and lingering on the tongue long after you’ve been swallowed.”
I love love love that L.B. Dunbar wrote another book about a 40+ couple. Making it about a cancer survivor with some totally legit insecurities made her even more relatable. I totally loved Edie. Tommy was a dirty-talker with some secrets, and I found him to be a little cheesy, but I am not sure if that is from the narration or his dialogue or both. Even so, I still totally enjoyed the story, and look forward to reading Midlife Crisis, about another 40 something former rocker.
One other thing. Maybe because I’m 51 and not grey with very few wrinkles, I feel like calling someone in their early 40s a “silver fox” was a little misleading (I guess I assume that means an older man 50-60). My husband didn’t have grey till his mid-50s either. I also went with my son when he toured with the Allman Brother’s drummer at 69, and a rocker in their 40s is usually in the height of their career. I feel like these characters might be aging a bit before their time. The next is about a character named Midge. My grandma had a friend named Midge. She would be about 100 now. Over 40 does not mean OLD! I do understand that there has to be references to their ages, but 40s, to me, is still in the prime!
“Wild like the wind,” she whispered…
“I was once that,” she told him. Yeah she was. Wild and beautiful and happy and carefree.
“I know you were,” he replied.
“Feels like centuries ago.”
Where his thumb could reach, he stroked her face. “I know.”
Sigh…there is nothing like reading a Kristen Ashley book. Wild Like The Wind took a while to read because it’s longer and more detailed than most books, but I was also traveling, and it was so dirty I couldn’t read on the plane for fear of who might read over my shoulder! I love books with older kids, and seeing Keely’s boys growing up to be loyal Chaos boys was pretty awesome. But it was Hound’s relationship with Jean that really stole my heart. Once again, Kristen Ashley had me swooning, laughing, crying and hugging my kindle. Wild Like The Wind is the perfect addition to the Chaos series, effortlessly weaving together the past and the present to bring us a refreshing and new story with familiar characters we love.
See My Full Review & Interview with Kristen Ashley | Purchase on Amazon | Audible
“Despite how goddamn beautiful you are, inside and out, I can’t let myself get distracted from my goal, and you’re a distraction.”
Meghan Quinn took a risk with the Blue Line duet. Not only does it veer from the romantic comedies she is known for, it took a risk in its story as well, and though I didn’t think I would like the direction it went in, I DID! She totally won me over and I think the story went exactly the way it should, even more so if she does the spin-off it seems she is doing. I urge you to not read even the blurb for the second book or any further related books until you have read these stories, because there will be spoilers, and it’s so much better not knowing!
“People are led to believe that a marriage ends only when the love has been lost. When anger replaces happiness. When contempt replaces bliss. But Graham and I aren’t angry at each other. We’re just not the same people we used to be.”
How can you review the words of a genius? Who am I to give anything less than 5 stars to CoHo? I’ve read all her books and they have all been 5 stars. All Your Perfects was 5 stars for the last third, but I really struggled with it being a little too hopeless and depressing in the first half. Please keep in mind, this is coming from a girl who loves romcoms and avoids most ugly cry books that are not written by Colleen Hoover. This story is fairly straightforward, there were no real twists or surprises, so it’s all about the emotion and how it plays out. While all of Colleen’s books are filled with emotion, and I have ugly-cried during them all, All Your Perfects affected me differently and just kind of put me in a funk that lingered when I wasn’t reading. Do I still recommend it? Well, YES. It’s Colleen Hoover. You will FEEL. She will BREAK YOU. But she will put you back together, and it’s worth the suffering.
Rachel: Oh okay then. Good morning prickly penis.
Calder: Prickly penis? Uh, how is that a term of endearment?
Rachel: I have no idea, it’s a legit the first thing that came to mind.
Meghan’s heroines never fail to make me giggle like an idiot. They are so ridiculous and fun, I want to be friends with all of them!
Back in the Game was a quick novella, originally in the Team Player Anthology. Though it fits in the Dating By The Numbers series, it very much stands alone and would be a great short intro to Meghan’s style. The ONLY negative in this was that I so wish it was a full-length novel because it all went too quickly! BUT I will say, in the short amount of pages/time it had, there was a full story that totally grabbed me.
“Two men she’d been involved with, slept with, had deep, personal relationships with. Two men who’d empowered her and helped her grow and changed her very core. Two men who had used her and chewed her up and then spit her out. And now both those men were her close neighbors.”
I have really mixed feelings on this duet. It kept me interested and involved, but most of the time I was aggravated. The heroine was an immature doormat and both heroes had issues, one was too immature and one was a total asshole. Frankly, in my mind, the happiest ending would have been if Katya moved away with her new sexual awareness and started fresh. I will say, as someone old enough to be Katya’s mom, that maybe I was just too old for this one, it is very much a ‘coming of age’ novel even though she is 23. I just wanted to warn her to run the other way from BOTH of them! I was happy to see Katya finally grow a backbone in the second book, but her ire went on too long and I felt there was just too much filler in The Neighborhood. So I liked Neighbors just enough that the cliffy made me need to know what happens in the second book, but if I hadn’t already bought it with the first, I’m not sure I would have continued. I am glad I did though because I actually liked The Neighborhood better than Neighbors.
“You take risks every damn day in your job—you’ve made a name for yourself doing it—and yet, you won’t take a goddamn risk on me, will you?”
Once again, K. Bromberg delivered a unique, sexy, engaging, and emotional read with Worth The Risk. I love a single dad book and I absolutely fell for Luke, his son. I didn’t realize at first that this is the third of the Malone Brothers books that start with Cuffed and Combust. I loved those two books and this was no different.
“You woke something up inside me that had been unconscious for a long time, Ari. I’m not even sure there was a time it wasn’t just beating through life, completely worthless aside from the job it did to keep me breathing.”
According to all the reviews on this book, everyone loved it. I checked because I really struggled in the beginning. While I had faith that Harper would turn me around, it didn’t start turning for me until after 30%. If it wasn’t Harper I would have DNFd. But I am SO HAPPY I stuck with it. Thorn is now on my favorite book boyfriend list, and I loved Ari and all the side characters, especially Piper and Wilder. While none of the reviews say it, I spoke to a few friends that also said this had a slow start with a strong finish. When you are building a series, this often happens. But now that we know the setting and characters, we can just jump right into the next, Blind Hearts, and I can’t wait.
“Am I your sex souvenir, and I don’t even know it? Oh my God, do you have a punch card or something, a form I have to fill out? Are you going to take a picture of me with a Polaroid camera, have me sign it, and then hang it with your other sex souvenirs?” He clasps his hand to his chest in disgust. “Am I merely here to be your . . . fuck toy?”
Once again, Meghan Quinn proves why she is a top 5 author for me with Two Wedding Crashers. I didn’t think she could top Three Blind Dates, but I think this may have! I laughed out loud and have a note that says “Funniest Meghan Quinn book to date”. But I also cried my eyes out. Beck’s past is heartbreaking, but what he has done with that past is completely amazing. Two Wedding Crashers stands perfectly fine on its own, but reading it after Three Blind Dates is even better. Meghan Quinn’s writing just keeps getting better, so I can’t wait to read One Baby Daddy!
Atticus by Sawyer Bennett Book Review“My tail wags because it’s the most perfect place to get scratches. Hazel leans over me, and I smile up at her while she pets me. “You’re a good boy, aren’t you, Atticus?” Why yes. Yes, I am. I give a little woof of acknowledgment.”
I think Atticus may be a new all-time favorite. It’s nice to have a book you love that you can recommend to anyone whether they read romance or not. If you are a dog lover (or any animal), you will especially love Atticus. If you aren’t, you will become one after reading it. I couldn’t shut up about Atticus to my family, and I think I read my son half of it. Getting in Atticus’s head was so much fun because my dog Lucy reminds me of him in many ways. She is crazy in love with me, she won’t go out with anyone but me, goes bonkers when I get home (way more than anyone else), sleeps on my head, growls at my husband when he touches me and gets into all kind of trouble even when she knows the rules. For goodness sakes, she poops right in front of her doggy door when I leave because she is mad at me. Until I had this dog, I never really understood how smart and in-sync an animal can be with its owner, and I think that made Atticus even more special to me.
While Atticus is a story about a dog, it is SO MUCH MORE. This was such a strong story about how love and family can come in the most unlikely forms. About recognizing your self-worth and living up to it. About how much unconditional love for another being can change you profoundly. It was about love and friendship and self-worth. It brought out every emotion and made me feel so deeply that my dog had to lick my tears away. Atticus was a saga that spanned around 7 years, so don’t expect it to be a quick, fluffy read about a dog, and grab your tissues. I literally hugged my Kindle (and my dog) when I finished. I can’t help but give Atticus ALL the stars. He’s such a GOOD BOY!
“There is no way, according to everything I’ve read about Marco Lent, that he is anything other than 100% gay.
And there is no way, according to everything I’ve felt in this car, that he isn’t planning on ripping off my clothes with his teeth once we arrive at his home.”
Hidden Seams was one of the more unique books I have read and I completely enjoyed that aspect of it. The story kept me involved and engaged from the very beginning, and the twists and turns were all surprises. The fantastic narration made the audiobook even better. The story was very hot, but I never felt a true love develop between the main characters, and maybe I, myself, felt a bit of a disconnect that I can’t put my finger on. It was still a very enjoyable read, it just didn’t make me want to shout from the rooftops about it.
“She could change her actions, change her words, change her appearance, but she couldn’t change the root of herself. At her core, she would always be autistic. People called it a disorder, but it didn’t feel like one. To her, it was simply the way she was.”
I can’t tell you how many people I messaged personally about this book. I think it’s an important read, not only because it features an autistic character written by an autistic author, but it also has a diverse cast of characters. But forget about why it’s an “important” read and let’s focus on why it was a great read. It was a hopeful book, filled with pain, joy, sexy times, love, friendship, family, culture, and diversity. It made me laugh, it tugged at my heartstrings, it made me think, and it made me swoon. I reveled in the uniqueness it brought to a common theme (falling for your escort). The topic of autism could have overpowered the story, but it was more about Stella’s personality and the unique qualities that make her special. It was about overcoming labels, accepting that labels don’t make the person. I loved how they both learned to love themselves as they learned to love the other and accept the other’s love. The Kiss Quotient is truly a book I will remember for a long time and I really look forward to the next standalone in the series, The Bride Test, coming in 2019.
“Okay. Dance. I can do this.” I speak the words softly, more to myself than to Vincent. Nodding my head to the slow beat of the music, I start moving. First, my arms go out in front of me, one at a time. Then, I smack them down on each shoulder, one at a time. Next, each hand goes behind my head, and then down to my hips, which I proceed to shimmy and shake.
“What the hell is that?” he asks, causing me to abruptly stop moving.
“It’s the Macarena. Heeeeey Macarena!” I sing. “It’s the only dance I know without using the chair. You totally broke my concentration. Now I’m going to have to start over.”
AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT, the first in the series (which I loved as well) is currently On Sale for $1.99!
“I’m only half French.”
“Which half of you is British?”
“My cock, of course.”
“My tits are French then.”
“I love French.”
Once again, Lauren Blakely delivers a sweet, sexy, funny, romantic, scenic, juicy, fun book. I always recommend Lauren’s audiobooks first because it feels like her books are written for audio. She pays attention to the audio aspects from the beginning and also gives the narrators more direction than most other authors do. The sexy accent is just a bonus! While I was listening to this one, both my husband and son asked several times what the silly grin on my face was for. They didn’t see the airpods in my ears and just kept thinking I was walking around with a swoony grin on my face. I think whether reading or listening to Part-Time Lover, you are bound to enjoy the trip.
- Tote Bag
- “I like it when you rub my button” Pin
- Wicked Book Weekend phone charger
- F*** Off I’m Reading socks
- Ana’s Attic purple sharpie
- Ana’s Attic phone/kindle stand
- Custom Book Journal
- Meredith Wild Book (unsigned)
- Random Signed Book
- Author swag (pens/chapstick)
US only, I’m sorry.