May 2022

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up
★★★★★
Featured Book

Crown of Crimson by Karina Halle

"And love is love. As long as it's there, that's all that matters. Sometimes I think it's a miracle that we're even given a chance to love at all."

EMILY THIEDE

This Vicious Grace

A new young adult fantasy romance set in a world inspired by the Amalfi Coast. I liked romance and overall plot of the world's destruction but the middle lost pace and the magic system was missing something for me.

Rating

★★★★ / 3.5 out of 5 Stars

THIS VICIOUS GRACE Summary

Three weddings. Three funerals. Alessa’s gift from the gods is supposed to magnify a partner’s magic, not kill every suitor she touches.

Now, with only weeks left until a hungry swarm of demons devours everything on her island home, Alessa is running out of time to find a partner and stop the invasion. When a powerful priest convinces the faithful that killing Alessa is the island’s only hope, her own soldiers try to assassinate her.

Desperate to survive, Alessa hires Dante, a cynical outcast marked as a killer, to become her personal bodyguard. But as rebellion explodes outside the gates, Dante’s dark secrets may be the biggest betrayal. He holds the key to her survival and her heart, but is he the one person who can help her master her gift or destroy her once and for all?

JASMINE GUILLORY

By The Book

A book about the book world and all its tribulations. An ode to writing and it's industry, if you will. I enjoyed the overall storyline of this one but felt like I lost interest in the character developments towards the middle.

Rating

★★★ / 5 Stars

BY THE BOOK Summary

Isabelle is completely lost. When she first began her career in publishing right out of college, she did not expect to be twenty-five, living at home, still an editorial assistant, and the only Black employee at her publishing house. Overworked and underpaid, constantly torn between speaking up or stifling herself, Izzy thinks there must be more to this publishing life. So when she overhears her boss complaining about a beastly high-profile author who has failed to deliver his long-awaited manuscript, Isabelle sees an opportunity to finally get the promotion she deserves.
All she has to do is go to the author’s Santa Barbara mansion and give him a quick pep talk or three. How hard could it be?
But Izzy quickly finds out she is in over her head. Beau Towers is not some celebrity lightweight writing a tell-all memoir. He is jaded and withdrawn and—it turns out—just as lost as Izzy. But despite his standoffishness, Izzy needs Beau to deliver, and with her encouragement, his story begins to spill onto the page. They soon discover they have more in common than either of them expected, and as their deadline nears, Izzy and Beau begin to realize there may be something there that wasn't there before.

BK BORISON

In The Weeds

The follow-up to Lovelight Farms (which I loved) and it was all about finding your happy. I enjoyed the prose and messaging but overall couldn't relate to the main character Evie and felt, at times, the small-town residents were portrayed in an overall simple-minded manner that I didn't jive with.

Rating

★★★★ / 5 Stars

IN THE WEEDS Summary

Evelyn St. James isn’t the kind of woman you forget.

Beckett Porter certainly hasn’t. One incredible weekend in Maine, and he’s officially a man distracted. He’s not unfamiliar with hot and heavy flings. He knows how it goes. But Evie wove some sort of magic over him during their tumble in the sheets. He can’t stop thinking about her laugh. Her hand pressed flat against his chest. Her smiling mouth at his neck.

Also, her eyes. And her legs.

So when she suddenly appears on his farm as part of a social media contest, he is … confused. He had no idea that the sweet and sexy woman he met at a bar is actually a global phenomenon: social media influencer Evelyn St. James. When she disappears again, Beckett resolves to finally forget her and move on.

But Evelyn St. James has a problem.

Feeling disconnected from her work and increasingly unhappy, she’s trying to find her way back to something real. She returns to the last place she was happy, Lovelight Farms and the tiny town of Inglewild.

It has absolutely nothing to do with the hot farmer she spent two incredible nights with.

Nothing at all.

KRESLEY COLE

The Player

The contemporary romance I will always come back to. Book 3 in the Game Maker Series. A con artist, a Russian billionaire, and an obsessive love. Trust me, you will want to read this one over and over again. Careful, it's super spicy... from Chapter 2 on.

Rating

★★★★★ / 5

THE PLAYER Summary

In this searing stand-alone installment of the erotic Game Maker Series, #1New York Timesbestselling author Kresley Cole brings readers a tale of a man wracked with dark desires and the beautiful young woman who could sate him at last.
A madman with a shadowed past . . .In the City of Sin, Dmitri Sevastyan findsher, Victoria Valentine--sexy, vulnerable, and in need of a protector. Obsession takes root deep inside him. Despite a history tainted with violation and betrayal, he will stop at nothing to possess her.
A grifter with nothing to lose . . .Descended from a long line of con artists, twenty-three-year-old Victoria, a.k.a Vice, needs the score of a lifetime to keep her loved ones safe. She sets her sights on gorgeous and rich Dmitri Sevastyan. Even as the irresistible Russian toys with her body and mind, he tempts her heart.
Love is the ultimate wildcard.When Vice and her associates maneuver Dmitri into a hasty Vegas wedding, he refuses to protect himself with a prenup, trusting her with all that he has. But can she trust him? As secrets unfold, the newlyweds share days of doubts and nights of the wickedest pleasures. Yet once Vice discovers her husband's past, will she stay to fight for her marriage or cut her losses and run?

CHRISTINA LAUREN

Something Wilder

My love for Christina Lauren will never die but this book did not hit the mark for me. It may have been because I went in with romance expectations of the regular Christina Lauren caliber but this adventure book with a cross between Indiana Jones and the Goonies (how could either of those things go wrong, you ask?) just fell very flat for me.

Rating

★★ / 5 Stars

SOMETHING WILDER Summary

Growing up the daughter of notorious treasure hunter and absentee father Duke Wilder left Lily without much patience for the profession…or much money in the bank. But Lily is nothing if not resourceful, and now uses Duke’s coveted hand-drawn maps to guide tourists on fake treasure hunts through the red rock canyons of Utah. It pays the bills but doesn’t leave enough to fulfill her dream of buying back the beloved ranch her father sold years ago, and definitely not enough to deal with the sight of the man she once loved walking back into her life with a motley crew of friends ready to hit the trails. Frankly, Lily would like to take him out into the wilderness—and leave him there.

Leo Grady knew mirages were a thing in the desert, but they’d barely left civilization when the silhouette of his greatest regret comes into focus in the flickering light of the campfire. Ready to leave the past behind him, Leo wants nothing more than to reconnect with his first and only love. Unfortunately, Lily Wilder is all business, drawing a clear line in the sand: it’s never going to happen.

But when the trip goes horribly and hilariously wrong, the group wonders if maybe the legend of the hidden treasure wasn’t a gimmick after all. There’s a chance to right the wrongs—of Duke’s past and their own—but only if Leo and Lily can confront their history and work together. Alone under the stars in the isolated and dangerous mazes of the Canyonlands, Leo and Lily must decide whether they’ll risk their lives and hearts on the adventure of a lifetime.

SHARON C. COOPER

Business Not As Usual

Overall, I enjoyed this story and thought the banter was cute and the plot had potential. Where it fell for me was the pacing and I found myself struggling to finish this one.

Rating

★★★ / 3.5 out of 5 Stars

BUSINESS NOT AS USUAL Summary

A woman learns the hard way about mixing business with pleasure in this hilarious new romantic comedy byUSA Todaybestselling author Sharon C. Cooper.

I am beautiful. I am confident. I am lovable. I am a lottery winner.

This is the mantra that will get Dreamy Daniels through each day until she makes it big. So what if she lives in a seedy part of Los Angeles in a house that’s one earthquake away from crumbling, or works an unfulfilling secretarial job while struggling to finish her bachelor’s degree? All Dreamy needs to do is win the lottery, which she’s been entering in as a weekly tradition with her grandfather. When she catches the attention of her boss’s potential investor, Dreamy has to remind herself to focus on her career goals so she can be her own boss. Who cares if he has the social grace of the Duke of Sussex and the suaveness of Idris Elba? No distractions allowed.

Growing up with a father who is an A-list actor and a socialite mother, venture capitalist Karter Redford lives in the world of the rich and famous. Instead of attending movie premieres, however, he prefers spending his time helping the less fortunate, backing start-up companies and investing in cutting edge ideas. Karter is used to his life revolving around work, but when he decides he wants someone to share it with, he falls for someone his mother would never approve of: hilarious, quirky Dreamy, who has goals of her own…but also isn’t a wealthy, upper-crust socialite. Though it’s clear they’re from different worlds, their relationship might just be his greatest investment yet.

JENNY HICKMAN

A Cursed Heart

Book 2 in the Myths of Airren series and the followup to A Cursed Kiss. Aveen and Rian's love is stabby, swoony, and snarky, and I live for it. If you love Romantasy, morally grey heroes, wicked Fae princes, steamy banter, even steamier romance, soulmates, curses, dungeons, and adventure, you will love this book.

Rating

★★★★★ / 5

A CURSED HEART Summary

Living on an island plagued by magic and mythical monsters isn't a fairy tale... it's a nightmare.

Aveen is the perfect lady, placid and well-mannered, concealing her discontentment beneath false smiles and gentle nods. As the eldest, her duty has always been to her family legacy and her sister's happiness. But when she finds herself forced into a betrothal to a man she loathes, she swears she'll do anything to escape. Even if it means bargaining with a wicked fae prince. Rían is a devious half-fae with a dark secret, concealing his true nature beneath glamours and lies. When a fascinating human accidentally catches his eye, it's clear he'll do anything to take her for himself. Including making promises he can't-or won't-keep. Confronting hidden dangers and haunting pasts, the two reluctantly come to rely on each other to survive a world where nothing is what it seems and darkness encroaches from all sides.

Will their tangled web of lies bring the freedom they crave..or will it unravel them both?

FINLEY FENN

The Librarian & The Orc

Book 3 of the Orc Sworn Series | A dark, angsty, full-length fantasy romance. Comes after The Heiress and the Orc, but also reads as a standalone. Happily ever after guaranteed.

Rating

★★★★ / 5

THE LIBRARIAN & THE ORC Summary

He’s a fierce, ferocious, death-dealing beast. And he’s reading a book in her library...

In a world of recently warring orcs and men, Rosa Rolfe leads a quiet, scholarly life as an impoverished librarian — until the day she finds an orc. In her library. Reading a book.

He’s rude, aggressive, and deeply terrifying, with his huge muscled form, sharp black claws, and cold, dismissive commands. But he doesn’t seem truly dangerous… at least until night falls. And he makes Rosa a shocking, scandalous offer…

Her books, for her surrender. Her ecstasy. Her enlightenment…

Rosa’s no fool, and she knows she can’t possibly risk her precious library for this brazen, belligerent orc. Even if he is surprisingly well-read. Even if he smells like sweet, heated honey. Even if he makes Rosa’s heart race with fear, and ignites all her deepest, darkest cravings at once…

But surrender demands a dangerous, devastating price. A bond that can’t easily be broken. And a breakneck journey to the fearsome, forbidding Orc Mountain, where a curious, clever librarian might be just what’s needed to stop another war…

THEA HARRISON

Dragon Bound

My Most Reread Book of ALL TIME. The first novel in the New York Times Bestselling Elder Races Series! Fantasy, Dragons, Steamy Romance, Danger, Fated Mates, and an expansive fantastical world full of creatures and mythical beasts.

Rating

★★★★★ / 5

DRAGON BOUND Summary

Half-human and half-wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their Dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful—and passionate—of the Elder races.


As the most feared and respected of the wyrkind, Dragos Cuelebre cannot believe someone had the audacity to steal from him, much less succeed. And when he catches the thief, Dragos spares her life, claiming her as his own to further explore the desire they’ve ignited in each other.


Pia knows she must repay Dragos for her trespass, but refuses to become his slave—although she cannot deny wanting him, body and soul...

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