June 2022

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

Glow by Raven Kennedy

Book 4, The Plated Prisoner Series

"I've always been treated like treasure, but with Slade, I'm simply treasured."

LIVY HART

Talk Flirty to Me

Genre: Contemporary Romance

A book for audiobook lovers with all the tropes. Forced Proximity, Brother's Best Friend, Steamy Audiobook Narrating, Scandal, Fire-fighters, and Forbidden Love.

Rating

★★★ / 3 out of 5 Stars

TALK FLIRTY TO ME Summary

I’ve got ninety-nine problems and my brother’s snarky, smart-mouthed best friend Sam is tangled up in every last one of them.

When it comes to firefighter Sam O’Shea, absence—and a regime of tactical avoidance—has been working for mejuuustfine. But when the audition of a lifetime falls in my pathetically broke lap, and he’s the only one who can help me land the job, I’m willing to make a deal with the devil if it means I can kickstart my career as a narrator for audiobooks.

The problem? We’d have to actually do the job. Together. And then we’re told it’s for an erotic romance. Narrating steamy lines in a tiny studio with a man who lights a fire under your skin? An occupational hazard. Accidentally inciting a town scandal when your erotic audiobook clips wind up on the radio? A crisis. And falling for the one man I promised my brother—and my heart—I wouldn’t touch?

A disaster—and temptation—I can’t resist.

RACHEL GRIFFIN

Wild is the Witch

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Yet again, a masterclass in atmospheric magic. Rachel's sophomore novel, Wild is the Witch, is nothing other than enchanting. My favorite part other than the beautiful prose? The Ode to Nature with its wispy magic and lush storytelling, it's a story that speaks to the soul.

Rating

★★★★ / 4 out of 5 Stars

WILD IS THE WITCH Summary

After a night of magic turns deadly, Iris Gray vows to never let another person learn she's a witch. It doesn't matter that the Witches' Council found her innocent or that her magic was once viewed as a marvel—that night on the lake changed everything. Now settled in Washington, Iris hides who she really is and vents her frustrations by writing curses she never intends to cast. And while she loves working at the wildlife refuge she runs with her mother, she loathes Pike Alder, the witch-hating aspiring ornithologist who interns with them.

When Pike makes a particularly hurtful comment, Iris concocts a cruel torment for him. But just as she's about to dispel it, an owl swoops down and steals the curse before flying far away from the refuge. The owl is a powerful amplifier, and if it dies, Iris's dark spell will be unleashed not only on Pike, but on everyone in the region.

Forced to work together, Iris and Pike trek through the wilderness in search of the bird that could cost Pike his life. But Pike doesn’t know the truth, and as more dangers arise in the woods, Iris must decide how far she's willing to go to keep her secrets safe.

CARLEY FORTUNE

Every Summer After

Genre: Contemporary Romance

A summer read filled with nostalgia. While I wanted to love this book and can appreciate the author's technical talent, this story had plot points that I do not like to read and wished someone had warned me about prior. On top of that, the majority of the perspective, to me, is told through the eyes of a young girl and as I move away from the young adult genre, it was hard for me to keep reading through this lens. If you are wondering what tropes I don't generally dig? I'm not a fan of love triangles (especially of the "choosing between brothers" sort), cheating, or abusive friendships. So, sadly, while this book is incredibly popular, it was not for me.

DNF'D

EVERY SUMMER AFTER Summary

They say you can never go home again, and for Persephone Fraser, ever since she made the biggest mistake of her life a decade ago, that has felt too true. Instead of glittering summers on the lakeshore of her childhood, she spends them in a stylish apartment in the city, going out with friends, and keeping everyone a safe distance from her heart.

Until she receives the call that sends her racing back to Barry’s Bay and into the orbit of Sam Florek—the man she never thought she’d have to live without.

For six summers, through hazy afternoons on the water and warm summer nights working in his family’s restaurant and curling up together with books—medical textbooks for him and work-in-progress horror short stories for her—Percy and Sam had been inseparable. Eventually that friendship turned into something breathtakingly more, before it fell spectacularly apart.

When Percy returns to the lake for Sam’s mother’s funeral, their connection is as undeniable as it had always been. But until Percy can confront the decisions she made and the years she’s spent punishing herself for them, they’ll never know whether their love might be bigger than the biggest mistakes of their past.

Told over the course of six years and one weekend, Every Summer After is a big, sweeping nostalgic story of love and the people and choices that mark us forever.

JULIETTE CROSS

Bright Like Wildfire

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Juliette Cross, you can do no wrong. Bennett Broussard, you can do NO WRONG, SIR. When schoolteacher Betty lands the lead in the local community theater play, opposite past-foe Bennett, things go from fake-kissing to real-kissing...real quick. This small-town contemporary romance has ALL the feels with baby goats and gumbo galore. Plus, I'd say it's Juliette's steamiest book yet. Enjoy!

Rating

★★★★★ / 4.5 out of 5 Stars

BRIGHT LIKE WILDFIRE Summary

Bennett has no idea why Betty Mouton hates him.

Other than the time he accidentally hit her boobs with a glitter bomb in their community theater performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” he’s been nothing but helpful and accommodating. But that notorious “incident” happened nine years ago. Time for the gorgeous redhead to get over it and admit to the real chemistry between them, not just the on-stage kind.

Betty is in trouble.

She may have gotten her dream role in a production by her favorite playwright, but there’s a big problem. Her romantic lead is that cocky, annoyingly hot know-it-all Bennett Broussard. And when the fake touching and fake kissing start to feel way too real, Betty realizes one thing. She better act her heart out or finally admit that Bennett has stolen hers.

JULIE ABE

The Charmed List

Genre: YA Magical Realism

A summertime, frenemy-fueled roadtrip with hint of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I wanted to finish this one so much but as a reader hitting mid-thirties soon, I just found it hard to get into a younger POV again. I am not rating this book because I didn't finish it and that wouldn't be fair because it is overall adorable and those who enjoy the YA genre are sure to love this one.

DNF'd

THE CHARMED LIST Summary

After spending most of high school as the quiet girl, Ellie Kobata is ready to take some risks and have a life-changing summer, starting with her Anti-Wallflower List—thirteen items she’s going to check off one by one. She’s looking forward to riding rollercoasters, making her art Instagram public (maybe), and going on an epic road-trip with her best friend Lia.

But when number four on Ellie’s list goes horribly wrong—revenge on Jack Yasuda—she’s certain her summer has gone from charmed to cursed. Instead of a road trip with Lia, Ellie finds herself stuck in a car with Jack driving to a magical convention. But as Ellie and Jack travel down the coast of California, number thirteen on her list—fall in love—may be happening without her realizing it.

JESSA KANE

The Boss's Runaway

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Jessa Kane's romance shorts are some of my favorites, most being under 100 pages. This one was at 103 pages and I wanted to like it but lately I've been enjoying these less and less. Compared to her earlier books, these don't even compare.

Rating

★★ / 2 out of 5 Stars

THE BOSS'S RUNAWAY Summary

Sissy has escaped her tight-fisted father and runs all the way to Vegas to start a life on her own terms. First order of business? Make some cash as a cocktail waitress…

Over his dead body. Locke isn’t about to set this beautifully innocent farm girl loose on the casino floor or she’ll drive the men wild. Problem is, she has already driven him to the brink of madness with her smile, her scent, her body—and he’s far too old and jaded for a girl this sweet.

Unfortunately, she’s homeless and needs a place to sleep…and he’s powerless to do anything but bring her home and try to resist temptation.

RAVEN KENNEDY

Glow

Genre: Dark Fantasy Romance

Book 4 of The Plated Prisoner Series and my featured Book of the Month. I am fully convinced that whenever I read a Raven Kennedy Book, it will be the featured book of the month. I've never loved two main characters at equal amounts so much. This series started and has evolved into a call for female power with the ultimate male support and I stan that these books are for all the people, women especially, who need to feel seen and are learning to stand on their own two feet. More than just a dark fantasy romance, but a story that parallels how society functions in 2022. How women pit women against each other, how society views women, and how power crumbles and magnifies. This is an epic of learning to love yourself, finding strength, and fighting for a love that stands with you. Also, it helps that Slade is a top five fantasy book husband. (Rhysand, move over... I said what I said)

Rating

★★★★★ / 5 out of 5 Stars

GLOW Summary

"I was nothing but a road to Midas. A means to get to where he wanted to go, and I paved that path in gold."

My life has been made up of gilded lies. But death has been shaped from rot.

Like a phoenix caught fire, I will need to rise from the ashes and learn to wield my own power. Because my wings may have been clipped, but I am not in a cage, and I'm finally free to fly from the frozen kingdoms I've been kept in.

Yet the world doesn't want to let me.

That's the thing when you turn against a king—everyone else turns against you.

Good thing I have a different king in my corner.

But even with the dark threat of Slade Ravinger, the other monarchs are coming for me.

So I will fight for him and he will kill for me, and if we need to become the villains, then so be it.

Because so long as I live in this world, I won't be used again.

Please note: This is an adult fantasy series with dark elements that may be triggering, including past emotional and physical trauma, violence, adult language, and explicit romance. Read at your own discretion.

JESSA KANE

Wearing Him Down

Genre: Contemporary Romance

At 51 pages, this one was quick, quick, quick. While Jessa's niche is the down-and-dirty-daddy-alpha-kink type of story-telling, this one just kind of fizzled out for me.

Rating

★★ / 2 out of 5 Stars

WEARING HIM DOWN Summary

When Sienna’s mother remarried and hightailed it to Paris with husband de jour, she was resigned to being raised by her housekeeper. Sienna never expected her new stepbrother, Grant Foster—the coldhearted Overlord of Wall Street—to assign her a team of bodyguards, move her into his multi-million-dollar penthouse and start calling her princess. Unfortunately, while Grant spoils her rotten, he continues to keep her at arm’s length. Sienna might be young, but her body knows what it needs. And while her stepbrother might be forbidden, she can’t help but wonder what it would take to wear him down…

HEATHER RENEE

Altered Magic

Genre: NA Paranormal Romance

Raise your hand if you love wolf-shifters and witches!! (me aggressively raising both hands) I love Heather Renee's Wolf Shifter books so much. Maybe it stems from my love for Alcide Herveaux from True Blood or where it all started with the wolf-shifters from Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark Series, but I will never turn these down. So, if you love wolf shifters like me with a little bit of spice and a whole lot of found-family magic... check these out.

Rating

★★★★ / 4 out of 5 Stars

ALTERED MAGIC Summary

When you search for answers, the ones found aren't always the ones you want.

Andie

Receiving my aunt’s magic wasn’t the saving grace I hoped it would be. In fact, it was the start of a downward spiral none of us saw coming. With my energy acting out, the push and pull of my bond to Foster, and an interest in us from unwelcome parties, I’m not sure how much longer I can shoulder the pressure.

Foster

I thought I knew what obstacles stood in the way of finding peace with Andie, but with every step forward, we’re forced three more back. Desire fuels my perseverance. Desire to keep Andie safe, to officially make her mine, to make sure no one else has to die on her watch.

Except when we find out who our greatest enemy is…that’s something I won’t accept for as long as I’m still breathing.

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