As always, I'm offering the chance for one reader to win an e-copy of any TWO titles on our list this month, so if you see something you haven't read yet, and that title captures your fancy, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway!
Pia – Work in Progress by John Inman – I adore John Inman, I really do, and I’m glad I got to listen to Work in Progress, the second book in the Belladonna Arms series.
I think Caleb Dickinson did a great job narrating. Each person had depth and character, and I never once got confused or had to ask myself who was speaking.
Find Pia’s Full Review and Buy Links HERE
Karen – The Lightning-Struck Heart by TJ Klune – I honestly don’t even know where to start.
I originally read this blurb and thought, nope not going to be for me. But come on, it’s TJ Klune and you are going to have to read it. Oh I was so, so wrong. This book was exactly what I needed. I didn’t think I would ever come across another book that would have me laughing so hard I was crying the way that Tell Me It’s Real did, but this one absolutely did. The dialogue and banter was super fast and snarky and random and filled with complete awesomeness!
Find Karen’s Full Review and Buy Links HERE
Jules – Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy – Seriously hot. Seriously swoony. Seriously good.
When I first started reading Him, I was just coming off of a couple of really fantastic reads, both of which were completely different types of books from what I expected this one to be. I worried that I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to do adrenaline-fueled, high testosterone, alpha males. Him blew my expectations out of the water. I quickly realized that I was putting it in a certain box in my head, which also ended up getting blown to smithereens. I absolutely loved this book.
Find Jules' Full Review and Buy Links HERE
Maryann – Wounded Hearts by Remmy Duchene and BL Morticia – What a terrific start to a new series. Wounded Hearts is such a great collaboration by Remmy Duchene and BL Morticia. I really loved this story; lots of humor, sexy talk, ranching, a cop, and a cowboy. And watch out for the mud wrestling! There’s no mysterious plot or outrageous secrets, just a young, beautiful man from the city, and a crazy, gorgeous, older cowboy, who get so wound up in each other they just keep putting those important conversations on hold. And that certainly leads to some head-butting.
Find Maryann’s Full Review and Buy Links HERE
Carrie – Lessons for Idle Tongues by Charlie Cochrane (Honorable Mention: Make Me Soar by K.C. Wells) – How does she do it? How does Charlie Cochrane’s mind come up with this stuff? Just when you think you might have it all figured out… That would be a no. I love it!
Each of the installments in the Cambridge Fellows series is a standalone book; however, you do really get a continuity of characters if you read them from the beginning. Many of her main characters, Jonty and Orlando and their friends and family – even the servants – all have their places in the timeline.
Find Carrie’s Full Review and Buy Links HERE
Lana – The Butcher, the Baker, and the Custom Bike Maker by Mathew Ortiz – Mr. Ortiz knows how to write hot Southern men. They have sex appeal, charm, some are more alpha than others, they are secure in who they are, yet they are always looking for their true love. They love their families and friends, some are real mama’s boys, but they are all good men who just want love and companionship. These are my favorite type of characters to read about. All his characters are sarcastic and funny, and always find the bright side to life. This story is a love affair between two men who are meant to be together. They get their happy ending and eat more food!
Find Lana’s Full Review and Buy Links HERE
Jennifer – Lonely Shore by Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen – If book one in this series was intense, book two punches you in the gut on page one and keeps going until the end. I mean honestly, the authors do not let up, and even though you want the pain to stop, you need to know what happens, so you keep reading. I whimpered from page one on, and full out cried from chapter ten through sixteen, and I’m not exaggerating either.
If you read book one, you must read this book. If you like science fiction, I highly recommend this series. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series, Skip Trace, which I’m sure will be another fantastic installment!
Find Jennifer’s Full Review HERE
Lynn – The Secrets of a Twin/When a Twin Peeks by Liberty Lace – I’ve never read this author before, so I went into this not knowing what to expect. Having said that, I have read twincest before, so I knew what my expectations were. This author delivered in more ways than one. I’ll definitely be reading more of her stories. I know the sub-genre of twincest isn’t for everyone, but if I could recommend a starter book for those who want to get their feet wet, The Secrets of a Twin would be the one I’d pick.
What I like most about these taboo stories is the understanding behind the characters. I like going through the process with them; the confusion they go through when they realize they love their sibling more than is socially acceptable. Typically, shorter stories don’t let us see that process, so it feels as though we’re missing a big chunk, but that isn’t the case with When a Twin Peeks. This author knows how to get a full story in with very few words. I loved it.
Sammy – Billy Goat Stats by John C. Houser – This story…wow. Coming of age? Check. Coming out? Check. First love? Check. Humor, intelligent dialogue, fast paced action, honest emotions, realistic consequences, no easy fixes, beautifully heart wrenching relationships? Check Plus! The development of both Jonah and Billy’s characters that takes place in this sequel was all one could hope for and then some. Here is the place these young men begin to really grow up and make life choices that will map out their futures either together or apart. As coming-of-age novels go, Billy Goat Stats was handled expertly and carefully, making it as realistic a story as possible and yet still remain fiction. Actions had consequences, friendships were developed—sometimes painfully so, and teenage boys made their first steps toward being mature and responsible adults. Intermixed with all this was a burgeoning love story that simply swept you away in waves of humor and vulnerability.
Find Sammy’s Full Review HERE
Sadonna – Wild Fragile Vines by Vivien Dean – There is nothing better than a good short story that is emotional without being melodramatic.
What a beautifully poignant story of a love that smolders for many years before it can burn brightly. Wild Fragile Vines is highly recommended as a wonderful example of a complete short story.
Find Sadonna’s Full Review and Buy Links HERE
Taz – Love on the Web by Neil Plakcy – Whew! This was a book I couldn’t put down. In fact, I woke up this morning with my Kindle resting on my chest after having lost the battle to stay awake late into the wee hours. Of course, I simply picked the book right up and continued on the journey. What I enjoyed about the book was how all the elements I love about stories were present. The main character had a clear talent for coding of computer apps (well, anything techie really), and the pages were filled with descriptions of the work he needed to do and how his work made him the cream that rose to the top. Along with that, the author included a cadre of weird family members, co-workers and roommates who fleshed out the main character. And, of course, Larry had not one but two extremely hot men who were both pursuing him. One of those men was sweet as sugar, while the other was vile. Don’t you just love when there’s a villain you can hate?
Find Taz’s Full Review and Buy Links HERE
Angel – Where There’s Fire (Honorable Mention: Retrograde by RJ Scott) – Cari Z. delivers another excellent, action packed adventure from Panopolis! I will never look at Heroes and Villains the same way again, and neither will you. This is a most excellent thing, indeed.
When I saw this title go up as one of our choices, I jumped on it. I could not get enough of the first book in the series, and though it was only a little over a month ago that I read Where There’s Smoke, it felt like forever. It was so well done, I hadn’t forgotten a thing about the plot, and Fire picks up shortly after where Smoke ended. It is still the gritty, realistic fantasy that packs a well-placed punch to the gut when all is revealed in this installment.
Find Angel’s Full Review and Buy Links HERE
Lisa – Death by Dragon by Madeleine Ribbon – If you’ve ever finished a book and thought, Dear gods of all fiction, please let there be a sequel, then you’ve been exactly where I am after reading Madeleine Ribbon’s Death by Dragon. Not because the storyline necessarily needs one but because the characters and the world they live in need one. And me. I need one too.
Why I loved this book has much to do with the narrator of the story, Fell (short for Raphael) Harwick. Fell is a witch with extraordinary healing abilities. He’s also become a bit of a recluse since there’s a vampire who aims to kidnap him and make Fell his mindless meat-puppet in an attempt to reign supreme over the kingdom of “others” with which Ribbon has populated this novel. Witch: check. Vampires: check. Shifters: check. Dragon: check-check. What makes Fell an outcast even more than being a witch, though, is the other half of his biology, courtesy of his father. Fell’s also part incubus, and we all know what sort of shenanigans the incubi are capable of.
But wait, there’s more…
Find My Full Review and Buy Links HERE
Buddy Pick (Jules and Lisa) – Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell – When Jules and I both wanted to read and review Santino Hassell’s Sutphin Boulevard, we decided the only fair way to accomplish it was to do a buddy read. What happened after that decision was a series of text messages and Facebook PMs that probably could have turned into a single review for how much we loved every single thing about this book, from the gorgeously drawn characters to the heartbreaking descent of one man’s downward spiral into addiction, and another’s promise to wait for him until he finds a way to heal all the ways his life had become an affliction.
Rather that copy and paste quotes from both of our reviews, I’ll just post the link HERE and tell you that this book is everything great contemporary fiction is about. :)
And that does it for this month. Until August, happy reading!
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