Cheers, everyone, and welcome to another installment of our Best of June, most loved books to kick off the summer!
As always, there's the chance to win a couple of e-titles from this month's picks, so be sure to check out the Rafflecopter widget below.
And now, here they are, the BotM picks for June!
Doug – Throwing Stones by Robin Reardon – “There is so much more to this story that I couldn’t possibly cover it in a review. The scenes describing Pagan rituals, rochhounding (gotta read the book if you don’t already know what this is), simply driving around in a truck, all bring to life the inner workings of a young man’s life and how he manages to piece everything together to bring unity to those around him. Ms. Reardon has educated us as well as entertained, mixing an appreciation for the land and spirituality with the universal need we all have to belong and to feel loved.
This is a good book. A great book. One that had me crying for practically the whole last quarter of it.”
Cassie – The Dark Horse Bundle by Kate Sherwood – “While each book focuses on the relationship, they all highlight different points of that relationship arc. Dark Horse is all about beginnings. It really rocks that slow burn, which is pretty much my favorite way to have a romance unfold. The story gives the characters a believable span of acquaintance and plenty of good ol’ fashioned simmering attraction before the big moment, which I really appreciate. Out of the Darkness focuses on establishing the trio as a unit, working out logistics (emotional and physical – wink wink), and overcoming lingering doubts. Of Dark and Bright introduces the biggest stressor the trio has had to overcome yet, and forces the guys to either pull together to take the next step, or walk away.”
Jennifer – The Tales of Amaranth Bundle by Thom Lane – “I loved this series as a whole. The world building was excellent, as were the characterizations. I like that Thom Lane managed to work Master Mage Lucan and Tam into most of the other books because they were what drew me into the series.
While each book can stand alone and be read separately, it’s fun to read them in order because you see the small progression of Lucan and Tam’s relationship while other couples are being established.
As for the slavery, it’s handled well. There are cruel owners, yes, but the main characters are not the cruel ones, and it fits in this world where mages exist and some can open the door between this plane and hell.
If you like historical-like worlds with fantasy and do not mind characters who are slaves, or you like BDSM or D/s, then I highly recommend this entire series.”
Angel – THIRDS: Beyond the Books (Vol. One) by Charlie Cochet – “THIRDS Beyond the Books is a Grade A, first rate collection of awesome fan service. Charlie Cochet expanded her beloved characters from the THIRDS series at the fans’ behest, and it was fantastic. Just as the blurb says, if you’ve ever wondered about something just mentioned in passing in the series, this is a book for you.
This is the first set of THIRDS Thursday stories, and there are more to come. To date, the author is also continuing to write more as she continues the main series, too. They were all once posted online on Charlie Cochet’s website, but have been gathered in one handy place for the fans’ enjoyment. Not to mention the proceeds going to a wonderful cause.”
Lisa – The Mercy of Men (Saint Flaherty: Book Two) by S. Hunter Nisbet – “If you’ve ever finished a book and were so floored by it that all you wanted to do was start reading it again from the beginning, that is this book. If you’ve ever loved a book so much that all you wanted to do was shove it under everyone’s noses and scream “Read! It! … Pleeeease…” just so you’d have someone to talk to it about, yeah, that’s this book. If you’ve ever wanted to own a book in paperback because you want to be able to inhale its words… okay, maybe that’s a bit weird, but dammit, that’s S. Hunter Nisbet’s Saint Flaherty series for me. If What Boys Are Made Of and The Mercy of Men are any indication, this series is going to make my Top Reads of 2016 list, no question about it.”
Lynn – Love Can’t Conquer by Kim Fielding – “Let me say here that this is my favorite kind of story. I love damaged characters. Not that I get pleasure in reading about their abuse and struggles, but I like to see them overcome and succeed. And I like to see it happen realistically. This author does that. Both Jeremey and Qay fumble, they have set backs, and nothing is fixed permanently in one chapter, or even by the end of the book. We get both POV’s, so we’re seeing how their minds work, we’re seeing the mistakes they make, and that’s okay, they’re human. I love the realism in this story.
All that being said, the tone of this story is kind of bleak, melancholy even. Do the characters get their HEA? Yes, they do. But this story is not for the faintest heart. It’s angsty, sad and, at times, down right depressing, but it’s oh-so-good. It smacks you right in the feels. Kim Fielding’s writing is superb with this one. Fantastic!”
Kim – Pulling Leather by LC Chase – “I love the Pickup Men series! And I can’t decide whether it’s Pickup Men or Pulling Leather that is the winning favorite. I mean, you can’t read one without the other, but Pulling Leather exceeded my expectations in how Scott Gillard was going to redeem himself after being such an ass in book one. I was kind of sad yet happy when it ended. What can I say? I don’t like to let go of a book that’s captured my imagination. All in all, Pulling Leather is a wonderful finish to the Pickup Men series.”
Carrie – Reckless by Caitlin Ricci – “Have you ever been in a situation where your head and your heart are totally at odds? This book is a clear example of the heart wanting what the heart wants, and nothing can stand in the way. There is a lot about BDSM etiquette here, and what the rules are when a Dom loans out his sub to another Dom (or bets him and loses).
Lee loves to bet. He bets on everything. He bets with everything—even the time of one of his current subs (he has multiple). I have to say that Lee is not shown in the best light in this book, and I would love to have him be the focus of the next installment and see him really meet someone who gives him a run for his money. Lee hasn’t found “the one” yet, but he inadvertently is the catalyst for his best friend and business partner meeting his.”
Sadonna – A Dandelion for Tulip by R. Cooper – “This is an absolutely gorgeous love story between a human, David, and Tulip, the faery he is in love with. David is a mixed race human Ph.D. student who is working on his doctorate, specializing in reexamining the literature of the past, featuring beings—particularly faeries and such—in great works such as Shakespeare. Now that beings have come out of hiding and are “known” in the human world, David is trying to put the pieces together to show that these great writers, in fact, were in contact with beings and those actual beings were the inspiration for these works. Apparently this is quite unpopular with the “establishment,” as they seem to think that such a theory denigrates the “genius” of these writers. That hasn’t stopped David, though, and he’s forging ahead.”
Jules – Beta Test by Annabeth Albert – “I loved these guys together, and how they each gave the other a safe place to truly be themselves. It’s not completely smooth sailing, of course. There is some miscommunication, and some holding back…but, they get there. I really enjoyed their journey. I loved the big ‘A-ha’ moments they each had with their families—Ravi’s with his sister, Avani, when she makes him realize how he must have made Tristan feel about his support of his mother; and Tristan’s epiphany after seeing the ‘Family First’ button for his mom’s campaign.
I absolutely love Annabeth Albert’s easygoing storytelling style. This was a laid back but also very engrossing read. The characters are fabulous, and all of the gaming stuff was really fun and so well done, and obviously well researched. It’s always such a win when being super nerdy also makes you super cool!”
Lindsey – Absinthe of Malice by Rhys Ford – “I always find Ms. Ford’s writing style and descriptions to be phenomenal, and this book it was no different. I felt like I was right there in the back alley of New York, or a rundown venue in a podunk town. I could picture being there, walking with the boys as they were strolling down the Las Vegas strip and seeing (and smelling) the City of Sin. Not just the locations but the feelings of each of the characters were so intense. When Rafe is playing his guitar I could feel his euphoria. I am not a musician—I don’t have a musical bone in my body, other than playing the radio or my iPod—but I felt the guys’ love for the music and how much of a part of them the music is, and how the music bonds these guys in ways it is hard to fathom.
The main story is about the band members: Miki, Damien, Rafe & Forest. We still get our Morgans and their Murphy-Finnegan cousin fix, so don’t worry. And, as always with Rhys Ford’s writing, she has brought them each to life. No two are alike. They are all flawed and have their own quirks, which make them who they are.”
Maryann – Snakes Among Sweet Flowers by Jason Huffman-Black – “Cam made one last mistake before leaving Harold Livey’s gang of thieves, and now he’s being tracked down, putting the people of Hog Mountain in danger. Cam has to decide to trust in Jackson and tell him what’s going on.
I love Jackson and Cam; their growing feelings for each other bring out the best in both of them. And they both have a special bond with Galen, Luanne and Tony. There are many solid characters to enjoy in this story, and I found Dr. Grant Moore, the town vet, to be just a little too creepy/stalkerish. Snakes Among Sweet Flowers is suspenseful, dangerous, and was an absolute page turner for me. Jason Huffman-Black is an author I will definitely keep an eye out for.”
The full reviews for these books, and more, can be found at The Novel Approach Reviews.
And that's it for now. Until July, happy reading!
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