As always, we're also giving away some e-copies from the list, and because it's my birthday, I'm throwing in a little something extra, so be sure to check out the details and how to enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. :)
And now, here's a look at what we loved this month!
Carrie – Laurent and the Beast by K.A. Merrikan – “Where do I start with this book? There are so many deliciously twisted, audaciously maniacal things inside its pages. The constant dichotomy of good vs evil, beautiful vs ugly, happy vs sad, moral vs immoral, love vs hate, gothic vs modern day… I could go on. This book draws you in and, frankly, if eating, sleeping and going to work were not necessary elements in my life, I would have gone cover-to-cover despite the length. As it was, I finished it at 3:30 in the morning—I was a zombie at work the next day, but it was soooo worth it. Think Beauty and Beast meets Sons of Anarchy, with time travel, demonic manipulation, questionable lineage and morally ambiguous MCs.”
Cassie – When All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock – “I have really complex feelings about how to sum up my experience of this book. It was very hard for me to finish. Not because it wasn’t good—it’s excellent—but because it’s very intense. You can feel the desperation Daniel lives in daily. He hardly sleeps, for very good reason, and the shattering emotional toll that takes on him is so tangible it’s practically another main character in the book. As a reader, I felt like I was experiencing some of Daniel’s psychosis right alongside him. For much of the book, it seems like there are no good choices for him anywhere, and the sense of suffocation is acute. It charges Bel and Daniel’s relationship with this electric, nearly manic, sense of urgency. It’s a lot of pressure to put on something so new, and watching the two men navigate that is tense. You want it to work SO. BADLY.”
Jules – Enemies of the State by Tal Bauer – “Tal Bauer obviously has a talent for writing a political thriller. The action, as I said, was heart-stopping at times; but this was not solely a plot-driven story. Bauer also has a huge talent for writing characters. The character development was fantastic. Jack and Ethan’s personalities—their desires, their histories, their fears—drive the story just as much as what is going on in the world. I love them both immensely. And, I love how the author handles the topic of Jack’s sexual identity. It’s never labeled as such, but it’s obvious that Bauer wrote Jack as demisexual. I just love how Jack sees himself, and how he comes to the realization that he is in love with Ethan, but refuses to be defined or put in a box. So good.”
Ky – False Start by Sloan Johnson – “When I started reading this book, I wasn’t prepared for such an emotional story. I’m not talking about romantic stuff here. I’m talking about the harsh reality that some retired players have to face as a result of all the brutal hits they took while on the field—the possibility that some of the injuries they suffered years ago can come back and haunt them long after they occurred and were perceived as healed.
Even though it wasn’t one of the MCs that suffered from his time on the field, it was still a very big part of the story, and it set the mood for the book. The romance between Nixon and Lincoln took a back seat, and the second half of the story focused on how a retired player and the people closest to him coped with the effects that multiple and poorly treated concussions had on him.”
Sadonna – Tall, Dark, and Deported by Bru Baker – “This story was adorable! I loved Mateus’s pure heart and Crawford’s wounded heart. Crawford has put so much into his career, and he has found out, after many years, that his boss doesn’t really respect that about him, when his boss forces him into an uncomfortable position and doesn’t care one bit about Crawford’s feelings. Both guys have super families that add a lot of color to the story. Crawford’s ex, Davis, is a bit of an ass, and it’s great that Mateus and Crawford are able to unbalance him. I had only read shorter stories from this author before, but I’ll be looking for more of her writing.”
Maryann – Risky Behavior by L.A. Witt and Cari Z. – “Risky Behavior is a very good collaboration by L.A. Witt and Cari Z. Andreas and Darren are two opposite characters, but I liked their chemistry and how they interacted with each other. With Darren, there is a very warm and supportive family vibe to the plot.
I like that there is a solid story surrounding police procedures and investigation. The authors created a drama with danger, corruption, political intrigue, and intolerance. Two important issues also addressed are HIV and Alzheimer’s. This is a really great start to a series, and I’m so glad L.A. Witt and Cari Z. got together for this. I’m looking forward to book two in the Bad Behavior series.”
Lisa – Idyll Threats by Stephanie Gayle – “Idyll Threats is excellent, right up there among some of the best I’ve read in the genre; the story of a Chief of Police who happens to be gay, and how that part of the whole of himself affects and informs his role in the place he can’t call home. And yet, is the only place he has to be. The reveals parsed out through the story about who Tom is, where he came from, and how he got to be where he is, are as much a part of the mystery as the murder itself. The solving of the crime and the capturing of the killer is just fantastic and came together in a way that was shocking as well as believable. Gayle’s prose drew me in with little to no effort, and her characters are imperfect and real.
If you’re a mystery fan, I can’t recommend this book enough, and can’t tell you how excited I am for the release of Idyll Fears in September.”
And that does it for this month, friends. Until next time, happy reading!
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