Cheers, everyone, and welcome to a new and not-so-scary October edition of our Book of the Month picks. We’ve got some great recommendations for you this time around and, as always, there’s a chance to win an eCopy of TWO books from the list. Just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget to enter.
Jules – Pisces Hooks Taurus by Anyta Sunday – “We are all fools in love.” – Jane Austen
Warning: Extreme gushing ahead! Ha! I’m not kidding, though, you guys. I think I had a smile on my face the entire time I was reading this book. Anyta Sunday nailed it with Pisces Hooks Taurus, the fourth book in her Signs of Love series. It is romantic, sexy, funny, so, so clever, and abundantly charming. Sunday hooked me (heh, heh) at the opening Jane Austen quote, and held me until the final sentence. It feels like it’s been a while since two characters have stolen my heart so quickly and so completely. I truly adored this story.
The Bones Beneath My Skin by TJ Klune – As with all other TJ Klune books, the characters in Bones are unforgettable. Nathaniel Cartwright is a journalist from D.C. who has recently lost his job and his family but inherited his family’s cabin in Oregon, where he was planning to clear his head for a few months. However, that was before he got to the cabin and unexpectedly found that two people, a man and a little girl, were already there. Alex Weir is a gruff, lonely ex-soldier who has tasked himself with being the protector of Artemis Darth Vader, the most unique and unbelievable girl Nate has ever met. Alex sees Nate as a threat, and treats him as such, even though Art keeps insisting that Nate isn’t going to hurt them or betray them. I was immediately taken in by Artemis and charmed by her and Alex’s relationship, even though when we first meet them they are squatting in Nate’s cabin and constantly pointing a gun at him. But, Nate finds himself unable to turn Alex and Artemis in, even though he absolutely feels compelled to do so, and before he knows what’s happened, he’s wrapped up with them as they all run for their lives.
Lindsey – A Springful of Winters by Dawn Sister – This is a sweet romance. Stephan (aka Mr. Spring) isn’t portrayed as a white knight coming in to save Kit. Kit is all good. He is self-reliant and just thinks and communicates a little differently than what society has deemed “normal”. Mr. Spring is someone who sees the breathtaking exquisiteness in Kit’s differences. Who wants to learn and explore the intricacies of Kit’s mind and is willing to take the time to learn who Kit is and what makes him tick.
Kit and Stephan’s slow and tender journey into a romantic relationship had me beaming, and I had a giddy feeling for them when I read the final words; a joyful feeling in my heart is still there while I sit down to write this review. But something else happened. It had me contemplating…me. Specifically, my actions and expectations towards others. I didn’t expect that. Many times, when books make me introspective, they aren’t as lighthearted and sometimes twist me up and spit me out with my thoughts in chaos. That was not the case here; there was a clear message delivered, and one that made me think, but it was a gentle nudge and a pat on the shoulder with a message to do better and be more understanding.
Adder and Willow by Sam Burns – If you haven’t read the first five books in this series, stop and do not continue. Go to the beginning, with Blackbird and the Reeds. This series is a trilogy of trilogies; in the end it will total nine books. While Adder and Willow is the sixth book in the series, it is the third book in the second trilogy, and it absolutely cannot be read as a stand-alone.
For those of you that have been keeping up with this series thus far, I personally felt this was a great installment. While I know that for some Fletcher isn’t their favorite character out of the main three whose perspectives we get, he is mine. I have been waiting for his turn to take center stage again; this story is essential in that it really begins to solidify Fletcher, Connor, and a few of the secondary characters’ roles in the upcoming battle we know is barreling in their direction. As with the prior installments, it answers several questions but also brings up more.
Sammy – Nightfall by John Inman – John Inman combines his skill at writing romance with his equal ability to write intense thrillers in Nightfall. From the very start of this book, you want these two guys to succeed. Watching them dance around their mutual attraction and fear of losing the other, should their feelings not be reciprocated, was both lovely and frustrating. So often I wanted to shout at them to just spit it out already, admit you like each other so we can all sigh and be happy for you. There was just enough buildup, just enough sexual tension, that made the final confessions near perfect. This is a beautiful love story, but life was not done dealing these guys curveballs. As the story unfolds and it becomes apparent that hell is going to be unleashed, you are forced to switch gears and go from happily seeing these guys falling for each other to hoping to god they survive.
Nightfall dares to ask the question, what kind of person will you be when the world is not watching and the chains of civilized behavior cease to exist?
Hex and Candy by Ashlyn Kane – I’m just going to say it, I adored this clever little romance by Ashlyn Kane. Hex and Candy is clever, humorous, captivating and an absolute feel good novel. I must say that I loved both main characters equally. Cole was that typical guy who saw little special about himself and doubted he would ever find someone to love. Not only did he barely come into his powers, later than most, but they weren’t all that strong and he often feels like he is a disappointment to most of his friends and family, particularly his grandmother, whom he loves and most wants to impress.
Carrie – Threepeat by K.C. Wells and Parker Williams – Wells and Parker do a slow burn on Tim’s story, and it was needed. Tim is eighteen and a dichotomy of hard and soft, a natural product of his nature and his upbringing. If the three men had miraculously jumped into bed together, or Sam and Aaron had made Tim their sub within days or even weeks of meeting him, I would have called BS on the whole book. Instead, the authors let it build. All three men have demons to fight, and the authors let them do that in each character’s own time. Wells and Parker let you know that there are three MEN here, not two and a boy, before they bring them together in any kind of sexual situation. It is clear that it is Tim’s choice to be their boy, and I appreciated the way the storyline was handled.
The Captain’s Ghostly Gamble by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead – Ah, there’s angst…a little. There’s romance in spades. The lighthearted banter between the two ghostly men draws you in, and when the two spirits finally realize what we, the reader, knew all along—that they belong together—your heart will heave a happy sigh. This story paces really well for a novella, and has a definite buildup, climax, and conclusion. It’s totally engaging, with colorful characters—there’s a ghost cat for heaven’s sake—and it’s a pleasure to read. Curzon and Harkstead have a definite knack for scene setting and that comes through clearly. I definitely recommend this story for anyone wanting a ghostly short story that is sweet, funny, endearing and romantic. I have loved this series and recommend not just this novella but all the books.
Jovan – Devil Take Me by Various Authors - Devil Take Me is a wonderful anthology, featuring very well-written novellas that, while all based on the premise of doing a demon/devil a favor to get what you want, illustrates the range and creativity of the authors and delivers on its promise as “one hell of a good time.”
Maryann – Every Other Weekend by TA Moore – Besides being a suspenseful and multi-layered mystery, TA Moore brought out some tender and harsh emotions in this story. Every Other Weekend exposes issues that families try to cover up for the sake of appearances, loyalty and the family name. I really liked Kelly’s character, his heart was in the right place, and even Clayton wore his heart on his sleeve when it came to Maxie. But, most of all, Clayton and Kelly come to an understanding and are willing to put it all on the line for the sake of love. I liked the secondary characters in the story as well. They brought humor, positivity and love to the telling.
This is an absolute page-turner for me, and I’m becoming a big fan of TA Moore’s work.
In the Pines by Laura Lascarso – Laura Lascarso has created a well-written, intriguing, suspenseful, dark YA murder mystery, and it’s just a tad gory too. It touches on loss, suicide, and depression, and how Charlie and his mother try to recover from their personal tragedy. I really liked the relationship Charlie has with his mother, no matter the ups and downs. He’s an amazing character, a good sleuth, and is the glue that holds this story together. Dare was also an interesting character; I almost thought he was guilty along with several of the secondary characters, who all have something to hide. I was totally entertained by this page-turner mystery, and now I’m looking forward to seeing what the author has in-store for Charlie in the next installment of this series.
Lisa – A Hymn in the Silence by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood – One of the singular highlights of York and Altwood’s collaboration on this series is their ability to draw every scene, whether it be terrifying or sedate or romantic, in such a way that one can’t help but be drawn into the story visually or emotionally, or both, simultaneously. Their work is clever, intricate, and detailed, though never in a way that reads as anything but fast paced and purely entertaining. And if one happens to learn something along the way, well, we are all the more enriched for the experience. Not to be outdone, however, is their gift for characterization and the seemingly effortless ability to draw their readers into the lives of the people who populate this series. James and William are flawed and each come from families that are the direct cause of the challenges they work to overcome, and I appreciate that the authors avoided the handy love-conquers-all fix to the personal issues they face. James and William still each battle their own proverbial demons but rather than weakening them, it only serves to illustrate their strength and courage and will to survive, especially in the face of William’s addiction to laudanum and the additional temptation of alcohol to further help him cope.
The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree by Selina Kray – Kray metes out clues and details in perfect portions throughout this novel to keep readers on the hook and guessing who is responsible for a gruesome and particularly horrific murder, all while displaying the desperate measures taken by some women who found themselves in the midst of unplanned, and often unwanted, pregnancies and on the doorstep of the Daughters of Eden. Some might even say at the Daughters’ mercy as it becomes clearer that the cult of personality practices to deceive. The action and suspense were, at times, so all-consuming that it was difficult not to speed read to get through it, but every single morsel doled out was something to be savored nonetheless, and it all built to a climactic moment that then led to everything I’d been waiting for when it comes to the mystery of Hieronymus Bash himself.
And that does it for this time around. Until next month, happy reading!
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