*Oh. My. Lord. First of all, Aidee posted this list 7/12/2020. I have to acknowledge that because … it’s totally my bad. Anyway please find the list of Aidee’s books read from January 2020 – June 2020! Again, books from the first half of the year. [Yes I am the worst.] Anyway, here’s Aidee. (I believe books marked with an “*” are re-reads.)
Mid-Year List of Books Read — 2020
As per usual, this list is not in order at all.
Chaos Reigning by Jessie Mihalik | B+
Interplanetary intrigue and romance combine in this electrifying finale to the Consortium Rebellion series.
As the youngest member of her High House, Catarina von Hasenberg is used to being underestimated, but her youth and flighty, bubbly personality mask a clever mind and stubborn determination. Her enemies, blind to her true strength, do not suspect that Cat is a spy—which makes her the perfect candidate to go undercover at a rival House’s summer retreat to gather intelligence on their recent treachery.
Cat’s overprotective older sister reluctantly agrees, but on one condition: Cat cannot go alone. Alexander Sterling, a quiet, gorgeous bodyguard, will accompany her, posing as her lover. After Cat tries, and fails, to ditch Alex, she grudgingly agrees, confident in her ability to manage him. After all, she’s never found a person she can’t manipulate.
But Alex proves more difficult—and more desirable—than Cat anticipated. When she’s attacked and nearly killed, she and Alex are forced to work together to figure out how deep the treason goes. With rumors of widespread assaults on Serenity raging, communications down, and the rest of her family trapped off-planet, Catarina must persuade Alex to return to Earth to expose the truth and finish this deadly battle once and for all.
But Cat can’t explain why she’s the perfect person to infiltrate hostile territory without revealing secrets she’d rather keep buried. . . .
Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet | B-
Fans of Firefly and Star Wars can’t help but fall for this sexy new paranormal romance from the author of the USA Today bestselling fantasy, THE KINGMAKER CHRONICLES. The galaxy’s most wanted captain must trust her life to a charming and mysterious rogue if she doesn’t want to see her latest mission go up in smoke…
Tess Bailey: the galaxy’s Most Wanted.
Captain Tess Bailey and her ragtag crew are on the run, pursued by a tyrant who’ll take them dead or alive. Her best hope is a tall, dark, and much-too-appealing stranger, Shade Ganavan. The handsome charmer claims he can help, but his motivations are far from clear…
Shade Ganavan: arrogance, charm…and that special roguish something that makes you want to scream.
There’s no denying their chemistry, but with the dreaded Dark Watch closing in, what Tess and Shade don’t know about each other might get them killed…unless they can set aside their differences and learn to trust each other before it’s too late.
Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole (audiobook) | A-
Regina Hobbs is nerdy by nature, businesswoman by nurture. She’s finally taking her pop culture-centered media enterprise, Girls with Glasses, to the next level, but the stress is forcing her to face a familiar supervillain: insomnia. The only thing that helps her sleep when things get this bad is the deep, soothing voice of puzzle-obsessed live streamer Gustave Nguyen. The problem? His archive has been deleted.
Gus has been tasked with creating an escape room themed around a romance anime…except he knows nothing about romance or anime. Then mega-nerd and anime expert Reggie comes calling, and they make a trade: his voice for her knowledge. But when their online friendship has IRL chemistry, will they be able to escape love?
*As of the time of me writing this post, the kindle copy is on sale for $1.99
Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand | A
Fleeing the spotlight, burnt out rock star Layla—“Belle”—Dubois seeks refuge in the south of France. That old, half-forgotten heritage in a valley of roses seems like a good place to soothe a wounded heart. She certainly doesn’t expect the most dangerous threat to her heart to pounce on her as soon as she sets foot on the land.
He wants them back.
Matt didn’t mean to growl at her quite that loudly. But—his roses! She can’t have his roses. Even if she does have all those curls and green eyes and, and, and…what was he growling about again?
Or maybe he just wants her.
When an enemy invades his valley and threatens his home, heart, and livelihood, Matthieu Rosier really knows only one way to defend himself.
It might involve kissing.
And that might be just the start.
A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby by Vanessa Riley | B-
When headstrong West Indian heiress Patience Jordan questioned her English husband’s mysterious suicide, she lost everything: her newborn son, Lionel, her fortune—and her freedom. Falsely imprisoned, she risks her life to be near her child—until The Widow’s Grace gets her hired as her own son’s nanny. But working for his unsuspecting new guardian, Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington, has perils of its own. Especially when Patience discovers his military strictness belies an ex-rake of unswerving honor—and unexpected passion . . .
A wounded military hero, Busick is determined to resolve his dead cousin’s dangerous financial dealings for Lionel’s sake. But his investigation is a minor skirmish compared to dealing with the forthright, courageous, and alluring Patience. Somehow, she’s breaking his rules, and sweeping past his defenses. Soon, between formidable enemies and obstacles, they form a fragile trust—but will it be enough to save the future they long to dare together?
The Dare by Elle Kennedy | B
College was supposed to be my chance to get over my ugly-duckling complex and spread my wings. Instead, I wound up in a sorority full of mean girls. I already have a hard time fitting in, so when my Kappa Chi sisters issue the challenge, I can’t say no.
The dare: seduce the hottest new hockey player in the junior class.
Conor Edwards is a regular at Greek Row parties…and in Greek Row sorority beds. He’s the one you fall for before you learn that guys like him don’t give girls like me a second glance. Except Mr. Popular throws me for a loop—rather than laughing in my face, he does me a solid by letting me take him upstairs to pretend we’re getting busy.
Even crazier, now he wants to keep pretending. Turns out Conor loves games, and he thinks it’s fun to pull the wool over my frenemies’ eyes.
But resisting his easy charm and surfer-boy hotness is darn near impossible. Though I’m realizing there’s much more to Conor’s story than his fan club can see.
And the longer this silly ruse goes on, the greater the danger of it all blowing up in my face.
The Chase by Elle Kennedy B-
Everyone says opposites attract. And they must be right, because there’s no logical reason why I’m so drawn to Colin Fitzgerald. I don’t usually go for tattoo-covered, video-gaming, hockey-playing nerd-jocks who think I’m flighty and superficial. His narrow view of me is the first strike against him. It doesn’t help that he’s buddy-buddy with my brother.
And that his best friend has a crush on me.
And that I just moved in with them.
Oh, did I not mention we’re roommates?
I suppose it doesn’t matter. Fitzy has made it clear he’s not interested in me, even though the sparks between us are liable to burn our house down. I’m not the kind of girl who chases after a man, though, and I’m not about to start. I’ve got my hands full dealing with a new school, a sleazy professor, and an uncertain future. So if my sexy brooding roomie wises up and realizes what he’s missing?
He knows where to find me.
The Perfect Escape by Suzanne Park | B
Nate Jae-Woo Kim wants to be rich. When one of his classmates offers Nate a ridiculous amount of money to commit grade fraud, he knows that taking the windfall would help support his prideful Korean family, but is compromising his integrity worth it?
Luck comes in the form of Kate Anderson, Nate’s colleague at the zombie-themed escape room where he works. She approaches Nate with a plan: a local tech company is hosting a weekend-long survivalist competition with a huge cash prize. It could solve all of Nate’s problems, and she needs the money too.
If the two of them team up, Nate has a real shot of winning the grand prize. But the real challenge? Making through the weekend with his heart intact…
Mr. Hotshot CEO by Jackie Lau | B+
While brooding over an espresso, I meet Courtney Kwan, a biomedical researcher who savors the little things in life. And, suddenly, an idea strikes me—I will pay this woman to teach me how to enjoy my vacation from work.
Soon, I find myself doing crazy things like baking cookies, reading for pleasure, buying a phallic cactus, and falling in love. But Courtney is dealing with some serious issues of her own, and I fear that when I return to work, I won’t be able to give her what she needs, and I’ll lose her forever…
Shatter the Earth by Karen Chance | B
Ironically for the time traveling, chief seer of the supernatural world, time has never been on Cassie Palmer’s side. There has always seemed to be too much to learn, too much to master, and never enough hours in a day. But the tables have now turned, and the fluctuating timelines of Earth and Faerie are diverging, slowing time in Faerie relative to Earth, and giving humans an advantage for the first time in their war with the fey. It is one they desperately need, for a literal war of the worlds is about to take place. To win, or even to survive, Cassie and her allies, the powerful vampire senator Mircea Basarab and the formidable war mage John Pritkin, will have to pull off their greatest feat yet. And find a way to become more than the sum of their parts.
Pregnant by the Playboy by Jackie Lau | B-
I should be happy, but I feel an annoying lack of fulfillment, and there’s no way I’m going back to the work I did before.
At a friend’s party, I meet Marissa. We have hot sex against the door and agree to spend the weekend together. Just one weekend. I never expect to see her again.
Except now she’s pregnant with my baby…and I think this is the solution to all my problems. This is what will bring meaning to my life. I’m going to be a devoted father and husband.
Marissa—whose last name I still don’t know—wants me to be involved, though she rejects my marriage proposal. But before the baby arrives, I’m going to prove to her that I can be something other than a playboy.
And the rare times I set my mind to something, I don’t fail…
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (audiobook) | B+
Face your demons…or feed them. The dashing young king, Nikolai Lantsov, has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, Nikolai must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.
Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha general, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.
Alpha Night by Nalini Singh | B+
Alpha wolf Selenka Durev’s devotion to her pack is equaled only by her anger at anyone who would harm those under her care. That currently includes the empaths who’ve flowed into her city for a symposium that is a security nightmare, a powder keg just waiting for a match.
Ethan Night is an Arrow who isn’t an Arrow. Numb and disengaged from the world, he’s loyal only to himself. Assigned as part of the security force at a world-first symposium, he carries a dark agenda tied to the power-hungry and murderous Consortium. Then violence erupts and Ethan finds himself crashing into the heart and soul of an alpha wolf.
Mating at first sight is a myth, a fairytale. Yet Selenka’s wolf is resolute: Ethan Night, broken Arrow and a man capable of obsessive devotion, is the mate it has chosen. Even if the mating bond is full of static and not quite as it should be. Because Selenka’s new mate has a terrible secret, his mind surging with a power that is a creature of madness and death…
His to Defend by Rhenna Morgan | B-
Though his methods may be rough, when it comes to protecting what’s his, Russian vor Sergei Petrovyh’s heart is always in the right place. That’s never been more true than when the gorgeous Evette Labadie asks him for a job. He knows enough to keep his hands off someone as beloved by the locals as Evie, but there’s something about her that calls to him—no matter how badly he burns to make her his.
Don’t think Evie hasn’t noticed the powerful Russian mafia boss who makes her favorite diner a regular stop. How can she not? He’s as hot as his reputation is dangerous. But everyone in her struggling New Orleans neighborhood knows he’s the man to turn to. And right now she needs money to get her son out of trouble.
Her other needs—needs she knows damn well Sergei can more than satisfy—will have to wait.
Evie soon finds herself playing Cinderella to a man who, despite what people believe, is definitely more prince than villain. She can’t help falling deeper in love with each passing day. But when a turf war between Sergei and a rival brings violence to her doorstep, Evie must come to grips with loving a man who will do anything to defend her…or walk away from her best chance at a happily-ever-after of her very own.
Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson | B
Jesse Strong is known for two things: his devotion to his adoptive mom, Mama Joy, and his reputation for breaking hearts. When Mama Joy unexpectedly passes away, he and his brothers have different plans for what to do with Strong Knits, their neighborhood knitting store. Jesse wants to keep the store open. His brothers want to tie off loose ends and close shop….
Part-time shop employee Kerry Fuller has kept her crush on Jesse a secret. When she overhears his impassioned plea to his brothers to keep the knitting shop open, she volunteers to help. Unlike Jesse, Kerry knows the “knitty-gritty” of the business, and together they make plans to reinvent Strong Knits for a new generation.
But the more time they spend together, the stronger the chemistry builds between them. Kerry, knowing Jesse’s history, doesn’t believe their relationship can last longer than she can knit one, purl two. But Jesse is determined to prove to her that he can be the man for her forever and always. After all, real men knit.
Night Shift Dragons by Rachel Aaron (audiobook) | A-
My name is Opal Yong-ae, and I’m in way over my head. I thought getting rid of my dad’s bad luck curse would put things back to normal. Instead, I’m stuck playing caretaker to the Great Dragon of Korea. That wouldn’t be so bad if he wasn’t such a jerk, or if every dragon on the planet wasn’t out to kill him, or if he were my only problem.
Turns out, things can always get worse in the DFZ. When a rival spirit attacks my god/boss to turn the famously safety-optional city into a literal death arena with Nik as his bloody champion, I’m thrust onto the front lines and way out of my comfort zone. When gods fight, mortals don’t usually survive, but I’m not alone this time. Even proud old dragons can learn new tricks, and with everything I love falling to pieces, the father I’ve always run from might just be the only force in the universe stubborn enough to pull us back together.
Companion Pieces by Melissa F. Olson (audiobook) | B-
From California to Colorado, the Old World is filled with complicated women, volatile creatures, and nulls with attitude. This unmissable collection includes the stories that run in between and alongside the Old World novels, allowing readers to catch up with favorite characters and find clues about the future of this bestselling series.
In the never-before-published “Boundary Blood,” Allison “Lex” Luther has to accompany her injured aunt on a road trip across the country-but Katia has secrets that could prove lethal even to boundary witches. In the original short story “The Lost Girls,” Corry Tanger-college freshman, null and sometimes assistant to Scarlett Bernard-has to contend with a new vampire who wants to push all the limits.
It’s just another day for Las Vegas healing witch Sashi Brighton (protagonist of Bloodsick), until she gets an urgent call from Los Angeles, kicking off a chain of events that will turn her life upside down in the all-new story “Powerless.” Finally, “Nativity” takes us into the delivery room with series lead Scarlett Bernard, who has to juggle her null abilities, new motherhood and a very powerful surprise visitor.
Featuring original bonus materials from Olson’s other two series, plus fan favorites “Malediction” and “Sell-By Date,” this must-have collection will cast a spell over every admirer of the Old World.
Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan | A-
Think you know what it’s like being a baller’s girl?
My fairy tale is upside down.
A happily never after.
I kissed the prince and he turned into a fraud.
I was a fool, and his love – fool’s gold.
Now there’s a new player in the game, August West.
One of the NBA’s brightest stars.
He wants me. I want him.
But my past, my fraudulent prince, just won’t let me go
*Contains domestic abuse not involving the hero. Read reviews for guidance.
A Treason of Truths by Ada Harper | A-
Now head spymaster, Lyre’s loyalty lies with Sabine, the Empress she has loved since childhood. But when Sabine visits the secretive Cloud Vault, the floating citadel home that Lyre betrayed, Lyre’s elaborate web of lies starts to untangle. Her very presence threatens Sabine’s future, and Lyre will do whatever it takes to protect her lover…even if that means sacrificing herself.
Empress Sabine Corvus has lived a life of service, pushing aside her own desires for the greater good. With the Empire teetering on the brink of war with the traitorous Syndicate, she cannot afford to show weakness. Although Lyre’s spymaster skills are her greatest weapon, their bond is Sabine’s Achilles’ heel. Regardless of the price, she will not give Lyre up.
The Last Emperox by John Scalzi (audiobook) | B+
The collapse of The Flow, the interstellar pathway between the planets of the Interdependency, has accelerated. Entire star systems—and billions of people—are becoming cut off from the rest of human civilization. This collapse was foretold through scientific prediction . . . and yet, even as the evidence is obvious and insurmountable, many still try to rationalize, delay and profit from, these final days of one of the greatest empires humanity has ever known.
Emperox Grayland II has finally wrested control of her empire from those who oppose her and who deny the reality of this collapse. But “control” is a slippery thing, and even as Grayland strives to save as many of her people form impoverished isolation, the forces opposing her rule will make a final, desperate push to topple her from her throne and power, by any means necessary. Grayland and her thinning list of allies must use every tool at their disposal to save themselves, and all of humanity. And yet it may not be enough.
Will Grayland become the savior of her civilization . . . or the last emperox to wear the crown?
Love Hard by Nalini Singh | A-
Jacob Esera, star rugby player and young single father, has worked hard to create a joyous life for his six-year-old daughter. After the death of his childhood sweetheart soon after their daughter’s birth, all Jake wants is safety and stability. No risks. No wild chances. And especially no Juliet Nelisi, former classmate, scandal magnet, and a woman who is a thorn in his side.
As a lonely teenager, Juliet embraced her bad-girl reputation as a shield against loneliness and rejection. Years later, having kicked a cheating sports-star ex to the curb, she has a prestigious job and loyal friends—and wants nothing to do with sportsmen. The last thing she expects is the fire that ignites between her and the stuffed-shirt golden boy who once loved her best friend.
Straitlaced Jacob Esera versus wild-at-heart Juliet Nelisi? Place your bets.
Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh | B+
Kidnapped as a young girl, her psychic powers harnessed by a madman, Memory lives a caged and isolated existence…until she comes face-to-face with a wolf. Labelled an empath by her bad-tempered rescuer, Memory knows that her ‘gift’ is nothing so bright. It is a terrible darkness that means she will always be hunted.
But Memory is free now and she intends to live. A certain growly wolf can just deal with it.
Alexei prefers to keep his packmates at bay, the bleak history of his family a constant reminder that mating, love, hope is not for him. But Memory, this defiant and fearless woman who stands toe-to-toe with him awakens the most primal part of his nature–and soon, he must make a choice: risk everything or lose Memory to a murderous darkness that wants to annihilate her from existence…
Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire | B+
When Jack left Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children she was carrying the body of her deliciously deranged sister—whom she had recently murdered in a fit of righteous justice—back to their home on the Moors.
But death in their adopted world isn’t always as permanent as it is here, and when Jack is herself carried back into the school, it becomes clear that something has happened to her. Something terrible. Something of which only the maddest of scientists could conceive. Something only her friends are equipped to help her overcome.
Eleanor West’s “No Quests” rule is about to be broken.
Imaginary Numbers by Seanan McGuire | B
Sarah Zellaby has always been in an interesting position. Adopted into the Price family at a young age, she’s never been able to escape the biological reality of her origins: she’s a cuckoo, a telepathic ambush predator closer akin to a parasitic wasp than a human being. Friend, cousin, mathematician; it’s never been enough to dispel the fear that one day, nature will win out over nurture, and everything will change.
Maybe that time has finally come.
After spending the last several years recuperating in Ohio with her adoptive parents, Sarah is ready to return to the world–and most importantly, to her cousin Artie, with whom she has been head-over-heels in love since childhood. But there are cuckoos everywhere, and when the question of her own survival is weighed against the survival of her family, Sarah’s choices all add up to one inescapable conclusion.
This is war. Cuckoo vs. Price, human vs. cryptid…and not all of them are going to walk away.
Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin | B-
Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.
As a huntsman of the Church, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But when Lou pulls a wicked stunt, the two are forced into an impossible situation—marriage.
Lou, unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, must make a choice. And love makes fools of us all.
Badger to the Bone by Shelly Laurenston (audiobook) | B
She’s the woman he’s been hired to kidnap. But ZeZé Vargas has other ideas . . . like getting them both out of this nightmare alive. Just one problem. She’s crazy. Certifiably. Because while he’s plotting their escape, the petite Asian beauty is plotting something much more deadly . . .
Max “Kill It Again” MacKilligan has no idea what one of her own is doing with all these criminal humans until she realizes that Zé has no idea who or what he is. Or exactly how much power he truly has.
But Max is more than happy to bring this handsome jaguar shifter into her world and show him everything he’s been missing out on. A move that might be the dumbest thing she’s ever done once she realizes how far her enemies will go to wipe her out. Too bad for them Zé is willing to do whatever it takes to keep her alive . . . and honey badgers are just so damn hard to kill!
The Rich Boy by Kylie Scott | A-
I’m the type of girl who’s given up on fairy tales. So when Beck – the hot new busboy at work – starts flirting with me, I know better than to get my hopes up. Happily ever afters aren’t for the average. I learned that the hard way.
But how can I be expected to resist a man who can quote Austen, loves making me laugh, and seems to be everything hot and good in this world?
Only there’s so much more to him than that.
Billionaire playboy? Check.
Troubled soul? Check.
The owner of my heart, the man I’ve moved halfway across the country to be with, who’s laying the world at my feet in order to convince me to never leave? Check. Check. Check.
But nobody does complicated like the one percent.
This is not your everyday rags-to-riches, knight-in-shining armor whisking the poor girl off her feet kind of story. No, this is much messier.
Wicked Bite by Jeanine Frost (audiobook) | B+
Veritas spent most of her life as a vampire Law Guardian. Now, she’s about to break every rule by secretly hunting down the dark souls that were freed in order to save Ian. But the risks are high. For if she gets caught, she could lose her job. And catching the sinister creatures might cost Veritas her own life.
Some vows are forever…
Ian’s memories might be fragmented, but this master vampire isn’t about to be left behind by the woman who entranced him, bound herself to him, and then disappeared. So what if demons, other Law Guardians, and dangerous, otherworldly forces stand against them? Come hell or high water, Ian intends to remind Veritas of the burning passion between them, because she is the only person seared on his mind—and his soul…
Heartland by Sarina Bowen (audiobook) | B-
Dylan is my best friend, and the only person in my life who understands me. He doesn’t mind my social awkwardness or my weird history. The only glitch? He doesn’t know that I’ve been hopelessly, desperately in love with him since the first day we picked apples together in his family’s orchard.
But I know better than to confess.
Now that I’ve joined him at college, I’m seeing a new side of him. This Dylan drinks and has a lot of sex. None of it with me.
Until the moment I foolishly ask him to tutor me in more than algebra…and he actually says yes.
One crazy night sets our friendship on fire. But now my heart lies in ashes, and nothing will ever be the same again.
Heartland is a standalone college romance set in the True North world. Expect: a young, broody farmer, a giant crush, tasty caramels, cute goats and late night confessions.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (audiobook) | A-
Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?
Enjoy a drunken night out.
Ride a motorcycle.
Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
And… do something bad.
But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.
Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.
But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…
Breakaway by Michelle Diener | A-
She’s the key to everything . . . Sofie has a choice–she can eke out an existence in the shadow of Felicitos, the tethered way station where she works on the breakaway planet of Garmen, or she can to bring it crashing down. When she teams up with Leo, a man who’s dedicated his life to fighting her enemies, her choices start to narrow, until her secrets are the only thing keeping her alive.
Leo is all too aware he doesn’t know enough about Sofie, something his own security detail is not slow to point out, but he can’t keep away. When Sofie reveals her links to the resistance, and shows him those in control of Garmen have begun swimming in dangerous waters, he realizes his plan to overthrown them in a careful operation of a thousand cuts is no longer workable.
The time has come for a single, lethal strike–and that will not be without consequences . . .
Dark Horse by Michelle Diener | B+
Rose McKenzie may be far from Earth with no way back, but she’s made a powerful ally–a fellow prisoner with whom she’s formed a strong bond. Sazo’s an artificial intelligence. He’s saved her from captivity and torture, but he’s also put her in the middle of a conflict, leaving Rose with her loyalties divided.
Captain Dav Jallan doesn’t know why he and his crew have stumbled across an almost legendary Class 5 battleship, but he’s not going to complain. The only problem is, everyone on board is dead, except for one strange, new alien being.
She calls herself Rose. She seems small and harmless, but less and less about her story is adding up, and Dav has a bad feeling his crew, and maybe even the four planets, are in jeopardy. The Class 5’s owners, the Tecran, look set to start a war to get it back and Dav suspects Rose isn’t the only alien being who survived what happened on the Class 5. And whatever else is out there is playing its own games.
In this race for the truth, he’s going to have to go against his leaders and trust the dark horse.
Winner of a SFR Galaxy Award 2016 and the Prism Award 2016 for Best Futuristic.
Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven | B
Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire’s capital–her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village’s tithe has been the same woman. Gilene’s sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.
But this year is different.
Azarion, the Empire’s most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion–and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. Unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.
To protect her family and village, she will abandon everything to return to the Empire–and burn once more.
Dragon Blood by Eileen Wilks | B-
When a mission to rescue five children stolen by an Old One falls apart under the assault of a demon prince, Lily wakes up in a strange reality—and is immediately taken captive by the dragon spawn who rule there. Jumping worlds has fractured her party, and Cynna is her only companion.
Although the clock is ticking, time works differently, and Lily has miraculously gained a week. That means seven days to free herself, find Rule and the others, rescue the children, and make it home alive. All before the dragon spawn holding her hostage trade her to the Old One. It would almost be doable if this weren’t Lóng Jia—also known as Dragonhome: the birthplace of dragons.
Dragon Spawn by Eileen Wilks | B-
Lily learns she was right. Tom Weng—a powerful sorcerer allied with the Old One who keeps trying to take over the world—is still alive. But that’s not the worst. Weng is a dragon spawn, the product of a botched hatching given a human form in an attempt to keep him from going mad. A failed attempt.
Meanwhile, Lily’s husband Rule is facing a Challenge to the death. Then there’s the possible reappearance of another sorcerer. But none of that matters when their enemy strikes out of nowhere in the worst way possible. Lily must face a nightmare and return to a place she never wanted to see again. The place where she died…
Ritual Magic by Eileen Wilks | B-
When Lily and Rule discover that others suffered the same, mysterious loss—at the same time on the same night—their investigation into the darkness begins. Joining them is someone Lily never thought she’d see again: Al Drummond, who once tried to destroy her. He also happens to be dead. But the mysterious attacks were caused by a power strong enough to affect matters beyond the world of the living.
With some victims losing years of memory and others their lives, Lily must discover what on earth—or beyond—connects them.
Mind Magic by Eileen Wilks | B
Thanks to the mindspeech lessons she’s receiving from the black dragon, Lily is temporarily benched from Unit Twelve—until her brain acclimates and the risk of total burnout passes. At least she has her new husband, lupi Rule Turner, to keep her occupied.
But when her mentor calls in a favor and sends Lily to a murder scene, she’s suddenly back on active status—despite the hallucinations she can’t keep at bay. With one touch, Lily knows the man was killed by magic, but her senses don’t warn her how far the conspiracy goes…
A shadowy force within the government wants to take Unit Twelve down, and they don’t mind killing to achieve their goal. With none of her usual resources, Lily is up against impossible odds–because with her mind in disarray, she can’t trust anything she sees.
Spellbound by Allie Therin | B-
Arthur Kenzie’s life’s work is protecting the world from the supernatural relics that could destroy it. When an amulet with the power to control the tides is shipped to New York, he must intercept it before it can be used to devastating effects. This time, in order to succeed, he needs a powerful psychometric…and the only one available has sworn off his abilities altogether.
Rory Brodigan’s gift comes with great risk. To protect himself, he’s become a recluse, redirecting his magic to find counterfeit antiques. But with the city’s fate hanging in the balance, he can’t force himself to say no.
Being with Arthur is dangerous, but Rory’s ever-growing attraction to him begins to make him brave. And as Arthur coaxes him out of seclusion, a magical and emotional bond begins to form. One that proves impossible to break—even when Arthur sacrifices himself to keep Rory safe and Rory must risk everything to save him.
The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison (audiobook) | B+
In an alternate 1880s London, angels inhabit every public building, and vampires and werewolves walk the streets with human beings in a well-regulated truce. A fantastic utopia, except for a few things: Angels can Fall, and that Fall is like a nuclear bomb in both the physical and metaphysical worlds. And human beings remain human, with all their kindness and greed and passions and murderous intent.
Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of this London too. But this London has an Angel. The Angel of the Crows.
A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane (audiobook) | A
A generation past, the western realms were embroiled in endless war. Then the Destroyer came. From the blood and ashes he left behind, a tenuous alliance rose between the barbarian riders of Parsathe and the walled kingdoms of the south. That alliance is all that stands against the return of an ancient evil—until the barbarian king and queen are slain in an act of bloody betrayal.
Though forbidden by the alliance council to kill the corrupt king responsible for his parents’ murders, Maddek vows to avenge them, even if it costs him the Parsathean crown. But when he learns it was the king’s daughter who lured his parents to their deaths, the barbarian warrior is determined to make her pay.
Yet the woman Maddek captures is not what he expected. Though the last in a line of legendary warrior-queens, Yvenne is small and weak, and the sharpest weapons she wields are her mind and her tongue. Even more surprising is the marriage she proposes to unite them in their goals and to claim their thrones—because her desire for vengeance against her father burns even hotter than his own…
The Black Wolves of Boston by Wen Spencer (audiobook)* | B
Silas Decker had his world destroyed when he was attacked by vampires outside of New Amsterdam. He has rebuilt his life a dozen times in the last three hundred years—each time less and less successfully. Now he lives alone, buried under a hoarding habit, struggling to find some reason to wake up with the setting of the sun.
Eloise is a Virtue, pledged to hunting evil. What she doesn’t know is how to live alone in a city full of strangers who know nothing about monsters.
Seth is the sixteen-year old Prince of Boston, ward of the Wolf King. Now he is left in a city that desperately needs his protection with enemies gathering all around.
Joshua believes he is a normal, college-bound high school senior. His life is shattered when he wakes up in a field, covered with blood, and the prom committee scattered in pieces about him like broken dolls.
These four must now come together to unravel a plot by Wickers, witches who gain power from human sacrifices and have the power to turn any human into their puppet. Four people who lost everything struggle to save Boston by saving each other.
Down and Dirty by Kendall Ryan | B-
That’s basically my life right now.
Mistakes were made, okay?
He’s too young for me. Twenty-three to my thirty. And he’s saving himself for the right girl.
Yup. Apparently I’ve married the last alpha-male virgin on the planet. And my stubborn, oddly traditional, new husband doesn’t want a divorce.
He wants me.
Complicated doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Wicked Ugly Bad by Cassandra Gannon | B+
Scarlett Riding is NOT an ugly stepsister. Cinderella is the evil one in the family and Letty is determined to prove it. Unfortunately, that’s kinda hard to do from behind bars. After the debacle at the ball, Letty and her sister Dru were dragged off to the Wicked, Ugly and Bad Mental Health Treatment Center and Maximum Security Prison. While Cindy’s planning her dream wedding, her two stepsisters are being forced to endure life in the dreariest dungeon in the land.
Luckily, Letty has a plan to change that unhappy ending. If she can just get to Prince Charming and prove the glass slipper doesn’t fit Cinderella’s foot, she can reclaim her life. In order to do that, though, she needs to convince The Big Bad Wolf to lend a hand in organizing a jailbreak.
Marrok Wolf isn’t sure what to make of the idealistic redhead in his group therapy sessions. With fifty counts of Badness on his criminal record, Marrok’s used to being surrounded by crooks and scumbags. Scarlett wants to lecture him about equal rights for trolls! When the little do-gooder comes up with an elaborate plan to break their entire “share circle” out of prison, though, Marrok is certainly willing to go along with the plot. And not just because he wants to see her naked. The woman may not be wicked, ugly, or Bad, but she’s definitely the only one who can save him.
Together with a wicked witch, a timid bridge ogre, an evil prince, and other villains straight out of a storybook, Scarlett and Marrok are about to make sure that Baddies finally have a happily ever after.
Legally Yours by Nicole French | C+
Finish law school. Start a job. Stay away from men like Brandon Sterling. Cocky, overbearing, and richer than the Earth, he thinks the world belongs to him, and that includes me.
Yeah, no. Think again.
It doesn’t matter that his blue eyes look straight into my soul, or that his touch melts my icy reserve. It doesn’t even matter that past all that swagger, there’s a beautiful, damaged man who has so much to offer beyond private planes and jewelry boxes.
But I had a plan: no falling in love.
I just have to convince myself.
A Girl Like Her: A Small Town Romance by Talia Hibbert | B+
Ruth Kabbah is okay with being an outcast.
Between her autism, her comic book nerdery, and the whiff of scandal her small town can’t forget, Ruth will always be Ravenswood’s black sheep. Since she prefers silence and solitude to gossip and pub crawls, that suits her just fine—until Evan Miller comes to town.
Ex-military man Evan is gorgeous, confident… and he’s Ruth’s new neighbour. Unlike everyone else, he doesn’t seem to mind her crotchety ways or her cooking disasters. In fact, if Ruth didn’t know any better, she might think Evan likes her.
But Ruth’s been burned before, and some lessons are hard to forget.
She can’t let her guard down—no matter how many home-cooked meals Evan brings over. Because affection is temporary, trust is made to be broken, and the heat of desire is a dangerous thing to play with.
So why does this man feel so safe?
Please be aware: this book contains mentions of intimate partner violence that could trigger certain audiences.
Falcon by Marilyn Campbell | C+
Falcon, a gifted half-breed tracker, is in San Francisco to retrieve a ring stolen from Innerworld, located in Earth’s core. Too many Terrans are dying at the hands of the billionaire thief experimenting with the ring to gain access to Innerworld.
What should have been a simple assignment is quickly complicated by repeated encounters with Stephanie Barbanell, a Terran investigator hired by the wife of a scientist kidnapped by the billionaire.
Stephanie has always worked alone, and Falcon is not worthy of trust. But joining forces with the mysterious man seems the only solution to rescuing her client’s husband… until the forced proximity ignites overpowering and unwelcome desires.
Stephanie’s experience has taught her that sex equals loss of independence. A sexual virgin, Falcon believes submission to his human half will strip him of his superior abilities.
But success of the mission will require both… regardless of the loss.
The Golden Spider by Anne Renwick | C+
Lady Amanda is tired of having both her intelligence and her work dismissed. After blackmailing her way into medical school, she catches the eye of her anatomy professor from the moment she walks into his lecture hall. Is he interested in her? Or only her invention–a clockwork spider that can spin artificial nerves?
Lord Thornton, a prominent neurobiologist, has been betrayed. Secret government technology has been stolen from his laboratory, and a foreign spy is attempting to perfect it via a grisly procedure… using gypsies as test subjects. The last thing he needs is the distraction of a beautiful–and brilliant–new student, even if her spider could heal a deteriorating personal injury.
Until her device is stolen and used in the latest murder. Lord Thornton has no option but to bring her into his laboratory as well as the investigation where they must fight their growing, yet forbidden, attraction. Bodies accumulate and fragile bonds are tested as they race across London, trying to catch the spy before it’s too late.
Best Knight Ever by Cassandra Gannon | B+
For years, Trystan and Galahad fought on opposite sides of the brutal Looking Glass Campaigns. Trystan is a gryphon, part of a winged race who battled Camelot’s invasion of his homeland. Galahad was a knight of Camelot, who helped his king wage a relentless war, before he saw the dishonor in it and gave up combat forever. The two men have every reason to hate each other.
Now, the Looking Glass Campaigns are finally over. Suddenly, these former opponents on the battlefield need to become allies as they search for a “treasure beyond counting.” Traveling through a fairytale world of scheming enemies, magical temples, and the occasional leprechaun, Trystan and Galahad will have to follow an ancient map towards the lost city of Atlantis. Galahad’s reputation for perfection irritates the hell out of Trystan. Trystan’s propensity to kill everybody upsets Galahad. But the attraction between them is undeniable and growing stronger all the time.
As danger mounts and romance swirls, can these two powerful warriors settle the past and find their happily ever after?
Knight in Leather by Holley Trent | B-
Dasha Maurice isn’t in the market for a serious relationship, much less one with one of the leather-wearing fairies residing at her best friend’s beach motel. Sure, Ethan Gotch is built like a linebacker and tongue-numbingly sexy, but he’s also a smidge intense and has a pesky ex who insists he’s her fated mate.
He’s not. He’s Dasha’s.
Being the only human in the fairy clique makes Dasha the perfect little soldier to play messenger in the fairy realm. She can’t be detected by raging Queen Rhiannon’s magic, and can help pull more oppressed Sídhe to freedom. The realm is collapsing and the people need a way out.
When Ethan’s ex pulls a stunt causing Dasha to get stuck in the realm, she starts to believe she was right keeping her distance from the fairy, but that’s the least of her concerns. If Dasha can’t accept what it means to be the mate of a shapeshifting fairy knight and work a little magic of her own, the two may never make it home alive.
Woo Me by Karina Bliss | B+
Disillusioned in love, Jen Tremaine is done with men. So when her best friends dare her to wear a cow costume to their reunion at an Outback Bachelor and Spinster Ball, she’s all over it. Who would have thought dressing as a heifer would make her irresistible to a bunch of lasso-twirling, drunken cowboys?
Maybe you should have thought this through, says the sexy security guard who keeps finding her at the center of trouble. Even though Jen’s always dismissed soul mates as a load of bull, the sizzle between them is making her wonder: What if you met The One while wandering lonely as a cow? Would you find the courage to become a believer?
When ex-Special Forces soldier Logan Turner is roped into helping out with security at the B&S ball, he isn’t expecting to find love – but after months in all-male company he sure is hoping for lust. He certainly isn’t expecting to fall for a feisty, funny, trouble-making Cowderella. Only problem is, she’s leaving Australia tomorrow. Convincing Jen they can still have a future together may wind up being the toughest mission of his life.
Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev (audiobook) | A-
Dr. Trisha Raje is San Francisco’s most acclaimed neurosurgeon. But that’s not enough for the Rajes, her influential immigrant family who’s achieved power by making its own non-negotiable rules:
· Never trust an outsider
· Never do anything to jeopardize your brother’s political aspirations
· And never, ever, defy your family
Trisha is guilty of breaking all three rules. But now she has a chance to redeem herself. So long as she doesn’t repeat old mistakes.
Up-and-coming chef DJ Caine has known people like Trisha before, people who judge him by his rough beginnings and place pedigree above character. He needs the lucrative job the Rajes offer, but he values his pride too much to indulge Trisha’s arrogance. And then he discovers that she’s the only surgeon who can save his sister’s life.
As the two clash, their assumptions crumble like the spun sugar on one of DJ’s stunning desserts. But before a future can be savored there’s a past to be reckoned with…
A family trying to build home in a new land.
A man who has never felt at home anywhere.
And a choice to be made between the two.
Lush Money by Angelina M. Lopez | B+
As a Latinx woman, Roxanne Medina has conquered small-town bullies, Ivy League snobs and boardrooms full of men. She’s earned the right to mother a princess and feel a little less lonely at the top. The offer she’s made is more than generous, and when the contract’s fulfilled, they’ll both walk away with everything they’ve ever wanted.
Pr’ncipe Mateo Ferdinand Juan Carlos de Esperanza y Santos is one of the top winegrowers in the world, and he’s not marrying and having a baby with a stranger. Even if the millions she’s offering could save his once-legendary wine-producing principality.
But the successful, single-minded beauty uses a weapon prince Mateo hadn’t counted on: his own desire.
Emergency Skin by N.K. Jemisin| B+
An explorer returns to gather information from a climate-ravaged Earth that his ancestors, and others among the planet’s finest, fled centuries ago. The mission comes with a warning: a graveyard world awaits him. But so do those left behind—hopeless and unbeautiful wastes of humanity who should have died out ages ago. After all this time, there’s no telling how they’ve devolved. Steel yourself, soldier. Get in. Get out. And try not to stare.
N. K. Jemisin’s Emergency Skin is part of Forward, a collection of six stories of the near and far future from out-of-this-world authors. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting.
*I was prepping for surgery at the time, and then surgery, and recovery, and then another ~surgery is my ~excuse … (and this ancient laptop of mine that has wanted to die for years and years, and terrible internet connection … literally it takes minutes for a single page to load … BUT EVEN SO. Like – even if I did a book a day. Or a book I could and should have had this posted long a go. Apologies to Aidee! … >.> that being said though this post did take me days :X it’s a lot of formatting!)
Aidee has more from the list that she’s reviewed but I haven’t had a chance to post them yet, so if/when I get a chance I’ll try to update this.