Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

Books Read in June 2019

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up June 2019

I thought last month was a busy reading month for me, but June has blown May right outta the water, folks!

Genres read:  BDSM, paranormal romance, motorcycle club romance, erotica, contemporary romance, mystery/thriller

Non-fiction read:  technology, artificial intelligence


Title: Waking Kiss (BDSM Ballet #1)

Author: Annabel Joseph

Date completed: May 31, 2019

Summary: A stranger in the wings, a traitorous pair of toe shoes, and a traumatic turn dancing with The Great Rubio… For ballerina Ashleigh Keaton, it’s been one hell of a night.

But it’s not over yet. When Rubio drags her to a private BDSM party at his friend’s house in the ritzy part of London, she meets Liam Wilder, a lifestyle dominant and frighteningly seductive man. Liam pursues Ashleigh, attracted by her strength and talent, but she has secrets—an abusive past and a crippling fear of intimacy that prevents her from connecting to anyone, especially a kinky playboy reputed to be legendary in bed.

My Rating: 4 out of 5

Trigger warnings: childhood abuse and sexual violence


Title: Fever Dream (BDSM Ballet #2)

Author: Annabel Joseph

Date completed: June 1, 2019

Summary: Petra Hewitt’s the top ballerina in the world, and The Great Rubio her obvious counterpart, so why does she want to strangle him whenever he’s around? He’s haughty, abrupt, demanding—and alarmingly sexy. Petra knows Rubio is dangerous to her heart, to her peace of mind, and worst of all, to her career, but his rough flirtation compels her. When she gets a chance to play with him at a BDSM party, their professional partnership takes a feverish left turn.

After that, any attempts to keep him at arm’s length falter in the face of his obstinate sexuality. Rubio’s methods are ruthlessly erotic as he introduces her to the pleasures of sadism, bondage, pain, and submission. The more Petra tries to resist him, the more she craves his strength and control.

But as they play their sensual games of dominance and submission, career pressures mount, and an overzealous fan brings dangerous tension to their relationship. Soon, the dream gives way to the stark reality of her vulnerability. Maybe, just maybe, some risks are too terrifying to take.

Rating: 3 out of 5


Title: Hour of the Lion (The Wild Hunt Legacy #1)

Author: Cherise Sinclair

Date completed: June 3, 2019

Summary: First a Marine, then a black ops agent, Victoria Morgan knows the military is where she belongs…until a sniper’s bullet changes her life. Trying to prove she’s not washed up, she rescues a young man from kidnappers. When the dying boy transforms into a cougar—and bites her—she learns of an entire hidden society. He begs her to inform his grandfather of his death and to keep the secret of the shifters’ existence. She can’t refuse, but what if the creatures pose a danger to the country she swore to protect?

As guardian of the shifter territory, Calum McGregor wields the power of life and death over his people. When a pretty human female arrives in their wilderness town, he and his littermate become increasingly concerned. Not only is the little female hiding something, but she is far more appealing than any human should be.

While investigating the shifters, Victoria begins to fall in love with the werecat brothers and the town as well. For the first time in her life, she might have a real home. Her hopes are crushed when a deadly enemy follows her from the city, and the shifters discover she knows their secret. Now nobody is safe—least of all Victoria.

Rating: 4 out of 5


Title: Winter of the Wolf (The Wild Hunt Legacy #2)

Author: Cherise Sinclair

Date completed: June 6, 2019

Summary: After years in foster care, Breanne Gallagher has the stable life she’s always wanted, living with her foster-sister and working as a chef. Then one devastating night, a hellish creature invades her apartment and shatters her fragile existence. Shifting between monster and man, it slaughters her foster sister and assaults Bree. Alone, wounded, her beloved home tainted by gruesome memories, Bree flees to a tiny wilderness town, following her only clue to her past.

Shapeshifting warriors, Zeb and Shay move from one pack to another, hunting the hellhounds which prey on their kind. Assigned to Cold Creek, they manage a decrepit fishing lodge for their “human” cover. Their first renter is a pretty human female who trembles at the sight of them—yet stands her ground. She’s foolishly courageous, ferociously determined, and heartbreakingly hurt. Although shapeshifters aren’t attracted to humans, this female’s beauty and compelling scent ignites longings neither loner ever expected to face.

Bree is healing, learning to shoot the biggest pistol she can find, and overcoming her fears, especially of the two deadly, disconcertingly attractive hunters. Her life is back on track…until she tries to save a little girl from a hellhound and discovers that everything she knows about herself is false.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Trigger warning:  rape


Title: Eventide of the Bear (The Wild Hunt Legacy #3)

Author: Cherise Sinclair

Date completed: June 8, 2019

Summary: All her life, Emma longed for someone to love. Instead, disaster sees the brand-new bard banished from her people for long lonely years. Injured saving a child, the werebear has to steal food from humans, breaking shifter Law. The territory’s Cosantir and his lethal grizzly warrior catch her in the act. To her surprise, she’s healed and welcomed. Obviously, they don’t know her past. But oh, she can’t resist being around other shifters—especially the captivatingly powerful warrior. Maybe she can stay…just a little while.

As a grizzly warrior, Ben is ordered to house the pretty werebear until she heals. His littermate abandoned him, his home is empty, and he’s been alone for a long time. Intelligent and sweet and lushly curved, Emma is a delight…even if she is oddly reticent about her past. Although having sworn off females, he’s sorely tempted by this one. Damned if he doesn’t want to keep her, secrets or not.

Females were trouble. Years past, one split Ryder from his littermate. Now the panther shifter is returning to Ben, bringing his cub with him, a four-year-old he stole from the abusive female. To Ryder’s annoyance, his brother is sheltering a wounded bear. A female. Even worse, she’s beautiful and gentle and loving—damned if he’s going to fall for that act again. But when the dark of the moon arrives and death reigns supreme, he’ll discover that not all females are alike.

In a world filled with hellhounds and pixies, can three lonely shifters and one silent cub create a new family together?

Rating: 3 out of 5


Title: Leap of the Lion (The Wild Hunt Legacy #4)

Author: Cherise Sinclair

Date completed: June 11, 2019

Summary: After a decade of captivity, Darcy MacCormac escapes the corrupt, clandestine organization called the Scythe, leaving family and friends behind. She must find a way to rescue them. Discovered by other shifters, the brand-new cougar gets two mentors. Blademage Gawain is an easy-going blacksmith with a steel-hard core. His brother Owen is a deadly warrior. Grumpy. Rude. And he doesn’t like her.

They aren’t the mates she’d dreamed of—they’re more.

Powerful, dominating Owen protects the clan—especially the weak—and the only remnant of an abused childhood is his avoidance of females. Now he has to mentor one? Although Gawain soon falls for the dauntless little cat, Owen knows better than to lose his head. But Darcy has a gift for repairing everything…including damaged hearts.

Love isn’t in her destiny.

In the brothers’ arms, Darcy finds safety. Comfort. And love. But however much she longs for a future with Owen and Gawain, her people need her. Somehow, she must find the courage and skills to save them, even if the attempt demands her life.

Rating: 3 out of 5


Title: Ryker (Kings of Korruption MC #1)

Author: Geri Glenn

Date completed: June 13, 2019

Summary: A nurse on the run. A biker with a dark past. An unlikely match that will change their worlds forever.

Ryker Cole’s friend is dying, and his world is crumbling around him.

When shy and nervous nurse, Charlotte, walks into that hospital room, he is captivated by her sharp wit and kind smile. Their conversations soothe him, her presence keeping him steady, but Ryker knows she’s not for him. Women like Charlotte don’t belong in the world of the Kings of Korruption MC. It’s not safe.

Except, Charlotte’s already in danger. Her past has caught up with her, and this time, she may not survive.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Decent MC series, and really quick reads, but enough errors throughout to keep from getting a 4-rating from me.


Title: Tease (Kings of Korruption MC #2)

Author: Geri Glenn

Date completed: June 14, 2019

Summary: Laynie

Smile when you’re happy, cry when you’re sad and don’t ever be afraid to try something new. These are the words I live by. We only get one shot at this life, and I intend to live the best one I can. I had it all growing up. Popularity, beauty, great friends and a perfect family. But then one day, it all changed – now I’m blind. I’ve never let that stop me though. Life is an adventure and I believe in making the best out of every moment.

I spend my days with a job I love, online friends and a sexy new book boyfriend every week. I know in my heart that someday, my own prince charming will come along and appreciate me for exactly who I am – I won’t settle for anything less. Meeting Tease seems like the beginning of my fairy tale … until he opens his mouth.

Tease

I don’t trust people – ever. Every single person I’ve ever loved has contributed, in one way or another, to the shit show that is my life. Keeping everyone I meet at arm’s length, I work hard at being the star of most people’s nightmares. People think I’m a monster and honestly – they’re right.

Laynie’s beauty is what caught my eye, but her personality is what held it. Laynie’s the only person to ever see past my appearance and break down the walls I’ve worked so hard to build. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep her. When things heat up with a rival club, and Laynie gets caught in the crossfire, I will unleash hell on earth to protect the woman who makes me want to trust someone again. When bullets start flying and bodies start piling up, keeping her safe may be the last thing I ever do.

Rating: 3 out of 5


Title: Jase (Kings of Korruption MC #3)

Author: Geri Glenn

Date completed: June 14, 2019

Summary: Ellen

My life is far from perfect, but I’m OK with that. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am. I have a cute little house, a job that fulfills me, and a little boy that I love more than life itself. I pride myself on being a strong, independent woman, and letting a man fix my problems for me just isn’t the way I work.

I had Jase pegged from the second I laid eyes on him. The man’s a player and I have no intentions of being played. Been there, done that. I don’t care that he has a killer smile and an ass I could happily spend all day bouncing quarters off of. His interest is kind of flattering in the beginning – and then it’s not.

Jase

People say I don’t take anything in life seriously. They’re probably right. I’ve seen the shit life can throw at you and I refuse to let it touch me. I live free – I have fun. People say I don’t respect women. Well, they’re wrong about that. I love women almost as much as they love me. I love the way they smell, the way they taste, and I especially love they way they feel when I get them under me.

I’d met Ellen months ago, and no matter what I do, I can’t seem to get her out of my head. She’s gorgeous, funny and has an incredible ass. The only problem is that I’ve never had to work so hard to get a woman into my bed … but we’ll get there. I’ll make sure of it. She doesn’t know it yet, but my brand of playing is just what she needs.

Rating: 3 out of 5


Title: Reaper (Kings of Korruption MC #4)

Author: Geri Glenn

Date completed: June 15, 2019

Summary: Anna

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. In fact, some of them almost ruined me. But I am a good person. I want to make amends. I want to fix things with my sister and finally have my life back. I want to change, and I’m trying. But I just can’t let the past go.

Reaper doesn’t make it easy for me. He hates me with a passion. He’s vowed to do whatever he can to get me out of my sister’s life and away from his club. It doesn’t matter. He won’t stop me. No matter how terrified of him I am, nothing is going to stop me from changing my destiny and trying to fix the wrongs from my past. Especially when my secret is discovered, giving him all the ammunition he needs.

Reaper

After what seems like an endless stream of problems, things are finally going well with the club. We’re finally getting back to some semblance of normal after the chaos she brought with her before she was sent away. But now she’s back.

She says she’s changed, and maybe she has, but I don’t care. She is the reason it all started, and she’s not welcome here. I will stop at nothing to get her out. I won’t rest until she’s gone. Her beauty will not distract me, and her history doesn’t even matter. I will get Anna away from my club, or die trying.

Rating: 3 out of 5


Title: Daniel (Kings of Korruption MC #2.5)

Author: Geri Glenn

Date completed: June 17, 2019

Summary: Gabby

My brother’s missing but nobody seems to care. The cops are a joke and I have no one to turn to, until sexy Sergeant Daniel Lawson steps in, promising me that he will do everything he can to find him. I’m thankful for the help, and the eye candy, but I’m not okay with just sitting around and waiting. If he can’t find my brother, I’ll do whatever it takes to find him myself–no matter how dangerous it is.

Daniel

When she comes to the station, desperate to find her missing brother, all I want to do is help. Not only has he pissed off a notoriously vicious street gang, but they both are affiliated with an MC whose reputation is just as bad. I want to help her. I have the authority. I even have the resources of the Street Crime unit I work for. What I don’t have is the willpower to keep my hands off her.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Too short, boring novella.


Title: Bosco (Kings of Korruption MC #5)

Author: Geri Glenn

Date completed: June 17, 2019

Summary: Sarah

I was just six months pregnant when I lost the man I was going to marry. Mouse was caught in the crosshairs of a war between the Kings of Korruption MC and a rival club, leaving me to raise our daughter alone. Brokenhearted, angry, and terrified, I struggle through life, determined to raise my daughter the best way I know how.

Since the day Mouse was killed, Bosco has been tasked with watching over us. As time passed, he became a part of the family, a man my daughter can rely on. A man who has never let me down, and whose intensity makes me weak in the knees. But that man is part of the same club that got Mouse killed, and there’s no way I can put myself or my daughter through that a second time.

Bosco

Taking care of Sarah and her daughter may have started out as a duty handed down to me by the president of my club, but now it’s as vital to me as breathing. Now I’ve become attached. I’ve learned how kind, brave, and sexy Sarah is. I was even there when she gave birth to the little girl that captured my heart the moment she took her first breath.

My feelings for her have turned from friendship to an all-consuming passion that threatens to burn me from the inside out, but I know she’s not ready. So, I wait. I wait while she takes the time she needs and stand by while she grieves. But when the world as we know it is rocked on its foundation, I can’t wait any longer. I need to prove to her that it’s okay to move on, that we need each other. That I will do whatever it takes to make her happy.

Rating: 3 out of 5


Title: A is for Alibi (Kinsey Millhone #1)

Author: Sue Grafton

Date completed: June 20, 2019

Summary: A IS FOR AVENGER
A tough-talking former cop, private investigator Kinsey Millhone has set up a modest detective agency in a quiet corner of Santa Teresa, California. A twice-divorced loner with few personal possessions and fewer personal attachments, she’s got a soft spot for underdogs and lost causes.

A IS FOR ACCUSED
That’s why she draws desperate clients like Nikki Fife. Eight years ago, she was convicted of killing her philandering husband. Now she’s out on parole and needs Kinsey’s help to find the real killer. But after all this time, clearing Nikki’s bad name won’t be easy.

A IS FOR ALIBI 
If there’s one thing that makes Kinsey Millhone feel alive, it’s playing on the edge. When her investigation turns up a second corpse, more suspects, and a new reason to kill, Kinsey discovers that the edge is closer–and sharper–than she imagined.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Is it just me or is this book boring as hell!? I couldn’t figure out why so many people love these Sue Grafton novels. Please tell me they get better?! I’m going to try B is for Burglar next. Hopefully it doesn’t turn out to be B is for Boring.


40865208Title: Summer Heat (Cruel Summer #1)

Author: Rachel Van Dyken

Date completed: June 21, 2019

Summary: Spoiled Princess is what he used to call me.
We were an inferno of hate and passion wound up with a dash of chaos.

For four years I watched him mow my lawn.
For four years I watched my friends make fun of him.
For four years I hated myself for wanting him, but even more for the way I treated him.

And then I had him.
For one night, we put all labels away and I spent the best night of my life in his arms.
Then the next day, with my secret night under lock and key, I looked the other way while my friends shamed him.

But now the jokes on me, because the scrawny lawn boy who I secretly loved from afar is now the director of Hollywood’s most exclusive summer camp.

And I’m on his staff.
Now it’s his turn to punish me.
His turn to make me pay.
His turn to take his revenge after years of humiliation.

He’s no longer a boy you can ridicule.
But a college graduate who can have any woman he wants.
I want him to look at me the way he did that one night we had together, but right now
the look in his eyes tells me he’s going to enjoy having me under him for two straight months.
I don’t know where his hatred ends, his passion begins.
All I know is he wants revenge.
And I’m his lucky target.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Full review available here.


Title: Crash

Author: Drew Jordan

Date completed: June 22, 2019

Summary: The greatest love stories begin with blood…

There is blood. There is pain. And there is him. These are the first things I register when I wake up, the lone survivor in an Alaskan plane crash. He carries me to safety over rough terrain and brings me to his cabin in the woods. He has no name. Or none he will tell me.

As snow creeps across the harsh and isolated landscape, he is my only company. My protector, my caretaker. A fascinating enigma, with mysterious eyes, gentle hands, and a rough voice that demands more from me than I ever expected to give. I make up different stories, different names for him depending on his mood, because I know nothing about him except that he is my only connection to the real world I want to return to. So I work to please him, plotting my escape, yet all the while I start to crave him and every touch of his dominating body.

He has saved me from the cold. From death. But in taking me and my body, will he destroy me?

Rating: 3 out of 5

*For mature audiences only.*

Trigger warning: Kidnapping, dubious consent


Title: What Happened at the Lake

Author: Phil M. Williams

Date completed: June 25, 2019

Summary: They went on vacation. Not everyone made it back.

The Palmers went to the lake for a week of fun in the sun. But Alex Palmer had an agenda. He wanted his brother to reconcile with their hyper-competitive father. He wanted his daughter to break up with her shady boyfriend. Most of all, Alex wanted them to be a family one more time before he faced his predicament at home.

Evil incarnate and a brutal double murder shifted Alex’s focus from wants to needs. He needed to keep his family safe. He needed to find her. He needed to know what happened at the lake.

His pastor often said, “God won’t give you more than you can bear.”

This had nothing to do with God.

Rating: 3 out of 5

*For mature audiences only.*

Trigger warning: sexual violence, rape, murder

Full review available here.


Title: Augmented Mind:  AI, Superhumans, and the Next Economic Revolution

Author: Alex Bates

Date completed:

Summary: We are about to become superhuman. Serial AI entrepreneur Alex Bates explains how the combination of AI with human intelligence — called Intelligence Augmentation — has revolutionary potential.

After a decade on the front lines of the AI, facilitating the collaboration of humans an AI, he saw first hand how humans and AI were highly complementary and augment each other; and also how little this was recognized or researched. When his last AI venture was acquired, Bates created a global mastermind network of applied AI technologists and researchers to get more perspectives on these issues, with membership from Caltech, MIT, Harvard, Oxford, UCSD, USC, and other leading institutions and companies.

It became clear that while there has been a global arms race in AI and machine learning, it has been almost exclusively focused on replicating human intelligence. Augmenting human intelligence represents a tiny fraction of the total research and development.

This book explores how augmenting humans, combining human intuition and artificial intelligence, will herald an unprecedented era of productivity and financial success. The coming wave of human centered AI will help us solve the biggest problems facing humanity while also protecting us from rogue or weaponized AI systems.

The Augmented Age represents a massive opportunity not only for AI investors and technologists, but for all humans as it unlocks our unique gifts of intuition and human-centric intelligence for this next era. For all human beings, it offers the chance to harness our intuition and human-centered skills, areas that are not the focus of the current educational system.

Bates includes a framework for creating hybrid solutions combining AI, machine learning, and human intuition that can predict the future, improve our social lives, eliminate scarcity, and provide a clear road map to abundance and prosperity in the financial, health, and relationship industries that represents trillions in economic opportunity over the next decade.

Rating:

Full review available here.


Whew! There you have it my reading lovelies! June was a crazy-busy reading month. Have you guys read any of these? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Cheers!

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What Happened at the Lake by Phil M. Williams — A Review

What Happened at the Lake by Phil M. Williams

RaeleighReads rating: love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236

Trigger warnings: rape, sexual violence, murder

Whew! This one had some intense moments!

The Palmer family goes on vacation in Tennessee, but not everyone who goes on that trip makes it back home. Alex Palmer and his wife Emma are the organizers of this family getaway, and they’ve invited everyone — all of Alex’s siblings, their spouses and significant others, his father and his stepmom, and his daughter and her boyfriend.

The family dynamics alone are enough to make this a good read, but Williams adds to this with some incredibly graphic and disturbing violence. In fact, that’s how the book starts. The first chapter turned my stomach, but I kept reading because I wanted to know where Williams was going with all of it.

The next 30-40% of the book was fairly boring to be honest. There was too much telling me what each character thought and did, but I’m a lover of description. This is not to say that Williams does not possess incredible powers of description. He certainly does, but he uses them for describing the brutal sexual assaults and murders that occurred on the lake the Palmer family was visiting.

When the action picks up in this novel, it nearly speeds out of control. What remains in the last quarter of the book is a father’s desperation and love for his daughter. For me, that was the most compelling part of this book — Alex Palmer’s quest to find out what happened to his daughter.

To me, Alex was the only fully realized character in this whole book. A few others — his father Harvey and brothers Matt and Jeff — were filled out to some extent, but for many of the other characters, I was left wanting more. Because I did not feel much of a connection to the large cast in this book, it dropped my rating from what would have been four coffee cups to three.

I mentioned trigger warnings of murder, sexual violence, and rape at the beginning of this post, and I want to reiterate that here. Those scenes were incredibly graphic and difficult to read at times. If you are at all turned off by those kinds of images, do not read this.

If you’re a fan of thrillers and family drama (and possess an iron stomach), this book is for you.

Summer Heat by Rachel Van Dyken — A Review

40865208Summer Heat (Cruel Summer #1) by Rachel Van Dyken

RaeleighReads rating: love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236

Note: This book is only available as an iBook.

Summer Heat is the first book in Rachel Van Dyken’s Cruel Summer series — a fast-paced, new adult romance.

The tables have turned. Marlo, the boy who used to mow Ray’s lawn, is now the director of the elite acting camp where she’ll be working for the summer. Her professional fate is in his hands now, and Marlo is definitely putting Ray through her paces, making her tenure at the summer camp as uncomfortable as possible. Ray is determined not to back down though. She may have been raised a spoiled princess, but she has a strong work ethic and desire to prove herself. A sizzling tension exists between the two, proving that there is indeed a fine line between love and hate.

Van Dyken does an amazing job of building tension, both psychological and sexual, in Summer Heat. There is so much left unsaid and unexplained between Marlo and Ray. It made me want to reach into the book and shake them both to make them communicate with each other.

I became heavily invested in seeing these two work things out between them and give in to the attraction they obviously have for each other, which made my dismay all the more palpable when Van Dyken abruptly ends this book on a cliffhanger. Grrr. I desperately wanted to know what happened next, but in order to find out I’ll have to read the next book, Summer Seduction. That irritated me enough to drop my rating from four stars to three.

Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Top Ten Tuesday – Books From My Favorite Genre (Young Adult)


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

My Favorite Books in Young Adult Fantasy and Paranormal

Fair warning, reading lovelies: most of my choices are series. 😀 I’ll include links to all the books in the series where available, just click the covers!

Now, in no particular order…

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I recently finished this whole series and bawled my eyes out. I was so sorry it was over. I have loved witnessing the evolution of Celaena Sardothien the past couple of years.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

So far, this series has three novels and a novella. According to Goodreads, Maas is working on three more novels and one more novella for this series. I don’t know about you guys, but that makes my heart sing. I love me some Feyre!

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

I’ll be honest. When I first started reading this series, I was not a fan of the protagonist. BUT, bit by bit Laia grew on me. Tahir is masterful at character development. There is supposed to be a fourth book in this series, to be released in 2020. Ugh, I don’t want to wait that long!

Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Such a cool series! A bit of a slow burn in comparison to some of the others on this list, but the imagery really sticks with you.

Caster Chronicles by Garcia & Stohl

This one makes for a perfect summer read. Don’t forget to also pick up the spin-off — Dangerous Creatures 😉

The Legion by Kami Garcia

FYI, we are still waiting on book three in this series because Garcia’s silly publisher didn’t purchase the third book…lame. I’m hoping one day it gets published because I flew through the first two books in two days!

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

I actually didn’t like this series when I first started it, but when I started reading Scarlet, I was hooked!

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

So many cover options for this series nowadays, but these are the ones I read. If you haven’t read these yet, just do yourself a favor, and do it! Jace and Clary, you guys! Ach, my heart!

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

The same Shadowhunters world we know and love from The Mortal Instruments, but set further back in time. Tessa’s love story in this is epic!

The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare

Again set in the world of the Shadowhunters, this trilogy follows a younger generation of Shadowhunters — teens who look up to Jace and Clary from The Mortal Instruments. I found this series riveting. Even though the books are gargantuan, I still sped through them because I couldn’t bear to put them down. In fact, I loved the main male character so much, Julian, that I’m naming my son after him. 😀

Can you tell I love Cassandra Clare!?

I can’t wait to see what everyone else has listed as their favorites this week. Cheers, reading lovelies!

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

Books Read in May 2019

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up May 2019

Wow! May was a busy, busy month!

Genres read:  high fantasy, erotica, young adult fantasy, contemporary, regency romance.

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

The epic finale to the Throne of Glass series.

Summary:  Aelin has risked everything to save her people―but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day…

With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation―and a better world.

And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen―before she is lost to him forever.

As the threads of fate weave together at last, all must fight, if they are to have a chance at a future. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever in the explosive final chapter of the Throne of Glass series.

Claiming His Mountain Bride by Madison Faye

Pure. Smut. Honestly, there’s not even much story to this one, but if you’re looking for a raunchy (if somewhat repetetive) read, this is for you! And at only $1 on Amazon, it’s totally worth it!*

Summary: My mountain. My cabin. My rules. And she’s my woman – she just doesn’t know it yet.

I left civilization and my demons a long time ago, seeking solitude up on Blackthorn Mountain. Just one ex-Marine, a remote cabin, and the wilderness, with no distractions.

But then she turns up, blowing in with a winter’s blizzard like a very f**king big distraction.

Blonde, beautiful, and mouthy as all hell, even when I save her from freezing that sweet little butt off.

A rough mountain man like me should want nothing to do with a rich city girl like Katrina. Except one look at her sweet, tempting curves, and one taste of those sassy, pouty lips, and I want everything to do with her.

I saved her from freezing, but maybe it’s her who’s going to save my frozen heart.

We’re trapped up here for the storm, locked in a cabin with only the heat between us to keep us warm. Her wealthy, city family thinks they can marry her off to some rich little sh*t. But they’re very wrong.

My mountain. My cabin. My woman.

I’ll make Katrina my bride, and I’ll be d*mned if I let them take her from me.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (#2) by J.K. Rowling

I began a nostalgic re-read of this beloved series this year. It’s certainly a different experience from reading it when I was a kid. 🙂

Summary:  The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he’s packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike

And strike it does. For in Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockhart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls’ bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley’s younger sister, Ginny.

But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone — or something — starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects . . . Harry Potter himself?

The Night I Lost My Father’s Gun by Azmi Abusam

Disclosure: I was paid for my review of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Summary:  Elon X has been caught all his life. Caught in a claustrophobic little corner of Washington D.C. Caught in the shadow that only an accomplished older sister can cast. Even his well-meaning parents pull at him. His absent father had seen a place for righteous violence when he named Elon after Malcolm X, while his mother quotes Reverend King even from the depths of her alcoholism.

Dreams of professional basketball help drag Elon through drab days, but those dreams end when he’s expelled. His mother starts using words like “military school” and “Montana”–not exactly the escape Elon had in mind. Before he’s banished to the Rockies, he needs a getaway of his own making.

Just for a night.

That getaway won’t include a tame dinner date with his patient girlfriend. He seeks the delights of a rough teenage underground, where rumors mean gang trouble and a secret crush makes thrilling promises. Come along to Sophisticated Ignorance, she whispers–a notorious house party alive with hedonism and violence.

Just for a night.

His mom’s Impala isn’t the only thing Elon steals. He heads to a secluded Maryland mansion with his best friends and his father’s .38. When the gun goes missing, he knows he’s in trouble. And when that gun is used in a double murder, he’ll know what it’s like to be truly trapped.

Maybe for the rest of his life.

Waking Up with a Rake (The Royal Rakes #1) by Connie Mason & Mia Marlowe

Based on the real event, The Hymen Race Terrific. Regency romance + devilish rakes = sizzling read. Book 1 of 3 in the series. Rhys & Olivia.

Summary:  To prevent three royal dukes from marrying their way onto the throne, heroic, selfless agents for the crown will be dispatched…to seduce the dukes’ intended brides. These wickedly debauched rakes will rumple sheets and cause a scandal. But they just might fall into their own trap…

After he’s blamed for a botched assignment during war, former cavalry officer Rhys Warrick turns his back on “honor.” He spends his nights in brothels doing his best to live down to the expectations of his disapproving family. But one last mission could restore the reputation he’s so thoroughly sullied. All he has to do is seduce and ruin Miss Olivia Symon and his military record will be cleared. For a man with Rhys’s reputation, ravishing the delectably innocent miss should be easy. But Olivia’s honesty and bold curiosity stir more than Rhys’s desire. Suddenly the heart he thought he left on the battlefield is about to surrender…

One Night with a Rake (The Royal Rakes #2) by Connie Mason & Mia Marlowe

Based on the real event, The Hymen Race Terrific. Regency romance + devilish rakes = sizzling read. Book 2 of 3 in the series. Nate & Georgette.

Summary: For King and Country, Three Notorious Rakes Will Put All Their Seductive Skills to Work.

After All, The Fate of England’s Monarchy is in Their Hands.

Since the death of his fiancée, Nathaniel Colton’s polished boots have rested beneath the beds of countless wayward wives and widows of the ton. He’s careful to leave each lady smiling, and equally careful to guard his heart. So seducing Lady Georgette should pose no problem. But the beautiful reformist is no easy conquest, and Nate’s considerable charm fails to entice Georgette to his bed. To woo her, Nate will have to make her believe he cares about someone besides himself–and no one is more surprised than Nate when he realizes he actually does.

Between a Rake and a Hard Place (The Royal Rakes #3) by Connie Mason & Mia Marlowe

Based on the real event, The Hymen Race Terrific. Regency romance + devilish rakes = sizzling read. Book 3 of 3 in the series. Jonah & Serena.

Summary:  When a royal’s intended bride is kidnapped, only a rake can set things right…

Wealthy heiress Serena Osborne feels like her father is determined to sacrifice her on the marriage altar. The Duke of Kent is negotiating for a bride, and the wickedly appealing Sir Jonah Sharp is sent to woo the Lady Serena on the Duke’s behalf. It only muddies the waters when she succumbs to Jonah’s charm. Repeatedly. But Jonah has a secret agenda—to prevent the marriage at any cost.

When Serena is kidnapped in a desperate attempt to force the royal betrothal, Jonah realizes his new agenda is to secure a bride—for himself.

A new edition of Settle Down Now by Leenna Naidoo was re-released in February of this year. Check it out!

Summary: He has secrets. She has cents.
Billionaire Charmaine Donnet’s search for Mr Right goes public in the most humiliating way. Her dating coach, and trusted friend Joss, has turned introvert Charmaine’s quest into a hit reality TV show. Events take a dark turn when one of the potential Mr Rights goes missing at sea. Charmaine is not sure she will survive this desperate Hart’s cruise.