November Wrap Up, Pt. 1

First of all, I got a job! That’s why my updating schedule has been off this week. I started on Monday and every evening when I’ve gotten home, I’ve been trying to cram in some reading for the ContemporaryAThon and desperately wanting to crawl into bed. I’m not good at mornings, honestly.

Now, let’s talk about what I’ve read: romance novels. Almost exclusively, very steamy romance novels, but then ContemporaryAThon started so… Yeah. Also, this post is going to be so short because I reviewed two of these in their own posts and I’ll be talking about one of them in my ContemporaryAThon Wrap Up. But I’m sure I’ll somehow still manage to make this long…

1. The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

As you know if you read my review, I didn’t love this book. I rated it at 3.5 stars, but I’m not sure in hindsight I would give it such a high rating in hindsight. Anyway, if you don’t feel like reading a full post about this book the tl;dr about this book is that it’s similar to Austenland by Shannon Hale with less secondhand embarrassment (a perk), but with some weird not well-explored friendship dynamics, and the best part of the plot is side-tracked by the Austen experience. Anyway, if you’ve read this book, I’m super curious to know your thoughts.

2. Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh

Again, I have a full post of my review of Someone to Wed and I liked this much more than The Austen Escape, but much less than the second book in the series. So I think my 4 rating still feels pretty right, even in hindsight. If you don’t want to read the full post the tl;dr on this one is that I liked the slightly subversive gender roles for Victorian times, but I just could not connect with the heroine enough to really understand her emotional journey into liking and loving Alexander. However, female friendship for the win, literally always. I adore the family dynamic of the Westcotts and will read the rest of the series forever and always.

3. Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha

Oh my gosh, you guys, I am SO EXCITED to gush about this series. I’m obsessed, okay? You can get this one for free, somehow, it has something to do with the Kit Rocha newsletter and I would highly recommend taking advantage of that because holy cow. In contrast to my prim and proper, my mother could be reading this language, this book is, uh, very full of sex. And not “vanilla” sex (which is a thing I think we should unpack at some other time as an aside), but like… sex in various arrangements. I need to just tell you what these books are about, don’t I?

So, basically, these books take place after some kind of disaster that is not explained really, but also, who cares? Anyway, so there’s a city called Eden, which is like the Puritans came back to life and you can’t really express yourselves for real, but in theory they have the best life. That’s where you can have electricity any time you want, which, um, yes. A definite perk. BUT, Noelle Cunningham gets caught doing something and winds up getting kicked out of Eden. So she’s walking in Sector 4, when Jas rescues her.

But the real rescuer winds up being Lex. I mean, technically Dallas is the leader of Sector 4 and made the real decision, but let’s be clear, it was Lex’s decision to make Noelle one of them. And the book pretty much takes off from there. With SO MUCH sex. Also, Jas and Noelle wind up with Noelle being a submissive so if that’s not your thing… Maybe don’t pick this.

Anyway, I’ve rambled long enough, but just know that if you’re looking for a sexy book, THIS IS THE ONE.

4. Beyond Control by Kit Rocha

Since I just raved about book one, I shouldn’t have too much to say about this one right? HA, yeah, no. Lex and Dallas could set the world on fire with the amount of passion in their relationship. It’s so understood by everyone that Lex is basically already the Queen to Dallas’s King of Sector 4 and that’s established in Beyond Shame. So you would think that the two of them making it real would be easy. Except, you would be so wrong.

It’s so interesting to watch the dynamic between them and seeing how much Dallas loves Lex and respects her. I think that’s such an important component to erotic romance where the bedroom dynamics play with the dominant/submissive trope. I just really love Lex as a character.

5. Beyond Denial by Kit Rocha

This is a very short short about Ace, the tattoo artist in Sector 4, and Jared, someone who does not belong to the O’Kanes group. But it’s also providing some additional context for the vibe between Ace and Rachel, which is something I particularly enjoyed and appreciated because I am unbelievably excited for Rachel’s story already. Or should I say Rachel, Cruz, and Ace’s story? In my mind, it’s always the heroines story. I can’t help it. Anyway, since this was super short, I don’t have too many thoughts about it specifically, but it’s free so definitely read it after Beyond Control.

6. Never Lovedby Charlotte Stein

I’m waiting to love a Charlotte Stein book as much as I loved Never Sweeter, but I haven’t gotten to one that’s quite measured up. This is, however, in my opinion eons better than The Professor. Anyway, enough about my personal Charlotte Stein reading experience. This book is part of the Dark Obsession series, which basically means that it takes heroes/heroines who have experienced something pretty dark and lets them have the HEA. So I love that. In this book, Beatrix was abused by her father and is now trying so hard to fit in, even though she doesn’t really fully understand how. Her brother is in trouble though, so she winds up meeting our hero, Serge who is a street fighter who has a lot of tattoos and looks pretty scary. He helps out Beatrix and her brother though and slowly helps Beatrix come into her own.

Even though I really enjoyed this story, I thought the conflict and resolution was oddly rushed. Like I didn’t fully realize it was happening until we were through it and at the end. So I knocked a star for that. I think Stein’s concept in this series is probably similar to other New Adult authors who explore tragic paths, but I think her writing is really excellent. I haven’t read enough similar books to know how it compares to others exploring those themes, but I’m guessing it’s similar? Let me know if you have any ideas.

7. Neanderthal Seeks Humanby Penny Reid

This book was on a super sale on Amazon the other day, maybe free? I don’t remember. Anyway, I snatched it up immediately because of how much I’ve been enjoying Reid’s other series. I didn’t love this quite as much as I loved Beauty and the Mustache, but I did enjoy it. This book is about Janie Morris who loses her boyfriend (and therefore apartment) and her job in the same day. But she lucks out in one area, which is that the super cute new security guard is the one who escorts her out of the office. And her friend, Elizabeth, is immediately like, my couch is your couch. So, obviously, I love the female friendship elements to this story, I was just slightly less persuaded by Janie’s deliberate obtuseness to WHO the security guard actually is. But I really did enjoy their relationship.

8. Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon

Y’all. This book is everything. Okay? It’s set in Appalachia, one of the main characters visits her mom at Hazelton prison in West Virginia, and IT WAS AMAZING. This is a ContemporaryAThon book so I’m not going to say too much here, but I will say that I absolutely adored it and am so excited to say way more about it in my ContemporaryAThon Wrap Up. I will also note that you’ll probably be seeing this book on this blog a thousand more times because it’s a new favorite.

And that took me through November 14, 2017! You’ll see some more updates in the ContemporaryAThon Wrap Up tomorrow night, which will hopefully be exciting. And I’ve yet to read any non-fiction, so that’s an issue. What has been your favorite read of November so far?


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