I’m not sure how it happened, but I’ve read more books in the beginning of this month than I have in the past two and more pages. Fortunately, some of these books, I’ll be reviewing in a separate post for the SmutAThon Wrap Up. I opted against doing a Tome Topple Wrap Up, but will note which books were part of that reading process! So, let’s jump in, shall we?
1. Shadow of Nightby Deborah Harkness
The first book I read for Tome Topple, Shadow of Night was a re-read, and fulfills the #RippedBodiceBingo challenge for a time travel romance. It was utterly delightful to read again. I absolutely adore Gallowglass, a secondary character introduced in this book, and many of the other characters we meet back in time. I suppose that’s a spoiler for the series overall, so, my apologies… Regardless, I adore this book, even if Matthew can be a little irritating in his possessiveness. There’s just something about paranormal romance that makes me accept possessiveness. Well, that, and it’s pretty mutual.
2. Hostage to Pleasure by Nalini Singh
Speaking of possessive… Dorian has been one of my favorite of Lucas’s sentinels since the beginning, though there wasn’t really a particular reason why. But watching his with Keenan in this book? Ugh. I love him. And Ashaya is such an amazing character too! The end of this book almost broke me, omg. I just love this series so much.
3. The Book of Lifeby Deborah Harkness
The conclusion to the All Souls trilogy, The Book of Life is extremely satisfying. Most of the things I love the most about this book are spoilers, but I will say that I feel like Diana really comes into her own in this book. It takes a bit for her to adjust to being back in the 21st century, but it’s so nice to see her take control of her life for real.
4. Branded by Fireby Nalini Singh
Mercy is one of Lucas’s sentinel’s and Riley is Hawke’s right hand man. The two of them have been working together and antagonizing each other for months when Mercy gives in to the skin hunger and tumbles with Riley. Mercy worries Riley will interfere with her life and not respect her dominance, while Riley wonders how the person he wants is so different from the person he thought he wanted. Everything about their story was compelling and I adored it immensely. Can we talk about how this cover is awful though? Why do these books have such bad covers anyway? Berkley has delivered for all their recent books, but you would never know that the heroes and heroines of these books are white people from the covers.
5. A Duke in the Nightby Kelly Bowen
Oh how I loved this book. Kelly Bowen has quickly become one of my favorite historical romance authors and this book perfectly explores why. Clara Hayward is Headmistress of a school that August Faulkner, a duke, buys (secretly), but she has one last summer session with her girls and oh goodness is it lovely. This book is chock full of conversations about what convention requires and why it’s stupid and how women should be free to pursue their dreams. It was exactly the balm my feminist heart needed. August was slow to wisen up, but he listened and tried and I just… I loved it.
6. A Rogue by Any Other Nameby Sarah MacLean
I adore Penelope Marbury with the passion of a thousand suns. Sarah MacLean can write heroines so well, which is why she’s one of my favorites. There’s just something about Penny though that is utterly irresistible. And oh, our precious Bourne. He’s an idiot, but he’s so… Idk. He’s broken in the way that makes me want to give him a hug, but fortunately, he’s got Penny for that. Also, my girl is a Hufflepuff through and through. I’m just saying. She’s got a little reckless Gryffindor in her, but she’s a Hufflepuff. I adore her.
7. Blaze of Memoryby Nalini Singh
Me going into this book: Ugh, I do not care about Dev Santos.
Me at the end of this book: Omg, I love him. I love Katya. Also, NALINI, WHY AM I CRYING?
Seriously, this book packs the most emotional punch. I was driving and crying listening to it. So rude. I love Nalini Singh so much, y’all. Anyway, Dev Santos is a minor character in Clay and Tally’s book because he’s the leader of the Shine Foundation and therefore, the leader of The Forgotten. He’s also extremely compelling, loyal to the core, and such a precious man. No harm should ever befall him. Also, the side characters introduced in this book? Wonderful. The interactions with Keenan and Noor? LOVE THEM. Judd Loren? An angel. Basically, I’m just obsessed with this series.
8. Scoring with the Wrong Twin by Naima Simone
I listened to this book on my drive back to North Carolina and when I finished it, I called my best friend to talk about how steamy the sex scenes were. Even though I usually HATE the deception about who you are trope, it really worked for me in this one. I think it’s because Sophia pretends to be her sister because her sister needs her to and then she can’t stop pretending to be her sister in front of Zephirin because he could betray her sister. Basically, I will forgive most things for loyalty reasons. I’m a real Hufflepuff, y’all! Anyway, this book was both sexy and emotionally compelling. I really enjoyed it!
9. One Good Earl Deserves a Loverby Sarah MacLean
I couldn’t not continued the series after reading Penny’s book because I also adore her sister, Philippa. And also Cross. But I mean, is there a better start to a book than the heroine showing up unannounced and unchaperoned in a man’s bedroom above the casino he owns? Tbh, no. And then she asks him to teach her about sex and he’s like, “What the hell? Bourne would kill me. Please leave.” But he’s so intrigued and it is honestly everything. I love this book. I love these characters. Now to try and read Temple and Chase’s books this month to round out the series.
Everything else I read this month I read during #SmutAThon, so I will bid you adieu for now and bring you up to speed on the eight books I read this past week very soon in that wrap up! For now, I will say that this reading month has been thoroughly delightful to the point that I can’t pick a favorite read. I suppose of the new to me books on this list (of which there are five), Hostage to Pleasure was my favorite! What’s been your favorite book so far this month?