April Wrap Up, Part One

The beginning of April has been kind of a weird reading month. But I read two of my most anticipated books of the entire year and loved them both so let’s hop to it! P.S. I’m not posting a Romanceopoly Wrap Up because I literally failed so hard at that Readathon.

1. Branded by Fire by Nalini Singh

“Be gentle with him, Mercy. He’s got a heart as big as Texas— he’ll die for you without blinking. But he doesn’t expect anyone to do the same for him.”

I really love this installment of the Psy-Changeling series. Mercy, a DarkRiver Sentinel, and Riley, a SnowDancer Lieutenant, have to work together to manage the alliance thing between their packs. When Mercy gives in to lust and gets down and dirty with Riley, she is insistent it’s a one time thing because she knows the dangers inherent in a relationship between the two of them. But Riley is a hard man to resist. I love the way this book allows us to spend a ton of time building up secondary characters (and that Hawke/Sienna hint!!!!!!) without at all detracting from the romance building between the two of them. It’s an incredible installment in the series.

2. Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh

This book introduces us to the Forgotten and even though I think this book falls flat on your first read of the whole series because WHO CARES, BACK TO PACK PLEASE, I actually really enjoyed it this go around. Plus, the end of this book just gets you right in the feels and really amplifies my need for Noor and Kenan. Or maybe that’s where my need came from? Listen, I don’t know and I don’t care. What matters is that Katya and Dev are actually cute and provided the conduit we need to get that precious Noor/Kenan moment.

3. Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh

“Take care of my heart won’t you, Sophie? It’s a little odd having it outside my body-but I’m planning to steal yours to make up for it.”

Speaking of books I was impatient to get through on the first go around… But in all honestly, I really like this book with Sophie and Max. Sophie is a J-Psy, which means she can not only pull memories from people’s minds, she can also project those memories. They’re called J-Psy’s because they work in the Justice system, which is where she meets Max Shannon, a human enforcement officer. The two team up in San Fransisco to help Nikita figure out who is killing her high level people. There’s plenty of DarkRiver interaction and just a lot of great plot development so I really loved this one!

4. The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

I finally took a break from binging Psy-Changeling to go to KissCon and when I got there, an advanced copy of The Right Swipe was in my bag!!! I basically stopped breathing when I pulled this out and I still want to cry thinking about the fact that I’ve not only read this masterpiece, I also got it signed by Alisha Rai?! My life!!! Of course, I then proceeded to embarrass myself in front of her later, but we’re going to pretend that DID NOT happen.

Anyway, this book is about Rhiannon, or Rhi as she prefers, who winds up face to face with the guy who ghosted her after she agreed to a second date at a tech conference. Turns out, he’s the new spokesperson for the business she wants to buy. !!!! I had a hot second where I was like, mm, Rhi, I’m not liking the choices you’re making, and then I was like, “Jen, you haven’t DNF’d Lothaire so you don’t get to criticize underhanded motivations for allowing someone to apologize.” Thanks, Kresley, for coming in clutch with that comparison. Anyway, once I accepted that Rhi is totally allowed to be a company first woman AND we both came around to the fact that she really was doing these things as a sort of defense mechanism, the book and I became one and I raced through it. I’m kidding, kind of, but in all seriousness, I was halfway through the book before Alisha signed it and I finished it by crying at the airport.

I will give a quick content warning for some #MeToo related things in the tech industry and if you would like more information, please just shoot me an email or DM on Twitter. Whatever works!

5. Lothaire by Kresley Cole

“His debtors always assumed he’d demand their firstborn. Like I’m fucking Rumpelstiltskin? What would Lothaire do with countless squalling babes? Raise them in a kennel?”

So, reading Lothaire in the middle seat of a plane is a horrible idea and there were a couple of time I wanted to die of embarrassment that I was reading this book on the plane. However, I couldn’t STOP reading it because this book is WILD. Lothaire, aka the Enemy of Old, is a little bit insane (a lot a bit) and also really, freaking old. He was tortured for 600 years of his thousands of years lifespan. And his bride is a human who is possessed by this death wielding goddess. Ellie is pretty amazing even though I had serious issues with the Appalachia representation in this book. Like… SERIOUS issues. But, on the bright side, I don’t think she was actually living in WV even though there were several Mothman references (which may have contributed to my ire, actually). ANYWAY, listen to the Fated Mates episode on this one if you’re curious because I, honestly, cannot explain any of the absolute banana pants things that I read.

6. Shadow’s Claim by Kresley Cole

“The greatest thing about having power is the mere having of power. Use the latter well, and you’ll never have to use the former.

Y’all. Trehan. I don’t get why people don’t like the Dacians because I actually adored this book. Essentially, Trehan is the Dacians assassin who has never failed to execute someone who’s violated the laws of Dacia until he gets distracted on his chase and winds up getting blooded by his Bride, who thinks he’s the guy Trehan’s supposed to assassinate. There’s a competition to be her husband too so that’s a fun plot line. Oh, she’s part Demon and part Sorceress. I really liked this story. I think Trehan is one of the softer heroes we’ve had recently in this series and I love him almost as much as Sebastian. And Bet is a great, flawed, and young heroine and I really would love to know more about their lives together now.

7. A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole

“You just used me as a target for anger that has nothing to do with me. Don’t be mean to me because you are upset,” she said, her voice harsh. “It’s not fair to make other people pay for your emotions.”

This book was EVERYTHING. Filled with Alyssa Cole’s signature brilliance and fantastic writing, the story of Nya and Johan really shines. Johan, Prince of my heart, likes to avoid things and people that make it hard for him to hide who he is and would like to keep secret the things he can’t resist doing (aka his charity work). Nya effortlessly seems to creep beneath his defenses and the realization that Johan is more than he presented changes pretty much everything. Nya, meanwhile, is struggling with her own demons, including that she’s returning to Thesolo (for Ledi and Thabiso’s wedding!!!!!!) and that her dad is there in prison. She’s trying to throw off the trauma he subjected her to and the lingering belief that she cannot reach for what she wants. She finds it safer to hide in her virtual dating app.

I love both of them so, so very much. I want to be in the International Friend’s Emporium group chat and I want to give Johan a million hugs. So much of this book is about it being okay to be exactly who you are and to go after what you want and it was an incredibly powerful book to read. I love this book and I cannot wait to see what Alyssa does next!

8. Theirs for the Night by Katee Robert

This novella is definitely setting up the rest of the series, but I enjoyed it for what it was. Essentially, Meg decides she deserves to throw off her rules and expectations of herself for one night and so she goes out to a dance club with her friend. While at the club she catches the attention of two guys and winds up going home with them. I kind of thought they were aliens or something at first, but nope. Normal human men. Anyway, this is quite sexy and ends not on an HEA so be prepared if you decide to read it.

9. Arouse by Nina Lane

This is a marriage in trouble story, which I didn’t know until I started and I wasn’t really in the mood for that. But I forced myself to actually read it so that I would make some progress on my OWLs Readathon. I mean, this book was fine? I enjoyed my time reading it enough, but I’m definitely not interested in reading the rest of the series. I think part of my difficulty is that at the end of this book, I wasn’t really convinced they were going to make it work so this feels HFN (barely) and not HEA and since I didn’t like it enough to continue the series, I was pretty disappointed. Also, the writing style feels very serious and angsty so if that’s what you’re in the mood for, this could appeal, maybe?

And that’s all I read in the first half of April. I’ve been reading less than normal, but I’ve got a lot going on in my life so…


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