It’s not that I want to wish time away, but I’m kind of glad we’re out of February, that Spring is coming and we’re one month closer to Kiss Con, Taylor Swift in LA, and vacation. Not necessarily in that order. Also I really need to make sure I can take vacation. Adulting is so irritating, tbh. Anyway, you’re not here about my life, but about my reading. I read 25 books this month and five of them were five star reads. Let’s talk about them.
Destiny’s Embrace by Beverly Jenkins
This is about Mariah Cooper, who sets out to California after things in her personal life in Philadelphia go very awry. She takes a position as Logan Yates’ housekeeper and that’s quite the task because the rancher is very set in his ways. I was caught off guard by how much I enjoyed this because I felt like the beginning was a little slow and I was confused about where it was going. It does take a bit to get into the story, I thought, because of the fact that the characters start off on different sides of the country. But I appreciated the character development we got and wound up adoring Logan and Mariah’s interactions together so much that I just kind of forgot how slow the beginning was. I will say though that there’s some weird physical violence type things where Mariah gets real mad at Logan and like, it works in the book but IRL, I’d be very concerned. So just keep that in mind if it’s especially triggering for you.
If I Never Met You by Mihari McFarlane
I think this book is one where it’s important to have your expectations set as you go in because if you go in really excited about the fake dating, it’s got a slow beginning. Don’t get me wrong, I thought the fake dating trope was executed remarkably well and I really enjoyed it, but this is definitely contemporary fiction and not a romance. That said, if you go in knowing that this is more contemporary fiction than romance, you can more easily get swept up in the fantastic fake dating plot, which was utterly delightful. The romance evolves slowly and I think people who don’t like books from only one person’s perspective may not be as satisfied, but I, personally, really loved it. Thank you to Netgalley/the publisher for the opportunity to read this one early! I’ll have a more elaborate review up in a couple of weeks as part of another ARC round up! (It’s out 3/24.)
Rapture in Death by J.D. Robb
This has quite possibly the creepiest mystery in it and took me ages to read because of that. Please keep in mind that I’m a scaredy cat to the extreme. Lol. Anyway, I really love the characters and Eve and Roarke. There is some sexual violence-type content in this one though so be cautious. Or ask if you need specific information.
Love Hard by Nalini Singh
You can see my review in the post from Tuesday, but spoiler alert: I loved this book so freaking much. Jake and Jules knew one another in high school because Jake’s girlfriend and Jules were best friends. Well, Jake’s girlfriend gave birth to Esme and passed away not long after and Jules has been out of Jake’s life since before that happened because of some family things. They reconnect at Gabriel and Charlotte’s wedding, which was my favorite thing. I love both characters so much and I love the full cast of the Bishop-Ezera family so freaking much. If you haven’t picked up this series yet… I’m going to gently nudge you to do that. Reading order chronologically would be Cherish Hard, Rebel Hard, Rock Hard, and then Love Hard. But you could definitely squeeze in Rock Addiction before or after Rock Hard if you want to recognize all the fun cameos we get in this book. Anyway, this is out on Tuesday, so make sure you pick yourself up a copy because it is delightful!
Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine
I read this book on a whim from Kindle Unlimited and, first of all, go me for reading a real thriller. Secondly, holy cow!!! This book was so intense!!! I feel like I’m overusing exclamation points, but also, this book left me terrified. It’s about a woman and her two kids who discover her husband/their father is a serial killer and they go on the run, essentially, to escape from all the people who think that they knew and participated. Now they’ve settled in this small town in TN called Stillhouse Lake, when suddenly someone is murdered in a very similar way as how Gwen’s husband used to kill his victims. So suddenly Gwen is a suspect. It was so good and so intense. I’m really excited to continue on in the series, but also, I’m terrified.
The Billionaire’s Legacy by Reese Ryan
Okay, so let’s just acknowledge that I absolutely should not have picked this book up because it’s a surprise baby plot line. But I did and I didn’t like it. If you don’t mind surprise baby plot lines, maybe you’ll like this? It’s also older woman/younger man and sibling’s best friend so there are tropes I liked and that you may as well. But essentially Benjamin is rich af and he finally gets to hook up with his older sister’s best friend Sloane, who surprise! is pregnant when he gets home from a months long business trip in Japan. He takes her at his word that the babies are his and his family is livid. They’re very pretentious and say lots of rude af things about Sloane. Anyway, if you think this sounds good, pick it up?
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I really love Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books so much, but I think this is probably my least favorite of her commercial fiction ones that I’ve read so far. This one follows Emma Blair who gets a call one night from her husband who has been dead for three years. Except, he’s obviously not dead. And she’s out to dinner with her parents and her fiancé. So, that gets complicated obviously. It’s a really fascinating story about identity and what one true loves means and actually made me think some more about all the reasons A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux just doesn’t work for me, but I didn’t connect to this story the same way I have After I Do and Maybe in Another Life. That said, it’s still a great book so I would recommend it if the plot sounds interesting to you.
When Tony Met Adam by Suzanne Brockmann
This was a very short novella about one of my least favorite characters in the Troubleshooters world, Adam, and Tony, a Seal. I love that our world has moved on so much since Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell fell that I was genuinely confused about the drama of Tony not being able to disclose that part of his identity. But also, like, how messed up was that? What underlied that policy decision? Homophobia is a wild mess. Anyway, this was fine, but I didn’t love it.
The Prince of Broadway by Joanna Shupe
I’m going to have to reread this book because I listened to it on audio and the narrator also does Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunters so I couldn’t stop hearing Raphael and Elena and occasionally Dimitri, which made for a wild ride. So I’m looking forward to Kiss Con when I will pick up a physical copy. This book follows Florence, who is one of the most magnificent heroines, and Clayton Madden, who is a casino owner. Florence wants to open a casino for women so she convinces Clayton to give her lessons. There’s a fantastic cast of side characters some of the absolute best lines. I feel like I’m being so vague about this plot and I’m sorry, but basically, I would recommend this if you liked the first book in the series or if your favorite Sarah MacLean is Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover.
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
I still can’t actually talk about my feelings on this book without spoiling things so let me say a few things here: One, for additional thoughts, you can see Tuesday’s post or my Goodreads review. Two, please check content warnings if you could need them. The way the book is written makes the content warnings spoilers in a way I can’t figure out how to navigate around and I’m sorry for that. Basically, the plot of this is that a very driven attorney has very much lived her life according to plan. The day she gets engaged, she also has an interview at THE firm she wants to work at. Later that night she falls asleep and finds herself thrust into the future where she’s living with another man, whom she later meets IRL and is panicked. I thought the premise sounded great, but it was… not. Also, no, Goodreads, this is not a freaking romance.
Water Bound by Christine Feehan
For a book I rated four stars and plan to continue in the series, I actually don’t have a ton to say on this book. I liked that Rikki is autistic and I thought that the way the representation of autism was handled was done well, but that’s coming from someone who is not autistic so take it with a grain of salt. What I would have liked though was an intro book where we got to meet these women meeting one another rather than being thrust in and not really getting to know them as a collective even though they’re talked about that way. Idk if that makes sense. But anyway, this book is about Rikki, a diver, who rescues a man, Lev, who it turns out is an assassin. There’s some really fun stuff in here, but it’s also a long book with lots of twists and turns.
And there you have my jumbled and probably not particularly eloquent reviews, which I will blame on the brain fog associated with this stupid sinus infection that won’t leave me alone. My favorite book of the second half of March was obviously Love Hard, not that there weren’t other good ones in here. What was your favorite book of February?