July 2017 Books

Okay, now that July officially ended only three days ago, I’m feeling much more on track. I’m surprised at how much I read in July, given the holiday, various and sundry to-dos and events, and a family vacation. Yet, I must have been reading constantly during the moments I wasn’t with friends and family. Alright, well, I pretty much always read constantly when I’m not with friends or family. That should stop surprising me at some point.

July Books (16 books)

  1. Blurred Lines – Lauren Layne^
  2. Royally Screwed – Emma Chase^
  3. Royally Matched – Emma Chase^
  4. Royally Raised – Emma Chase^
  5. Royal Scandal – Marquita Valentine^
  6. Royal Affair – Marquita Valentine^
  7. Walk of Shame – Lauren Layne^
  8. Now That It’s You – Tawna Fenske^
  9. Edge of Chaos – Molly E. Lee^
  10. After All – Karina Halle^
  11. Hello Forever – Sarina Bowen^
  12. Way Down Deep – Charlotte Stein^
  13. Sex Symbol – Laurelin Paige^
  14. Dream of Me – Gaelen Foley & Jaz Kennedy^
  15. Friends Without Benefits – Penny Reid^
  16. Love Hacked – Penny Reid^

Now that I’m looking back, this was not a terrific reading month. It was okay, sure, I mean, any month with a new Sarina Bowen is good for me, but a lot of these books are wholly forgettable. As in I read them a month or less ago and I still can’t remember anything about them. Yet, nothing was truly terrible. I did not like Sex Symbol. Not a worst book, just not good. And there was good, for sure. Hello Forever was good, but, again, Sarina Bowen. I finally dove into the Knitting in the City series by Penny Reid, which I waited too long to read, given my love for Neanderthal Seeks Human, and enjoyed it. I really liked Walk of Shame. It was surprising how much I liked it. And I was super shocked by how much I enjoyed Way Down Deep. A romance where the two characters literally never meet. Go figure. And yet, I loved it. So, some gems, but not a truly standout reading month.

At the end of July I had completed 138 books, putting me on pace to read 237 books this year. We shall see how it goes. We’ve just dipped into August, which is usually a big month of reading for me. See you in a month!

June 2017 Books

I’m basically just plowing through these lists now, just to get back on track. We finally hit summer and I got a new swing and intended to wow you with my outdoor reading, but then the weather got wonky and it didn’t go as planned, but I think I still managed okay.

June books (29 books)

  1. The Duff – Kody Keplinger^
  2. Geekerella – Ashley Poston^
  3. When It’s Real – Erin Watt^
  4. Pipe Dreams – Sarina Bowen^
  5. Buns – Alice Clayton^
  6. Famous in Love – Rebecca Serle^
  7. Truly, Madly, Famously – Rebecca Serle^
  8. The Hook-up – Kristen Callihan^
  9. The Friend Zone – Kristen Callihan^
  10. The Game Plan – Kristen Callihan^
  11. The Hot Shot – Kristen Callihan^
  12. Come Away With Me – Kristen Proby^
  13. Left Drowning – Jessica Park^
  14. Thoughtless – SC Stephens^
  15. The Debt – Karina Halle^
  16. Before I Ever Met You – Karina Halle^
  17. Steadfast – Sarina Bowen^
  18. Louder than Love – Jessica Topper^
  19. Love to Hate You – Anna Permoli^
  20. The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband – Julia Quinn^
  21. Lost Without You – Molly O’Keefe^
  22. Where I Belong – Molly O’Keefe^
  23. The Knocked Up Plan – Lauren Blakely^
  24. Hot Mess – Emily Goodwin^
  25. Twice Burned – Emily Goodwin^
  26. Easy Magic – Kristen Proby^
  27. Strong Enough – Melanie Harlow & David Romanov^
  28. The Rocker that Holds Me – Terri Anne Browning^
  29. The Rocker that Savors Me – Terri Anne Browning^

And there’s June. A lot of goodness here, but mixed with a lot of crap, which is probably to be expected by 29 books in 30 days. Here’s the good: Geekerella, an adorably geeky take on the Cinderella classic. When It’s Real, Erin Watt is quickly becoming a go-to author for me. Liked this even more than the Royals series. Buns, because, well, Alice Clayton’s humor. The Kristen Callihan series is good if you like sports romance, which I do. This one is football and enjoyable. Karina Halle is on my must read list and I enjoyed these both. The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband is a favorite. This is a stellar new series by a beloved author and she, again, knocked it out of the park.

Molly O’Keefe started a new series after her wildly successful (with me at least) series Everything I Left Unsaid, which is also the name of the first book, AND the best book of the year for me in 2015. This was a bit of a letdown. Good, yes, but in comparison they left me wanting.

The Knocked Up Plan. I really like Lauren Blakely’s humor as well. What I don’t like are books about pregnancy and babies, etc. Yet this one? Blew me away. I loved everything about it.

The one from the dark side that pops out was Thoughtless by SC Stephens. Let me just say this. I HOPE this is the worst book I read all year. I shudder to think there are worse out there.

And there you have it, a worthy June. I ended the month with a grand total of 122 books, and, as you know, July 1st marks the halfway point. Which means that I was on pace to read a whopping 244 books this year. Yowza.

July is coming….but tomorrow. I need to organize my thoughts. Stay tuned…

May 2017 Books

Sweet Mary and Joseph, I meant to stay on top of my book lists this year and then I blinked and I’m three months behind. How does that happen? I honestly can’t remember much about May, so I’ll just jump to the list and hope the books were somewhat memorable.

May books (15 books)

  1. Complete Nothing – Kieran Scott
  2. Devil in Spring – Lisa Kleypas
  3. Wicked Abyss – Kresley Cole
  4. The Trials of Apollo: The Dark Prophecy – Rick Riordan
  5. Shy Girls Write it Better – May Sage^
  6. The Girl From Everywhere – Heidi Heilig^
  7. The Perfect Illusion – Winter Renshaw^
  8. Bitter Rivals – Winter Renshaw^
  9. Arrogant Playboy – Winter Renshaw^
  10. The Ship Beyond Time – Heidi Heilig^
  11. The Crown’s Game – Evelyn Skye^
  12. The Crown’s Fate – Evelyn Skye^
  13. 180 Seconds – Jessica Park^
  14. Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor
  15. Red Sister – Mark Lawrence^

Whew! This was a surprisingly good month of books. Devil in Spring is the continuation of a series I enjoy, where the characters are related to the characters of another series I enjoyed. Sounds convoluted, is actually quite nice. I always enjoy Kresley Cole’s IAD series, and this new entry did not disappoint. The same goes for the new Rick Riordan.

The duology from Heidi Heilig was delightful and completely unlike anything I’ve read before. I enjoyed them both and recommend them heartily if you don’t mind a bit of fantasy and history in your reading.

Same with The Crown’s duology, which I found browsing about the Heilig books.

Strange the Dreamer is a book I was looking forward to for a long time. It was okay. It was a bit of a letdown. I wanted it to be so much more than it was. It was so close to being an excellent idea.

Red Sister was another unusual choice that I enjoyed. Nun assassins. Need I say more?

Lastly we have 180 Seconds. I was woefully unprepared when I read this book. I simply wasn’t expecting it. And it may well be the best book I read all year. We shall see.

And that, my friends, was May. At the end of May I had 93 books completed, on pace to read 223 books. Stay tuned….

April 2017 Books

And apparently I never blogged my April books. As I am prepping for the May blog, I probably should get this one in.

Plus, this was a great month of reading for me, so I want to remember, and share with you.

April: (15 books)

  1. Daughter of the Pirate King – Tricia Levenseller
  2. The Opposite of You – Rachel Higginson^
  3. Never Sweeter – Charlotte Stein^
  4. How to Keep a Boy From Kissing You – Tara Eglington^
  5. Retrieval – Aly Martinez^
  6. Shadow’s Seduction – Kresley Cole
  7. Twist – Kylie Scott^
  8. Ex Games – Stella Rhys^
  9. If You Were Mine – Melanie Harlow^
  10. The Conspiracy of Us – Maggie Hall^
  11. Map of Fates – Maggie Hall^
  12. All Chained Up – Sophie Jordan
  13. Hell Breaks Loose – Sophie Jordan
  14. Fury on Fire – Sophie Jordan
  15. Only Everything – Kieran Scott

And there you have it. Surprisingly high count of print books this month, 1/3, which is way above average. The first book of the month, Daughter of the Pirate King, is a debut author and I adored this book. Fun and intriguing read, just entertaining from cover to cover. I did not know, until the final few pages, that this was a series and I have to wait a year for the next one. ARGH (as the pirates say.)

The Opposite of You is the new romance by a beloved author. I liked this one a lot. I didn’t love it, but I did like it.

Conspiracy of Us and Map of Fates are the first two in a trilogy that I really enjoyed. The final one is out this summer and I can’t wait to read how it ends.

All Chained Up, Hell Breaks Loose, and Fury on Fire are a trilogy by Sophie Jordan that I did not know what to expect but turned out to enjoy more than I thought.

Overall, a great reading month. Not without its bombs (Retreival? Can I get those two hours back please?) but overall a pleasant month of good books.

The end of April found me at 78 books on the year so far, headed for a total of 234 books on the year. We will see how it all shakes out.

Stay tuned for May, in a couple of days. I still think I can squeeze in another book or two. We shall see….

March 2017 Books

Well, well, well, no one thought to remind me that I hadn’t posted this yet?

In my favorite month of the year I’m always a busy girl. Things to do, presents to open, that sort of thing. Therefore, my expectations are pretty low for books. In fact, 19 books is the most I’ve ever read, the other three years I’ve been tracking were 7, 6, and 5, reverse chronologically.

Imagine my surprise to pack eighteen new books into my calendar in my birthday month!

Here’s what I was reading.

March: (18 books)

  1. Royal – Winter Renshaw^
  2. Six of Hearts – L.H. Cosway^
  3. Lucian Devine – Renee Carlino^
  4. Goodbye Days – Jeff Zentner
  5. Rock Addiction – Nalini Singh^
  6. Three Little Words – A.J. Pine^
  7. The One Real Thing – Samantha Young^
  8. Wait for It – M. O’Keefe^
  9. Blush for Me – Kristen Proby^
  10. Unexpected Fate – Harper Sloan^
  11. Goodbye Paradise – Sarina Bowen^
  12. Truth or Beard – Penny Reid^
  13. Grin and Beard It – Penny Reid^
  14. Beard Science – Penny Reid^
  15. Every Little Thing – Samantha Young^
  16. Openly Straight – Bill Konigsberg^
  17. Openly, Honestly – Bill Konigsberg^
  18. Honestly Ben – Bill Konigsberg^

What a great month (in so many ways!). The first three were duds. Then Rock Addiction and Unexpected Fate, both of which were unimpressive. But, the other 13 books I read this month were terrific.

Goodbye Days is already a contender for best book of the year, seriously one of the best books I’ve ever read. (In case you’re wondering, Elena, you will hate this, Kelly, I would assume no, but you could try it, Mom, I think you would like it).

Three of these (Blush For Me, Three Little Words, and Wait for It) were continuations in a series. All three were excellent entries to their respective series’.  I also tackled two new series, the three by Bill Konigsberg, which is a completed trilogy and The Beard books, which is an ongoing series, these are just the ones completed.

I have written previously of my love of Sarina Bowen, so kudos to her for putting out her new book for my birthday. It was stellar. I adored it.

I adored the readings. All of them, even the bad ones. I love a good month of reading and this one was exemplary. What a ‘happy birthday to me’ sentiment that is.

As for our update. Through the end of March, I had read 63 books, which put me on pace to read 252 books this year. Yikes. That would be amazing. I guess we’ll see how it goes. We are headed into nicer weather and you know how I love to read outside!

February 2017 Books

Second month of the year went pretty well. I read quite a bit and some decent stuff. Now we are in my favorite month of the year and there’s some good things coming out I’ve been waiting for, so things are exciting.

Here’s the list:

February: (18 books)

  1. Managed – Kristen Callihan^
  2. Ransom – Rachel Shurig^
  3. Good Boy – Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy^
  4. Hard Hitter – Sarina Bowen^
  5. The Goal – Elle Kennedy^
  6. By Your Side – Kasie West^
  7. Attraction – Penny Reid^
  8. Heat – Penny Reid^
  9. Capture – Penny Reid^
  10. Blind Attraction – Eden Summers^
  11. Try – Ella Frank^
  12. Bittersweet – Sarina Bowen^
  13. The Playboy – Madeline Ash^
  14. Her Secret Prince – Madeline Ash^
  15. The Way We Fall – Cassia Leo^
  16. My Life Next Door – Huntley Fitzpatrick^
  17. Caraval – Stephanie Garber
  18. Heartless – Winter Renshaw

Standouts from this month include Managed, the second in the VIP series, which I enjoyed. Good Boy, which is the third in a series I adore, this was cute but not as good as the first two. Hard Hitter the second in a series, which I liked much better than the first. By Your Side, the newest book by Kasie West, one of my faves and this was fantabulous. My Life Next Door, a very sweet book in the style of Kasie West, so I will try another by Huntley Fitzpatrick and, finally, Caraval. This is a book recommendation I got over a year ago and I have waited and waited for it to come out. It was very good. Not excellent, but it could have fallen victim to The Oversell. I hate that. Still, it was a worthy read.

And there you have it. My February books. I am at 45 books on the year, currently on pace to read 270. Since my goal is 175, I’m not too concerned. Goodreads tells me I am 17 books ahead of schedule. I could technically take the month off and still be on pace. But I won’t. See in you April!

January 2017 Books

Starting off this year in an unusual way, by reading a whole bunch of books I would never read otherwise. Stay tuned for the blog about the MN Book Awards.

Meanwhile, here is January’s totals, my biggest January by far (since I’ve been keeping track, at least.)

January:

  1. Black Otter Bay – Vincent Wycko
  2. Boondoggle – Mark Rapacz
  3. The Born and the Made – Robert Spande
  4. Crosshairs on Castro – John Harrigan
  5. Dead Too Long – Ron Handberg
  6. Demon in the Hole – Richard A. Thompson
  7. The Devereaux Deity – Steve McEllistrem
  8. Goodbye to the Dead – Brian Freeman
  9. Hard to Breathe – Tom Combs
  10. The Heavens May Fall – Allen Eskens
  11. In Plain Sight – Greg Gardner
  12. Interlocking Monsters – Heidi Arneson
  13. Little Girl Gone – Gerry Schmidt
  14. Marsco Triumphant – James A. Zarzana
  15. The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors – Julie Seedorf
  16. Rise of the Spring Tide – James Stitt
  17. Sagar’s Tale – James Stitt^
  18. Salem’s Cipher – Jess Lourey
  19. Sarah’s Sound – Gary Crask
  20. The Sixth Idea – P.J. Tracy
  21. South Texas Tangle – T.K. O’Neill^
  22. Stealing the Countess – David Housewright
  23. The Truth About Mallory Bain – Clare Hexom
  24. Tyranny Begins – Elizabeth Hatcher True
  25. Warrior’s Revenge – Sherry Roberts
  26. The Hating Game – Sally Thorne^
  27. Idol – Kristen Callihan^

So the first 25 were not of my choosing, they were contenders for the book awards, so I had to read them. I don’t recall, exactly, in which order I did read them, so they are alphabetical by title. Primarily these are mystery novels, which is not my cup of tea. However there were some I liked. The best, IMO, was The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens. It was a really great story and I’d recommend it to anyone. The mystery is the least interesting part of the story. I liked several others, but I’ll go into them in more detail on my other post.

After all my forced reading, I needed a treat. The Hating Game is a book that came out last year. I saw it then and was interested but never got around to it. Then I saw it on at least five different lists as one of the best books of the year for 2016. So I knew I had to read it. I chose it as the first book I read of the year, of my choosing, with the hope it would be good. It was FANTASTIC. I loved it. I was thrilled to read it and cannot believe it is the author’s first book. Well done, Sally Thorne. I also enjoyed Idol, but it didn’t compare.

Overall an interesting and unusual month of books for me, but I kind of like that. Shakes me from my rut. I’ve read 27 books with a goal of 175. At this pace, I’d read 324, so wow, that’s weird. We shall see how it shakes out.