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250 Books In 365 Days: Books I Loved In September & October

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 I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had time to read as much as I normally do. Plus I’ve been making an effort to go bed before midnight so that cuts out my prime reading time, 12-2am. I’m kind of in book withdrawals right now but I have high hopes that the next few months will be better now that we are all getting adjusted to our school schedule again. I did read several really great books in September and October though so happy reading! Due to my 31 Day series that ran every day in October this list includes both my favorite books from September and October.

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1. Dissonance by Drew Elyse– The first time Logan ever saw Charlotte, she was staring up into the rain. Logan is searching for direction when his new roommate makes that entrance. With a body of pure sin, giant bright eyes, and the voice of an angel, she has his attention immediately. But everything about Charlotte is also screaming “hands off.” Charlotte is hiding. She made a life of pretending, and she is happy to keep it that way. Physically and emotionally scarred by the secrets of her past, the last thing she needs is a gorgeous roommate asking all the wrong questions. Their mutual attraction and devotion to music may be too strong to keep him at arms length, though. Can they find a way to resolve the dissonance between them?

This book was so good. It was full of pain and angst and strength. I loved it and I cannot wait to read the rest of the series. It is a HEA ending with no cliffhanger.

2. Reed’s Reckoning by Ahren Sanders– Arianna ‘Ari’ Williams thought she experienced the depths of true love until the man of her dreams dismissed her with no explanation. Heartbroken and humiliated, she found herself changing the course of her life and picking up the pieces of her shattered heart. Now four years later, she has a successful career, amazing friends, and a young son with crystal blue eyes that reminds her every day of the love she imagined. Emotionally she has moved on but the wounds never healed. Reed Matthews has it all. Playing professional football was always his dream. Being one of the most successful wide receivers in the league comes with money, fame, and all the women he wants. Even with all his wishes coming true, he never stops thinking of the one woman that owned his soul four years ago. A chance encounter brings Reed to the realization that Ari Williams not only hid a life changing secret from him, but also things weren’t as they seemed all those years ago. He’s determined to get her back and build their lives together. When the truth behind their deception is revealed- friendships are tested, families are torn apart, and the one person behind it all is relentless. Can Reed protect those he loves and build the future he dreamed of?

Oh the feels in this book. I loved Ari- she was strong and determined and independent. I also loved Reed- he was also strong and determined to do the right thing. I love books with surprise babies so this storyline was right up my alley. There were some major bad people in this story that I wanted to throat punch. I highly recommend this book.

3. Be My December by Rachel Brookes– I knew the exact moment I’d become a ‘yes’ girl. December 16th, a cold winter’s night, four years ago. The night my innocence was stolen, the night I made the mistake of saying no—a mistake I’d never make again. The dream of a ‘happily ever after’ was now a locked away myth. I promised myself that I’d never return to the place of my worst nightmare, that I’d never let anyone get close, but then again, I never thought I’d meet someone like him. The intense, confident and beautiful Ky Crawford. I had no plans to become someone’s Prince Charming. I couldn’t be. I refused to be. My plan was simple—do whatever it takes to correct my biggest mistake, my one regret that now controlled my life. I was on track. I had plans, but then everything changed when I saw her—the girl in the red jacket, the girl who I was told couldn’t say no. The reserved yet stunning Eden Rivers.

I clearly was on an angsty kick last month because this book was also full of angst. I felt so much pain for the main character, Eden, and I totally could get where she was coming from. There were a few twists and turns in this book that while I saw them coming that didn’t make them any less gut wrenching or gasp inducing. Definite 5 star read. 

4. Boarded By Love by Toni Aleo– Jude Sinclair here, hockey player for the Bellevue Bullies and lover of all ladies. Hockey’s in my blood, and not to sound full of myself, but I’m good at it…really good. The draft is within my reach—it’s mine to take—but that’s not the only reason people know my name. They know me because of my way with women. They know the score, and I aim to please. I just tend to stay away from repeat performances. In other words, I don’t do relationships beyond my family and friends. I’m happy with life. However, I should warn you that my story and how I see it playing out is about to change due to a certain redhead on campus. She’s beautiful. Stunning. Breathtaking. She’s my game changer. He’s trouble from the moment I see him. I don’t know what I’m thinking, but from the moment I meet his gaze, I’m his. It’s a scary feeling. I’ve never trusted anyone outside my aunt and uncle—and even that took months. I didn’t have it easy growing up. My mom was usually strung out, and she didn’t give me a second thought. Drugs and the men who paid her were more important to her. It was horrible, but I’m stronger today. Because of my past, security is what I need most. Money assures me that I can take care of myself today, tomorrow, and next month. I don’t want to ever be hungry or go without again, so I work hard for every penny. Oh, by the way, I’m Claire Anderson. I’m a hard-studying sophomore at the University of Bellevue, dancer for the school dance team, and a burlesque dancer at a club, but that’s my secret. You may think you know how our story ends, but you have no clue. It’s not easy falling in love… or living happily ever after. At first it may seem so, but when is anything worth having ever won without a fight?

I love sports books with some romance on the side. Toni Aleo’s hockey books are some of my favorites and this one is no exception. She balances the romance with the world of hockey and the story is divine. Plus, if you’ve read her previous Assassins series then so many of those characters show up in this book! I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

5. Love Always, Kate by D. Nichole King– Dear Diary, Leukemia’s been my life since I was eleven. Now, six years later, I want my life back. Only I’m not sure what that is. The test results came back today. 22,000. Which means I’m officially out of remission—again. I have three options: 1. Another round of chemo. 2. A super-new experimental drug. 3. Dump it all— forget the meds and treatments and enjoy the time I have left. I think I know what I want. Then, in walks Damian, changing everything. I mean, everything. He’s got his own set of issues. It binds us together, you know? We understand what it’s like to lose what matters most in seconds. Still, the last thing I need is to have someone else to crush if I can’t fight hard enough. And the last thing he needs is someone else to grieve. Never mind. I’m down to two options now. Somehow I know that whichever one I choose, the result will be the same. With the sand in my hourglass seeping to the bottom, I hope there’s enough left to show Damian that life’s worth living. Worth fighting for. Worth dying for. Love Always, Kate

Oh this book. It tore me up. I rarely shed actual tears while reading a book but I cried like a baby at this one. Sometimes you just need a book that will make you cry and this one will. It was just fantastic. I don’t want to give any spoilers so I’ll just say you should read this book.

6. Running On Empty by Christy Reece– Having survived a brutal childhood, Sabrina Fox believed she could handle anything. That was before she watched the love of her life die before her very eyes. Brokenhearted, her emotions on lockdown, she finds purpose and hope as an LCR elite operative rescuing victims from some of the most volatile places in the world. As a covert ops agent, Declan Steele was used to a life of danger and distrust, but when the one person he trusted and believed in above all others sets him up, he’ll stop at nothing to make her pay. Finally rescued from his hellish prison, Declan has one priority—hunt down Sabrina Fox and exact his revenge. Trusting no one is a lonely, perilous path. Sabrina swears she’s innocent and Declan must make a decision–trust his heart or his head. As memories of their life together returns, he realizes just how treacherous his torture had been and the target of his revenge shifts. But when Sabrina is taken, retribution is the last thing on his mind. With the assistance of Last Chance Rescue Elite, Declan races to rescue the only woman he has ever loved before it’s too late.

This was a fantastic start to a new series. The premise of a married couple separated by tragedy and supposed betrayal grabbed my attention immediately. And this story lived up to my expectations. The story was full of action, and pain, and angst, and redemption. I loved it! 

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1. Lost in the Beat by Gracen Miller– Jase Collins lives for the stage and the perks of rock stardom. His wild antics and high-profile affairs have earned the sexy drummer the title of Hot Wired’s bad boy. He’s not quite as jaded as his fans think — but just jaded enough not to recognize the best thing that’s ever happened to him until she walks out of his life. And he doesn’t even know her name. Fallon Morgan has had her life mapped out since high school. She’s earned a full ride scholarship to UCLA with the driving goal of earning her doctorate. Nothing can derail her dreams — except maybe a one-night stand with the infamous Jase Collins. His chilly reception the morning after convinces her to put her biggest mistake in the past and move on without looking back. When Fallon’s life takes a dramatic turn, she finds herself with no one else to turn to for help. Jase is obnoxious, demanding, and yet surprisingly tender. Though it chafes her to depend on him, the more time she spends with him changes her perceptions of the bad boy rocker. With each passing day she finds more and more faith in the man behind the public persona. If she can learn to trust her feelings, she might be willing to risk her heart.

I really like this series. If you haven’t read book one, then I highly recommend it. It’s a rock star series and each book is a standalone but they tie into one another so I would read in order. I can’t wait for the next release. I think I loved book 2 more than book 1!

2. Dare to Kiss by S.B. Alexander– Besides her family, Lacey Robinson’s only other love is baseball. She’s on top of the world when Arizona State University approaches her to discuss a scholarship. To be the first girl ever to grace a college boys’ team is beyond what she has ever dreamed. Her fastball is impeccable, her curveball equally as good, and her slider annihilates anyone who dares to step in the batter’s box. But fate has its own way of throwing curveballs. When she loses her mother and sister to a home invasion, baseball and her dreams die with them. Tragedy has a way of seeping deep into her psyche, causing nightmares, panic attacks and blackouts. Diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, her psychiatrist recommends a change of scenery and picking up the things that she loved to do, and for Lacey that is baseball. After a move clear across the country, only two things matter to Lacey—overcome her PTSD and make Kensington High’s baseball team. But trying out for the team comes with obstacles—the captain, Aaron Seever, doesn’t want a girl on the team. Her life is further complicated when she meets Kade Maxwell, a tall, sexy and drool-worthy bad boy who has a magical touch that awakens her feminine side and a kiss that slowly erases her nightmares. But getting involved with him may be dangerous when Kade’s archenemy returns to town to settle a vendetta. To complicate matters, her PTSD has taken a turn for the worse. She has to find a way to heal otherwise she may not have a chance at anything in life, especially love.

I loved this book so much. I love most books about sports and I especially love it when the heroine plays sports. This book made me sad, angry, and enraged- all in the space of a few pages. Any book that makes me feel all those feels at one time is a good one!

3. Down and Out by Kelley R. Martin “Tattooed package of sin.” That’s how Savannah Ryan would describe her new boss, Declan Whitmore, the deliciously tatted and pierced fighter who holds the top spot in Boston’s newest underground fighting organization. She’d also describe him as bossy, arrogant, and—depending on what he does to piss her off that particular day—an asshole. It’s that aloof attitude, along with Savannah’s witty comebacks and tight little body that land her on his radar. Unfortunately for her, Declan is relentless when he sets his sights on someone, both in and out of the ring. Unfortunately for him, this recently reformed bad girl is trying to go straight after heading down a dangerous path. She’s not going to make this easy for him. In fact, she’s going to make it—and him—very, very hard. Declan’s not worried, though. He’ll have Savannah come hell or high water, because if there’s one word he’d use to describe her, it’s “MINE.”

I laughed out loud so many times in the book. The things that came out of Declan’s mouth were pure gold. I really liked both characters and the heroine was strong without being over the top and annoying. Declan…..well, he’s book boyfriend material!

4. Maximum Risk by Jennifer Lowery– It should have been a simple rescue mission…Retired Pararescueman, Quinn Wolff, wrote the book on how to stay alive during a mission when he founded Wolff Securities, an elite private sector security firm. When he fast-ropes down to save missing humanitarian aid worker, Avery Marks, in the remote mountains of Azbakastan he isn’t prepared for the brave, stubborn woman who challenges the rules he wrote in order to protect her. But when it comes to matters of the heart nothing is simple… Avery Marks learned a long time ago to take care of herself, but when her convoy is attacked, her friends and coworkers murdered, she has to rely on the aid of intensely capable and handsome, Quinn Wolff to get her safely out of the country. His skills keep her alive, but his kisses put her in danger. In danger of losing her heart. That’s a risk she can’t take ever again.

This book was so good. So so good. And it’s the start to a new series but don’t worry- it’s not a cliffhanger. I don’t read cliffhangers if I can help it. There was a lot of action in this book but there was a ton of emotion and dramatic family dynamics too. I highly recommend this one!

5. Once Perfect by Cecy Robson– Evelyn Preston’s future once looked perfect—until her wealthy father was caught in an embezzlement scandal and took his own life. Alone and struggling to pay her college tuition and bills, Evelyn finds a job as a waitress at the ultra-hip nightclub Excess, where she used to have more in common with the privileged private-school clientele than her fellow staff members. But something attracts her to the sexy six-foot-four bouncer and underground MMA fighter Mateo Tres Santos. Although they’ve led different lives, their troubled pasts bonds them in both survival and love. Mateo is ex-army who wound up in prison for assaulting the man who harmed his sister. Now he’s feeling the same protective impulse for this petite blond waitress. When Evelyn experiences a panic attack at the club, Mateo comes to her rescue. And when Mateo is wounded shielding her from a brawl, Evelyn returns the favor and comes to his aid. As their attraction intensifies, Mateo is determined to find out what nightmares are lurking in Evelyn’s past—even if that means tackling his own to save her. 

I liked the setting of the nightclub in this book. There was a lot of action and drama without being over the top. I felt sorry for the heroine, her life was turned upside down out of no fault of her own and she was doing the best she could. Mateo was HOT, and protective, and so alpha. I loved it! This is book one in a new series but it’s not a cliffhanger.

6. Riot by Jamie Begley– Ice: As president of the Predators’ MC, my men and I are used to preying on the weak and those stupid enough to cross our paths. So why does a straitlaced teacher make me sit up and take notice when I see her for the first time? The brothers all think she makes me weak, and believe me, weak in their eyes isn’t where I want to be. She wants me to prove she means more to me than the club, and when I fail, she thinks she can just walk away. She’s wrong. I’m a Predator, and nothing escapes me. Grace: As a teacher, I’m supposed to want to educate those who want to learn, right? That’s what I believed until I was told I’d have to teach a class at the prison. I didn’t move to a town labeled as one of the safest places in America only to be faced with a bunch of Predators. He expects me to trust him despite being the reason I’m trapped in the middle of a prison riot. His club means more to him than I ever will, and if I give him a chance, he will break the fragile peace I have managed to find. It’s not the first time I’ve had to escape a predator. 

I almost didn’t read this book. It didn’t look like my kind of book. I was so wrong and I’m so glad I gave it a chance. It was like Sons of Anarchy and I love me some SOA. It’s book one in a new series but it’s a standalone. 

I have a bunch of books on my TBR list for November so I have high hopes for some more great ones to share with you next month. Did you read anything good this month?

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