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Monthly Book Report: July 2017

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I was a reading machine during July. Long days at the pool gave me ample time to enjoy some uninterrupted reading time. I read some gems too! Out of 26 books I read, 10 of those were 5 star reads for me! That’s practically unheard of these days in my little book corner. Since I read so many I’m going to just give my highlights of the month. If you want to see all the books I read, you can follow along on Goodreads with me. 

1. Kiss, Marry, Kill by Sidney Halston– It was just supposed to be a regular Thursday afternoon…and then he saw her. Sitting in seat L214, one seat over from his at the baseball game, right next to her douche of a soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend. An impromptu kiss for the kiss cam, and Jax knew his life would never be the same. Five years and a tour in Afghanistan later, Jax is back stateside running his own private security firm, Iron-Clad, with his best friend. He isn’t the man he used to be… but Megan isn’t the sexy and sweet, though sheltered, twenty-two-year-old he left behind, either. And she’s in trouble. Megan Cruz has made something of herself. She’s turned her dreams of pop stardom into a reality. But when a deadly stalker breaks into her home claiming to be her number-one fan, the only person she can turn to is the boy who got away. But Jax isn’t the same carefree charmer who stole her heart, then broke it when he joined the military. This man is seductive, hard, guarded. And he’ll do anything to protect what’s his.

I loved this book and I cannot wait for book 2 to be released at the end of this month! It had action, romance, suspense, and a hot alpha. What could be better? Nothing. The book was fast paced well written. The characters were awesome and real. I cannot recommend this one enough.

2. Flatlines by S.M. Smith– Beth Hughes is a professional life saver. She works long hours as an emergency room nurse, treating every ailment from the stomach bug to a broken bone to a collapsed lung. Oliver Hughes is a professional trainer. He works long hours mapping out diets and workouts for some of the NPFL’s top athletes. But despite how knowledgeable they are in taking care of other people, they barely know how to take care of each other. And when one night of loneliness leads to Beth’s slow destruction, it’s going to take a tremendous amount of grace and forgiveness to put back together what she thinks she destroyed. Support and encouragement may find them in the least likely of places, but the odds still seem stacked against them. And just as she thinks she’s figured out how to fight for herself and what she wants, Beth is forced to look at the facts. Hope may be blooming, but opportunity comes knocking and Beth and Ollie are left to wonder: can they really revive their marriage before it flatlines? 

I had no idea what this book was about when I dove into it. I didn’t even read the blurb. It was recommended by a friend and I loved it. Definitely not a light, fluffy read though. It was intense and emotional and real. 

3. Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost– Leila’s years on the carnie circuit were certainly an education. What she didn’t learn: how to be a vampire, or how to be married to the most famous vampire of them all. Adjusting to both has Leila teetering on a knife edge between passion and peril, and now the real danger is about to begin…Vlad must battle with a centuries-old enemy whose reach stretches across continents and whose strength equals his own. It isn’t like Vlad to feel fear, but he does…for Leila, because his enemy knows she is Vlad’s greatest weakness. As friend and foe alike align against him—and his overprotectiveness drives Leila away—Vlad’s love for his new bride could be the very thing that dooms them both.

This is book 3 in the Night Prince series. I adore this author. I loved her Night Huntress series and this is a spinoff series from that one. Highly recommend if you like hot vampires with an attitude and snarky heroines who don’t any crap. 

4. Into the Fire by Jeaniene Frost– For nearly six hundred years, Vlad Tepesh cared for nothing, so he had nothing to lose. His brutal reputation ensured that all but the most foolhardy stayed away. Now falling in love with Leila has put him at the mercy of his passions. And one adversary has found a devastating way to use Vlad’s new bride against him. A powerful spell links Leila to the necromancer Mircea. If he suffers or dies, so does she. Magic is forbidden to vampires, so Vlad and Leila enlist an unlikely guide as they search for a way to break the spell. But an ancient enemy lies in wait, capable of turning Vlad and Leila’s closest friends against them…and finally tearing the lovers apart forever.

And this is book 4,the final book, of the Night Prince series. It was just as good as the rest of her books. Lots of action, lots of old friends, lots of romance, and lots of angry vampire fighting. Pretty much everything I love in a romance book. Definitely start with book 1 if you want to read this series because they need to be read in order. 

5. Give Me Hell by Kate McCarthy– Mackenzie Valentine is wilful, fiery, and determined to prove she doesn’t need anyone. Desperate to break free from the over-protective parents and three older brothers who dictate her every move, she runs away at the age of seventeen to hunt down the only boy who makes her feel alive. Jake Romero has no choice but to leave the best thing that ever happened to him, taking him down a path that leads to notorious gang, the King Street Boys. When fate throws Mackenzie back in his life, he turns her away in her time of need, knowing he now lives a life in which she doesn’t belong. Except his decision has shattering consequences, leading to secrets, lies, and the ultimate betrayal. Years later, their lives continue to entwine, and when his past returns demanding retribution, Mackenzie intervenes and gets caught in the crossfire, leaving behind a devastation that no one sees coming. Can their relationship withstand the hell it’s endured, or is it too late for love? 

This is book 4 in the Give Me series and it’s one I have been waiting for. It was sooooo good. Definitely read this series in order though or you’ll be totally lost. 

6. Pieces of Me by Shiloh Walker– Nobody knows that better than Shadow Harper. It seemed like a dream come true when a rich, suave older man noticed her during her second year of college. Stefan Stockman seemed to love her obsessively. He came into her life and swept her off her feet, seduced her, married her…and then slowly, eventually, that dream come true became a living nightmare. Now, three years after she finally escaped him, she’s trying to put her life back together. Haunted by memories, struggling with post-traumatic stress, she spends most of her time locked away in her home on Pawley’s Island, a small town on the South Carolina coast. Her rare moments of joy come from her trips to the nearby beach. She compulsively checks the locks on her doors, makes sure she has her cell phones—five of them—and if she misses something on her schedule, it throws her into a panic. When she accidentally leaves a sketchbook on the beach, an anxiety attack seems imminent. Her art has become her salvation, her sanity, and losing even one sketch is like losing a piece of her soul. When she returns to hunt for the sketchbook, already fearing it’s gone for good, she’s surprised to find it still sitting there, saved by a sexy fellow beach lover—the mysterious Dillian Jenkins. He’s brash, bold, brutally handsome…and gentle. He’s the exact opposite of the man who’d tormented her for years, and Shadow finds herself slowly, almost reluctantly, falling for him. Even obsessing over him. When her ex-husband once again intrudes on the happiness she’s finally discovering, Shadow turns to Dillian. But will she find shelter there…or another betrayal? 

Hands down, this was one my favorite books of the year. It was fantastic, unputdownable, and amazing. I was torn between needing to keep reading at 3am because I had to know what happened and wanting to make it last as long as possible. Highly recommend this one. 

7. The Darkest Sunrise Series by Aly Martinez- Book One: Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me. Whoever coined that phrase is a bald-faced liar. Words are often the sharpest weapon of all, triggering some of the most powerful emotions a human can experience. “You’re pregnant.” “It’s a boy.”  “Your son needs a heart transplant.” Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me. Lies. Syllables and letters may not be tangible, but they can still destroy your entire life faster than a bullet from a gun. Two words—that was all it took to extinguish the sun from my sky. “He’s gone.” For ten years, the darkness consumed me. In the end, it was four deep, gravelly words that gave me hope of another sunrise. “Hi. I’m Porter Reese.”

Book Two: Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me. Bullshit. Words destroyed me. “I’m sorry. She didn’t make it.” “Daddy, he can’t breathe!”  “There’s nothing more we can do for your son.” Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me. Lies. Those syllables and letters became my executioner. I told myself that, if I didn’t acknowledge the pain and the fear, they would have no power over me. But, as the years passed, the hate and the anger left behind began to control me. Two words—that was all it took to plunge my life into darkness. “He’s gone.” In the end, it was four soft, silky words that gave me hope of another sunrise. “Hi. I’m Charlotte Mills.”

This series killed me. Dead. It was amazing. I was smart enough to wait until both books were available before diving into book 1 because I know this author’s writing well. And I knew I wouldn’t want to wait for book 2. I was so right. The story was amazing and heartbreaking and beautiful. I did not see the twist coming at all. Definitely a favorite!

8. The Retrieval Duet Series by Aly Martinez- Book OneI proposed on our first date. She laughed and told me I was insane. Less than a day later, she said yes. It was a whirlwind, but we were happy… Until we got greedy and wanted a family. It was a life I couldn’t give her, not for lack of trying. Fertility just wasn’t on our side. We sought out doctors and treatments. Spent money we didn’t have. Lied to our families. Smiled for our friends. Put on a brave face for a world that didn’t understand. Finally, we were successful…Until we were forced to bury our son. We were left broken, battered, and destroyed. They say love is in the details, but it was the details that ruined us. This is the story of how I took back what had always been mine. The retrieval of my wife and our family. 

Book Two: I fell in love with a man who didn’t exist. What started out as romance ended in hell. His words turned to razor blades. His kisses converted to fists. His embrace became my cage. His body transformed into a weapon, stealing parts of me until ultimately….I broke. I hated him. My sole job in life became to protect our daughter. I wasn’t sure I’d ever escape the prison he’d skillfully crafted from my fears. Until the day our savior arrived. This is the story of how I escaped the man who thought he owned me. The transfer of my life and my family.

And yet another amazing favorite series by Aly Martinez. This one was just as fantastic and a definite favorite. Highly recommend! Definitely read in order or you won’t understand what is going on. 

9. The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell– In Toulouse, Louisiana finding your one true love happens sometime around high school. If you’re lucky, he might be the man you thought he was. But as four friends are about to find out, not every girl has luck on her side. Laura Landry’s quarterback husband was her ticket out of Toulouse. But when a devastating football injury sidelines him, they’re forced to move back to the small town she was so desperate to leave. As Brian starts drinking instead of rehabbing his knee, Laura must reevaluate what her future looks like…and if it includes her husband. For years, Madison Blanchette has been waiting for bad-boy musician Cash Romero to commit to her. When wealthy George Dubois asks her out, she figures she may as well wait in style. Life with George means weekend trips to New Orleans, gourmet meals, and expensive gifts. At first she loves how George’s affection sparks Cash’s jealousy, but when George proposes to Madison, she finds herself torn between two men…All Claire Thibodeaux wants is to be the perfect wife and mother. If she can do everything right she won’t end up like her mom, a divorced, single parent trying to make ends meet. But when Claire’s husband Gavin, a well-respected local pastor, starts spending late nights at work and less time in their bed, she can’t help but fear that history is about to repeat itself…Gabrielle Vaughn never thought she’d end up with someone like her fiancé. The son of a prominent congressman, Tony Ford is completely out of her league—which is why she lied to him about everything from having a college degree to the dark truth about her family. She knows she has to come clean, but how do you tell the love of your life that your entire relationship is a lie? As these young wives come together to help each other through life, love, and heartbreak, they discover that there are no easy answers when it comes to matters of the heart.

I checked this book out of the library when I was just looking for a light fluffy read. It was really really good. I was invested in the story and in the lives of these characters. Definitely a great read!

I expect I’ll get a lot less reading done in August but I’m hoping for a few really good ones to share with you next month!

 

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