Category «Features»

Trope Thursdays: Forbidden Love [8]

Trope Thursdays: A monthly feature where I look at various reading tropes. Each month I will pick a trope and examine all aspects of it. I’ll discuss the classic features of the trope, what I love (or hate) about it and share some books that use the trope in their plots.


Valentine’s Day being on Thursday this year was the perfect excuse to bring back this monthly feature!

The featured trope this week is perhaps my all time favourite romance trope. Now, it helps that it can be a little broad and encompass a variety of scenarios. But there is nothing better than some good ole sexual tension–and usually this trope delivers!

February’s Trope: Forbidden Romance

Definition:

Forbidden relationships can take many forms: Parents may forbid their children from engaging with certain friends or significant others; friends or family members may disapprove of our relationship partners; or we may fall in love with a coworker, supervisor, or someone who is already committed to a serious relationship. The obstacles to these relationships may be explicit or implied, but these obstacles may actually serve to strengthen our forbidden relationships.

~Psychology Today (“The Allure of Forbidden Relationships“)

 

Because it is Valentine’s Day, I’m sticking with the romantic side of forbidden relationships.

Common Features:

  • Possibly Dark love
  • Perhaps Taboo Love
  • Loyalty
  • Drama
  • Secrets
  • Workplace Romances
  • In Love with a Rival
  • In Love with a Partner
  • Family Rifts
  • Slow Burn
  • Perhaps Cheating

What I Like About The “Forbidden Love” Trope:

There are a lot of things I like about this trope! The main one is the sexual tension it brings to the story. There is just something about longing glances and the anticipation of that “big moment” when their feelings come crashing to the surface.

If you bothered to read the article I quoted above, you’ll see that it touches on another aspect I love about the forbidden relationship: the “forbidden obstacles” help to strengthen the relationship. For a romance/partnership to be a “win” for me, you have to convince me that these two belong together and share something more than just a mutual physical attraction. Forbidden romances provide those roadblocks that challenge couples as partners and as individuals and I find you get a much stronger, genuine relationship as a result.

What I Dislike About The “Forbidden Love” Trope:

Sometimes, these stories get caught up in the forbidden attraction and those opportunities for character growth get lost in the heated moment. Other times the petty drama gets in the way as well.

But my biggest worry when reading forbidden romances is the potential for unhealthy relationships. If those issues/reasons are addressed within the story, I’m more than happy. I do enjoy unconventional romances and sometimes those romances have their toxic moments. But I go in knowing that and it’s usually presented in a way to the reader that this isn’t an ideal relationship. However, not all author’s take that approach or use the opportunity to create that dialogue about what is good and bad about the relationship.

Books that Use the “Forbidden Romance” Trope Well:

When forbidden is in the title, it better live up to it…and this one certainly did! Not only did the “forbidden” element add a layer of suspense to the story, but it also made the story and characters richer. This one had me on the edge of my seat!

>>Standalone Review: The Forbidden

 

I avoided reading Forbidden for years because of the topic of incest, but once I finished it I immediately chided myself for such a colossal mistake! If you want a story that will put you through every type of emotion, this is the one for you.

>>Standalone Review: Forbidden

 

Others: Royally Series  |  Sweet Black Waves

Books that Didn’t Use the “Forbidden Romance” Trope Well:

I was really excited to see how a romance between the Genie and Aladdin would work in this retelling…but it flopped so hard for me. I truly saw no connection between these two besides attraction and in turn, that made me think less of them as characters their “feelings” motivate a lot of their actions. This was just a miss for me.

 

When I read the premise for Undone, I was excited to start it. But I promptly stopped reading at the 36% mark. Why? The romance was a little toxic and didn’t bring out the best in the characters. I quickly learned I like when both characters know they are embarking on a forbidden romance or both are oblivious to the off-limits nature of their relationship. Our hero just came across as slimy to me as a result and their lack of chemistry didn’t help any either.

>>Series Review: Disclosure

 

Others: The Cage  |  Bad Romance


Do you enjoy books with the “Forbidden Romance” Trope?

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Monthly Inventory: January 2019

January 2019

Well, what a start to the new year! I’m not sure everything went to plan for me in January but I had a lot of changes this past month and it’s no surprise that my read reflects that.

I recently moved closer to work–which has been fantastic with the weather of late (I shovelled more snow in 5 days than I did all of last year). But with a shorter drive, that means I don’t listen to as many audiobooks anymore. Audiobooks really maintained my reading numbers last year because I could listen to 2+ hours a day with my drive. I still listen to them (because I really do love audiobooks!) but only a little bit at a time so they take me longer to finish.

The other reason my reading is so abysmal is that I’ve been so busy readying my new place while working full time that I can only manage a chapter (if I’m lucky) of my book before sleep calls my name. I’m nearly there putting the finishing touches on my new place so I’m hoping I can churn out a few more books this month.

 

thoughts

Total for January 2019: 10 Books Read + 1 Novellas Read

DNF’d: 0 Books

Last January: 25 Books Read + 0 Novellas Read + 3 DNFs

Standout Read (★★★★)


I love thrillers/suspsense novels but I’ve never had a great experience with romantic suspense–until I started K A Tucker’s Burying Water Series. This was a fantastic follow-up to the first novel!

Biggest Let Down (★★)


In theory, this novel should have been a knock out of the park for me but boy, did it sure not work for me. It took me nearly two months to finish (a sign I should have DNF’d it ages ago).


For Black Friday this year, Kindle had a promotion for new Kindle Unlimited Subscribers where you got 3 months of reading for only $0.99!!! Usually, we don’t get these deals in Canada so I made sure I locked in ASAP. I started my subscription at the start of December and it will end the first week of March. I wanted to keep track of what books I read to see if what I read is worth the monthly fee just like I did when completing the free trial.

  • NONE

Despite stocking my Kindle with many books, I didn’t get to any! This month is all about the sequels so I hope to get a few in before my subscription stops.

kobostats

Every quarter I take a look at my Kobo stats to see how I’m doing. My Kobo is my main reading device, used for personal and library books. My Kindle is used for ARCs but it lacks the statistic features of my Kobo.

As of:

January 31, 2019

January 31, 2018

Total % of Library Complete

25%

23%

Total # of Books Finished

296

270

Total # of Reading Hours

2598

2511

 

posted reviews

Most Viewed Post

Reading Plan 2019

Most Viewed Review

Blog Tour: Between the Sea and Stars

View this year’s archives for more posts and reviews!

 

thoughts

Previously posted series reviews that got updates:

 

thoughts

You can always get the full details on all my challenges on my dedicated page but here is a quick update:

5 Year 5 Book Challenge: 1 book added | 1 of 25 Titles Read – Slightly Behind!
Goodreads Challenge: 11 books added | 11/200 Books – 5 Books Behind!
Tackling the TBR Challenge: 3 books added | /36 Books – On Track!

View my Challenge Progress Here!

 

My main mission for 2018 was bringing my “Want to Read” shelf (new to me books) on Goodreads to a number below 500—and I totally did that! So this year, I’m aiming for a “Want to Read” shelf that is less than 400 titles. I’ve also set a goal to get my “Sequel” shelf below 250 titles.

Currently

December 31, 2018

Want to Read (New)

473

472

To Read (Sequels)

267

263

 

Created by Lia @ Lost in a Story

I used to do a big Goodreads Purge twice a year but I like the idea of doing a little bit at a time and had great success last year doing this on a monthly basis. The idea is to go through 5-10 books on your Goodreads TBR list chronologically and decide if they should stay or go. My 10 titles consist of 7 “new to me” titles and 3 “previously started series” titles.

This month:

The Lost Sisterhood
Keep

Tall, Tatted and Tempting (The Reed Brothers, #1)
Keep

Uncovered
Keep

Debt Inheritance (Indebted, #1)
Keep

Never Been Kissed (Never Been, #1)
Keep

V-Card (Sharing Spaces, #1)
Pass

A Risk Worth Taking (Grayson County, #1)
Pass

Keep

Keep

Keep

Pass: 2 | Keep: 8

Grand Total YTD: Pass: 2 | Keep: 8

Did I give up on any too soon? Let me know in the comments below!

While this is a monthly meme hosted by Avalinah’s Books, I usually only update every quarter.

My Progress for January 2019:

ARCs Read: 5 | ARCs Overdue: 1+2* | Upcoming: 3

(December State: ARCs Overdue: 2+1* | Upcoming: 4)

*Titles given to me as a member of an author’s street team to read ASAP.

Going Forward:

I probably bit off more than I could chew for January all things considered but I made do. I’ve decided not to do any promotional reads in March so I can catch up and start fresh in April.

 

discussions

You can still join in on these discussions:

 

Each month I have a list of 6 books I’ve selected to read for that particular month. These books include review copies and reading challenge picks. This year, I’ve decided to make 4 months throughout the year sequel only months (excluding ARCs and 5Y5BC picks). Here are some of the books I have ready to go for February:

Chasing River (Burying Water, #3) Five Days Until You (One Week Girlfriend, #4.5) East (History Interrupted #2) Mister Romance (Masters of Love, #1)

What were your biggest reading or personal accomplishments of the past month? Have you broken any resolutions yet?
Leave a comment below!

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Top Ten Tuesdays: New to Me Authors in 2018

memefulthoughts1
Top Ten Tuesdays: Is a weekly meme feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl where bloggers post their Top 10 List for an assigned topic! I will not be participating every week, but I will occasionally take a shot at it! You can always find these lists (past, present and original) on my Riffle Page!

This Week’s Topic:

Top Ten New to Me Authors I Read in 2018

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these but I couldn’t resist this topic when I read it! While I spent a good portion of last year attempting to finish series I had already started, I was able to find some new authors who rocked my literary world! Check them out!

(In no particular order):


Links to My Reviews:

Grad Night Series | On the Edge Series | Beauty of the Beast | When It’s Real

Who were your new to you authors of 2018?

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Leave a Link to your TTT for me to visit in the comments below!

Monthly Inventory: December 2018

December 2018

2018 was quite the year; I don’t know how else to describe it. I had a lot of big life changes along the way and they truly did impact my reading in ways I didn’t expect…

I’ve had many hobbies over the years but reading (primarily) and blogging are the ones that have stuck with me the longest. But there were days in 2018 that I didn’t pick up a book at all; and there were even times where I didn’t touch my blog at all during the week. Practically unheard of just a short year ago. I’ve talked about “adulting” before on this blog but 2018 was truly the year that phrase really meant something to me.

I know that last paragraph may sound a little bleak but I promise lighter times are on the way! Even with a shift in my priorities as my personal life evolves, I’m counting on a great 2019 in all things–but especially reading!

I have a new plan of action for reading in 2019you’ll be able to read all the specifics here–and one that I really think will work well with my life moving forward!

thoughts

Total for December 2018: 15 Books Read + 2 Novellas Read

DNF’d: 2 Books

Last December: 21 Books Read + 3 Novellas Read + 1 DNFs

Grand Totals for 2018:

74 Books + 86 ARCs + 66 Audiobooks + 20 Novellas + 29 DNFs = 231 Books

*Note some ARCs were audiobooks or novellas so they maybe have been counted twice

Standout Read (★★★★★)


I’ve been dying to read this book ever since I finished the first novel in its series and this did not disappoint! It was exactly what I needed to remind me what a good contemporary romance is!

Biggest Let Down (★★)


I love the Disney movie Aladdin so I was excited to see what a retelling focusing on a genie would be like. Unfortunately, the lacklustre romance pulled the magic carpet out from under this unique premise. (See what I did there ;))

For Black Friday this year, Kindle had a promotion for new Kindle Unlimited Subscribers where you got 3 months of reading for only $0.99!!! Usually, we don’t get these deals in Canada so I made sure I locked in ASAP. I started my subscription at the start of December and it will end the first week of March. I wanted to keep track of what books I read to see if what I read is worth the monthly fee just like I did when completing the free trial.

  • Bad Romeo Christmas – $1.03
  • Arrogant Master – $2.99
  • Arrogant Playboy – $3.99

So I was just shy of reading books that would total the regular monthly fee but I definitely made back my $1!

kobostats

Every quarter I take a look at my Kobo stats to see how I’m doing. My Kobo is my main reading device, used for personal and library books. My Kindle is used for ARCs but it lacks the statistic features of my Kobo.

As of:

December 27, 2018

December 29, 2017

Total % of Library Complete

25%

22%

Total # of Books Finished

294

264

Total # of Reading Hours

2590

2511

Moving Forward: Cleaning up my Kobo eReader is my main priority for 2019 and I hope that will be reflected in my stats by the end of next year.

 

posted reviews

Most Viewed Post

DNF December Review Blitz: Intro

Most Viewed Review

Standalone Review: When It’s Real

View this year’s archives for more posts and reviews!

 

thoughts

Previously posted series reviews that got updates:

thoughts

You can always get the full details on all my challenges on my dedicated page but here is a quick update:

5 Year 5 Book Challenge: 6 titles this month alone! | 25 of 25 Titles Read – Completed!
Goodreads Challenge: 231 of 190 — Completed!
52 Sequel Challenge: 7 titles added | 52/52 Sequels – Completed!
Tackling the TBR Challenge: 5 books added | 33/36 Books – Incomplete!

View my Challenge Progress Here!

Overall: After such a dismal reading challenge year in 2017 I really wanted to get my TBR numbers down in 2018 and I think I managed to do that. (You’ll find the specific TBR stats below). Despite the fact that it felt like I rarely had a moment to read in 2018, I somehow managed to complete nearly all my reading challenges! The one exception is the Tackling the TBR challenge where I fell a little short. However, I still consider it a “success” when I take into account that by DNFing 9 novels from my personal collection–with the ones I finished–I did “remove” 36+ titles from my owned TBR so WIN!

2019 Reading Challenges:

For 2019 I wanted to make the focus be books I already own. It’s so easy to get caught up in the new releases and new library books; and that’s what I often do. But I have a TON of books waiting on my Kobo and Kindle eReaders (~100 on EACH device). Mind you, a lot of those are freebies I probably won’t ever read but who can resist free books?! Anyways, I’m bringing back my 5 Year 5 Book Challenge and my Tackling the TBR Challenge from 2018 to help me get the job done and clean up those eReaders.

My Goodreads Goal this year is 200 Books.

I read 40 more books than I expected this year (only 10 short of last year’s target) but the last few months have seen a drastic decrease to my reading numbers–and I only expect it to get worse come 2019. So I think by setting my goal to 200, it’s still an obtainable goal but one that I will have to be actively thinking about to achieve.

5 Year 5 Book Challenge 2019 Edition!

I really like doing this challenge ever year because it helps me get some of those backlisted titles off my TBR. It gives me specific titles to read and focus on. This year, 15 of my 25 selected books are from my personally owned collection!

>> View the titles I’ve selected here!

Tackling the TBR – The 2019 Challenge

I’m following the same guidelines as last year by only counting titles that I owned prior to 2018. The minimum goal is 24 titles in 2019. Titles from my 5Y5BC do not count towards this challenge (unlike last year).

 

 

In February 2017, I created a challenge for myself to bring my Want to Read Goodreads Shelf to 500 books. By the end of December 2017, I had brought the shelf down from 1205 to 511 books! The ultimate goal for 2018 was to get that number lower than 500 and also bring down my “sequel” shelf as well. I’ve decided that every quarter I will check my stats to see how I’m doing when it comes to cleaning up my TBR–and now it’s time to see if I reached my goal!

Currently

December 31, 2017

Want to Read (New)

472

511

To Read (Sequels)

263

301

I DID IT! It would be nice to say that I reached my goal by only reading the books but that isn’t solely the case. It was a combination of reading; DNFing titles I just wasn’t into; doing the Down the TBR Hole meme monthly as well as general housekeeping (removing sequels from series I don’t want to continue, etc) that truly helped get my numbers down.

Moving forward: I’m really happy with where my “New” TBR shelf stands but for 2019 but if I could get it closer to 400, I’d be one happy reader! I’d like to see my “Sequels” shelf dip below the 250 mark for sure though. I would also love to see a significant decrease to my Kobo and Kindle owned shelves (they currently sit at 80 and 70 titles respectively).

 

Created by Lia @ Lost in a Story

The idea is to go through 5-10 books on your Goodreads TBR list chronologically and decide if they should stay or go. I usually do a big Goodreads Purge twice a year but I like the idea of doing a little bit at a time and have decided to do this on a monthly basis and will continue this into 2019.

This month (7 new to me series + 3 previously started series):

Pass

Keep

Pass

Keep

Pass

Keep

Pass

Pass

Pass

Keep

Pass: 6 | Keep: 4

Grand Totals YTD — Pass: 45 | Keep: 55

Did I give up on any too soon? Let me know in the comments below!

 

While this is a monthly meme hosted by Avalinah’s Books, I usually only update every quarter.

My Progress for January to December, 2018:

ARCs Read: 86  |   ARCs Overdue: 2+1*  |  Upcoming: 4

(September’s State: ARCs Read: 71  |   ARCs Overdue: 2+2*  |  Upcoming: 3

*Titles given to me as a member of an author’s street team to read ASAP.

Going Forward:

I’m sticking hard to my 2 ARCs a month for 2019. I might even limit the amount of ARCs I read by an author for the year (the exception being Street Teams I’m a part of) if I find it gets too much. I’ve also limited my requests from authors for the time being as well. My focus this year is really on books I already own and so I want to be more selective about the ARCs I pick up.


What were your biggest reading or personal accomplishments of the past year and month?
Leave a comment below!

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SERIESous’ Reading Plan for 2019

2019 Is the All About Cleaning Up My Bookshelf

In the last 3 years or so, I’ve worked really hard on maintaining healthier reading habits. That means not borrowing 3 books from the library at one time; or having 20 books on hold simultaneously; or requesting every book on Netgalley that sounds remotely interesting. I’ve also come a long way in terms of DNFing books when they just aren’t working for me and not feeling guilty about it after the fact.

Last year, my reading plan focused on keeping those good habits going and I would say for the most part that I succeeded. I got my “TBR” to less than 500; I read more books than I anticipated (according to my Goodreads Goal) but I powered though a lot of titles in December in order to accomplish all my 2018 Reading Challenges. While I always come up with these great reading plans at the start of the year, life just gets in the way and I always seem to scramble by the end of the year.

So this year, I’m mixing things up a bit. I’ve still created my standard reading plan but I’ve shifted the focus and method of completing it. Here are the 3 goals I had in mind while I crafted my plan:

#1 – Clean Up my Backlogged Owned Bookshelves

I have an almost absurd number of unread novels on my Kobo and Kindle eReaders thanks to a combination of freebies and book sales. Every year, I always intend to read more of my own books with various challenges but I never seem to read as many as I want.

So I wanted to change that this year. Reading books I already own is the cornerstone of my reading challenges for 2019. I’m bringing back my Tackling the TBR Challenge and I’m also bringing back my 5 Year 5 Book Challenge, only this time, the vast majority of my “highly anticipated” reads of the last 5 years are titles I own.

>> 2019 Reading Challenge: Tackling the TBR

>> 2019 Reading Challenge: 5 Year 5 Book Challenge

Last year, I discovered the Down The TBR reading meme and I used it as a monthly TBR checkup. Thanks to it, I eliminated 45 books that I probably wouldn’t have ever read from my TBR, most them being owned/freebie novels. I plan on continuing that monthly habit in 2019 as a part of my Monthly Inventory Recap.

#2 – Finish Previously Started Series

When I wrote my plan for 2018, I had 131 book series on the go, totalling nearly 179 unread books! This year I have 124 book series with 174 unread books! A slight improvement but still a lot of novels! I have a lot of series post drafts waiting to be released for the blog and I hope to get most of them out by year’s end.

I had a sequel challenge last year and it had mixed results. I liked that it made me pay attention to reading sequels but I found I had too many “must-reads” each month and it got to be too much. This year, I intend to dedicate 1 month per quarter solely to sequels. I do this successfully every year with “Sequel September” and I want to bring it to other months as well. I’ve also incorporated sequels into my Reading Plan for Wishlist Reads and Library Holds by making one title of the two a sequel for my monthly reads.

#3 – Reduce the Number of ARCs

In the past, I usually limited myself to 3 ARCs per month but I wasn’t always the best about sticking to it. I definitely think I got some ARC fatigue near the end of 2018. It’s hard because I love promoting authors I adore and their newest releases but I never want it to feel like a chore (and it was starting to be in some ways).

This year, I plan on reading no more than 2 ARCs a month. I think this will be the biggest challenge because it is always so tempting to say “yes” and sign-ups/opportunities can appear months to days before a release. To succeed, I’m trying to keep with the mindset that I can support the author by buying a copy of the book when I am able to do so and have just as much as an impact while giving the promo opportunities to another blogger/reader who wants to participate.

Introducing my 2019 Reading Plan:

Like the Reading Plans of the past, it features a list of set categories to complete throughout the month. I’m hoping this year’s will be more flexible than the others I’ve created. I found the amount of books I read in a month really fluctuated in 2018 depending on my work and social schedule so I wanted something that was specific yet broad enough to give me the direction of what I should be reading while being open about what titles I actually read.

The Highlights:

  1. TBR Picks [2] – purchased novels on my Kobo/Kindle/bookshelf
    • I’m keeping this at 2 as a minimum
    • This doesn’t include titles from my 5Y5BC
  2. 5 Year 5 Book Challenge [2] — a Personal Challenge to read 25 books from the last 5 years
    • 15 of the 25 books selected are titles I already own
  3. Wishlist [2] —“available now” titles from my library

    • I add books my library owns to a library Wishlist
    • The idea here is to not be waiting for holds all the time, but to read titles that are ready immediately for reading
  4. ARCs/Tours/Requests/Netgalley [2]

    • I’m setting a hard limit of 2 books per month
    • If I get declined, I will not be replacing the title with another
  5. Library Holds [2]

    • One will be a new-to-me title; the other will be a sequel
      • They will remain on the list until I receive and read them
    • This isn’t a reading requirement, more so a way to limit the titles I have on hold at one time so I’m not panicking to read 5 books when they come in all at once!
  6. Audiobook Series [2]

    • Much like the “library holds” category, it’s just a way of keeping track of what audio series I have on the go at one time
  7. “Sequel Month”
    • All books read in that month must be a sequel to a previously started series
      • Exception is library holds & audiobooks

Going Forward:

I’m excited to see what 2019 has in store! I’m hoping with this more open plan that I won’t feel as stressed out about not reading all the books I need to on a monthly basis.

Do you create a yearly plan or do you just go with the flow?

What are some of your 2019 reading goals?

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Blog Tour: More (Ryder Brothers #3) by J D Hawkins

Synopsis for More (from Goodreads):

It starts with a bang.

As in me and Hadley, the maid of honor, during my brother’s wedding reception.
Sure, it was amazing, but I’m a one-and-done kind of guy.
After spending years of my life getting screwed over by managers and agents with the Ryder Brothers, I no longer like to commit.

I don’t even play music anymore.
The secret that I haven’t told anyone- is that I can’t.

A chance to raise money for my best friend’s nonprofit to help child stars means it’s time to deal with my block.
Hiring Hadley seems like the obvious solution.
She wants inside my head (not happening). I want to bang her again (she says she can’t sleep with clients).

Between my baggage and her professionalism, can my problem even be fixed?
Or will we both end up just wanting more?

Other books in the series:
book3

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Contemporary Series 2018
Series: Ryder Brothers
Author: Kayti McGee
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Celebrity
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: October 10, 2018 – December 2018
Source & Format: Candi Kane PR–eARC

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ve really enjoyed the last two novels in the series but I had a special curiosity for Jonas’ story. He’s been such an enigma throughout the series that I couldn’t wait to learn more about him and how he ends up with a character we met in the first novel, Hadley.

What I Liked:

–Very Character Driven Story–

While there are plenty of steamy moments between these two, there wasn’t only those moments. Both our leads have their flaws and seem to be in ruts when it comes to their lives. So it was great to see both of them work on their individual selves throughout the novel and grow. These two talk a lot and about a variety of things so I felt like a had a great grasp on who they are as people and why they’ve been holding back in their lives.

–Slightly Forbidden Romance–

This is a little twofold in some ways. First, it’s the fact that Hadley is  BFFS with Jonas’ brother’s wife and they hook up for the first time at the wedding…and don’t want anyone to know.

But then comes the working element of their relationship where Jonas becomes her client. I really liked how this added to their relationship, taking it to that next level of development. It was a great plot device and one that really enhanced the story the more you read.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Missing a Little Je Ne Sais Quoi

I don’t know how to describe what was missing from this book for me (ie why it isn’t a 5 star read).

I had worried that the nature of their relationship (life coach and client) would lead down a very unhealthy one but that wasn’t the case at all (I was really impressed by how that all unfolded and was dealt with). So that wasn’t it.

I think it might have been the pacing a bit? It just seemed a little off in places when I think back about the novel as a whole.

My Rating: 4/5

Close 5/5 | Want 4/5 | More 4/5

overall

A great way to wrap up this fabulous series!

Read if You Like: contemporary romances, celebrities
Avoid if You: don’t enjoy character driven stories

similarreads

 


J D Hawkins

JD Hawkins writes erotic romance with modern-classic alpha males and strong, independent women. He currently lives with his wife in Austin, TX. He loves to travel and has lived in many places, including LA, New York City, India and Thailand. When he isn’t writing, JD enjoys surfing, training in Mixed Martial Arts, reading and taking naps. He once dreamed of becoming a ballerina. He’s always loved making up stories, especially ones inspired by real life.

Author Links: Facebook | Readers Group | Bookbub | Goodreads | Twitter

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon

Book Tour Organised by:

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Year’s Reads in Review – Top Picks for 2018

For me, 2018 was all about reducing my TBR lists.

Ever since I started my blog, I’ve been consistently trying to improve my reading habits by being smarter about what I pick up and when. And for me, 2018 was the year I really put all that hard work to the test. For the most part, I’d say I had a great reading year! I definitely read more books than I anticipated (according to my Goodreads Goal) but it didn’t always feel like that in the moment. I would go days without reading a book and then have a binge session where I couldn’t get enough pages in. Like last year, audiobooks played a key factor in increasing my reading numbers. And I managed to complete nearly all my 2018 reading challenges! That last part is an absolute first in all my years of blogging!

> > Check out which books I read this past year HERE!

As always, I’ve decided to compile a list of my top picks (and not so great) from the various categories that I read this past year. Most categories deal with books published only this past calendar year (2018) but there are some noted exceptions. Click on the cover to read my review of the book/series–if available! Lots of these won’t have reviews until early next year.

Without further ado:

(Books are in no particular order; click on cover for review if available)

– Novels that were first published in 2018 –

Close (Ryder Brothers, #1) Set the Night on Fire (Cottonbloom #6) Royally Yours (Royally, #4) Hothead (Irresistible Book 4) P.S. I Hate You by Winter Renshaw

– Series that were first published in 2018 –

You Promised Me Forever (Forever Yours, #1) Secret Heir (Dynasty, #1) Blood Type (Blood Type, #1)

– Standalones that were first published in 2018 –

Pretend I'm Yours

– Series that were first published in 2018 –

Sweet Black Waves The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

– Novels that were first published in 2018 –

From Twinkle, with Love American Panda

– Series that ended in 2018 –

Love Beyond Opposites by Molly E. Lee Down to You by Jayne Frost Fixed Forever by Laurelin Paige Immortal Reign (Falling Kingdoms, #6)

– A series sequel book published in 2018 –

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

– Movie Adaptions Released in 2018 –

– Novels I read in 2018 that were hyped by the community & met expectations –

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black American Panda

– Best audiobooks I listened to in 2018 (not necessarily their publication year) –

When It's Real Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1) Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1) Man Hands (Man Hands, #1) Royally Endowed (Royally, #3)

– Favourite New Adult Series Read in 2018 –

Heartless (Amato Brothers, #1)

– Best standalones I read in 2018 –

When It's Real Rush by Shae Ross

– Favourite YA Series I read in 2018 –

The Diabolic (The Diabolic, #1) Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1)

-Favourite Young Adult Standalone Read in 2018 –

Dear Martin

– Favourite Adult Standalones read in 2018 –

The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward The Right Fit Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

– Books published in 2018 that I DNF’d –

KensFrom Here to You (Crash and Burn, #1) Gunslinger Girl Top Choice Honor Among Thieves (The Honors, #1)

– Books I gave 2 Stars or Less to in 2018 –

Contrite by Kathy Coopmans Furyborn (Empirium, #1)

– Books that I enjoyed more than I expected! –

The Hunt (The Cage, #2) Lead (Stage Dive, #3) Priceless (Amato Brothers, #3)

Have a fabulous 2019!

Do we share any titles? Agree or Disagree?

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Burn, Rewrite or Reread Tag – 2018 Edition

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Burn, Rewrite, Reread Tag

While I essentially gave up doing my random tags over the last two years (I have so many other things to post!), I remembered doing this tag back in December 2016 as a way to wrap up my reads for the year. So this year, I thought I’d bring this back and make it an annual tradition. I always do my Year’s Reads in Review feature but this one really makes you think about things and features some books that wouldn’t necessarily make my Top Picks of the Year.

Here’s a recap of what you are supposed to do:

The Rules:

-Randomly choose 3 books.

-For each group, decide which book to burn, which one to rewrite, and which to reread.

-Repeat until you completed three (I do 5) rounds

To get the books for each batch, I used a random number generator to pull titles from my “Books Read in 2018” excel file. This includes any DNF’d titles and if a number repeated itself, I reran the generator until I got a fresh title.

Round 1

Double Exposition (Songs and Sonatas, #1) Exmas The Unbelievable, Inconceivable, Unforeseeable Truth About Ethan Wilder

Burn: There were definitely things I liked about Double Exposition, but it got the lowest ratings of this group so it’ll get burned.

Rewrite: The predictability of Exmas is what stopped that book from being a 5 star read for me, so I would rework it a bit so the plot wasn’t as obvious.

Reread: There is a bit of a mystery to The Unbelievable, Inconceivable, Unforeseeable Truth About Ethan Wilder— one I didn’t figure out at all. So I think it’s always interesting to reread those books that had you stumped the first time around to see if you could figure it out earlier.

Round 2

Watching You Without Merit Free to Risk (Freedom #3)

Burn: I had high expectations for Watching You as a YA thriller but it got a little lost in the romance. Plus, now that the suspense of the stalker is mute, I’m not sure if I would enjoy another read through it.

Rewrite: First, I find it crazy that I would rewrite anything by Colleen Hoover (she’s one of my all time favourite authors), but Without Merit just had a little too much going on to make it cohesive and amazing.

Reread: When I need an emotional read with strong characters, Free to Risk is a great one to pick up!

Round 3

The Shadow Hour (The Girl at Midnight, #2) Blood Match (Blood Type, #2) Sweet Black Waves

Burn: This has more to do with the audiobook narrator than the actual book itself — I can’t stand how she does male voices in The Shadow Hour.

Rewrite: There isn’t much I would change about Blood Match except the one super obvious plot point of this novel. And maybe more sexy times?

Reread: I DEVOURED Sweet Black Waves when I read it June. I just loved the characters so much!

Round 4

Be with Me (Wait for You, #2) Gunslinger Girl Only Between Us

Burn: I had high expectations for Be With Me after reading its predecessor but this book fell flat very quickly. Immature characters, a lack of chemistry between the leads (which was crazy because it was so there in the first book when they were there for all of 5 minutes!) and just a boring plot–nothing new here! Which is probably why I DNF’d it a third of the way in.

Rewrite: I thought Gunslinger Girl was going to be something completely different than what it actually was so I would totally rework parts of the story to make it more exciting…and more Wild West.

Reread: If you want to read about characters with tragic pasts and flaws, you don’t need to look further than Only Between Us. It will cause absolute havoc on your heart.

Round 5

The Wager (The Bet, #2) Stripped Bare (Vegas Billionaire, #1) Legendary (Caraval, #2)

Burn:I DNF’dThe Wager at 14% so clearly something didn’t work for me very early on. The chemistry was off and the plot wasn’t very mature so I had no problems putting it down.

Rewrite: While I enjoyed Stripped Bare, there were some predictable twists and I wanted to see the leads talk to each other more than just jump each other’s bones all the time. So you could definitely make this story stronger with some additional scenes.

Reread: There wasn’t much I didn’t enjoy about Legendary. I thought the pacing was great and I loved Tella as a heroine!


What would you Burn, Rewrite and Reread from 2018?

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DNF December Review Blitz: Introduction Post

Ever since 2015 when I decided to be more proactive and smarter about my TBR list, I’ve found myself DNFing more books than ever. I’m sure some people will read that and think “how awful” but I don’t see it necessarily as a negative thing; if anything, it has improved my reading life in an extremely positive way. Ever since I wrote a post explaining why I wanted to DNF more booksI’ve found myself in less reading slumps because I’m not reading books simply because I feel like I have to finish them. If I don’t find myself interested in one book, I simply stop it and read another until I find one that sticks.

>> SERIESous Discussion: DNFing ARCs

According to the “My Reading Habits by Month” post earlier this year, I nearly tripled the amount of books I DNF’d in 2017 compared to 2016 (going from 7 books to 17). Which also means I have more DNF reviews sitting in my “posts to publish” queue than ever before.

Which is how I came up with the idea for this review blitz! I had imposed a rule on myself to only post one DNF review a month–which is hard! And thanks to other commitments, I often moved those post around and they never seemed to see the light of day. I also found myself running out of spots for reviews I had fully completed and ready to go. So I needed a new solution. After I posted my Trilogy Termination Blitz in the Spring this year, I decided to do a similar thing with DNF reviews. And because I like alliteration (and the idea of yearly wrap-ups in December) , I picked December.

Now: what is a DNF’d review?

For me these are reviews of novels I never finished. Meaning I started them but stopped reading before I reached the end. These are not reviews for series where I read the first book completely and then opted to not read the sequel. Those get the regular “series review” treatment on my site as I have a conclusion card to tag them appropriately. I’ve also excluded those DNF reviews for brand new book series that had their inaugural title released this year. Those series get a special “Fresh Friday” review post.

These true DNF reviews get a bit of a different review format in comparison. In them, I list what I liked, what I didn’t and if I ever plan on finishing the series. I always find these reviews helpful when I’m deciding whether or not to add a book to my TBR and that’s what I aim for these reviews to do and why I publish them.

What Reviews are on the Way?

These are reviews that I wrote in 2017 and 2018. Some of these reviews were written a long time ago (ie early 2017) and got lost in various shuffles. But I wrote them immediately after I stopped the book so my feelings and thoughts are fresh.

Here are the reviews you will see over the next few days (note the links may be “broken” as the reviews aren’t published yet):

         

While I never want to DNF books (especially when most of these are ones I’ve spent my money to buy), I know it is an inevitable fact of being a book reader. I hope to make this more of a yearly feature as a part of my December year-end-wrap-up going forward but you might see the occasional one pop up throughout the year.

I hope you enjoy the reviews I post over the next week! And if you read and enjoyed these books, I would love to get your takes on them! Who knows, maybe I’ll pick them up again!

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Monthly Inventory: November 2018

November 2018

It’s crazy to me that we are already in the last month of 2018! Where did the time go?!

November wasn’t the best reading month for me (nor writing, I didn’t even attempt NaNoWriMo this year like I usually do). There were definitely days I didn’t even pick up a book; which had been so foreign to me until this year. Even my blog got neglected for most of the week–thankfully I have all my posts scheduled in advance! But work and life have a funny way of doing that to you. It has inspired me to write a post about a reading slump due to life…if I ever get around to it 😛

This December is all about wrapping up the year. I’ve got approximately 20 titles I need to read to finish all my challenges by the end of the month and I’m not sure if I can do it. I have created a list to follow and I’m hoping I can stick to it!

What else can you expect this month? On the blog I have started to do my first ever DNF December Review Blitz. More often than not, my DNF reviews don’t see the light of day (they get moved around in the schedule to accommodate blog tours, etc) so I wanted a way to get them out there. This year’s reviews are a mix of titles I DNF’d this year as well as in the last two years (or so). I also have a few year end wrap-up posts including my annual Reads in Review for 2018.

thoughts

Total for November 2018: 12 Books Read + 2 Novellas Read

DNF’d: 1 Book

Last November: 15 Books Read + 3 Novellas Read + 1 DNFs

Standout Read (★★★★★)


This series was a standout read for me in 2018. I loved the drama, sabotage and intrigue of the first novel and this sequel definitely measured up!

Biggest Let Down (DNF)


I definitely waited far too long to read this sequel. I just couldn’t bring myself to be invested in a series I hadn’t really loved during my first foray into it.

 

posted reviews

Most Viewed Post

Monthly Inventory: October 2018

Most Viewed Review

Standalone Review: American Panda

View this year’s archives for more posts and reviews!

 

thoughts

Previously posted series reviews that got updates:

thoughts

You can always get the full details on all my challenges on my dedicated page but here is a quick update:

5 Year 5 Book Challenge: 17 of 25 Titles Read – Behind!
Goodreads Challenge: COMPLETED!
52 Sequel Challenge: 45/52 Sequels – Behind!
Tackling the TBR Challenge: 28/36 Books – Behind!

View my Challenge Progress Here!

 

Created by Lia @ Lost in a Story

I’ve seen this meme floating around and thought it was a great idea to help me tackle my TBR list and reach that less than 500 goal. The idea is to go through 5-10 books on your Goodreads TBR list chronologically and decide if they should stay or go. I usually do a big Goodreads Purge twice a year but I like the idea of doing a little bit at a time and have decided to do this on a monthly basis.

This month (7 new to me series + 3 previously started series):

Pass

Keep

Keep

Keep

Keep

Keep

Keep

Keep

Keep

Pass

Pass: 2 | Keep: 8

Did I give up on any too soon? Let me know in the comments below!

 

December is all about wrapping up the year! I’ve got some new and returning year-end favourite posts in store that I hope you will enjoy! As for books, here’s what I have on my immediate TBR list:

Dirty Filthy Rich Men (Dirty Duet, #1) The Forbidden Wish (The Forbidden Wish, #1) Little Black Book (Little Black Book, #1) Twice Burned (Love is Messy Duet, #2) Arrogant Master (Arrogant, #2) Game for Marriage (Game for It, #1)


What were your biggest reading or personal accomplishments of the past month?
Leave a comment below!

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