2022 Book #5 – Electric Idol by Katee Robert

Title: Electric Idol
Author: Katee Robert
Date finished: 1/20/22
Genre: Contemporary romance, erotic romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: January 18, 2022
Pages in book: 350
Stand alone or series: Dark Olympus series #2
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

He was the most beautiful man in Olympus.
And if I wasn’t careful, he was going to be my death.

*A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Psyche and Eros that’s as sinful as it is sweet.*

In the ultra-modern city of Olympus, there’s always a price to pay. Psyche Dimitriou knew she’d have to face Aphrodite’s jealous rage eventually, but she never expected her literal heart to be at stake…or for Aphrodite’s gorgeous son to be the one ordered to strike the killing blow.

Eros has no problem shedding blood. Raised to be his mother’s knife in the dark, he’s been conditioned to accept that he’s more monster than man. But when it comes time to take out his latest target…he can’t do it. Confused by his reaction to Psyche’s unexpected kindness, he does the only thing he can think of to keep her safe: he binds her to him, body and soul.

Psyche didn’t expect to find herself married to the glittering city’s most dangerous killer, but something about Eros wakens a fire inside her she’s never felt before. As lines blur and loyalties shift, Psyche realizes Eros might take her heart after all…and she’s not sure she can survive the loss.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I read the first book in the Dark Olympus series and enjoyed it so I decided to try the next book in the series too. This was an interesting read – it was definitely steamy but I wouldn’t say that I’d classify it in erotic romance. It just felt like a really steam contemporary romance to me. I love that the characters in this series are all based on characters from mythology and that it loosely follows along with some of the old stories while bringing a modern spin to it. The dichotomy between old and new is so engaging. This book was especially intriguing to me as there were echoes of traditional fairy tale stories as well – Aphrodite telling Eros to “bring me her heart” like in Snow White and also Beauty and the Beast is even referenced in the book. This book also spoke to a narrative around body positivity in a number of places and I loved it. I especially loved that when we’re getting Eros’ point of view he never had thoughts that were like “oh well she’s chubby but I like chubby” – his thoughts were just straight about how beautiful Psyche was with no qualifiers. I thought this was a great book and I’d definitely recommend it.

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2022 Book #2 – Love at First Spite by Anna E. Collins

Title: Love at First Spite
Author: Anna E. Collins
Date finished: 1/8/22
Genre: Contemporary romance, romantic comedy
Publisher: Graydon House
Publication Date: January 4, 2022
Pages in book: 298
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Falling in love is the ultimate payback in this delightful, breezy romcom about an interior designer who teams up with an enigmatic architect at her firm to get revenge on her ex the only way she knows how: by building a spite house next door

They say living well is the best revenge. But sometimes, spreading the misery seems a whole lot more satisfying. That’s interior designer Dani Porter’s justification for buying the vacant lot next to her ex-fiancé’s house…the house they were supposed to live in together, before he cheated on her with their Realtor. Dani plans to build a vacation rental that will a) mess with his view and his peace of mind and b) prove that Dani is not someone to be stepped on. Welcome to project Spite House.

That plan quickly becomes complicated when Dani is forced to team up with Wyatt Montego, the handsome, haughty architect at her firm, and the only person available to draw up blueprints. Wyatt is terse and stern, the kind of man who eats his sandwich with a knife and fork. But as they spend time together on- and off-site, Dani glimpses something deeper beneath that hard veneer, something surprising, vulnerable, and real. And the closer she gets to her goal, the more she wonders if winning revenge could mean losing something infinitely sweeter…

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

One of my all-time favorite tropes is enemies to lovers, even better if they’re work place enemies. So when I saw the description for this one I was so excited to read it. I really liked the book at first too – there was some great banter, I loved the concept of the revenge rental property and it was entertaining! Dani just got to be too much for me – she was a little too whiny for me by the end. And her and Wyatt had like zero communication skills. By the end of the book I just had trouble believing that they were going to be able to make it work. This was still a very entertaining read and I’d recommend it because I did like it – it just wasn’t a great read for me.

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2021 Recap and 2022 Goals

2021

2021 was such an eventful year for us! My husband and I welcomed a little baby boy in July and he has been such a joy for us. I had a few months of maternity leave during which I actually got a LOT of reading done. I had gallbladder surgery and then went back to work right in the midst of a busy season so had to dive right into things. We were so blessed this year and it’s hard to believe how much of our life has changed.

So anyways! On to the meat of this post – to recap on the goals list that I had set for 2021:

  1. Participate in certain reading challenges:
    1. Bout of Books Challenge – BOB 31 (May 2021) – Did not participate in this challenge, was very busy with work and the last few months of pregnancy
    2. Book Bingo challenges! I’d like to participate in at least one bingo challenge again this year. Maybe the Ripped Bodice summer bingo but I’ll be busy in July and August so I’m not sure if that’ll work. We’ll see how things pan out but I do so much enjoy those so I’d like to participate in at least one. – I did the Ripped Bodice summer romance reading bingo, I was off for two months in the summer and it was fun!
  2. Keep reading my backlog list! At least one book per month – I was definitely able to accomplish this, I actually read 26 books of my backlog which I was super happy about. I still have 42 books to get through so I have to stick with it !
  3. Keep reading from my personal library! At least one book per month – I did this one too! I might’ve even gotten through more than one a month a couple times, but I also bought more new books in 2021 than I read from my library so have not yet been able to deplete my library at all
  4. Write at least one non-review and non-blog tour post a month – can be one of the structured posts like Top Ten Tuesday or it can be informative or whatever I feel like! – I did this for January, February, March, and April and then I kind of lost track of it. I had a great time writing the posts that I did get out though, especially the Girl Scout Cookie, wine and book pairing post I did in March.

This year was very different for me since we added a new family member. My maternity leave included a lot more reading than I ever would have expected but those late night feedings it’s so easy to read on a Kindle!

In looking back on my year of reading this year, I was able to read a comparable amount related to previous years. Below is a chart of the books I read by month this year vs previous years:

I also really like the functionality of the Goodreads Year in Books summary for giving an overview of what happened during my year for reading. I don’t record 100% of the books I read on here so it doesn’t always match up with my own figures but I love having all the covers in one place, it makes for a neat graphic.

And just for fun! Here are a few of my favorites from 2021:

Favorite Reads from 2021

  • The Hating Game by Sally Thorne – 5.0 stars – Also I watched the movie and I really liked it! There were pros and cons to it but overall I think it stayed really true to the book and it is definitely enjoyable
  • Beach Read by Emily Henry – 4.75 stars
  • Block Shot by Kennedy Ryan – 4.75 stars
  • Runaway Girl by Tessa Bailey – 4.75 stars
  • The Invited by Jennifer McMahon – 4.75 stars
  • It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey – 4.5 stars
  • Getaway Girl by Tessa Bailey – 4.5 stars

Best New Author I Read in 2021

Last year’s best new author was Tessa Bailey and, even though she wasn’t a new author to me in 2021, I feel like I still have to mention her since I’ve been just gobbling up her backlog. I love a lot of the books I’ve read by her. But best new author I read in 2021 is a tie between Emily Henry (loved Beach Read!) and Nikki Sloane (who I heard about on the Fated Mates podcast).

Here we close out the 2021 year and we look ahead to the New Year!!

Happy New Year!

Looking ahead to 2022, I feel so grateful for all the ways my life has grown this past year. Some of those things will take away from my reading and blogging time and that’s an adjustment I’ve been getting used to over the last few months. Reading is still very important to me so I want to make time for it where I can, but many of my 2022 goals are going to be personal goals for outside the blog. That being said, there are some reading goals that I’m still hoping to achieve.

Looking ahead to 2022, here are some of the goals I plan to work on:

  1. Participate in certain reading challenges: Book Bingo challenges! I’d like to participate in at least one bingo challenge again this year. Maybe the Ripped Bodice summer bingo since I’ve done that one the last couple years and have enjoyed it.
  2. Keep reading my backlog list! At least one book per month
  3. Keep reading from my personal library! At least one book per month
  4. Write at least four non-review and non-blog tour post during the year – can be one of the structured posts like Top Ten Tuesday or it can be informative or whatever I feel like! I wasn’t able to keep up with the one a month schedule this past year so I’m hoping doing just four during the whole year will be more manageable.

I wish everyone love and joy in 2022, Happy Reading!

2021 Monthly Status Update: December

December-1

December went by in a flash. Between Thanksgiving last month and the holidays at the end of December, plus all the work to get done before the 12/31 deadline, it was a hectic month! The holidays were so wonderful, it was great to see our son’s first Christmas experience – even though he’s still too young to really know what’s going on. I didn’t have as much time as I had hoped to read over my “vacation” time but I did get some reading done. And I watched the new Hating Game movie, I thought it was pretty good! Here is my reading progress for December:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 6
# pages read this month: 2,099
# books read year-to-date: 110
# pages read year-to-date: 37,366

Other Posts this month:

Nothing to report from this past month!

Favorite books from this month:

Beautiful Secret by Christina Lauren – 4.5 stars

Next Month TBR List:

  • Love at First Spite by Anna Collins
  • Made in Manhatten by Lauren Layne
  • How to Love Your Neighbor by Sophie Sullivan
  • Electric Idol by Katee Robert
  • You Can Run by Rebecca Zanetti

I’ll be posting a summary of my year sometime in the next couple days – I always like looking back at the past year and thinkin about what I want to accomplish over the next year. Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Happy reading!

2021 Book #106 – Here and Gone by Haylen Beck

Title: Here and Gone
Author: Haylen Beck
Date finished: 12/8/21
Genre: Thriller, suspense
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: June 20, 2017
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Here and Gone is a gripping, wonderfully tense suspense thriller about a mother’s desperate fight to recover her stolen children from corrupt authorities.

It begins with a woman fleeing through Arizona with her kids in tow, trying to escape an abusive marriage. When she’s pulled over by an unsettling local sheriff, things soon go awry and she is taken into custody. Only when she gets to the station, her kids are gone. And then the cops start saying they never saw any kids with her, that if they’re gone than she must have done something with them…

Meanwhile, halfway across the country a man hears the frenzied news reports about the missing kids, which are eerily similar to events in his own past. As the clock ticks down on the search for the lost children, he too is drawn into the desperate fight for their return.

My rating:  4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I had originally requested this book because it sounded very interesting. I haven’t read anything or even really heard much about this author before but the plot of the book sounded too intense to pass up. And intense it sure was! It was even a struggle for me to read it at first because of how frustrating I found it. Imagining what Audra was going through and (as a reader) putting myself in her shoes felt almost traumatic at points. If you push through that struggle at the beginning though, wow what a great ending! The reader will get the vindication of justice and also a couple great twists. I couldn’t put it down and just had to know what happened during the last like 1/2 of the book. I thought it was a really interesting book and, while I have trouble saying I “enjoyed” it just because of the subject matter, I would definitely recommend it.

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2021 Monthly Status Update: November

november-top-10

November was such a busy month. Work has been steadily ramping up for me over the last month and I’m trying to really push through before the holidays and get everything done. Thanksgiving was a great celebration this year and we had so much to be thankful for. I didn’t get to read a ton this month but I have been enjoying the books I’ve been reading. Here is my reading progress for November:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 7
# pages read this month: 2,397
# books read year-to-date: 104
# pages read year-to-date: 35,267

Other Posts this month:

Nothing to report from this past month!

Favorite books from this month:

I re-read Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night by Kresley Cole and still loved it. Also have been reading some of Nikki Sloane’s backlog and it is just fantastic.

Next Month TBR List:

I do have one schedule read for next month – its part of the Harlequin Dreamer series blog tour! Stay tuned for more details.

Other than that I am hoping to catch up on books for my Fated Mates podcast that I follow. They’re already into Season 4 and I am still reading along with Season 2 so I have a lot of catching up to do!

I always love doing my year end summary posts, looking forward to those later this month. Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Happy reading!

2021 Monthly Status Update: September

Debunking-Some-Bunk-Is-September-Really-That-Bad-a-Mont-440x250

My favorite time of the year is here. Fall is the best – between the cooler weather and my birthday and all the Halloween decorations, I just love this time of year. This past month was my last month of maternity leave and I read A LOT! I won’t be able to continue at this pace going forward as I’m starting back at work but I am hoping to still read some great books next month too. So! Here is my reading progress for September:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 15
# pages read this month: 4,808
# books read year-to-date: 90
# pages read year-to-date: 30,949

Other Posts this month:

Nothing to report from this past month!

Favorite books from this month:

Beach Read by Emily Henry – 4.75 stars
It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey – 4.5 stars

Next Month TBR List:

For October, I don’t have any scheduled reads but I wanted to do some spooky/witchy reads! So I’m going to be reading a mix of things from my backlog and my library that fit into my “theme” for this month:

  • The Ex Hex
  • Witches of East End
  • Witches of Eastwick
  • Sorrow
  • Look for Me
  • The Witchfinder’s Sister
  • The Vanishing Season
  • A Heart of Blood and Ashes

I’m back to work this month but hoping to ease in slowly so I just need to find a balance between work and family first and then I’ll be able to figure out where I can fit in more reading!

Happy reading everyone and hope you all have a spooky October!

2021 Book #87 – When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting

Title: When Sparks Fly
Author: Helena Hunting
Date finished: 9/22/21
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: September 21, 2021
Pages in book: 371
Stand alone or series: Stand alone (kind of hoping to see more books for the friends or the sisters though!)
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Charming, hilarious, and emotional…When Sparks Fly is Helena Hunting at her very best!

Avery Spark is living her best life. Between her friends, her sisters, and Spark House, the event hotel her family owns, she doesn’t have much time for anything else, especially relationships. She’d rather hang out with her best friend and roommate, Declan McCormick, than deal with the dating scene. But everything changes when she is in a car accident and needs someone to care for her as she heals.

Declan avoids relationships, giving him a playboy reputation that he lives up to when he puts a one-night stand ahead of a promise he made to Avery. While he may not have been the one driving the car, he feels responsible for Avery’s injuries and is determined to make it up to her by stepping into the role of caretaker.

Little did they know that the more time they spend in compromising positions, the attraction they’ve been refusing to acknowledge becomes impossible to ignore. When they finally give in to the spark between them, neither is prepared for the consequences. Their love is fragile and all it will take is a blow from the past to shatter it all.

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I’ve read a few other books by this author and really enjoyed them so I was excited to read her new release! Helena Hunting is an interesting author to me because she spans the genre between more steamy (her Pucked series from what I remember is on the steamier side) to very low steam level. This book was on the lower side and I have to say I thought there was a lack of chemistry really between the protagonists. They definitely were well suited for each other and it was still a romantic story but I just didn’t necessarily buy into there being a strong attraction between the two of them. Other than that I thought this book was pretty good. I liked the plot – it was different from a lot of others in the romance genre and I found it pretty original. I would recommend it, especially if you like romance that is a little less graphic!

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2021 Book #74 – The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy

Title: The Telling
Author: Alexandra Sirowy
Date finished: 9/15/21
Genre: Young adult, thriller, suspense, mystery
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Pages in book: 400
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

A chilling new novel about a girl who must delve into her past if she wants to live long enough to have a future when a series of murders that are eerily similar to the dark stories her brother used to tell start happening in her hometown.

Lana used to know what was real. That was before, when her life was small and quiet. Her golden stepbrother, Ben was alive. She could only dream about bonfiring with the populars. Their wooded island home was idyllic, she could tell truth from lies, and Ben’s childhood stories were firmly in her imagination.

Then came after.

After has Lana boldly kissing her crush, jumping into the water from too high up, living with nerve and mischief. But after also has horrors, deaths that only make sense in fairy tales, and terrors from a past Lana thought long forgotten. Love, blood, and murder.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I haven’t read many young adult books lately so this was a nice change of pace. And the mystery plot line was interesting and had an unexpected outcome that I was surprised by. I’m getting further away from my young adult years so I have trouble connecting somewhat to the characters. There were parts of the plot that I thought were a little ridiculous but overall it was a good story. I was surprised at how much murder there was considering it was a young adult book but I would still recommend it!

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2021 Book #83 – Lies by T.M. Logan

Title: Lies
Author: T.M. Logan
Date finished: 9/13/21
Genre: Thriller, suspense, mystery
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: September 11, 2018
Pages in book: 406
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Six days ago, Joe Lynch was a happily married man, a devoted father, and a respected teacher living in a well-to-do London suburb. But that was before he spotted his wife’s car entering a hotel parking garage. Before he saw her in a heated argument with her best friend’s husband. Before Joe confronted the other man in an altercation where he left him for dead, bleeding and unconscious.

Now, Joe’s life is unraveling. His wife has lied to him. Her deception has put their entire family in jeopardy. The man she met at the hotel has vanished. And as the police investigate his disappearance, suspicion falls on Joe.

Unable to trust the woman he loves, Joe finds himself at the mercy of her revelations and deceits, unsure of who or what to believe. All he knows is that her actions have brought someone dangerous into their lives—someone obsessed with her and determined to tear Joe’s world apart.

What if your whole life was based on LIES?

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I didn’t love this book at first – it took me a little while to get into it but once I did the plot line was very intriguing. I didn’t want to put it down because I had to find out what would happen next. And there was a great plot twist at the end that I didn’t really see coming. It was just so sad though – without giving the ending away I just felt so sad for Joe. he honestly was just a nice guy and the police attacking him every second as well as just what he went through on a personal level through the story was so depressing to me. It was a great thriller though with a very good twist so if you like suspense novels this is a great one to read!

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page