Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Was Scared to Read

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Halloween Freebie!This week, my choice is Ten Books I Was Scared to Read.

I probably to need to explain a little more about my topic choice. I don’t do scary, so these are books I was scared to read for reasons other than being scary.


1. The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

I’ve read several of Amy Harmon’s books. I’m always hesitant to start one because I know it will be an emotional journey. For some reason, The Law of Moses has scared me the most. I had to pick it as a book group read to make myself start it. That’s really sad because Amy Harmon is an amazing author.

2. Sugar & Gold by Emma Scott

Sugar & Gold sat on my NetGalley shelf for months before I picked it up because I was scared it was going to wreck me like Scott’s Full Tilt duet. I also was a little scared of the “paranormal” stuff that was included. I don’t normally do paranormal.

3. See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

My friend picked See What I Have Done as one of our book club picks. I didn’t know much about Lizzie Borden, but the whole ax-murderer thing freaked me out. I wasn’t sure how descriptive it was going to be.

4. Marrow by Tarryn Fisher

I was scared to read Marrow for all sorts of reasons. First, I had read Mud Vein prior and it was a stressful read. Second, I read something where Tarryn Fisher had mentioned she wrote this book after watching a video where a child had been beaten. That freaked me out. Third, it’s written by Tarryn Fisher. Her books are always deeper and darker than I’m prepared for.

5. A Different Blue by Amy Harmon

I wasn’t so much worried about the emotional impact of A Different Blue as I was with other Amy Harmon books. What scared me about reading it was that it has a friendship/relationship between a student and a teacher. Those aren’t my favorite.

6. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

I was definitely scared to read The Lovely Bones. I wasn’t sure how I would handle the murder of a teenager. The fact that it was narrated by her also creeped me out a bit.

7. Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

Another book club book. Stillhouse Lake scared me because I wasn’t sure how descriptive the whole serial killer thing was going to be. Plus, I knew what a great writer Rachel Caine was. I knew she could write a scary story.

8. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

I guess my book group really pushes me because this was another one they chose. I was intimidated by this one because anything set during WWII in the concentration camps is emotional and scary.

9. Illuminae by Amy Kaufman & Jeff

If you know me, you know I don’t do Sci-Fi. I especially don’t do space travel stuff. This book is all about space and AI. I knew the format was super cool, so I had to give it a try. That didn’t make me any less hesitant to start it.

10. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I read Six of Crows because of the hype monster surrounding it. If it hadn’t been well loved by just about everyone, I wouldn’t have picked it up. I don’t normally like fantasy. I have to admit I was a little scared I wouldn’t like it.


Even though all these books put some fear in me, I’m so happy I read them. I loved them. I guess it’s good to face your (book) fears!

Review: Dr. Neuro by Max Monroe

Dr. Neuro
Series: St. Luke’s Docuseries, #3
Author: Max Monroe
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Publisher: Max Monroe LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

I’m Dr. Nick Raines.
Brain surgeon and notorious over-thinker, I take the analytical approach with everything, until I can determine the best, carefully calculated plan of action. It’s no shock the producers of the popular reality series The Doctor Is In have decided to call me Dr. Neurotic.

Besides my more than full-time job as Chief of Neurosurgery at St. Luke’s Hospital, I’m a single dad and my number one priority is my daughter.

But life had plans to add another priority to my list.
Charlotte Hollis. Outspoken, impulsive, and beautiful, she’s everything I didn’t know I was craving.

She makes me wonder What if?
,
What if I don’t have to be alone for the rest of my life to give my little girl the father she deserves?

It’s a battle—my battle: Head vs. Heart.


I have to be completely up front and honest here for a minute. Dr. Neuro most likely would have been a five-star read for me had I not read Scoring the Billionaire first. If you haven’t read either book you’re probably wondering why. The star of Dr. Neuro, Nick Raines, was not portrayed very nicely (for good reasons) in Scoring the Billionaire. That had an effect on how I viewed him going into Dr. Neuro. He completely redeemed himself in this book, but I still had the ghosts of his past in my head the entire time.

So, yeah, I was surprised to find that I liked Nick. He may have made some poor decisions in the past, but he was a changed person. Everything he did in life, he now did for his daughter Lexi. Their relationship was sweet, and I loved reading about the two of them. Despite having a great job and Lexi in his life, Nick was still missing something. That something was Charlotte.

Charlotte was a hoot. She knew what she wanted and went for it. I loved that she had no problem putting herself out there. Charlotte had just what Nick needed. She brought spontaneity and fun to his life. I adored their relationship, including all the ups and downs. I especially liked the clever way Max Monroe created the climax.

Another thing that surprised me about this book was how little the docuseries was in it. There were mentions here and there, but it wasn’t as prominent as it was in the first couple of books in the series. I didn’t miss it, but I thought there would be more.

Overall, Dr. Neuro was a great romance read. It brought back some characters I’ve loved from past novels and introduced me to some fun new ones. Dr. Neuro was also filled with the humor I’ve come to expect from Max Monroe. I would highly recommend it and the rest of this series to readers who like rom-coms.

Review: Scandalous by L.J. Shen

Scandalous
Series: Sinners of Saint, #3
Author: L.J. Shen
Publication Date: September 21, 2017
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

They call him The Mute for a reason.
Hard, cold and calculated, he rarely speaks.
When he does, it’s with disdain.
When he does, his words aren’t meant for me.
When he does, my stomach flips and my world tilts on its axis.
He is thirty-three.
I am eighteen.
He’s a single dad and my father’s business partner.
I’m just a kid to him and his enemy’s daughter.
He’s emotionally unavailable.
And I am…feeling. Feeling things I shouldn’t feel for him.
Trent Rexroth is going to break my heart. The writing isn’t just on the wall, it’s inked on my soul.
And yet, I can’t stay away.
A scandal is the last thing my family needs. But a scandal is what we’re going to give them.
And oh, what beautiful chaos it will be.


Trent Rexroth was pretty damn scandalous. That’s for sure.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from Trent when I began reading Scandalous, but it wasn’t quite what I got. I must not have remembered him quite correctly from binge reading the Sinners of Saint series earlier this year. Or maybe that whole The Mute thing is what got me. Trent was way more crass than I was prepared for. He wasn’t a nice guy, and he didn’t care. The only one who got the nice side was his daughter, Luna. Trent did what he needed to do to get what he wanted.

Edie was one of those things Trent wanted. He tried to avoid this want because she was only eighteen to his thirty-three, but Edie didn’t make things easy for him. She was more mature than most young adults her age, and a darker view of the world and love. Trent and Edie had a love-hate relationship. Most of it felt like hate, but the love slowly built.

I really liked this story, but I didn’t fall completely in love with it. L.J. Shen’s writing was amazing, but I didn’t always feel Edie and Trent’s connection. It felt more like a sex than love thing, but that’s the way I think it was supposed to feel. Neither of these two were in it for love at first. Love was just something that ended up happening to them. I would have preferred for the love to dominate the story, but this is a Sinners of Saint book. Overall, Scandalous was a great dark love story.

Review: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Genuine Fraud
Author: E. Lockhart
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.


Genuine Fraud was an interesting tale. E. Lockhart continued to give the reader the unexpected with it. Genuine Fraud began in the present and each chapter went back in time. The effect was that I felt like I was reading the story backward. The story continued that way all the way until almost the end. It made for a great guessing game. Each chapter divulged just enough to make me keep reading.

I have to admit that I got a bit bored in the middle of the book. I think it’s because I was frustrated. I just wanted to know what the deal was with Jule and Imogen! Once I got to that part, the story flew again for me. I loved the ending, and thought it was very clever.

Overall, Genuine Fraud was a fun read. It was a darker read, but light at the same time. It had great foreshadowing and a cool set up. It was the perfect book to read on my vacation.

Review: Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

Without Merit
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.


I’m not quite sure what to say about this book. I wanted to love it, but I didn’t. I didn’t hate it either, though. Without Merit  fell in the realms of “Huh…Well, that was interesting.” Interesting because I didn’t have strong feelings about it one way or the other.

When Without Merit started off, I was a little surprised at the writing. It wasn’t what I have come to expect from Colleen Hoover. I’m not sure if that’s because this book was marketed as a YA novel (I still think it falls in the NA category, but that’s just me.), or because it felt almost like a one big stream of consciousness. I felt like I was living in Merit’s rambling brain, and it was a little exhausting. I did get some relief when she was interacting with other characters. Thank goodness.

I didn’t immediately like Merit. It’s probably safe to say that I never liked her at all. I never connected with her. I understood her thoughts and feelings and how her life was shaped, but that didn’t endear her to me. She had some hard truths to deal with, and I commend her for finally standing up for herself and telling her family how she felt. Setting herself free allowed her to grow and make new discoveries about the life she lived.

As for the other characters, I didn’t like them either. They were just as messed up as Merit. I was curious about their secrets, though. That’s probably what kept my attention. I needed to know who they were and what they had done. Well, I did like Sagan. He seemed like a great guy and his advice was priceless.

Without Merit touches on some tough topics, and it did that in a way I haven’t seen before. Whether or not it will resonate with readers is hard to say. I liked the outcome of the story, but I felt like so many things were glossed over too quickly. Mainly Merit’s depression. I won’t go into it too much because I don’t want to give anything away, but I didn’t feel like her condition and her actions were taken seriously enough. Maybe that’s because everyone in the story was messed up. I don’t know. I did like the advice Merit was given toward the end and how the truth changed how she perceived everything.

Without Merit most likely isn’t going to be one of those books everyone falls in love with. It’s one of those books you have to read for yourself and craft your own opinions about. I am sure there are going to be a ton of people this book helps with healing. There’s going to be another set of people it alarms. I don’t feel there’s a right or wrong way to feel about this book. It just didn’t have much impact on me personally.

WWW Wednesday: October 25, 2017

Welcome to WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. The purpose is to share what I’ve reading lately. The three W’s stand for:

What did you recently finish reading?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Recently Read

Last week I read the third book in Abbi Glines YA series The Field Party. I also read two contemporary romances.


Currently ReadIng

I finally picked up Without Merit. I’m about 75% into it, and I am curious to see where it goes from here.


Reading Next

Honesty, I’m not sure what’s next. I have a SUPER busy weekend coming up, so I won’t be reading. I am going to try to knock one of my review books off my list.


What are you reading? Make sure to leave me your link below so I can check out your post. 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Unique Book Titles

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Unique Book Titles. 

There’s a lot of great unique titles out there. It was hard to narrow my list down. I had a few authors who had multiple unique titles, so I lumped them all under one number. I know, I cheated a bit. 😉


1. By Penny Reid:


Truth or Beard
Grin and Beard It
Beard Science
Beard in Mind


2. By Tarryn Fisher:

Atheists Who Kneel and Pray
Mud Vein
Marrow


3.  By Alice Clayton:


Wallbanger
Rusty Nailed
Screwdrivered
Mai Tai’d Up


4. Co-Wrecker by Meghan Quinn


5. The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry


6.  Hothouse Flower by Krista & Becca Ritchie


7. Pistol Whipped by Susan Ward


8. Sex Lies & Fruit Flies by Paulina Nichols


9. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid


10. Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Review: Hard Wood by Lauren Blakely

From #1 NYT Bestselling author Lauren Blakely, comes a hot and hilarious standalone romance about what happens when you have one week to convince your best friend’s little sister that you’re the one for her. What could possibly go wrong? It looks like things are about to get hard in the woods…Don’t miss the laugh-out-loud and insanely hot story, HARD WOOD!

Now available on all retailers! Grab your copy today, and get HARD WOOD in your hands!

✮✮✮ HARD WOOD is here! Grab your copy today! ✮✮✮

From #1 NYT Bestselling author Lauren Blakely comes a hot & hilarious new standalone romantic comedy…

Women often say a good man is hard to find. And a hard man is even better.

That’s why I’m quite a catch– good, hard, loaded, and wait for it…I’m ready to settle down too. But the woman I want to pitch my tent with lives clear across the country. Neither of us wants to get lost in those woods. All I have to do is resist her for the week she’s in town.

I try. I swear I try. But yeah, that doesn’t work out.

And after one fantastic night with my good friend Mia, I’m ready to give her years of nights under the stars. What’s a few thousand miles when love’s involved? But there’s a hitch in my plans — she just hired my adventure tour company. If there’s one thing I’m committed to, it’s running a squeaky clean business. Number one on my list of iron-clad rules?

Don’t screw your customers.

But what’s a guy to do when she’s so hard to resist? How hard can it be to keep our hands off each other for a quick group tour down the hills and over the trails? I’m about to find out, and I have a feeling I’m going to need a new badge of honor because things are about to get very hard in the woods.

You can find this sexy standalone romantic comedy available across all retailers now!

Kindle US http://amzn.to/2gudVgq

Kindle UK http://amzn.to/2xXwncq

Kindle CA http://amzn.to/2zsvfdd

Kindle AU http://amzn.to/2gvLhLS

iBooks http://apple.co/2xoVy6k

Kobo http://bit.ly/2tIJoQo

Nook http://bit.ly/2gLRTJ2

Google Play http://bit.ly/2x5DHPH

Amazon PB http://amzn.to/2x8Y54c

Amazon Audio http://amzn.to/2znV6Uu

Audible http://adbl.co/2x5FyE6

MY REVIEW

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: I received an ARC from InkSlinger PR in exchange for an unbiased review.

Hard Wood is one of those books that’s harder for me to review. It was good, but it wasn’t my favorite book in this series of standalone novels (Big Rock, Mister O, Well Hung, Full Package, Joy Ride). Lauren Blakely’s writing was just as good and as humorous, but it was missing something for me. There wasn’t a big enough conflict. The entire book felt very even, and it was hard for me to get excited about Mia and Patrick’s love story.

Patrick was a fun narrator. He had a great outlook on life. I loved that he wasn’t a ladies man who tumbled into a relationship. The fact that he knew he had found someone special in Mia before establishing a romantic relationship was really cool. I loved the maturity of it.

Mia was also a good character. She was a woman who pursued her dreams. I liked the look into her mind I got through Zeus. I wish there would have been more of her inner thoughts included. Maybe that would have spiced things up a bit.

My favorite thing about Hard Wood, though, was Zeus. Zeus was a cat with the personality of a dog. He was an adventure cat who hiked, walked on a leash, and had his own Instagram account. Zeus made this book. The chapters from his view-point were priceless. I loved the crazy feline! He made this book.

Overall, Hard Wood was a light, fun read. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a romance novel without a lot of drama.

✦ The audiobook is narrated by Sebastian York! Get your copy today! ✦
Audible * Amazon Audio

Hard Wood is the kind of heart-racing, hope soaring, face-flushing love story that I love to read! It was sexy, romantic, funny and an absolute pleasure to read.” ~Red Cheeks Reads

“HARD WOOD was such an adorable love story! A hot guy and his famous cat looking for their happily ever after … Perfect #RomCom!”
~Bianca at BJ’s Book Blog

“I never fail to fall in love with Lauren Blakely’s stories. Hard Wood is a swoony romance that will warm your heart and possibly other body parts.”
~Peggy Lee, Reading Keeps Me Sane Book Blog

Add it to Goodreads here!
http://bit.ly/2uAoPJW

And don’t miss Lauren Blakely’s other standalone Romantic Comedies!

BIG ROCK
MISTER O
WELL HUNG
FULL PACKAGE
JOY RIDE

✮✮✮ Enter to win this amazing HARD WOOD GIVEAWAY! ✮✮✮

The HARD WOOD Urban Adventure Pack ($380 value) is filled with:

A stylish Michael Kors backpack for when a purse is not enough for your shopping adventture

$50 Gift Card to The Body Shop to pamper yourself after a long day

Your very own plush Zeus to snuggle with

A Smores Making Kit for a backyard adventure

http://laurenblakely.com/hard-wood-giveaway/

About Lauren Blakely:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than eighty times, and she’s sold more than 2 million books. In October, she’ll release HARD WOOD, the final standalone romantic comedy in the Big Rock series. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter ** Goodreads

 

Review: Bountiful by Sarina Bowen

Bountiful
Series: True North, #4
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: October 20, 2017
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Note: I received an ARC from Nina Bocci PR in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

No last names. No life stories. Those were the rules.

Once upon a time a cocky, copper-haired tourist sauntered into Zara’s bar. And even though she knew better, Zara indulged in a cure for the small-town blues. It was supposed to be an uncomplicated fling—a few sizzling weeks before he went back to his life, and she moved on.

Until an accidental pregnancy changed her life.

Two years later, she’s made peace with the notion that Dave No-Last-Name will never be found. Until one summer day when he walks into her coffee shop, leveling her with the same hot smile that always renders her defenseless.

Dave Beringer has never forgotten the intense month he spent with prickly Zara. Their nights together were the first true intimacy he’d ever experienced. But the discovery of his child is the shock of a lifetime, and his ugly past puts relationships and family out of reach.

Or does it? Vermont’s countryside has a way of nurturing even tortured souls. The fields and the orchards—and hard won love—are Bountiful.


Oh my goodness! If you’re a fan of Sarina Bowen, you’re in for a treat. Bountiful is amazing! It has everything I have loved from past True North novels. There’s Sarina Bowen’s outstanding writing, the beautiful Vermont setting, the Shipleys and their farm, and the Mountain Goat bar just to name a few. Most importantly, there’s Zara.

I’ve been waiting for Zara’s story since I met her in Bittersweet. I finally get the tough bartender’s story, and it couldn’t have been a more perfect one! Sarina Bowen gave us something so cool. Not only was Bountiful True North novel, but it was a crossover with her Brooklyn Bruisers series!

If you’re like me, you might not have remembered Dave Beringer all that much from the Brooklyn Bruisers books. You’re going to love him!!! He’s got that hot hockey player thing going for him, plus a whole lot more. Sarina Bowen couldn’t have come up with a better match for a woman like Zara who is determined to make it on her own.

The whole book was just so sweet. I loved the accidental pregnancy and the way it shaped Zara and Dave’s lives. Their moments with their daughter, Nicole, made me so happy. I couldn’t get enough of Bountiful. I’m sorry I’m finished with it because I really want more of it! Guess I’ll just be sitting here twiddling my thumbs waiting for the next True North or Brooklyn Bruisers novel. Can I get a Benito book? Or one about Bess and Castro?

Review: Played by Jen Frederick

Played
Series: Gridiron, #4
Author: Jen Frederick
Publication Date: October 6, 2017
Publisher: Pear Tree LLC
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Sports, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

She’s been playing it close…

Ara Martin and college football star Ty Masters have been best friends since the first day of school when Ty literally ran her over. She fell for him immediately, but having lived under the shadow of her famous father, she knows a relationship with irresistible Ty would only end in heartbreak. For four years, she’s kept her feelings hidden. But one drunken encounter weeks before graduation is about to expose Ara’s biggest secret and destroy her most treasured relationship.

He’s been playing for keeps…

Ty is about to be drafted into the NFL, but his personal life is a mess. He’s got an agent he doesn’t like, a brother who can’t stop offering his opinion, and a beautiful woman he craves but can’t have. He can fire his agent and ignore his brother, but he’s not sure what to do about Ara. Ty’s been able to run down every quarterback he’s faced, but his sexy, stubborn best friend keeps slipping through his fingers.

Luckily, he’s not one for giving up, and once he gets his hands on her, he’s never letting go.


Finally! Ty’s book! I know you’re just as excited as I am. I have been waiting for Ty’s story ever since I met him in Sacked. Everything I learned about Knox Master’s twin from that book and the ones that followed had me wondering what lucky gal was going to be able to pass the twin test.

Jen Frederick didn’t disappoint! She had the perfect gal for Ty: his best friend, Ara. Ara and Ty were those best friends who are secretly into each other but refuse to tell each other because they don’t want to lose their best friend. They had amazing chemistry, but most of all, they had an amazing friendship. Ara and Ty got each other in a really special way. I loved every minute of their story. It was so much fun!

The only tiny complaint I have about Played was that it wrapped up a lot more quickly than I wanted it to. I wanted more time with Ara and Ty as a couple. That might just be me being needy, but I can’t help it. Those two were just so great together. I needed more!

If you’re a fan of this series, you do not want to miss Played. You will love it! If you haven’t read any of the Gridiron books, I highly suggest you do. Start at the beginning with Sacked and work your way to Played. You won’t regret it.

I’m really, really hoping Jen Frederick continues this series and that Played is not the end. (Hint hint, Ms. Frederick!)