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Saturday, December 31, 2016

December 2016 Recap

My last recap for 2016! I actually read more this month than I've every month this year, only shows that it can be done ;) I've read A LOT of amazing novels and a few which were a bit disappointing but all in all a sweet way to finish 2016 reads.  

Total Read - 13 ebooks ( +3 DNF ) / 3453 pages (~111 pages a day)

Last month was my most read month of the year with 97 pages per day. Amazing how it topped it off! 

★  ★  ★  ★  ★ - Cheers and Shouts for the Favorites -  ★  ★  ★  ★  ★ 
This month I continued the Contemporary MM Romance series "Bluewater Bay". I really enjoyed the short novels in "Light's Camera! Cupid" and besides the one by SE Jakes my most favorite ones continued in the next installments - "Wedding Favors" by Anne Tenino and "The Deep of the Sound" by Amy Lane. While there are some connections between the novels in the series, mostly are stand-alone novels. They just share the same surrounding of Bluewater Bay and the changes this small town went through after the successful TV show came to film in their midst. It also means that some novels are AWESOME and some aren't as good but it's nice getting to know more authors and naturally enjoy ones I already know I love. 

"Glass Tidings" by Amy Jo Cousins was a beautiful sweet surprise. I'm not really sure why but with Amy some books I absolutely LOVE and others I don't really connect with. This Contemporary MM Romance novel was a true favorite. It was such a tender love story I couldn't have asked for more than the beautiful love story and it's buildup.  

"Getting Inside" is the first installment in the "Seattle Grizzlies", Serena Bell's new Contemporary Romance series focusing on Football. Though I'm not a fan of sports myself (not even to watch) I really enjoyed our introduction to the team, especially with not only a strong male character, but also a woman who is confident, successful and knows what she wants. 

"Hard Hitter" by Sarina Bowen is the second installment in the "Brooklyn Bruisers" Contemporary Romance series. My review of this one would be published on January 3rd, the day it's out so for now all I can say is - IT WAS AWESOME. I loved it SO MUCH. I enjoyed both MCs and the journey they both had to deal with in order for them to be together. 

"Return on Investment" (the two parts) by Aleksandr Voinov was another beautiful surprise this month. While I LOVED most of Aleksandr's work, I wasn't sure about this one. I categorize it as Contemporary MM Romance but only because of the second part which IS a romance novel, the first one, is more of an "coming of age" though NOT in the typical way we are used to in New Adult novels (which this one WAS NOT). It was about the finance world, something I know NOTHING of, which made it a bit difficult for me to understand at times but I have to say, these two stuck in my mind for a while, not wanting to let go so all I can say is - have an open mind and read it! 

"It's You" is a two-part Paranormal Romance story by Katy Regnery (writing as K.P. Kelley). While I've read many of Katy's Contemporary Romance novels, I didn't know how this one - a Paranormal would work for me - it worked wonderfully! I loved it so much! The two parts were SO intense, I didn't want to put them down but I was also SO frustrated because I couldn't WAIT for everything to work out. 

I didn't know what to expect from "Shattered Glass" by Dani Alexander. I had it for SO long on my list, and I'm SO happy I added it on the last moment. It was a GREAT Romantic Suspense (MM) novel, held me on the edge of my seat but also warmed my heart with a very slow yet fast pace in the romance department. I loved Austin Glass with all his faults.  

★ DNF ★ - Cries and Sniffs for the Disappointments - ★ DNF ★
These two novels in the "Bluewater Bay" Contemporary Romance series just didn't "catch" me which is why I didn't finish both of them. Basically I had the same issues with "When to Hold Them" by G.B. Gordon (MM Romance) and "Stuck Landing" (FF Romance) by Lauren Gallagher, I just didn't like the characters, didn't connect with them and didn't see how they could even work. I guess it's subjective, someone else might find the exact thing I disliked very appealing. 

"Bitter Taffy" the 2nd installment in the Contemporary MM Romance series "Candy Man" by Amy Lane was a bit too slow for me I think, but generally it had the same problem I had with the above novels, I just didn't connect with the MCs. Didn't really "get" them. Considering how much I loved Amy's other novels especially the one I've read this month ("The Deep of the Sound") I really don't know why that is. But I guess since everything about reading is subjective so is my reading experience. 

 ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

This is where I'm going to end my recap, the last of this year. Each year I try to change things up a little bit, so we'll see if this format is going to change. it might.. it probably will be.. because that's me.. I like to see change in a good way :)

Shirt (Ryan & Scott #1) by Amy Lane

This short novella tells us a little bit about how Ryan and Scott met. I've already read the second ("Phonebook") and third ("Puppy, Car & Snow") parts of Ryan and Scott's story. But I'm only getting to their beginning now because this novella was originally released as a part of an Anthology I wasn't that interested in.. and now finally this one was released on it's own. 

Truthfully, this is basically a sex scene with a little bit of reminiscent of how Ryan and Scott met and about their relationship dynamics. There IS a story here but it's masked by the sex scene which made this one a little bit too superficial for me. 

Shattered Glass (Shattered Glass #1) [Peter & Austin] by Dani Alexander

It really is a shame it took me THAT long to get to this amazing book. It's actually very hard to review because I'm not sure how to explain it besides saying 'Austin Glass' and resting my case. There is something about his narrative, the way he thinks, the way he talks, and the way he seems to always get himself into trouble which is more than endearing. It's not that he is "perfect", he isn't which is exactly what makes him so likeable. He is confused, he is way over his head, he is TOO DAMN HORNY for his own good but you know what? It sort of works out in the end even if not the way he would have thought a day before he met a cute redhead with bunny slippers. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Bitter Taffy (Candy Man #2) [Derek & Rico] by Amy Lane

I can't really explain it, but I'm just not "feeling it" with this book. The whole story is told from Rico's POV and I just don't feel any connection to him. It's nice seeing Adam and Finn again (they have a HUGE part in the book) but though I was almost halfway through I had a feeling as though nothing actually happened. 

I've read the first installment "Candy Man" about a year and a half ago. I remember I liked it, but didn't love it. Granted it was a bit short which I think had a big part as to why it wasn't "enough" for me, but with this one, we DO get a whole story and yet it's too slow on the move. There is too much emphasis on mundane living and the part of Rico and Derek getting to know one another had too much "background noise" from SOMEONE else. When they FINALLY were on their own, I lost interest (at the 44% mark). 

Monday, December 26, 2016

It's You (It's You #2) by K.P. Kelley (Katy Regnery)

My thoughts from the previous installment are extremely accurate for this one as well. In one word - INTENSE, with just another word added - AWESOME. I really enjoyed this book, loved the characters, the story and the way it evolved. There were so many layers to both Darcy and Jake's decisions as to "what to do next", it wasn't that simple for either one of them. No decision was a "good one", or one they could live with easily. This is the place to state that if you HAVEN'T read the first part of "It's You", first - YOU SHOULD, and second - better not continue reading you'll encounter MAJOR spoilers ahead. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

It's You (It's You #1) by K.P. Kelley (Katy Regnery)

INTENSE! If I had one word to describe this book, that's the word I'd use. If I had two to spare I would add - AWESOME. This book was SO captivating, I loved the dynamics of the book, as well as the connection between Jake and Darcy. Even though they don't really know each other, there is something about their years long mystical connection that made it possible in my head. Even though this IS Paranormal Romance, it doesn't really HAVE to make sense, you know?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Getting Inside (Seattle Grizzlies #1) [Iona & Ty] by Serena Bell

Wonderful story! I absolutely loved both Ty and Iona. They are both strong independent characters, they know what they want, they know where their focus SHOULD be, yet there is some sort of a pull they can't ignore and lucky for us - they don't ;) Getting a strong hero is nothing new in a romance novel, but getting someone as strong as Iona was truly refreshing, though she was working hard to keep her place because she was always being second guessed. Ty was perfect for her because unlike most men he wasn't discouraged by either her strong body nor her strong willed character and he actually understood how hard she needed to work to be appreciated. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Risk Return (Return on Investment #2) by Aleksandr Voinov

WOW. I couldn't have asked for more.. really. I LOVED getting more of Martin and Francis as a couple. The previous book, the first part of the story - "Return on Investment" - wasn't even a true romance novel, it was more about Martin "growing up", learning his worth, learning who he is and also going after what he wants. So near the end, yeah, he and Francis are together, but it's the very beginning and also, it's hard to imagine how their relationship would work. This story, taking place 6 years later gives us exactly that. Again, our sole POV is of Martin (god how I wished at times to get Francis' voice as well..) and it's no doubt that though there are some things he is still insecure about, he grew up and matured in these years. His relationship with Francis is established, they are happy together. They are living together in Frankfurt. They own their own successful business, working together with a third partner Carsten (Francis' best friend from college whom we met in the previous installment). 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Return on Investment (Return on Investment #1) by Aleksandr Voinov

I really don't know how to review/explain this book, and maybe more than that - how to rate it. It was a wonderful journey mainly for the our main hero - Martin David (though he wasn't the only one..) It's not really a romance novel, but it's more than a "thriller" or a "drama" kind of novel. For me, it's a maybe a sort of "coming of age" novel? even if it's FAR from being similar to New Adult's usual turf. It's simply something else that doesn't fit into a certain category, but there IS a sort of a romantic vibe, it's just not really clear WHO will be the one Marin finds himself with and also it's not really the main focus in my mind. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Stuck Landing (Bluewater Bay, #11) [Anna & Natalya] by Lauren Gallagher

This is my very first F/F romance novel. I've read once a short scene (not even a novella) but my issues with it (actually like this one..) weren't AT ALL about the fact there are two women involved. This book was just.. well.. boring. Like the previous one, we only get Anna's POV in first person and THIS is what ruined this book for me. It was just a sort of repeat in her mind of the same issues over and over again plus repeating those ideas to her bodyguard - Jeremy and her best friend - Levi. I just couldn't take it anymore. 

Rain Shadow (Bluewater Bay #10) [Jeremy & Scott] by L.A. Witt

I liked this book but I can't say I loved it. I think I needed to get more than just Jeremy's POV, or maybe I needed more "happy moments" and for them not to be just about having sex with Scott.. I was thinking this book is "depressing" but how can I say that after reading "The Deep of the Sound" (the 8th installment)? Here it's different, the issues Jeremy is dealing with mostly has to do with his dysfunctioning family, the one he left and expected to "solve itself" while he is far away. Yeah, it wasn't working.. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

When to Hold Them (Bluewater Bay #9) [Doran & Xavier] by G.B. Gordon

This book just isn't "working" for me. First off, I was worried about the relationship between the two MC being a D/s which I really have to be in a certain mood to read, but then, as the story progressed, I realized it's more of me not connecting with either character. I don't "get" either of them. They don't feel genuine. Something about them is just off. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Deep of the Sound (Bluewater Bay #8) [Cal & Avery] by Amy Lane

This one was totally different from the previous installments, but after reading "Nascha" (the short novella in the 6th installment - "Lights, Camera, Cupid") you kinda expect this one to be a difficult heart clenching read. Actually, "Nascha" also gives this one a sort of hope to how everything can be resolved yet it doesn't truly feel like a spoiler, I guess, a sort of "relief" because the first 20% of the book, everything that happens is basically either bad or getting there. 

Wedding Favors (Bluewater Bay #7) [Lucas & Gabe] by Anne Tenino

I LOVED this one! We got the background story to this one in the previous installment in the short novella "Helping Hand" which was a sweet "coming of age" story. This one takes place 12 years later, when Lucas returns home to his best friends' wedding. It was hinted that Audrey might have an interest in Zach (Lucas' older brother) and so when SHE returns home about a year before they rekindle their interest in one another. Lucas isn't sure about returning home, and anyhow, he doesn't intend to stay after the wedding.. he just has to figure out where to live after he and his boyfriend broke up. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Glass Tidings by Amy Jo Cousins

Beautiful, so so beautiful and heartfelt. The only thing I could have asked for isn't from Amy.. There was a party at my neighbors the day I started reading and so at a certain point I literally got nauseated from the loud HORRIBLE music (karaoke included...) and I just couldn't continue.. my only complaint is I couldn't read the book in one gulp as I wished (finished it the day after). Why am I mentioning this? because in a way it "worked" with the fact both MC in this book are a sort of loners and I can certainly fit the bill. Like Eddie and Grayson - sitting in the quiet of my home and enjoying a book is really most of what I ask for in life. I freaked out because I couldn't do that, I was DENIED my peace of mind which left me absolutely INSANE. Like Eddie and Gray I could totally be a people's person (when I choose) but deep down inside, the most appealing thing for me is reading in my quiet house (for me it also HAS to include my dogs). 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Lights, Camera, Cupid (Bluewater Bay #6) by S.E. Jakes, Amy Lane, Z.A. Maxfield, Anne Tenino & L.A. Witt

I stared this series two months ago and while I DID enjoy it, due to lack of reading time that month had to postpone the continuation of the series for other books I was excited to read and so here I am returning to this fun series with an Anthology half of which are about couples we already met in the previous installments and all of written by authors I've already read and enjoyed. 

I'm reviewing each novella on it's own and then adding my overall thoughts and rating for this Anthology at the very end. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 2016 Goals

I can't believe a whole year has gone by. These are the last books I plan on reading this year. I had to pick and choose between A LOT of books I planned on reading and didn't get to them and so some books were shoved into a pile of - when I have the time somewhere in between, and some where postponed to next year (though even there I had to narrow it down in a more realistic manner..).  

It's been a while since I read any of Amy's books, this one sound like a sweet heart breaking story and though I don't celebrate Christmas or the other "end of year" holidays sometimes I enjoy getting into this sort of festive and sweet times. 

Finally I'm getting back to reading the Bluewater Bay MM Romance series, I enjoyed it back in March when I read it back then so I'm happy to get back to it now. There are more books in the series now.. But I don't want to add too many and find myself (again..) unable to finish them all in one go. Also I think it might get "too much" at a certain point.. Most of these are written by authors I already know I love which is always great :) I'll be continuing the series next month as well. 

This book will be out in the beginning of next month. I was kind enough to receive this one for review so I will be reading it this month and putting my review the day it's out. This is Serena's first sport Contemporary Romance (also the first installment in the series) so I'm really excited to try it out as I've enjoy most of Serena's books. 

  • Hard Hitter (Brooklyn Bruisers, #2) ★★★★★  [ Review will be up January 3rd ]
  • By Sarina Bowen
The second installment in the Brooklyn Bruisers will be out at the beginning of next month - YES! I loved "The Ivy Years" so much I'm so happy to get more with a little older characters in this spin off series. I was kind enough to receive an ARC so I'll be reading it this month and uploading my review the day it's released. 

Originally I planned on reading this MM Romance (mini) series last month but didn't have the time so instead I just read Nightingale and postponed these for this month. I'm not sure what to expect because though I'm categorizing it under Romance it might not really be one.. we'll see. I"m  HUGE fan of Aleksandr's work so trying this out is a given. 

This is Katy Regnery's first Paranormal Romance novel! YAY! It's a two part story. This one to be published on the 3rd of January and the next soon after. I'm really excited I got an ARC for it! I love Katy's writing and I love myself a good Paranormal story :)

Candy Man was a sweet MM Romance novel, so getting more from that world sounds like a treat :) I'm also adding another short novella from a MM Romance series I've read (this is from when they first met, originally published as a part of Anthology). 

I'm scheduled and re-scheduled this one SO MANY TIMES. I've heard great things about this Contemporary MM Romance book, enough to intrigue me, but with everything that's going on and the fact that this is Dani's debut novel I postponed it to no end, preferring other books when the month flew by and I wasn't able to actually read all I planned this time I did the exact opposite! when I saw "Candy Man" wasn't working for me, I removed the 2 remaining novels and put this one instead :) 

That's it for this month and generally for 2016. I hope I'll get to read all of them, mostly because I already have 2017 planned and frankly I don't know how I'll manage with what I really want to read so adding any more would be challenging.. 

Check out more of my Recap and Goals of the past months!