Other Favourite Reads of 2020

2020 Round Up

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As I’ve mentioned in a few previous posts, my reading habits have changed this year. In late summer I found myself struggling to maintain my reading pace and I was DNF’ing a lot of books I might have pushed my way through in previous years. I’m not one to force myself to finish a book, DNF’ing isn’t an issue to me, but I felt even less tolerant of reads that weren’t entertaining me in some way.


However there were still plenty of books that I did enjoy, and this post is a round up of some of my favourite reads of 2020.

  1. Darkest Desires (TEMP/sub #2) by Lauren E. Rico
  2. Mister Baby Daddy (Bad Boys in Love #3) by Cassie-Ann L Miller
  3. Dirty Retaliation (Twisted, Dark and Deadly #2) by C.P. Mandara
  4. Beautiful Torture (Enemies to Lovers #2) by C.P. Mandara
  5. Reunion (Silk and Steel #4.5) by Ariana Nash
  6. The Romeo Effect (Cupids #3) by Lila Monroe
  7. Cyn (Beast Horde #3) by Cari Silverwood
  8. Capo (Russo Saga #6) by Nicolina Martin
  9. Restless Slumber (Fortuna Sworn #2) by K.J. Sutton
  10. True Control (True #4.1) by Willow Madison
  11. Mafia Captive by Kitty Thomas
  12. Myth of Omega Trilogy by Zoey Ellis
  13. Blacklight: Charmed by Jennifer Bene
  14. Something Twisted by Ace Gray
  15. Fortune Fae Academy #1 by J.R. Thorn
  16. Pleasure House Box Set by Kitty Thomas
  17. Professional Development (Benchmarks #1) by Kate Canterbary
  18. Pierced Hearts Box Set by Cari Silverwood

So what were your favourite reads of 2020?

My Top 10 Reads in 2020

Normally I struggle to narrow my favourite reads down to a fairly short list, but reducing the number of books I’ve read, along with re-reading some old favourites, has actually left me feeling able to do so this year.

In no particular order they are –

1 – Missing in Action – Kate Canterbary

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51655390-missing-in-action

Former Navy SEAL turned covert agent Wes Halsted spent his days —and weeks and months —being someone else. But with his cover blown and his injuries requiring months of recuperation, he must learn how to be himself again.
Only …he’d rather save his issues for another day and get to know a stressed-out, suited-up businessman instead.
Tom Esbeck has everything under control. Meal plans, workout plans, project plans, five-year plans. A plan for everything and everything according to plan.
Except there’s no plan for a surprise—and shirtless—encounter with the built-for-sin spy he’d crushed on years ago.

But crushes —and spies —burn out fast.

2 – Resistance – Pippa DaCosta

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48714555-resistance

“This shit is why you always kill the bad guy.”
Wanted dead or alive by the law and every criminal this side of the jump gates, there’s only one place Caleb and his crew can hide:
Jotunheim.
All the crap in the Nine systems washes up there.
With their rustbucket tugship Starkiller about to cough its last space-mile and credits scarce, raiding a few scrappers rigs is a last resort. Scrappers are hard bastards, but then so is Caleb.
Stealing from the bad guys should be easy, if Caleb’s crew can get their shit together. The pressure is on. Trust is a joke. And then there’s One. New and improved but just like her old self? Or not…
One says there’s a revolution brewing, and she’d know.
Synthetics move among us, their strings pulled by a mad man. The Nine Systems teeters on the edge of a war it can’t see coming, and Caleb’s crew might be all that stands in its way.
Sometimes it takes bad guys to kill bad guys, and if Caleb’s crew have learned anything together, it’s how to be bad.

3 – The Velvet Collar – C.P. Mandara

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44639143-the-velvet-collar

I made a bet with my newlywed submissive wife. I told her that if she could behave herself impeccably for a week, she could wear the trousers for a day. That included being able to dominate me. The bet was almost guaranteed to be impossible to achieve, and yet somehow she did it. It looks like I’m in for a fun night, doesn’t it?
If that wasn’t bad enough, Kyle has been spotted near our home. It scares me. I can feel the net closing in, and I’m still no closer to unravelling the pieces. We need to figure out what Redcliff wants, and fast.
In order to do this, I’m going to have to talk to my mother-in-law, who still isn’t speaking to me. I have no idea what her problem is. She tried to kill me, not the other way around…

4 Cruel Idols – Sorcha Black

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54417364-cruel-idols

How can my favorite author be such a suspicious alphahole?
All I wanted was an autograph, but Vandal Stokes is livid when he finds me on his property. The sketchy contract he makes me sign traps me alone with him and his gorgeous friend, Zero, for months.
While we adjust to the awkwardness, Zero volunteers to be my writing mentor and assists me with my creepy research. Vandal can’t resist getting involved, and the tension between the three of us ignites.
Our situation feeds into my most sinister fantasies.
Two against one.
Twisted games.
A dark basement.
No neighbors.
One torrid summer could very well change my life—and me—forever.
*This rough romance contains dark themes, graphic sex scenes, and kink.*

5 Bedroom Hymns – Morgan Reeves

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36110296-bedroom-hymns

They took me, broke me, remade me in their image. I am branded by their twisted ambitions; martyred by their greed. They ground me down until I was everything they wanted and more, and at the end I thanked them for it.
Jackson.
Dominic.
Cole.
They forced me to love them, and then they cast me aside like yesterday’s trash. But they taught me to be the best. So that’s exactly what they’ll get.
Because in the end… Revenge is sweeter than love.
And they’ll never see me coming.

6 Inheritance – Jennifer Bene

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44646352-inheritance

David took Lianna to destroy her… and then everything got complicated.
Falling for the girl he kidnapped shouldn’t have happened. Especially not Lianna Mercier, daughter of the man he hated, and heir to a family name steeped in blood and violence.
But, now she’s his entire world, and Lianna’s is burning down around her.
David may have lit the match that set her life on fire, but all he wants now is to keep her safe. With their future on the line… can he even ask her to choose him after all he’s done?

7 Clockwork Stalker –  Cari Silverwood

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52259695-clockwork-stalker

What if the storybook hero becomes the villain?
She is my arch enemy’s niece.
I am an arrogant, controlling bastard, an excellent detective, and women are turning up dead and bound, with strange marks on their bodies.
This is the least appropriate time for me to fall in lust with the enemy.
Obsession is the sign of a man who is losing control.
Be punctual for this appointment, Miss Moriarty.
I have things I need to do. Filthy, perverted things.

Note: This is a standalone Dark Romance.

8 Revolutionary (Clandestine Magic, #3) – Colleen Cowley

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55522131-revolutionary

In this final book of the Clandestine Magic trilogy, Beatrix Harper is poised to help her sister accomplish an audacious goal. They’re on the brink of winning back a key right for typics that wizards took away—and maybe, just maybe, getting women more rights in the bargain.
But first she has to rescue Peter Blackwell, trapped in a dark-magic coma. And figure out what a former friend is plotting after nearly killing Peter and disappearing. And stay one step ahead of the vice president’s men.
What her enemies have planned is worse than she realizes. Far worse.

9 Reign of Darkness (The Prince’s Assassin #2) Ariana Nash

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55014590-reign-of-darkness

“Know your place, Nikolas.”
“Under the heel of your boot, Your Highness?”

After a terrible inferno destroys the Caville palace, and with the people of Loreen turned against him, Prince Vasili is left with no choice but to flee his ancestral home, leaving Amir to proclaim himself king.
But the prince’s life isn’t the only one left in ashes. King Amir has not forgotten Nikolas Yazdan—the butcher, a lord’s bastard son, and Vasili’s favorite pet. Nikolas doesn’t fear Amir, but the new king has discovered the Caville curse can be wielded like a weapon, and he has Nikolas in his crosshairs.
The exotic south is Vasili’s and Niko’s only refuge. A land of pirates and thieves, of mystery and magic. A land of opportunity for a manipulative prince and his reluctant assassin.
But just as Nikolas begins to believe Vasili might be worth fighting for—that Loreen can be saved with Vasili on the throne—the dark flame trapped in the royal bloodline unravels its ancient bonds. One prince must control the unrelenting power desperate for its escape. The other must die.
Niko thought he knew which prince he could trust, but he’s been fooled before and as Vasili’s true motives are revealed, Niko finds himself at the mercy of Prince Vasili once more. Only this time, there is more than love at stake. The fate of the world rests on Niko discovering the truth about the flame, about the cursed Cavilles, and his place in their doomed destiny.

Prince’s Assassin series is a slow-burn enemies-to-lovers saga. A gay Game of Thrones with a hint of Witcher thrown in, there are triggers, including but not limited to: reference to past abuse, attempted rape, dubious consent, reference to incest, torture, drug use and PTSD. High heat sexual content. The Prince’s Assassin is for 18+ only.

10 I am Eve by Nicolina Martin

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54970611-i-am-eve

I survived the fall of civilization, but I didn’t live… until I met him.
Adam is not a good man. He’s a criminal. A warlord. Someone who takes without asking. He is guarded and cold.
But that’s not all he is. He’s also a father. A leader. A battered soul who refuses to stop fighting.
I’m blind, but I see the real man behind the wounded, world-weary façade, and I want him more than I’ve ever wanted anything. His touch sets my skin ablaze. He fills my house with laughter and light, and then leaves me with a gift that might bring life to a dying world.
It seems our love can save… everything.

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// REVIEW \\ Tricked by Claire Thompson

Tricked
by Claire Thompson

I’ll start my review by repeating the warning on the blurb – this is NOT a romance, it is a dark, erotic suspense. A story that totally captivated me and that I read in one sitting!


Callie was more than a little naive, but I won’t judge her initial choices and actions because one needs to remember that she was the victim here. She didn’t go out looking to be abducted, raped and kept as a sex slave. The fault totally lies with her captor, Damon, who lied and manipulated an innocent young woman for his own nefarious desires. How dark you find this will depend on how affected you are by non-consensual acts, it’s also a very subjective description. The hope and determination Callie fostered within herself kept this from feeling overly hopeless or black.


I loved the honesty of Callie’s responses, her silent, and very barbed, responses to Damon proved what a brave and resilient young woman she was. She chose her battles and actions wisely, she used her common sense to keep herself as safe and sane as was possible in such harrowing circumstances. I want to say Damon was pure evil, but that would be untrue. He was unbalanced, he was bad, but he did have some moments of decency. His childhood recollections/flashbacks and the way his father treated him did offer some insight into how his psyche had become so twisted and corrupt but ultimately his selfish nature had him making the wrong choices.


As this is most definitely not a romance of any shape, size or description, I would class the ending as HEA. However it is a very positive ending, one filled with hope and possibility. Go on, be brave and give this a try.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre – Dark Erotic Suspense
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56217037-tricked
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PXD4FJP/

She dreams of a dark Master who claims her as his captive. Until the fantasy becomes all too real…

Callie is an innocent, her head filled with submissive ideas of a strong, sexy guy taking full control. When she connects online with a kindred spirit on an adults-only chat site, she shares all her secret abduction fantasies. They agree to meet for dinner, but when Callie arrives, it’s not her new friend Diana who is waiting for her, but the dark, sexy Master of her dreams… or is he her worst nightmare?

Warning: This Dark Obsessions novel is an edgy captive tale. Read only if you dare… 

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Goodbye to 2020

Goodbye and Farewell to 2020

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Well this has definitely been a defining year for us all. What the long term impact will be I don’t even want to guess at, but I do worry about employment opportunities for my two sons, one of whom was made redundant a few months ago, whilst the other finished college back in the summer. Both of them want to work, though are limited by having to use public transport to get there. One is ready for taking his driving test, but booking them is currently proving to be almost impossible.


However so far we are all safe and well, and I can only hope things stay that way. So despite the trials and difficulties we still face, when I think just how much worse things could be, I remain thankful for what we do have.

During 2020 I read a total of 245 books. That total is lower than previous years, in part due to reducing arc reading, in order to achieve two things. The first aim was to make a dent on the unread books on my kindle, the other was to just allow myself to enjoy what I am reading, rather than rushing through it in order to meet the next deadline. I have made a start at that TBR mountain, but then I kept buying new books to add to it!

As this is a bookish blog I really do need to get on with a bookish post, covering favourite reads and other irrelevant facts from 2020. So here goes…

Irrelevant Fact #1 – this was the year that I discovered the delights of re-reading books.


I’m not sure what happened in your corner of the world, but towards the end of March, England went into a lockdown. We queued to get into supermarkets, and once in we carefully followed the one way system – well most of us did. We wore our masks, we sanitised our hands and we prayed for toilet paper, hand soap, antibacterial cleaner and pasta to appear back on the shelves. Those that could work from home did so, whilst all none essential business and shops had to close.


Despite seemingly having more time to read, I actually found myself struggling to settle into books that would normally have wowed me. Ignoring the huge backlog of unread books on my kindle, I found myself digging out books I read 4 or 5 years ago. I was surprised by both how much plot I had forgotten and also by how much I enjoyed those re-reads. My intention in 2021 is to try and re-read at least one book each month. Mind you my intention for the last two years has been to reduce my TBR list, not add to it, and look how well that’s gone, or rather not gone!

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Irrelevant Fact #2 – this was the year that I learnt how to use Microsoft Teams for teaching students.

As a teacher I had to learn how to do remote lessons, which was a very steep learning curve. Not all students had easy access to a computer/the internet, so work packs that could be supported by youtube videos or other means had to be created. For once those usually dreaded mobile phones actually became a godsend. Trying to teach a student via a phone call proved just how much I rely on visual cues and props to teach lessons!


After some initial teething problems, I’m now pretty decent at teaching students who aren’t in the same room as me. I guess teachers in the outback, who have been teaching this way for decades, are laughing at the rest of us, who feel like we’ve discovered fire and the wheel all in one sparkly package.

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Irrelevant Fact #3 – I expanded my blogging horizons by joining some book blog memes

The extra time during lockdown allowed me to discover the joy of the bookish blog meme. At one point I joined a blog meme almost every day. However returning to work has meant trimming this back to three a week. Some of those posts could take an hour or two to write, especially if I had to do some research of books I’ve read in the past.


I do enjoy my Monday round up post, as it gives me time to reflect on my reading week and month. Friday’s blog hop always has a great question to make you think! I want to find a couple more memes that can be completed fairly quickly, as they seem a great way to connect with other bloggers, as well as readers. I love that feel of being part of the book community.

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Irrelevant Fact #4 – I didn’t exceed my Goodreads reading target this year.

The last few years I’ve exceeded my reading target on Goodreads, indeed I have usually upped my target at some point during the year. This year I’ve made a huge effort to cut back on arc reading, stepping down from quite a number of arc teams. Along with that huge backlog of purchased books I need to read, it was also because I would often find myself with 3, 4 or even 5 books landing on my kindle at the same time, meaning I often needed to read 2 books in 3 days.


My reading enjoyment became indirectly proportional to the number of arcs I had to read. I also found that some authors were churning out books on a more regular basis, and I just wasn’t enjoying them as much. Whether it was because the quality had reduced, or the none stop pressure had a subconscious effect, I couldn’t say, but stepping back has been nothing but beneficial. Especially since I completely lost my reading mojo over the summer – which is often when I do get ahead on my reading challenge. I’m now reading a maximum of three books a week, rather than five or more, and feeling so much happier for it.

Irrelevant Fact #5 – For the first time ever I can actually do a ‘Top 10 books I’ve read this year’.

Normally I struggle to narrow my favourite reads down to a fairly short list, but reducing the number of books I’ve read, along with re-reading some old favourites, has actually left me feeling able to do so this year. Whilst many of these were released in 2020 some are older books, but they were all on my reading list this year.
In no particular order they are –

Missing In Action by Kate Canterbary
Resistance by Pippa DaCosta
The Velvet Collar by C.P. Mandara
Cruel Idols by Sorcha Black
Bedroom Hymns by Morgan Reeves
Inheritance by Jennifer Bene
Clockwork Stalker by Cari Silverwood
Revolutionary by Colleen Cowley
Reign of Darkness by Ariana Nash
I am Eve by Nicolina Martin

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #52

#IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a wonderful place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be, reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! Everyone is welcome. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn over at The Book Date.

I hope you had a peaceful and merry christmas if you celebrate, a good holiday if you’ve had one and wishing you a much better 2021 than this year has proved to be for most. Once again it’s a weekly and monthly round up post, I’ll be doing my year review separately. Along with some beta reading, I completed almost fourteen books and DNF’d a couple of others in December. I say almost fourteen because I stalled at about 65% on one of my longer reads, though I’ve heard the ending is fantastic, so I will probably finish this before the first of January. Whilst most of these books were originally arcs, I already had many of them on pre-order or bought them anyway.

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Books Read in December

Currently Reading

Future Reading Plans

I want to extend the range of genres I currently read. I’m easing myself into that by returning to an old favourite, Science Fiction. I then plan to finish Deadly Dreams before doing a re-read of Sin & Spirit in preparation for completing the series. I originally planned to do this over the summer, but totally lost my reading mojo, so am hoping to achieve this goal over the next week or so.


How did your December reading go? What are your plans as we head towards the New Year?

// REVIEW \\ Protecting It All

Protecting It All
(The Punishment Pit #6)
by Livia Grant

Well Livia Grant certainly saved the best until last. Or at least last for now since a “series 2” is already in the pipeline.


I’ve had my ups and downs with this series, so it was a great relief to end on a truly big “up”. The fact that this book didn’t really include much D/s or BDSM seems very telling. Generally I enjoy the author’s style of writing, but I did find myself agreeing with one reviewer who spoke of how the punishments seemed more important than the welfare of the submissive. I get that this is fiction, and clearly many readers have enjoyed the books, I just struggled with the men never seeming to atone for their wrongs yet going over the top in their punishment of the submissive for the slightest transgression. Particularly given that one was pretty much still a sub-in-training.


However I’m digressing form Protecting It All, which is a great romantic suspense and even though it was insta-love I still found myself believing in Dylan and Hannah’s emotions. Probably more so Dylan but that’s because he’s already a little obsessed by Hannah before she’s even really acknowledged his existence. Whilst we do get some Lukas/Marcus/Tiffany/Brianna scenes, most of the book was either from Dylan or from Hannah’s POV, so it gave it a bit of a “spin off” feel. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed it more, I wasn’t carrying any previous baggage for the two MC’s of this book.


I am wondering if you could read this one stand alone. A part of me thinks that you could, but I’ve read the other books so can’t be sure. I really did enjoy this one though, and I do recommend it. 

Photo by Ellen Araujo on Pexels.com

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre- Erotic Romantic Suspense

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54818820-protecting-it-all

Protecting it All is book six in the deliciously dark and dirty Punishment Pit series that readers are devouring. 
He would protect her with his life. 

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// REVIEW \\ Inferno by Jade C. Jamison

Inferno
(Feverish #3)
by Jade C. Jamison

Photo by Thibault Trillet on Pexels.com

Whilst Dane is part of a well known band, I loved how this wasn’t all about him being a muso, focusing instead on how damage done in childhood can still impact us as an adult. It also allowed us to see both main characters grow as individuals.


Both Dane and Charlie have issues, particularly around self-worth and self-esteem. Whilst Dane’s loving family has kept him fairly sociable, if a little wary of new people, Charlie really doesn’t relate well to people, and struggles to let others in. Naturally this leads to a few ups and downs in relationship terms, particularly as they both struggle to be open and vulnerable with one another. Whilst an honest conversation would have avoided some of the trouble that beset them, it wouldn’t have fitted with how they were written.


I did find Charlie a little difficult to connect to at first, which wasn’t surprising as she’s a very guarded individual, which the author portrayed perfectly. However, as she opened up to Dane, and as we learnt more of her life, I gradually came to understand her quickly finding myself as enamoured of her as I was with Dane. I did want to smack Dane around the head when he sent Charlie that text, but other than that the guy was pretty amazing. A strong male without being overbearing or too alpha.


The prose flowed smoothly, making this a really easy to read story, the plot felt totally believable and the pace was perfect for holding my attention. I really enjoyed the story, reading it felt effortless and I quickly found myself immersed in it. Perhaps I would have liked just a little more internal monologue, a little more self reflection by both characters on their decisions and choices. The book didn’t necessarily need that though, it would totally come under the remit of “personal preference”.


Inferno can totally be read as a stand alone story, and carefully avoids spoilers for other books in the series. It’s a dual point of view book, written in first person and one that I am more than happy to recommend. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre- Rock Star Romance
Amazon- https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08Q4G1KLL/

His past was supposed to stay in the past.
Dane, Last Five Seconds’ drummer, is the “quiet” one. It’s not just because his bandmates are boisterous and love sucking up the limelight.
It’s part of who he is, where he comes from. But he’s determined to break free from the chains of his past.
When it catches up to him, his comfortable world shatters, leaving him with an injured back and an inability to perform his work onstage. To get back on the road as soon as possible, he undergoes physical therapy to aid with his recovery.
Enter Charlie. As his physical therapist, she’s a hell of a caregiver, but she’s also feisty. Sometimes she’s abrupt. And snappy. And downright rude. And, like Dane, she’s got a few hidden scars.
But Dane sees something inside her, something that speaks to him. Although Charlie holds him at arm’s length, even after he’s no longer her patient, Dane is finally able to penetrate her armor. While his scars have never fully healed, hers go even deeper.
As they work through their pasts together, Dane is convinced it will make them stronger, but can they ever move beyond their insecurities and hang ups enough to trust each other…or are they destined to be alone?

Photo by Josh Sorenson on Pexels.com

Friday Book Blogger Hop

Friday Book Blogger Hop

 The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer @ Crazy-For-Books. It is now hosted by Billy @Coffee Addicted Writings. Each week the hop will start on a Friday and end the following Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt featuring a book related question. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog. 

This week the question submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer is –

Did you meet your reading goals for 2020? How many books did you read?

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No I didn’t quite meet my reading goal yet, though there is a week left so who knows I may well achieve it. Actually I would need to read a book a day, so I’m likely to be 4 or 5 books off my target of 250 books.


Next year I’m not going to worry about number of books read. I might set a target of 150 or so, but what I really want to do is expand my reading. I would like non-fiction to feature more heavily on my reading list, additionally I would like to challenge myself with reading a wider range of genres (not horror though). To that end I’m planning on joining The Uncorked Librarian’s challenge, along with Book’d Out’s Nonfiction Reader Challenge. This will hopefully encourage me and help keep me on track.


Added to this I want to read at least one of the 200+ purchased books that currently sit unread on my kindle. I did wonder about setting a higher target than one a month, but this year has shown me that too much pressure totally kills my reading mojo. Reading is my pleasure, “me time” that allows me to relax, to unwind and recharge the mental batteries. So I want it to be a zero pressure past time, not one fraught with deadlines that take the pleasure away.


Before I finish, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Billy for hosting this weekly meme. Your questions and prompts are wonderful blogging fodder and always provide food for thought.


So do let me know if you set a target or not, along with how many books you read this year.

// REVIEW \\ The Explorer by Elin Peer

The Explorer
(Men Of The North #12)
by Elin Peer

Whilst The Explorer is a beautiful, heartwarming tale of love, it is also so much more. There is adventure, political intrigue, cultural exchange and lots of foreshadowing of exciting events that will unfold in future books.


However back to the main event, which is Aubri and Indiana’s story. Once Aubri got over her crushing self-doubt, their path to love was fairly smooth and uneventful. The same cannot be said of the rest of their life, which is where a lot of the interest and excitement is found in this book. And a welcome change it was, as a longer series like this could otherwise become repetitive. That said I still very much enjoyed the romance aspect, which was a well written and totally believable friends-to-lovers tale.


I was quite surprised when I got to the end of this for two reasons. Firstly it had flown and secondly, whilst the love aspect of their story was complete I felt that Aubri, at least, had more to tell us. I’m guessing (hoping?) that we will see her challenge the oppression she experienced in future books. There also felt like there were a few loose ends, but again I believe that these will be dealt with in Banni and Freya’s stories. I can’t wait to see how these play out, and will definitely be waiting with baited breath for the next book!


Elin Peer is a master of writing about personal growth and how humans interact with one another. Through her finely crafted future Earth, and it’s three very different cultures, she opens our eyes to injustices within our societies and our own preconceptions/bias. As an outsider it’s easy to see how each culture has some wonderful traits, but also plenty of quirks, prejudices and intolerances. It can also be a bit of a jab on one’s conscience to try and be more tolerant and accepting, which really gives the story so much extra depth. Roll on the next book as I already want and need more! 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre- Dystopian SFR
Amazon- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08N3J2Z16/

Flirting with danger is Aubri’s idea of fun.
Ever since we were children, I’ve known Aubri wasn’t like other females. She’s the daughter of Magni and Laura Aurelius, who raised her to be a fearless warrior.
Men are blinded by Aubri’s beauty, charm, and social status. Yet, at twenty-seven, no one has succeeded in making her his wife. Starving for adventure, she volunteered for the dangerous work as an Explorer in Old Europe. It’s crazy and the mortality rate alone should’ve made her think twice. But that’s the trouble with my friend; she thinks she’s immortal. My hardest job right now is protecting her from herself.
Indiana’s and Aubri’s life-long friendship is put to the test as they find themselves settling into a new life far from home. Her unpredictable and impulsive behavior drives him mad. Without the watchful eyes of her family, Aubri finally feels free to test, try, and discover.
Influenced by the Europeans’ relaxed relationship with sex, Aubri develops a fascination that puts Indiana in a difficult bind. Will he break his promise to Aubri’s father and let her explore while she can? Or will he do what no one has managed to do before: make her see reason?

// REVIEW \\ Dirty Retaliation

Dirty Retaliation
(Twisted, Dark and Deadly)
by C.P. Mandara




Nothing less than compete surrender will do here, and I swear the guy is trying to suck out my soul via my mouth. Jesus. My mind has gone to mush.

I think I’ll leave my review in gifs because words just aren’t adequate enough to do this book justice. It is…

Aide is deliciously vile, depraved, evil and yet also incredibly sexy and immensely attractive. I both hated and loved him in equal measure. The things he dreamed up to do to both Sharkey and to Mel, well…..

Though Ms Mandara deserves a spanking for not leaving poor Lois out of the mix. James/Jake deserves everything he gets, after all he double crossed Adie, but Lois suffered enough LAST time! The book held me spellbound from start to finish. I never knew where the story was going to take me next, I didn’t even know where I wanted it to take me. But every single twist, turn and revelation was perfect and I wouldn’t change a single thing.


OK I lied, I am going to rabbit on about how absolutely fantastic this new series is. I fell in love with Aide in the Special Agent novels, though you don’t need to have read those to enjoy this series. This isn’t stand alone, you need to read Deadly Retaliation first, and this one also ends on a cliffhanger. Back to Adie, who is so damn sexy it should be illegal – in fact he probably is. Adie is not a good man, though he does have a sliver of conscience which he often ignores. Somehow, despite how bad he is, you still can’t help but adore him and his wicked sense of humour.

Thankfully, my voice returns and my anger rockets. “Does it take practice to reach the exalted state of ‘the-biggest-fucking-asshole-in-the-world’, or does it just come naturally? Tell me. I’m genuinely curious to know.”
Adie smiles. If I could knee him in the balls right now, I’d make sure they were permanently relocated to somewhere just below his chin.

Mel is a very typical Mandara heroine – strong, feisty, determined, stubborn but also more than a little messed up deep down. However she is definitely her own person and not only did I adore her but I loved, loved, loved how she and Adie interacted. Hopefully she will get a chance to kick his ass, though not too much because I have a feeling she’s going to want to keep him in one piece so that they can mutually adore one another at some point in the future. It’s going to be a long, sticky, tough, dangerous and difficult road ahead to that HEA and I am totally onboard for the entire journey.


And just one last summary gif about this book…

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre- Dark, Romantic Suspense
Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55748618-dirty-retaliation
Amazon- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08PVRFTSC/


I wasn’t going to hurt her.
If I were a better man, I’d just keep her chained up and then let her go – but I’m not. I’m an animal. I’m a sick and twisted beast that feeds off the fear of others and eats tears for breakfast.
Besides, kidnapping Ione was too easy.
She’s fighting me every step of the way, but she should be careful. That shit turns me on, and I can give as good as I get.
James won’t take long to come to her rescue, though. Right now, he’ll be imagining all the fucking depraved things I’m about to do to her, and that should be incentive enough for him to come running.
I can’t wait to see him on his knees, begging for my forgiveness. He’s not going to get it. He’s got until midday. If he doesn’t show, I am going to hurt her.

Dirty Retaliation is an intense dark romance suspense series. It features a bully alpha male special agent and a female assassin. They are involved in a underground world of organised crime and espionage. These books are dark and horribly twisted. You have been warned!