Another month of me saying, “OMG WHERE DID THE TIME GO?” But for real, Halloween snuck up on me. But now it’s basically Christmas so hopefully I won’t say that at the end of November. Also, if I’m scarce on here, blame NaNoWriMo, which I’m going to try again. Is my novel fully plotted? Lol, nope. Do I know what I’m doing? No. Do I have my emotional beats down? NOPE. Anyway, I’m also trying to read a lot in November so like, what are my priorities? I don’t know. Anyway, let’s talk about my end of October reads.
The Player by Kresley Cole
Holy wow. First of all, when you take a break from Kresley, it’s easy to forget that Kresley is… well, you know, Kresley. I just… Woah. This book is over the top sexy and has a bit of an exhibitionist kink happening. Basically, Victoria Valentine or Vice is a con woman and she’s got her eyes set on the biggest prize of all, Dmitri Sevastyan, the gorgeous billionaire (because obvi). She’s honestly shocked it seems to be working though because she’s had a string of bad luck. I absolutely adored this one. I’m not sure if it’s my favorite or if my favorite is The Professional. I think based on Sophie Jordan’s theory (which she talked about on a Fated Mates episode) my id is just confused, which sounds about right. Lol. Have you read these? If so, do you have a favorite?
Let’s Get Textual by Teagan Hunter
If you’ve got KU and your sense of humor is anything like mine, you absolutely need to read this book. I was laughing out loud so frequently when this book kicked off. It’s got some weird quirks to it and CW for nonconsensual disclosure of private images (aka revenge porn), but all in all, I thought it was really fun and the closest thing to a modern epistolary romance I’ve really ever read. The premise is that Delia answers a text from an unknown number thinking it’s her brother, but it’s actually Zach. The two of them wind up striking up a friendship that has a flirty edge pretty quickly and I adored it, honestly.
One Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare
It took me a month to read this book, which is not exactly normal for me and it’s definitely not normal for a book by Tessa Dare. I know this is one of her earlier books, but it still surprised me how well you can see the bones of who she’s become and yet how mired in the details some elements were. This book is LONG. It’s about a duke who waltzes in at midnight to dance with exactly one woman and then waltzes away. Well, one night Lady Amelia decides that lady is going to be her because she needs him to forgive her brother’s gambling debt. This sets off an adventure because someone was murdered and there are horses and adventures and also pregnancy out of wedlock *quelle scandale*. So don’t start here with Tessa, in other words. It’s not a bad book, it just drags a little, which is unusual.
The Earl I Ruined by Scarlett Peckham
I was expecting to absolutely fall in love with this book because of how much I loved The Duke I Tempted, but unfortunately, I think this book was definitely the weaker of the two. I am, nevertheless, still obsessed with Scarlett’s writing and cannot wait for her upcoming books. This book is about Lady Constance and her accidental ruination of the Earl of Apthorp, whom she refers to as Lord Bore. The thing is, Lord Bore has been in love with her forever and she was also always attracted to him. But neither of them have ever admitted that so when Lady Constance declares that to make up for her mistake, they’ll get married, Julian is like, “wtf? You just betrayed me.” Except they wind up going forward with an engagement of convenience and honestly the end of this book is everything.
Ride Rough by Laura Kaye
I don’t know why I didn’t like this one as much as I have most of her books, but something about it just didn’t quite work for me. Tbh, it might be that it was a book about domestic violence and ya girl is emotionally exhausted. Did people decide Domestic Violence Awareness Month meant they should commit more of it? Because I am EXHAUSTED. Anyway, setting aside my professional responsibilities, this is about Maverick, VP of the Raven Riders, and Alexa Harmon. This is a second chance romance as Alexa finally exits her abusive relationship, which, for the record, I’m not entirely convinced she ever quite realizes is as dangerous as it was. Or as damaging as it was. And I think what I was missing was that healing time because she doesn’t really have that. She’s still in the relationship for the first bit of this book. And speaking of domestic violence in this book, CW for sexual abuse on the page that’s not quite acknowledged as such. It’s frustrating for me because I do think it’s realistic, I just don’t think it’s what I wanted to read at the time.
Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid
I don’t love all of the Knitting in the City series, but I’ve been especially intrigued about this particular installment because I love marriage of convenience stories. The plot of this one is wild, but in a way that I could appreciate. Kat is the heiress to a big deal pharmaceutical company living her life on the down low in Chicago when suddenly her lawyer calls her and lets her know that her cousin, acting CEO, is taking steps to have her declared incompetent so he can take over. The solution? She needs to get married. So she proposes a marriage of convenience to the guy she’s wanted for years, Dan the security man. Their romance is really cute and I actually really liked that the romance versus plot balance tips a little more toward plot while keeping the romance in the spotlight.
Dark Lover by J. R. Ward
I am confused by this series, but it’s another instance of the hype is real + Fated Mates did an episode on this one so I read it. Wrath is King of the Vampires and in this world vampires can only be born and not made. The time of transition from human-ish to vampire (because they’re all human-ish when they’re born??) is very dangerous and one of Wrath’s brothers, Darius, asks him to look after his daughter, Beth, who may or may not be about to transition into a vampire. So Beth and Wrath connect and there’s a lot of plot going on. I’m confused, but intrigued enough that I have a feeling I’ll eventually read on.
*During Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, I read six books and have a separate wrap up for them. Those books were One True Pairing by Cathy Yardley, Trashed by Mia Hopkins, Collision Point by Lora Leigh, It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, and Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon.*
A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare
In contrast to the other Tessa Dare book I talked about in this, A Week to be Wicked is honestly my favorite of all of her books. Minerva needs to get to Scotland for a geologist convention and she also wants to keep Collin from marrying her sister, so she persuades him to go with her to Scotland. They have some absolutely wild experiences and there’s a lot of there’s only one bed vibes. I loved everything about it. Also! Sexual experience for sCiEnCe vibes, which is another trope I adore. This book is just fantastic. I love it the most.
Hard Knocks by Ruby Lang
I think this series just may not be right for me, but I’m going to listen to the third book soon, just to be sure. It’s not that this book is bad. It’s not. It’s just that I struggle with some of the character and plot choices here. Helen is a hard main character to connect with and I hate saying that because, in general, I’m reading books for the heroine and I like unlikeable heroines. I think Helen and I just don’t click on a fundamental level where the things that make her unlikeable are things that I try so hard not to be. Mostly. And then she has her fears and things that I completely relate to and instead of allowing herself to feel some of that, she shuts it down. Anyway, Helen and Adam meet when Adam comes into the hospital following a car accident with his bff. Helen’s called in for a consult on the friend, but out of her need for control, she does a brief head exam on Adam as well. Then the two face off over whether hockey should be allowed or not because of CTE.
Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan
Despite the fact that I almost DNF’d this book sixteen times and it took me over a year to read it, I did enjoy this book and the series as a whole. It’s not one I feel the need to re-read, especially since I think Crazy Rich Asians (the movie) was a way better format for the story. Or maybe I just think Henry Golding and Gemma Chan are actually physically perfect and exude kindness out of their pores that makes me want to watch that movie every day of my life. Anyway, regardless, this book still didn’t have enough Astrid and I’m not totally thrilled with her character arc. But I love Astrid the most so, I mean, are we really surprised? Also, for all that Nick and Rachel were like, the main event of book one, they’re really barely in this book, it seems. And there’s entirely too much Eddie. I hate Eddie. But anyway, this was fun!
Scoring Off the Field by Naima Simone
This was a reread for me and it remains the best friends to lovers romance that has ever been written. Does that sound too dramatic? It shouldn’t, honestly, because it’s so true. Naima perfectly captures the sense of unrequited love in Tennyson, but puts explosive sexual chemistry on the page between her an Dom, while skillfully weaving the most heart-wrenching angst. Essentially Tenny and Dom grew up together and Tenny is Dom’s personal assistant now as adults. Dom is the Warriors’ quarterback and feels a lot of pressure related to football. Tenny is tired of being in love with Dom when nothing can happen between them so she’s taking control of her own life and tells Dom she’s quitting as his PA to make use of her social work degree. This sets off a chain of events that has Dom questioning everything in his perfectly ordered life. It’s so good.
Bending the Rules by Christina C. Jones
I wrapped up a series! I’m so proud of me. Anyway, this was book three of The Wright Brothers series and I’m torn between this one being my favorite or if that title belongs to Getting Schooled (book one). This estranged friends to lovers was really good and I enjoyed it tremendously. Essentially Justin messed up his friendship with Toni a long time ago and we don’t know exactly what he did for a while. But he’s now a bestselling author and Toni is back in town to help at her parent’s bookstore (and to put on an author event for Justin). The two of them take slow steps toward rebuilding their friendship, while dealing with the fact that now that they’re both full grown adults, there’s some sexual chemistry there that didn’t used to be present. I thought this book was really well done and the way it handled the trope felt different. It was definitely a satisfying conclusion to the series!
What was your favorite book of October? I’m still torn between Archangel’s War, Aurora Blazing, and The Duke I Tempted.