We are back with part two of my very belated list of my favorite books I read this past summer! In case you missed it, last week’s post is all about my favorite YA and nonfiction books, while this one is all about the romances.
Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh
Latest installment in the beloved Psy/Changeling series, following a new E who has been in captivity most of her life and a Snowdancer sentinel.
I mean, how could Nalini Singh not be on this list? Wolf Rain was such a great addition to the Psy/Changeling series, and I’m still obsessed with Sexy Lexi and Memory. I love how Singh continues to grow the world and explore more of what the E’s are capable of, and it’s so impressive that she can do so without sacrificing the romance. This book is particularly impressive because Memory was such a difficult character to create and have fall in love after being held in captivity for so much of her life, but Singh managed to make it work for me, creating an excellent Psy/Changeling installment. What am I supposed to do now that I’m all caught up?!
Also, thank you so much to Jenica at Firewhiskey Reader for buying me a copy of this book! I was complaining to her about how I had to wait for my library copy to come in because I own the series in paperback, but it’s being released first in hardcover with the paperback to come six months later and I didn’t want to buy such an expensive kindle copy, so she bought me a kindle copy so I could read it right away! I can’t express how much that made my day, and I’m still so incredibly touched by such a kind and thoughtful gesture.
Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean
Historical romance in which the heroine’s plans to take control of her own life are thrown slightly awry by the beautiful man tied up in her carriage.
I wasn’t at all prepared for Brazen and the Beast to make this list because I personally haven’t been a fan of Sarah MacLean’s last several releases (I think the last one I liked was The Rogue Not Taken, so it’s been a while). But I LOVED this book! Hattie is just such an incredible heroine, and I loved seeing her come into her own and take control of her life. And Whit! He was a great silent, brooding hero for Hattie, and I loved seeing him give into his emotions for her. They’re perfect together, and this whole book was amazing. If you haven’t yet, go read it!
I received an arc of Brazen and the Beast at BookCon.
Serving Pleasure by Alisha Rai
Angsty contemporary romance between a woman and her new neighbor she’s been watching paint.
I’ve enjoyed every Alisha Rai novel I’ve read, but Serving Pleasure is by far one of my favorites. I just really loved Rana and seeing her grow throughout the story and recognize her own worth. It was such a powerful story arc. Plus I loved seeing her relationship with her sisters grow, and the scene at the end where they all get drunk together might be my favorite part of the book. Of course, the romance was amazing, too! I loved Rana and Micah together and really enjoyed his story arc as well, but Rana was definitely the star of the show for me. Now I really need Alisha Rai to circle back and publish Leena’s story!
White Hot by Ilona Andrews
Second installment in an urban fantasy romance following a private investigator heroine who gets caught up in magic and politics bigger than she could have guessed.
Oh hey, another series Jenica convinced me to read! I’m so glad she did, because I really enjoyed the world that writing duo Ilona Andrews created with the Hidden Legacy trilogy. Nevada is such an amazing character and I loved seeing her grow throughout the trilogy. Plus Mad Rogan is pretty awesome, and I love her family so much. Also, how cool are the powers in this world? I’m a huge fan of the magic system and really loved sinking into this world. Seriously, I can’t recommend it enough if you love strong, badass heroines and very cool magic systems. I picked White Hot as my favorite — I just really liked the story and character development in this installment — but you really have to start at the beginning with Burn for Me. Don’t worry, though. The whole trilogy is amazing. And the new trilogy following Nevada’s sister is somehow even better! But that’s for the fall installment of my favorites…
I received a copy of White Hot as part of the Avon Addict program, but purchased the rest of the book in the series myself.
An Unconditional Freedom by Alyssa Cole
Civil War romance between a spy for the Union and a spy for the Confederacy as they track Jefferson Davis through the South.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect out of An Unconditional Freedom because, as much as I loved the first book in this series, An Extraordinary Union, I was pretty disappointed in the sequel as I felt it read too much like historical fiction and not like romance. So I went in to this book expecting it to lean pretty heavily towards historical fiction, but I think this book actually swings back towards romance, and it’s incredible. Cole did such an amazing job portraying these two characters and what they were going through and what their experiences were like with slavery, showing two perspectives that I haven’t encountered frequently in fiction. She does such an amazing job developing their personal story arcs, especially Janeta, who slowly realized how brainwashed she’d been about slavery as the story progressed. But at the same time, Cole exquisitely unfolded the romance between Janeta and Daniel. This is one of those rare books that I really didn’t want to rush through because I could feel how special it was as I was reading it, and it made for such a powerful reading experience. Cole really is a phenomenal writer, and I can’t wait to see what she has in store next.
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Contemporary romance between an autistic man and the woman his mom brought over from Thailand to potentially marry him.
I actually put this book off for a while for whatever reason, which was dumb because I loved The Bride Test about as much as The Kiss Quotient. It took me a little bit to get into because the setup of this one is a bit much, but it was pretty much impossible not to fall in love with Esme and Kai. I sometimes struggled with how much she tried to please him, but mostly I really enjoyed watching them learn each other and how to function and communicate with each other. I especially liked that Kai had never had sex before and didn’t do nearly as well at it the first time as he thought he did, but that his brother and cousin helped set him straight so he could fix things with Esme! I do I wish Esme had told Kai about her daughter a lot sooner; that was a pretty big thing to hide until the end. But I still really liked how things worked out, and despite some of the drawbacks, I completely adored this story and seriously cannot wait for Quan’s book!
Unsolicited Duke Pic by Nico Rosso
Historical romance novella between a duke who needs a rather inappropriate painting done as a result of losing a bet and the woman who agrees to do the painting.
I literally picked up Unsolicited Duke Pic because I loved the pun in the title so much and had pretty much no expectations for the story itself. So I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed this story! I kind of expected a light, fluffy romp, and I would have been completely happy with that, but instead Rosso delivered a book that dealt really well with power dynamics, especially between men and women. I loved what an honorable hero Thomas was, and how independent Sofia was. For such a short story, this book really packed a punch, and I loved seeing the two of them fall in love and decide to be together regardless of the consequences.
I read some really amazing books this last summer, and I can’t believe I waited so long to talk about them! What’s one of your favorite books you’ve read recently? Let me know in the comments!