September is on its way out today, so with that in mind I decided to round up all of the ebooks I bought & read this month – coming in at five – and share my thoughts about each one!
And I have a lot of them. Thoughts, I mean. 😅
I’ll start off with the book that caught me off guard, that had me so addicted I didn’t sleep for two nights straight. This book 100% turned me into a zombie, and I have no regrets. 🧟♀️ ‘Rose Petal Graves’ by Olivia Wildenstein is the first book in ‘The Lost Clan’ series. It’s listed as a USA Today Bestseller, and is “The Vampire Diaries with faeries.” I’m a huge Vampire Diaries/Originals fan, so the minute I read that tagline, I was on this book like white on rice! 🍚
RPG follows Catori Price as she returns to her hometown of Rowan – a quiet, boring place she happily left in her rear view mirror for college – when her mom passes away suddenly. Cat is positive that her mom was healthy, and that her death makes no sense. Her dad and mysterious medical examiner Cruz, however, agree that her mom passed away from a heart attack, a result of digging up ancient graves in their backyard. Which also happens to be the town cemetery. Cat always thought that nothing happened in Rowan, but there’s so much more than she knows to the tribe of Gottwa Indians that founded the town centuries ago. A tribe she and her family are connected to. And the mysteries coffin her mom dug up – empty of any corpse, but full of fresh rose petals – is at the center of it all. Could Cruz, a medical examiner that knows nothing about examining bodies and who glows like a human firefly, know more about her mom’s death than he lets on? Does he know what – or who – really killed her?
I don’t want to give anymore away, but I will say that this book is full of suspense, lore, mystery, tragedy, and a touch of romance. It literally has everything I could possibly want in a book. I devoured this and its sequels like a mad woman. I really like Catori. She’s such a real, imperfect character. And sassy. I love strong female leads, and Cat has the potential to be just that. There WERE some flaws like pacing, character development, and the story being all over the place at times. The ending is also pretty abrupt, a huge cliffhanger. Overall, I give this a solid four stars. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
The next ebook I read was ‘Ballers & Babies: The Complete Series Box Set’ by Lauren Landish. It follows professional football players and their love lives. This series sounded SO good when I read the synopsis, and had the potential to be good, too. I really wanted to like these books, but after reading all of ‘Blitzed’ and half of ‘Over the Middle,’ I’d had enough. I’m sorry to say this is one I just DNF.
Warning: Possible spoilers ahead!
‘Blitzed’ was the book I had the most issues with. Things happened too quickly, and there was no substance to it. There was InstaForgiveness and Instalove. I hate Instalove, but the InstaForgiveness drove me the most crazy. The female MC kept her baby from its father, and when he found out years later, he wasn’t angry! His love for this sainted woman was so strong that he didn’t care that she’d lied to him – a really BIG lie! He didn’t even care that he’d missed out on his child’s life. He was just blissfully happy and wanted to be with her forevermore. How does THAT make sense? Just…no. I feel like there should have been more conflict there, more angst, and it was nowhere to be seen. Some anger would have given the story that much-needed substance, and would have even made the ending better. Lack of substance, Instalove, and too-fast pacing was also an issue in ‘Over the Middle.’ These books rubbed me the wrong way, and made me realize I have absolutely no patience for the Secret Baby trope anymore. Fuhgeddaboutit. 2 stars. ⭐️⭐️
The third book in the list is ‘Satin and Pearls,’ also by Lauren Landish. It’s a professor/student “taboo” romance, and is the first in the ‘Virgin Diaries’ series. Even though there was a hint of Instalove – grr! – this read was much more enjoyable than ‘Ballers & Babies.’ There was a bit more substance in regards to emotion and plot – even some humor – and I really liked that the male MC wasn’t a jerky commitment-phobe. It was a cute and sexy read. 3 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
The fourth book in the roundup is ‘Still Not Over You’ by Nicole Snow. It’s an enemies-to-lovers story – a trope that I love – and follows once-nerdy Kenna Burke, who is a romance novelist with writer’s block. Her brother tells her about a possible refuge where she’ll be able to write in peace and quiet – his best friend Landon’s place. House sitting for Landon while he’s away for work will give Kenna her much-needed vacation. The only problem is that Landon hates her guts. They were good friends as kids, but once love-sick Kenna read Landon’s diary (hoping she’d find some trace of his feelings for her, but instead finding out a very dark secret about him) all that ended. He’s never forgiven her, and they haven’t spoken in years. Kenna thinks maybe she’ll finally get some closure, but she doesn’t expect to be so attracted to this grown-up version of Landon. And Landon himself is very confused – he’s attracted to this version of Kenna, but he also can’t stand her. On top of all of this, someone might be trying to kill Landon, and Kenna is in their way. Will these two ever be able to look beyond the past, and survive long enough to give in to their feelings?
This book started off so promising. I was loving it. Sure, Landon hating Kenna so vehemently over reading a diary was a flimsy excuse to me, but I could look past that. And sure, they seemed to have a toddler’s “Squirrel!” attention span when it came to their emotions. It was all trivial flaws.
(Warning: Possible Spoilers Ahead!)
That is until the sexual assault/harassment came into it. I hate, hate, HATE when books use sexual assault as a plot device. In this case, it was used as a way to get the two MC’s to realize their feelings for each other. NO. And it’s still sexual assault if it’s a woman doing it to a man. A woman behaving this way is not any different or better than if it were a man. Excusing it away as the character being young and air-headed doesn’t fly. Nothing makes it okay. I might sound a bit harsh, but I truly believe that this kind of writing needs to stop. This book would have gotten 3 stars, but the whole using-sexual-assault-as-a-trope thing knocked it down to 1. We need to be more aware of what we write and the message it sends! ⭐️
The final book in this list is yet another one by author Lauren Landish, ‘Dirty Talk.’ DT is the first book in the ‘Get Dirty’ series. Kat and Derrick (who is The Love Whisperer on a local radio show, giving out advice about sex and love nightly) connect when Kat calls in for some advice about her crappy boyfriend Kevin. Even though they don’t know what the other looks like, these two are wildly attracted to each other’s voices after having a conversation on-air. Derrick asks Kat to call him back with an update and gives her his number. And so begins a series of phone-sex sessions, long conversations into the night, and an ever-growing desire to meet in person. When these two do finally meet in person, will they be able to survive the inevitable combustion and really, truly fall in love?
I actually enjoyed this one quite a bit. I loved that the two MC’s were respectful of and loyal to each other – a theme I’m recognizing and appreciating in Landish’s novels – while at the same time wanting to jump each other’s bones. It was a breath of fresh air. There was no Instalove (yay!), and there was some fair character development. These two are insanely attracted to each other, yes, but they’re also taking a huge emotional risk for the other, as well. I loved trying to figure out if they’d be brave enough to take the leap. I cared about them, rooted for them. There was some cheesiness and some things moved a bit fast, but overall, ‘Dirty Talk’ was both a cute and hot read. 🔥 I give this one 3 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
What is YOUR least favorite plot device used in books? What’s one trope you can’t resist? Lmk in the comments below! ⬇️