I for one read a shitload of books this month, fifteen, as a matter of fact. Luckily for me, I had more winners than losers. Speaking of losers, my losers were exceptionally disappointing, potentially book slump inducing disappointing. Alas, I was able to avoid the dreaded loser slump and sally forth with other exciting reads. This made my pick for October’s Cherry on Top especially difficult. In the end, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give my selection its due!
It had to be Will Caruso and Teresa Valenti this month, they are hands down, the icing on the cake, the cherry on top and all of the delicious analogies you can conjure up! This is Bailey’s first self-published book, it is completely standalone and if there was ever any doubt that Tessa Bailey is the queen of dirty talk, she put that bitch to bed with Will Caruso. God. Damn. All hail the Queen!
Will Caruso is a man of extreme wealth and he recently learned some dirty details about his father that have him floundering. News that his beloved dog, Southpaw is on his last leg gives Will the cover he needs to set off on his own for a bit. He has a lot to sort out, he’s pissed as fuck and he just needs a fucking minute to recalibrate.
Teresa Valenti is the best big sister you could possibly want. She is clever, bold, brave, protective and selfless to a fault. Teresa comes from a family of conmen that have risked all to walk the straight and narrow. Her parents’ deaths leave her in charge of her brother who, of course, lands himself right back in the trouble her parents fought so hard to get out of. Teresa is tasked with a seemingly impossible mission to save her brother, and that mission is the delicious Will Caruso.
The attraction between Will and Teresa is the epitome of insta-love and I am not mad about it one bit. This white-hot sexual chemistry is integral to the development of their relationship. See, not only does our Teresa give as good as she gets in the dirty talk department, she has a particular kink that needs some exploring. In order to explore that There were a couple of times that had me thinking, man…I should not like this filthy level of dirty talk but wait, I need a moment of private time. The trust Will and Teresa build via sex helps them both break down their trust issue relationship walls – of course, she’s on a mission so we all know that’s going to bite her in the ass. Leave it to Tessa Bailey to write us out of an incredibly suspenseful and harrowing situation and bring it all home, beautifully. (There’s a pun there, you’d get it if you read the book…just saying) Don’t hesitate, get on this book and then I challenge you to sit on a balcony again without needing to touch yourself just a little bit. Her good guys are good to their core, even if they have a mouth and her bad guys are unrepentant. It makes for glorious reading!
If you’ve read Aurora Rose Reynolds’ Until series, you understand The Boom. The Mayson boys (and girls, as their children have shown us), meet their one and only and it hits them like a boom – instalove. Mayson men swoop in, take over and that’s all she wrote, jack.
While Falling Fast is loosely connected to the Until series, Colton is not a Mayson boy – and that’s likely for the best. I don’t see Gia cooperating with the alpha male, boom-inspired takeover tactics the Maysons are famous for. She’s a bit wary, not so sure of herself or other’s intentions and she’s definitely skittish about the whole notion of a relationship. Colton certainly fell for Gia right out of the gate, but his approach – slow, steady and with infinite patience – was exactly what she needed to feel confident and secure with both herself and within their relationship. The pacing was excellent, and I loved watching Gia blossom under Colton’s care.
This book is clearly the first in a spinoff series, and I can’t say I’m not chomping at the bit to see who’s paired up with Colton’s best friend, a Thor lookalike with a smart mouth, a beautiful little girl and a whole heap of baby mama drama. There’s also a suspense element left open at the conclusion of Gia and Colton’s story that I suspect will continue into the next book. I frequently find myself rereading this author’s work, and I suspect this series will be no different.
Teena | Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Today most of our personal communication is verbal or via text. The “art” of communicating by writing letters is not common these days. So, despite that fact that I don’t read YA regularly the blurb on this book grabbed my interest.
Juliet’s mother was a traveling photojournalist. As a way of staying in touch with her busy, often away, mum, Juliet has been writing her letters for as long as she can remember. When she tragically loses her mum, the best way Juliet knows of communicating her feelings is to continue writing letters. She places her letters on her mother’s grave. Never intending for anyone to read them.
Declan is doing community service working maintaining the grounds of the local cemetery. The reason for him being there is a result of what is seen publicly as acting out. Whilst working he finds Juliet’s letter and replies. Both remain anonymous but as the story progresses it is clear that they know each other. Both are polarised by grief and loss. Their pain is visible and yet it is very much bottled up and hidden.
Brigid Kemmerer has created a wonderful story of grief, loss and the difficulties often faced in moving forward. I challenge you not to cry. Whilst the topics are difficult I found this book uplifting. The characters grow, learn and begin to move forward. There is a sense of hope, direction, and purpose. This book sits on my “Best of 2017” list.
I typically don’t get rocked to the core with the books I read but DRIVE did exactly that. It was a perfectly written, beautiful heartbreaking story of one woman’s quest for happiness. And boy did Stella have to fight tooth and nail to find her HEA. It took her years, as well as two incredibly different men in her life at two crucial times. She loved both Reid and Nate unconditionally. But only one of these men is her true soul mate.
This book is told through Stella’s POV only as she reflects on her past and how she navigated her way through heartbreak and healing and finally peace. DRIVE is currently KU and you can see my full review here.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A player who is brought down to his knees by the one woman can get is a tried and true trope in romancelandia but give it a funny, entertaining and very convincing male POV, then it’s sold! Full of hot chemistry between the leads and good, touching friendships all around. My full review for the blog is right here.
Picture this – you have the best one night stand of your life, like, the hottest sex, the sweetest guy, the perfect time of your life. And you’re okay with that one night because you neeeeeeed it. You don’t even give each other your correct names and you’re both okay with that! And then the next day comes and you realize how much you want a next time. But he is gone! In fact, he is really gone because he is going to a third world country to Doctor’s Without Borders for the next six months. Six weeks later, you get the surprise of your life. And nine months later, he gets the surprise of his life.
You don’t have to picture it! You can read it. THE SURPRISE is so cute. It is such a fairytale getaway. I really, really enjoyed it. It may be cheesy but I read it in one sitting. Sometimes you need some cheese with your wine.
Thirteen is the magic number. Book #13 will be the last book in the Charley Davidson series. I state this because that makes book 12 very important. Book 12 is the setup. Book 12 gives us the emotional and physical context of the conclusion. Book 12 needs to be great….and it is. It is so awesome. It is mesmerizing. It is impactful. It is heart-dropping.
One of the best parts of the book is the discovery of a 3 book children’s story that tells the story of Charley, Reyes, and Beep. Charley has only read two of the three books, but those two summarize the celestial background of Elle-Ryn-Ahleethia, Rey’azikeen. The third features Elwyn Alexandra (Beep). It is a great summary of who the characters are and the context of where we are in the story. It explains the journey of how Charley is the grim reaper and also a god-eater.
These comments will probably not make a whole lot of sense if you have not read the series. The best thing I can say that will resonate is that Darynda Jones does right by her readers. She gives us exactly what we want and need for this point in the series.
See my review tomorrow for more on this book.
Scandal &Tags: Alice Ward, Aurora Rose Reynolds, cherry on top, Darynda Jones, Drive, Falling Fast, Follow, Kate Stewart, Monica James, tessa bailey, The Hunt, The Surprise