April 2018 Wrap Up

Hello, friends! I cannot believe we are at the end of another month, but oh my word was I able to read some things in April! I think I just scheduled so many buddy reads, that I was forced to read nonstop or something! I read twenty things, which is ridiculous for me! But out of those twenty, I only five starred three things: Lifel1k3 (which was a masterpiece), Jane Eyre (which is THE BEST classic), and Monstress, Vol. 2 (which is my favorite graphic work of all time)! But I did enjoy a lot of the other things I read, too!

Like always, you can click the links in each of the titles if you would like to read a more in-depth review of each book and see the individual trigger and content warnings.

Dearest Ivie (Black Dagger Brotherhood #15.5) by J.R. Ward – ★★★★
Dearest Ivie is a short story set in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and it stars two brand new characters, that I’m sure will weave their way into the main story now! But this was a really cute story, that ended up packing such an emotional punch. This is the type of story that makes you never want to take life for granted. The type of story that makes you cherish our short time here, with the ones you love most. The type of story that proves that love can conquer all. The type of story that you won’t forget any time soon.

Song of Blood & Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles #1) by L. Penelope – ★★★★
This is the historical fantasy I’ve been looking for. This story is set in an alternate 1920 and has a really unexpected wild west feel to it, but I loved it. The romance was so good, the topics were so important, and the characters completely stole my heart. This book has a lot to love within its pages, and I completely recommend this story to you all.

All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages edited by Saundra Mitchell – ★★★★
This is a historical literature short story collection, showcasing LGBTQIAP+ characters. And all of the authors that contributed to this collection are LGBTQIAP+ and that is something that I don’t even have words for. I am forever thankful that Saundra Mitchell curated this, that Harlequin published this, and that kids and teens everywhere are going to be able to pick this up and know that they are never alone and that they have never been alone, throughout history. My personal favorite was The Inferno & the Butterfly by Shaun David Hutchinson. It was so beautifully written, the messages were expertly woven in, and the characters are two that I won’t forget anytime soon. Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore and Every Shade of Red by Elliot Wake were super close to also being my favorite.

LIFEL1K3 (Lifelike #1) by Jay Kristoff – ★★★★★
I recommend this with my whole heart for fans of Borderlands, Mad Max, and even Fallout, because that is this book’s aesthetic. Yet, this book also is very reminiscent of one of my favorite Disney Animation movies, but to say which would be such a big spoiler, so I will refrain, but it was so amazing! I was constantly reminded of all these stories constantly, and I loved each and every moment. LIFEL1K3 is such a different book, that I can only compare it to these video games and movies, but I truly think it’s going to completely win over the YA world upon release.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw – ★★★★
The Wicked Deep is a story about a small town off the coast of Oregon, called Sparrow, that is the pinnacle of a small, sleepy town, except for in June when tourists come from all around in hopes of catching a glimpse of the Swan sisters who were drowned to death for witchcraft over two hundred years ago. From June 1st until Just 21st (summer solace) no one is safe. And each and every summer, accusations get thrown at more and more girls, from boys who claim them to be the sisters who are responsible for the drownings. This was a damn joy to read. I loved it.

Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1) by Laura Sebastian – ★★★★
Ash Princess is Laura Sebastian’s debut novel, which is a story about a girl named Theodosia, whose ruling mother was murdered, and their land taken over by another kingdom when she was only six-years-old. the Kaiser allowed her to live, but only so that she could live among them, while they take everything she has ever known away. She is used as a reminder for her people that the Kaiser has enslaved, and when they do anything to rise up, Theodosia takes the punishment. Her back is incredible scarred from the whippings she has had to endure, but the Kaiser also inflicts so much mental and emotional abuse alongside the physical.

The Thief (Black Dagger Brotherhood #16) by J.R. Ward – ★★★★
It always feels so good to jump back into JR Ward’s world. This is book sixteen, with so many spinoffs and novellas intertwined, so I feel like I can’t say much, but this is just a series I will always love. Basically, inthe Black Dagger Brotherhood we follow a bunch of powerful vampires, that are in an elite group that protects humans, vampires, angels, and a bunch of other paranormal entities, and they all live in this big mansion, and they all are one big family that’s just saving the world.

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff – ★★★
I’m the only person in the book world that doesn’t love this series the same way everyone else does. Seriously, take this entire review with a grain of salt, because I am very much in the minority with my feelings. There is just always something stopping me from loving and being completely invested in this series. I don’t know why I can’t connect with these stories the way my friends do, but if you are even somewhat interested in this story, you should totally give these books a shot. I mean, murderous AI, crew of cutthroat kids willing to do anything to save each other, betrayals, twists, turns, heartbreaks, romances, the most wonderful hacker in all of literature? These all sound pretty amazing, true? Seriously, check out come of my friends’ reviews: Destiny, Brandi, Em, Lilly, & Dani!

Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas – ★★★
Friends, I really wanted to love this, and I still enjoyed it! Penelope Douglas is the queen of writing enemies to lovers. I am obsessed with Corrupt, Bully, and Punk 57! So, when I heard she was releasing a new taboo standalone, I knew I couldn’t resist one-click buying! But… dare I say? This book wasn’t taboo enough for me. It read just like a normal romance, where the characters have a big age difference.

Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle – ★★★
This book was equal parts haunting and beautiful. The writing feels so lush and magical and is absolutely transportive. The story was so expertly and intelligently crafted. Seriously, this entire book feels like a work of art. But for some reason, I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters. Instead of it feeling like a treat to read, I really had to force myself to focus. I still really recommend this, and I think so many of my friends would enjoy, but for some reason I could never truly be immersed and in turn I could never fully fall in love.

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young – ★★★★
This is a debut, standalone, young adult fantasy novel that stars two different Viking clans. But this is a story about betrayal, then survival, then a choice. You all, I really enjoyed this one. I thought it was unique, well written, and has some amazing characters. Our main protagonist, Eelyn, has lived the last five years mourning her brother’s death. Every five years, the two rival Viking clans battle for no reason other than blind hatred. And five years ago, Eelyn had to watch him fall off a cliff and was forced to leave him dying below. But this book starts out five years later, with a brand new battle, yet Eelyn sees her brother, Iri, before her very eyes.

Long Shot (Hoops #1) by Kennedy Ryan – ★★★★
Long Shot is a basketball, sort of second chance romance that starts with one night at a bar that changes two people’s lives forever. It is the night before August’s big college final game, and Iris is a basketball fanatic that came to the bar to catch her beloved Lakers play. August was just looking to blow off some steam, but he wasn’t planning on meeting someone who he would never forget. The chemistry is instant and so damn good. I truly believed that these two characters were real and were soulmates and it was a damn treat to be inside their heads. MAJOR trigger and content warnings for a lot of graphic rape, stalking, being trapped, and a lot of very graphic physical, emotional, and mental abuse. This read is not easy or light, but it very importantly talks about taking back your own body after someone has been forcefully taking it for so long. Also, if you need help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233.

The Professional (The Game Maker #1) by Kresley Cole – ★★★★
I just want to say: this book was exactly what I needed! It was so hot, so steamy, so sexy, and it was 100% what I was in the mood for. This stars a girl who at the very start is questioning her parentage, because she was adopted. And she soon finds out that she is the daughter of a very powerful man in Russia who is involved with the mafia/mafiya. And she also finds out that he has sent his right-hand man to be a bodyguard to look after her for a while now, without her knowing.

Professed by Nicola Rendell – ★★
So, I read this book broken up into three parts for three days. Day one: five stars, I loved it. Day two; three stars, I still enjoyed it. Day three: one star, it was super annoying and read so very fake. Like, this book made me feel a whirlwind of emotions, but I just wish the feelings from day one stayed throughout. This was the April pick for the Book Hangover Book Club that Julie and Chelsea host! And you can get this ebook for FREE on Amazon US!

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare – ★★★
I’m the last person on this planet to read anything by Cassie Clare! But I had too many best friends who promised me that reading this series would be worth it for me to finally get to Lady Midnight! Well, the other night I did an Instagram poll, because I wanted something fae and I was just going to pick up Lady Midnight, without reading any of Cassie’s other work, and some of my friends lost their shit, to put it lightly. And this is the story of how I got roped into finally reading City of Bones in 2018.

Orange: The Complete Collection, Volume 2 by Ichigo Takano & Amber Tamosaitis – ★★★
Orange is a manga series that will definitely pull on your heartstrings. Heck, before even starting the actual story, the first two art pages at the beginning about broke my heart by themselves. This story starts out with our main character, Naho, receiving a letter from herself ten years in the future. She and her group of friends are sixteen and in eleventh grade in high school, but what her twenty-six-year-old self is trying to warn her of is imperative.

Cracked Kingdom (The Royals #5) by Erin Watt – ★★
You all know I was asking for punishment when I picked this up. I have legit gave every book in this series two stars but one! Like, why do I do this to myself? But this was probably my least favorite out of all of them! I haven’t written up my review yet, but expect a rage filled post soon, my loves!

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë – ★★★★★
Even in 2018, this is still such a fucking masterpiece. What it means to want love in a world that has never shown you any. What it means to find peace in a world where you disagree with a lot of religious ideals. Jane believes in herself and does what she feels is right for herself. Over and over. No matter what. And all this at a time where the best thing a woman could have was a powerful marriage commitment.

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang – ★★★★
This is an ownvoices Asian inspired grimdark fantasy, that I just finished! I really enjoyed this one, and I am writing up my review right now! So, expect a review on May 3rd, but this book does release tomorrow, May 1st! Also, you should check out my best friend Petrik’s ownvoices review, because it’s a masterpiece!

Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood (Monstress #2) by Marjorie M. Liu & Sana Takeda – ★★★★★
This is my absolute favorite graphic novel series to date! This story follows a seventeen-year-old girl named Maika, whose story starts out where she is being sold as a slave. The reader will immediately notice that Maika has a very strange tattoo of an eye on her chest, and she is missing an arm. Yet, it becomes very clear very early that Maika is much stronger than what she seems.

Whew! Okay, I think that’s everything! I can’t remember the last time I read twenty things in a month! I hope you all enjoyed these mini break downs! And I want to hear what your favorite read of the month was! Seriously, add more books to my TBR, please! Happy reading, loves, and I hope you all have such a wonderful May!

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The Second Annual Book Blogger Awards | My Nominations

The Book Blogger Awards is a great way to just show support for our book community and all the book reviewers that do so much! I’m not really viewing this as a competition or anything, but I just wanted to do some nominations that showcase some of the blogs that I love and that enrich my life in more ways than I can express!

Today is actually the last day of voting! You know me, always doing things last minute! But I couldn’t resist shouting out a few of my favorites! And hopefully you all find some new favorites, too! Also, don’t forget to check out the creator of this award, Joce @ Write Through the Night, and check out #bookbloggerawards2018 for more nominees!


➽ Best Pre-Teen/Teen Book Blogger (13-19) – Julianna @ Paper Blots

➽ Best Adult Book Blogger (20+) – Lilly @ Lair of Books

➽ Best Book Blogger from an Underrepresented/Minority Group – Em @ Running Away with Dream Thieves


➽ Young Adult – Courtney @ Curly Book Owl

➽ Romance – Taryn @ Romancing The Shelf

➽ Science Fiction / Fantasy – Mogsy @ The Biblio Sanctum

➽ New Adult  – Kayla @ Books and Blends

➽ Literary Fiction / Classics – James @ This Is My Truth Now

➽ Mystery / Thriller – Chelsea @ The Suspense is Thrilling Me


➽ Best book reviews – Emma @ Emma Reads Again

➽ Best Book Recommendations – Bentley @ Book Bastion

➽ Prettiest Bookshelf – Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills

➽ Best Discussion Posts – Silvia @ Silvia Reads Books


➽ Most Engaged in the Community – Raven @ Dreamy Addictions

➽ Blog Aesthetic – Norrie @ Reading Under the Blankie

➽ Social media influencer – Elise @ The Bookish Actress

➽ Best personality / friendliest member of the community – The Orangutan Librarian


➽ Best New Book Blogger – Avery @ Red Rocket Panda

➽ Best Overall Book Blogger – May @ Forever and Everly

And I know I’m probably forgetting 100+ people who I love with my whole heart and soul, and I’m so very sorry! I swear, I really shouldn’t have waited until last minute to throw this post together! But I love you all, and I just want to say thank you to every single book blogger and reviewer out there. You all truly make this community a better place, and you are all doing the Lord’s work on the daily! Thank you!

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April 2018 Book Haul

Hey, loves! I hope the end of your April is going well! I was so very privileged and blessed to receive some amazing books this month, and I’d love to share them with you guys! 💐💕


The Wicked DeepReview: ★★★★
Dreadful Young Ladies
All Out AnthologyReview: ★★★★
Circe (US)Review: ★★★★★
Circe (UK)Review: ★★★★★


The ThiefReview: ★★★★
The Allure of Julian Lefray
Birthday GirlReview: ★★★
The Astonishing Color of After
Prince Charming
Bad Intentions


Mapping the Interior
Binti: Home
We Are the Ants
The Tiger’s Daughter
If We Were Villains
The Traitor Baru Cormorant


The Descent of Monsters
The Black God’s Drums
The Wicked King
Girls of Paper and Fire
Worlds Seen in Passing

Yeah, best ARC I’ve ever received in my entire life. Forever so very thankful. I think I still am in disbelief. And this will be my first read in May, so expect a fangirl gush ASAP! 🧚


All Your Perfects
Empress of All Seasons


The Poppy War
For a Muse of Fire
What If It’s Us
Sawkill Girls


Ace of Shades

Yeah, I know, I was so desperate for Salt that I requested it on two sites and got approved for both. I feel so bad, but I’m also so happy that I have an ARC of it! Edelweiss for sure showed up big for me in April! Actually, April was just an amazing month for ARCS in general. Hell, I can’t even properly form words to express how thankful I am that I was able to get my hands on a copy of The Wicked King this month. Diana, you’re the best, and I love you. But I hope April was filled with books that made you all feel the way The Wicked King makes me feel. Happy reading, loves! 💖📚

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My Favorite Books During High School

I’ve been out of high school for ten years now. I know, I’m getting old, please send help! But I was looking at my bookshelves the other night and got rather sentimental looking at some of the books that meant so very much to me when I was younger. I am so much of a different reader (and different person, thank the Lord) than I used to be, but so many of these books are still some of my all-time favorites. I also believe these ten books shaped me as a person and ultimately lead to me becoming the person that I am today.

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
I still consider this one of my favorite books of all time. This was the book that made me first realize how much I loved lyrical writing. The descriptions in this book are so haunting and are still able to evoke so much emotion from me to this day. This will always be one of the most beautiful books I’ll ever read, and it’s easily my most read book behind all the Harry Potter books.

Tithe (Modern Faerie Tales #1) by Holly Black
You all might have read the story about how this book (and a Borders Outlet employee) changed my reading life in my review for The Cruel Prince, but this is the book I am most thankful I read while I was in high school. And this was the book that made me fall in love with all things Fae. Nothing but love and respect for my Fae Queen President, Holly Black.

Mary, Mary (Alex Cross #11) by James Patterson
For a very long time in my life, I would have said that the Alex Cross series was my favorite series behind only Harry Potter. Like, I was obsessed. I know I picked Mary, Mary, but it was only because Kiss the Girls (book two and my true favorite) is still in my old bedroom back in Michigan at my parent’s house. My grandma is the reason I’m the reader I am today, and she still only really reads mystery books, so I guess that just rubbed off a bit on me when I was younger, because I could not get enough of James Patterson’s stories. And I am not sure I’ve touched a James Patterson book in the last decade now.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I feel like this is the book that every high schooler reads and loves, and my edgy self was no different. I remember being so damn blown away by the poem and seeing it was written on a paper bag. Like, freshman Melanie was shook. But I still love this book, and I’ll still defend this book, because it honestly changed my life and truly made me feel not so alone.

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
This will probably forever be my favorite classic. And this is still one of the most atmospheric books I’ve ever read. I weep when I think of how beautiful the passages and messages are in this book. And even though I discovered this my sophomore year of high school, I ended up writing a college thesis about Ethan Frome that was longer than the damn book, because it impacted me so profoundly. This book will always be a part of who I am, and I’ll cherish my many copies forever.

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
Okay, so the summer going into junior year I was working at this local ice cream shop that was only open during the summer time, and I made the mistake of brining this book to work so I could finish it on my lunch break. You all, I was weeping in the back of this local mom and pop ice cream shop that people from my church owned. And it’s always a memory I will remember. I loved Nicholas Sparks when I was in middle and high school (I’m telling you guys, I was emo), but this one was probably my favorite of his. This was also probably the first book I read that dealt with a teen having cancer, and maybe that impacted me to be passionate about the things I am now, because I’ll always love this book. Hell, I’ll always love the movie, too! Mandy Moore is such a babe!

Darkfever (Fever #1) by Karen Marie Moning
I hate using the term “book boyfriend”, I truly do, but Jericho Barrons was my OG book boyfriend. Without question, he was the first character in literature that made me feel some type of way. I was a senior when I first stepped into this angsty fae filled Ireland, and I’m still reading KMM’s books a decade later. I have no shame. The nostalgia of this series is something I don’t even have words for, but I love thinking back to reading them. And I totally remember finishing this in my parent’s basement while running on their treadmill. Then I immediately got off and was so sad to find out no others were released yet.

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire #4) by George R.R. Martin
People think that ASOIAF is only popular now because of the show, but I promise you there was a huge midnight release party at Flint’s Borders back while I was in high school. Was it Harry Potter level? No. But it was still a big turnout. Maybe it was because I played a lot of D&D and MTG (not to make a gross stereotype that only *nerds* like ASOIAF), but me and so many of my friends loved this series and we were so excited to get our hands on a new book. Little did we know…

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6) by J.K. Rowling
Again, friends, I’m old. I grew up reading Harry Potter, and Harry wasn’t that much older than me when I first read about him. And we even actually became the same age upon a release (because the movies made the last few come out two years apart)! I truly believe no other book series will ever mean more to me than Harry Potter, and I feel bad putting it on every list, but it is truly deserving of every list because of the impact it has made on me not only as a reader, but as a human being. Also, the sheer amount of times I reread this series in high school is a number I don’t even want to know.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Okay, I wanted to save this one for last, because I might get some shit for it. But hello, my name is Melanie, and you know what I will always love? The Catcher in the Rye. Out of all the classics we read my freshman year, I didn’t connect with any of the characters the way I did with Holden Caulfield. Is he a self-centered, pretentious, privileged, little shit? Yeah, he is. But guess what? So was I (#roasted). This book just spoke to my heart and soul and I’ll always love it, and I’ll always see myself in Holden, struggling in that in-between of being a teenager becoming an adult.

Okay, I hope you all enjoyed! I know, I know, I’m an old lady! But I just felt really compelled to write this post up for some reason. Maybe I’ll do a reread of each of these and see how I feel now in 2018? I mean, I legit already want to reread Tithe, so I think it might be a cool idea to do some of the others that I haven’t touched in a while, too! But I hope you all have an amazing day, and thanks for coming down memory lane with me! Happy reading, lovelies!

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City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

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“Where there is love, there is often also hate. They can exist side by side.”

Hi, my name is Melanie, and I’m the last person on this planet to read anything by Cassie Clare! But I had too many best friends who promised me that reading this series would be worth it for me to finally get to Lady Midnight! Well, the other night I did an Instagram poll, because I wanted something fae and I was just going to pick up Lady Midnight, without reading any of Cassie’s other work, and some of my friends lost their shit, to put it lightly. And this is the story of how I got roped into finally reading City of Bones in 2018.

Again, I’m the last person to read this, but City of Bones starts off with a young girl named Clary, and her and her friend, Simon, are in line for a teen club. Yeah, the two-thousand vibes were real. Once inside the club, a couple individuals catch her eye and she can’t resist following them out of the club, to only realize that she isn’t supposed to be able to see them in the first place.

We are then thrown into the paranormal world that is hidden from the mundanes (non-magical humans). We see vampires, werewolves, fae *swoons forever*, angels, demons, and everything else you think of when you think paranormal. And we also are introduced to the world of shadowhunters, the warriors who are sworn to defeat the demons.

And Clarey’s world gets turned upside down when she realizes that her mother has been doing everything in her power to keep her hidden from this paranormal world. And Clary can’t even ask her for the truth, because her mother has gone missing. And the only people who can help her are the shadowhunters. *dun dun dun*

“Keep in mind that when your mother fled from the Shadow World, it wasn’t the monsters she was hiding from. Not the warlocks, the wolf-men, the Fair Folk, not even the demons themselves. It was them. It was the Shadowhunters.”

Back when this series came out, everyone was saying it was “Harry Potter fanfic” and my pretentious, Harry Potter obsessed self wasn’t going to read anything that was a rip off of my fandom. And were a few of the similarities there? Yeah, I mean, this is a story that centers around three brothers with three magical items that a certain villain wants, who has been presumed dead for a while now. The parallels (and names, I guess) between Valentine and Voldemort are very apparent, especially their desire for wanting magic blood to be pure. But besides this big aspect, I really couldn’t easily see any other Harry Potter elements.

But you know what else? City of Bones holds up decently well in 2018. I was a little thrown off that it is told in third person, but I actually think it has aged pretty well. I am always so desperately scared to go back and read my high school favorites, because I doubt they will hold up and have the same magic they did back in the mid two-thousands. This this was a good read, and it was funny, and touched on a lot of things that are super relevant and “cool” today.

And I was honestly impressed that Cassandra Clare wasn’t scared to write in LGBTQIAP+ characters in 2007. I was surprised that we got confirmation for two characters, without it ever feeling manipulative or even drawn out. And she even touches on homophobia and how differently a character would be treated if their colleagues knew he was gay. I mean, this is pretty impressive for 2007, and it wasn’t lost on me. I will say the end there was a villain that maybe did the things he did because of his love for another man that I wish wasn’t in the book, but it didn’t erase the good Cassie did with the other two characters.

“The meek may inherit the earth, but at the moment it belongs to the conceited. Like me.”

This book also surprisingly made me laugh. Jace is like the most sarcastic character ever, and he actually had me laughing in so many scenes. And I loved seeing the mystery unfold right alongside Clary. Magnus was everything, I wanted so much more of him instantly. But I ended up thinking that Luke and his backstory stole the spotlight. I wasn’t prepared for those feelings. And this book had a huge cast of characters, so I’m very curious about how I’ll feel about all of them as the series progresses.

Quick sentence about how the characters made me feel:
Clary – super likeable.
Jace – half love and half hate (and still side eyeing you all, maybe).
Simon – so annoying, please, no one give this boy a certain cup.
Isabelle – marry me this instant.
Alec – I feel neutral but hope to end up liking more.
Magnus – going to be the best character in literature.
Luke – the star of this book for me.
Hodge – super good surprise.
Valentine – needs to get bent.

“You want to know what it’s like when your parents are good churchgoing folk and you happen to be born with the devil’s mark?”

Overall, I went into this with the lowest of expectations. Like, picture the lowest expectations that a human can have. Okay, now, mine were lower than even that. So maybe that’s why I got so much enjoyment out of this story. But I honestly did have a lot of fun with this, and it made me very curious to pick up the next book (hopefully soon)! Also, I have been very blessed to not be spoiled for anything in this series, the only thing I always hear was, “CLARY AND JACE!” Which is why I’m side-eyeing each one of you if the ending of this book is true. Like, you all nasty.

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The Professional (The Game Maker #1) by Kresley Cole

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“A trusted right-hand man and a treasured daughter?”

I’m not going write up a big, long review for this, but I still want to put some of my thoughts down for you all. But mostly I just want to say: this book was exactly what I needed! It was so hot, so steamy, so sexy, and it was 100% what I was in the mood for.

“Hanging out in a sensual sauna, naked, with an off-limits enforcer who happened to make my mouth water: what could possibly go wrong?”

Like, exactly what I needed. The Professional stars a girl who at the very start is questioning her parentage, because she was adopted. And she soon finds out that she is the daughter of a very powerful man in Russia who is involved with the mafia/mafiya. And she also finds out that he has sent his right-hand man to be a bodyguard to look after her for a while now, without her knowing.

The girl and her bodyguard rush off to Russia after her life has been compromised, and she gets to finally meet her biological father, while also getting to know the man that has been keeping an eye on her. And, like… lots of sexy times ensues. A whole lot of sexy times.

But let me emphasize, the male protagonist is very much the epitome of what adult romance considers an “alpha male”. And this girl is forced to leave the life she has always known and is put into a foreign country and a foreign home and has to adapt. I could write an entire review on the power imbalance between these two love interests. So, please never think I’m ignoring this. I just rate erotic books differently than other books! I know many of the relationships are toxic and problematic and I completely understand that they wouldn’t be the healthiest and/or most ideal of starts for people in real life, but I love steamy reads and I rate them purely off my enjoyment. But I’m never making excuses for any of the content in this book.

Content Warnings: loss of a loved one, death, murder, torture, abandonment, talk of past child abuse, possessiveness, stalking, kidnapping, talk of war, and the most alpha man in all of literature.

Overall, I really needed a book like this after all the romance novels I was reading that weren’t scratching a particular itch I was fiending to read. This book also heavily talks about BDSM lifestyles, needs, wants, clubs, aftercare, everything really, and I loved it. Do I think this book is for everyone? Hell no. Was this book exactly what I needed? Oh my gosh, Yes! And I won’t stop thinking about it anytime soon, I promise. This was an amazing erotic read, and I’m forever thankful for Paloma, her friendship, and her perfect recommendation.

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Professed by Nicola Rendell

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“Dulce pomum quum abest custos. Forbidden fruit is sweetest.”

So, I read this book broken up into three parts for three days. Day one: five stars, I loved it. Day two; three stars, I still enjoyed it. Day three: one star, it was super annoying and read so very fake. Like, this book made me feel a whirlwind of emotions, but I just wish the feelings from day one stayed throughout.

Professed starts out with a secret sex club at Yale University (I promise, no Rory Gilmore jokes.) This book switches points of view between Naomi, a junior at Yale, and Ben, the newest Master at Yale. But hidden behind masks, and entering an underground sex party, ben and Naomi meet and soon realize they want nothing more than to leave this party together.

And leave the party they do. And guys, the first couple sex scenes in this book? They are super hot. Like, I loved them a lot. And when we find out that Ben is the newest professor to teach at Yale, it only amplifies the forbiddenness to make it feel more enticing. I only wish the rest of the book would have kept up. But very quickly this turns into an angst filled, unbelievable, love story about why these two people can’t be together.

“That happens twice a week, three beautiful hours of my life every week, I sit there and listen to the man I am hopelessly, helplessly, stupidly in love with.”

The worst part of the story? The completely unbelievable dean at Yale that had nothing more important to worry about than these two hooking up. Like, I could not. Between him barging into Ben’s home, to him waiting outside just waiting for one of them to step a toe out of line, I just couldn’t handle it. It felt like something out of a cartoon!

And once Ben and Naomi start to be forced to go off campus, and have these romantic rendezvous, I just lost interest. I much preferred the hot, meet up, animalistic urges over the unbelievable angst and love. And once I found out why there was a sharpie on the cover of this book? Lord, help me. Some Sharpies contain xylene, which can be super harmful to your body, especially if it gets into your blood stream. Let’s… not romanticize this, thanks.

But basically, this just got too convoluted for me to enjoy. And I know half of you are probably like, “Melanie, it’s a new adult sexy time book, what were you expecting?” But I promise, the first few chapters were so addicting, it just set the bar way too high. Overall, this ended up just being a big letdown, because the start was so damn strong! But if you’re looking for a quick, sexy, angsty read, this will probably do the trick. Just, don’t let the start skyrocket your expectations like I did.

Content Warnings: student and teacher relationship, medication abuse, underage drinking, detailing of a very bad boating accident (and medical treatment) in the past, abuse, and grey area consent.

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This is the April pick for the Book Hangover Book Club that Julie and Chelsea host! ❤

❤ And you can get this ebook for FREE on Amazon US currently!