Tag: Rowena Says

Book Binge’s Most Anticipated Reads of 2019

Posted February 20, 2019 by Holly in Discussions, Features | 20 Comments

There are so many wonderful books coming out in 2019. We decided to compile a list of our most anticipated of them all. At the end of the year, we’re going to come back to this post and see how many of the books we were looking forward to lived up to the hype we gave it. We’ll be counting the books that we actually read and enjoyed and which books were flops.

In the meantime, here are the books that made our list.

January


Free (Chaos #6) by Kristen Ashley.
Paperback – January 29, 2019

Through good times, bad times and times of war, Cole “Rush” Allen grew up in the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Along this journey, he watched his father, Tack, and his MC brothers fight, sweat, bleed and die to steer the Club to legitimacy.

And they’ve got one more battle on their hands.

A battle they have to win.

But when Rush meets the woman who put herself right in the thick of it, he knows he has to stop at nothing to get her out.

Rebel Stapleton has lost someone she loves to murder and she’s the kind of woman who’s going to do something about it. She puts her career on the line, and her life, to bring the man who did it to justice.

That is, she does this until Rush Allen intervenes.

Chaos is at war and they’re about to face the ultimate showdown. They’ll have to negotiate skeletons from the past, enemies becoming allies, and loved ones in the line of fire on their ride to be…

Free.

February


Huge Deal (21 Wall Street #3) by Lauren Layne.
Kindle Edition – February 12, 2019

Even for a top-gun banker, temptation this hot is quite a gamble, in a sexy Wall Street romp from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne.

An alpha among the wolves of Wall Street, Kennedy Dawson rose to the top of the pack by striking the right contracts at the right times. But there’s one deal that’s been giving him a run for his money—a pact to never again let his assistant, Kate, get under his skin. She may be smart, gorgeous, and sharp as a whip, but she’s definitely off-limits.

Kate Henley isn’t a banker, but she knows a thing or two about risk management—specifically, about managing her attraction to her smolderingly sexy boss. She already fell once, and Kennedy showed no sign of paying a return on her investment. So when Kennedy’s brother starts pursuing her, Kate figures she has the best of both worlds. Jack is charming, rich, very attentive, and the spitting image of his older brother.

It’s also making Kennedy think twice. But to win Kate’s heart, he’ll have to broker the deal of a lifetime…and prove he’s worth the risk.


The Risk (Briar U #2) by Elle Kennedy.
Kindle Edition – February 18, 2019

A sexy standalone novel from New York Times and international bestselling author Elle Kennedy. THE RISK takes you back to the world of hot hockey players, feisty heroines, bro banter, and steamy scenes…

Everyone says I’m a bad girl. They’re only partly right—I don’t let fear rule me, and I certainly don’t care what people think. But I draw the line at sleeping with the enemy. As the daughter of Briar’s head hockey coach, I’d be vilified if I hooked up with a player from a rival team.

And that’s who Jake Connelly is. Harvard’s star forward is arrogant, annoying, and too attractive for his own good. But fate is cruel—I require his help to secure a much-coveted internship, and the sexy jerk isn’t making it easy for me.

I need Connelly to be my fake boyfriend.

For every fake date…he wants a real one.

Which means this bad girl is in big trouble. Nothing good can come from sneaking around with Jake Connelly. My father would kill me, my friends will revolt, and my post-college career is on the line. But while it’s getting harder and harder to resist Jake’s oozing sex appeal and cocky grin, I refuse to fall for him.

That’s the one risk I’m not willing to take.


Devil’s Daughter (The Ravenels #5) by Lisa Kleypas.
Hardcover – February 19, 2019

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas delivers a scintillating tale of a beautiful, young widow who finds passion with the one man she shouldn’t…

Although beautiful young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, has never met West Ravenel, she knows one thing for certain: he’s a mean, rotten bully. Back in boarding school, he made her late husband’s life a misery, and she’ll never forgive him for it. But when Phoebe attends a family wedding, she encounters a dashing and impossibly charming stranger who sends a fire-and-ice jolt of attraction through her. And then he introduces himself…as none other than West Ravenel.

West is a man with a tarnished past. No apologies, no excuses. However, from the moment he meets Phoebe, West is consumed by irresistible desire…not to mention the bitter awareness that a woman like her is far out of his reach. What West doesn’t bargain on is that Phoebe is no straitlaced aristocratic lady. She’s the daughter of a strong-willed wallflower who long ago eloped with Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent—the most devilishly wicked rake in England.

Before long, Phoebe sets out to seduce the man who has awakened her fiery nature and shown her unimaginable pleasure. Will their overwhelming passion be enough to overcome the obstacles of the past?

Only the devil’s daughter knows…


Lady Derring Takes a Lover (The Palace of Rogues #1) by Julie Anne Long.
Mass Market Paperback – February 26, 2019

A mistress. A mountain of debt. A mysterious wreck of a building.

Delilah Swanpool, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, “Dear Dull Derring,” is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It’s a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man.

But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue’s Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice.

They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he’s ever known?


The Scoundrel in Her Bed (Sins of All Season #3) by Lorraine Heath.
Mass Market Paperback – February 26, 2019

The third electrifying romance in Lorraine Heath’s USA Today bestselling Sins of all Seasons series.

The bastard son of a nobleman, Finn Trewlove was a shameful secret raised by a stranger. As Finn came of age, he had secrets, too—the clandestine nights spent with an earl’s daughter. But her promise of forever ended in betrayal.

Driven by a past that haunts her, Lady Lavinia Kent seeks redemption in London’s underworld, engaged in a daring cause inspired by the young man to whom she gave her innocence, and who then proved himself a scoundrel by abandoning her.

When their paths cross again, they can’t deny the yearning and desire that still burns. As they discover the truth behind the deceptions that tore them apart, Finn and Lavinia must fight to reclaim what they’ve lost, no matter how dangerous—because love is worth the risk…

March


Wild Country (World of The Others #2) by Anne Bishop.
Hardcover – March 5, 2019

In this powerful and exciting fantasy set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, humans and the shape-shifting Others will see whether they can live side by side…without destroying one another.

There are ghost towns in the world—places where the humans were annihilated in retaliation for the slaughter of the shape-shifting Others.

One of those places is Bennett, a town at the northern end of the Elder Hills—a town surrounded by the wild country. Now efforts are being made to resettle Bennett as a community where humans and Others live and work together. A young female police officer has been hired as the deputy to a Wolfgard sheriff. A deadly type of Other wants to run a human-style saloon. And a couple with four foster children—one of whom is a blood prophet—hope to find acceptance.

But as they reopen the stores and the professional offices and start to make lives for themselves, the town of Bennett attracts the attention of other humans looking for profit. And the arrival of the Blackstone Clan, outlaws and gamblers all, will uncover secrets…or bury them.


Sin & Salvation (Demigod of San Francisco #3) by K.F. Breene.
Kindle Edition – March 19, 2019

Valens has noticed his two missing employees. It won’t be long before he knows who is responsible.

It won’t be long before he claims his vengeance.

The race is on. Kieran and Lexi must scrape together an army worthy of taking on the Demigod of San Francisco before he destroys them all.

But Valens isn’t Lexi’s only problem. Mordecai’s rapid recovery has been noticed, and he has once again become a threat to his old pack.

Lexi’s little family is in jeopardy of being torn apart, and to save them…she must finally embrace what it means to be a Soul Stealer.

April


The Savior (Black Dagger Brotherhood #17) by J.R. Ward.
Hardcover – April 2, 2019

In the venerable history of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, only one male has ever been expelled—but Murhder’s insanity gave the Brothers no choice. Haunted by visions of a female he could not save, he nonetheless returns to Caldwell on a mission to right the wrong that ruined him. However, he is not prepared for what he must face in his quest for redemption.

Dr. Sarah Watkins, researcher at a biomedical firm, is struggling with the loss of her fellow scientist fiancé. When the FBI starts asking about his death, she questions what really happened and soon learns the terrible truth: Her firm is conducting inhumane experiments in secret and the man she thought she knew and loved was involved in the torture.

As Murhder and Sarah’s destinies become irrevocably entwined, desire ignites between them. But can they forge a future that spans the divide separating the two species? And as a new foe emerges in the war against the vampires, will Murhder return to his Brothers… or resume his lonely existence forevermore?


Gimme Some Sugar (Southern Eclectic #3) by Molly Harper.
Paperback – April 2, 2019

A young widow returns to Lake Sackett, Georgia to face the ghosts of her past—and decide if she’s ready to take another chance on love—in the third sparkling Southern Eclectic novel that “goes down as easy as honey on a deep-fried Twinkie” (Library Journal, on Sweet Tea and Sympathy).

Lucy Brewer would never have guessed that her best friend, Duffy McCready (of McCready’s Bait Shop & Funeral Home) has been in love with her since they were kids. Fear of rejection and his own romantic complications prevented Duffy from confessing his true feelings in high school, so he stood by and watched her wed Wayne Bowman right after high school. Wayne had always been a cheapskate, so it comes as no surprise when he suffers a fatal accident while fixing his own truck.

Even as her family and friends invade Lucy’s life and insist that the new widow is too fragile to do much beyond weeping, Lucy is ashamed to admit that life without Wayne is easier, less complicated. After all, no one knew what a relentless, soul-grinding trudge marriage to Wayne had been. Only Duffy can tell she’s hiding something.

In need of a fresh start, Lucy asks Duffy to put his cabinet-building skills to use, transforming the town’s meat shop into a bake shop. As the bakery takes shape, Lucy and Duffy discover the spark that pulled them together so many years ago. Could this finally be the second chance he’s always hoped for?


Meet Cute by Helena Hunting.
Paperback – April 9, 2019

Kailyn Flowers was always calm, rational, and controlled-until she ended up sprawled all over Daxton Hughes, the former actor she totally crushed on as a teenager. Then she did the unthinkable: She became a mortifying fangirl in five seconds flat, which may or may not have included professing her undying love. And oddly, he didn’t run away. In fact, their meet cute led to a friendship she never saw coming. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming, either…

Now Dax needs her help. As guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister, he’s in way over his head. And though Kailyn hasn’t forgiven Dax, she isn’t heartless enough to make him fend for himself, either. Soon their friendly meetings turn into flirty dinner dates, and Kailyn can feel their chemistry is as explosive as ever. But how can she possibly let down her guard again to a guy who has heartbreak written all over him?


At the Pleasure of the President (The Perfect Gentlemen #5) by Shayla Black and Lexi Blake.
Paperback – April 9, 2019

When a dangerous conspiracy threatens to tear them apart, he’ll have to choose between his country and the woman he loves…

Decades ago, ambitious Zack Hayes set his sights on the White House. He’s worked his whole life to become the leader of the free world—attending the right schools, marrying the perfect bride—all to aid his campaign. He didn’t realize someone behind the scenes has been pulling the strings to manipulate Zack and the country he loves into a dangerous position—one he will risk his life to wrench free from. The one thing he can’t risk is Elizabeth Matthews.

From the moment she met Zack Hayes, Liz felt the connection. Serving as his campaign manager and then his press secretary, she accepted that her love for him would remain unrequited. Still, she’d thought they were friends, so when he pushed her aside, she felt the stab in her heart. And when she realizes he’s done it to protect her, nothing will stop Liz from standing by his side—not even the men who would use her as a weapon against him.

As shocking secrets are revealed, Zack and Liz find succor and passion in each other’s arms. When the ultimate villain shows his face, Zack may have to choose between his country and the woman he loves…

May


Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson #11) by Patricia Briggs.
Hardcover – May 7, 2019

In this new instalment in the No. 1 New York Times bestselling series, Mercy Thompson must face a deadly enemy to defend all she loves . . .

My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.

And a coyote shapeshifter . . . And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.

Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.

The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death.

But we are pack, and we have given our word. We will die to keep it.


The Bride Test by Helen Hoang.
Paperback – May 7, 2019

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.


Sweep of the Blade (Innkeeper Chronicles #4) by Ilona Andrews.
Kindle Edition – May 14, 2019

Maud Demille was a daughter of Innkeepers. She knew that a simple life wasn’t in the cards, but she never anticipated what Fate would throw at her.

Once a wife to a powerful vampire knight, Maud and her daughter, Helen, had been exiled for the sins of her husband to the desolate planet of Karhari. Karhari killed her husband, and Maud had spent a year and a half avenging his debts. But now all the debts are paid. Rescued by her sister Dina, Maud had swore off all things vampire. Except she met Arland, the Marshal of House Krahr. One thing led to another and he asked for her hand in marriage. She declined.

Try as she might, she can’t just walk away from Arland. It doesn’t help that being human is a lot harder for Maud than being a vampire.

To sort it all out, she accepts his invitation to visit his home planet. House Krahr is a powerful vampire House, and Maud knows that a woman who turned down the proposal from its most beloved son wouldn’t get a warm reception. But Maud Demille never shied from a fight and House Krahr may soon discover that there is more to this human woman than they ever thought possible.

Published in as an online free serial before the book is compiled and self-published shortly after completion.


The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren.
Paperback – May 14, 2019

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Amy, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.


Passion on Park Avenue (The Central Park Pact #1) by Lauren Layne.
Paperback – May 28, 2019

From the author of the New York Times bestselling Stiletto and Oxford series, the first in a sizzling new series following the unlikely friendship of three Upper East Side women as they struggle to achieve their dreams and find true love and happiness in the city that never sleeps.

For as long as she can remember, Bronx-born Naomi Powell has had one goal: to prove her worth among the Upper East Side elite—the same people for which her mom worked as a housekeeper. Now, as the strongminded, sassy CEO of one of the biggest jewelry empires in the country, Naomi finally has exactly what she wants—but it’s going to take more than just the right address to make Manhattan’s upper class stop treating her like an outsider.

The worst offender is her new neighbor, Oliver Cunningham—the grown son of the very family Naomi’s mother used to work for. Oliver used to torment Naomi when they were children, and as a ridiculously attractive adult, he’s tormenting her in entirely different ways. Now they find themselves engaged in a battle-of-wills that will either consume or destroy them…

Filled with charm and heart and plenty of sex and snark, this entertaining series will hook you from the very first page.

June


Shadow Warrior (Shadow #4) by Christine Feehan.
Paperback – June 4, 2019

Vittorio Ferraro is a man whose family loyalty knows no bounds. He would die for his siblings and the people they love, but what he really wants is to start a family of his own. Deep down, Vittorio has always known finding a woman who could ride shadows would be nearly impossible—let alone one who could accept his particular needs—and he never expected to find her in the middle of a kidnapping.…

Grace Murphy has always been drawn to Vittorio Ferraro—or at least to the billionaire’s public bad-boy persona. Now that she’s under his protection and the sole focus of his intense caring, she can’t help wanting to get as close to him as possible. But Grace knows her presence is putting the entire Ferraro family in danger. Her monster of a brother will never let her go, but Vittorio has no intention of losing the woman whose shadow matches his own.


Wolf Rain (Psy-Changeling Trinity #3) by Nalini Singh.
Hardcover – June 4, 2019

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh takes us on a new adventure in this next novel of the Psy-Changeling Trinity series…

The end of Silence was supposed to create a better world for future generations. But trust is broken, and the alliance between Psy, Changeling, and human is thin. The problems that led to Silence are back in full force. Because Silence fixed nothing, just hid the problems.

This time, the Psy have to find a real answer to their problems–if one exists. Or their race will soon go extinct in a cascade of violence. The answer begins with an empath who is attuned to monsters–and who is going to charm a wolf into loving her despite his own demons.


Alpha’s Promise (Dark Protectors #10) by Rebecca Zanetti.
Kindle Edition – June 25, 2019

Though he has vampire, demon, and Viking blood rushing through his veins, Ivar Kjeidsen’s soul-crushing trip to hell broke him in ways he can barely fathom. One vow keeps the deadly immortal standing: To rescue the vampire brother who had sacrificed freedom for him. To do that, Ivar needs the help of a brilliant physicist with wary brown eyes, fierce brilliance, and skin that’s way too soft.

Dr. Promise Williams understands the underpinnings of the universe but has never figured out the human beings inhabiting it. Her function is to think—and not feel—until she’s touched by a vampire who’s nowhere near human. The primal hunger in his eyes awakens feelings in her that defy calculation. As she shows him the way to step between worlds, he brands her with a pleasure that could last more than a lifetime . . .

July


The Swipe Right (Modern Love #1) by Alisha Rai.
Paperback – July 2, 2019

Alisha Rai returns with the first book in her sizzling new Modern Love series, in which two rival dating app creators find themselves at odds in the boardroom but in sync in the bedroom.

Rhiannon Hunter may have revolutionized romance in the digital world, but in real life she only swipes right on her career—and the occasional hookup. The cynical dating app creator controls her love life with a few key rules:

– Nude pics are by invitation only

– If someone stands you up, block them with extreme prejudice

– Protect your heart

Only there aren’t any rules to govern her attraction to her newest match, former pro-football player Samson Lima. The sexy and seemingly sweet hunk woos her one magical night… and disappears.

Rhi thought she’d buried her hurt over Samson ghosting her, until he suddenly surfaces months later, still big, still beautiful—and in league with a business rival. He says he won’t fumble their second chance, but she’s wary. A temporary physical partnership is one thing, but a merger of hearts? Surely that’s too high a risk…


Brazen and the Beast (The Bareknuckle Bastards #2) by Sarah MacLean.
Mass Market Paperback – July 30, 2019

The Lady’s Plan

When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly…until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.

The Bastard’s Proposal

When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure . . . on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires…for a price.

An Unexpected Passion

Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power . . . and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything . . . including their hearts.

August


Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy #4) by Ilona Andrews.
Mass Market Paperback – August 27, 2019

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews comes an enthralling new trilogy set in the Hidden Legacy world, where magic means power, and family bloodlines are the new currency of society…

In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.

But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.

To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.


The Wallflower Wager (Girl Meets Duke #3) by Tessa Dare.
Mass Market Paperback – August 27, 2019

They call him the Duke of Ruin.

To an undaunted wallflower, he’s just the beast next door.

Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society—and now he wants to get even.

Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart.

When her imposing—and attractive—new neighbor demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes.

Done, Gabriel says. How hard can it be to find homes for a few kittens?

And a two-legged dog.

And a foul-mouthed parrot.

And a goat, an otter, a hedgehog . . .

Easier said than done, for a cold-blooded bastard who wouldn’t know a loving home from a workhouse. Soon he’s covered in cat hair, knee-deep in adorable, and bewitched by a shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. Now she’s set her mind and heart on saving him.

Not if he ruins her first.

September


Archangel’s War (Guild Hunter #12) by Nalini Singh.
Mass Market Paperback – September 24, 2019

Return to New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s darkly passionate Guild Hunter world, where human-turned-angel Elena Deveraux, consort to Archangel Raphael, faces a new challenge that threatens the balance of the world.

The world of the archangels, guild hunters, and humans is thrust into peril by a new emerging threat. Elena Deveraux and her archangel Raphael are irrevocably changed, but how their changes affect the world around them is yet to be determined…

Which books are you most looking forward to this year? Share in the comments!


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2019 Reading Goals

Posted January 17, 2019 by Holly in Discussions | 7 Comments

This year we’re all setting reading goals. We’re all participating in Super Wendy’s TBR Challenge, and we plan to bring back our Summer Reading Challenge this year. Below are our personal reading goals.

Holly
I try not to overwhelm myself with reading goals. If I set too many I can’t keep up with, I start getting reading anxiety and it becomes a chore to read at all.

Read at least 200 books

Every year I join the Goodreads Reading Challenge and set my goal at 200 books. I’m not going to change the number this year, but I hope to read 250. I came close in 2018. So fingers crossed.

Read more diverse books

I’d like to focus more on reading diverse romances. I’ve already started a list. I’m not going to set a number goal for this, but I am going to make it a priority.

Read more historical romance

I’ve been on a historical hiatus for the past year or so. With few exceptions, I avoid the sub-genre entirely. I’d like to get my historical mojo back. For now I’m going to try to read at least 1 historical per month.

Read more new-to-me authors

This year I want to read more new-to-me authors. My goal is at least 5 per month. I’m a little nervous about this goal, because I tend to be a reader of habit, always sticking with authors I know and love, and re-reading a lot.

Read more books from Kindle Unlimited and the Audible Romance Package

The Audible Romance Package is just $6.95/mo if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber or Audible Gold or Platinum member ($14.95 if not). As with KU, if you have the Audible Romance Package you can listen to an unlimited number of audiobooks from the ARP catalog for one set price, up to 6 at a time. They have thousands of romance audiobooks available. Audiobooks can be expensive, so this is a much more budget friendly way of listening. I definitely want to take better advantage of the program in 2019. The same with Kindle Unlimited. I only just subscribed to KU in March of 2018 and I definitely didn’t read enough KU books to justify the cost.

Read more from – and better organize – my TBR Pile

Let’s face it, I’m a book hoarder. Digital reading has made things worse, because I don’t see the stacks of book sitting around. I’d like to organize my digital TBR pile this year and start culling it down. I’d like to read at least 2 TBR books per month.

Review More

I’m going to try to review every book I read in 2019. I’m not going to include re-reads in that, unless I’m re-reading a book I haven’t ever reviewed. I read so much, I often struggle to get all my books reviewed. Hopefully I can change that this year.

Casee

Reading goals make me antsy. It’s just a fact. When I think I’m not meeting a goal, I tend to just quit altogether. It’s kind of like me and exercise. But that’s another story. This year, I have decided to set reasonable goals for myself.

Read at least 100 books

I always join the Goodreads Reading Challenge and this year is no different. I didn’t meet my goal last year I was surprised at how disappointed I was in myself. How hard is it to read 75 books? 2018 wasn’t my reading year. 2019? A new me!

Listen to more audiobooks

It was late last year that Holly introduced me to the wonderful world of audiobooks. Honestly, I had no idea what I was missing. I had listened to an audiobook here and there that I checked out from the library, but really. Audible has opened up a new world for me. A world that I adore.

Read more books from Kindle Unlimited

I subscribed to Kindle Unlimited for one reason. To get the Audible Romance Package for $6.95. Don’t judge. I have found a few good books through KU. This year, I am determined to give KU more of my time. Just because they’re books through KU doesn’t mean that they’re bad. Honestly, I have no idea how I got that idea in my head.

Read more New-to-Me Authors

I only read ten (10!) new-to-me authors in 2018. That is crazy talk. Just crazy. I don’t even think my new author “kick” started until July. I’m ashamed. I tend to get into a comfort zone. Then I don’t leave it. I’ve already read two new-to-me authors so far this year and I’m determined to make it more this year.

Read more

What I really want to do more this year is to just read. I just want to take the time to sit down and read. Yes, I want to listen to more audiobooks, but I miss just being able to sit down for two hours and read. That’s one of my goals this year.

Review every book

Yes, you read that correctly. This year my goal is to review every since book that I read and/or listen to. I did pretty good last year since I read so few books. I remember a time when reviewing didn’t overwhelm me or feel like a chore. I started to feel that feeling again late last year. The feeling of enjoyment in writing a review. I’m hoping that feeling will continue.

Rowena

I already wrote up my personal goals for the year on my personal blog so if you guys want to catch that, you can click on over and check it out for yourselves.

MY PERSONAL, READING, AND BLOGGING GOALS FOR 2019

What are your 2019 reading goals? Tell us in the comments.


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2018 Reading Year in Review: Rowena

Posted January 9, 2019 by Rowena in Features | 3 Comments

I went into 2018 not wanting to pressure myself with reading challenges and I definitely felt no pressure this year but I was also pretty bored with not having goals outside of reading 100 books. Reading 100 books in a year is not a challenge for me so I’ll be challenging myself in my reading for 2019.

I tracked the hell out of my reads this year with the help of Sarah over at Sarah’s Bookshelves. She has an amazing reading tracking spreadsheet that makes my inner nerd swoon in delight.

I read quite a bit of books written by female authors. In fact, all of the books that I read in 2018 were written by women. 18% of the books I logged were diverse reads that featured main characters that were POC and 31% of the books I read were by new to me authors. I’m hoping that in 2019, my percentage of diverse reads goes up. Brown people like myself need love too! =) Another percentage that I thought was interesting is that 82% of the books I read were part of a series. Not a lot of standalones in there so I’m hoping to up that number next year as well.

Let’s break this year down, shall we?

Quick Stats for the Year

Books Read: 141 | Books DNF’d: 8 | Books Re-Read: 9
eARCs Read: 60 | eBooks Read: 52 | Audiobooks Read: 16
Pages Read: 44,884 | Time Listened: 163 hours, 74 minutes
Debut Reads: 6 | Backlist Reads: 55
New to Me Authors: 30

The Breakdown

2018 was the year that I wanted to focus on reading books that I already have. Sure, it’s a goal of mine every year and this was the first year that I actually accomplished that. I read 55 books from my TBR pile, books that were sitting on my bookshelf for months and months and months. That’s a huge accomplishment for me.

January 2018 (12)
February 2018 (10)
March 2018 (12)
April 2018 (6)
May 2018 (6)
June 2018 (16)
July 2018 (8)
August 2018 (23)
September 2018 (20)
October 2018 (10)
November 2018 (12)
December 2018 (6)

That brings me to 141 total books read for the year and that’s counting the DNF’s that I read far enough into to count. I averaged about 12 books a month and that included first time reads as well as re-reads. Now, let’s break it down some more.

By Genres

Contemporary (63)
Historical (19)
New Adult (13)
Paranormal (9)
Romantic Suspense (2)
Urban Fantasy (13)
Young Adult (14)

It is not a surprise to me that most of the books I read last year were contemporary romances. I know what I like and I tend to stick with that but I’m super happy with the number of books that I read outside of my comfort zone. I don’t read very many paranormal, urban fantasy books but I read a lot of those in 2018 and I enjoyed the heck out of a lot of them so I’m hoping to read more from those genres in 2019.

By Format

Hardcover (0)
Paperback (0)
eBook (117)
Audiobook (16)

I read zero print books. Haha, I’m a total digital girl now. I also discovered that I don’t mind audiobooks if I speed up the reading to 1.5X the normal speed and they’re a good thing to listen to while I’m at work doing things that I don’t have to have complete focus on. Makes the work day go by so fast.

By Source

Purchased (52)
Library (0)
Gift/Personal Loan (21)
ARC (57)

Yippy skippy, I read a huge chunk of books that I purchased myself and that makes me super happy since most of my reads in the last few years have been ARC’s. I’ve been trying to balance my ARC pile with my TBR pile and I’m finally seeing some results in that. Yay!

My Favorites and Least Favorites Breakdown

January

My favorite read of the month goes to Brooklynaire by Sarina Bowen because holy cow, Nate and Becca’s story rocked my socks. I adored pretty much everything about it and cannot wait for more…we’re getting more, right? I love that series.

My least favorite read of the month goes to Love Between Enemies by Molly E. Lee. That book just wasn’t for me. The heroine got on my hot damn nerves at every turn, even in the end when all is well again, I still didn’t like her but what saved that book from being a complete bust was the hero. What a fantastic kid Gordon was. Love, love, loved him. Another book that I couldn’t get into was Man Hands by Sarina Bowen & Tanya Eby. I gave up at about a little more than a third through the book because I wasn’t connecting with anything, the characters, the humor so I quit it. That’s the very first book by Bowen that I’ve ever quit. That makes me sad.

February

My favorite reads of the month go to Runaway Groom by Lauren Layne, Sweep in Peace and One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews. All three of those books were fantastic reads and I’m thirsty for more from both authors.

My least favorite read of the month goes to The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory. The very first time that I read that book, I zipped right through it and glossed over a lot of things that I didn’t think were a big deal until I was writing down my thoughts for my review. I realized that those things that bothered me, bothered me a great deal more than I originally thought so I read the book again from cover to cover and…I didn’t like a lot of things that went on in the book so my enjoyment of the book suffered. The heroine got on my nerves and the hero treated his friends poorly so he got on my nerves too.

March

My favorite read of the month goes to Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews (anyone surprised?) and my least favorite read of the month goes to Over Us, Over You by Whitney G. Burn for Me was just so freaking good. I loved the world, the magic, Nevada and Mad Rogan and everyone else we meet in that book. As for Over Us, Over You, it was too immature for me and I stayed annoyed with the main characters so I DNF’d that one. I’m wondering if I’m going to have to break up with Whitney G. soon. I haven’t cared for her last few releases that I read. Hmm.

April

My favorite read of the month goes to Hot Asset by Lauren Layne. It had everything that I love in a Lauren Layne novel but also in a romance. Strong characters, a sizzling romance with hella chemistry and supporting characters that keep me thirsty for more. I’m looking forward to the other books that Layne releases for these characters. Kennedy and Kate are going to be great, same with Matt and Sabrina. Woot!

My least favorite read of the month goes to If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say by Leila Sales. The message had the potential to be really good but the delivery didn’t work for me at all. I closed that book with so much rage that I just might give up the author because I’m too scared that I’d get another one of those. Just, no.

May

My favorite read of the month is a two-way tie between Hooked on You by Kate Meader and Speakeasy by Sarina Bowen. Both books were wonderful and I connected with both couples and their romance so much. I adored both Bren and Violet and Alec and May. So much goodness there.

My least favorite read of the month goes to Regrets Only by Erin Duffy. I had such high hopes and while I didn’t hate the book, the main character disappointed a bit with things I wished she was above but wasn’t.

June

My favorite read of the month goes to The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang because it was everything that I wanted and everything that I hoped it would be. Hoang did not disappoint and I’m super anxious for the next book in the series. Special shout out to Lauren Layne too who delivered a bunch of goodness that I devoured in June. I adored both I Think I Love You and Hard Sell. Such great stories.

My least favorite read of the month was my lone DNF. I just couldn’t continue, it was slow, I didn’t connect with the heroine so I gave up. That book was More than Words by Mia Sheridan.

July

My favorite reads of the month go to all of the Jenny Han books. I read each of them like three times and I still haven’t fully moved on from them. I just adored the books, Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky so much. I’m super ready for the Netflix release of the movie on August 17th.

My least favorite read goes to Every Time You Go Away by Beth Harbison. It was too slow to pick up and in the end, it was just okay.

August

My favorite read of the month goes to Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren. It was such a fun book and I loved both Josh and Hazel because they were a lot of fun. They didn’t make sense on their own but together, they were such a fun couple that I loved getting to know. I laughed a lot during the book and I can even see how Hazel would be too much for people (hell, even Hazel knew she was too much) but I loved that Josh loved Hazel just as she was and did’t want her to change or hide her personality from the public.

My least favorite read of the month goes to the lone book that I didn’t finish at all. It just wasn’t for me. I was bored and the hero was getting on my nerves and the writing style didn’t really engage me so I dumped it and moved on. That book was My Grumpy Fake Boyfriend by Jackie Lau.

September

My favorite reads of the month are Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan and Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya Banks. Both books rocked my socks, made me cry buckets and I just enjoyed those books so much.

My least favorite reads of the month go to Say You’ll Stay by Corinne Michaels and Hot Dad by Whitley Cox. Both of those books were a mess and I didn’t enjoy them at all.

October

My favorite read of the month goes to Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks. I read this book for my book club and I ugly cried my way through it. The heroine turns out to be such a strong woman that I couldn’t help but root for throughout the entire book. She went through so much and when the hero comes along to become her champion, grows to love her more than he hates his enemies? Gah, it hit me all up in my feels and I just adored it to pieces. My book club and I enjoyed it so much that our book discussion book for next month, is the next book in the series. I can’t wait to jump back into that world.

My least favorite read of the month goes to Shadow and Ice by Gena Showalter. I’ve never read anything by Showalter and I don’t think that this was the best book for me to begin my reading adventure through her books. I just wasn’t invested in what was going on and it took me a long time to connect with the hero because he was so cold and deadly and the heroine drove me batty with how crazy she was.

November

My favorite read of the month goes to Wait for It by Mariana Zapata. I thought that book was well written and so much fun. I loved seeing Dallas fall in love with Diana and I adored Diana and her nephews. It was good to see all of the other characters from Zapata’s other books, especially Kulti. swoon

My least favorite read of the month goes to my last read, Ache for You by J.T. Geissinger. Holy cow, I wanted to throat punch the shit out of the heroine from beginning to end. She found every wrong conclusion to jump to and jumped. She jumped to so many conclusions that I was surprised she didn’t just jump right off a cliff. She completely ruined the book for me. I need a long break before I ever jump into another Geissinger book.

December

My favorite read of the month goes to The One You Fight For by Roni Loren. Taryn and Shaw’s romance was heartbreaking and emotional and just all around good. I adored both of them and loved reading their romantic journey.

My least favorite read of the month goes to Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley because I freaking hated that book. Hawk did nothing for me and Gwen was annoying so yeah, seriously, this book was just bad all over for me.

Do you track your reading each year? How did your year in books look? Share in the comments!


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Bookish Thoughts: Rowena’s Ultimate Christmas Wishlist

Posted December 19, 2018 by Rowena in Discussions, Features | 5 Comments

Every month, Casee, Holly, and I tackle a different bookish and sometimes non-bookish topic together and this month, we’re sharing our wishlists with you lovely readers.

Christmas is right around the corner and like Casee and Holly, I have an ultimate wishlist of my own. It’s filled with bookish things and even some things that might be useful to the blogger in me. Are some of these items outrageous? Definitely. Will I end up getting all of them? Probably not. But it’s my wishlist and I’m going to keep right on wishing for these things. There are a couple of things that are definitely doable and I’ll probably end up getting them myself but for now, they’re on my wishlist.

Check it out.

1. Kindle Oasis

Every few months, I’ll start getting an itch for a new gadget. I already have a Kindle Paperwhite and there is absolutely nothing wrong it, but I really want a Kindle Oasis too. I love my Kindle Paperwhite. I love that it’s strictly for reading and even though there are ads, I don’t get distracted when I’m reading a book on my kindle because there aren’t any games on there or the internet, just books and more books. The Kindle Oasis has everything that a Paperwhite has, even the waterproof thing but for me? I really want those page turning buttons so this one is definitely on my wishlist.

2. Apple iPad Pro

A lot of people don’t understand what a commitment blogging is. I’m constantly on my phone, checking the blog, jotting down notes for blog posts, tracking our stats, making lists of books I want to read and review for the blog and just all things blogging, all the time. I’ve been looking at the iPad Pro because I can do so much blogging with it and it’s like a small computer that I can get a keyboard for and just go to blogging town, so yes, I want this iPad and I don’t even care that I already have an iPad mini.

3. A 2019 Fully Booked Planner

I’m a huge planner nerd and I’ve already got my planner lined up for next year (I actually bought it back in September, haha) but after coming across this book blogging planner on Instagram, I’ve decided that I want it. I’m one of those planner nerds that decorates their planner with stickers, and washi tape so the ideas of what I can do with a book blogging planner are plenty. I already bought a reader tracker for next year to track my reading so technically, I don’t even need this planner…but I still want it.

4. Brooklyn Bruisers Sweatshirt

You guys, I think Sarina Bowen read this post a few months ago and answered my bookish merchandise prayers. She’s got mugs, travel mugs, hydro’s, shirts, t-shirts, and everything Brooklyn Bruisers and I want this sweatshirt bad. I’m sending this link to my daughter Brenna for real.

5. Kindle Sleeves

I think these things are super cute and I’ve wanted one for the longest time. I haven’t gotten around to buying it because it seems like such an extra thing to have but I still want it but I think I want someone else to buy it for me so on my Christmas wishlist it’s going.

What’s on your ultimate Christmas wishlist?


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Auto Buy Authors Rowena Never Thought She’d Stop Reading…And Did

Posted November 14, 2018 by Rowena in Discussions | 13 Comments

If you’ve been paying attention in the last couple of months, you will have noticed that Casee, Holly, and myself have each taken to writing our thoughts on a shared topic and then posting them throughout the month. This month’s topic is about auto-buy authors that we never thought we’d stop reading until we did.

When I first started reading, I was all about Julie Garwood, Linda Howard, and Judith McNaught. I read every single thing that they wrote and counted down the days until they released something new. I didn’t read a lot of new to me authors (even though there were plenty to choose from) because I was too scared but I grew as a reader and before I knew what was what, I had new favorite authors and I read less and less of the authors that I used to love and read before.

Putting this list together surprised me some because there are quite a few authors that I used to love and obsess over on this list. My list consists of authors that I used to read religiously and haven’t read or bought anything from on a consistent basis in years.

Rachel Gibson

Rachel Gibson is one of the authors that I read in the early days and I loved the hell out of. See Jane Score was one of the earliest contemporaries that I remember reading and I used to want to lick Luc’s tattoo. I haven’t read a book by Rachel Gibson in years and I’m not all that keen on picking anything up either. There are still quite a few of her newer releases that I haven’t touched yet and I doubt I ever will.

Jennifer Crusie

I used to be obsessed with all things Jennifer Crusie. Her books were always filled with humor and a steamy romance that I couldn’t get enough of and yet, I haven’t finished reading through her backlist or bought any of her later releases. I just..moved on from her and that surprises me because Bet Me? LOVE THAT BOOK FOREVER.

Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts used to be the author that I turned to for fabulous contemporary romances with a suspense plot that I couldn’t get enough of. I used to say that I was looking forward to reading all of her books for the rest of my life and yet…it’s been years since I’ve been interested in reading any of her new stuff. I do re-read her older stuff from time to time. I still love Seaswept and the other books in that series but I stopped buying her books because I’m just not reading them anymore.

Linda Howard

Linda Howard is in the same boat as Julie Garwood in my book. I will forever love their older stuff but I have read some of their latest releases and my love for that stuff just isn’t the same. I’ve enjoyed some of Linda Howard’s stuff but my desire to read her isn’t instant anymore. I’ve moved on from being that reader that had to read everything under the LH sun.

Julie Garwood

I’m sad that I just can’t get into the newer Julie Garwood books and have lost interest in them. I still haven’t read Shadow Music and Fire and Ice. I wanted to read both of those books way back in the day but lately? Nah. I have them both but they sit untouched on my TBR pile day after day and I really doubt that I’m ever going to read them. That’s a far cry from my attitude toward anything new by JG back in the day. I still read and LOVE her older stuff but I haven’t wanted to read any of her newer stuff and that’s wild to me because I thought I’d love her stuff forever.

Who are some authors that got bumped off your auto-buy list? Share in the comments!


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