Hello everyone! Today we are wrapping up the first week of this year’s Reading Challenge Month with our Self Published Books Week challenge.
You guys can play along with this event in two ways. First off, you can leave a comment on any of this week’s challenge week reviews and earn one entry point for each. And second, if you read along with your own challenge book, you can tell us all about it by leaving a mini review in the comments of this post and earn 10 contest entries. So if you comment on all the posts and do a mini review, you can earn mega entries!
This week’s fabulous prize is sponsored by an incredible group of amazing authors! They have donated over 125 self published books and we have TEN PRIZE BUNDLES to give away! You can see all the book bundles (as well as all our Challenge Month prizes) here on our Prize Preview page.
And remember, all entries over the month qualify you for our amazing Grand Prize sponsored by NineStar Press! They are giving away a Kindle Paperwhite loaded with 50 books from NineStar Press!
Ok, before we get too far, some things you may need to know:
- All the contest details and rules are in this post or at least linked from here.
- This week’s deadline to leave comments on our reviews, or your mini review of your own book here on this post, is Saturday, September 12th at 11:59 pm ET. All entries will also carry over for the Grand Prize at the end of the month.
- In case you missed any, here are the books we reviewed this week for the Self Published Books Week Challenge. Comment on each for chances to win!
- Changes by Kaje Harper
- #20DaysToLA by Tanya Chris
- The B-Side by B. Harmony
- A Friend in the Dark by Gregory Ashe and C.S. Poe
- All or None by Aurora Lee Thornton
- Second Helpings by Brandon Witt
- The Hero and the Hidden Royal by Renae Kaye
- Taste by Christian Williams
- Book of Orlando by Laura Lascarso
- The Cranberry Hush by Ben Monopoli
- The Duke of Hand to Heart by Jackie North
- If you read along your own challenge book this week, leave your mini review here on this wrap up post.
Thank you so much to everyone who has been participating all week! Don’t forget to leave your comments and your mini reviews for a chance to win! And be sure to check in on Sunday for the kickoff of our next challenge, New-to-Me Author Week!
Boy Shattered by Eli Easton — this was a poignant story that dealt primarily with the relationship that develops between two highschoolers in the aftermath of a school shooting. Landon, out and proud senior, saves the life of Brian (hmmm, inadvertent Monty Python humor!), popular quarterback/jock. I appreciated the tenderness that is shown in the boys’ relationship as well as the fact that individuals are shown to process trauma in different ways. The identity of the shooters is also a mystery through much of the book; my solution was only 50% correct. I recommend this book.
The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic — many trigger warnings for this book (past abuse/torture by a parent; drugging). This is the first of a trilogy; the series might prove to contain a romance but this book did not. I was admittedly confused much of the time I was reading, but the story kept my interest. Neil has spent years on the run from his criminal father. His senior year he joins the Exy team (a sport created by the author) at his high school and ends up being enlisted to play with the Foxes as a college freshman. The story covers about four months of training (with many dysfunctional teammates) and the start of the school year. This book is FREE for Kindle readers and the sequels are each 99 cents. I don’t believe I’ll continue as reviews indicate that the follow on books are very dark; the series as a whole has an average rating of 4+ on Amazon and has many fans.
Plumbess Seg by Jude Fawley — is one of the most unique fantasies I’ve read. Select female orphans are raised together and trained to become plumbesses. They learn about toilets, sewers, and pipes of all kinds; they deliver babies, too (you know, from human pipes!). At a certain point in their training, they begin carrying a plunger (it’s akin to a wand). The novel focuses on Seg and Eck as they grow and train and go out into the world (with pipelords and peasants) where a plumbess is a woman of high status. I will likely reread this story and would like to read on in the series.
Wow you were busy! Thanks for all the reviews. The last one in particular seems really interesting!
I read THE WILDERNESS, the eighth book in Rosalind Abel’s Lavender Shores series. After reading the previous installment THE GLASSHOUSE (which I highly recommend to get full enjoyment from this book), I had thought Will to be superficial and hard to like. Abel not only redeems Will in a credible way here, she makes it plausible that he would fall for the identical twin of the man whom his former fiance dumped him for at the altar. There were a couple of hints at classic tropes, but Abel abandoned them as red herrings (which was a clever change). I did find one twist a little too close to one in the previous book, but given the situation, it did make sense. Fans of slow burn, friends-to-lovers, or out for you should try it!
Thanks for the review! I love villains/unlikable characters redeemed so I’m glad it worked out for you.
I read Deserted by Cara Dee. It’s the third book in the Auctioned series, so you have to read the first two books before reading this one. The characters are amazing, and there are many cameos by other characters from her other books too! I loved that since I love all of Cara’s books. It’s lots of angst tho,so it’s kinda a slow burn, so if you love angst, go ahead and start with Auctioned(the first book in the series).
Thanks for the review Nidhi! I enjoy Cara’s work as well. I am glad that the latest book was a hit for you!
Locked in Silence, Sloane Kennedy
First time reading Sloane Kennedy.
This was slightly contrary read for me.
On the one hand it read quickly, so no dragging along and kept me engaged.
On the other, I found some of it a bit simple at times and felt the story was at a high level
But then there was all the angst, past and present, creating lots of emotion.
But also all the angst kind of got a bit too much to be thrown at them.
Towards the end we get characters introduced who I guess will be in future books, just got to figure who with who!
Overall I enjoyed, and whilst not immediately rushing off to get next in series I will certainly be looking into them.
Thanks for the review Suze!
I read KJ Charles Slippery Creatures (1st of a trilogy). 1920’s Will inherits a book store. But scary people keep coming in and demanding “the information” and he doesn’t know what they mean. He has few friends in life so when a cheerful, upper class guy offers to help he’s too trusting. And of course that guy wants “the information” also. But he also seems to genuinely be drawn to Will
I gave it 4/5 stars. I don’t know why, but I just relax into KJ Charles story locations. I loved the book store and wanted to visit it ( and help put it into order). She adds history tidbits that I need to go learn more about. I was frustrated with Kim (the upper class guy) but I’m sure I’ll love him by the end of the trilogy. I haven’t started the second book yet, but I’m sure I will soon.
I have this book in mind for week three; I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Thanks for the review Heather! I have read both Slippery Creatures and book 2 and really loved them (and I too wanted to put those messy books away, lol). Kim is a fascinating character. I admit, it is hard not to get frustrated with him at times, but they make nice progress in book 2.
I read “Midwinter Prince” by Harper Fox. For me Harper Fox is one of the best writers not only in the m/m genre. I’ve loved all of her books so far and this year I bought the rest I havent’t read yet. This one takes place in modern day england but often it felt like a story from older times. It is beautiful written, very poetic, and has wonderful characters. I don’t have the ability to write reviews esp. for such great books. I recommend to just read it. I’m now reading the sequel “The Lost Prince” which is definitely a darker book.
I love Harper Fox and agree she has a great style. My favorites are Cold Fusion and Brothers of the Wild North Sea, but I have enjoyed so much of her work. Thanks for the review Cyntia!
Yes, Cold Fusion was the best!
That sounds great, Cynthia! I’ve enjoyed other books by Harper Fox, but I’ve yet to read this pair.
I read A demon for midwinter by K.L. Noone. I loved this book. Warm and cozy with great character development. Little to no angst, some external “drama”. May/december relationship.The book takes place in a world where magic and magical beeings live with humans in the open. We meet a rather worn out rockstar, Kris, who is also an empath and his manager, Justin, a half-demon in hiding. They’ve known each other for some years when the books starts. Kris has an epiphany of sort an realises he’s in love with Justin in the beginning of the book. The book is both their love story and Justins story of being outed as a demon.
I love the way K.L. Noone writes and this book was no exeption.
I give it 5/5 star. It’s a book I will reread.
Thanks so much Tonje! I recently discovered Noone’s work and have enjoyed what I have read so far. I know Sammy is a fan as well. Thanks for the review!
Book Read: 3.5/5 Stars. Rule Breaker (Mixed Messages series #1) by Lily Morton: Geesh Gabe has some issues and sweet Dylan has to bear the brunt of Gabe’s wishy-washy ways. Dylan is both everything Gabe needs and deserves way better than what Gabe can offer him. Overall it’s characters fighting against their passion made it an interesting read but I can’t say it’s a favorite. Worth a re-read someday, probably. I love that the author snuck Gabe’s perspective into the epilogue, but at first he just rehashed what Dylan had already figured out/been told during the meat of the book so…. Glad it went beyond the rehashing. I also slid over to Lily Morton’s website to read the bonus scene which was way too cute for these characters. I don’t know what to think of it.
Thanks for your review Red! It’s funny bc I read this book several years ago for this same challenge and it started my obsession with Lily Morton. I think a lot of this book depends on your feelings about Gabe. I love him (esp after reading the aeries) but I get that he is a hard character. If you enjoyed Morton’s style, I urge you to try Deal Maker. Ada and Jude are among my all time fave Morton couples and it has the same humor and banter but with less bite than this first one.
I read both Partnership and Modern Warfare by Valerie Vaughn. I really enjoyed these books! A Facebook group poster described this series as what if James Bond and Q got together? I liked that there was enough technical explanation of the gadgets without getting dry and bogged down. There are spy missions but the focus is more centered in the cyber labs. These books are fairly light and there is plenty of snark. If you like spies and super geeks, then pick up these books!
Thanks for the review Deandra! So glad you enjoyed them!
The War God’s Servant: Indy Strange. t
War can turn men into monsters… and also into heores…
All Thurin ever wanted was to look after his home and his lands. He is a farmer and a man of peace, but he finds himself fighting in a war he does not understand. Tired of seeing his friends die, he challenges the God of war, Galhearne, in his own Temple. Surprised at the farmer’s impudence, Galhearne takes a very special interest in Thurin…
There is a dreamlike quality to this story that I really enjoyed. In this oneiric world Thurin stands for his very simply, even naive view of life. Unbeknownst to him, he catches the attention of the Gods, and that’s not good.. His fate is changed forever, and thus a legend is born.
It is a short story, but it feels longer… larger than life. There is plenty here to be enjoyed, and I don’t doubt I’ll revisit this little jewel in time
Thanks Susana! I haven’t heard of this one so I really enjoyed your review!
The book I chose for this week’s challenge is one of my go to author, Pandora Pine’s Ghost Walk [Haunted Souls #9] which drops September 15th, 2020. [This is my actually review, I can’t write short reviews apparently.]
(¸.?¨*.¸¸.•`?¤Ghost Walks, Ghost Water and Vampires, Oh My!¤?¨*.¸¸.*???
I could not put this book down. The mere fact that I was caught off guard with not even KNOWING about this book was the best surprise ever. And then I opened this book at 1:33 am and just couldn’t put it down. This was so Jude and Cope, but better. This was like book one all over again. Haunting, and discover and fresh! For me, Jude and Cope would always have magic between them, but overcoming everything that set them at the opposite ends of a dial is what made them perfect for each other. And for me, the appearance of Luca, resident vampire (I love me some Luca), just made it all that much better.
Almost two years after he first appeared in Blood Song (Cold Case Psychic Spin Off #3,) Luca has ties to the one person Jude and Cope have every intention of finding. Everything is not always as it seems and for once I used more than my imagination to try and solve the case. Yes, Pandora is famous for throwing you off the mark, and she deserves credit for that. It keeps the entertainment fresh.
The last few chapters were intriguing and revealing and I swear if I highlight anymore parts, this book will be yellow with moments I wish to preserve. I encourage anyone who has not read Luca’s book to get a copy and discover how it all began. Did I shout it enough from the roof top? You will LOVE Ghost Walk. This book is highly entertaining and recommended. Considering this is the ninth book in the Haunted Souls series, I look forward to more from this world and a glimpse into Cisco and Luca’s life. (Hint, hint, Pandora, a novella.)
Thank you so much Cee! What a great review and glad you enjoyed it so much!
I am so very sorry.While I do like Annabeth Albert’s books ,Must Love Spinach is by Con Riley .Portland Heat is my favorite series by Annabeth Albert.I really apologize to both authors for not being more careful.
No worries, thanks for the correction! And I love Portland Heat as well!
I’d read Bound by Sean Azinsalt, part of the Grim and Sinister Delights.
I love getting to know the reasons behind Danny being traped. I also liked some parts of the plot. But sadly, this book didn’t really worked for me.
I had a problem getting in touch with Danny’s emotions. There were also a lot of unaswered questions when I finished the book. And Danny’s change of personality wasn’t something I enjoyed.
I liked that there were a lot of plot twists, but it all happened too fast and it felt like a complitely different book. It made it hard to really liked it, for me.
Thanks Ana! Sorry this one didn’t totally work for you, but appreciate your review!
The Alpha and His King by Kiki Clark – 4 STARS
I thought this had a really good story-line and I enjoyed the world the author created. I liked the slow burn and think Kai and Rick are good together. The secondary characters were amazing. There is a bit of mystery that’s intriguing and kept me interested to the end.
There were times the author did some telling instead of showing and for a story that has so much showing I was a little surprised by this. I felt like I was missing out on those moments.
Overall, I did enjoy this story and the characters. I’d like to see what happens next and see if I’m right on who the bad guy is since this does end in a slight cliffhanger.
Thanks for the review! I have heard good things about this series so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it!
Since so many of the authors that I read are self-published, this was a really hard choice for me. I decided to go with one of my favorite recent reads from a new-to-me author. I picked The Fantastic Fluke by Sam Burns. This paranormal story was light and fun with mages, ghosts and one fantastic fox. I’ll definitely be going back and reading other books by Sam Burns.
Oh I loved this so much! Probably my favorite of Sam’s books. I really enjoyed her Fire and Valor series with WM fawkes too. Thanks for the review!
Fisher’s (Takoda Outreach Center #2) by Sammi Cee – 4 stars
I binged this series in a couple days. Fisher has been hard to get to know in the other books. He doesn’t say much and keeps himself very busy. Here we finally see what he is doing when not at the kitchen and gain a lot of insight into him. I love what caring man he is and how he tries to help as many people as he can after his childhood. I loved that he found a way to get Jasper’s family to stay with him and that he did his best to keep them safe. The connection he finds with Marcus is wonderful and just what Fisher needed. I’m glad they bumped into each other and sorted out what was going on. I loved that Marcus tried again and that he was willing to listen and not push Fisher. These two men were perfect for each other.
This book deals with not only homelessness, but also some other heavy topics, so check out the trigger warning at the bottom of the description. That said, this isn’t a heavy, angsty book. It’s full of hope, connection, family, and love.
Thanks Jen! Sounds great! Appreciate the review!
Boyfriend with Benefits, by Allison Temple:
The fake boyfriends trope is one that I’ve read many times before and after finishing this one I have to add it amongst my favorites.
Bailey was a single minded, career oriented man, cute, funny, snarky and at times irritating, and he was amazingly complimented by Gordo’s easygoing, quiet personality. I liked the friendship that came first between them, how the chemistry happened and the way affection became love.
All in all, Boyfriend With Benefits is a complete winner for the humor, cuteness and the touching romance.
I have been on a fake relationship kick lately. It’s such a fun trope. Glad you enjoyed it!
I gave Could You Love An Apple? by Becky Jerams a read. It’s book 2 in the Love Stories series. The books need to be read in order. This one was a redemption story. It follows Taylor Raven, who has transferred schools and is trying to move on and be a much better person than he was in book 1. He’s a bit lost and lonely and in his quest for a quiet place he comes across an Inn run by the Apple family. Which also begins his long journey into self acceptance and forgiveness,
It was a good book, it made my heart ache and there were some tears. Taylor’s pain and torment of his bad behavior and how it haunted him came across really well in through out the book.
Thanks HB! I haven’t heard about this one so thanks for sharing your review!
How to Shield an Assassin (Unholy Trifecta Book 1) by A.J Sherwood. Hired assassin, Ari, has just completed a job when he encounters a very brave but obviously abused little girl. Eight year old Remi wants to hire Ari to take care of her abusive step father. Remi has come prepared and pays Ari $2.00, all in change. Ari accepts the job and the step father is no longer around to abuse and brutalize the little girl. By the end of the first chapter Ari is on his way to making plans to adopt Remi. He takes a hiatus from assassin work to learn how to be a parent and create a stable, safe happy home for Remi. Ari has two trusted and close friends, Kyou the hacker and Ivan the thief. They are a family of choice and now Remi is the newest member. Months later as Ari is getting the hang of being a parent, he is approached by Carter who is a mercenary. Carter has been hired to steal back a stolen Monet painting and return it to the New York Metropolitan Museum, and he needs Ari’s help to plan and carry out the heist. A very sweet and gentle love story develops between Ari and Carter. The planning of the heist brings in all the guys plus one very bright, super smart Remi, who is on her way to becoming an extremely accomplished hacker. This was a well written story, good character development, great chemistry between the two MCS and the secondary characters, a suspenseful heist and lots of humor. A very enjoyable read.
Oh we reviewed this and I remember thinking how good it sounded. Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the review!
Audio of “Pretty in Pink” (Housemates #6) by Jay Northcote, narrated by Hamish Long:
Performance: 5 Stars
Story: 4.5 Stars
I’d been aware of author Jay Northcote’s “Housemates” series for some time but hadn’t delved in until this audio book. Having listened to “Pretty in Pink” twice now before reviewing, I’m kicking myself for letting the series sit on my TBR shelf for so long. I really enjoyed this audio book – from the bisexual awakening storyline and endearing MCs to the fabulous narration. This isn’t a sugary sweet story nor an angsty one; rather, it was a compelling journey of two realistic young adults who are working through self-discovery and personal hangups toward creating a meaningful, loving relationship.
“Pretty in Pink” can be fully enjoyed as a standalone, and if anything it’ll likely entice listeners to go back and experience the previous books in the series. Narrator Hamish Long is excellent, with a refreshingly youthful voice and variety of distinguishable British accents for the numerous college-aged characters. It’ll be a treat working back through the series in audio to catch up on the MCs who were supporting characters in this book.
Oh I really like this series! Thanks for sharing the review!
I had started 2 other books but couldn’t get into them, then Course Correction by Mia West became an Amazon freebie. It sounded intriguing, water shifters that are also USCG search and rescue. Not something I’d read before. The writing was good but nothing really happened. The fact that the search and rescue team were shark, dolphin, and seal shifters had no real part to the story and the team never amounted to more than a few drills. I didn’t really feel any heat from the 2 MCs who had been moony over each other for years. There was no conflict, nothing for fight or root for, everything just moved along. I’m giving this story 2.5 stars.
Thanks Debbie! I will say the premise is great! I love nontraditional shifters. It’s a shame it didn’t live up to its premise.
Also I hear you on the not shifting thing. Kris and Michelle and I were talking the other day about how we want to see our shifters actually shift.
Course Correction by Mia West
(Rogue Rescue Book One, PNR)
This year has been a trial, and one of the few good things is having found a new-to-me author that I just adore. Mia West has been keeping me company through some of the worst (I’m an ICU nurse) and I chose this book to read because I’d already read, and loved, a later book in the series. I was not disappointed.
Gil and Landry are part of an undercover unit that’s associated with the US Coast Guard. Gil’s a helicopter pilot and Landry a seal-shifter that helps with water rescues. It’s a clever idea, and after being subjected to so many books with SEALs, I really appreciated an actual seal. Both characters are well-drawn with clear personalities and voices. They’re both dealing with their own sets of issues related to their families, and as the novel opens, we see Landry dealing with the aftermath of finally putting a former colleague to rest. It sets them up to finally cross a line that’s stood between them for eight long years. It’s not a straight road to happiness, but it’s a fun one!
I reveled in this novel. All the tropes! Opposites attract, MUTUAL PINING, friends to lovers! There’s a lot of sweetness and domesticity between Gil and Landry, but there is also a lot of heat. The UST nearly did me in, I kept squealing over these two and I wanted them to give in so badly. And when they do, it nearly set my kindle on fire. I enjoyed the fullness of the character’s lives, the world felt fleshed out and plausible, even with the shifter elements.
Low angst and wonderful characters checked all my boxes and I highly recommend this read for anyone that needs to escape to somewhere kinder for several hours.
Thanks for the review! Glad you enjoyed it!
I thought it interesting to see two such different reviews of the same book. It just goes to show how personal our preference are.
Yes I noted that too! Every book is right for someone!