Hello everyone! Believe it or not, we are finishing up our final week of this year’s Reading Challenge Month with our TBR Pile Week challenge. This week we dusted off our shelves and picked books that are at least a year old.
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 awesome prize is sponsored by the folks at Tantor Audio! They are giving away two great audiobook bundles! 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! You can see all our Challenge Month prizes here on our Prize Preview page.
Here is what you need to know this week:
- 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 26th 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 New-to-Me Author Week Challenge. Comment on each for chances to win!
- They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
- Save the Date by Annabeth Albert and Wendy Qualls
- The Sea Ain’t Mine Alone by C.L. Beaumont
- Anhaga by Lisa Henry
- Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flewelling
- Stick and Poke by E.M. Lindsey
- American Fairytale by Adriana Herrera
- The Prince’s Consort by Antonia Aquilante
- 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!
Sorry to dive off of the MM platform for this one, but the challenge is to read something that has been on the TBR list for over a year and I am new to MM novels. Book Read: The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith. 2/5 Stars: I have been trying to read this but finally this challenge was my excuse to finish it. I’m aware that this book had significance when it was published, but today it just wasn’t for me. I saw the movie a few years ago and the only bit of it I could remember is their meeting. I just wasn’t able to connect with the rest of the movie. Books are usually better so I had hopes, but it turns out to be the same – only strongly remember the meeting. As the story progresses I can only see Therese as childish and Carol as so cold, I can’t see the attraction either has to each other. I could not connect to Therese at all – she was so far stuck in her own head that she upsets and even hurts those around her often while blaming them for her issues. After losing her love Therese grew up emotionally, finally, but it was too late for me to connect with her. The character who thought she knew everything but was too childish, like a teenager, is stuck in my mind even after her change. I had so much trouble with the pacing as well. All within one chapter we would have vibrant details of a short everyday scene followed by a rush that glosses over days and days. It just wasn’t the book for me.
Thanks for the review Red! And it’s no problem not to do a MM book. Sorry this one didn’t work for you, but glad you finally got it off your TBR pile!
From my TBR list, I listened to the audio book of “Human Omega: Discovered on the Slave Planet” (Pykh #1) by Eileen Glass and narrated by Joel Leslie.
Performance: 4.5 Stars
Story: 4 Stars
Author Eileen Glass has created an intriguing alien world with this series, one I’m eager to explore further. In this first book, we get rotating POVs from human Carter and aliens Pykh and Siel as the three grapple with being held captive while developing strong bonds with each other (despite a language barrier between them) that sets the stage for the series. Narrator Joel Leslie delivers a strong performance here that really adds to the enjoyment of the story. It ends on a cliffhanger, but there’s no waiting for the next installment so I’ll be driving right in.
I know this one has a lot of fans! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
The first four Claiming series books that feature Liam and Ondry are amongst my favorites, so I was interested in reading more by author Lyn Gala. I began Tap Dancing the Minefields (on TBR since 2019) soon after getting it but did not read on; I’m glad to have completed it but have mixed feelings. I was thinking ‘just one more chapter’ until well after midnight, so the story grabbed me; on the other hand, some aspects seemed foolish and characters magically knew information without having been informed. One surprise was that the alien ship in this story bears marked similarities to the ship in the author’s fifth Claimings book. I don’t know if there is supposed to be a connection or whether the author simply reused some fine world building.
I’d enjoyed several of the Christmas Angel series so decided to read Shrewd Angel by Anyta Sunday (on TBR since 2019). It’s a modern day retelling of the Taming of the Shrew thus the clever title. Sadly, I gave up after reading more than a quarter of the book as it was too silly for my current mood.
I enjoyed the story Haunted by Irene Preston and Liz Rancourt (on TBR since 2018) which featured a detective turned insurance investigator plus a historian starring in a show about hoaxes. It’s FREE for Kindle readers. I would happily read more by these authors; this story is a standalone in the Hours of the Night series.
False Engagement (Marrying Men Book 1) by Hollis Shiloh (on TBR since 2018) was a short work in an alternate regency setting where marriages between men and multiple spouses was the norm. It featured two men who had been childhood friends then lovers and who had parted after a fight. It was an okay read. Currently FREE for Kindle readers.
I quite liked N.R. Walker’s Imago (on TBR since 2017) which was set in Tasmania and featured a bowtie wearing nerdy butterfly specialist on the hunt for a new specimen and a park ranger.
Soothsayer by Cari Z. (on TBR since 2017) was my favorite of this week’s books. The main characters were Cillian, for whom the book is named, Sören, and an Icelandic land spirit who is possessing Sören’s body. It’s a complicated story but an interesting one. It makes me want to reread J. Fally’s Bonerider which has some similarities.
I also enjoyed Blue Notes by Shira Anthony (on my TBR since 2014) which featured a lot of music and good food! Jason, NYC lawyer, flies to Paris when he discovers his fiancee has been unfaithful. He soon encounters Jules, a talented and struggling violinist, and feelings develop.
Wow, you were busy again this week! I think your reading list rivals ours here! Thanks for the reviews Kareni!
When Keira Andrews came to the blog last month, I realized that A CLEAN BREAK, the sequel to A FORBIDDEN RUMSPRINGA, had been on my TBR for ages. I guess I’d been nervous, since the first book is one of my very favorites. This one is hard to evaluate, partly because it’s so transitional and partly because the things I liked and disliked were sides of the same coin. (For instance, I loved getting to know Isaac’s brother Aaron and his wife Jen, even if their conversations with him often seemed a little clunky exposition-wise.) San Francisco was a perfect setting for the boys to see the contrast between Zebulon and the “English” world (I miss SF and traveling right now that even the touristy Fisherman’s Wharf moments made me envious). The first book is so perfectly paced that this one suffers in comparison that way–the first third lags while the finale feels rushed. (The most villainous person seems unusually cartoonish, though David’s obliviousness to his creepiness up to that point makes sense.) I really felt for Isaac and David, as always…while I wished they would communicate with each other, their behavior drove home the fact that they were basically still boys coping with all sorts of traumas. The book ends on a cliffhanger, so I know I won’t wait so long to read A WAY HOME…
LOL yes, you will want to read that third book ASAP! I’m glad you finally got to get this one off your TBR!
I finally read Frog by Mary Calmes, which has been on my TBR since 2016. I really enjoyed this one. It’s emotional with some humor and a great HEA. Weber is an aging rodeo guy who never made it big and Cyrus is a neurosurgeon. Weber feels like the frog and not the prince that he feels Cyrus deserves. This was a wonderful story about self-worth and changing the narrative we have about ourselves in our heads. There is also a graphic novel version of this that is great as well.
One of the few older Mary Calmes’ books I haven’t read. Not sure why I never got to this one, but glad you enjoyed it!
Ten Days in August by Kate McMurray.
This story takes place during the historic 10 day heat wave that killed nearly 1500 people across New York city. Police inspector Hank Brandt is called to investigate the murder of a rent boy. The body was found in a fairy resort in the Bowery. Fairy resorts were clubs where men went to enjoy the company of other men. Nicky Sharpe works at this club as a female impersonator and is a witness who may able to identify the killer. When two more rent boys are found in the same area and killed by the same method, Hank is now dealing with a serial killer.
Hank, who identifies as an invert, becomes professionally and personally committed in finding the killer. As the investigation progresses during these 10 days, Hank and Nicky go from a detective/witness relationship to a romantic one. They are fully aware of the consequences such a relationship can bring and only time will tell how successful they will be as life long partners. The book does end on a hopeful note.
Historically this was well researched book. Theodore Roosevelt, who was police commissioner of NYC at the time, plays a significant part in this story. The heat, smells and human misery caused by this heat wave is oppressively present in almost every page. This book was an OK read for me, I would have liked a stronger mystery.
Sorry, omitted important info. The story takes place in the year 1896.
Thanks Sofia! I have read a lot of Kate McMurray but not this one. Appreciate the review!
I don’t know why but I completely dropped back into my covid malaise this week and struggled to concentrate for longer than 20 min at a time. I read Harper Fox’s Priddy’s Tale, but I think it was my general mood and not the story that made it a struggle. But I did finish it; it was good, but it required a big push
Priddy is an addict whose had a reaction/overdose to a drug that he never recovered from. He’s given low brain-power job as a lighthouse attendant where he saves a “drowning man” who was actually a non-drowning merman. They fall in love and then face possible exposure of the entire mer-world (is that a term?)
Yep, I think we all have those weeks! Hope you feel better soon and thanks for the review!
I’ve had The Prep and the Punk by Imogene Kash on my TBR for a some time now and i’m wondering why I waited so long to read it.
It’s YA and the young men are described realistically to their age, to the troubles and problems pertaining to their age.
Bash and Edge might seem completely opposites, but they’re more alike than they wanted to acknowledge, at least in the beginning. Although their story is filled with the expected teenage drama, it was as the same time highly entertaining and sweet. They faught, they made peace, they pouted and made out…it was ridiculous at times, but never less endearing and cute.
I’m really happy I gave this gem an opportunity and I hope others will choose to read it.
Oh thanks for this review! I have never read this one so I appreciate hearing about it!
I took this challenge seriously and read the book that was on my Goodreads Want to Read list the longest. The book is L.A. Heat by P.A. Brown and has been on my list since 2012!
This book is the beginning of a mystery series starring a Los Angeles homicide detective (David) and an I.T. consultant (Chris.) The mystery centers around the murders of gay men which David is investigating. Chris becomes the chief suspect after he is linked the several of the victims and this is how he meets David. Chris is out and proud while David is closeted so there is conflict and interest even while David investigates Chris.
I liked this book but didn’t love it. I didn’t buy the connection between David and Chris. The homophobia was a little too cliched for me.
I’m impressed Deandra! Thanks for sharing your review!
I gave One Wild Heat by Kelex a read. Bellamy Carter is an omega who has been putting off coming off his heat blocking meds until it can’t be put off any longer that’s when his best friend steps in and lends him the use of the family lake house. Unfortunately (more like coincidentally) best friend’s older brother, an alpha, decided to go to the family lake house to cool down after catching his bf in his bed with another.
I liked both MC’s and the fact that they tried to resist the pheromones and nothing was forced between them. Both don’t like the situation they find themselves in at first but as they spend more time with each other their feelings toward each other gradually change from dislike to something else. I really liked reading the meddling family/friends trying to help their relationship.
Oh nice! I like best friends brother! Thanks for the review!
I read save the date by Annabeth Albert, as it had been in my TBR list for some time
Randall Young’s casual encounter with a stranger on his sister’s bachelorette pub crawl leaves him questioning his reasons to be a virgin at twenty-something. But when tall, handsome and sexy shows at the wedding party, and turns out to be his sister’s fiancé’s best friend, Randall knows there is trouble brewing….
Hunter Mitchell has a thing for cute, geeky men, and the sweet guy he hooks up with on his first night at Portland fits the bill… Too bad he is Beau’s fiancée younger brother. Hunter knows he has to stay away from Randall is he wants to avoid trouble, but he somehow finds it really difficult…
What a charming little story. Character driven, it tells us how Randall and Hunter meet by chance, and how their hookup evolves into something serious during the weekend they share at the wedding. Both Randall and Hunter are likeable characters. Randall is extremely clever but shy, and he does not do well at random hookups, specially studying at a conservative place, that’s why he’s still a virgin. Hunter is military through and through, charming and sexy, he navigates hookups easily… But he’s been on a funk lately, and finds something is missing in his life. These two complement each other perfectly, even their secret kinks, and so their chemistry is great in and out of bed. But there are some misunderstandings to clarify and nosy relatives to evade, if they are to reach their HEA….
I loved this story. It is sweet, sexy and funny, with a little bit of anguish and a lot of tenderness. It has all the ingredients to become anybody’s comfort read.
Oh that sounds great! Glad you enjoyed it!
I choose “Conduct Unbecoming” from L.A. Witt. It was on my tbr since 2017 and in the first week of this reading challenge I won the second book of this series, “General Misconduct” (thank you L.A. Witt!). So I thought this is a good time to read both of them. Both are military romances, taking place in Okinawa, Japan. In the first book Eric and Shane get to know each other and fall in love. DADT may be repealed, but an enlisted man getting involved with an officer falls under conduct unbecoming a gentleman and could cost both men their careers. This is basically the plot. I think it is a solid written book. It describes the scenery in Okinawa beautifully in every detail which I liked very much. Overall I would recommend to read this series.
Thanks Cyntia! IIRC, Lori was living in Japan when she wrote this (or before maybe), so I’m sure the setting is based a lot on her experiences
For this week I read The Palisade by Rosalind Abel, which I’ve had on my Kindle since 2017. In other words, it’s about time I read it! I enjoyed this book a lot and gave it 4/5 stars.
In this book we meet Andrew, who lives in the small town of Lavender Shores, and Joel, who comes to the town with the purpose of opening a coffee shop. The two men meet and instantly start to fall for each other. However, Joel hasn’t been quite honest with Andrew about what his plans are.
There was so much I enjoyed about this book. I really liked the characters and even though their relationship was a little insta-lovey, the chemistry was definitely there. The small-town setting was wonderful and there were a lot of great side characters. I wish that Joel hadn’t kept his secret for as long as he did, because I wasn’t able to enjoy the romance as much as I wanted to as long as things weren’t out in the open, but things came together nicely in the end. The book was all in all maybe a tad bit too sweet for my liking, but I really liked the writing and will definitely read the other books in this series.
I know this series has a lot of fans. Thanks for the review!
Just squeezing in, I read Gentleman Wolf by Joanna Chambers. I had initially fought shy of this one because shifters, but actually the shifter element is important but not central. Lindsay chases Drew, they become close but Drew is fighting his attraction to a man. With some very nasty secondary characters there is always a sense of doom lurking ahead. Chambers description of 1780’s Edinburgh is almost another character in itself. I do like Chambers’ writing and this proved a good one – will definitely get book 2 as this ends of a bit of question as to whether they get together or not.
Yes, it is a big cliffhanger isn’t it? Glad you enjoyed this one!
5 star review. This book was shelved in November 2019 and I am kicking myself for forgetting to read it. I chose Lily Morton’s Best Man (Close Proximity #1).
??(¸.•?´”I know I’m in love with him. I’m coming to terms with it slowly.”
“I didn’t so much date as just try to keep up with whatever criminal impulses my dates had towards my money.” ~Jesse
Three years ago, Jesse crashed into Zeb’s world and turned it inside out. He was the chaos to Zeb’s calm. So different than anyone he’d interviewed for his company, that Zeb caved and hired him.
I frigging loved this book. How did I avoid Lily’s snark for so long? And the fact that several books have followed had me feeling like a person who should be sent to the Principal’s office. Every single Lily Morton book that I have read have left me laughing, joyous and ready for more. There was just one thing about Zeb and Jesse’s story. It was small things that made me so happy. Jesse’s complete blond moments, the fact that he never let anything keep him down too long, Zeb’s willingness to keep Jesse on despite the out of the world things that happen on the job. The fact that Zeb cared, but was uncertain of everything.
The cast of characters were phenomenon. I cannot wait to read both Charlie and Misha’s book and finally see Max settle down with Felix. [You have to read the books!] Discover this beautiful world Lily Morton has begun from Rule Breaker. There are appearances, both on screen and in talks of the different people who fill these men’s lives. I have been satisfied and I will gladly recommend not only this book, but the series. I have so many books to go and the fall of 2020 has given me reason to bring happy in.
Omg Felix and Max are so amazing, esp after seeing their drama in best man! Glad you enjoyed! I love this whole universe!
When you have the TBR challenge I like to go way back and try to clear something from when I 1st started reading M/M. Not the earliest, but nearing the beginning, I choose Paradox Lost by Libby Drew and After Ben by Con Riley.
I really enjoyed Paradox Lost. 4 stars.I forget how much I enjoy time travel stories until I pick one up. This one hit all the right buttons for me. The 2 MCs, Reegan and Saul, had great chemistry, fun banter, and a thrilling ride. I was pulled into the story immediately and entertained throughout. Reegan works for a time-travelling tour group and loses a participant on a tour and has to go back, hire a PI (Saul) to help him track her down and bring her back before she can’t get back.
After Ben didn’t work out so well. 2.5 stars. I know I’m in the minority again with this one. I was afraid I wouldn’t finish before the end of today. I had bought this when it 1st came out but never read it because at the time I was mostly reading paranormal, contemporary didn’t have enough grit for me at the time. But I had followed and enjoyed the author’s fanfiction and I wanted to support. This story follows Theo, a year out from his partner’s horrific death and Theo trying to reclaim his life again. I grew tired of Theo, grew tired of the details of his daily life, and grew tired of his work life. There are many flashbacks that had me going back and re-reading the section, every time, so I could understand what I was reading. And I felt horribly for Peter. I was slowly giving up by the time the story started heating up with Morgan. Once they got together the story starting heating up again. But Ben and Theo had a wonderful love story and Theo’s grief was palpable.
I want to thank you and your team for putting on the Reading Challenge, it must be a huge undertaking. And all the authors and publishers too. I look forward to this every year.
I love Paradox Lost! Your review brings me back — it’s been years since I read it but now I want to grab it again! Thanks for the reviews!
I liked Paradox Lost, too! You’re tempting me to reread it, Debbie.