Laura’s Reading List

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While I will read just about anything, I love romance in all its forms. Some of what I read is the sort of cozy romance you might see turned into a Hallmark movie, while other books are dark, gritty, or kinky. Be sure to read disclaimers and trigger warnings before you pick up any of my favorites for yourself!

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★★★★★

Accessible and interesting, Bjorn Lomborg’s book on climate change provides an interesting perspective on the best causes and solutions. It is a must-read for anyone interested in learning about ways to address climate change without causing new problems.

April 2021

★★★★★

Golden Chaos is the conclusion to Colette Rhodes‘ Three Bears duet. As with the first book, it was laugh-out-loud hilarious, with a fun, albeit somewhat predictable plot. I didn’t dock a star for predictability because I don’t read rom-com style books for the surprises, I read them for the characters and the laughs, both of which definitely delivered in this series. Ria and her three bear shifters are worth getting to know.

★★★★★

Make My Move the second Hannaford Prep book by J. Bree, but rewritten from the guys’ POV. I was ecstatic for this book to come out, and it did not disappoint. I loved getting to see the flip side of all of those moments from Lips’ story where I was left wondering ‘what are they thinking?’. Hopefully this is only the first, and J. Bree writes the rest of the series from the guys’ POV as well. If you’ve already devoured Hannaford Prep, download this today!

March 2021

★☆☆☆☆

Rebellion is book two in Siobhan Davis’s Sainthood series, and it hit two big triggers for me. SPOILERS: First, I hate when MMCs do something awful, then get forgiven with a “sorry”. In this book, one of the MMCs tried to have her killed, and she forgave him after he explained that “change is hard” for him, and he said sorry. WTF? You’re sorry you tried to have me killed? Nope, can’t do that. Secondly, up cropped an undisclosed MM relationship, which I do not care for. I am a selfish hypocrite, and I don’t like my FMC having to share her MMCs with anyone, not even other members of her harem. Had this book been tagged as MMFM, I would not have started the series, but it was not labeled as such.

★★★☆☆

Siobhan Davis’s Resurrection is book one in her Sainthood series, a dark high school romance. The plot was interesting, but I was not a huge fan of the FMC. I liked that she was so tough, but I did not like how slutty she was. That is a personal preference thing, but I don’t like man-whores or slutty FMCs. If it is a personality flaw (in so many romances the MMC starts out a man-whore until he meets the FMC and realizes how shallow and unfulfilling all his past relationships were) then fine, but I’m not a fan of “sex-positive” characters who sleep around a lot and seem to own that as a good thing. I also was not a huge fan of the dynamic between the FMC and MMCs. Still, the plot was enough to read book two.

★★★★★

J. Bree’s The Ruthless is book two in the Queen Crow series, which takes place immediately after the end of the Hannaford Prep series and stars Lips’ best friend, Avery. While Avery is the opposite of Lips in almost every way, she is an awesome main character with an action-packed, heart-pounding story that will (hopefully) end in a happily-ever-after menage relationship, though, fair warning, the cliff-hanger will leaving you screaming in frustration and book three is not out yet!

★★★★★

Gilded Mess by Colette Rhodes is a raunchy, hilarious reverse harem shifter romance starring “Wreck-it Ria” and her three growly bear shifters. The only thing bad I have to say about this series is that book two is not out yet, and it ends on a cliff-hanger, which was devastating, but I still recommend giving it a read.

★★★★★

The dramatic, action packed conclusion to the Hannaford Prep series, To the End, features the family Lips has built for herself, beyond just Avery and her guys, as they reach the final conflict with the enemies they’ve faced, and discover new threats they didn’t even know about. This fantastic finale gives readers all the things, while leaving them begging for more.

★★★★★

I honestly can’t gush enough about this series. In Play the Game, book three of the Hannaford Prep series, Lips and her guys are getting used to their new relationship dynamic, the very existence of which has dramatically increased the outside threats they face. This book is edge-of-your-seat tense from start to finish and I LOVED it!

★★★★★

As soon as I finished book one, I immediately downloaded and started reading book two. Make Your Move covers Lips’ second year at Hannaford, the year when her enemies gradually begin the shift to lovers, all while she and her best friend, Avery, use their unique and deadly skillsets to take out everyone who threatens them and those they hold dear. The romance in this series is definitely slow burn, but the action is nonstop.

★★★★★

J. Bree’s Just Drop Out is the first of four books in her dark bully academy romance series, Hannaford Prep. The world building in this series and those connected to it is mind blowing, and the characters, both primary and secondary are so full developed that I’m not entirely convinced they’re not all real and living somewhere. If you like reverse harems and enemies-to-lovers, you will be obsessed with this series by the end of the prologue.

★★★☆☆

The title of Melanie Harlow’s Irresistible: A Small Town Single Dad Romance says it all. Despite the likable characters, this book had a major plot problem: her age. The female main character is 27, and the male lead constantly says girls her age should be out having fun, not sitting at home with kids. The problem is, he was married with a kid on the way at 25, and in the US, 27 is actually old to be single and childless (average age for birth of first child in the US is 26.9). The whole premise that she is “too young”, the hallmark of the age-gap trope, does not apply here, which annoyed me throughout the narrative.

★★★★☆

If you follow my list, you know that I’m fan of Renee Rose, and I especially love when she writes with Vanessa Vale. Wild is book two in the Wolf Ranch series, and is a steamy, age-gap shifter romance about a college student and a Green Beret. Full of caveman scenes, hurt feelings, and sexy making up, this book is definitely worth the read.

★★★★☆

Kim Loraine’s Ridden Hard is actually book three in the Ryker Ranch series, but it is the first I’ve read. I love the surprise baby trope, so I decided to go out of order, and I was not disappointed. The characters were sweet, with just the right amount of angst and drama. My only complaint is a few pieces I kept waiting to tie in that never came to be. Definitely worth the read!

★★★★★

Carian Cole’s Don’t Kiss the Bride is an age-gap, marriage-of-convenience story with compelling, damaged characters who help, hurt, and love each other. My only complaint about this book is that it is a stand alone, so when I finished, I was left wanting more—the best kind of book problem!

★★★★☆

Linsey Hall’s Darkest Moon is an urban fantasy novel set in a magical enclave of London. The main characters are funny and likable. The witty banter kept me engaged enough to finish the book, but the slow progressing love interest and the lacking tension in the somewhat predictable plot meant that I did not download book two despite the “cliffhanger” ending.

★☆☆☆☆

Full disclosure: I did not finish Finding my Pack by Lane Whitt. It took only twelve pages to set off too many red flags to be worth my time. First, the heroine is sixteen; underaged characters in “adult content” books are generally a “no” for me. Also, there are eight love interests. Clearly, the author knows this is too many, since she felt the need to color code them and reduce them to single dimensional personalities. I prefer books with adult characters who have fully developed personalities.

★★★★☆

I was so excited by Leia Stone’s Wolf Girl series that I immediately searched the Kindle store for more books by her, which led me to the Matefinder series. This was decent, but I was not as into it as Wolf Girl. The relationship angst between the characters was more annoying than compelling to me, which is why I did not read the next book in the series.

★★★★☆

Lost Girl is book two in Leia Stone’s Wolf Girl shifter romance series. This was also a good book, although I did not like it as much as the first book, primarily because the heroine was separated from the love interest for nearly the entire book in ways that felt more contrived than authentic. I am still looking forward to the release of book three, and definitely recommend the series!

★★★★★

Wolf Girl is the first book in Leia Stone’s Wolf Girl shifter romance series. As someone who reads a lot of shifter romance, I really appreciated Leia’s fresh take on world building and the new twist she added to her magic system. I was sucked in hard and fast and couldn’t wait to download book two!

February 2021

★★★★★

Book two in the Hell-Baited Wolves series by Cali Mann and Freya Black, Scorned was a quick, enjoyable read that checked all of the boxes. Compelling, well-developed characters, a complete story arc within the book, and all of the obligatory scenes and conventions that make a good book. I definitely recommend giving this series a read!

★★★★☆

This is book two in the Shadow Beast Shifters series by Jaymin Eve, a paranormal/shifter romance series with some impressive world building. I love the characters and story of this book. Mera is sassy and hilarious, the kind of heroine I completely relate to. My only complaint is that I figured out the “surprise ending” about half way through. Events leading to the cliff-hanger did take me completely by surprise, though, so all-in-all, a good read.

★★★★☆

I really enjoyed Asher and Naomi, as well as the world building of Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed. My only complaint here is that the pacing was off for me. The first half of the book had zero steamy content, and the second half was almost erotica in that the sex scenes were nearly nonstop. My personal preference is to intersperse that kind of adult content while keeping the plot moving.

★★★☆☆

This is book two in Ivy Smoak’s The Hunted Series, and I liked it less than book one. I may eventually read book three, but not right away. The heroine is still annoying me (I’d hoped for a character arc that featured her maturing), and the author added in cheating to this book, which I personally do not care for. The quality story structure kept me turning pages, but the immature, emotionally driven heroine had me passing on the next book.

★★★★☆

I did not want to read Ivy Smoak’s Temptation, but it had so many positive ratings and kept popping up on my Kindle recommendations, so I finally gave in. I hate the heroine so much. Seriously, I do not advocate real world violence, but someone needs to slap this fictional character. Nevertheless, I could not stop reading it. The second I finished, I downloaded book two. This series is a perfect example of how well constructed Acts and scenes can keep readers turning the page, even when they hate the characters.

★★★★☆

Albany Walker’s Havenfall Harbor is a paranormal menage that takes place at a boarding school for the supernatural. For those who don’t like sex in teenage books—relax! The characters are the headmaster, head of security, and guidance counselor, all consenting adults. This is book two, and I enjoyed the duet, but it did not feel finished at the end. Overall, I would say it was worth the read, but the ending definitely left me feeling unsatisfied.

★★★★☆

This paranormal romance featured a human heroine and a bull-riding wolf shifter as the hero. As anyone who has read books co-authored by Rose and Vale would expect, it was incredibly steamy, but more than that, the characters were funny and the plot moved at a good pace. It was definitely worth the read.

★★★★★

Five stars are not enough! I have never stalked an author like I did Erica Woods while waiting for this book to come out. Assembly is Book Two in the Feral Souls Trilogy, and I loved it even more than I thought possible. This series is a paranormal reverse harem romance featuring a cast of damaged but eminently lovable characters. The books are LONG (650 pages for book one and 700+ for book two) but absolutely worth it!

★★★★★

Book two in Renee Rose’s Chicago Bratva series came in at a win. At first, I didn’t think I would like the heroine, but she grew on me. I loved the completely unhealthy relationship dynamic going on between these two characters. Like all of Renee’s books, this one is dark, gritty, and very steamy. If you like to love a bad-boy, give it a read!

★★★★★

I loved this sweet romance set in the Everyday Heroes world. I honestly almost did read this one, but I am so glad I did! Layla is a sweet but scattered heroine, and when sexy firefighter Kameron comes into her life, they are each exactly what the other needs. If you like sweet but steamy romances, this book is perfect for you.

★★★★★

Marketed as a military age-gap romance, this book features a military war vet and a young war widow who is ten years his junior. I really enjoyed these characters. They had all the flaws I love without any of the flaws I hate. If you like steamy books about sexy soldiers and strong women, give this one a try!

★★★★☆

The first book in a new series by Laylah Roberts, this was a great read. As with almost all of her books, this is a BDSM age-play romance, with the new twist of it being a reverse harem (the heroine has three lovers in a permanent relationship). Set in a small, oil-rich desert nation, this novel has all the tropes common to Laylah Roberts’ writing.

★★★★★

This dark, mafia romance comes from Renee Rose, one of my favorite authors. This very steamy romance features kidnapping, dub-con, spanking scenes, and an overbearing alpha-male hero. Basically, it is my perfect book. My mom likes to joke that it is good my taste in book-boyfriends is nothing like my taste in real men, or I would probably end up going home with a serial killer!

January 2021

★★★★★

This one was actually a reread for me, but it is one of my favorites by Laylah Roberts. Also a motorcycle club BDSM age-play romance, I needed it to wash the bad taste out of my mouth that had been left by Drake. Unlike Montana Daddies, the heroes in this series are grittier, and there is a lot more action, both of which I prefer.

★☆☆☆☆

Full disclosure: I quit this book pretty early on. It is marketed as a motorcycle club BDSM age-play romance, but it was clear from the first few chapters that the author and I have very different ideas about what that should look like. The ‘daddy’ in this book was not concerned about his sub’s being bathed, fed, or cared for, only about dressing her up the way he wanted.

★★★★☆

This is book nine in Laylah Robert’s Montana Daddies series, so keep that in mind if you pick up this suggestion. I started this series before I began this list, so the others on not on here, but I have enjoyed them all so far. This is a BDSM age-play romance, written by the only author I have found who does it well. While her books a little formulaic, the characters keep me coming back for more.

★★★★★

I listened to this book on audible rather than reading it, as I often do with nonfiction books. Zoe, the main character, was relatable, and the information taught was easy to understand and apply. As someone who has read other personal finance books, this book’s assertion that “budgets don’t work” matches my life perfectly. Immediately after finishing it, I began implementing the strategies outlined within.

★★★★☆

The third book in Laura Thalassa’s Four Horsemen series, Famine fit in the series, yet had very different main characters from the other two books, keeping the series fresh. Once again, the middle of this one was a little slow, but it was definitely worth the read.

★★★★☆

Book two in Laura Thalassa’s Four Horsemen series, War was another great read. Like Pestilence, it is a dark, gritty apocalyptic romance that contains disturbing and sexually explicit content. Also like Pestilence, the middle of this one was a little slow, which cost it a star.

★★★★☆

Pestilence is a dark, gritty apocalyptic romance. Its disturbing and sexually explicit content make it inappropriate for readers under 18, but for those who love a good anti-hero, this book is for you. I knocked off one star because the middle got a little slow, but otherwise, it is a great read.

★★★★★

I loved this! Start to finish, it had all the pieces I really enjoy in a romance: angst, attraction, steam, action, danger, fantasy. I got distracted by another of Laura Thalassa’s series, but the rest of the next Bargainer book is still on my “To Be Read” list!

★★★★☆

This book got a lot of good press, and I admit I was totally sucked in. In my opinion, it has way too much explicit content for a book marketed at YA, but I still loved the characters and quick moving plot. The ending, however, threw me in a bad way, so I didn’t end up reading the next book in the series.

Have a reading recommendation for me, or a question about something I’ve read? Let me know by leaving a comment!!

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