Book Recommendations

Sunday Recommendation

Stop what you’re doing, something unusual is about to happen! Something unusual? you ask with an eyebrow raised in skepticism. What’s so unusual about Sunday recommendations? And you’re right, of course. That’s not unusual. But what I’m going to recommend is.

Are you ready? 😁

Bet you didn’t see this one coming…at least not if you’ve followed me for a while. If you have, you know I’m an I love short stories and standalone books, please and thank you kind of gal, and The Men of Halfway House is a seven book series, and the books are not short. I also started reading it back in 2014, so it’s only taken me seven years. Which is reasonable. One year per book, right? 😁

All jokes aside, though, I love this series. I’ve written about it a couple times before on the blog; A Worthy Man here and A Sweet Man here. I’ve declared A Worthy Man one of the most romantic books ever and I still stand by that statement. It’s also my favorite book of the series, followed closely by A Mended Man (ironically, since I wrote in the blogpost for A Worthy Man that the blurb didn’t speak to me) or A Hunted Man. My least favorite book is A Chosen Man, and by “least favorite” I mean 4.5 stars and the only reason I’ve deducted half a star is because it’s four hundred and seventy pages long, and could easily have been a hundred pages shorter without losing anything important.

There are many things to love about this series: the writing is really good, the characters are interesting, and they’re great for when you’re in the mood for reading about ex-cons, and there’s tons of hurt/comfort in the stories. Each book follows a new couple, but mostly I love these books because they’re relationship-focused. Yes, there are subplots and other things happening, but the main story of the books is always the relationship. And that’s the way I like my romance stories, with the romance front-and-center.

The books can be read out of order (I read them: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 4, and 6) but I would recommend starting with the first one, A Better Man, since it sets the scene for the rest of the books. They can be read as standalones; yes, the characters from the other books will show up, especially Julian and Matt from A Better Man, because they run the halfway house of the series title, but I didn’t have any trouble following along.

So if you’re in the mood for a long series of relationship-focused, well-written thick books about ex-cons, I wholeheartedly recommend The Men of Halfway House. Jaime Reese is also writing an eighth book according to her webpage, and I look forward to seeing what that will be.

A Better Man :: A Hunted Man :: A Restored Man :: A Mended Man :: A Worthy Man :: A Chosen Man :: A Sweet Man

Book Recommendations

Sunday Book Recommendation

I love him.

Even after three years, saying so astounds me. Spoken. Written. Aloud. Shared. I love him, he loves me, and sometimes he rests a hand in my wolf’s fur while posed on the throne and every inch a ruler, and when in human shape I spoke my marriage-vows to him I thought I might shapeshift into a pool of gold out of sheer magical happiness.

Quote from Bisclavret by K.L. Noone

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I absolutely adore K.L. Noone’s writing (search her name on my blog and you’ll find many, many posts of me gushing about her books and her writing), and a couple weeks ago, I picked up a book of hers I’d bought a long time ago but never gotten around to reading. Bisclavret.

A very long time ago, in the very old forests of Brittany, a werewolf loved a king …

The Lord Bisclavret has a secret. A family enchantment. A wolf’s curse, transforming him when the moon is full. He hopes to be a good lord for his people, and he’s always been a loyal king’s man, even if the new king is inexperienced and scholarly. But one betrayal might leave him trapped in wolf-shape forever … unless his king can save him.

Andreas would rather be a University scholar than a king, and has no interest in a royal marriage — desire’s always come slowly, if at all. But he loves his kingdom, so he’ll try to protect it, even when rumors of a man-killing wolf spread across his land. He’ll pick up a sword and go out on a hunt, and hope to keep his people safe.

But the wolf has the eyes of a man, and the scholar-king’s knowledge of folklore and fairy-stories might break a werewolf’s curse … with the help of love.

Very loosely based on the twelfth-century story by Marie de France, Bisclavret features a bisexual werewolf lord, a demisexual king who’d rather be a scholar, some exasperated men-at-arms, and very important stolen clothing.

This book. My friends, this book! 😍 It’s poetic and beautiful and romantic and everything I love about stories. I don’t really know how to describe it other than Bisclavret became my new favorite K.L. Noone book, one of my favorite shifter books of all time (tied to first place with Shifting Silver by Brandon Witt), and definitely one of my top 10 reads of 2021.

If you’re only gonna buy one more book this year, I recommend this one. 10 stars ❤️

Book Recommendations

There’s Something About Lighthouses…

I have a thing for lighthouses. I don’t know what draws me to them so much, but I think they’re beautiful and intriguing. I harbor a secret dream to actually live in one; to live surrounded by the ocean rocked to sleep by the waves every night sounds fantastic. I realize the real world version of living in a lighthouse probably wouldn’t be as glamorous and all the stairs would drive me crazy.

But that doesn’t stop me from looking at them with hearts in my eyes whenever I come across one. And if you put a lighthouse on a book cover, you’ll capture my attention, that’s for sure. So this blog post is about books I’ve read with lighthouses on the cover (and one I haven’t read but I’m posting it anyway because it’s so pretty.)

I recently one-clicked a book only because it had a lighthouse on the cover, and that made me think about the other lighthouse-covered books I’ve read, too, and I decided to make a blog post about it because why not, right? And yesterday was Lighthouse Day in the US, so why not read a book about a lighthouse? 🙂

So without further ado, I present the pretties, starting with my favorite of the three:

Seizing his one chance to escape, Ethan Hosking leaves his violent ex-boyfriend, leaves his entire life, and walks into the path of a raging bushfire. Desperate to start over, a new man named Aubrey Hobbs walks out of the fire-ravaged forest, alive and alone. With no ID and no money, nothing but his grandfather’s telescope, he goes where the Southern Cross leads him.

Patrick Carney is the resident lighthouse keeper in Hadley Cove, a small town on the remote Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia. After the tragic death of his lover four years ago, he lives a solitary life; just him, a tabby cat, the Indian and Southern Oceans, and a whole lot of loneliness. He’s content with his life until a stranger shows up in town and turns Patrick’s head.

Patrick never expected to be interested in anyone else.

Aubrey never expected to be happy.

Between Aubrey’s love of the stars and Patrick’s love of the ocean, these two fragile hearts must navigate new waters. If they can weather the storm of their pasts, they could very well have a love that eclipses everything.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ve probably already read my gushing post about this book (if not, here’s the link) so I won’t repeat it. But look at that cover. It’s stunning, right? And the lighthouse plays a big part in the story and I’m enamored with it. If you haven’t read this book, you really should. It’s incredibly romantic and I really love it.

Visiting his sister Mary at the lighthouse should be a delightful vacation for Elliot–except he’s going there in disgrace while he awaits his fate from the wizard council.

Mary’s assistant, Rue, is a gentle, self-possessed young man about Elliot’s age. Elliot is drawn to him, and his magic seems to calm down around the handsome and mysterious Rue. Elliot sinks gratefully into the unexpected grace of Rue’s kindness and friendship. He doesn’t understand why his magic is broken or why it feels whole again around Rue. But right now he’s just trying to survive, grateful for the reprieve Rue’s friendship provides.

But then a a potential tragedy on the beach culminates in Rue revealing his true nature: he’s a selkie, both man and seal, with a magic that somehow complements and heals Elliot’s when they’re together. And that might not be possible for much longer.

This is a lovely fantasy story with a very innocent vibe. The two MCs are gentle and naïve and lovely, and here, too, the lighthouse is important to the story. I like Hollis Shiloh, and this story was no exception.

Magnetic as the Sun

Jimmy Alsop, a vivacious journalist, longs to trade his sheltered life for a summer of adventure but lacks the confidence to launch his stellar plan.

Lonely as the Moon

Nova Skye, an aloof scientist, wants to resuscitate his dead love life but hasn’t found the right man to kickstart his guarded heart.

Eclipse of the Heart

Sparks fly when a chance encounter drops Jimmy and Nova into the same orbit. Though their approach to life and love couldn’t be more different, they’re inexplicably drawn together as if connected by an invisible string. With nothing to lose but their inhibitions, Jimmy and Nova embark on an epic adventure of discovery. Passions soar with the sultry Savannah temperatures, and soon, their carefree summer becomes something more profound and beautiful than either man bargained for.

But are the ties that bind sturdy enough to withstand a lifetime, or will they fray after a season?

This book was recced everywhere recently, and it’s the one I one-clicked just because of the lighthouse on the cover, the one that sparked the idea for this blog post. It’s soooo pretty…and the story’s good, too 😆

And the one I haven’t read…

In the summer of 1780, on the tiny island of Merryapple, burly fisherman Robin Shipp lives a simple, quiet life in a bustling harbour town where most of the residents dislike him due to the actions of his father. With a hurricane approaching, he nonetheless convinces the villagers to take shelter in the one place big enough to hold them all—the ancient, labyrinthine tavern named the Moth & Moon.

While trapped with his neighbours during the raging storm, Robin inadvertently confronts more than the weather, and the results could change everything.

…is the prettiest of them all. I would be happy if the cover hung framed on my wall. The lighthouse, the moon, the fonts…it’s pure perfection. Which is why I haven’t read it; I have an irrational fear that the content won’t live up to the promise of the gorgeous cover. Stupid? Yes, but I can’t help it. Have you read it? Can you alleviate my fears? 😁

Tell me: how do you feel about lighthouses?

Book Recommendations, Sale

Smashwords Sale Reminder and Recs

You haven’t forgotten about the annual Smashwords sale, I hope? No worries if you have, there are still a few days left to buy cheap books. For example, all the short stories in the picture above is only 99 cents in the sale which is a great price for a short story if you ask me. So go forth and shop! 🙂

I also have some recommendations for you. I’ve talked about all these books before, but they’re worth mentioning again and again…especially when they’re 50% off, right? 🙂

One Night in London is firmly planted on my Top Ten of 2021 list and I don’t see it going anywhere. Vows Box Set is great value for money (who doesn’t love box sets?) and I really need to re-read Nash and Emmitt’s story. When you read Remember Us you’ll need a box of Kleenex, and Taking Stock will make you swoon over the low-key, lovely romance and crave a big pot of tea. A Christmas Cotillion is to satisfy your Christmas in July cravings, and The Naked Remedy is a story I re-read again and again. So much greatness for so little money.

One Night in London :: Vows Box Set :: Remember Us
Taking Stock :: A Christmas Cotillion :: The Naked Remedy

Book Recommendations, Book Talk

The Audiobook Experiment: addendum 2

I’m talking about audiobooks again! (Did anyone actually believe the last post about it was really the last post? Nah, didn’t think so 😁)

But today, I want to talk about Audible credits.

More specifically, how to decide what to spend the credits on. It’s harder than you’d first think…at least in my opinion. I’ve tried some different tactics:

  • Used credits to buy an old favorite book that I’ve eye-ball read several times. This has both worked and not worked. In one case, I didn’t like the narrator very much so I ended up deducting a star from the book because of it. In another case, the narration was good, and no stars needed to be deducted from my Goodreads rating.
  • Used credits to buy new-to-me books that I’ve neither eyeball-read or listened to before. This to with mixed results. Took my chances on a book that I ended up really liking, and another that I DNF:ed.
  • Used credits to buy books I’ve already listened to and know I loved. This works every time ofc, but at the same time it feels a little…boring. I want new fantabulous audiobook experiences, not rehashing the same ones over and over again.

So now I’m stuck in some kind of limbo and I don’t use my credits because I don’t know how to spend them. If you’re an audiobook listener with an audible membership, tell me how you go about spending your credits.

I much prefer a subscription model like Nextory or Storytel where I can listen to an unlimited amount of audiobooks each month. I take chances on books I otherwise wouldn’t have, because I can DNF it without having to resent that I threw away an expensive credit should I not like it. But a lot of books I’m interested in are only available through Audible which is why I’ve kept my membership so far. But what good does it do if I don’t spend my credits anyway?

So help a girl out, please. Tell me, how do you spend your Audible credits?

Four books I’ve listened to lately.

And before I go, here’s an audiobook update on a few books I’ve listened to lately.

One Giant Leap was a re-read (I’ve written about it here) and the narration by Greg Tremblay did the book justice. I listened to Soft Place to Fall (a new-to-me book) when I was in a B.A. Tortuga Mode, and John Solo did a fantastic job narrating it. Speaking of John Solo: he elevated Ranger (that I’d read before) from a good book to a fucking fantastic book, and I listened to it omw to work and walked into the office sobbing and had to hide in the bathroom until I’d calmed down. I’d read The Weight of it All before; Joel Leslie is a bit of a hit-or-miss for me and this one was good. Nothing spectacular, but didn’t really live up to the greatness of the book.