June 2022 Bookish Recap

July 01, 2022


Hello everyone and welcome to another recap of whatever the heck I'm reading.

I haven't done one of these in a couple of months and while I feel bad, I'm ok with that. I'm here now and I hope to continue to do these consistently from now on.

June was a great reading month for me. I found not only one, but two five star reads and I cannot complain.

I do hope that your June has treated you as well (or even better) as it has treated me and I wish you all the best for July!!

Here's what my June looked like:
Total Books Read: 11
Total Pages Read: 3171
DNFs: 2
From my TBR: 2
Avg. Rating: 3.3

All the Books

My favorite books of the month were:


The other books I found worthwhile (and would recommend) were:
A Cold Dark Place by Toni Anderson
Cold Pursuit by Toni Anderson
Remedy Maker by Sheri Fredricks
Nancy and the Naga by Honey Phillips
The Ones Left Behind by Ari Reavis
King of Flesh & Bone by Liv Zander

Added to my tbr

I've added nothing and I think that's actually a good thing. I'm still trying to whittle down my TBR one book at a time.

Book Haul

Again nothing and that's awesome. I'm trying to stick to reading the paperbacks on my shelves and the ebooks on my kindle. Wish me luck!



What are you looking forward to next month? I hope you find only the best reads!

Talk soon,


xo, Natalie

Review // Queen of Rot & Pain by Liv Zander

Queen of Rot & Pain by Liv Zander

Suffering the pain of flesh is my duty; protecting you from it is my vow.

────── ♔ ──────


Queen of Rot & Pain by Liv Zander

Queen of Rot & Pain by Liv Zander


The Pale Court Duet #2
Release - June 23, 2022
Genre - Dark Fantasy Romance
Dual POV - 1st person
Heat - 4 out of 5 / several explicit scenes
Format/Source - ebook borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
Length - 274 pages
Publisher - Ink Heart Publishing


Worse than a god in rage... is a god in love.

I punish lies and deceit,
An eternal damnation of agony and pain.
Yet, when it is my wife whose deception plagues me,
I know what I must do.

Shackle her soul to the lying, cold corpse that she is,
Ensuring that she never escapes me.
My wrath,
My torture,
My pain,
And my pleasure.

I am the King of Flesh and Bone,
Every part of her I possess and own.
She is mine,
Death shall never do us part.

Welcome home, my queen.

My Two Cents

5 "Not even death can end us" stars

With the way the first book ended, I had no idea what was going to happen in this one. I could assume a lot, such as the fact that Ada dies and Enosh finally gets to keep her with him for eternity. But that's not what I wanted. I wished for them to fall in love, for her to gain immortality somehow, for a happy ending.

And honestly... I got everything I wanted and so much more!

Ada was dead, but no matter how cold she got, it never stopped their heat. Enosh was very creative in his ways of punishing her for what he believed was her betrayal and, through this horrific journey, Ada grew into a woman who deserved to stand by his side. He was a god after all.

I loved Ada. Loved her like I had never before, with no precaution over the pain it had already caused me, nor the pain that was certainly yet to come. I loved her with a ferocity that was not safe for me or her. Certainly not for this world.

The death had a life of its own in this book. The magic of the way Enosh wove flesh and bone into clothing, furniture, animals, etc... I'm truly awed by the way this author illustrated this strange world with her words. And the terrifying beauty that was created for Ada and Enosh was ugly and sexy and painful and real. So freaking real.

About the Author

Liv has an unhealthy love for sexy villains. To cure herself of her poor choice in men, she's currently undergoing therapy, but who can afford that these days? To fund her co-pays, she's writing deliciously dark fantasy romance about the men who would burn the world to the ground for their women. Is that counter-productive? Probably, but it's also a lot of fun.

When she's not joking around, she can be found procrastinating in her office with a mug of coffee or a glass of wine (depending on time of day and how miserable the writing is going). Oh, she also loves skulls. And ravens. And skulls.

Visit http://livzander.com for more information

Review // King of Flesh and Bone by Liv Zander

June 29, 2022

King of Flesh and Bone by Liv Zander

Flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone. Never my whore, forever my woman.

────── ♔ ──────


King of Flesh and Bone by Liv Zander

King of Flesh and Bone by Liv Zander


The Pale Court Duet #1
Release - April 21, 2022
Genre - Dark Fantasy Romance
Dual POV - 1st person
Heat - 4.5 out of 5 / several explicit scenes
Format/Source - ebook borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
Length - 258 pages
Publisher - Ink Heart Publishing


Worse than a ruthless king... is a king obsessed.

Isolation, darkness, and rotting flesh,
Surrounds me, suffocates me,
But I am the vile ruler who controls it all.

I long for warmth,
Yet, all that I touch,
Is cold.

Then, she stumbles in to my domain,
Lost and frightened,
Alone and confused.

And I terrify her even more.

She calls me the devil,
So I show her pleasure,
Like only the devil can.

I am the heat that stirs her flesh,
The longing that trembles her bone.

She begs her body to refuse,
To escape my embrace,
But I am her master,
The puppeteer of passion.
I am the King of Flesh and Bone.

Welcome to my court, little one.

King of Flesh and Bone by Liv Zander King of Flesh and Bone by Liv Zander

My Two Cents

4 "Devotion for eternity" stars

Can you imagine being so used to the walking dead that it becomes commonplace?
Imagine bodies clawing themselves out of their graves and wandering around aimlessly?
And this is normal???

That's just a glimpse of the surreal world created for this story.

➼ corpses don't rot, so they end up walking around
➼ babies born on the full moon are likely to be born dead
➼ everyone knows that the King of Flesh and Bone is the one responsible for this life
➼ old-fashioned misogyny and religion keep a good woman down
➼ a gothic and eerie feel to everything
➼ new-to-me author blew me away!!

Did I find it icky? Ummm... yeah. Enosh was the god of all flesh and bone. His palace was built with bones, he created clothes out of skin, he didn't do his duty of rotting the dead, and it was all a bit gross. But also oddly intriguing. I couldn't get enough of it. And for all her denials, neither could Ada.

Giving him a broken heart didn't hurt because I love a damaged hero (or anti-hero) and made for some interesting tension between him and Ada. She did everything to resist the irresistible and I lived for their every interaction.

And when the danger came, as it inevitably would, I was loving that too. Those torture scenes were fantastic!

I have no idea what the next book will bring, but I do have some blind requests, such as Ada being granted immortality, that she falls in real love with Enosh, and that somehow, amidst the death and rot and yuck, these two get a happy ending.

Luckily I've already got book two loaded up so I'm off.

About the Author

Liv has an unhealthy love for sexy villains. To cure herself of her poor choice in men, she's currently undergoing therapy, but who can afford that these days? To fund her co-pays, she's writing deliciously dark fantasy romance about the men who would burn the world to the ground for their women. Is that counter-productive? Probably, but it's also a lot of fun.

When she's not joking around, she can be found procrastinating in her office with a mug of coffee or a glass of wine (depending on time of day and how miserable the writing is going). Oh, she also loves skulls. And ravens. And skulls.

Visit http://livzander.com for more information

Review // The Ones Left Behind by Ari Reavis

June 28, 2022

The Ones Left Behind by Ari Reavis

"You're much more interesting."
"Hmm. You should be careful, Elijah."
"Of?"
"Making me fall for you."
"Why would I want to avoid you doing for me what I'm doing for you?"

────── ♔ ──────


The Ones Left Behind by Ari Reavis

The Ones Left Behind by Ari Reavis


Standalone
Release - July 1, 2022
Genre - Contemporary Romance
Dual POV - 1st person
Heat Level - 4 out of 5 / several explicit scenes
Format/Source - eARC provided by the author
Length - 298 pages
Publisher - Indie


When Jolie lost her sister, she never thought she would smile again. It was hard enough to go on, let alone think about being happy. But then a stranger walks into the support group her parents force her to go to, and for the first time, in a long time, someone makes her want to know more about them.

Elijah’s been drowning in guilt since his best friend died. Not thinking the support group will actually help but not knowing where else to go, he walks into the room and silently takes a seat. When he looks at the woman a few seats down, something in her eyes makes him think maybe she’s the one person who can truly understand him.

They build a bond through their grief, but then very different emotions begin to come into play. Can they heal from their losses enough to discover what they could have together? Or are the scars caused by the ones who left them behind too deep?

TW: Both of the main characters have recently had a loved one commit suicide. This book deals heavily with this subject, as well as mental illness. The suicide does not take place on page, but is described.

My Two Cents

4 "The New Normal" stars

I've pretty much moved out of my contemporary romance phase, but there's something about the way this author writes that keeps making me come back!

I don't know how she made something that should have been incredibly sad into something that was incredibly sweet, but that's exactly what she did.

When you lose someone, especially in the ways that both Elijah and Jolie lost someone, how do you ever get past it? Through it? How does one accept that there will never be answers to their many questions and move on?

The Ones Left Behind told me there's no one answer on how to move through grief. It's different for all of us and not everyone will understand how you feel. And that's okay. Your feelings are valid and if you're really lucky, like Elijah and Jolie were, you'll find someone special who'll truly get it. Who'll stand by you through any and everything. Who will love you through the good and the bad, the happy and the sad.

So while this story could have been heartbreaking, it had too many happy and uplifting moments to really get me down. It was full of hope and honesty and when it feels so real, it's impossible not to love it!

About the Author

Ari Reavis is a wife and mother of five. Born in New York and raised in New Jersey, she enjoys staying in, devouring books and watching movies. Her kids are running around, her husband is trying to show her martial arts moves, and she's trying to write. Her day in a nutshell.

Visit https://arireavis.wordpress.com for more information

Review // Nancy and the Naga by Honey Phillips

June 27, 2022

Nancy and the Naga by Honey Phillips

She slid her hands across the smooth planes of his chest and down the ridges of his abdomen, so similar to a human—to where his dotras emerged—and so completely different. But she thought he was perfect as well.

────── ♔ ──────


Nancy and the Naga by Honey Phillips

Nancy and the Naga by Honey Phillips


Standalone - Alien Abduction #14
Release - October 21, 2021
Genre - SciFi Romance
Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 4 out of 5 / a few explicit scenes
Format/Source - ebook borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
Length - 224 pages
Publisher - Indie


Can an alien prince in exile protect an escaped slave who won’t surrender?

A year as a slave in an alien mine is enough to destroy any woman, but Nancy refuses to give up hope. When she sees a chance to escape, she takes it.

Her freedom is worth almost any price, but she didn’t anticipate how hard she would have to struggle to survive. When a strange new alien discovers her, she fears the worst. He’s part man, part snake, and all dangerous - but he makes her feel safe for the first time since she was taken.

Banished from his home planet, former prince Kaiyo has found a place for himself in the dangerous underworld of Kalima. For the right fee, he’ll solve any problem - quickly, efficiently, and with no questions asked. The only problems he can’t fix are his own.

When an uncharacteristically altruistic action leads to the discovery of a fierce, frightened woman, his long-forgotten instincts demand that he protect her - whether she wants him to or not. And the more time he spends with the tasty human, the more he realizes he never wants to let her go.

But Kaiyo’s past is about to catch up with him. He has no intention of releasing his claim on Nancy - but will she be able to handle all of his secrets? And will his people ever accept a human?

My Two Cents

4 "Welcome Home" stars

I really enjoyed the dynamic that played out between these characters. Nancy was stolen from Earth and now stranded on an alien planet, she tried to make an abandoned residence as 'homey' as she could. When a strange alien enters her new home, she is desperate to stake her claim and make him leave.

Too bad Kaiyo was in the mood to be a gentleman. No way was he going to leave a defenseless human female like that. But how could he stay? And what did an exile have to offer her for a future?

Again, if I were to be kidnapped by aliens, please let me fall into the hands of the ones from this series! Two characters who couldn't find a home found one with each other.

About the Author

Honey Phillips writes steamy science fiction stories about hot alien warriors and the human women they can’t resist. From abductions to invasions, the ride might be rough, but the end always satisfies!

Honey wrote and illustrated her first book at the tender age of 5. Her writing has improved since then. her drawing skills, unfortunately, have not. She loves writing, reading, traveling, cooking, and drinking champagne - not necessarily in that order.

Visit https://www.honeyphillips.com for more information

Review // Cold Light of Day by Toni Anderson

June 24, 2022

Cold Light of Day by Toni Anderson

He wasn't just good looking, he was perfect. The scent of clean sweat mingled with his cologne—warm, male, virile. Dammit. She fidgeted uneasily. Why couldn't he have a paunch and some flab? Maybe a broken nose or a unibrow, with a severe case of BO?

────── ♔ ──────


Cold Light of Day by Toni Anderson

Cold Light of Day by Toni Anderson


Standalone - Cold Justice #3
Release - November 16, 2014
Genre - Romantic Thriller
Multiple POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 3 out of 5 / descriptive scene
Format/Source - ebook gift from Amazon
Length - 350 pages
Publisher - Indie


What happens when an FBI agent falls for the daughter of the most notorious spy in US history?

Physicist Scarlett Stone is the daughter of the most notorious Russian spy in FBI history. With her father dying in prison, time is running out. Using a false identity, she gains access to the Russian ambassador's Christmas party, searching for evidence to prove her father's innocence.

Former Navy SEAL, now FBI Special Agent, Matt Lazlo, is instantly attracted to Scarlett but when he discovers she lied to him about her identity, he hunts her down with the ruthless efficiency he usually reserves for serial killers.

Not only does Scarlett's scheme fail, it puts her in the sights of people who reward unwanted curiosity with brutality. The FBI—and Matt—aren't thrilled with her, either. As the agents involved in her father's investigation start dying, and the attempts to stop Scarlett intensify, Matt and his colleagues begin to wonder. Could they have a traitor in their midst?

My Two Cents

4.5 "Spies are among us" stars

This was my favorite book of the series so far! This author has such a fun way of pulling intrigue, suspense, messed-up-ness, and romance together and it really works for me. I was glued to these pages, hurriedly flipping to find out what the heck was gonna happen next. Each event had me baffled, wondering who was really in control of things. Read it and you'll see. It's messed up.

Scarlett's life was turned upside down when her father, an esteemed FBI agent, was accused and convicted of being a Russian spy. Believing in his innocence, she was determined to find evidence and clear his name. She didn't really think her plan through, trying to do more than she was capable of, putting her right in the crosshairs of the very people who perpetuated the conspiracy in the first place.

Thankfully, despite being deceived by her in the beginning, Matt became the hero that she needed. He had the skills and the resources to get things done, helping her dodge bullets and bombs in the process.

I loved this story and if I were to complain about anything, it would be the lack of a happy ending. This author hasn't given me one yet, but I'm satisfied (for now) with the way the story ends. Happy-for-nows aren't the best, but they're definitely better than the alternative.

This series will be seeing me again and I'll be back with my thoughts on book four!

About the Author

Toni Anderson writes gritty, sexy, FBI Romantic Thrillers, and is a New York Times and a USA Today bestselling author. Her books have won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense, Readers' Choice, Aspen Gold, Book Buyers' Best, Golden Quill, National Excellence in Story Telling (NEST) Contest, and National Excellence in Romance Fiction awards. She's been a finalist in both the Vivian Contest and the RITA Award from the Romance Writers of America. More than two million copies of her books have been downloaded.

Best known for her "COLD" books perhaps it's not surprising to discover Toni lives in one of the most extreme climates on earth--Manitoba, Canada. Formerly a Marine Biologist, she still misses the ocean, but is lucky enough to travel for research purposes. In January 2016, she visited FBI Headquarters in Washington DC, including a tour of the Strategic Information and Operations Center. She hopes not to get arrested for her Google searches.

For more information, visit https://www.toniandersonauthor.com

Review // Remedy Maker by Sheri Fredricks

June 23, 2022

Remedy Maker by Sheri Fredricks

If he could live without his heart, he'd cut it out and hand it over. She's the only one who'll ever have it, so why not?

────── ♔ ──────


Remedy Maker by Sheri Fredricks

Remedy Maker by Sheri Fredricks


Standalone - The Centaurs #1
Release - November 12, 2013
Genre - Fantasy Romance
Primarily Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 3.5 out of 5 / a few descriptive scenes
Format/Source - ebook borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
Length - 411 pages
Publisher - Temple Publishing


Man by day, Centaur by night, Rhycious is a remedy maker who needs his own healing.

He's the royal physician, famous for his cures. War and posttraumatic stress disorder has broken his spirit, preventing him from finding true happiness. Then a direct order from the queen to investigate an uprising forces him out of his secluded cabin at the edge of the forest.

Patience is an optimistic, good-natured Wood Nymph who works as a mediator to ensure harmony within the Nymph sector.

Environmental pollution in the aquifer stream that feeds the taproot tree of her heart is slowly killing her. Resigned to the fact she will not live long, she sets out to discover the mysterious disappearance of her sister. Experience has taught her to deny herself the love of a male, but the gruff Centaur is different. He doesn't push his expectations on her, only his healing nature.

When Rhycious loses his grip on reality, he believes his inability to control his disorder will drive Patience away. Nevertheless, desire flares, and Patience draws him close. Kidnapping and betrayal turn their mythic joint venture into a deadly bout.

Will their love endure when survival hinges on trusting each other?

My Two Cents

4 "It only got better" stars

Here's the thing... when I first started this book, I thought it was going to be boring. It started off real slow and I contemplated putting it down. But I kept reading and I'm so freaking glad I did!! It just kept getting better and better the more I read. I really enjoyed this story and can confidently recommend it to any and everyone.

Rhycious was a centaur, a medicine man, and a war vet suffering from PTSD. He was struggling and just wanted to be left alone. Too bad his kingdom needed him. Oh and there was a damsel in distress who's very life required his tender touch. The fact that Patience was a wood nymph, the very creature his kind had battled for years, the same battle that caused his illness... this poor man.

I actually loved the fact that their connection was instantaneous. It was instalove and yet Rhy was determined to fight it. He felt he was too damaged for love and she felt that her time was too short to let him in. But neither of them could fight the inevitable and it was magical.

Amidst espionage and intrigue, suspense and mystery, love blossomed and I enjoyed every minute of it (after the slow bit in the beginning). The world building and storytelling were on point.

To be completely honest, this had the makings of a 5-star read. Unfortunately, I felt that too much was left unsaid and I'm left wondering if I'll ever get those answers. Was the poisoner ever found? How can people still eat at the palace if they haven't been found? Why was Pennelope portrayed as a sweet thing when she obviously wasn't? Will Samuel ever get his own love?

I have other questions but I'm waiting to see if they'll be answered in the next book, which is about Aleksander. He sounds like a delicious bit of myth!

About the Author

Sheri FredricksAlways on the hunt for the uncommon things in life, award-winning author Sheri Fredricks thrives on creating romantic adventures. A former engineering secretary, she lives on California’s beautiful central coast.

“I wanted to move away from a profession of inflexible right angles and create an unboxed world with no boundaries.”

A voracious reader since her early years, Sheri found her brain crowded with stories of her own.

“Ultimately,” she says, “my husband encouraged me to write them all down.” Winner of the Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award, and a Finalist multiple times for InD’Tale eMagazine’s Reward Of Novel Excellence award (RONE), she has numerous five-star reviews everywhere eBooks are sold.

Sheri loves to spend time at home and connecting with readers. A computer hutch keeps her focused on creating stories, but the panoramic view of life on a ranch will call her outside to play in the sun.

For more information, visit https://www.sherifredricks.com/

Review // Black Sheep by Alexa Harlowe & Brynne Weaver

June 22, 2022


Something about her is as inescapable as an imploding star. The more I try to avoid thinking of her, the more she's there in my head, and the more I'm convinced she'll destroy me if I get any closer. And maybe that makes the lure of her even stronger. Maybe I want to be shredded down to the last atom.

────── ♔ ──────


Black Sheep by Alexa Harlowe & Brynne Weaver


Standalone
Release - June 27, 2022
Genre - Dark Romance
Dual POV - 1st person
Heat Level - 5 out of 5 / several explicit scenes / BDSM elements
Format/Source - eARC provided by the author
Length - about 250 pages
Publisher - Indie


Serial killer.

That’s not the first thing you’d think when you meet Bria Brooks.

She’s reserved. Polite. Charming, when she wants to be. But delve a little deeper. She’s cunning. Brilliant. Ruthless. Bria Brooks is not just a black sheep. She’s a wolf. And she has her heart set on a very elusive prize.

Caron Berger.

Trouble is, she’s not the only one.

Dr. Elijah Kaplan is also on the hunt for the enigmatic leader of the Legio Agni cult. Caron Berger is a phantom, and Eli is keen on catching the ghost. What he doesn’t need is a beautiful and brutal doctoral student haunting his steps. Especially not one who seems so breakable, or who tempts him to bend every rule until it snaps, or who calls to each of his darkest desires. No. He does not need that. At all.

When the pursuit of their elusive prey pulls these two hunters together, they find that their demons might not be so different after all. But just like bodies in a bog, secrets have a way of surfacing, and the ones that Bria and Eli keep are the deadliest kind.

As they draw closer to capturing their prize, can Bria and Eli harness their beasts before they destroy one another? Or will they learn that it’s not what you’ll do to win that matters, it’s what you’re willing to leave behind?

TWs: physical and emotional abuse, graphic violence, torture, swearing; explicit sexual content (consensual), BDSM, breath play

My Two Cents

4.5 "Killing never looked so good" stars

Slumps are the worst, amiright?! But when you come across a book that slaps you right out of it... I can't even explain how happy I am right now.

He's the man who follows all of the rules.
She's the woman who loves to break them...

The End.


There was obviously more to this story. Bria had survived something horrific and had made it her life's work to carefully construct mayhem, whittling down evil one person at a time. She was cool and calculating. Loyal and lethal. Girl was sexy AF.

There is strength in her beauty with her defined yet feminine jaw and her high cheekbones and her sharp stare that follows movement outside as though she might break through the glass to take her prey down.

Eli happened to be on her path to wreaking devastation and they connected in ways beyond anything I could have expected. And they were so sexy together. I'm talking combustible, scorching hot!

I've never been so feverishly consumed. I've never devoured like this in return, molding my lips to his, pressing my body to his, desperate to be closer. Desperate to burn.

This book had me quickly turning the pages, enjoying the heck out of its darkness.
➼ pseudo-revenge theme
➼ entertaining and engaging plot
➼ incredibly hot sex
➼ great chemistry between the characters
➼ I had no idea how it was going to end and I loved the surprise of it

Seriously... what more do you need to pick this one up?!

About the Author

Alexa Harlowe seems to be a new author and I haven't been able to find any details about them. However, if this is what they have to offer, I'll be staying tuned!

Brynne is a fan of velociraptors, the Alien movies (well, most of them), red wine, and wild adventures.

She can relate nearly anything you say to a line from the movie Hot Fuzz. She has been trying unsuccessfully for years to convince her husband that they should acquire a pet mink to add to their menagerie of animals (what could possibly go wrong with that plan?!).

Brynne has been everything from an archaeologist to a waitress, a deep-sea core analyst to an advertising account executive. For the last several years, she has been working in the field of neuroscience clinical research. Brynne has been writing since childhood and has published a non-fiction book under her real name, but she won’t tell you what it is unless you provide a live, fully trained velociraptor.

When not busy at her day job or writing, Brynne can be found working with her husband and their son on their family farm in Nova Scotia, Canada, or enjoying her other passions which include riding horses, reading, and spending time with family and friends around a raclette and a bottle of wine.

Find Brynne Weaver here:
Goodreads * Facebook * Instagram * Amazon

Review // Cold Pursuit by Toni Anderson

June 11, 2022

Cold Pursuit by Toni Anderson

Vivi had married a jerk, but at least she'd received this precious gift of a child. So even though she wished David a serious case of erectile dysfunction she never regretted having fallen for him in the first place. He was the price she'd paid for the best thing that had ever happened to her.
Michael.

────── ♔ ──────


Cold Pursuit by Toni Anderson

Cold Pursuit by Toni Anderson


Standalone - Cold Justice #2
Release - June 2, 2014
Genre - Romantic Thriller
Multiple POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 3 out of 5 / one semi-descriptive scene
Format/Source - ebook purchase from Amazon
Length - 350 pages
Publisher - Indie


Single mom Vivi Vincent is thrust into her worst nightmare when she and her eight-year-old son are trapped inside a mall during a terror attack. Jed Brennan, a dedicated FBI agent on enforced leave, helps Vivi and her son survive the assault. But the danger is just beginning...

Vivi’s son may have witnessed critical details of the terrorists’ future plans and is targeted for death, but he’s mute, and he’s traumatized. When someone launches a strike against the FBI’s safe house, Jed fears the bad guys have an inside man. Not knowing who to trust, he hides mother and son in a log cabin deep in the heart of the Wisconsin Northwoods. There Jed and Vivi try to figure out how to unlock the information inside her son’s head.

What they don't bargain for is the red-hot attraction that flares between them or the extent of the sinister plot that threatens to rip apart any chance of happiness they might have together.

My Two Cents

3 "Secrets Abound" stars

I'm really loving the plots the author has created for this series. Seriously loving them. However... for some reason, I found this one to be lacking on certain details.

I got so much information about the terrorists, which was helped along by getting their perspectives. I even got more than I wanted about Vivi and her ex. I got virtually nothing about Jed, which was ridiculous because he featured in such a huge part of this story. He mentioned a woman named Mia, who was murdered, but I know nothing about how they met, how she was killed, nada. So much was dumped on me about Vivi's ex and I really couldn't care less, but what I really wanted was missing. More of Jed's background please.

Once again, the author's writing made it so easy to picture it all, from the dangerous situations to the investigations to everything in between. I'm excited to keep reading this series and if you enjoy thrillers with some romance thrown in, you should dive in too!

About the Author

Toni Anderson writes gritty, sexy, FBI Romantic Thrillers, and is a New York Times and a USA Today bestselling author. Her books have won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense, Readers' Choice, Aspen Gold, Book Buyers' Best, Golden Quill, National Excellence in Story Telling (NEST) Contest, and National Excellence in Romance Fiction awards. She's been a finalist in both the Vivian Contest and the RITA Award from the Romance Writers of America. More than two million copies of her books have been downloaded.

Best known for her "COLD" books perhaps it's not surprising to discover Toni lives in one of the most extreme climates on earth--Manitoba, Canada. Formerly a Marine Biologist, she still misses the ocean, but is lucky enough to travel for research purposes. In January 2016, she visited FBI Headquarters in Washington DC, including a tour of the Strategic Information and Operations Center. She hopes not to get arrested for her Google searches.

For more information, visit https://www.toniandersonauthor.com

Review // A Cold Dark Place by Toni Anderson

June 10, 2022

A Cold Dark Place by Toni Anderson

She'd never had a lover so beautiful before.
Never touched a body like this.
But that wasn't what made Alex beautiful.
He called to something inside her.
She didn't know what it was but they fit.
Perfectly.

────── ♔ ──────


A Cold Dark Place by Toni Anderson

A Cold Dark Place by Toni Anderson


Standalone - Cold Justice #1
Release - April 1, 2014
Genre - Romantic Thriller
Multiple POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 3 out of 5 / several descriptive scenes
Format/Source - ebook purchase from Amazon
Length - 350 pages
Publisher - Indie


Former CIA assassin Alex Parker works for a clandestine government organization hell-bent on taking out serial killers and pedophiles before they enter the justice system. Alex doesn't enjoy killing, but he's damn good at it.

FBI Special Agent Mallory Rooney has spent years hunting the lowlife who abducted her identical twin sister eighteen years ago. Now, during an on-going serial killer investigation, Mallory begins to suspect there's a vigilante operating outside the law.

When Mallory starts asking questions, Alex is ordered to watch her. As soon as they meet, the two begin to fall in love. But the lies and betrayals that define Alex's life threaten to destroy them both—especially when the man who stole her sister all those years ago makes Mallory his next target.

My Two Cents

4 "Seriously messed up" stars

I really enjoyed this story. I liked how the author described certain scenes and events, making me feel like I was watching an episode of Criminal Minds. It was creepy and a bit scary and the murderer's perspective only made it more of a thriller.

It was exciting to know (or at least feel) like no one was safe. Mallory was a rookie agent who had a bit of arrogance that made her feel that she was untouchable. She was a smart and tough cookie, who was no stranger to tragedy ever since her identical twin was taken and has remained missing. All she wants is to find out what happened to her and get some justice. Alex was a man who was burdened by the tragedy as well. A trained killer, he was extemely patriotic, but he knew how to color outside the lines.

This story worked so well that I'll definitely be reading more of this series.



Before I started writing this review, I took the time to read a few others and I was absolutely shocked. Quite a few remarked that they were disappointed because of the graphic sexual language.

This was a good storyline but I don’t care about graphic love scenes that last about 25 pages when I bought a thriller!! I also couldn’t stand the filthy language in the book.

Ummm... what?! It was slightly descriptive, but nowhere near explicit. Seriously, if people want clean stories, they shouldn't read anything out of the Christian section. And if they don't want sex, don't read romance. Because a romance book without sex isn't really a book I wanna read.

Regardless, the romance fed the story because without it, we'd be lost as to Alex's motivations where Mallory was concerned.

About the Author

Toni Anderson writes gritty, sexy, FBI Romantic Thrillers, and is a New York Times and a USA Today bestselling author. Her books have won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense, Readers' Choice, Aspen Gold, Book Buyers' Best, Golden Quill, National Excellence in Story Telling (NEST) Contest, and National Excellence in Romance Fiction awards. She's been a finalist in both the Vivian Contest and the RITA Award from the Romance Writers of America. More than two million copies of her books have been downloaded.

Best known for her "COLD" books perhaps it's not surprising to discover Toni lives in one of the most extreme climates on earth--Manitoba, Canada. Formerly a Marine Biologist, she still misses the ocean, but is lucky enough to travel for research purposes. In January 2016, she visited FBI Headquarters in Washington DC, including a tour of the Strategic Information and Operations Center. She hopes not to get arrested for her Google searches.

For more information, visit https://www.toniandersonauthor.com

Review // Alien Abduction Series (books 8-13) by Honey Phillips

May 31, 2022

Hanna and the Hitman


Standalone - Alien Abduction #8
Release - July 23, 2020
Genre - Scifi Romance
Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 5 out of 5
Format/Source - ebook borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
Length - 225 pages
Publisher - Indie


An alien assassin. A forgotten human. A planet determined to claim them both.

Since being kidnapped from Earth, Hanna has been treated as little more than a performing animal. Her latest indignity is being displayed in a cage in a seedy bar. When a massive alien warrior stops to examine her, she expects the worst.

To her shock, the warrior frees her instead. Scared and alone, she doesn't hesitate to turn to him. But there are more surprises to come...

Aidon is running out of time. Although eliminating galactic scum is a profitable occupation, it takes a toll on his unique skills. He needs to return to his planet immediately. Acquiring a human female, no matter how tempting, was not in his plans. Yet now that he has her, how can he let her go?

She looks at him so trustingly – but his planet is a dangerous place, and she's about to find out he's the biggest predator of them all.




My review: 4 stars


Another human female was abducted and destined for slavery when a considerate and compassionate alien male saved her. And while we've all heard this story before, this one felt different. I love how this author gives her own unique take on every book I've read. Aidon was magnificent and Hanna was a peach. I loved the idea of this shapeshifter alien who felt exiled from his own planet only to need his planet in order to survive. I loved how Hanna was able to adapt to her new life and put her trust in the perfect alien for her. I even loved the family dynamic between the characters. I enjoyed it all and this story was more evidence of why I'm still reading this series.

"You're the only alien—the only male—who has treated me as a person. You make me feel safe.

━━━━.⋅ εïз ⋅.━━━━


Izzie and the Icebeast


Standalone - Alien Abduction #9
Release - August 20, 2020
Genre - Scifi Romance
Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 5 out of 5
Format/Source - ebook borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
Length - 248 pages
Publisher - Indie


A jaded alien gladiator. A heroine who won’t give in. A battle worth winning.

After a fatal mistake drives Baralt away from his world, he has to rely on his fighting skills to survive. Despite his success in the arena, he grows increasingly tired of violence - until a soft, beautiful human female gives him a reason to fight.

With no one but herself to rely on, Izzie has managed to overcome all of the obstacles life has thrown at her. But being abducted and sold by aliens may be the one challenge she can’t defeat.

When a massive, furred alien comes to her rescue, she has no reason to trust him. And yet this strangely appealing warrior could be her only hope.

Determined to protect Izzie, Baralt is forced to return to the one place he vowed never to go - his home planet - only to find it facing its own threat. Can Baralt and Izzie work together to help his people, make peace with the past, and find the home they both want?




My review: 3.5 stars


When I realized this story was going to be about one of the aliens who inhabited the ice planet that played such a huge part in some of the plots of the previous books, I was insanely curious to find out who it would be. I kind of expected it to be the chief, but I was still pleased that it was about a character that was semi-introduced before.

After a tragedy in his clan, Baralt's guilt forced him to leave his planet (and baby sister) behind. A fighter you didn't want to bet against, he was now positively bored with his life. And then a spark happens—he meets a human slave named Izzie. And nothing and no one was going to keep him from her.

I enjoyed the bit of drama that was involved with this story, not just with the escape plot, but also with the not so sweet reunion between Baralt and his people. I really liked Baralt, not so much Izzie, and I'm kind of hoping to see more of these characters again.

Thousands of years of primal instinct flooded his bloodstream. He had fought. He had won. The female was his.

━━━━.⋅ εïз ⋅.━━━━


Joan and the Juggernaut


Standalone - Alien Abduction #10
Release - September 24, 2020
Genre - Scifi Romance
Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 5 out of 5
Format/Source - ebook borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
Length - 224 pages
Publisher - Indie


An unstoppable alien warrior. A stubborn human. A desperate escape.

Varga’s life has been as hard as the armor which covers his skin, but he has never let it stop him. He has powered his way through every obstacle - until a favor for a friend sends him straight into the path of a stubborn, beautiful female, and everything changes.

After finally freeing herself from her domineering ex-husband, Joan is ready to start a new life on her own terms. Instead, she is kidnapped by aliens and sold into servitude on a mining planet at the far end of the galaxy.

When a terrifyingly attractive alien appears with promises to rescue her, she isn’t foolish enough to refuse. But the massive, scarred warrior wants more than her freedom - he wants her heart.

As Varga and Joan lead a ragtag group on a dangerous journey to freedom, can they also escape the ties of the past and find a new future - together?




My review: 4 stars


Knowing that Varga (he's Baralt's bestie from the last book) would be out there looking for other human female slaves, I was curious to find out exactly what type of woman would appeal to him. And I actually really liked Joan, aside from the many times she brought up her ex Kevin (like please, can we stop already?). She was sweet and bright and just tried to make the best of a rotten situation. She was compassionate and cunning and I loved how smoothly she meshed with Varga. So yeah, I definitely liked this match. The naked and dirty slave they rescued (along with everyone else) intrigued me. Her name was Polly and I wonder if she'll feature again somewhere. I'd love to see her as normal as her trauma could make her and for her to find as much happiness as she deserves. Actually I want to see it for all of them, especially since Joan got such a happy ending with Varga.

"Of course I don't own you any more than you own me. But I am yours, little bird. I belong to you completely and I hoped that you felt the same way about me."

━━━━.⋅ εïз ⋅.━━━━


Kate and the Kraken


Standalone - Alien Abduction #11
Release - July 29, 2021
Genre - Scifi Romance
Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 5 out of 5
Format/Source - ebook borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
Length - 206 pages
Publisher - Indie


A rebellious alien prince. An overworked human female. A planet in crisis.

Kate spends most of her time in her lab, and as much as she believes in her job, she occasionally longs for a break. Being captured by aliens isn’t exactly what she had in mind.

Neither is being forced to abandon ship and almost drowning in an alien ocean. But the massive alien warrior who saves her? He might be exactly what she needs.

Prince A’tai is desperate to escape his family and their nefarious political schemes. On his way to a remote island, he rescues a smart, beautiful female. She doesn’t belong in his world, but he is determined to keep her.

But A’tai is not quite what he seems, and the planet of Mafana holds more than one secret. Can Kate and A’tai survive political intrigue, a planetary crisis, and their inescapable differences to forge a happy ending?




My review: 3 stars


Honestly, those stars belong to A'tai. And I will admit that although I didn't like Kate for most of this book, I did somewhat like her by the end. I loved how he knew instantly that she was the woman for him. The attraction was very strong between these two, which was hilarious because Kat was described as the super analytical and deprived of emotion. At least she was in her previous life. I enjoyed the nod to the little mermaid and while I didn't really understand the mechanics of their sex life (he was an octopus man after all), it was still hot.

I did want to know if Kate's friends, the other kidnapped woman she befriended, were saved and I'm happy to see that their books are next.

Perhaps all she needed, all these years, was an octopus man."

━━━━.⋅ εïз ⋅.━━━━


Lily and the Lion


Standalone - Alien Abduction #12
Release - August 26, 2021
Genre - Scifi Romance
Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 5 out of 5
Format/Source - ebook borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
Length - 170 pages
Publisher - Indie


A wealthy, bored alien. A fierce, unlucky woman. A primitive hunting planet. Let the games begin!

Lily has never been lucky - not with jobs, not with money, and certainly not with men. Her bad luck continues when she is first abducted by aliens, then shoved into an escape pod and abandoned on a jungle planet.

The enormous, and admittedly gorgeous, alien who finds her seems as much beast as man. And yet she can't help thinking there's more behind those intense blue eyes than just animal lust. Has her luck finally changed?

Leotra va Situni is bored. He has wealth, he has power, and he has countless females chasing his tail wherever he goes. When a strange, but stunningly attractive, female appears on his hunting trip, he assumes it's yet another attempt to lure him into mating.

But the infuriating female doesn't seem to recognize his charms, treating him more like a pet than an important - and obviously irresistible - male. Is it a clever trap? Or does she really not know who he is?

As Leotra sets out to find answers from the mysterious female, she is equally determined to keep him at arms length. He begins to wonder who is the hunter and who is the hunted in their seductive little game. And when the truth comes out, who will be the lucky winner?




My review: 3 stars


I actually found this story to be a bit funny. It tickled me that Leo was a rich playboy and yet everything that worked to win over the ladies before... didn't work on Lily. She didn't care about priceless jems or mansions or yachts or jets. She just wanted a man who wouldn't lie to her. A man who wouldn't abandon her like the rest. And while I didn't have a lot of like for the girl, I could definitely feel for her. I enjoyed watching Leo jump through hoops to win her over and seeing a side to Lily that I didn't expect. Thank you author for giving this girl some vulnerable moments and for finally seeing the worth of the male who was fighting so hard to be with her.

Btw, Leo's dad was such a jerk and his punishment was too lenient. Am I mad for wanting to see him get what he truly deserves?

"I've moved on so many times. I always thought I was just trying to find the right place. But now I realize the place doesn't matter at all." Her eyes lifted to his. "Only the person you're with matters. And as long as we're together, I don't care where we are or what we're doing."

━━━━.⋅ εïз ⋅.━━━━


Mary and the Minotaur


Standalone - Alien Abduction #13
Release - September 23, 2021
Genre - Scifi Romance
Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 5 out of 5
Format/Source - ebook borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
Length - 184 pages
Publisher - Indie


A grumpy, secretive alien. A sweet, not-as-naive-as-she-seems human. A nefarious plot.

Although Mary has never had an easy life, she has always tried her best to maintain an optimistic outlook. But when she is abducted by aliens, it is difficult to find anything positive in the experience.

When she is temporarily abandoned by her kidnappers, she hopes to escape their clutches forever. Instead, she soon finds herself in even more trouble. Her only hope is a huge bull-like alien who should terrify her. Instead, her heart says to trust him.

Sendat has been working as an undercover agent for far too long. Although he believes in his mission, he fears he is becoming as heartless as those he seeks to bring to justice. And then he encounters a small, curvy female who awakens long-hidden feelings.

In order to protect her, he is forced to play a role he despises - and yet, she does not pull away from him. On the run and not sure who to trust, all Sendat knows is that he has to protect Mary. But even if he succeeds, will he have any choice except to give her up?




My review: 4 stars


It's about Sendat and I honestly didn't think I'd see this alien male again. I knew he was an honorable soldier, so at first I was surprised to find him working for a criminal enterprise. For slavers no less! But then I realized that he was still a good man when he tried to make the newest slave's life a little easier. He even went as far as to purchase her, at least temporarily, for himself. He was undercover and he wasn't going to let Mary suffer a moment more. She was his and sweet Mary recognized that he was every bit as much hers.

I really liked how this one, like the last one, linked the three friends together. Watching these human females interact together along with their alien mates was a sweet treat and I'm only hungry for more of what this author gives. If sweet connections, lively imaginings, and hot sex are to your liking, you're gonna love these books!

"I've spent my whole life waiting for someone like you—waiting for you."

Faith and the Fighter by Honey Phillips

May 23, 2022


You're going to wear me out, woman
- Athtar

────── ♔ ──────


Faith and the Fighter by Honey Phillips


Standalone - Alien Abduction #6
Release - April 11, 2019
Genre - Scifi Romance
Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 5 out of 5 / filthy and frequent
Format/Source - ebook borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
Length - 260 pages
Publisher - Indie

Goodreads * Amazon (FREE with KU)

A rogue spaceship captain. A human scientist.

Faith has spent the past eight years as a scientist locked in an alien research lab. When she finally manages to escape and finds out what the aliens are doing with her work, she is appalled and determined to stop their plans.

The alien spaceship captain who unknowingly assisted her escape is going to help her shut down the lab - whether he wants to or not. And she’s not going to let his massive body or the kind heart hidden behind his gruff facade distract her.

Captain Athtar finally has his life exactly the way he wants it - he has his ship, his crew, and his freedom. No mouthy little human is going to interfere with any of that, no matter how much she tempts him or how much his instincts demand that he claim her. If only he weren’t as tempted as much by her brilliant mind as by her luscious body.

Can Faith and Athtar fight their overwhelming attraction long enough to defeat the evil scientists and stay ahead of the Imperial Fleet? And when the battle is over, can there be a future for the two of them?

My Two Cents

4 "A new favorite" stars

Okay, so I'm not saying it would be cool to be kidnapped by aliens, intent on selling me into slavery, however... if I knew that an alien viking would be my hero...


I'm just sayin.

Athtar was absolutely delicious and although he was a reluctant hero, he was indeed a remarkable hero in this story. He even made my somewhat blah feelings for Faith a bit easier to bear.



I also read the 7th book of the series, Greta and the Gargoyle, but it was more of a novella than anything else. I actually really enjoyed it too and give it 3.5 stars. It was about a totally helpless human female who was imprisoned for defending herself against the horrors of her new 'master'. Imprisoned, it takes the kindness of one of her guards (Mikaroz the gargoyle) to give her a taste of happiness. Action and a bit of sex... can't really complain. It overlaps the story of Cam and the Conqueror, so it was neat to see those characters again.

About the Author

Honey Phillips writes steamy science fiction stories about hot alien warriors and the human women they can’t resist. From abductions to invasions, the ride might be rough, but the end always satisfies!

Honey wrote and illustrated her first book at the tender age of 5. Her writing has improved since then. her drawing skills, unfortunately, have not. She loves writing, reading, traveling, cooking, and drinking champagne - not necessarily in that order.

Visit https://www.honeyphillips.com/ for more information

Ella and the Emperor by Honey Phillips

May 22, 2022


I only wish to be with you
- Ella

────── ♔ ──────


Ella and the Emperor by Honey Phillips


Standalone - Alien Abduction #5
Release - February 28, 2019
Genre - Scifi Romance
Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 5 out of 5 / filthy and frequent
Format/Source - ebook borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
Length - 244 pages
Publisher - Indie


An alien emperor. A silent young woman.

Captured by aliens as a child, Ella was raised as the beloved pet of a kind alien couple. One night of blood and terror destroyed her sheltered life and shattered her voice. Now she’s a slave in the emperor’s palace.

Alone in a terrifying new world, she clings to the person who saves her - the dashing young emperor. But the handsome alien also arouses unfamiliar longings in her heart.

When Emperor Karthajin rescues a silent female from an attack, he does not expect to become an object of worship to the enchanting little creature.

New to the throne, surrounded by smiling faces and hidden enemies, he finds unexpected comfort in the innocent human who trusts him so completely. But as his feelings grow stronger, so does his reluctance to expose her to the viciousness of the Imperial Court.

Can an emperor lose his heart to a human slave? And will his empire ever accept such a match?

My Two Cents

3 "The Mute and the Master" stars

I'm still not sure how I feel about this one. I couldn't connect to the characters and it kind of felt like I was reading this story through a filter. Things were happening, but they weren't really penetrating for me.

Ella was stolen from Earth as a child. She became a slave to a somewhat benevolent couple who wanted her to remain a child. Why? Well, it all becomes clear as the story goes, but for quite some time, everyone believed that she was a child. I can't even comprehend being 18 and acting like a kid. Add the fact that she couldn't or wouldn't talk... yeah, it was hard to get behind.

Then there's Karthajin. As emperor, he never seems to have a free moment. He doesn't remember the last time he had some fun. With Ella, everything he'd forgotten was brand new. She brought out the best version of himself, as he did for her.

I will say this... the way the author described his manhood... Let's just say that I couldn't imagine something like that, but the idea of it was a bit enticing. Don't tell!

About the Author

Honey Phillips writes steamy science fiction stories about hot alien warriors and the human women they can’t resist. From abductions to invasions, the ride might be rough, but the end always satisfies!

Honey wrote and illustrated her first book at the tender age of 5. Her writing has improved since then. her drawing skills, unfortunately, have not. She loves writing, reading, traveling, cooking, and drinking champagne - not necessarily in that order.

Visit https://www.honeyphillips.com/ for more information

Review // Deb and the Demon by Honey Phillips

May 06, 2022

Deb and the Demon by Honey Phillips

"You make me feel safe and loved and so very happy.
But I need to be able to fight things on my own as well."

- Deb

────── ♔ ──────


Deb and the Demon by Honey Phillips

Deb and the Demon by Honey Phillips


Standalone - Alien Abduction #4
Release - January 17, 2019
Genre - Scifi Romance
Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 4 out of 5 / frequent and descriptive
Format/Source - ebook borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
Length - 260 pages
Publisher - Indie

Goodreads * Amazon (FREE with KU)

An alien prince. A pregnant slave.

Deb is ripped away from her comfortable life on Earth and sold as a slave to a vicious alien. Six months later, all she has to live for is the child now growing inside her. Her child’s safety is worth any price, even submitting to the disturbingly attractive alien who has just purchased her.

Rastrath hides a sharp mind behind a careless facade. He may be a Prince of the Royal House, but he has always been despised for his mixed blood, even by his own mother. A female who values her child more than herself is an unexpected prize - one that comes wrapped in a luscious package.

When an unexpected danger forces them into a marriage of convenience, the stakes are raised. Can Deb trust Rastrath’s feelings for her are more than a desire to protect his investment? Can Rastrath follow his duty and build a family of his own at the same time?

My Two Cents

3 "Where can I find my own alien prince?" stars

Okay, so here's the deal, and I really hope I don't come off sounding like a jerk, but... I do not like stories in which the heroine is already pregnant for another dude. I really don't. And despite the fact that Deb became pregnant through unorthodox means (triggers people), I still couldn't get down with it.

It didn't help that Deb wasn't the warmest, most encouraging heroine I've come across. She made things so very difficult for me.

But Rast... yeah, this prince really made this story for me. He was sweet and kind and generous and loyal to a fault. He was also harboring a lot of hurt. And yet he was such a blessing to everyone, especially Deb. I love how dedicated and patient he was with her. He was the epitome of everything she needed and I loved every moment with him.

So while this wasn't my favorite story of the series, Rast definitely made an impression with me. Kudos to the author for that and for making me want to keep on reading!

About the Author

Honey Phillips writes steamy science fiction stories about hot alien warriors and the human women they can’t resist. From abductions to invasions, the ride might be rough, but the end always satisfies!

Honey wrote and illustrated her first book at the tender age of 5. Her writing has improved since then. her drawing skills, unfortunately, have not. She loves writing, reading, traveling, cooking, and drinking champagne - not necessarily in that order.

Visit https://www.honeyphillips.com/ for more information