The Word Nerd Reviews Team's March Top Picks!
March was weird!
It seems both Florence and I had strange time of it over March. It seems to have been the International Month of the Books Slump (that can totally be a thing, right?). However, despite our frustrations, we still had trouble selecting just four books each. I guess that just shows the quality of the work out there. That even in a month where nothing seems to 'fit' there was still more good than not so good!
March was certainly a weird reading month for me. I must have picked up dozens of books, and then put them aside after reading a page or two. This is not a reflection on the books, only that I just didn't know what I was in the mood to read - the joys of being a mood reader! That said, most of what I read, I loved. The 'meh' that was March was definitely a case of me not the book!
In these monthly posts, I usually try to highlight books for which I haven't posted a full review, but I simply can't not give a special shout out to a few outstanding books that really hit a home run for me this month. Jackie North's Trail Boss and the Brat was a stupendous ending to a fantastic series; Lily Morton's Rule Breaker with Joel Leslie's amazing narration made me laugh, cry and swoon; and new to me author, Ashlynn Mills' Drunk Off The Bar Tender certainly brought the heat!
My picks this month are probably a reflection of my need for comfort reads this month, with the exception of SJ Himes, I've read many books by these authors and their writing is guaranteed to lift me out of any slump.
To these authors, thank you, you've certainly helped me keep my sanity this month!
More Than Enough (Pelican Bay #4) ~ Sloane Kennedy
To be completely honest, I must have been living under a rock for the last few months as I had no idea this book was coming! It was such a fantastic surprise when I started seeing the promo for it. I was really excited to read about Sawyer and Jett.
This book though, wow, I don't think I've been so deeply affected by a title in this series since Locked in Silence. It's established in the Pelican Bay books that both of the main characters will have differing levels of serious stuff to overcome. I just never expected this story.
I refuse to spoil anything, so I will give no details (half the fun is the shock value!), but this story hit me on many levels. I have experience working with the behaviours described in this book, so I couldn't help but relate to the situation.
More Than Enough was a story I just couldn't put down, and it was with me long after I turned the last page. For a story involving such serious issues, it was never overly heavy. Intensely emotional, yes, but never so much that it felt overwhelming. There was plenty of humour to break it up, and the interactions between the core cast ensured that the book was both new and familiar.
I chuckled, I cried, and I swooned. I was enthralled from the beginning, and I highly recommend More Than Enough.
More Than Enough is available in ebook.
Frat Wars: Masters of Mayhem (Frat Wars #2) ~ Saxon James
This series of books is just plain fun to read!
I thought it would be hard to beat Chad and Bailey (Frat Wars #1), but if Robbie and Brandon don't just nudge ahead, then they are indeed tied for first. Frat Wars: Masters of Mayhem made me laugh until I cried, then turned it around with a swoony romance (often involving the already mentioned laughs) and a nice dose of steam.
I adored that the more serious and reserved Brandon was the instigator in most shenanigans. Despite his determination (or is that desperation) to experiment, Robbie was always careful of pushing Brandon too far. I also loved how Robbie ensured that Brandon got to experience the 'mayhem' for himself and wasn't always relegated to the sidelines.
Saxon James always creates characters with multi-layered personalities who are genuinely likeable people. Her stories never fail to cheer me up, and I think this book was responsible for the first push out of slumpville. Thank you, Saxon!
Rebel (Ballsy Boys #1) ~ K.M. Neuhold & Nora Phoenix
I honestly don't know why it's taken me so long to start this series.
One of the main reasons, even if it was subconscious, was that I wondered how a relationship would work when one partner is actively having sex with other men (for work). I should have really trusted these authors, though. The result was a story that, while entertaining, also made you think about work vs life and the compartmentalisation of what you do for work and what you do for love. It was an interesting reflection.
Rebel was also just plain fun to read! The story introduced the other men that future books will revolve around, and I honestly can't wait to see them get their individual HEAs.
The Ballsy Boys series seems to be one of those excellent refresher/reset reads. Rebel was light and funny but with a solid emotional core. The characters were genuinely adorable men but with flaws. These were not paragons of perfection but real individuals and the story was all the better for their imperfections.
I was addicted from the first page, and I'm really looking forward to continuing the series.
Knight's Fire ~ SJ Himes; Narration ~ Joel Leslie
I went into this one with no expectations whatsoever.
Since SJ Himes was a new to me author, it was the description of the story that intrigued me, and that combined with Joel Leslie's narration, made me feel like it was worth taking a shot. Boy, am I glad I took the chance!
This gorgeous novella is a complete story of its own, but it sets up the series beautifully. I loved the innocence of Zephyr and found it hilarious that Gawain was accepting of Zephyr's possessiveness, not questioning it once, even when the other knights told him he should really know what Zephyr meant by 'my knight'!
This novella packed in a lot of story in a relatively short space. It was a lovely fantasy filled with action, humour, and romance. I really hope this series continues; I'd love to continue the adventures of Zephyr and Gawain. I will certainly be checking out SJ Himes' backlist!
This month was a really strange month for me. I went through a lot of stress in my personal life, and all I felt like reading books with a lot of sex scenes because those are always comforting to me as I find them really enjoyable to read. So a lot of my monthly favourites are related to that. I’ve also been in a reading slump for the entire month, and it was really hard for me to get into books.
My favourites of the month are the books that were successfully able to make me feel something, and take my mind off things for a few hours. I really owe a big thank you to those books, who made me really invested in them in a time where it was hard for me to get invested in anything. Also, I owe a big shout out to Tough Luck by Annabeth Albert and The Trail Boss and the Brat by Jackie North, which I really enjoyed and who were also perfect help through this month long reading slump.
Just Here for the Pain (Underdogs #2) ~ K.A. Merikan
This one was a re-read for me. I had already read this book before but I loved it when I read it and I kept thinking about it over the months and this book never left my mind. So when I saw that the audiobook of this one was available I thought listening to the audiobook as a way to re-read the book and I really enjoyed the experience.
I just want to talk about the audiobook for a minute because I thought that it was absolutely lovely and that it complimented the book perfectly. I had already experienced this book before but listening to the audiobook felt like a new experience, and I just really enjoyed it and I had so much fun listening to this one.
As far as the book goes, this book is the perfect book for me. I hold this book close to my heart and it’s the one book I always think of when I want to mention what I enjoy the most about BDSM books. For me, this book is the perfect example of everything I want to read about in a book about BDSM, and I just adore every second of this book. Stalkers and BDSM are some of my favourite things in books and I just love how this book combines the two.
Everything about this book just really works for me, I love how there was a lot of on page stalking and how that's what lead to them getting together. I love how emotional this book is, this book made me cry so many times, both times I read it. It just really gets to me. The sex scenes in this book are some of the best sex scenes I have ever read. I love how all different they all are and how many BDSM elements are present in them. Also, the relationship in this book just really works for me, I just love how well the main characters go together.
This book is the perfect example of a book that feels made for me since it has all of my favourite tropes and I just love it so much.
Full Review can be found here.
Dark Heart (Darker Daddy Bodyguards #1) ~ Sue Brown
I read this book towards the end of the month, and it was the one that really got me out of my reading slump and made me want to read again. Reading this book was the first time in a long time that I felt very invested, and where I just had to read the entire book in one sitting because I could not put it down.
I adore books where a bodyguard gets with someone in the mafia or any criminal and I adore daddy kink books. This book is about a bodyguard who’s a daddy who meets a boy from a mafia family and they fall in love, which is honestly everything I have ever wanted to read about in a book.
I absolutely adored the dynamic between the two main characters of this book. We had Nico, a brat, and Leon, a daddy who loved discipline. Leon was always super growly with Nico and just wanted Nico to obey him and Nico loved it. Nico was a brat because he wanted Leon to discipline him and I loved how Leon did exactly that. Also, this dynamic brought a lot of bantering between the main characters and their banter was so hilarious to me, I spent most of the time I was reading just laughing out loud because of all the banter, I just adored it so much. Also their banter showed how much chemistry there was between the main characters and that just really worked for me too. Also, I just adored the relationship between Nico and Leon, they were always taking care of each other and it was just the sweetest thing ever to me. And there was so much possessiveness in this book and that's one of my absolute favourite things in books and I just adored it so so much.
I adored the ratio of suspense to romance in this book. I liked that the suspense plot was important and a big part of the book, but it never took over the relationship for me. Both felt super balanced and just as important as the other, so that just really worked for me. Also, I just loved how many mafia elements there were in this book, I really appreciated it and it made the book so much more fun to read.
Full review can be found here.
Dark Heart is available in ebook.
The Hedonist: King's Heat ~ Roe Horvat
Roe Horvat is one of my go to authors and I always keep his books for special moments when I’m super stressed and I just need a little distraction. His books always do wonders at taking my mind off everything and it was the case for this one too.
I would describe this book as the hottest book I have read in months, which is saying a lot as I’ve mostly only been reading smut lately. But damn this book, was just so great. I absolutely adored the plot of this book, it was filled to the brim with action, it was none stop, all of it was always new and exciting, it always kept me on the edge of my seat and it made me want to keep reading so I could find out what would happen next. And by plot, I mean the sex scenes in this book. This book is mostly just a lot of sex scenes, which I absolutely adored and that I thought were just so hot and beautifully described. I loved how varied the sex scenes were because even if this book is mostly just that, I never got bored of them because they were all different enough to bring a new flavour to the table.
But there is also a love story in this book and I really enjoyed that too. This book is about Sebastian, an omega, who is also the king. He is about to go into heat and he is looking for an alpha that can get him pregnant during his heat. He sees a commoner one day, his name is Jonah. Jonah is really big and well endowed and because of that Sebastian, that is the perfect fit to get him pregnant. But they end up falling in love too. Everything about the romance part of this book just really worked for me, it was super sweet and romantic and I just loved it.
Hedonist: King's Heat is available in ebook.
760 Miles (Northern Horizons #1) ~ A.E. Lister
This book was such an experience for me. It took me by surprise and made me so emotional while I was reading it, but I loved every second I spent reading it. I absolutely love historical romances, I adore westerns and I love kink and this book combines all of those things and I couldn’t have been happier about it.
I just adored the ambiance of this book so much, it happens in Yukon, in Canada and I loved how well everything was described and how it felt like I was really there with the characters. The settings in this book were just so well described and they really helped making me lose myself in the story. I loved how the time period and everything that happens with it (this book is set at the start of the 20th century) was really important to the story and the characters and their romance, that just really worked for me.
And the character development in this book was just so exceptional. I loved how this book takes you on a Journey with the characters and how you get to see the characters grow and change through the time they spend together. I just adored the character progression in this book.
And I loved the romance in this book so much. This book was so romantic and I loved how you could feel the romance between the main characters through their every action. The romance in this book just so sweet and lovely and I absolutely adored it.
760 Miles is available in ebook.
All books discussed this month, with the exception of 760 Miles, are available for free using a Kindle Unlimited subscription.