Fri
Jun 30 2017 10:00am

13 Books H&H Reviewers Couldn’t Put Down in June 2017

Our reviewers give us the scoop every day on the books they're loving and share their opinions here on Heroes and Heartbreakers. However, each month, we ask them to make a tough decision and recommend the best thing they've read over the last month! It doesn’t have to be a new book, as evidenced below; just something that made the month sparkle a bit more.

Without further ado, here’s the installment for June 2017 (and if you’ve missed any, be sure to check out past recs via the Related Posts section at the bottom of the post):

Darlene Marshall:

Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Hunted by Meagan Spooner (Amazon | B&N | Kobo) is my pick. I've read a lot of Beauty and the Beast stories over the years, and I'd put this one in the top five. Yelena, nicknamed “Beauty”, is a hunter like her beloved father. When the family suffers a reversal of fortune the father and daughter depend on their hunting skills to keep the family alive.

This Beauty is bookish, yes, but also an athletic outdoorswoman, skilled with her bow. It's a refreshing change from the usual B&B fare. We also have two sisters who, rather than being greedy and hating Beauty, love and support her, another refreshing change.

The Beast is...the Beast. We know he's got a prince inside of him, but he is sufficiently beastly to Beauty to help us buy into the entire tale.

Finally, using Russian folklore and setting for the tale helps give it a fresh twist, and works well with the narrative.

I'm almost sorry it's shelved as a YA novel. Had I not read such glowing reviews from fellow authors, I might have missed this altogether, and that would have been a shame. I highly recommend it to readers of any age. It's excellent.

Victoria Janssen:

My favorite read of June 2017 was We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (Amazon | B&N | Kobo), about families and how we think about families, and also about animals and how humans relate to them, and what that says about us both. I suspect I'm going to get a lot more out of this book as it percolates slowly through my brain in days to come.

Rhyll Biest:

Team Player by Cate Ellink

My best read for June was an advance reader’s copy of Team Player by Cate Ellink (4 August publication date) (Amazon | Kobo) which is a contemporary erotic romance set in Australia. While I’m not a huge fan of sports romance or football, I really liked this one because of the deep point-of-view (heroine’s) and the writing style which I found similar to Charlotte Stein’s. Also, because unconventional MMF relationship (yippee!)

Dolly Sickles:

Turn Me Loose by Anne Calhoun (Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

Officer Ian Hawthorn and Riva Henneman were young when their paths crossed—but whereas Riva was a college student selling drugs on the side, Ian was an undercover police officer with a huge, angry chip on his shoulder. He set her up as a confidential informant and battled with his attraction to her for years, forcing himself to keep his distance. When their paths cross again as adults, they’re both in very different places, and the power has shifted between the two. I love that both characters are flawed and so very human. This was a great story.

Suzanne:

I'm late to the party, but I read Smut by Karina Halle (Amazon | B&N | Kobo) this month and really enjoyed the enemies to writing partners to lovers story. Probably because I read smut but... it was fun!

Wendy the Super Librarian:

An Unseen Attraction by KJ Charles

An Unseen Attraction by K.J. Charles (Amazon | B&N | Kobo) is a historical romance featuring a boardinghouse keeper and the taxidermist next door. I loved the top-notch Victorian world-building (I. Want. More!) and the compelling mystery thread that will carry-on with the next book in the Sins of the Cities series.

Anna Bowling:

Easy pickings this month: The Shattered Rose by Jo Beverley. (Amazon | B&N | Kobo) Galeran returns from Crusade, eager to be reunited with his beloved wife, Jehanne, and their two year old son, born while he was away. Instead, he finds the castle under siege, and Jehanne with a newborn. Wait a minute, that can't be right, but it is, and things get worse, and yes, this is a romance with a HEA. Not always pleasant, not always pretty, this is the deeply emotional tale of two flawed people choosing to make a life together, no matter what that life may bring them. Though Jo Beverley is best known for her Georgian and Regency series, her medieval romances are true treasures that stand the test of time.

Rachel Kramer Bussel:

I loved BDSM romance Booked by Leandra Vane. (Amazon) It depicts kink and bisexuality in a small town in a way that's relatable yet also intriguing and sexy. It was very intriguing to read about the buildup of erotic tension as well as tenderness between writer Nate and librarian James. It was a perfect Pride month read, plus, fittingly for a book titled Booked, it's set around a library and books play a huge role.

Sahara Hoshi:

Ensnared by Rita Stradling

My pick is a take on the Beauty and the Beast trope called Ensnared by Rita Stradling. (Amazon) What really stood out is this is part speculative fiction, primarily a romance, with a bit of science fiction mixed into it. I found it fascinating that the “Beauty” of the story is a woman posing as a robot. It's also interesting to think of the consequences of self-aware AI. Add in a dash of psychological issues and you've got a complex but refreshing take on a common trope.

Jennifer Proffitt:

Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell have me under a spell with their Cyberlove series. I got totally hooked on Strong Signal and became a devout fan of the series with Fast Connection. Their latest release in the series, Mature Content, (Amazon | B&N | Kobo) just takes my love even further. Opposites attract and enemies find love in this romance that pits two YouTube stars, who could not be more different, against one another—so of course, sparks fly both in the bedroom and online! I could not get enough of this book. I highly recommend this series, it's fun, sexy, introspective, and absolutely un-put-downable.

Janet Webb:

Turn Me Loose by Anne Calhoun

My favorite book of June 2017 is Turn Me Loose by Anne Calhoun, the sixth novel in her Alpha Ops series, which was published earlier this year. It’s a difficult (for me) plot: two people that at one time were very interested in each other but who were separated by a major power discrepancy. To be clear, Riva Henneman committed a crime when she was a college student. The cop who busted her, Officer Ian Hawthorn, offered her Hobson’s Choice: become his confidential informant or go to jail.

They meet years later, the sparks are still sparking, but they’re on solid ground. Riva has built a great life for herself, Ian perhaps not quite so much. They team up to solve a crime together and just wow, suspense, a sizzling attraction, and two very likable people. Perfect book to read if you are all about “temperature rising.”

Willaful:

It was a great reading month for me, but I'm going to pick Christina Lauren's Dating You/Hating You (Amazon | B&N | Kobo), because it seems like it's gotten a bad rap for “sounding just like some other book.” In truth, it goes beyond many typical enemies-to-lovers story to explore the effect of forced competition and unrecognized sexism on co-workers. It's funny, swoony, and thoughtful, and manages to make both hero and heroine flawed but likable.

Rae Alley:

Duke with Benefits by Manda Collins

I started summer with a quick, fun mystery read in a romance novel with Duke with Benefits by Manda Collins. (Amazon | B&N | Kobo) It was a perfect fun read for the beach and pool side.

Miss Bates:

My “best of” June pick resides with Kate Hewitt's A Di Sione For the Greek's Pleasure, (Amazon | B&N | Kobo) a first-order HP romance. Hewitt's hero and heroine are deeply sympathetic and amazingly down-to-earth for this overblown romance line. Talia Di Sione and Angelos Menas are emblematic of my favorite romance couple: nanny-employee to cold, overbearing mysterious, rich, and tormented single dad. My prosaic reason for loving this couple is Hewitt's slow-build romance, based on initial spark-causing antipathy and a believable movement toward affection and respect, with a healthy dollop of physical attraction. My literary, trop-ish liking is thanks to Hewitt's clever nod to gothic classics, Brontë's Jane Eyre and Du Maurier's Rebecca. Moreover, Hewitt doesn't rely on the HP's propensity to establish romance on coercive lust. Talia and Angelos's amorous consummation is the result of fondness (and who does “fondness” in romance anymore? It may sound quaint as a descriptor, but the proof of the pudding is in the reading!)


H&H Editor Picks:

14 Authors Recommend Their Favorite Book Right Now

9 Books H&H Reviewers Couldn’t Put Down in May 2017

July 2017 Romance Novels New Releases Shopping List

 

 

 

 

 


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3 comments
Darlene Marshall
1. DarleneMarshall
@AnnaBowling--I've been recommending THE SHATTERED ROSE to readers since it was first published many years ago. It's really different, and unforgettable. Thanks for the reminder, I think it's time for a re-read.
Kareni
2. Kareni
Wow -- the cover for Ensnared is markedly different for the paperback than for the Kindle!
Anna Bowling
3. AnnaBowling
@DarleneMarshall, I know, right? The Shattered Rose is amazing. Consider me taking up the banner of raving about this gem to other readers. Thanks to you, also, for the recommendation of Hunted. It had me at Russian folklore.
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