LAST YEAR I WAS READING…(March 23, 2022)

Here are the rules:

Take your current read and compare it to what you reading this exact time last year. Which one do you like better? What is different about the books? Any special facts/things you want to make note of or bring attention to?

This meme was created by Reading Marie. It’s a great meme because it’s nice and easy to do.

This Year I Am Reading…

After a lifetime of death and suffering, Aleksandr Vassiliev finally has everything he could ever want — the most important being someone to share his future with. Somehow a spoiled American named Roan gave Sasha a reason to see life could be more. Except, that’s where the fairytale ends. He’s not surprised Roan hasn’t been the same since his attack, but with every day that passes, Sasha sees less and less of the boy he fell in love with. He would do anything to get his Solnyshko back, but old enemies from Sasha’s past might end up costing him everything, even Roan.

Roan Sinclair used to have it all. Now? He’s a shell of his former self. No longer the rich, carefree college guy who brought a Russian criminal to his knees, all he’s trying to do is recover from an assault that nearly killed him. Roan knows he should be grateful to be alive… but he’s not. He’s humiliated. Ashamed. Most of all, he’s angry. He hasn’t forgotten the part his dad played in everything that happened and when he threatens Sasha’s freedom, Roan takes a page from the Russian’s playbook. Maybe vengeance will piece him back together. Maybe then Roan can move on and get to the happily ever after he so desperately wants with the Wolf of Verkhoyansk.

Content warning: This book contains references to alcohol/smoking, ethnic and homosexual slurs, sexual assault, mental health issues including PTSD and depression, on-page torture, and a lot of profanity. Reader discretion is advised.

Amazon Buy Links: US | UK

I’m 3/4 done with this. The first parts were super grim. Now Roan and Sacha are at a happier place, but then here comes the bad guy. This is quite the emotional rollercoaster! I can’t stop reading!

Last Year I Was Reading…

His broken bones could finally mend their broken bond…

Bull riding was the only thing that calmed the thrill-seeking, self-destructive beast inside of Calvin Craig. It allowed him to escape a small-minded town and the pain of his troubled youth, fleeing to bright lights and big city fame without looking back.

One trip on the horns of the wrong bull changed everything.

Cal is forced to come crawling back home for the first time in ten years, his body broken and riding days behind him. But not everyone is happy for the return of their local celebrity.

Eli Jackson was once the tall, dark, and sinful preacher’s son who had Cal wrapped around his little finger. Now the steely-eyed sheriff of Sweetwater, Eli is hell bent on running him right back out of town. He’s never forgiven Cal for the spectacular implosion of their relationship. Even though the lingering tension soon has them burning up the sheets, he refuses to be tamed.

Cal is surprised to find himself rising to a new challenge: breaking the bull that is Eli Jackson.

He might have run out of luck, but he’s not out of miracles… yet.

Bookshop: US
Amazon Buy Links: KindleAudiobook
Amazon UK Buy Links: Paperback | Audiobook

Another angsty book that rips your heart out. This is one heck of a ride too!

My 4.5-star review here.

Today we have two contemporary romances with antagonistic relationships, second chances, and danger.

The current is a much darker offering and comes with a list of content warnings. The story revolves around life in the criminal underworld. It is told in dual 3rd person POV. One of the MCs is a bratva enforcer. The other is a musician. They are an established couple in a very rocky patch of their relationship. I consider this a second chance romance because the couple is trying to start fresh after a very traumatic incident.

Last year’s is an enemies-to-lovers, second-chance story between high school sweethearts. This is set in the world of bull riders where broken bones and broken hearts happened all too often. One of the MCs is a bull rider, the other is the sheriff. This is also a story of small-town America. It is in 1st-person POV.

The Vengeance of Roan Sinclair is the second book of the Solnyshko Duet. After surviving a brutal attack in book 1, Roan is a shell of his former self, and Sacha is at his wit’s end but still ever devoted to his beloved solnyshko. Their life is mostly a series of fights and emotional withdrawals until Roan’s best friend Frankie takes matters into her own hands.

A huge chunk of the book centered around Roan’s trauma and Sacha’s well-meaning but failing attempts to make him happy. My heart went out to both of them. Roan’s recovery was slow but so worth it to see that moment Sacha proclaims his sun is back.

As always with this duet, there is an ominous specter hanging in the background because Sacha has a lot of blood in his hands. The biggest threat, a ghost from the past, has just arrived in the US with exact whereabouts unknown. And sure as hell, he’s coming to destroy the best part of Sacha’s life.

Down Low is about a has-been bull rider, Calvin Craig, slinking back to his hometown, and stumbling upon the last person he wanted to see, Eli Jackson. The man whose heart he broke. Now the sheriff of the town. After nearly getting arrested, Cal set about antagonizing his HS sweetheart. All while pining for the guy for ten years already. Still pining now.

Meanwhile, Eli hated him but was drawn like a magnet to Cal. I loved the parts where Eli couldn’t help himself. He just had to kiss Cal even if he wanted to punch him just as badly. Cal loves pushing his buttons, and when Eli’s buttons are pushed, that’s when things get seriously explosive.

Each chapter is marked with a song and opens with a short flashback. It showed teenage Cal’s and adult Cal’s perspective of the town and its people. The town has changed yet somehow still the same. The bull riding world is seen in glimpses that vividly capture the heat and adrenaline, the heart-stopping triumphs and the sometimes fatal losses, and the indomitable spirits of men who risk life and limb for eight precious seconds.

Between bratva and bull riders, bullet wounds and broken bones remind one to hold on tight to those that matter most.

I’m ending the post with a book I’m looking forward to reading.

To the world they are rivals, but to each other they are everything.

Ten years.

That’s how long Shane Hollander and Ilya Rozanov have been seeing each other. How long they’ve been keeping their relationship a secret. From friends, from family…from the league. If Shane wants to stay at the top of his game, what he and Ilya share has to remain secret. He loves Ilya, but what if going public ruins everything?

Ilya is sick of secrets. Shane has gotten so good at hiding his feelings, sometimes Ilya questions if they even exist. The closeness, the intimacy, even the risk that would come with being open about their relationship…Ilya wants it all.

It’s time for them to decide what’s most important—hockey or love.

It’s time to make a call.

Bookshop: US
Amazon Buy Links: Kindle | Audiobook
Amazon UK Links: Paperback | Audiobook

I’ve been waiting for this. You’ve been waiting for this. We are all in anticipation for this decade-long game to reach its happy ending.

What were you reading this time last year?

(I hope it’s as riveting as Morticia’s book)

reading-gif-17 - Fumble

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