Dark Reads October: The Dark Duet by CJ Roberts

When I think about dark romances that have been recommended to me over the years, the two that come to mind first definitely have to be Monsters in the Dark by Pepper Winters and The Dark Duet by CJ Roberts. Having already devoured one of those series during Dark Reads October, I knew that I had to read the other. Especially since I had already read half of The Dark Duet almost a year ago. 

Let me explain. 

Almost exactly a year ago I read Captive in the Dark by CJ Roberts. I devoured it. I couldn’t put it down. Literally. I couldn’t stop thinking about Livvie and Caleb, their dark and at times depraved story, and I couldn’t stop wondering what the next book would bring for those two. I actually started that second book, Seduced in the Dark, but I had to stop. I needed a breather. The reason I needed a breather was 100% on me, and not that book, so I was determined to finish their story during Dark Reads October...and I’m really glad I did.

Seduced in the Dark was a fantastic conclusion to this duet, and it definitely had me thinking and feeling all of the things with Caleb and Livvie. Those two definitely push you to the edge. In fact, at times I think they push you over it, but in a way that works because that’s what this story is. This story is dark and twisted in so many ways. It’s about kidnapping, trauma, sex trafficking, abuse on every level, and so much more. But it’s also a story about two characters who shouldn’t be together, but you also can’t help but root for them in a crazy way. 

This duet is a story of two broken people who have a seriously dark and twisted story, who soon find that the one person they shouldn’t fall for is the the one who might just give them the absolution they never thought they’d get. 


I have to say that CJ Roberts really got me with what she created in this duet. 

She made me think and consider so much while reading this book. She made me reconsider so many things while I got what I did with Livvie and Caleb. She made me root for characters who did the wrong thing, who did bad things. But more than that, she let me see that there was hope within this story and within these characters. I might’ve had to dig a bit for it, and I might’ve had to go through so much with these characters to get to that, but I found it. 

And honestly, while reading this book I found that everything these characters went through, every life altering choice they had to make, every moment when they had to go through the worst, made what I got with them even more impactful and memorable…and it also made the last moments with them feel even more memorable.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I am definitely an ending person, and I liked how CJ Roberts brought this duet and series to a close. I felt like she did a good job of reminding me why I couldn’t stop thinking about these characters and their story, while also making me work for it with all that I had until the very very end. And that felt very Caleb-esque and beyond fitting quite honestly. 

I will tell you now that Caleb and Livvie’s story is definitely not for everyone. Over the course of my reading career, and even in Dark Reads October, I have read a range of dark romances. I have even said before that a book might not be for everyone, but I do really mean that with this one. This book is dark. I know it’s not the darkest out there, but it is definitely dark and covers a range of topics that are bursting with trigger warnings. Livvie and Caleb both go through a lot. They both do things that aren’t okay, but they also allow you to understand the why behind that in a way that is truly riveting. 

CJ Roberts definitely knows how to write and craft a layered story that will have you thinking and feeling it all. She allows you to really see these characters, their flaws, and everything in between. She lets you get why they do what they do, why they stay, why they don’t, and she lets you see that even the darkest of situations and scenarios can give you something or someone you didn’t even know you needed. 

And that person might be the exact last person you should feel anything for, but they also just might change everything for you. 

And that? Well that is just part of what makes this an all consuming story that will have you second guessing everything you thought and felt as a reader. And in the end, it’ll bring you a story that is intricately layered, consuming, raw and twisted, and that will have you guessing until the very end what you’ll get with Livvie and Caleb. 

And that is the actual best. Trust me. 

I am really glad that I went back to this duet. It only took me a year to finish it (again, my bad completely), but it was worth the wait. I see why this series has stood the test of time and I know why everyone has recommended it. It was well written, consuming in so many ways, and dark in a way that pushed every boundary and moral compass I had. I shouldn’t have wanted to root for these two, yet this author made it so I had to. She made me rethink everything, and by the end of it all she had me feeling all the things for these two in a way that truly blew me away. 

I loved that so much. I loved that I finally made the time to go back to these books. I loved that Caleb and Livvie had one of the most unorthodox and dark stories I’ve read, yet I still found myself rooting for them in a way I didn’t think was possible. I loved that this book turned every thought and feeling I had on their head, and it did it in a way that I didn’t expect. 

The Captive Duet was definitely a read that gave me so much, and I can’t say enough how glad I am that I finally got to experience its well written and beyond fitting conclusion. If you are looking for a read that will captivate you on every level, push you to and over the ledge, while giving you an intense as all get out story, then run yourself to this duet this second. 

You won’t be disappointed you did.

Not one little bit. 

****

There is only 1 week left in October, which means Dark Reads October is officially almost over. 

*makes all the sad faces*

I can’t believe this blog series is almost done. I’m not ready y’all! But don’t worry, I plan to keep reading all of the dark romance after this month, and I actually already have my next couple of reads planned out to finish out the month strong. I’ve got 2 standalone reads planned for this week by two authors I’ve never read before, and I am ready! 

Be sure to stay tuned to see what I picked to read, and as always, thank you for your support of me and this blog series! It has meant everything and I can’t wait to keep sharing all of the dark and amazing reads with y’all! 

Read My Reviews:

Captive in the Dark

Seduced in the Dark

The Epilogue

Buy The Series:

Amazon

B&N

KOBO

Dark Reads October: Still Beating by Jennifer Hartmann

When I set out to do Dark Reads October, I knew I needed help in deciding what to read. I knew I needed all of the recommendations because I wasn’t sure where to really start with my dark romance reading. Even though I have read and loved some seriously amazing dark romance books, I also knew that I was really more of a novice in this particular subgenre, so I needed help. 

I wanted to read new authors. I wanted to discover new worlds and series. I wanted to find some amazing new dark romance reads that I wouldn’t have been able to find on my own. 

And let me tell you, my book friends showed up in the absolute best way. On TikTok and this blog’s Facebook page, I got tons of great recommendations. Some I’d heard of, some were absolutely brand new to me, and some were books I had owned for years. 

I also found that many books and series were recommended over and over again by my fellow readers, and I have to say that those were some of the ones I was drawn to most. Not just because so many readers had recommended them, but because so many of the books recommended multiple times were ones that were brand new to me…and I LOVE me a brand new book and author to fangirl over. 

If Monsters in the Dark was the number 1 series that was recommended to me for Dark Reads October, then Still Beating by Jennifer Hartmann was the number 1 standalone novel with multiple recommendations, so I knew I HAD to read this book. 

And I am damn glad I did because this book was absolutely INCREDIBLE y’all. 

It has to be one of the most unique dark romances I have EVER read. 

It was exceptionally written, thoughtfully crafted, and brought to life through words and feelings and every emotion under the sun that OWNED me. This book consumed me in every way possible. I read it in one sitting because I literally could not put it down. 

I needed answers. 

I needed everything with these characters.

I needed more of every single ounce of what this story so authentically and deeply gave me. 

I needed everything that this book delivered.

I was obsessed with this book, this story, and these characters. And quite frankly, I think I’m still obsessed with them, and I love it. I haven’t stopped thinking about this book since I finished reading late last night. My mind has been thinking about Cora, about Dean, about their story, about their shared trauma, about their fight for what could be and the possibilities of them. 

I haven’t been able to stop thinking and feeling and experiencing what this author creates with them and their story. Hours later, and I’m still hooked. Hours later, and I’m still processing and feeling it all. Hours later, and I’m still enamored and enveloped within this dark, heart wrenching, and deeply emotional story. 

So suffice to say, this book is definitely going on my top reads list for the year because all of that is just part of what I LOVED about this phenomenal book. 

Still Beating is a dark romance that explores trauma, healing, every step in between, but most of all, what happens after. I think one of my favorite aspects of this standalone dark romance was the fact that it does look at that after. That after is a huge integral part of the story, and honestly, it was that after that made this book for me.

It is what showed me so much about these characters. It is what allowed me to connect so deeply to both Cora and Dean as they attempted to heal and make sense of what they went through together. It is what pulled my heart and soul to those two as they became more vulnerable than they thought possible, as they tried to wade their way through the ocean of feelings and thoughts they had about one another. 

This book was absolutely incredible. 

From start to finish I was floored in the best way by this author’s writing and storytelling and what she allowed me to get with these characters. She throws you in the thick of it, let’s you feel and breathe and live it all with them, and you hit the ground running with those two. Switching so thoughtfully between their points of view, Jennifer Hartmann does the most exceptional job of allowing these characters to reveal themselves to you. 

She let’s you get the simultaneous past, present, and future of these characters in a dark, forbidden, and all-consuming romance that will make you question everything, that will pull your heart to these characters in the most fierce way, and that will have you NEEDING these characters to find the ending they both so deserve. 

I truly could go on and on about how much I loved this book and what I got with Cora and Dean. Those two have a complicated relationship from the start, and things only get more complicated with the shared trauma they experience and the battles they’re about to face….But I am telling you, if you stick with them they will make it all worth it. I promise you that. If you go in blind, ready to feel it all, ready to experience darkness, struggle, but also so much light and hope and heart. If you just keep yourself, your heart, and your mind open to what could be, you will not be disappointed in what you get with these two. 

Not one little bit.

And in the end, you might just find right along with Cora and Dean that the one person you discounted, the one person you thought you hated most in the world, and the one person you never wanted to be around just might be the exact person you need. That person might be off limits, they might be the last person you expected them to be, but they also might be your salvation from every hurt that’s been thrown your way. 

They might just be your lifeline and they also might be the one thing that keeps you going through it all. 

Still Beating is a dark, heart wrenching, deeply emotional love story that will make you think and feel and question everything about what is right, what is wrong, and what is possible. It isn’t an easy story to experience, not at all, but that doesn’t take away from the breathtaking beauty and heart and vulnerability these characters will so authentically give you and show you. It will hurt you, it will heal you, and it will make you feel everything, all while showing you that true human connection and heart can save you…if you let it. 

*****

I cannot tell y’all enough how glad I am that I picked up this book. The recommendations for it were very well deserved, and I am so glad that I finally listened when y’all told me to read something!!  

It was definitely the right choice to read, and it is shooting its way to the top of my favorites list for the year. I can’t recommend it enough, so be sure to check it out! 

Thanks again for sticking with me through another installment to Dark Reads October. I already know what I’m planning to read next, and I can’t wait to share it with all of y’all, so stay tuned! I will be back soon with more dark romance read recommendations!  

Read My Review:

Still Beating

Buy The Book:

Amazon

Dark Reads October: Monsters in the Dark Series by Pepper Winters

When I decided to do Dark Reads October, there was one series that everyone told me to read. 

And I mean everyone. 

There was one series that everyone told me I had to read if I was going to jump head first into the world of dark romance. This is a series and an author that have been recommended to me for YEARS. And honestly, I don’t have a good reason for waiting so long to read this particular series and author. I should have read these books years ago. I should’ve listened to the many recommendations I have gotten for this author and this series. 

But so goes the story of my life.

I once again waited to read something when I shouldn’t have…and only a few pages into this series, I knew that it had been so wrong to wait to dive into this dark, immensely intense, pain and pleasure filled world. I knew that I had messed up waiting to experience this deeply emotional, seriously layered, and completely unforgettable world that contains two of the most enigmatic, dynamic, and gloriously complicated characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading. 

And that series I waited waaaayyyy to long to read, you ask? 

Well that would be The Monsters in the Dark Series by Pepper Winters. 

This series, comprised of 3 full length books and a novella, is hands down one of the best series I have read this year and ever. It contains a story unlike any other I have read before, and it has two characters that OWNED me from start to finish. And boy let me tell you, did I go on one hell of ride with those two. 

Q and Tess are an epic love story. They will take you for the ride of your life and will have you questioning EVERYTHING. They will push your boundaries, push your moral compass beyond what you thought possible, all while rooting for a love story you didn’t even think was possible. Through it all you will get to know them. You will peel back their complicated and flawed layers to see them. The real them. The messy and honest and dark versions that they hide from the world.

The thems that you will soon find are only meant for one another. 

Told through an intense, adrenaline spiking, and dark and twisty story, the more you get with them, the more you crave. The more you crave them. The more you crave their pain and pleasure. The more you crave the answers that they so meticulously reveal to you and one another. The more you NEED them. The more you need what they share. The more you need what only they can give one another. The more you crave every single morsel of what they bring to life within the pages of their story. 

I will warn you now, their story isn’t easy. In fact they have many hurdles and obstacles that they must face head on to even have a chance to be together. But what I will tell you, is that if you stick with them, if you keep the faith in them and what could be, and if you keep your heart open to intense vulnerabilities and passions and emotions these two will share, then they will not do you wrong.

In fact, they will make it all so beyond right. 

They will fix it all. They will see you and each other through. They will show what true depth of love means and the utter beauty it can give you if you let it. They will show you that darkness and light are two sides of the most sensual, beautiful, deeply flawed, and very real coin. They will show you that anything is possible with the one who makes all the difference. They will show you and each other that through every fight, every dark and broken piece of themselves, through every heart wrenching twist and turn, that they are one. That they are real. That they can be what each other needs, if they only allow themselves to feel it, to take it, and to never let it go. 

What can I say? I loved these books. So damn much.

I loved how dark and twisty they were. I loved that it was one wild and adrenaline filled ride from start to finish. I loved that every time I sat down to read a book in this series, I couldn’t put it down. I loved that I devoured these books as much as they devoured me. I loved that Q and Tess were complicated and messy and flawed because it made what they shared and built together so beyond right. I loved that these two pushed EVERY limit. I loved that they made each other work for it and that their fight for what could be wasn’t easy because that fit them. 

Their love, their passion, their desires, their hearts, and who they were together wasn’t easy, so it completely fit that their love story would be just as hard fought and complicated as they were…but in the end, they showed that as uneasy as it all was to get there, as much as they had to go through to peel back those hardened layers to find each other and what could be, being together was the exact right thing they needed to do…and that, well that was the easiest, hardest, most beautifully complicated decision those two ever made. 

Suffice to say, I loved this series.

I am so glad that I finally read these books and I’m even happier that this is the series I chose to start with for Dark Reads October. It just seems fitting that I start with the best. It seems even more fitting that I opened the gates to dark romance with a couple that definitely put me and themselves through the wringer. But most of all it just seems fitting that I opened up this month of dark romance reading with a series that I know will forevermore be one of my all time favorites

Thank you Tess and Q for one wild, dark, and twisty ride. Y’all sure know how to make a girl work for it, but I wouldn’t trade one second with the two of them because it was perfect. It was perfectly them in its flawed and intense beauty and pain, and it gave me a love story that I will truly never forget. 

A love story that truly shows how one person can change everything.

A love story that shows that beauty and pain, darkness and light, and monsters and salvation are one in the same.

A love story that will stick with me forever.

And honestly, it NEVER gets better than that. 

****

So there you have it y’all! The first read of Dark Reads October is finished and I am in LOVE. I cannot wait to read more dark romance! I feel like I have so much to catch up on and the month is flying by too quickly, but don’t you worry! I plan to squeeze as much dark romance as I can into these next couple of weeks because I want it all! 

And I may (read: definitely) already know what I’m reading next….so stay tuned!

Read My Reviews for the Series:

Tears of Tess

Quintessentially Q

Twisted Together

Je Suis A Toi

Buy the Series:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Releasing Now: The Fall Up Series Boxset by Aly Martinez

The Fall Up Series, featuring two full novels and a brand new, never before seen short story from USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez is available now and at a special price of $0.99!

Fall in love today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3uKIYtV

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/TheFallUpBS

This complete series contains two full-length novels, The Fall Up and The Spiral Down, as well as bonus short story, Going Down.

The Fall Up:

I wanted to jump.

He made me fall.

As a celebrity, I lived in the public eye, but somewhere along the way, I’d lost myself in the spotlight.

Until he found me.

Sam Rivers was a gorgeous, tattooed stranger who saved my life with nothing more than a simple conversation.

But we were both standing on that bridge for a reason the night we met. The secrets of our pasts brought us together—and then tore us apart.

Could we find a reason to hold on as life constantly pulled us down?

Or maybe there’s only one direction to go when two people fall in love at rock bottom—up.

The Spiral Down:

I was afraid to fly.

He made me soar.

After years of climbing the ladder of success in the music industry, I finally had everything I could want. Yet I still found myself wandering through life alone.

Captain Evan Roth was the one man I never saw coming.

We were both damaged beyond repair and searching for something so elusive we weren’t sure it even existed.

But, when two broken souls collide in midair, falling is a given.

I just never expected to come alive on the spiral down.

Dark Reads October

It is no secret that I am a lover of love stories. 

I love all kinds of love stories. 

Emotional ones. Sweet ones. Seriously angsty ones. Ones that make you want to throw the book across the room, ones that you want to hug tight and swoon in forever, and ones that have every kind of love story in between. 

I love every kind of love story, but I have to admit that I find myself having not read enough of certain kinds of love stories. It’s not that I don’t want to read these books, it’s just that I haven’t found myself reading them. I haven’t made the time to read more of them. 

But I want to fix that. 

I want to read more kinds of love stories. I want to keep finding new authors. I want to keep broadening my love of love stories. 

And that is where Dark Reads October was born. 

A month dedicated to only reading dark romance novels.

You see, for a long time I’ve really wanted to read more dark romance books. I also love a good theme. Like a lot. (See: Summer of Series) So I decided to dedicate some real time to reading dark romance books. I want to not only read dark romance, I want to find some new to me authors to fangirl something fierce over. I want to experience the unique and dynamic kinds of love stories that you get within dark romance. 

This is my TBR list for the month! THANK YOU to everyone who sent me recommendations!

Plus with it being October and all, it felt only fitting that this is the time I committed to finding myself some new dark romance to read. So for the next month I will be doing just that. I will only be reading dark romance. And let me tell you, I am ALL kinds of excited for this. I have a good long list of books and authors to read, and I am ready! 

Super shoutout by the way to my fellow book lovers on TikTok and Facebook for helping me make my list of books and authors I want to try to read over the next month! I have so many amazing dark romance books to get me started this month. Even though I know there’s no way I’ll get to read them all this month, I’m SO dang excited that I have them so I can go back to them! 

I’m ready to finally read some dark romance books that have been on my TBR list for years. I’m ready to experience a bunch of different kinds of dark romance books. I’m ready to fall even more in love with the dark side of romance.

And I’ll be documenting it all right here because that is what the best thing about book love; spreading it around! I truly will never get enough of sharing the book love and connecting with fellow readers about books and love stories. It is the absolute best, and I am beyond looking forward to connecting with y’all about these dark romance reads!  

I can’t tell y’all enough how excited I am for this next month of reading! It’s going to be epic. I can feel it. I can’t wait to write about all of the amazing dark romance books I’m going to read. I can’t wait to discover some incredible dark romances. I can’t wait to share all of it with you, and I can’t wait to chat about all of the glorious, angsty, layered and dynamic dark romances.  

So are you ready? I know I am. 

Let the dark romance reading begin! 

Welcome to Dark Reads October. 

P.s. If you have a dark romance read recommendation that isn’t on my list, please let me know! I am always eager for more recommendations!

My Reviews from Dark Reads October:

It’s a Binge Read: Kristen Ashley (a.k.a. The Longest & Best Binge Read of My Life)

I am a binge reader. 

Like a big one. 

If you’ve been following me or this page for any amount of time, that is probably not a secret. And if you’re new here, welcome! Let me introduce myself. My name is Megan, I am a binge reader and am proud of it. 

Like real proud.

I live my life in the midst of  binge reads and binge watching TV shows. It’s something I’ve gotten really good at (I say that like it’s a skill you can develop and make stronger) over the years. Depending on what mood I’m in you’ll find me in the middle of a binge read of a certain trope or genre, series, or author. Same with TV shows. Sometimes my binge reads last a few days, other times they last a couple of weeks depending on what I’m reading. 

Suffice to say, I am a pretty experienced binge reader. I love binge reading. I love getting so sucked into a series or an author’s backlist that I don’t know which way is up. I love getting to spend an extended amount of time in a certain world or within a certain feeling that books can evoke. I love that for days or weeks of time, all I can think about is that next book in my binge read and what it’ll bring. I also kinda love feeling like I’ve accomplished an Olympic level feat when I finish a binge read, especially a particularly long or large one.

I live for a good binge read. It is one of the things I love as a reader. And honestly, it’s something I highly recommend taking up as a reader because a good binge read can change everything. 

And I do mean everything. 

Case in point: my latest binge read. 

The longest binge read of my life.

Let me set the stage for you. 

Back in November of last year, I was feeling all kinds of down. Between the craziness of work virtually teaching my tiny humans, feeling isolated from those I love because of the panoramic (or pandemic for those of you not yet obsessed with Tiktok and its pandemic references), and all of the things happening, I was struggling. I was missing my people. I was just not in the best place and I was searching for whatever could be found to cheer me up. 

Enter in Kristen Ashely and her amazing, unforgettable, and all-consuming books. 

I don’t remember the first time someone told me I needed to read a book by Kristen Ashely, but I do know that the number of times her books have been recommended to me over the years is probably around 67 bajillion. She is a queen in the romance community, and I’m ashamed to say I didn’t listen to those 67 bajillion recommendations for almost 7 years because I am stubborn. Like real stubborn. I tend not to listen, and then find myself regretting that lack of listening for years to come. (Just ask my book friends how many times I’ve told them over the last few months that they was right and I was wrong and so very dumb for waiting to read KA’s novels.) 

It’s not that I don’t want to read what’s recommended to me, it’s just that I really am a bad listener. I always think something along the lines of “one day I’ll get to that”, but one day always gets further and further away. I’ve even been known to buy those books recommended to me and hold onto them because I know that I need to read them, even though I have no idea when I’ll actually do just that. 

Kristen Ashley is a prime example of that. 

Me and some of those aforementioned book friends at Apollycon 2018, who’ve been trying to get me to read Kristen Ashley for years!

I was even lucky enough to meet her in 2018 at Apollycon, but at that point I hadn’t actually read her books. (Remember when I said I was stubborn as hell and didn’t listen?!) But I did know I needed to read her words, so I interpreted that as clearing out a full shelf of her books at my local Books-A-Million. Let’s just say I am equally so thrilled that I did that because I have so many of her books in print, but also so mad at myself that I waited SO long to read her books that I couldn’t properly fangirl over her when I met her. 

Can you say holy freaking missed opportunity?!? *smacks head with e-reader again*

When I finally came around to pulling my head out of my butt and starting her books in the fall of 2019, I literally wanted to hit myself with my e-reader because I had waited to read them. I devoured the first 3 books in her Rock Chick Series, simultaneously falling in love with everything I was reading, while also telling myself that I should’ve been reading these books YEARS ago. I had planned to keep reading all of her romance book goodness then, but of course life got in the way and I was pulled away. 

Flash forward over a year later, I found myself back to her books because I needed a sure thing. I needed a book I knew I would love, and after having read a few of her books the year prior, I knew I could count on her to deliver what I felt was missing. I went into that book needing a pick me up and needing something to take my mind off the craziness going on around me. I started that first book, Rock Chick Revenge on November 30th, and almost 3 ½ months later I completed the longest binge read of my life. 

One of the TikToks I made in the middle of my binge read!

60 books. Over 3 months of time. Countless 5 star reads. Thousands and thousands and thousands of pages. So many all-consuming series that I will literally treasure forever. So many characters who will forever own pieces of my heart….and so much more.

And you know what? It saved me. In more ways than one. 

This binge read, the longest I’ve ever done, saved me. It saved my mental health. Reading these books, living these stories with these characters, and just basking in every moment was my form of self care. This binge read gave me sooooo many things to look forward to. It gave me SO many unforgettable and dynamic characters that each took me on one hell of a ride. It gave me stories that swept me up and that never let me go. It gave me real and fictional worlds that owned me heart and soul. It gave me so many conversations with my book friends and people about these books that just made my heart and soul happy. 

It gave me everything.

And let me tell you, after a year of serious craziness these books were the lifesaver I didn’t even know I needed. They not only saved my mental health and brought me back to me. reading them, talking to all my book friends about them over and over again, and experiencing every moment of them was the best. The actual BEST. (Seriously never doubt the power of a good book y’all.)

If I’m being honest though, I didn’t think I’d make it this far in this binge read. I can definitely tell you without a doubt that I definitely didn’t think I’d be sitting here having read 60 books by one author in the last 3 months.  But here I am y’all, living the best kind of binge reader dream.

Me being absolutely ridiculous on TikTok when I got my KA book order in!

That’s not to say I didn’t want to read all of Kristen Ashely’s books, but I tend to be a big mood reader, so I often find myself jumping from trope to trope to subgenre to subgenre quite a bit when I am a reader. (Luckily KA has it ALL, so she delivered everything I didn’t even know I needed with her entire backlist.) I also might have a touch of a self-diagnosed focusing issue that can often prevent me from focusing on one type of book for too long. When I started that first book of the binge read back in November I thought I’d finish the Rock Chicks and maybe read some more of the paperback books I owned by Kristen Ashely and call it a day. I figured my reading mood would eventually shift, and one day I’d come back and finish wherever I left off. 

Flash forward to mid March and I was practically in tears because I didn’t have any more Kristen Ashely books to read. 

For 3 ½ months these books OWNED me, heart and soul. They consumed my every thought and feeling. They gave me life. They took hold of every emotion I had, every part of me, and truly, they never let me go. They were all I could think about. All I could talk about. All I could post about on my social media and blog page. All I wanted and needed to read. Really, just all I wanted and needed. 

These books, this binge read, these stories, the writing and characters…they were everything I needed. 

Everything and more.

Frannie & Frannie

I even named my new succulent plant after a character in these books. That’s how much I couldn’t get enough of everything I was reading and how much I loved these characters. That’s how addicted I was to everything I was reading. (Plus when you meet Frannie in Midnight Soul, you’ll understand why that was the perfect name for my succulent.)

Throughout this binge read I’ve joined the crazy wonderful Rock Chicks, fallen in love with the Dream Men and Dream Team, spent some time on the darker side with some Unfinished Heroes, and joined a motorcycle club named Chaos. I’ve spent my days running away to the Colorado Mountains, a Burg in Indiana, the coast of Maine, small towns and big towns across this country and world, and even a parallel world that doesn’t actually exist. I’ve fallen in love with Moonlight & Motor Oil, The Honey Club, and a blue genie named Fazire who will always own a piece of my heart.

These books encompassed so many moments, so many characters, so many stories that I will forever treasure. Told through some of the best storytelling and writing I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, these books and stories gave me so many moments that shook me to my core. 

Moments that took my breath away. Moments that made me laugh my ass off, cry my eyes out, and feel practically breathless with what these characters gave me. Moments that I will never forget. Moments that I’ve already gone back and reread multiple times. Moments that will go down in my book history as some of my favorite book moments ever.

Some of my favorite KA moments. (Not spoilery, as most are out of context and you won’t get it until you read the books…but look at the list at your own risk!)

Moments that I will truly never forget reading or experiencing.

I’ve lived and loved it ALL over the last 3 1/2 months with these books and fictional characters. I’ve traveled to worlds that aren’t real, and worlds that I wish with everything I have, were real. I’ve had some of the best reading experiences EVER.

And honestly? I just wish I could give Kristen Ashley the biggest hug right now because what she gave me within her books. I also want to say thank you to her a million times over. What she so infinitely created with her characters and moments and stories and worlds, what she allowed me to live and feel and breathe with her characters, and what she gave me to experience along the way is something I will treasure for the rest of time. Her writing is on a whole different level, and the moment you read and experience one of her books you will know that with every bone in your body. 

You will love it, you will crave it, and you will need as much of it as possible. Trust me on that.  

Simply put, Kristen Ashely has firmly cemented herself as one of my all-time favorite authors and reading these books, all 60 plus of them is something I will never forget. 

Just a couple of weeks ago, I found myself reading my last Kristen Ashely book. (That is until she writes more romantic goodness, which I cannot wait for!). I purposefully chose her Loose Ends Anthology to end with one last little bit of some of my favorite characters, as well as to get the stories for a few characters that I had been dying for. To celebrate I got me a cinnamon roll the size of my face and a good as hell coffee to accompany me with that last KA book. If you read any of these books you too will have an appreciation for baked goods and coffee from small businesses.

And let me just say, as sad as I was for this binge read to end, I couldn’t be happier that I finally listened to the 67 bajillion people who told me I should’ve been reading these books years ago. 

Y’all were right, I was stubborn as hell and didn’t listen, but I got there in the end. And I will be forever grateful that I did. 

So there you have it. 

The longest binge read of my life. 

The best binge read of my life. 

The binge read that brought me back to me. The binge read that brought me a multitude of fictional characters and stories and moments I will forever LOVE and cherish. The binge read that brought me to one of my favorite authors ever. The binge read that gave me so many moments that literally took my breath away. The binge read that showed me a million times over that a book, an author, a series can truly give you everything you need and more. 

The binge read that truly gave me it all. 

Never doubt the power of a good binge read y’all. 

Seriously. 

It just might be the pick me up you need. It also might be everything you didn’t even know you needed and then some. If you’re really lucky, it just might give you some of the best damn books and reading experiences of your entire life. 

And really, it doesn’t get better than that.

Trust me. 

It’s a Binge Read: Colleen Hoover

I can still remember the first time I read a book by Colleen Hoover.

It was a book I went into blind. It was a book so emotionally gripping, so breathtaking, and so heartbreaking yet utterly beautiful. It was a book unlike anything I’d ever read before.

That book made me cry in the middle of an amusement park ride line, and you know what? I fucking loved it. It was that book that brought me to Colleen Hoover and her books, and that solidified her as one of my favorite authors.

The first time I was lucky enough to meet Colleen Hoover, I told her that story…because it is truly something I will never forget. She gave me something with that book, and every book after, that will stay with me forever. Years later, I can still remember reading each and every one of her books, where I was, how I felt, what I was thinking.

The fact that after over almost 6 years of reading her books they’re all still with me? Well that my friends is the true tell of an amazing writing and storyteller.

And it’s just kind of the best.

Me and my favorite shirt, with my favorite line from Slammed.

Reading that book, Ugly Love, also started one of my favorite binge reads of all time. You see after reading Ugly Love, I went out to the bookstore and bought every book of hers that I could get my hands on. I then spent the next week and a half falling in love with a boy who was taking the lake, falling in love with a boy with a little less Hope, falling in love with finding a missing Cinderella, falling in love with the music of the heart…and it was THE BEST.

Ever since that binge read I have read everything I could get my hands on by Colleen Hoover. Through every new book she has continued to give me some of the most incredible, emotional, and beautiful stories that I have ever read. She has truly given me some of the best books of my reader life.

I have read her books. Lived them all. Felt every word and emotion…and then some. I’ve bought so many of her books for others, telling them “you NEED to read this book”, and talked about them with anyone that I could countless times.

Suffice to say, I’m hooked.

But I have a confession to make. A bad one.

I have been behind on her books for a couple of years now. Like real behind.

*ducks head in all of the reader shame*

But y’all I am making right, or should I say, I made it right.

You see, I realized I had to catch up…I had to right my wrongs….as Dorinda would say I had to make it nice…I had to catch up y’all!

So that’s what I did…and you know what’s funny? When I set out to catch up on her books, I realized that I had 8 books of hers to read. And you remember that first binge read I mentioned at the start of this post? You know the one that brought me to Colleen’s books in the first place? When I did that binge read, almost exactly 6 years ago to the day, I started with, you guessed it, 8 books of hers to read.

It felt like the best kind of kismet y’all.

So it only seemed right to write another post celebrating one of my favorite authors and the extraordinary reading experiences she once again gave me. Because y’all when I tell you you need to read a Colleen Hoover book, you NEED to read a Colleen Hoover book.

They will give you it all. And then some. And then some more. So much glorious more.

And when you reach the end of any or all of her books you will realize over and over again the true talent she has as a writer and storyteller. You’ll also realize that you’ve probably never read a book quite like hers before. That is truly just part of what makes her such a phenomenal author.

My latest binge read of Colleen Hoover’s books.

So here I am, doing just that. Shouting from the rooftop that if you haven’t read a book by Colleen Hoover, you need to.

You have to. It’s a must.

And in a nod to my first binge read of her books I thought I’d do the same type of write up with a quick summary of each book I read to give you a feel of what you’ll get with them.

You’re welcome in advance for the stellar summaries you’re about to read.

I will also preface these summaries with the note that since I was catching up on many of these books, some of them do relate to other series, so make sure you read them in the correct order whenever you do have the chance to read them.

The Synopsis’ You’ve been Waiting For:

Without Merit

This book has all the YA kind of feels. It’s quirky, definitely unlike any story you’ve read before, and it’s got some twists and reveals in it that will change it all. I loved how different this book felt, and I loved the YA feel to it because YA will always own my heart. And so will Merit and the rest of the crew in this book.

Read My Review of Without Merit

Verity

W.T.F That is all you need to know about this book….W.T.F. If there is one thing you will take away from this book it will be…..W.T.F. If there is one sentiment you will feel while reading this book, it will be W.T.F. And you will just LOVE it. I still can’t stop thinking about this book and I read it weeks ago!

Read My Review of Verity

All Your Perfects

This book hurt my heart. It broke me at times. It was not a story of rainbows and butterflies, but more so a real, honest story of what happens when a perfect love becomes an imperfect marriage. This book will try to break you at times, but I promise you it will give you it all along the way. It hurts, but it hurts so good…and Colleen Hoover did these characters and their story the justice they deserve.

Read My Review of All Your Perfects

Finding Perfect

Finding Perfect is a novella that continues the story from All Your Perfects, but it also connects into Finding Cinderella and the world of Hopeless….so to fully understand the PERFECTION of this novella, you should read Finding Cinderella (And really Hopeless and Losing Hope) and All Your Perfects first, and then you will just melt with what this story gives you.

Read My Review of Finding Perfect

The second time I met Colleen at Book Bonanza in Colorado. (She’s signing All Your Perfects, which is actually still hurting my heart as we speak.)

Too Late

Too Late is another story that is a bit dark, all kinds of twisty, and that will have you wondering what in the world will happen next. This book was all kinds of consuming and it definitely took me for a wild ride, and I just loved it. I loved how it kept me guessing and wondering through every word, and yet still had that connection and heart that I live for when reading a book.

Read My Review of Too Late

Maybe Now

When I started reading this book, I don’t think I realized how much I needed to go back to the world of Maybe Someday. This book showed me that I really did need to go back. I needed to be back with Maggie, and Ridge and Sydney, and Warren and Bridgett. I needed more time with them, more music, more antics, more answers. I needed more music and the special kind of magic this world delivers. (*Disclaimer* This book does not have literal magic in it, so don’t go expecting rabbits coming out of hats or anything.) This book was the PERFECT amount of more. That being said you have to read Maybe Someday before you read this book, but just trust me when I say you’ll love them both, and that Maybe Now is everything you need.

Read My Review of Maybe Now

Regretting You

Boy did I love this book. Hard. Told from alternating perspectives of a mother and daughter going through one of the toughest times of their life, this book explores their journeys of truth, of love, of hate, of understanding, of healing, and so much more. This book has such an incredible dynamic that plays out between its characters that is beyond consuming to read and experience. Plus it feels so real. I’ve never gone though what Clara and Morgan have, but Colleen Hoover lets you get it all. Every high, every discovery, every low, and every raw moment in between. She gives you it all and lets you get it all…and that is just they best.

Read My Review of Regretting You

Heart Bones

Heart Bones is Colleen Hoover’s newest book. It takes place on the Bolivar Peninsula in Texas, and I for one have never wanted to go to a place more than after having read this book. Like any Colleen Hoover Book, Heart Bones tackles complicated characters through an emotional story, with some heavy twists and turns thrown in. This book will give you it all and then some. I loved every bit of this book and how it gave me a love story, but more than that, it also gave me a story of finding out who you truly are and who you really want to be. This book combined so many pieces and so much heart to create such an incredible read.

Read My Review of Heart Bones

So there you have it y’all. A write up of my binge read of Colleen Hoover’s books.

The first time I met Colleen Hoover at Holiday with the Belles in Texas. You can’t tell, but I was really holding in my fangirling in this moment.

I have to say that I am so glad I finally caught up on her books because she is one of the best authors I have ever had the chance to read. She has given me stories that I will NEVER forget reading and characters that will always own a piece of my heart. There are still words of her that stick with me to this day. Moments with her characters that will come to my mind and really just remind me again and again why I love her books and everything she’s given me with them.

So really, if you take anything away from this blog post, I hope it’s the understanding that you need to read a book by this author. As soon as humanly possible. You could pick any book of hers to start with, and I guarantee that you will love it, that it will make you laugh, that it will make you feel, that it will just hit you in every way possible.

And honestly, that is just part of what makes a book by her so unforgettable, so consuming, and so utterly incredible.

So don’t be like me and wait 3 years to finally catch up on her books again. Don’t be like me and think that that’s a good choice, because it’s not. (And later on you’ll be like me, kicking yourself for waiting so long to read them!) It would be wrong to miss out on these books and stories and characters.

The moment you start any one of these books, you will get that. You will know that and feel that in your bones. And really, you’ll just be damn glad you read a book by Colleen Hoover.

Be sure to check out more about Colleen Hoover at the links below:

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