TBR vs What I Actually Read in July

Since I’ve been doing Recent Reads and Wrap Ups over on my BookTube channel, I thought it would be fun to compare my TBRs vs what I actually read here on my blog.

I’m a mood reader, however, I really like having a TBR every month to use as a guideline. The list of books that I own and need to read is kind of insane – not to mention my Audible Escape, Scribd, and Hoopla books that I want to read – so narrowing it down to dozen or so books that I want to focus on is helpful in choosing my next read. It also helps me make sure I’m reading more diversely.

 

July TBR

 

Key

✘ = Did Not Read

✓ = Read

/ = Currently reading

✂ = Did Not Finish

*  = Author of Color, BIPOC Authors

 

*Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon

*Sin & Ink by Naima Simone

*The Space In Between by Brittainy C Cherry

The Guy on the Right by Kate Stewart

*You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson 

*Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley

*With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

*Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender 

*Rhapsody by Kenya Wright

Docile by KM Szpara

The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune 

*The Groom Will Keep His Name by Matt Ortile

 

Other Books Read

*Neighborly by Katrina Jackson

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

*The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata (Reread)

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (Reread)

*Purple Lotus by Veena Rao

House of Night Graphic Novel by Kent Dalian

Saint by EM Snow

*How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi

Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

What You Wish For by Katherine Center

A Change in Tide by Freya Barker

Jane by Aline Brosh McKenna

*Monstress Vol. 1 by Marjorie M. Liu

Eidolon by Grace Draven

*Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper

*Check Please by Ngozi Ukazu

*Stargazing by Jen Wang

Smitten by Lauren Rowe

*Jo & Laurie by Margaret Stohl and Melissa De La Cruz

The Forbidden Man by Karina Halle

*Hands Down by Mariana Zapata

Radiance by Grace Draven

July TBR // July Reading List

And just like that… half of the year is in the books. And what a crazy half of the year it has been.

There are a few readathons happening this month that I will make separate TBRs for if I decide to participate, but I thought I’d share with you the books I’m hoping to read this month. Of course, as always, I use this as more of a reference guide to help me pick my next book rather than something that will DEFINITELY happen.

 

Books to Read in July

*=Author of Color, BIPOC Authors

 

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*Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon 
TBH, I actually already read this, but I read it on July 1 it’s one of those things where you add things you’ve already done to your To Do list just so you have something to check off.

This is an adorable M/M romance between a guy who runs this romance book club called The Meet Cute Club and a book snob who works at his favorite book store. RTC!

This is the KU book that got the most votes over on my BookTube channel for what I should read in July.
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*Sin & Ink by Naima Simone 
This was the Audible Escape vote for July and it sounds so good.

This is a contemporary forbidden romance between an ex MMA fighter and his dead brother’s widow.
The Space in Between (The Space in Between, #1)
*The Space In Between by Brittainy C Cherry

The Guy on the Right (The Underdogs, #1)
The Guy on the Right by Kate Stewart

I am so late to the game on this one. This was super popular a few months ago, but it just kind of fell off of my radar. I found it on Scribd, so I think I’ll listen to the audiobook this month.

From what I understand this is a friends-to-lovers underdog romance. I think the hero gets friend zoned and his roommate gets all the attention.

You Should See Me in a Crown
*You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson 

This is the Dragons and Tea book club pick and I’ve had this on my radar ever since I saw promo for it on Instagram.

It’s about a girl who has a plan to get out of her small town, go to college, and play in the orchestra… except all of her plans blow up when she isn’t approved for Financial Aid.
Always Never Yours
*Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley

This has been on my TBR for such a long time. I love the cover of this book!

It’s a YA Contemporary that revolves around a school play of Romeo and Juliet. The main character draws a lot of parallels between herself and with Rosalind.
With the Fire on High
*With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

I’m buddy reading this one with Mallory over at @FigsLibrary on Instagram. I read The Poet X last month and ADORED it so much I bought the physical book along with this one. We are reading the physical book together, but I also want to listen to the audiobook as well.

This is about a teen mom who is navigating life through high school while also being a parent and having aspirations of becoming a chef. This book includes recipes!

 

 
Felix Ever After
*Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

The hype around this book is so real and I can’t wait to get my eyes on it.

Felix’s last name is love, but he has never been in love. An anonymous person starts sending him transphobic messages and publicly uses his dead name, he comes up with a plan for revenge.
Rhapsody (The Butcher and the Violinist #1)
*Rhapsody (The Butcher and the Violinist #1) by Kenya Wright

That cover tho. This was a rec from a subscriber and it looks so good.

This is about a man named Jean-Pierre who is known as The Butcher of Corsican. He was known for his lack of feelings until he sees Eden playing the violin on stage.

 

Docile
Docile by KM Szpara

I got the audiobook for this a while ago from Libro.FM and it has been haunting me from my library ever since.

This is an extremely unique-sounding story set in a world where people can become  slaves in exchange for removing their debt for their families.

 
The Extraordinaries (The Extraordinaries, #1)
The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune 

I read Wolfsong and House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ last month and adored them.

All I really know about this book is that it revolves around a fandom and TJ wrote it – that’s all I really need to know to read it!
The Groom Will Keep His Name: And Other Vows I've Made About Race, Resistance, and Romance
*The Groom Will Keep His Name by Matt Ortile 

This was an ALC from Libro.FM, and I was excited to see that it was written by a Filipino man. (For those who don’t know, I’m half Filipino. My dad immigrated to the US in college.)

This is, essentially, a collection of essays about Matt’s life as a gay Filipino immigrant.

All of the books I mention in this post can be found and purchased on my storefront here.

(The above links are affiliate links and I receive a small commission if you purchase the book. I’m so grateful for your support.)

 

Books I Plan to Read Soon

This Sunday is my birthday (June 14), and I usually take my birthday week off. So, originally this was going to be my vacation TBR, however, I decided to hold off on my vacation because I have so much work to do and I don’t want to be worrying about my To-Do list while I should be relaxing.

With that being said, I already put together this TBR, so I figure I’ll still read these books over the weekend and next week – perhaps into the weekend after if I don’t finish.

*=Author of Color

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Hearts Ablaze by Heather Lyn

This is an adult contemporary firefighter romance!
Buy Now

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*The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

This is a graphic novel about a prince who likes to wear dresses and his dressmaker who befriends him.
Buy Now

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Bring Down the Stars by Emma Scott

Considering this is by Emma Scott, this is sure to be an emotional contemporary romance. It’s part one of a duology that involves a love triangle.
Buy Now

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*The Wicker King by K. Ancrum
I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this author. This book has mental illness rep, there is a polyamorous relationship, it’s mixed media… so many things to look forward to!
Buy Now

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Reborn Yesterday by Tessa Bailey

This is a vampire romance! It sounds like there is potential for an epic romance as well! Also, I really love this author.
Buy Now

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*Intercepted by Alexa Martin

This is a sports romance written by an author who is married to a pro football player!
Buy Now

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*Quiet Girl in a Noisy World by Debbie Tung

This is a graphic novel that is basically a love letter to introverts.
Buy Now

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*Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi
This is a super short Audible Original based on a fairytale in which a newly wed king sells his love of his queen to save her life.

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*Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole

This is another short book. It’s a contemporary romance between a super successful, yet nerdy disabled Black woman and a hero that is trying to make an Escape Room based on an Anime. It sounds wonderfully nerdy.
Buy Now

(Above links are affiliate links – thanks for your support!)

HEA-athon TBR

This readathon takes place June 1-7 and it’s all about reading books with Happily Ever Afters.

Our hosts are Cassidy and Alexandria:
Cassidy
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmeYSCqHZ1D1DyvUuXdjWwA
https://www.instagram.com/cassidyreads/

Alexandria
https://www.instagram.com/beautifulbitchbookreviews/

These are the prompts:

  • New to you author
  • Taboo/forbidden romance
  • Curvy heroine
  • Book released in 2020
  • Book set in a diff country than you live in
  • Book w/ a black cover
  • Trop don’t typically read
  • Small town romance
  • Name in the title

This is the bingo board:

I decided to choose one book for each prompt. Whether I actually stick to this TBR is debatable, but at least I have a starting point!

My ultimate goal would be to complete all the prompts, but I’ll be happy with just getting bingo!

New to you author
Before I Ever Met You By Karina Halle

Before I Ever Met You

I first met William McAlister when I was just a teenager.
He was handsome, had a beautiful wife and was on the verge of success, having just joined my father as his business partner. Mr. McAlister was full of smooth charm, but back then he was barely a blip on my radar. Just a family friend.
Fast forward ten years: I’m 25 years old and a single mom trying to make things right for her seven-year old son. I’ve made some mistakes, grappled with my demons and now I’m back in the city of Vancouver, getting a second chance at a better life.
I’ve started by working for my father’s production company as an executive assistant. My first day on the job and I already know I could have a promising career there.
That is until I see Will McAlister for the first time in a decade.
Now recently divorced and as sophisticated as always, Will has gone from being my father’s friend and business partner to something so much more.
We’re both older, for one thing, and he just oozes this worldly confidence and stark sexuality. Combined with his tall, muscular build and sharp suits, strong jaw and bedroom eyes, Will has turned into one hell of a distraction.
A distraction I’m having a hard time staying away from, considering his office is right across from my desk and I work with him in such close proximity.
But it’s just a harmless crush, right?
It’s just an innocent fantasy of screwing him on his desk, right?
It can’t ever be more because he’s my father’s best friend, business partner, and my boss.
Right?
Wrong.


Taboo/forbidden romance
Noughts and Crosses By Malorie Blackman

Noughts & Crosses (Noughts & Crosses, #1)

Two young people are forced to make a stand in this thought-provoking look at racism and prejudice in an alternate society.

Sephy is a Cross — a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a Nought — a “colourless” member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood, but that’s as far as it can go. In their world, Noughts and Crosses simply don’t mix. Against a background of prejudice and distrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum — a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger. Can they possibly find a way to be together? 


Curvy heroine
Man Hands by Sarina Bowen, Tanya Eby
Man Hands (Man Hands, #1)

BRYNN

At thirty-four, I’m reeling from a divorce. I don’t want to party or try to move on. I just want to stay home and post a new recipe on my blog: Brynn’s Dips and Balls.

But my friends aren’t having it. Get out there again, they say. It will be fun, they say. I’m still taking a hard pass.

Free designer cocktails, they say. And that’s a game-changer.

Too bad my ex shows up with his new arm candy. That’s when I lose my mind. But when my besties dare me to leap on the first single man I see, they don’t expect me to actually go through with it.

TOM

All I need right now is some peace and quiet while my home renovation TV show is on hiatus. But when a curvy woman in a red wrap dress charges me like she’s a gymnast about to mount my high bar, all I can do is brace myself and catch her. What follows is the hottest experience of my adult life.

I want a repeat, but my flying Cinderella disappears immediately afterward. She doesn’t leave a glass slipper, either—just a pair of panties with chocolate bunnies printed on them.

But I will find her.
 


Book released in 2020
My Favorite Souvenir By Penelope Ward, Vi Keeland
My Favorite Souvenir

My planned trip for two unexpectedly turned into a trip for one. Rather than let my breakup get me down, I packed my bags and decided a week at a luxury resort was just what I needed.
But one calamity after the next, and suddenly I was stuck without a hotel room, along with a few hundred other people.
It looked like my fancy vacation was about to turn into me sleeping on the hotel lobby floor.
Until I overheard a gorgeous man pretending to be someone he wasn’t in order to steal a reservation from a guest who hadn’t shown up yet.
When I realized there were two rooms, instead of calling him out, I pretended to be his sister. That’s how the story of “Milo and Maddie Hooker” began.
We were the Hookers.
My depressing trip quickly made a U-turn into an adventure.
My fake brother spent the next few days showing me around his hometown. When it was time to leave, neither of us really wanted to go yet.
So, instead of flying back to our respective homes, we ventured on a road trip.
At every stop, we’d pick up souvenirs.
But as hot as our chemistry was, we never crossed the line.
Milo knew I’d just come out of a tough relationship and didn’t want to mess with a vulnerable woman.
So instead, at the end of our trip, we made a pact to meet again in three months.
It was always my intention to meet him.
But when I got back home, reality hit in a big way.
And I worried I may have lost my handsome stranger forever.
Was there a place for him in my future?
Or had the memory of him just become my favorite souvenir?


Book set in a different country than you live in
Your French Kisses By Lauren Blakely
Your French Kisses (Boyfriend Material, #4)

To do list for my last day of my Paris vacation…
1. Walk along the river
2. Visit all the chocolate shops in the city
3. Wander along the cobblestoned streets.

Things I don’t expect to happen…
1. Meet a charming Englishman while strolling along the Seine
2. Spend the afternoon with him exploring Paris, and kissing. So many French kisses…
3. Board a plane that night wishing I’d gotten his last name.

Besides, you can’t fall for someone in one day, especially when you live a world apart…


Book w/ a black cover
Bad Habit By Charleigh Rose
Bad Habit (Bad Love, #1)

BRIAR
I was infatuated with Asher Kelley the moment he came tumbling through my brother’s window five years ago.
Even bruised and bloodied, he was the most beautiful boy I’d ever seen.
We couldn’t ever be together.
I was too young, and he was too untouchable.
He was too troubled, and I was too naive.
But the heart is rebellious, and mine decided it didn’t care about any of those things.
As I got older, harmless flirting turned to stolen moments in dark corners.
Until one day, he was gone without a trace.
Now, three years later, he’s back.
Callous and cruel.
He’s my brother’s best friend. My parents’ worst nightmare.
I should hate him.
But like a Bad Habit, I can’t quit him.

ASHER
I was drawn to Briar Vale from the first time she looked up at me with stars in her big, blue eyes.
She was just a kid, nothing but elbows and knees, but she was the most beautiful creature I’d ever seen.
We could never be together.
I was too old and she was too off limits.
She was too good and I was too fucked up.
Eventually, the temptation became too much to resist.
I risked everything for a kiss and she betrayed me.
Three years have passed and I’m forced to see her again, but now she’s all grown up.
She’s my best friend’s baby sister. My downfall.
I hate her for what she did.
But she’s always been my drug of choice


Trope don’t typically read
Saint by EM Snow
Saint (Angelview Academy, #1)

At Angelview Academy, Saint Angelle is considered God.
But don’t be fooled by his ridiculous name or that pretty face because Saint? He’s as wicked as they come.
I should know.
I’m the new girl who pissed him off.
The nobody who called out his crew of vicious tyrants.
The mortal who wouldn’t bow then and sure as hell won’t now.
Saint swears I’ll regret it.
He vows to own every inch of me.
He even promises to make my senior year a living hell.
I don’t believe him, though.
Because if angels can fall, so can so-called gods.
And I want to be the one to bring Saint Angelle to his knees.


SAINT is a full-length, 80,000 word new adult/ mature high school romance with enemies-to-lovers and bullying themes. It is not recommended for readers under 17 as it contains dubious situations and triggers that some readers may find offensive. It is NOT a standalone and ends in a cliffhanger.


Small town romance
Beard in Mind by Penny Reid
Beard in Mind (Winston Brothers, #4)

Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually.

Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone’s favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston’s charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket.

Shelly Sullivan is not nice and is never accommodating. Ever.
She mumbles to herself, but won’t respond when asked a question. She glares at everyone, especially babies. She won’t shake hands with or touch another person, but has no problems cuddling with a dog. And her damn parrot speaks only in curse words. Beau wants her gone. He wants her out of his auto shop, out of Tennessee, and out of his life.

The only problem is, learning why this porcupine wears her coat of spikes opens a Pandora’s box of complexity—exquisite, tempting, heartbreaking complexity—and Beau Winston soon discovers being nice and accommodating might mean losing what matters most.


Name in the title
On the Rocks By Kandi Steiner
On the Rocks (Becker Brothers, #1)

Noah Becker is nothing but trouble.

That’s what Mama told me when I was a kid, kicking his pew in church and giggling at the games we’d play. It’s what the town said when his father died and the Becker brothers went wild. And it’s on repeat in my mind the day I walk into the whiskey distillery where he works to buy a wedding gift for my fiancé.

He’s trouble.
Dirty, sweaty, rude trouble.

No matter how many times I repeat it, I can’t escape Noah in our small Tennessee town. And the more I run into him, the more he infuriates me.

Because he sees what no one else does.

He sees me—the real me.

The me I’m not sure I’m allowed to be.

I’m Ruby Grace Barnett, the mayor’s daughter. Soon to be a politician’s wife, just like Mama and Daddy always wanted. Soon to fulfill my family’s legacy, just like I always knew I would.

Until the boy everyone warned me about makes me question everything, like whether the wedding I’m planning is one I even want.

Everyone says Noah Becker is nothing but trouble.

If only I had listened.
 

 

Summer Vacation TBR

I decided to take the first week of the girls’ summer vacation off of work so I can recover from two months of working from home and e-learning. This mental health vacation is definitely needed!

In anticipation of the extra reading time, I thought I’d put together a TBR – which is more of a guideline than a hard-and-fast To Read list.

These are the books I’m hoping to read on my vacation:

Broken Edge & Over the Edge by CD Reiss

I read the prequel and the first book in this series during Contemporaryathon. I’m almost done with the second book and I’m addicted. I can’t wait to see what happens in this super intense contemporary psychological military romance!

The Marriage Game

The Marriage Game by Sarah Desai

This is an ARC I received from Netgalley that I’m hoping to read and finish this week. This is a diverse romcom between an aspiring entrepreneur and a CEO.

Hard As It Gets by Laura Kaye

I’m actually a little more than halfway done with this book, but I put it down for Contemporaryathon. It’s a contemporary romance between a veteran/tattoo artist and a woman who is trying to find out what happened to her brother who disappeared. I’m really enjoying it so far!

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Mackenzies & McBrides, #1)

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley

I’m actually almost finished with this audiobook, but I didn’t quite finish it in time for contemporaryathon. It’s SO good! It’s about this Lord who is autistic, but everyone thinks he is mad, except for our heroine who seems to understand him better than most.

The House in the Cerulean Sea

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

My friend De’Siree loves this book and has been insisting that I read it for a little while now. I was able to find this on sale and bought the audiobook, so I’m excited to read it. I don’t know much about what this book is about and I kind of want to go in blind. From what I understand it is a fantasy with a really good, but subtle romance.

Ravensong (Green Creek, #2)

Ravensong by TJ Klune

This is the second book in the Green Creek series. The first book, Wolfsong, was my favorite read of April. I’m excited to continue the series! I’ve heard great things about this book.

Rhapsodic (The Bargainer, #1)

Rhapsodic by Laura Thalassa

I’ve heard so many good things about this fae romance from so many people. It was recently on sale on Audible for $5, so I immediately bought it simply because of the author. I’ve read a lot of contemporary lately, so I decided to dive into some fantasy on audio this week.

Darkfever (Fever, #1)

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

This is a beloved series by many and it’s been sitting in my Audible library for actual YEARS. Now that I’ve binged on a ton of contemporary, I think now is the time to give this series a try! I hope I love it as much as others do!

Fortuna Sworn by KJ Sutten

If I somehow magically have more time to physically read after reading all the other ebooks and physical books on this list, I need to finish this one. I’m only a few chapters in and have had to put it down for readathons and ARCs, but I’m dying to really dig into this. I love KJ Sutten and have heard the romance in this is epic!

Contemporaryathon TBR

Today is the first day of Contemporaryathon and I thought I’d share my (extremely hopeful) reading plans with you!

Contemporaryathon is one of my favorite readathons to participate in because so many of the short books I own are contemporaries! This readathon starts today and goes through Sunday and is hosted by Chelsea from Chelsea Dolling Reads and Natasha from My Reading is Odd.

It only has 3 prompts:

  1. Read a book that has pink/peach on the cover.
  2. Read a book that is under 250 pages.
  3. Read a book that you think sounds fun!

Super easy ones!

As always, when I put together reading lists for readathons, I like to choose books I already own. My goal is to work through as many of those books as possible.

For short readathons, like this one, I focus on novellas that I own. Most of my novellas are on my Kindle, so all of these books are either eBooks (that I got for free or on KU) that are under 250 pages and audiobooks that are 7 hours or less. I’ll make note of their length for you below.

My Contemporaryathon TBR

So Unlike Me (Winning Your Heart Book 1) by Nikki Lynn Barrett
This is a small town contemporary romance that I downloaded for free on Kindle. I believe the heroine might star on a TV show and after a public breakup she is trying to hide away in a small town.
Format: eBook
Length: 203 pages
Prompt: Pink/peach on cover
Goodreads

Mind Reader by Kirsty McManus
The illustrated cover drew my eye for this one! I downloaded it for free on Kindle. This is a romcom between a guy who can predict soulmates and a stem cell research scientist.
Format: eBook
Length: 173 pages
Prompt: Under 250 pages
Goodreads

Rough Edge: (The Edge #1) by CD Reiss
I loved one of CD Reiss’s series, so when I saw this for free on Kindle, I downloaded it! This is a military romance between a woman who is returning home from the military and her husband, a surgical resident. It almost seems like there might be some sort of love triangle happening here? I’m not sure but it sounds really good!
Format: eBook
Length: 244 pages
Goodreads

Powertools: Collection 1 by Jayne Rylon
I mean, do we really need a synopsis here? LOL! This just sounds ridiculous and fun. I believe this is a reverse harem situation between a woman and construction workers who are building a house next door to hers.
Format: eBook
Length: 145 pages
Prompt: Fun!
Goodreads

Taming Her Mountain Man: Older Man/Curvy Girl Romance (Bear’s Tooth Mountain Men Book 1) by Cameron Hart
This is another freebie I got on Kindle simply because I’m obsessed with the loner hero trope!
Format: eBook
Length: 111 pages
Goodreads

Point of Retreat: Slammed, Book 2 By Colleen Hoover
I read the first book in this series a few months ago – it’s a new adult contemporary about slam poets! I really liked the first book and I’m hesitantly interested in this second one. I’m assuming it follows the same characters, but I’m not sure.
Format: Audio
Length: 6 hours
Goodreads

Owned (Decadence After Dark, Book 1) By M. Never
I got the physical book of this one from Shameless Book Con last year. I’m also reading it as part of a secret TBR, so it works out. This is a dark workplace romance with a master/slave relationship.
Format: Physical & audio
Length: 7 hours
Goodreads

Shy Girls Write It Better Some Girls Do It, Book 1 By May Sage
This one has such a fun premise. It’s about a clumsy, shy girl who also happens to write erotic fiction whose boss finds one of her manuscripts!
Format: Audio
Length: 3 Hours
Goodreads

April 2020 Wrap Up // Books I Read in April

FEBRUARY STATS
  • 32 Books total
  • 6 Re-reads
  • 2 Secret TBR reads
  • 1 DNF
  • 1 two-star book
  • 6 three-star books
  • 9 four-star books
  • 8 five-star books
  • 26 audiobooks
  • 3 hard copies
  • 4 eBooks
  • 3 currently reading
  • 1 readathons: Smutathon
REREADS

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The entire Pucked series by Helena Hunting.
I kept saying that I’ve been wanting to reread this whole series – and I finally did! This time around I realized how much more I liked Book 6 than before! Book 5 is still my all-time favorite, but Book 6 is up there with Book 1 and Book 5 now!
Goodreads

 

REREADS


Beach Read by Emily Henry
This is absolutely adorable and I’m loving it so much! I’m hoping to finish this one today. It’s a romance about two authors in neighboring beach house that have some history. One is a romance writer and one is a literary fiction author.
Goodreads

Fire In His Blood by Ruby Dixon
This is a dragon shifter, post-apocalyptic fantasy romance by the author of Ice Planet Barbarians. I like IPB better so far, but this one has a lot of potential.
Goodreads

1 secret book!

 

DNF

36306157._sy475_
Jock Row (Jock Hard #1) by Sara Ney
The main character in this book was SO annoying and I could not stand it. She gets kicked out of a frat party for basically being super annoying and holier than thou. I don’t think you are supposed to agree with the frat guys who kick her out, but I certainly did. It’s a romance between her and the athlete who has to guard her from coming back into the party. She was the worst and I couldn’t take it anymore, so I DNFd it. I don’t see myself picking this up again.

Goodreads

 

★★ 2 STARS

January (Calendar Girls #1) by Audrey Carlan
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This is about a girl who becomes an escort to make enough money to save her father from gambling debt. The main character was the “not like other girls” girl and I couldn’t handle how judgey she was. The hero is ok, but his character wasn’t well developed.
Goodreads

 

★★★ 3 Stars


Menace (Scarlet Scars #1) by JM Darhower
This is a scarred hero dark mafia romance. Check out my Spring Break Wrap Up to see my thoughts.
Goodreads

Fighting for Everything (Warrior Fight Club #1) by Laura Kaye
This is a military, friends-to-lovers romance. Check out my Spring Break Wrap Up to see my thoughts.
Goodreads

Assigned a Mate (Interstellar Brides Program #1) by Grace Goodwin
This is, essentially, an alien mail order bride romance. Check out my Spring Break Wrap Up to see my thoughts.
Goodreads

Hard Hitter (Brooklyn Bruisers #2) by Sarina Bowen
This is a contemporary hockey romance. This was fine. I didn’t find the hero very likable, even though I tend to like grumpy heroes and the heroine was pretty forgettable. Coming off of the high of Brooklynaire, not much could compare, though, so I can’t fault it for that. I really do like this series so far and plan on continuing.
Goodreads

The Loner’s Lady by Jessa Kane
I read this short novella for Smutathon. This is about a girl who is pretending to be her best friend’s girlfriend, but she ends up falling for his dad instead. This just was a little too extra for me. I felt like everything was rushed and ridiculous. Granted, that’s kind of the nature of this type of book, but Katee Robert has already proved to me it can be done well. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a good example of that.
Goodreads

I Dare You by Ilsa Madden-Mills
I read this for Smutathon because it was a short audiobook I found on Audible Escape. This book was fine, but not very memorable. It actually has a cute premise, it’s a new adult sports romance about a girl who develops a relationship with someone who text her from an unknown number.
Goodreads

 

★★★★ 4 Stars

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
This is a thriller following the story of a woman whose sister had gone missing years ago and present-day disappearances that are affecting her. I feel weird rating this highly only because it’s so graphic and gruesome and entirely messed up. But I could not stop reading this book. I really need to read more thrillers.
Goodreads

The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years #1) by Sarina Bowen
This is new adult friends-to-lovers sports romance with disability rep. I talk more about this in my Spring Break Wrap Up.
Goodreads

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
This was an adorable friends-to-lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers YA Contemporary romance that involves camping and forced togetherness. I talk more about this in my Spring Break Wrap Up.
Goodreads

Pipe Dreams (Brooklyn Bruisers #3) by Sarina Bowen
This is the same hockey romance series as Pipe Dreams. I actually read this series out of order, I read the first book first, but then I skipped ahead to Brooklynaire, and ended up going back to this one. I didn’t mind that, though, mostly because this book takes place during the same timeline as Brooklynaire, but you get a different perspective. This one is a second-chance romance that was a little hard to swallow, in my opinon, which is why I took away a star.
Goodreads

Cherish Hard (Hard Hitters #1) by Nalini Singh
This is a second chance contemporary romance that had a really great meetcute and such a good book boyfriend. I talk more about this in my Spring Break Wrap Up.
Goodreads

Inappropriate by Vi Keeland
This is a story about a woman whose vacation video gets leaked to her boss, which gets her fired. It’s obviously not fair at all, so in a drunken rage she sends a hate-email to her boss’s boss. And so begins our story. I read this one completely on a whim. I saw in it my wish list for Audible Escape, and decided to give it a shot. I’ve never loved anything by this author, but I’ve never strongly disliked anything either. This one I definitely liked more than other books I’ve read by her, but it wasn’t quite 5 stars. What I did really enjoy was that there was much more to this book than you would expect given the premise. It was more emotional than I anticipated.
Goodreads

The Happy Ever After Playlist (The Friend Zone #2) by Abby Jimenez
This takes place in the same world as The Friend Zone, only this time we are following the friend of the heroine in that book. I don’t really want to say more because I feel like it is spoilery to The Friend Zone, just know there is a rockstar element in this book. I think I am one of the only people who really liked The Friend Zone. I completely understand the issues many readers had with the ending of that book, but I still really, really liked it. In fact, I liked The Friend Zone more than this one (I gave that one 5 stars). I’m not going to lie, I thought I was going to adore this book and though I really liked it, I didn’t love it.
Goodreads

Theirs for the Night (The Thalanian Dynasty #1) by Katee Robert
This is an MMF romance about a girl who goes out to a club with her friend on her birthday and ends up going home with two guys – who happen to be a prince and his bodyguard. This was the group read for Smutathon. As usual, I think Katee Robert does such a great job with super steamy, short romances. I really like this one, though maybe not as much as I liked Your Dad Will Do. I think i’m going to enjoy the rest of this series a little bit more than I liked this one.
Goodreads

Better When It Hurts (Stripped #2) by Skye Warren
I decided to read this book for Smutathon because it was on Audible Escape and super short. It’s a gritty stripper romance. I’ve been wanting to read more Skye Warren books, and though this wasn’t my favorite, I definitely want to read more of her books.
Goodreads

 

★★★★ 5 Stars

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J Mass
This is SJM’s first adult fantasy novel – it’s full of pretty much every type of fantasy creatures including angels and faeries. I talk more about this in my Spring Break Wrap Up.
Goodreads

Art & Soul by Brittainy C Cherry
This is a YA romance between a musician and an artist who have to work on a school project together. I talk more about this in my Spring Break Wrap Up.
Goodreads

Misconduct by Penelope Douglas
This is a forbidden romance between a teacher and her student’s father. I talk more about this in my Spring Break Wrap Up.
Goodreads

Brooklynaire (Brooklyn #1, Brooklyn Bruisers #4) by Sarina Bowen
I have no idea what series this book belongs to because it takes place in the same world as Brooklyn Bruisers and in some places it is listed as part of that series and others it is listed as the Brooklyn Series. Either way it can be read as a standalone. It follows the story of a quirky millionaire who owns an Apple-like tech company and a hockey team. It’s a friends-to-lovers workplace romance with so much longing and swoon, I can’t even. I’m so in love with the hero in this book and how much he pines after the heroine without her ever knowing.
Goodreads

By the Book by Amanda Sellet
This was an ARC from Netgalley. It’s a YA contemporary romance about a girl who reads a lot of classic and historical novels and creates a scoundrel survival guide for the girls at her school based on the books she’s read. It was super cute, but written in a very particular way that may not appeal to everyone – review to come!
Goodreads

Your Dad Will Do (A Touch of Taboo #1) by Katee Robert
This was a highly anticipated read for me ever since I saw that Katee Robert was planning to release it and it lived up to what I hoped for it. This is a super short, super smutty, super taboo romance about a girl whose fiance cheats on her, so in revenge she sleeps with his dad. A lot of people say this one lacks plot, but they still really liked it, and I don’t disagree, but I also didn’t mind. I had so much fun reading this one and it made me fall even more in love with Katee Robert.
Goodreads

The Butterfly Project by Emma Scott
This book was recommended to me by a subscriber friend, Taseen, in the comments of one of my videos and I feel like you guys know me so well, because I loved this freaking book. I did not realize that this is about a character I loved from the Full Tilt duet. She’s a tattoo artist who is trying to publish a graphic novel that is very personal to her and when she gets rejected she almost leaves New York, but ultimately ends up staying when she’s able to become roommates with our hero. They have an adorable meet cute and omggg the hero in this book. He’s one of those characters who is such a good person who is put in bad situations. Both of our characters are dealing with guilt from their pasts, but slowly healing together. I’m kind of obsessed with him, he’s one of my favorite book boyfriends.
Goodreads

Wolfsong (Green Creek #1) by TJ Klune
I knew I was going to love this book, but I didn’t know how hard I would swoon. For some reason, I don’t know why I expected that this book wouldn’t be as romance heavy as it was. I think maybe because it’s about werewolves and I figured it’d be more about that than the romance and while the world was well-developed, the characters were well-developed, and the plot was interesting, the romance was also extremely strong. I feel like a lot of the time you’re sacrificing one thing for another, but it truly felt like this book didn’t lag behind in any of those things. Even the writing was excellent.

But honestly, it was the swoon in this book that tipped me over the edge. My heart hurt in the best and worst ways while reading this book and I can’t get enough.

Goodreads

May Reading List // May TBR

Hello, hello!

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Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

I’m here with another monthly reading list today.  As always, this is much more of a guideline than a required reading list. 

I love making a TBR every month even though I’m a mood reader because it’s my first go-to once I finish a book, I like to check this list to see if anything sounds good.

 

I have a secret…

I have a secret TBR that I’ll be starting this month for a video I’m hoping to post next month, but my lips are sealed!

 

ARCS

There are lots of exciting books coming out this month and next month! These are the ARCs I’m planning on reading prior to release.

 

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Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson

Release Date: 5/19

This adult contemporary romance is about adoptive mama’s boy/play boy Jesse who is trying to keep his mother’s knitting store open after she passes, even though his brothers want to close it. Jesse enlists the help of his childhood friend who is ak nitter and also happens  to have feelings for him.

Goodreads

 

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Beach Read by Emily Henry

Release Date: 5/19

There is SO much hype around this book and I 100% buy into it! This is a romance about two authors who go on a writing retreat at the beach and end up neighbors. It’s supposed to be super fun and swoony and I am so ready for it!

 

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Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

Release Date: 5/26

This is an F/F romance between a showrunner and her assistant who get caught in a misunderstood compromising position by the media and they end up fake dating. I need more F/F romances in my life!

Goodreads

 

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The Marriage Game by Sara Desai

Release Date: 6/9

Hello, beautiful cover! This is a hate-to-love romcom about an entrepreneur who is down on her luck, so her father sets her up in an office to start a business… and also sets her up on a series of blind dates. Little does she know, the office was also promised to a CEO of a company that is looking for a quiet office space. This seems like it could be a super cute, diverse novel.

Goodreads

 

Audiobooks

There will be a lot of physical reading going on this month, so I’m not sure how many audiobooks I’ll be able to fit in. I’m playing it safe and adding only 4 this month!

 

 

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Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz

My lovely friend Averie from AverieLovesBooks recently read this in a reading vlog and it literally brought her to tears. Both she and I suffer from chronic illnesses (different illnesses from one another) and the characters in this book also have chronic illnesses. That’s all I really need to know: that a good friend likes it and it has chronic illness rep. I will always support that!

Goodreads

 

 

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Docile by K.M. Szpara

This sounds like it is a pretty polarizing read. I’ve seen a few people review this and everyone seems to have mixed reviews. From what I understand, this takes place in the future where people can sell themselves as personal slaves (to be used in any way) in exchange for eliminating all of their debts for their families. When they do this, they take a pill or get an injection that makes them docile and compliant. The main character in this story decides to do this without taking the injection.

Goodreads

 

 

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Wolfsong (Green Creek #1) by TJ Klune

This book has been getting so much love for a really long time – and it’s been on my TBR for a long time as well. There seems to be a bit of a resurgence of love for this book over on BookTube lately, so when Audible had a recent member sale, I decided to finally buy it and I cannot wait! This is an M/M shifter romance that takes place over many years.

Goodreads

 

 

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Rhapsodic (The Bargainer #1) by Laura Thalassa

I recently read Pestilence and War by this author, so when I saw this on sale over on Audible, I bought it without knowing what it is about. The only thing I know is that it is a new adult fantasy romance with fae.

Goodreads

 

Physical Books

I’m not entirely sure if I’ll be able to get to any physical books this month since I’ll be doing a lot of e-reading for my secret TBR and ARCs, but I do hope to finish at least one of these books. I try to read at least one book from my bookshelf each month, but I always aim for more!

 

 

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Reborn Yesterday (Phenomenal Fate #1) by Tessa Bailey

The premise of this book has the makings of an epic romance and I need one in my life STAT. This is a vampire romance about a funeral home director who is working on a body that comes back to life. I believe this is a fated mates situation and I’m so here for it! Also, I really like Tessa Bailey.

 

 

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Most of All You by Mia Sheridan

I love me some Mia Sheridan. This is supposed to be a super angsty contemporary romance with two characters with dark pasts.

Goodreads

 

Weekend Smutathon Reading List/TBR

I am so ready for this next round of Smutathon. I have many books on my Kindle that have been calling to me and this is the perfect time to work my way through a few of them!

There are also some really fun virtual bookish events that I am planning to “attend,” so I’m super excited for a fun book-filled weekend!

Tomorrow I am planning on posting this TBR on my BookTube channel and I’ll be doing a weekend vlog as well.

Here is the Weekend Smutathon Information:

Dates: April 25-26th

There are no challenges other than to read as many smutty romances as you want, but we do have an optional group book you can read with us!

The optional group book is: THEIRS FOR THE NIGHT by Katee Robert (free on Kindle!)

 

Weekend Smutathon TBR

As always, my goal for readathons is to read as many books that I own first and foremost, and also books that are on my TBR.

For this readathon in particular, since it is only two days long, I’m focusing on eBooks that I already have on my Kindle (of which there is over 400 – #cantstopwontstop) that are under 200 pages long.

I have an entire excel spreadsheet full of eBooks on my Kindle that are under 200 pages long, but I narrowed down that list to the ones I want to prioritize for this readathon. Most of these books are available on KU or are free or go on sale for free very often. I will make note of this beneath each title.

At some point I’d love to put together a list of KU eBooks under 200 pages, but for now, we’ll stick with my TBR for Weekend Smutathon.

 

 

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Theirs for the Night by Katee Robert

Free on Kindle | 85 pages
This is the Smutathon buddy read. It’s an MMF romance about a girl who meets two “gorgeous guys” at a club on her birthday… and I think we all know what happens from there. I loved Desperate Measures by this author, she’s able to build believable romances in very few pages, so I have high hopes!

 

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His Forbidden Obsession by Jessa Kane

Available on KU | 53 pages
I feel like a Smutathon wouldn’t be complete without some Jessa Kane. She’s known for her super short, super smutty romances with (mostly) ridiculous premises. This, I believe is a romance between a nun and her bodyguard.

 

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Her 2 Protectors by Jessa Kane

Available on KU | 73 pages
This is an MMF fireman romance and we’re ready for it.

 

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The Farmer’s Daughter by Jessa Kane

Available on KU | 82 pages
It would appear the theme for my Smutathon TBR is MMF, because this is another one. This time it takes place on a farm with a surly rancher and a tattooed ranch hand.

 

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SOLD: Auctioned to the Billionaire (Steele Series Book 1) by Natalia Banks

Free on Kindle | 84 pages
I mean, I think the title says it all. A dark, brooding billionaire and a girl who has been down on her luck.

 

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First Verse (Second Verse Book 1) by Emily Snow
Free on Kindle | 97 pages
Now, on to something a little… less… smutty. I think. This is a country music forbidden romance.

 

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January: Calendar Girl Book 1 by Audrey Carlan

Free on Kindle | Available on Audible Escape | 108 pages
This series, I believe, revolves around an escort service. This book, in particular, is about a girl who is trying to save her dad who has a gambling problem by becoming an escort to earn the money needed to pay off his debts.

 

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The Loner’s Lady by Jessa Kane

Available on KU | 60 pages
This sounds like a short, probably-not-as-good version of Birthday Girl. The heroine is fake dating some guy and ends up attracted to his loner father. Give me all the loners and all the forbidden romance, please and thank you!

 

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The Secret Note by Lauren Rowe

Free on Kindle | 69 pages
What?! A Lauren Rowe book I haven’t read and know nothing about? How is this possible? This is a little brother’s best friend romance!

 

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Beauty Touched the Beast: A Sexy Modern Fairy Tale by Skye Warren

36 pages
Unfortunately, this book is no longer available on Amazon. I bought it back in 2017. From what I understand it is a smutty Beauty and the Beast retelling – which I will always be down for. Skye Warren does have another book that sounds similar to this one called Beauty and the Professor.

 

 

 

Kindle Unlimited Romance Novels I Need to Read {Vol. 1}

I thought it would be fun to occasionally post about the Kindle Unlimited books I have hanging out on my TBR for two reasons:

  1. In case you have read any of these and would like to recommend them (or not!)
  2. In case you are looking for Kindle Unlimited recommendations and these sounds good to you.

If you’re interested, I also made a video over on my Booktube channel talking about this TBR. You can check it out here:

 

KINDLE UNLIMITED ROMANCE TBR

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A Lie for a Lie (All In #1) by Helena Hunting
From what I understand this series is supposed to be pretty different from her Pucked series (which I love), even though it is another contemporary hockey romance series that has some of the same characters. I think you get a sneak peek at some of the characters from Pucked. I believe Rookie (from Pucked) is also in this book – it may even be his book?
Goodreads | Amazon

 

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Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward
This is an author duo that I’m still trying to fall in love with. Most of their books have been misses for me, but that’s the great thing about KU – you can try out books worry-free. I’ve heard mixed reviews about this one, but the premise sounds cute: a penpal, second-chance romance.
Goodreads | Amazon

 

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Enemies by Tijan
I’ve only read one book by Tijan and I ended up giving it 4 stars. It was a little too extra for my taste, but I’m still absolutely willing to give them another chance. The title and cover lead me to believe this is an enemies-to-lovers sports romance, which I am here for. Given the previous novel I’ve read by them, I do worry that it’ll lean more toward the bullying end of the enemies spectrum, which is something I’m not a huge fan of, but we’ll see. I did really like the romance in the previous novel I read.
Goodreads | Amazon

 

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Irresistible (Cloverleigh Farms Book 1) by Melanie Harlow
This is a series that a friend of mine really enjoys and has raved about many times. It’s a small town romance by an author I don’t believe I’ve read before. Also, I’m totally loving the covers of this series.
Goodreads | Amazon

 

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Lumberjack (A Real Man #1) by Jenika Snow
This series can either be ridiculous or it can be amazing. I believe this is a romance between a city girl who is trying to get away for a while and a recluse lumberjack. I’m all about the recluse hero, what can I say? This will be another first book from an author I’ve never read.
Goodreads | Amazon

 

The Kingmaker (All the King’s Men # 1) by Kennedy Ryan
Anyone else completely drawn to these covers? I’ve been hearing people absolutely rave about this Duet, and it’s honestly not surprising. Kennedy Ryan is a well-loved author and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of hers previously. I believe this is about a Native American woman (she might be half) who is protesting against a company for which the hero works.
Goodreads | Amazon

 

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Ice Planet Barbarians series by Ruby Dixon
I read the first six of these books on Audible because they are available on Audible Escape. The rest of them, including the novellas, are available on KU! So, that’s where I plan to read the rest. They’re short, so they’ll be quick little palette cleansers. This serious looks and sounds ridiculous – and it is – but the romances are also on point. They’re sci-fi alien romances with the fated mate trope.
Goodreads | Amazon

 

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Friends With The Monsters by Albany Walker
It was the cover that drew me to this book. Every so often, I browse the romance section of KU, and I came across this one. This is a reverse harem novel.
Goodreads | Amazon

 

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Someday, Someday by Emma Scott
I’ve heard a lot of people talk about this book, and enjoy it. I really like Emma Scott, she tends to write pretty emotional, hard-hitting books and this one is no different. It’s an m/m romance about two people who are overcoming drug addiction.
Goodreads | Amazon

 

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Menace (Scarlet Scars #1) by J.M. Darhower
I’m actually currently reading this one, but having a little trouble getting into it, which is surprise since I usually really like bad boy, scarred hero romances. So far the hero isn’t quite as mysterious and brooding as I hoped/expected him to be. This is a new-to-me author. This is also available on Audible Escape.
Goodreads | Amazon