Recent Reads: June 14-27

I read a total of 14 books between June 14 & June 27 and there were so many great ones!

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

 

34536956._sx318_
4 stars
This is a graphic novel that is basically a series of scenarios that will be very relatable to true introverts. I am much more of an extroverted introvert, so there were some things that I didn’t fully relate to, but I totally understood. The illustrations were adorable and I read this book within an hour. I think this book would make a great gift for your introvert friends who don’t get enough love in this noisy world.
53836667._SY475_
4 Stars
I saw that a friend of mine on bookstagram was reading a couple of Whitney G novels and this was one of them. It definitely inspired me to pick it up since it was my birthday and her novels tend to be short and sweet – like a little treat on a day of relaxation.
This book had so many great romance tropes happening in it. First of all, the heroine, not unlike Whitney G, is a successful author of short, self-published, steamy romance novels. She joins this sort of pen pal ish service that is supposed to be strictly platonic and starts talking to this guy. At first he’s a douche, but then they work things out. Turns out he is her dad’s good friend. So there is a forbidden and age gap scenario.
I have to be honest, I didn’t love this at first. I really didn’t like the way the hero was talking to our heroine at all and I worried he wouldn’t redeem himself.
He did and I ended up really enjoying this. Whitney G does what few authors can when it comes to steamy novellas: she builds chemistry quickly and crafts a believable romance in otherwise outlandish settings. Her and Katee Robert are my two very favorite short, steamy, romance writers for that reason.
23739508
5 Stars
I finally did it! I read a Tessa Dare novel and everyone was right. I freaking loved it.
This book is about a woman who is incredibly introverted and to avoid having to do the typical coming out in society thing, she makes up a pretend boyfriend. A Scottish soldier who, it turns out, actually exists.
He has been receiving her letters and learns all about her from them, so when he shows up unexpectedly at the house she inherited because of her fake engagement to him, she’s obviously surprised.
For those who don’t normally like historical romances, I think Tessa Dare is the perfect place to ease your way into the genre. Her heroines aren’t annoyingly innocent and naive. Her books feel modern even though they are not.
This had so many elements of a great romance: fake dating, a little bit of enemies-to-lovers, and an adorable meetcute.
I can’t wait to read more Tessa Dare!
41020406._SX318_
5 Stars
This is a coming-of-age memoir about a mixed-race gay teen who eventually finds himself when he discovers drag, written in verse. Obviously I can’t personally speak for the rep in this novel, but I can tell you that it was beautifully written.
I’m a big fan of modern poetry and though I connected a little more with the poetry in The Poet X a little more, I still really liked this one. While I loved the audiobook, I have seen a few pages of the book and I wish I had it as I was reading as well.
I feel like this book is so important for young people to read, to help them see outside of their boxes – or to help them find themselves on page. To help them not feel so alone.
Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?! 1
4 stars
My very first official manga was gifted to me by my sweet friend, @genkireader, for my birthday. There was definitely a learning curve when it came to reading this. I was messaging her on Instagram with questions like, “Wait, this book is backwards, where do I start? Do I read right to left or left to right?” It was surprisingly more difficult than I expected, but I REALLY enjoyed this book. So much so that I ended up buying a few more of her favorites.
This book was quirky and cute. It’s about a guy who has developed the power to read people’s mind through touch and he thinks it is because he’s a 30yo virgin. He ends up reading the mind of a charasmatic, good-looking guy in his office and discovers that he is attracted to him. So many adorable moments ensue, a ton of over-thinking and awkwardness, but also super sweet, swoony moments, too. I feel like this will speak to any of us who overthink every little thing when we are falling for someone. Especially when it is unexpected.
Thank you, De’Siree for this gift, it was like you gifted me a piece of yourself because I know how much you love these stories. Lovelovelovelovelove.
41712479._SY475_
3 Stars
This is a cute romance between a buff, tattooed nanny who begins working for a savant young surgeon and mother of two girls.
This book was fine, though I didn’t see anything special about it. Maybe I gave in a little to the hype surrounding it and that was the issue, but mostly the romance was just ok. I felt like it was a little rushed, I wished there was more pining and more of a forbidden aspect to this, but it seemed like they both gave in pretty quickly.
20348781
5 stars
This was a super angsty, emotional story about a girl and a guy who are both dealing with terrible tragedy and find solace in each other. The first night they meet is filled with unbelievable chemistry, it’s almost too good to be true.
And it turns out to be. Because it turns out he is her high school teacher.
The heroine was held back in school because of a medical condition, so she is 19 years old and a senior. He is a young teacher, in his early twenties, so the age gap isn’t really a thing, but it doesn’t make it any less forbidden.
When they realize the situation, it’s heartbreaking because of how intense their first meeting was. A series of super angsty things happen and it’s all very intense, but in the best epic love kind of way.
I was rooting for this couple the entire time, but not only that, I loved the heroine’s relationship with her step siblings even with all that drama.
25657130
5 Stars
This is a super relevant fictional story that is somewhat reminiscent of The Hate You Give.
This is about a boy in the ROTC in high school who is falsely accused of stealing by a racist, hateful police officer who ends up beating him until he is unconscious which stirs protests in his town that is sick of this constantly happening.
Sound familiar?
What’s interesting about this story is how it follows the perspective both of the victim and a white boy that goes to his school who is linked to the police officer.
I was completely invested in this story, while also cautious. I was super curious about how this book would end. Would it be far too optimistic or would it be realistic?
When I finally came to the end, I very much appreciated it. It was hopeful without being naive. It left questions that we still need answers to, but it didn’t feel too unresolved that it leaves you unsettled. I almost took it as… let’s let current events tell us how this story is going to end.
34506912
5 Stars
I read this sweet, heartwarming graphic novel with my girls. They adored it from the very first night we read it before bed.
This story is about a prince who likes to wear dresses and hires, in secret, a dressmaker to make him custom dresses.
I didn’t tell them what it was about, I wanted them to discover it on their own and ask questions as they came up.
Books are an essential parenting tool for me.
The girls begged me every night to keep going. They loved the characters in this book and they were excited to see what was going to happen.
This entire book, but especially the ending was so adorable. I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to read more from this author. Especially if I can share the experience with my girls.
5 stars and 4 stars
A lot of my friends have read and loved this series, between that and the premise, I’ve been super excited to read it.
This is about a woman who is a sex addict and her best friend she’s in a fake relationship with who is an alcoholic.
This is a super angsty, dark, gritty series so far with such a strong romance. These are extremely troubled characters who are using their relationship and each other to hide their addictions.
I found this book, ironically enough, addicting to read and I can’t wait to read on in the series.
The second book did seem to drag on a bit, I feel like it could’ve been half as long as it was, but I know it was necessary.
49976087
5 Stars
I am absolutely LOVING these Brown sisters books! Chloe’s book was fantastic, but I think this one might be my favorite so far.⁣
Dani is a smart, independent savvy woman who is not interested in a long term relationship. Zaf is basically the complete opposite.⁣
The two of them have not had much more than a nice rapport – he’s the security guard at the school she teaches at, until Dani gets trapped in an elevator and Zaf rescues her. This wouldn’t be a big deal if the entire rescue didn’t get caught on film and go viral.⁣
The “going viral” thing seems to be really popular lately and it’s not normally something I would gravitate towed. Honestly, I tend to prefer if romance novels just pretend that social media didn’t exist. I think it’s tricky including anything involving technology in contemporary romance novels only because things change so rapidly, it’s easy to become outdated.⁣
However, I didn’t care what this book was about, I knew I was going to read it and fully expected to love it … and I was right.⁣
As always, Talia’s steamy scenes are SO on point, but more than anything, she writes sweet heroes SO well. I adored Zaf with everything I am. I can’t handle how much I love his side job and that despite being a big guy, he’s a big softie. ⁣
And, of course, I adored Dani. I love how badass and confident and independent she is, even if it does complicate her relationships.⁣
38746485
5 Stars
I borrowed this on a whim from my library. I’ve been reading a few nonfiction books lately and have enjoyed all that I’ve picked up.⁣
I have to admit, though, I loved this one the most.⁣
I didn’t realize Michelle’s father had MS. As soon as she mentioned his symptoms, my stomach dropped and I just KNEW it. It’s always hard for me to read about people who have Multiple Sclerosis, especially nonfiction because I’m always wondering if that will be me and when.⁣⁣
As a romance reader, I adored Michelle and Obama’s romance. I officially ship them SO hard. Watching their relationship unfold was so satisfying and adorable.⁣
I’m not a big crier while reading, but I got choked up so many times. When she talked about visiting the VA, when she talked about Sandy Hook… it wasn’t overly dramatic, but it was enough to have me covering my mouth with my hand trying not to cry.⁣
I’ve always admired this woman, but even more now than I did before learning more about her. ⁣

 

Recent Reads: June 1-13

Since my wrap-ups are so long at the end of the month, I decided to break it up into two different posts. You can watch the video of this wrap-up here:

 

Here are the books I read from June 1 – June 13.

*=Author of Color

45916982._SY475_
On the Rocks (Becker Brothers #1) by Kandi Steiner

3 stars
This is a small town contemporary age gap romance. Ruby is 19 and the daughter of the mayor of the small town. Noah works at a popular whiskey distillery. They meet when Ruby is visiting the distillery to purchase a wedding gift for her husband-to-be. So, if you are not a fan of cheating, you probably won’t be a big fan of this book. Granted, her fiance is an awful person, but the demonizing of his character seemed too convenient. It also occurs after there is already emotional cheating. Putting all of that aside, I did enjoy this book and I definitely want to read on in the series. I’m super curious about all of Noah’s brothers, and I’m assuming each brother has his own story.
Buy Now

52211784
*The Boyfriend Project (The Boyfriend Project #1) by Farrah Rochon

4 stars
This contemporary romance is about three women who find out that they are all dating the same guy via a viral live tweet of his date with one of them. Both the main character and another of the women crash the date and become friends. They all decide to swear off men and focus on themselves. Of course, that is when the main character falls for someone. I loved the friendship in this book, in fact, more than I was interested in the romance. I LOVE reading books that feature women in STEM and our main character, Samiah, works for a tech company. Daniel, the hero, was fine, but he was very forgettable. I definitely think Samiah deserved someone a better and more interesting.
Buy Now

33294200._SY475_
*The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

5 Stars
I borrowed this audiobook from my library, but I absolutely need to own this.
This is a coming of age, story about a girl who feels out of place, even in her own family, until she discovers her passion for spoken word poetry. This book is told in verse and when you listen to the audiobook, it’s such a beautiful experience since the author narrates this herself.

I’m a big fan of spoken word poetry, so I appreciated her inflections and the way she read the lines, but I also wish I had this book in physical format as well. In fact, I’m planning on buying the physical copy as well so that I can underline my favorite parts and pull quotes from it. Not to mention the cover is gorgeous.
Buy Now

50828814._SX318_SY475_
Handsome Lawman (Handsome Devils #3) by Lori Wilde

4 stars
This is a book I read for a secret TBR. It’s a contemporary small town cowboy romance. This series follows attractive brothers that are very popular in this small town. Trent is the sheriff of the town and the first time he meets the heroine, it’s because she is being accused of theft. Erin is new in town and running away from her past.

This book was light, fluffy, and super cute. It’s was a nice palette cleanser read. I always love reading about animals in romances. This one was a little off-putting because the hero is basically forced into taking in Erin’s foster puppy, which any pet owner knows, is never a good idea. No one should ever be pressured into owning a puppy. However, it was adorable seeing Trent fall in love with the puppy.
Buy Now

42922796._SY475_
*The Man I Can’t Have (Ward Duet #1) by Shanora Williams

3 stars
This book is available on Audible Escape – it’s also available on KU. This is a story of a rich housewife and artist whose husband is constantly away for work. She hires a landscaping company to redo her backyard. Marcel is the owner of the landscaping company and they have an immediate connection.

This is a new-to-me author and I didn’t read the synopsis going in to this, so I had no idea what I was in for. I read this last week and honestly I’m still kind of reeling by how unexpected this book was. There were a lot of elements of this book that were pretty middle of the road, a typical romance. But then there were a few dark and gritty things thrown in that maybe seemed a little out of place to me. The ending felt like it came out of nowhere and I’m not really interested in reading the next book in this duet.
Buy Now

22602899._SX318_
Insidious (Tales from the Dark Side #1) by Aleatha Romig

4 stars
I read this book because it is Steph, from Steph’s Romance Book Talk’s favorite book and a few fellow romance booktubers and I read it and had a live show discussion about it with Steph.

I want to preface this by saying, I went into this completely blind with absolutely no expectations, whatsoever.

This is a very dark romance with so many trigger warnings, I’d say if you have any triggers whatsoever, it may be best to avoid this book.

I don’t even know how to describe this book. Basically, our main character is married to a very powerful and wealthy man who is dying. She has a contract with him which basically takes away her consent. He likes to watch her with other men and she has no choice in the matter.

There are no “good” characters in this. Everyone is some shade of awful human being, including the main character. But I loved her. Where you’d expect her to be extremely submissive, she’s actually quite badass. I’m always here for the vengeful, dark, heroine. I’m very interested in reading more by this author.
Buy Now

43708708
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

I read this book for the Blackout Buddy Read. This is a book by a white author to educate other white people about racism. This book does what it intends. It made me uncomfortable. It forced me to look at myself through a different lense. It gave me the history lesson they don’t teach in schools.
Buy Now

53462468._SX318_
*Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi
4 stars
This is a super short Audible exclusive fairytale about a king who trades the love between himself and his queen in exchange for life. The story begins a year and a day later when they realize that just because their love was taken away, doesn’t mean they can’t find their way back to it.

I originally rated this book 3 stars because I felt like it was just meh. I didn’t really like the way the story was told, it felt very juvenile, though I know that was the intent. It was told like a fairytale.

As I thought more about this book, I realized the parallels this story draws between this fantastical stories with witches and magic and a very common, real life thing that often happens between married couples. The king and queen were in love, but that love is taken away from them. How often do we hear about married couples who fall out of love because they have grown apart instead of together? They either have to find their way back or go their separate ways. And much like how the two characters in this book didn’t realize they had the ability to fall in love again, a lot of married couples often don’t realize that same thing.

Needless to say, I bumped up the rating to 4 stars.

42117382
*Can’t Escape Love (Reluctant Royals #2.6) by Alyssa Cole

5 stars
OMG THIS BOOK WAS SO ADORABLE AND I WISH IT WAS LONGER! I read the first book in this series, but I did not read the second, however, after reading this book, I am determined to read the rest.

This is such an adorable, geeky, love story with such great rep. The main character is Black, disabled, a total boss bitch who runs a super successful website, and is SUPER nerdy in the best way. The hero is nerdy in his own way, he’s really good at puzzles and is a little socially awkward.

The premise is my favorite thing on the entire planet. The heroine is the only one who watches the heroes livesterams because she loves his soothing voice and it helps her sleep. So when he stops livestreaming, she has trouble sleeping. So, she reluctantly sends him an email asking him to send her audio clips of his voice.

As someone who is obsessed with people’s speaking voices to an embarrassing degree (I’m looking at your Jonathan Groff), this was the love story I didn’t know I needed in my life.
Buy Now

51477556
My Favorite Souvenir by Penelope Ward, Vi Keeland

3 stars
This is available on AE and KU. few people were raving about this book in our Romance Booktubers Ask Us Anything liveshow, so I knew I wanted to give this author duo another try. I’ve read a few books of theirs in the past that I didn’t love, but also didn’t hate and this one was honestly no different.

Though, I did really love the premise. The heroine decides to go on her honeymoon even though her wedding was called off, but something happens and she can’t get a hotel room in the middle of a snow storm. She notices a guy scheming to get a hotel room and decides to get in on the scheme so she can get one, too. They end up hanging out and going on an impromptu road trip together.

I loved that entire aspect. I loved the meetcute and the road trip. But, much like a lot of the other books I’ve read by this duo, it just missed the mark for me a bit. I think it had a lot of potential, but it ended up falling flat. I didn’t love the bit of magic (tarot card reader) aspect, I don’t think it added anything to the story, it was really unnecessary and forced. I also didn’t love the epilogue.

I don’t usually mind epilogues that tie everything in a pretty bow, but this one felt unnecessary and extra also.
Buy Now

18680106
Hard as it Gets (Hard Ink #1) by Laura Kaye

4 stars
This book took me so long to read because I read a physical copy and had to keep putting it down for different readathons and ARCs, but I finally finished and I really enjoyed it!

This entire series revolves around a tattoo parlor called hard ink and this group of men who were in the military, but have been dishonored due to a series of intricate lies. I’m guessing the entire series is them trying to unravel and bring to light the truth.

This book introduces you to the entire situation and characters without being info-dumpy or boring. The only downside is I’ve found that I don’t typically like romantic suspense novels and this was one. I found myself not really invested in the whole suspense storyline and wanting to just be immersed in the romance because it was so good. I can’t wait to read the other books in the series because I’m so interested in all the other characters. I really hope the hero’s brother has his own book because I loved him from the second he walked on page.
Buy Now

48678512._SY475_
All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto by George M. Johnson

5 stars
This is the most recent book that I read, and I read it completely on a whim. It’s a book that has been recommended on instagram for those who are looking for Queer Black representation. For some reason I thought this was ficton even though the title clearly states it is a memoir.

I was pleasantly surprised and extremely invested in everything this author had to say. I feel like his story is so important and I’m so glad it is classified as YA even though there are some explicit scenes. Perhaps because there are explicit scenes. He addressed so many questions he had himself growing up queer and black that I feel will be so beneficial to young people who rarely see themselves in media.
Buy Now