Books

Where I’ve Been aka a Life Update + September Plans

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! Long time, no talk, and honestly, I’ve been meaning to make this post. However, every time I did, I decided against it but now, I think I’m ready to talk about where I’ve been and give a life update ūüôā¬†

Let me start off by saying one thing and it’s that I’ve been reading like crazy. Despite how busy I am, I’ve been making sure that I read as much as I can. Additionally, I decided to pick up a second job of being an editor on a site I’ve been writing for and it’s a pretty big commitment. With that being said, I really do enjoy it and I’m still able to talk about books (!!!!!)

Either way, I just wanted to give this small life update and let you know why I haven’t posted in over 2 months. Plus I wanted to talk about my plans for September. At this point, I don’t know when or if I’ll come back to blogging, and if I do, I don’t know how consistent it will be.¬†

With that being said, I’m always happy to talk to everyone whether it be on Twitter or Goodreads because I’m still pretty active there. Maybe at some point, I’ll be back but I wanted to make sure I let people who follow this blog know and let anyone I talk to/wants to talk about where to find me. ūüôā¬†

Find me on Twitter & Goodreads.

 

Books

Reading 3 personal trainer romances: An Experiment

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! It’s been a while since I’ve done an “I Read 3” post and this time, I wanted to spice it up. Rather than focus on a certain subgenre or author, I wanted to go with a trope I’ve noticed a lot recently. A lot of books are romances between a personal trainer and their client so I figured it’d be fun to read 3 and share my thoughts about them.

The three books I read for this experiment were¬†The Fastest Way To Fall¬†by Denise Williams,¬†The Dating Playbook¬†by Farrah Rochon, and Hunger¬†by Nicole Falls. All of these books are vastly different, but all follow a personal trainer x client relationship so let’s get into my thoughts.

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Book #1: The Fastest Way To Fall

The first book I finished for this experiment was The Fastest Way To Fall by Denise Williams. This book follows Britta, a journalist who joins a fitness app as part of a story for work. She ends up getting paired with Wes, not realizing who he actually is. The two have a major push-and-pull with them eventually getting together, but this one is a bit of a slow-burn with some friends-to-lovers mixed in.

This book does an excellent job of showing a unique take on a personal trainer. While Wes didn’t push Britta to make changes, he did suggest things and worked with her one-on-one to help her feel healthier and stronger. For Britta, it wasn’t about losing weight, it was about feeling stronger which I loved. This book was just incredible but the only thing I disliked was the conflict/third-act breakup because it felt entirely too predictable. However, I really did enjoy this one.¬†5/5 stars

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Book #2: The Dating Playbook

The next book I read was The Dating Playbook by Farrah Rochon which is a romance between Taylor, an intense personal trainer, and Jamar, a former NFL player. Jamar hires Taylor to help him get back into shape and hopefully return to the NFL after a knee injury. Of course, sparks fly and the two end up falling for each other and doing a lot more cardio than they originally planned lmao.

This book definitely features Taylor being a hard-ass so Jamar could reach his goals but I enjoyed that aspect. What I didn’t love was how committed Jamar was to getting back into the NFL and the sacrifices he made. It was frankly gross and as someone who wrote about the NFL and knows the side effects, I wasn’t impressed. However, I enjoyed their romance especially after not loving the first book. 4/5 stars

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Book #3: Hunger

The final book I read for this challenge is Hunger by Nicole Falls. Now, this book is one that I was pretty excited about when it first was released but I kept putting it off. This book follows Troian and Tyson who meet because Tyson is her trainer. For Troian, she hired a personal trainer to help her get stronger.

However, this book just didn’t work for me. I think I just wanted more and it was a little too sparse on details and a little too focused on the steam. Weird for me to be saying that, but I just didn’t love it even though I’ve loved other books by this author.¬†3/5 stars

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Honestly, this experiment was just for fun and to see if I enjoyed this trope/dynamic. I can confidently say I do and I really do think it’s a trope that each of these authors did well. Of the three, my favorite was definitely The Fastest Way To Fall¬†but I didn’t dislike any of these. If you’re in the mood for this trope, any or all of these books would be a great choice for ya.

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Books

2022 Mid-Year Series Goal Recap

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! For this week’s Friday post, I wanted to talk about some of the series I’ve finished in 2022 because that was one of my goals so I’m going to be talking about the series I’ve finished within the first six months of this year. Of course, my goal was to finish 4 so let’s see how I’m doing. ūüôā

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1. If You Can series

The first series I finished in 2022 was Christina C Jones’¬†If You Can¬†series. This is a three-book series following multiple different characters and their romances. It’s full of twists and turns and honestly, I really enjoyed it. I don’t read much romantic suspense, but it was just incredible. Plus it’s CCJ so how could I not enjoy it?

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2. Bloodline Vampires series

The next series I finished was¬†The Bloodline Vampires¬†series by Katee Robert. I’d been eagerly anticipating this one and I really enjoyed it. This series is about vampires and it’s basically them getting it on, falling in love, and trying to kill the MC’s father. It’s a wild time and is probably one of my favorite Katee Robert series.

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3. The Serendipitous Love series

The next series I finished was CCJ’s Serenditpious Love series and it’s basically following the business owners in Mahogany Heights and their romances. Each book follows a different couple and my favorite books were the final two. These are all Black love stories which a plethora of different tropes and they all just made me so happy. I don’t want to talk too much about them because it’s best to go in, not knowing much.

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4. The Fallen series

The next series I finished was Nicola Davidson’s¬†Fallen¬†series. This is a historical romance series about three men who all own a sex club together and it’s the romances they have with the women in their lives. Of all the books, the second one is my favorite as it’s a marriage-in-trouble story and it features a submissive hero. Honestly, that book was just excellence but I finally got caught up and read the final book in 2022.

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5. Written In the Stars series

This next one is the¬†Written in the Stars¬†series by Alexandra Bellefleur. This is the final book in the series and it’s a second-chance f/f romance. This one was probably my least favorite of the bunch but I still adored it. As for the series, my favorite easily books two which is Hang the Moon.

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6. Clarke Brothers series

Keeping with the CCJ theme, I finally read the rest of her¬†Clarke Brothers¬†series which is a series set in Vegas, following three brothers who all work in business. All of these books are fabulous and I’d recommend them all because they’re all short and extremely steamy.

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7. The Tudor series

The next series I read is only two books and I don’t believe there’s going to be more so I’m including it. The¬†Tudor¬†series by Nicola Davidson and the first book is a second-chance romance while the other is an age-gap romance. These are SUPER short and incredibly steamy so if you’re looking for historicals with steam, I highly recommend them.

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8. The Dumplin series

The next series I finished was¬†The Dumplin¬†series by Julie Murphy. This is a series that I enjoyed but didn’t absolutely love. The final book follows a new character and it’s basically a coming-of-age story mixed with some romance. It was so delightful and fun. The perfect way to cap off the series.

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9. Friends and Lovers

As far as I know, this series is complete with the two books as this final one was released back in 2014. However, I really did enjoy this series as it juxtaposed two different couples in each of the books. The stories were still amazing though and I’m really happy I decided to read this duet as it might be a new favorite of mine.

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10. Sweet Heat

The next series I finished was CCJ’s¬†Sweet Heat¬†series which is a series of three novellas following a character we met in the Connecticut Kings series and side characters who all have romances. I’m not gonna lie, this is another CCJ series that I absolutely loved. These were super quick and really steamy, but I loved all of them.

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11. The Off-Campus series

The next series I finished was the¬†Off-Campus¬†series. While I enjoyed a few of the books in this series, this one was an absolute waste and I can’t believe she even published it. It honestly felt like the world’s biggest cash grab and I wish the series had ended where it had originally.

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12. The Cowboys of California series

The next series I finished this year was the Cowboys of California series by Rebekah Weatherspoon. The only book I had left to read was the final one which was Jesse’s book. However, I ended up not enjoying it, and honestly, I’d say that book 2 which is If The Boot Fits¬†is easily my favorite. While I didn’t love this series as a whole, it’s one of the few cowboy romances I’ve actually read.

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13. The Eternally Tethered series

This is CCJ’s paranormal romance series and frankly, this final book felt weak in comparison to the others. Nevertheless, it was nice to see her try her hand at paranormal romance and I can’t wait to see if she goes back. Personally, I enjoyed the first two books but this one, not so much. Either way, it’s a fun Black love paranormal romance series.

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14. The Trouble series

Once again, this is another CCJ series that I’ve finished. This is her¬†Trouble¬†series and it follows the Sugar and Spice magazine founders and some of the side characters from that series having their own romances. Honestly, I enjoyed all of these books so if you’re looking for some Black Love romances with MAJOR drama, then these are a good place to start. I also feel like these books are super quick and fun reads, too.

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15. Equilibrium Series

This is the final CCJ series I finished this year and it was the Equilibrium series. This one follows more of the business owners in the Heights and the romances they have. These books are absolutely delightful and I couldn’t get enough of these couples or their stories. I’d read 100 more books in this world, so I’m excited to see if she ends up writing more books set in this city. Once again, these are all Black love romances and it’s CCJ so you know I’ll recommend it.

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Currently, those are all of the series I’ve read to their completion this year. As far as I know, all of these series are completed, but with someone like CCJ, you never know if she’s going to revisit that world. Either way, I’m happy that I managed to get caught up and finish 15 series, but I’d still like to finish a lot more. ūüôā

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Books

Rebecca Recs: Queer Romance Reads

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! It’s been a while since I’ve done a “Rebecca Recs” post and this time, I knew I wanted to do one in which I recommend some queer romance reads. While I don’t pick up queer romances nearly as much as straight romances, I do have a lot of them that I love and or have ones that are on my TBR. However, these are some queer romances I want to recommend if you’re looking for some new pride month reads.¬†

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1. American Dreamer

This is actually a book I picked up on a whim because I’ve heard people talk about it but I saw that Sean Crisden who is one of my favorite audiobook narrators was narrating this. This is an m/m romance between a food truck owner and a librarian who meet and honesty can’t stay away from each other. While the plot felt slightly predictable, I adored the romance in this and it honestly made me want to pick up the rest of the series ASAP.¬†

Also if you’re reading this, make sure you don’t do it on an empty stomach as the food Nesto cooks sounds amazing.¬†

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2. Bidding for the Bachelor

The second m/m romance I have to rec is¬†Bidding for the Bachelor¬†by Jackie Lau. This is Cedric’s book and it basically follows him as he gets bid on for a date auction by one of his brother’s friends. Things ensue from there as they end up becoming roommates and of course, eventually falling in love. This one was very low-angst but I really did enjoy it as it was sweet and fun. Plus it’s basically a complete standalone from book 1, too.

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3. Meet Cute Club

I honestly haven’t talked about this book in forever, but I knew I had to include¬†Meet Cute Club¬†for my last m/m romance and this is such a fun sweet story. It’s a romance between a bookshop worker and a guy who comes in to buy books for his romance book club. The two eventually start to get closer and sparks fly which was just delightful. I might not talk about this one much, but I adored it.¬†

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4. Read Between the Lines

For my first f/f romance rec, I decided to go with¬†Read Between The Lines¬†by Rachel Lacey. This is an f/f retelling of¬†You’ve Got Mail¬†between a bookstore owner and the person who is essentially taking it away from her. However, we also find out that the other woman has a secret and it unfolds from there. This was another pretty low-angst story but it was sweet yet super hot at times too.¬†

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5. Four Letter Word

The next book is actually a Black love f/f romance and it’s a romance between two co-workers who finally decide to take the plunge and try to be together. This one is relatively short and once again, pretty low-stakes but I did enjoy it. Plus I know I don’t talk about it much so I figured maybe someone would enjoy it.¬†

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6. Being Hospitable

The final f/f recommendation I have is¬†Being Hospitable¬†by Meka James. This is a short yet steamy novella featuring a romance between a girl and her best friend’s sister. The two end up becoming roommates and it’s basically a competition for them to seduce each other. This one was super hot and super short but definitely worth the read.¬†

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7. Something Like Love

As for this final category, I didn’t want to talk about certain identities but just some queer books I’ve loved. Of course, I had to include some Christina C Jones as¬†Something Like Love¬†is an m/f romance in which both characters are bi. While that was explored in the book, a lot of the story focused on their romance and realizing their feelings. This is such an amazing addition to the series and easily one of my favorite CCJ books.¬†

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8. Coffee Boy

The next book I have to recommend is¬†Coffee Boy¬†by S.A. Chant. This is a short little romance novella about a trans guy and his boss who is a bisexual man. This one is super duper short but it’s pretty fun and steamy. It’s also one of the few releases this author actually has on Kindle so it’s worth a try.¬†

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9. Unmasked by the Marquess

The final queer book I have to recommend is¬†Unmasked by the Marquess¬†which is a historical romance featuring a non-binary character and a male love interest. Honestly, I sometimes forget that I read this one, but I do remember it being a super unique and fun historical romance. Plus I’m pretty sure Cat Sebastian is known for writing queer historicals but this is just the only one I’ve read of hers.¬†

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

I tried to give a good mix of all types of queer romance books so hopefully, you’re able to find something you enjoy. For me, I’m pretty sure I rated all of these between 4 and 5 stars so they’re solid recommendations from me. ūüėĬ†

Books

June 2022 Mid-Month Wrap-Up

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a mid-month wrap-up/recent reads so I finally decided to take the plunge in June. Basically, I wanted to talk about all of the books I read that I don’t talk about my wrap-up because I usually don’t get a chance to talk about them elsewhere.

Hopefully, everyone is fine with that and wants to hear my thoughts. With that being said, these are all of the books that won’t’ be featured in my end-of-month wrap-up and are books I’ve read between June 1st and June 14th.

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1. Wicked Beauty (Dark Olympus #3)

The first book I finished in the month of June was¬†Wicked Beauty¬†by Katee Robert. This is the third book in her Dark Olympus series and it’s a poly romance between Achilles, Patroclus, and Helen of Troy. This book has such an interesting concept as they’re all competing to become the next Ares. While I loved all of the character development for Helen, this book was SUPER hot and is the reason why I enjoyed it so much lmao. 4/5 stars

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2. Foolish Hearts

The next book I finished in the month of June was actually a re-read and that’s¬†Foolish Hearts¬†by Emma Mills. It’s my fourth time reading this one and I absolutely adored it. I feel like I’ve talked this one to death but I had to feature it.¬†5/5 stars

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3. The Fire Never Goes Out: A Memoir in Pictures

The next book I finished was The Fire Never Goes Out: A Memoir in Pictures. This is a graphic novel basically chronicling ND Stevenson’s life and it was honestly so great. The drawings were amazing and it was honestly such a cute and fun read. I also enjoyed seeing how their journey to accepting themselves went. 4/5 stars

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4. Survive The Night

The next book is another one for the Golden Girls month-long readathon and this is the only book I had left on Riley Sager’s backlist. Survive the Night¬†is set in 1991 and it basically follows this girl who ends up on a ride from hell and it’s basically her journey dealing with it. Honestly, this book was horrible and is easily one of the worst written female characters I’ve ever read and that’s saying something.¬†2/5 stars

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5. The Fastest Way To Fall 

The next book I read in the month was¬†The Fastest Way To Fall¬†by Denise Williams. This is a book about a girl who is a journalist and her trainer who she has a romance with. Of course, the two are hiding their identities and agendas in a way and it was SO good. The characters were great. The romance was great and the tension was just perfection. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the conflict and the ex-girlfriend drama that seemed a bit predictable. 5/5 stars

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6. The Dark One (Vicious Lost Boys #2)

The next book I finished was The Dark One by Nikki St. Crowe. This is the second book in the series and it basically keeps the same exact structure which is little plot and lots of smut. However, the moments of plot we got in here were just amazing as we learned more about Peter and his shadow, the other leaders in Neverland, and the backstory about the characters. This was dark and sexy but that cliffhanger has me dying for book 3. 4/5 stars

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7. Comfort Me With Apples

The next book I finished was one I didn’t plan on reading, but I wanted a short audiobook for work. I don’t want to say much about this book because I went into it, knowing nothing so I don’t want to spoil anything. Plus this is only like 100 pages and since I listen to it on audio, it was a little over 2 hours long. This one was everything I didn’t know I needed and couldn’t get enough of. 5/5 stars

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8. Her Country: How the Women of Country Music Became the Success They Were Never Supposed to Be

The next book I finished was a book I’d been thinking about reading for months. I’m subscribed to this author’s newsletter and I really wanted to love this book. Unfortunately, I just didn’t. Maybe it’s because I’ve done extensive research and written about this topic before, but this book didn’t give me any new information or help me learn more. If anything, it felt entirely too surface-level. Plus the focus wasn’t as tight as it should have been so honestly, I was just disappointed. 2/5 stars

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9. She Said Yes

The next book is actually one I didn’t know was coming out until the author posted about it. This is a sequel to If She Says Yes¬†which is an age-gap romance between a guy and his best friend’s mom. This one was honestly incredible from the start as it picked up from where book 1 left off. While the conflict was pretty realistic yet predictable, I really enjoyed this one. It was super steamy, fast-paced and honestly, such a perfect summer read for me.¬†4/5 stars

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10. The Dating Playbook (The Boyfriend Project #2)

The next book is one I finished for a few reasons. Firstly, I know I’m going to be writing up a post featuring this book so be on the lookout. Second, I was eager to see if I enjoyed it more than the first book in the series, and lastly, I adore this cover so I wanted to see if it ended up being as good. Either way, I really enjoyed it.¬†4/5 stars

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11. Sweat and Soap, Volume 11 

The next book I finished was the final volume of¬†Sweat and Soap. I honestly almost didn’t pick this one up because I didn’t want it to end. However, I absolutely adored this volume and I’m so happy these characters got their happily-ever-after. Plus I just felt so happy and excited for them that I cried lmao. I just adore this series and I know it’s one I’m going to want to revisit in the near future.¬†5/5 stars

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12. The Hideaway Inn (Seasons of New Hope #1) 

The Hideaway Inn¬†is a book I picked up for the Queer Romance Readathon and it was a second-chance m/m romance between Vince and Tack. While this was a cute story at times, Vince was such an off-putting character and he blamed Tack for a lot of things that weren’t actually Tack’s fault. I know that he was angry and hurt, but he was so rude to Tack when Tack worked to be better. I’m sad because this book is set in the state I live in but I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped I would. 3/5 stars

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13. Daddy Crush

The final book I read during the first 14 days of June was¬†Daddy Crush¬†by A. Anders. This is a romance between a Jersuda, a naive 25-year-old, and her neighbor, Karl who is 43. This book focused a lot on the age gap and Karl taught Jersuda a lot about sex and intimacy. While I wanted to love it, some parts of the book felt a little bit cringe but maybe that was just me. Either way, this book was hot and was one of my backlists reads that I’d forgotten about. 4/5 stars

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

As you can see, the first 14 days of June were pretty good in terms of reading. While I didn’t love everything, I did read a lot of books I enjoyed. Be sure to let me know if you enjoyed this mid-month wrap-up and I”ll keep doing them, but this was fun.

Books

Queer Romance Readathon TBR

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! Welcome to another readathon TBR and this time, I’m talking about the books I plan on reading for the Queer Romance Readathon. This is a readathon hosted by a bunch of Booktubers and it’s essentially all about reading queer romance books.

This round is taking place from June 13th until June 20th. They created a bingo board for it and I’m really just trying to get bingo. Essentially, I’m going to be trying to read five books within the seven days which is more than doable for me so let’s get into the bingo board and the books I plan on reading to get a bingo. ūüôā

For me, I’m going to try and get a bingo going down on the fourth square over from the top so let’s get into the books I have picked out. ūüôā

Indie Author 

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For the indie author prompt, I decided to go with¬†Midnight¬†by Bryce Oakley. I’ve been meaning to get caught up with this series and this is a perfect time. I know that this is book 3 in the series and it follows Zoey who is the only “non-lesbian” member of the band but it’s an f/f romance so I can’t wait.

M/M by A Gay Author 

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For the next prompt, I actually stumbled upon an author who is a Pennsylvania native and his books are actually set in Pennsylvania so I had to pick this one. I’m pretty sure this is an m/m romance between two guys who have a second-chance romance. Either way, it’s set in PA so I want to read it plus it’s one of the few audiobooks I have.

Black Author 

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I’ve had this one on my TBR for the longest and I finally have an excuse to read it. This is by Jack Harbon and it’s a serial killer romance. It’s also like a horror/erotica so I’m just excited.

F/F Romance 

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For this one, I’m going with¬†Bring Her On¬†by Chelsea M. Cameron. I’m pretty sure this one is a romance either between two cheerleaders or two cheerleading coaches. Either way, it’s an f/f romance and it’s Chelsea M. Cameron so I’m excited to read it all the way around.

Erotic Romance 

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The final book I’m using to get bingo is¬†Drag Me Up¬†by R.M. Virtues. This is an erotic romance and it’s also a retelling of Hades x Persephone but queer. This one is also the group book for the readathon along with being the Hoemance Book Club pick for June. I honestly can’t wait to get to this one and see if it ends up being as amazing as I’m hoping for. ūüėÄ

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

That is my TBR for the Queer Romance Readathon and I am SO hyped. I really can’t wait to get to all of these books and see if they end up being new favorites.

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Books

Queer Series TBR [2022]

Hello friends and fellow book lovers!! In honor of Pride Month, I knew I wanted to feature a mixture of queer romance ideas so the first one had to be my queer romance series TBR. These are basically a few queer series I’ve started and want to finish so let’s get into them.

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1. The Kaleidoscope Album series

The first series I desperately want to finish is The Kaleidoscope Album series by Bryce Oakley. I read the audio for the first book years ago and since then, I’ve been excited to read more. I’m pretty sure this is a five-book series and I’m super excited to read the next three and finish it out. Each of the books follows different members of this girl band and they’re all f/f romances which is amazing.

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2. The Ms. Right Series

As you can tell, I really do enjoy f/f romances and this series by Rachel Lacey is such a delight. The first book was a pretty fun twist on¬†You’ve Got Mail¬†and I’ve been eager to read the second book in the series. This one is fake-dating romance and that just sounds delightful.

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3. The Feminine Pursuits series

The next series I have on my TBR is the Feminine Pursuits series by Olivia Waite. These series are all f/f historical romances and I adored the first book. I’m excited to see if the other two captivate me as much as the first one did.

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4. The Dreamers series

This is a new series for me in 2022 and I’m already loving it. Each of the books follows a guy from the friend group and them having queer relationships. I’m pretty sure the first three are all m/m romances and the final book is m/f with bi rep but either way, I’m super excited to listen to all of these.

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5. The Encounters series

The final series I have on my TBR is The Intern by Jack Harbon. I liked the first two books in the series so I’m excited to see how this one is and what tropes he decides to employ. These are all m/m romances and they’re basically just fun smutty times.

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Books

June 2022 TBR

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! For June, I have a pretty jam-packed TBR and that’s for a few reasons. Firstly, I’m going to be reading books with all of my challenges along with doing the monthly Golden Girls readathon along with the Queer Romance Readathon but let’s get into my long yet exciting TBR.

June Hoemance Book Club Pick 

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For the June Hoemance pick, we decide to go with a queer romance and we went with¬†Drag Me Up¬†by R.M. Virtues. This is a queer Hades x Persephone retelling that I”m pretty sure features trans and demisexual rep. I could be wrong, but I’m super excited to read it.

Romance Buzzword Pick: “Marriage/Wedding/Hitched/Proposal”¬†

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For these picks, I usually go with something that’s been sitting on my Amazon Wishlist and thus is on my KU TBR so¬†The Marriage Contract¬†by Shay Davis works. I’m pretty sure this is a Black love marriage of convenience story but I’m excited nevertheless.

Happy For Now Members Pick 

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For June, there were actually two books but I haven’t read this one so I’m going with it. I’ve seen pretty good things about this book but know nothing about it. However, it’s on KU so I’m willing to give it a try.

Golden Girls Reading Challenge: LGBTQIA+ Author and Character 

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For this one, I decided to go with Seeing Red by Cara Malone. I read a Cara Malone book last month and really enjoyed it plus my co-worker and I had a bit of fun with this pick.

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Golden Girls Best Girl Battle 2022 TBR 

Since this one is a lot of prompts and a decent amount of reading, I decided to give it the second half of this post. I decided to join Team Blanche so I’m doing the mandatory prompts along with the prompts for Blanche so let’s get into it.

Set or Published in the ’80s/’90s

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For this prompt, I’m going with¬†Survive the Night¬†by Riley Sager. This book is set in 1991 and it’s also my final Riley Sager before his next release. I’ve heard mixed things about this one but I know it’ll be an easy and fun read.

Strong Female MC 

For this one, I’m doubling up with¬†Seeing Red¬†by Cara Malone.

Reread a favorite 

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For this one, I’m going to be re-reading¬†Foolish Hearts¬†by Emma Mills. The last time I re-read this one was in 2020 and I’m ready to go back to it. Plus it also has a queer side relationship.

By and about someone who identifies as LGBTQIA+ 

For this one, I’m deciding to read¬†Drag Me Up¬†since I know the book features characters who are on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and the author identifies as such.

Book You Think Your Girl Would Read 

This is another one that I’m doubling up with as I feel like Blanche would enjoy¬†Island Affair¬†which segways perfectly into the Team Blanche prompts.

Includes Artwork 

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For this one, I went with a graphic novel and this one is another queer author. I’ve read a few things from them and I’m excited to see if this one ends up being as good as I’ve heard.

Most Attractive Cover 

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I absolutely LOVE this cover and it’s one of the few unread books on my shelf so this was an easy pick.

“B” on the Cover¬†

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For this one, I decided to go with¬†Wicked Beauty¬†by Katee Robert. This is a book I actually got early even though I only preordered it I’m not complaining. Either way, I’m excited to get into this as I’ve enjoyed the previous two installments in this series.

Romance

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Once again since it’s Pride Month, I knew I had to feature this one and it’s actually a freebie I got recently. This is an f/f romance between two cheerleading coaches and I’m pretty sure they were rivals in high school. Either way, I love Chelsea M. Cameron’s f/f romances so I’m excited.

BIPOC Author 

For this final prompt, I decided to go double up and use¬†The Marriage Contract¬†for this one since the author is Black but that about wraps it up for my TBR. Those are all the books I plan on reading in June although I know I’ll read more lmao ūüėÄ

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Books

May 2022 Wrap-Up

Hello friends and fellow book lovers!! Welcome to my May wrap-up and let me be totally transparent, I was extremely depressed for the first half of this month. I honestly didn’t want to read and if I did read, I was only enjoying a few of the books I read. However, I was eventually able to pick myself up and start to feel better so I’m happy to talk about some of the books I read in May.

May 2022 Reading Stats

  • Books Read:¬†35
  • Star Breakdown:¬†5-star (6), 4-star (19), 3.5 star (1), 3-star (8) and 2-star (1)

Reading Challenge Picks 

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1. Book Lovers

For the Hoemance Book Club, we decided to read¬†Book Lovers¬†for May, and what an excellent choice this was. I absolutely devoured this book and since I was feeling depressed, it made me so happy. This book follows a romance between Nora and Charlie who are city people stuck in a small town for the summer. Like Emily Henry’s other books, this book does feature a lot about family dynamics, especially Nora’s relationship with her sister.

I feel like a lot of people didn’t enjoy this one but I adored it. It was such a quick read and I just couldn’t put it down once I stopped.¬†5/5 stars

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2. The Best Woman

Moving onto my actual reading challenges, I picked up¬†The Best Woman¬†for Ellyn’s Romance Buzzword challenge and this month’s buzzword was “Bridesmaid/Best Man.” This one is a Black love story about a girl who becomes the “best woman” for her guy best friend who she’s secretly in love with. Eventually, we find out why the wedding happened and it’s basically just drama and some cheating which I didn’t love.¬†3/5 stars

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3. Body and Soul Food

For the Golden Girls challenge in May, the prompt was “Cozy Mystery with Food” so I chose Body and Soul Food by Abby Collette which I hated. This book follows a pair of twins who decide to open a restaurant/bookstore and get embroiled in a murder investigation after their friend is killed. Honestly, this one just felt SO long and boring. Nothing happened and I felt nothing for the characters or anything about the reveal.¬†2/5 stars

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4. Summoning Up Love

For the Happy For Now Members’ book club, we chose Summoning Up Love¬†by Synithia Williams. This was actually my first Synithia Williams and I LOVED this. This is a Black Love romance and it follows Vanessa who goes to visit her grandmother and Dion, a local to the town, and a paranormal investigator who is trying to figure out what’s going on at her grandmother’s house.

Honestly, this book was SO much fun. Not only was the romance great, but I adored seeing these two characters go and seeing how the plotline with the ghost stuff played out. Definitely can’t wait to read more in this series and more from Synithia Williams, either. 4/5 stars

Monthly Reading Goal Check-In 

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1. Read one historical a month ✅

As per the previous months, I’ve been trying to keep up and read at least one historical romance a month. For May, I read the second book in Kate Bateman’s Bow Street Bachloers¬†series which is Alex and Emmy’s story. This is a second-chance romance between the two who met years ago and it’s basically him figuring out her secret identity and them falling for each other. This book was action-packed and fun while also being steamy.¬†Definitely one of my new favorite historical romance series tbh. 4/5 stars

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2. Finish at least 4 series ‚úÖ

This is actually a goal I’ve surpassed already this year but I still like to keep track of it as I have a lot of series I’ve finished but also a few I’ve started. However this month, I finished reading Christina C Jones’¬†Equilbirum¬†series and I’m so happy as I enjoyed pretty much every single book in this series.

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3. Read CCJ’s backlist ‚úÖ

Okay, so I finally finished Christina C Jones’ backlist and what an accomplishment!!!! This woman has over 70 books in her catalog and after diving headfirst into it, I’m finally done. I honestly feel so excited to read her two new 2022 releases and I can’t wait to see what she does next. I’ll probably end up picking another author to do this with but I knew I wanted to feature this on here and happily say that I’m done!

4. Complete All Monthly Reading Challenges (Yes!!!!!)

Once again, I succeeded in all of my monthly reading challenges and I’m so proud and happy for myself. To be totally honest, this month started off horribly for me so to still be able to do all of these, I’m so proud of myself. I honestly felt like absolute garbage so it’s nice to see that the month wasn’t a total wash.

My Favorite Read of May 2022 

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My favorite read of May had to be¬†Prior Affair¬†by Christina C Jones. I absolutely loved this book as it features a romance between a journalist and the firefighter who befriends her after he’s at the fire when her house burns down. This was such a gorgeous story as it focused a lot on the characters and their own struggles but also their ancestry and how they were slightly connected. This book was just beautifully written and the perfect way to cap off CCJ’s backlist for me.

As for some of my other standouts from May, there was Brutal Prince by Sophie Lark, Book Lovers by Emily Henry, Love, Comment and Subscribe by Cathy Yardley, and Everything for You by Chloe Liese.

Books

Five-Star Predictions for the second half of 2022

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! Last week, I posted about my updated five-star predictions and my thoughts on those but I wanted to include my picks for the latter half of this year. I tried to do a mix of new releases and some backlist titles so I won’t have to wait TOO long for some of these so let’s get into them. ūüėÄ

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1. Fake It Till You Bake It

The first book I predict will be five stars is¬†Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley. This is a fake-dating Black love romance and I’m pretty sure it features a romance between a reality star and a former NFL player turned baker. Either way, I’m extremely excited for this one.

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2. Bet On It

The next book I predict will be five stars is another new release and that’s¬†Bet On It¬†by Jodie Slaughter. This is Jodie Slaughter’s first traditionally published novel and it’s an interracial romance about two people who meet at bingo and it also involves a sex pact. Honestly, I love Jodie Slaughter so I’m excited for her to get this deal and to see if this book ends up being as solid as her indie stories.

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3. The Fastest Way To Fall

The next and final traditionally published book on this list is¬†The Fastest Way To Fall¬†by Denise Wiliams. This is the second book by Denise Williams and honestly, I absolutely adored her debut. This second book follows a romance between a writer and her trainer that she’s hired for a story she’s doing for her job. Honestly, it sounds like it’s going to be excellent and is one of the few books I actually have physically.

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4. Drag Me Up

The next book is one I’ve been eagerly anticipating since it came out. This book is a Black love story and it’s actually a retelling of Hades x Persephone. I’m pretty sure that at least one of the characters is trans, too. Either way, I’m super excited to read another book by R.M. Virtues because I read What Are The Odds¬†and I loved it.

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5. With Her Own Two Hands

The next book is actually the third book in a series and it’s the final book in the¬†Malone Sisters¬†series. While I do think the second book is going to be good, I know it’s a trope I don’t enjoy. However, I do feel like this book is going to be as excellent as the first book. Honestly, I’m not ready to finish this series but I feel like this series is going to be amazing.

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6. No Longer Afraid

Last but certainly not least, this list would not be complete without a Christina C Jones book on it. The book I chose was actually one of her new releases and this one is slightly interchangeable. I have a feeling that I’m going to give either of the books in this series five stars but I’m using this one as a placeholder for the other one, too. Either way, I know I’ll have this one done once I finish all of her other books.