Books

Mid-Year Stats and Goal Check-In: 2020 Edition

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! For my Tuesday post this week, I wanted to do a mid-year stats breakdown and a check-in of my goals. If you want to see my goals, you can check out my original post. While this took a decent amount of time, I wanted to talk about how many books I’ve read from January to June, the number of pages I’ve read and all my five-stars. To finish up, I’m going to talk about my goals and if I’ve met any of them. 🙂

Mid-Year Stats Breakdown

  • # of Books Read From January to June: 121
  • # of Pages Read: 30,300
  • Total 5-Star Reads: 20

5-Star Reads From Each Month

  • January: A Girl Like Her, Damaged Goods and The Princess Trap
  • February: Lucky Caller, That Kind of Guy and Kristy’s Great Idea (reread)
  • March: The Kingmaker and Dear Girls
  • April: Open Book, Sweet on the Greek, Catching Fire (reread) and Mating the Huntress
  • May: Intercepted (reread), You Deserve Each Other, Foolish Hearts (reread) and Wanna Bet?
  • June: Check, Please!, Tweet Cute, Behind You and The Roommate

If you couldn’t tell, the beginning half of the year was filled with me reading Talia Hibbert’s backlist if you couldn’t tell from my recent post. Overall, I have to say that I had less five stars than I thought. I think I’m getting a little picker with the books I decide to give five stars so that’s why it doesn’t feel like as many as normal. I’m curious to see how much that number increases from now until the end of the year.

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Moving onto the second half of this post, I’m going to be talking about my 2020 reading goals and how I’m doing so far with them. I obviously have my original goals post linked above if you want to check it out. Without further ado, let’s get into my goals and see if I’ve achieved any of them.

Goal #1: Read 160 books in 2020

As far as my first goal goes, we’re definitely on track on this one. When I’m writing up this book, I’ve read almost 130 books so another 30 books is going to be a piece of cake for me. I might even up surpassing my goal but who knows?

Goal #2: Successfully participate in at least 6 read-a-thons

This next goal is one I’ve almost completed. Looking back at this year so far, I’ve participated in a lot of read-a-thons. I participated in the Smut-A-Thon in January, Contemporary-A-Thon in February, The OWLS in April, The Olympic Games in June and I’m currently participating in the Pop Culture Readathon in July. No way I won’t complete this one before the year ends or at least, I hope so!

Goal #3: Finish at least 3 series this year

Looking back at my reading so far, I’ve already completed/finished 3 series. I finally finished reading The Folk of the Air trilogy. I read the entire Ravenswood series by Talia Hibbert. I also finished reading the Truly Devious series and reread the Hunger Games series aside from the prequel. I also started and finished Talia Hibbert’s Just For Him series along with the Love Sisters series by Christina C. Jones. Overall, this one was a surprisingly easy one for me to complete.

Goal #4: Buddy-read at least 5 books with Ellyn

This one was the one I dropped the ball on most. Ellyn and I did have plans to buddy read things but almost all of them ended up either not happening or we read without the other person. No doubt we’ll get caught up on some other reads later in the year hopefully. Lol

Goal #5: Read more indie romance books

This is one I’m actually doing incredible on. I’ve read a lot more indie romance this year than I’ve ever read before. To be honest, I’m pretty sure I’ve read more indie romance this year than traditionally published ones. Most of that’s due to my use of Kindle Unlimited but I’m really proud of myself.

Goal #6: Only buy 20 books in 2020

This is another one I’ve done awesome on. I think I’ve only bought 5 or 6 books so far this year so I’m buying more books I love rather than making random purchases. It’s really helped me save money and figure out what books/authors I want to give my money to. This is another goal I know I’ll probably have no problem meeting by the end of this year. 🙂

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

I have to admit, I’m pretty happy with how my reading year has been. I’ve read a lot of books but have become more selective of which ones get 5-stars. I’ve also gotten a better hold on my reading tastes and the books I pick are reflecting that. I’m really excited to see what the rest of 2020 has in store for my reading year and how things will progress from here.

Before you finish reading my post, please take time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter. Whether it be signing a petition, donating or simply re-sharing this same link, USE YOUR VOICE. If you’re a white person reading this, you have privilege and it is your duty as an ally to educate yourself, amplify Black voices and show that Black Lives Matter. 

Find me on Twitter & Goodreads

Books

A Reading Guide for Talia Hibbert

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! This post has been a few months in the making and I’m so excited to finally be putting it out into the world. I’ve always heard people talking about making reading guides for authors but I’ve never found an author I was inspired to do this for until now. Considering how much I’ve enjoyed her books, I thought it was only right to do a reading guide for her.

Since I haven’t seen many posts like this, I decided to base my post around Gabby from GabbyReads did. You can check out her video if you want which focuses on Christina Lauren. Without further ado, let’s get into my reading guide for Talia Hibbert. 🙂

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Before getting into the books, I figured I’d talk a little bit about Talia Hibbert such as who she is and what she writes. If you don’t know, Talia Hibbert is a Black British author who writes romance books. I know that sounds simple but it’s basically the catch-all when it comes to her books. If you want to know more about her, you can check out her website, Goodreads and Twitter.

As for what she writes, Talia Hibbert writes books featuring Black and British female main characters and the romances they have. She’s also written one m/m romance which I’m pretty sure is the only romance she written that isn’t m/f. With those things out of the way, let’s get into the books starting with her standalone reads.

Standalones

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  • Merry Inkmas: Published 2017
  • Steamy Christmas romance starring a brooding, bad boy hero and a Black, BBW heroine via Goodreads
  • My Rating: ★★★
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  • Mating The Huntress: Published 2018
  • This novella contains one flirtatious, cursed creature of the night, one badass, knife-happy heroine, and forbidden lust at first sight. (GR)
  • My Rating:★★★★★

There’s a reason why I started with Talia Hibbert’s standalone books as they aren’t my favorite. Between the two, I preferred Mating the Huntress but I think her series are much better. If you want some steamy holiday fun though, then these are perfect for that but let’s move onto her series.

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Series

Just For Him [4 books]

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Just For Him was a completed series until Talia published the 4th book. As of right now, this series is concluded. This was Hibbert’s first series and you can tell upon reading the book so let’s get into them.

  • Book 1: Bad For the Boss
  • An office romance between a Black woman and an Asian man who is her boss. This is easily her most “thrilling” book and features a major twist around the 75% mark that didn’t fit with the rest of the book.
  • My Rating: ★★★.5
  • Book 2: Undone By The Ex-Con
  • Following the love interest’s best friend’s sister as she gets wrapped up in a blackmail plot and the romance she has with a former criminal. This is another romantic suspense read so be wary if you’re not a fan of angst, past trauma (including homophobia) and poor parental relationships
  • My Rating: ★★★★
  • Book 3: Sweet On The Greek
  • Following MC from book 1’s best friend and the relationship, she has with a former footballer. Featuring fake dating, a bi love interest, overly dramatic conflict and lots of sexy times.
  • My Rating: ★★★★★
  • Book 4: Work For It
  • Work for It is 80,000 words of hot, angst-filled, M/M romance featuring a cynical city boy, a gruff, soft-hearted farmer, and a guaranteed happy-ever-after. No cheating, no cliff-hangers, just love. (GR)
  • My Rating: ★★★★

Dirty British Romance [2 books +1 novella]

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The next series she published was Dirty British Romance which is exactly as the series says. I’m not sure if this series is concluded but it seems like it. Recently, Hibbert released a novella entitled Guarding Temptation which I rated 4 stars. With that out of the way, let’s get into the two books in this series.

  • Book 1: The Princess Trap
  •  A steamy, standalone BWWM royal romance. Warning: this book is 70,000+ words of extreme pleasure and intense romance, ending in a HEA. NO cliffhangers and NO cheating. Enjoy responsibly! Please be aware: this story contains scenes of abuse that could potentially trigger certain audiences. (GR)
  • My Rating: ★★★★★
  • Book 2: Wanna Bet?
  • A steamy, standalone, BWAM romance. Warning: this book is 75,000 words of extreme pleasure, with NO cliffhangers, NO cheating, and a guaranteed HEA. Enjoy responsibly! Please be aware: this story contains themes of parental neglect and abandonment, parental death, and alcohol dependence that could trigger certain audiences.
  • My Rating: ★★★★★

Ravenswood [3 books +1 novella]

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The next series is the Ravenwood series and oh my lord, this one might be my favorite of all her series. While it might be a tie with the next one, this one is concluded. This series is another one with a novella entitled Damaged Goods. The novella focuses on a side character from book 1 and the second-chance romance she has. I think it’s on par with the rest of the series so I’d recommend since I gave it 5 stars.

  • Book 1: A Girl Like Her
  • A small-town romance between the town pariah Ruth and a newcomer, Evan as they bond over comic books, cooking and their lives. This does feature some moments of domestic violence if that triggers you.
  • My Rating: ★★★★★
  • Book 2: Untouchable
  • A small-town and second-chance romance between old friends Hannah who is hired as a nanny for Nathaniel who is a widower. Features incredible mental health rep, lots of sexy scenes and a lot of darker topics such as grief, illness of a parent and the messiness of life.
  • My Rating: ★★★★
  • Book 3: That Kind of Guy
  • A small-town romance between a younger man and an older woman. It’s a friends-to-lovers story that includes fake dating, a demisexual character and as you might guess, heavier topics such as toxic relationships, divorce, and strained parental relationships.
  • My Rating: ★★★★★

The Brown Sisters [2 books as of June 2020]

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This is Talia Hibbert’s latest series and her most popular. A lot of readers were introduced to her via this book. Of all her series, this is the only one still in progress as far as I can tell. Additionally, the next book in the series is the entire reason why I made this post. Either way, let’s get into the 2 books that are currently out and eventually, a third one entitled Act Your Age, Eve Brown.

Book 1 is, of course, Get A Life, Chloe Brown which focuses on our MC Chloe who realizes she hasn’t done much in her life after a near-death experience. To try to combat that, she decides to make a “get a life” list to help her. Thankfully, she meets her building’s superintendent Red along the way and sparks fly. This book is sweet, steamy and funny while still telling a great story. Chloe is also fat, Black and has a chronic illness (fibromyalgia) and at times, prickly but you learn to love her. If you couldn’t figure it out, this was a 5-star read for me but let’s get into book 2.

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Book 2 is obviously, Take A Hint, Dani Brown which focuses on Dani who agrees to fake-date her co-worker to help him with his charity after the two basically become “Twitter-famous” due to a video. Dani is Black, fat, bisexual and absolutely loves no-strings-attached sex without relationships. If you couldn’t guess, her love interest Zafir is an ex-rugby player/security guard who is a major softie. While things start off innocent between the two, they quickly heat up while they’re fake-dating and it’s so fucking delightful.

This is most recent book released in the series and I don’t really have much to complain about with this book. The only real complaint I have is that “conflict” could have easily been avoided. Either way, I absolutely adored this book and I’m not sure which of the Brown Sisters books I liked more. If you haven’t at least checked out this series by Talia Hibbert, you must.

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Before wrapping up, I wanted to try to rank my top 3 Talia Hibbert reads. I’m making a rule for myself and it’s to only include 1 book from each series. Anyways, let’s see if I can actually do this and don’t end up getting into an eternal battle with myself.

  1. Get A Life, Chloe Brown
  2. Sweet on the Greek
  3. Wanna Bet?

I also wanted to give a shout-out to Mating the Huntress as it’s absolutely wonderful and I can see myself re-reading it every Halloween. It’s just SO much fun. I feel like this was torture but I knew I wanted to try to pick my top three favorites. I use “favorites” as a loose term since I’ve loved basically everything she’s ever published.

No matter where you decide to start, reading Talia Hibbert is always a good decision. I know most people started with Get A Life, Chloe Brown and that’s a good starting point but she has a HUGE backlist, too. If you take anything from this post, it’s to read Talia Hibbert when you get the chance to because she’s just a delight. ❤

Before you finish reading my post, please take time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter. Whether it be signing a petition, donating or simply re-sharing this same link, USE YOUR VOICE. If you’re a white person reading this, you have privilege and it is your duty as an ally to educate yourself, amplify Black voices and show that Black Lives Matter. 

Find me on Twitter & Goodreads

Books · My Favorite

My Favorite….Black Author

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! Last week, I talked about my favorite Black romance books and honestly, that was so much fun. Keeping with the same theme, I wanted to give a shout-out to some of my favorite Black authors too. I feel like this is going to be a slightly long list so I won’t talk much more in this intro. 😛

BookishlyRebecca is now the host of the “My Favorite” meme, a weekly meme posted on Wednesday. Originally started by Maureen’s Books, she agreed to let me take over.

As Maureen described it, “In this meme, we share every week something we love with each other. Because let’s face it. The world can be a dark place and it’s to share something positive. Each week I will post a new My Favorite.. post about one subject and I’ll tell you all about it. And the best part? Everyone is welcome to join. The only thing you’ll have to do is sign up on my weekly post, link back to this post, and visit others.”

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog
View this post on Instagram

IT’S RELEASE DAY! #TakeAHintDaniBrown is out now and I couldn’t be more excited!!! GAH. You guys. You GUYS. I’m kinda giggling. I just… can’t wait for you to read Dani & Zaf’s chaotic, trope-tastic adventure. The ‘adventure’ bit is the part where they stumble haphazardly into everlasting love. But I’m rambling when I should be trying to convince you I can tell a coherent story. So!!! You may enjoy this book if you’re a fan of… ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ 🌟 bossy, sarcastic, capable heroines. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ 🌟 plus-size characters who know they're hot as hell. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ 🌟 grumpy, protective, thicccc heroes. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ 🌟 characters managing their anxiety and being supported. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ 🌟 work friends flirting every morning over coffee. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ 🌟 fake relationships with their own viral video and hashtag. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ 🌟 "oh no, people are watching, now we have to kiss." ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ 🌟 "maybe sleeping with her will cure me of these soft and mushy feelings… oops, no, that didn't work." ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Tap the link in my bio to get your copy!

A post shared by Talia Hibbert | Romance Author (@taliahibbert) on

In talking about my favorite Black author, there is no way I couldn’t include Talia Hibbert. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve truly fallen in love with Talia Hibbert’s writing, her characters and almost all of her books. I honestly don’t know what I did before I read her books. She’s my romance queen and if you haven’t read anything by her before, then you need to.

Obviously, she’s not my only favorite Black author so I wanted to give a shout-out to a few others. I obviously have my main-stays which are Alexa Martin, Kennedy Ryan, Katrina Jackson and Christina C. Jones. I also wanted to feature some others such as J. Nichole, Jack Harbon, Ava Freeman, Alyssa Cole and Rebekah Weatherspoon. Tbh I still have a ton of Black authors I have yet to read from so maybe I’ll do an updated list in the future. Either way if you’re looking for more Black romance authors, I’d give these authors a go.

Before you finish reading my post, please take time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter. Whether it be signing a petition, donating or simply re-sharing this same link, USE YOUR VOICE. If you’re a white person reading this, you have privilege and it is your duty as an ally to educate yourself, amplify Black voices and show that Black Lives Matter. 

Find me on Twitter & Goodreads

Books

The Anticipated Releases Book Tag

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! I’ve been thinking of doing more tags on my blog and looking back, I remembered that Ellyn made this tag last year. This is basically a way to talk about the books coming out in the second half of the year. I did the Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag last month and this is the perfect companion.

Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Answer all the questions down below
  • Pingback to the creator: Ellyn @ Allonsythornraxx
  • Nominate 5+ bloggers to do this tag
Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

1. Your Most Anticipated Release of the Year

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Oddly enough when I wrote this tag last year, Blitzed was my most anticipated release so it’s no surprise that Snapped is this year’s. Alexa Martin is easily my favorite romance author and her books always make me so happy. This book seems especially timely as it focuses on an NFL player who protests and the HR woman they pair with him to “deal” with it.

2. A book you’re not anticipating

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The book I chose for this one is Mistletoe and Mr. Right. While this book seems like it would be perfect for me, I didn’t love the first book in the series. I really do enjoy holiday romances but I know I won’t be reading this one. As good as this series sounds, I don’t think Sarah Morgenthaler is the author for me. I can understand why people are excited about it, though.

3. Most underhyped anticipated release

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The book I chose for this one was Sea Witch by Katee Robert. Even though I’ve only read the first book in the series, this one sounds interesting. I’ve always enjoyed The Little Mermaid so I’m curious to see how Ursula fits into this world. Tbh the series is so fun and sexy but I don’t hear much hype about it. Either way, this book seems like it’s going to be unlike anything else I’ve read this year.

4. A book you’ve been waiting on forever!

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Last year, I read Well Met by Jen DeLuca and absolutely loved it. As soon as I heard there was going to be a companion book, I was hyped. However, it feels like it’s been forever since I’ve been waiting for this. This book follows two characters from the first book and it seems like it’s going to be incredible. Tbh I’ve been waiting for over a year for this and I just want it in my hands already.

5. A book you’re anticipating that’s out of your comfort zone

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I struggled in coming up with a book for this one. However, I do plan on continuing the Baby-Sitters Club Coven series. The second book is set to release in September and I am so excited about it. I really hope that Kate Williams tweaked a few things and this book will end up being better than the last one. Either way, I’m excited to see what happens next with the characters.

6. Your Top 3 “Can’t-Wait” Books Of The Year

  • Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey. This is the 3rd book in the Hot & Hammered series and she’s basically been teasing it since book 1. I’m really excited to finally read Bethany’s story and see how she and Wes’ relationship goes from complete hatred to lust/love.
  • Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer. I don’t feel like I have to explain myself here as this is easily at the VERY top of my “can’t-wait” reads. Lol
  • The Nanny by Brandy Bush. I absolutely loved reading her book last month and I’m excited to dive into the next one. I already have it preordered and I hope it ends up being another favorite of mine.

7. Top 5 Most Anticipated Backlist Books On Your TBR

  • Basking In Bloom by Wynta Tyme. This book is one I saw forever ago on Amazon but have yet to read. I absolutely adore the cover and I cannot wait to finally pick it up. Maybe this tag will hold me accountable for once.
  • The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata. Good lord, I just need to read this book already. I really need someone to hold me accountable for this because it’s basically 700 pages and I’ll try to give up so easily.
  • Marriage for One by Ella Maise. These two books are the last ones on my “20 Books To Read in 2020” list. I truly need to figure out when I want to read these and just buckle down and do it already.
  • The Rebel King by Kennedy Ryan. I need to get caught up on this series so I can finally read Queen Move. Lmao why am I like this???
  • Learn My Lesson by Katee Robert. I adore the Wicked Villians series and it’s finally time I get caught up. Hopefully we’ll have another smutathon round so I can do just that. 😛
Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Tag! You’re It

Before you finish reading my post, please take time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter. Whether it be signing a petition, donating or simply re-sharing this same link, USE YOUR VOICE. If you’re a white person reading this, you have privilege and it is your duty as an ally to educate yourself, amplify Black voices and show that Black Lives Matter. 

Find me on Twitter & Goodreads

Books

July 2020 TBR (Pop Culture Readathon)

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! Originally, I was stumped on what to read this month and then the Pop Culture Readathon showed up on my Twitter feed. If you didn’t know, it’s a month-long readathon with different sections featuring book prompts for classic 90’s movies. The graphics are amazing and they immediately made me want to join. Thankfully, I have a lot of books on my Kindle to read and some library reads I still want to get to.

This readathon is being hosted by Whitney and Lorryn. They have more info on the official Twitter if you’re looking for particular rules. Basically, you pick which team you want to be on and try to fill in the bingo board. I don’t normally do a full blackout with bingo so I’m going to try to get two bingo with my reads. 🙂

The board I chose to go with is “The Adult Table” which features adult 90’s movies. I’ve watched most of them so this was perfect for me. I also might try to get a bingo on the “Teen Dream” one but I’m not sure yet so here’s the bingo board and the books I plan on reading for it.

Poetic Justice: Read a book written in verse

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The book I chose for this prompt is Other Words For Home by Jasmine Warga. I’ve read one of Jasmine Warga’s other books and didn’t really enjoy it. However, I want to give her work another try. This fits perfectly with the prompt and is a relatively short audiobook to boot. Hopefully, it ends up being the book to make me a Warga fan.

The First Wives Club: Read a book from your fave genre

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I feel as though I’ve been waiting my entire life for this book. I preordered it from Barnes & Noble and have yet to receive yet. It’s basically been in the mail for over a week and still has yet to get to my door. There is no way I couldn’t include it on this TBR and tbh I’m just ready to read it. I have a HUGE post coming out this month focused on this book and it’s just annoying that I don’t have it yet. Either way, this was the first book that came to mind when seeing this prompt.

Pretty Woman: Read a book with a gorgeous cover

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This originally wasn’t the book I chose but I read my pick at the end of June. Either way, I decided to use Professional Pleasure by Tia Love. I’ve never read anything by Tia Love before and I absolutely adore this cover. This sounds like it’s going to be fun and smutty with a gorgeous love interest as pictured on the cover lmao.

Black American Princess: Read a book with royalty

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I’m not sure if this book actually counts, but it follows a lord and a lady so I’m pretty sure that means royalty or close to it. Either way, I bought this book for 99 cents on Kindle and I’ve been eager to pick it up. It’s a historical romance and I’m pretty sure it’s set in a sex club. Nevertheless, I’m excited to finally pick it up and see if it’s a series I’d like to give a chance.

As for my next bingo, I’m just going to try for the line right under my first bingo as I really enjoy those prompts so let’s get into the other 4 books I plan on reading. 🙂

It’s Friday, Craig: Read a book with 150 pages or less

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Next up is another freebie from Kindle. I’m pretty sure this book is told through emails between an employee and her boss. It’s another short novella length read but I want to try to get most of the books on there read. I’ve never read anything from Whitney G before but I know she’s a Black author. Not sure about the race of any of the characters, though. Either way, it should be a quick and fun read.

Death Becomes Her: Read a backlist book

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I’m pretty sure I read the first book in this series either last month or the month before but I knew I wanted to continue it. This book was published in 2014 so it’s definitely a backlist title. This book follows the same characters from the first book but I think it’s a time jump and we see their relationship now versus then. Either way, I’m excited to see what happens with these two.

Titanic: Read a historical fiction novel

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Ever since I read Lara Kinsey’s other books last month, I’ve been itching to pick up more and this book seems perfect. I’m pretty sure it’s a historical romance set in the 1920’s and it features bisexual characters. Honestly, I’ve liked everything I’ve read from Lara Kinsey so I’m excited to pick this up. I only hope that she decides to publish more in the future.

Sister Act: Read the first book in a series

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The next book is one I bought on Kindle and haven’t read yet. I’m pretty sure this book follows two people who meet when they’re seatmates on an airplane and they have a romance. All I know is that it was free and I absolutely loved the cover. This was an easy pick for this one and hopefully, I’ll want to continue the series after I read this.

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Alright, those are my picks for the Pop Culture Readathon. I might try to squeeze in some other books and try to get bingo on other boards. For now though, I want to try to clear out my Kindle and read some library books. My Kindle is seriously getting full and I have to stop lmao. Hopefully I have another solid reading month and considering I’m excited for all these books, I should 😛

Before I wrap things up, I’m also planning to do the “PSU” readalong which is hosted by Jess, Mina and Melissa. I’ve never read the Palm South University series by Kandi Steiner but it sounds like it’s going to be the perfect summer binge read. If you want to know more, be sure to check out Jess’ Instagram post about it.

Before you finish reading my post, please take time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter. Whether it be signing a petition, donating or simply re-sharing this same link, USE YOUR VOICE. If you’re a white person reading this, you have privilege and it is your duty as an ally to educate yourself, amplify Black voices and show that Black Lives Matter. 

Find me on Twitter & Goodreads

Books · My Favorite

My Favorite…Black Romance Book

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! For this month, I wanted to feature some Black bookish topics. I know I don’t have a huge platform or have anyone participating with me but I want to use my voice for good. Hopefully you’ll either decide to pick up the book I talk about or find a new author to check out. Either way, let’s get into my post for this week. 🙂

BookishlyRebecca is now the host of the “My Favorite” meme, a weekly meme posted on Wednesday. Originally started by Maureen’s Books, she agreed to let me take over.

As Maureen described it, “In this meme, we share every week something we love with each other. Because let’s face it. The world can be a dark place and it’s to share something positive. Each week I will post a new My Favorite.. post about one subject and I’ll tell you all about it. And the best part? Everyone is welcome to join. The only thing you’ll have to do is sign up on my weekly post, link back to this post, and visit others.”

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Before I get into it, this is going to be a Black romance so it will follow two Black characters who fall in love and are in a relationship. I know I didn’t do that in my last post as there were some interracial couples in there. This time, I’m going to be featuring a true Black romance book or books I should say as I couldn’t decide between a few as they’re all pretty great.

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However, my favorite of the bunch is Hook Shot which is the third book in the Hoops series by Kennedy Ryan. This book follows Kenan and the romance he has with Iris’ cousin, Lotus. It’s an incredibly emotional book especially if you’re a parent but I really loved the relationship between Kenan and Lotus. They had preconceived notions about each other but they were able to eventually work together and figure things out. Easily my favorite Black romance book I’ve ever read.

As for my honorable mentions, I’d be remiss to not include Getting Schooled and Bending the Rules by Christina C. Jones. She’s the queen of Black romance and if you’re new to Black romance, her books are the best place to start. I also wanted to mention Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole. It’s a novella in her Reluctant Royals series and it’s an f/f romance if you’re looking for some queer Black books.

*Before you finish reading my post, please take time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter. Whether it be signing a petition, donating or simply re-sharing this same link, USE YOUR VOICE. If you’re a white person reading this, you have privilege and it is your duty as an ally to educate yourself, amplify Black voices and show that Black Lives Matter.

Find me on Twitter & Goodreads

Books

June 2020 Wrap-Up

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! As weird as it might sound, June has probably been my worst reading month yet. I mean I still read a decent amount of books but I wasn’t really in the reading mood this month. I also made some key changes to how I’ve been spending my free time so that might be why. Either way, I didn’t end up reading as much as the previous months. However, I’m still happy with the books I did read and how I did on the Olympic Games Read-a-thon. 🙂

If you don’t know what the Olympic Games read-a-thon is, then you can check out my TBR post. I’ll be talking about all of those reads first including all of the challenges and then the advanced challenges I read for. Anyways, let’s get into those reads first and then the others will be books I read because I wanted to!

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Olympic Games Read-A-Thon Reads

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1. Check, Please! Book 1: #Hockey

The first book I read for the Olympic Games Read-a-thon was Check Please! Book 1 and honestly, what a delight. This book follows Bitty who is a former figure skater turned college hockey player and it was so just pure. Bitty is the world’s sweetest little cinnamon roll and I absolutely love him. He’s also gay hence why it was part of my queer reads for the read-a-thon.

I also really loved the friendships between the hockey guys and their different relationships. There was also a Jonas Brothers reference in here which I obviously loved. If you’re looking for a cute and soft graphic novel series, I highly recommend this one. This one fulfilled the challenge to Read a book while the moon is up” or read a book at night. 5/5 stars

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2. Anyone But Her

The next book I read was Anyone But Her by Erica Lee. This is an f/f romance between a girl who is posing as her friend’s fake girlfriend and his sister. As much as I wanted to love this one, I just thought it was okay. I think a lot of the events in the book were overly-dramatic and it just felt completely unrealistic to me. I do plan on checking out more of this author’s backlist, though. 3/5 stars

I read this one for the prompt of “Read a book that starts with the letter “A.”

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3. I Wish You All The Best

The next book I read was I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver. I’m pretty sure this is one of the first, if not the first I’ve read that features a non-binary character. This book is basically a coming-of-age story for our MC Ben as they grapple with getting kicked out of their house, a possible romance and living with a sister they just recently reconnected with. It’s more character-driven than anything so if you like that ascept, then you’ll enjoy this.

While I enjoyed this book, it wasn’t anything new or ground-breaking. I feel like I’ve read a lot of YA coming-of-age stories so this was good but not great. 4/5 stars I read this one for the prompt of “Listen to an audiobook.”

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4. Meet Cute Club (Sweet Rose #1)

Next up is Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon. This book follows Jordan who starts a romance book club called the “Meet Cute Club” and the romance he has with Rex who works at the bookstore where he buy the books for the club. This is an adorable m/m romance with a few smutty scenes and lots of sweet moments. I especially loved how Jack Harbon talked about being a romance reader, the stigma that comes with it and why it’s great to be a romance reader.

I read this for the prompt: “Read a book you predict will be a five-star read.” I’m sad to say that this one was 4/5 stars. While it didn’t end up being a five-star read, I still really enjoyed it.

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5. Stage Dreams

The next book I read was Stage Dreams by Melanie Gillman. This book is a romance between Flor who is Latinx and Grace, a trans woman as they get stuck together. It’s relatively short and didn’t have much of a plot. I honestly wish this one would have been older because the story could have been much more developed. Either way, it was still a solid read.

I read this for the prompt of “Read a book you know will make you happy.” I was definitely smiling while I was reading so it was a success. 4/5 stars.

As for the advanced challenges, there were four of those so let’s get into the books I read for those. 🙂

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6. The Babysitter (Encounters #1)

The next book I read was The Babysitter which is another book by Jack Harbon. This follows a guy who writes erotic fiction and accidentally leaves it at the guy he babysits for’s house. He writes it and then things ensue from there. This is basically just m/m erotica so it was short but overall good. If anything, it made me want to read more of Jack Harbon’s backlist. 3/5 stars.

This fufilled the “Archery” prompt which is to “Read a book shorter than 200 pages.”

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7. Bewilder (The Kaleidoscope Album #2)

The next book I read is Bewilder which is the second book in the Kaleidoscope Album series and I really liked it. This book follows Domino who is the sister of the MC from book 1 and the relationship she has with her home organizer, Sabrina. This book is an f/f romance and it’s incredibly cute.

I do think it was a little bit on the short side but it was so cute and soft and gah! I really enjoyed it. It also had some cute holiday moments if you’re looking for an f/f holiday romance. I read this one for the Climbing Wall prompt which is “Read the next book in a series.” 4/5 stars

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8. Tweet Cute

I think this is the only non-queer book I read for this read-a-thon. Tweet Cute is a YA romance between Pepper and Jack who are frenemies at school but are actually running rival Twitter accounts for their families’ restaurants. Eventually, they find out and shenanigans ensue from there. This book was such a delight and honestly, has one of my favorite romances I’ve read in YA in forever. The banter between Pepper and Jack was just everything.

If you haven’t read this book, then you seriously need to. I listened to it on audio and the narrators were excellent. This book had a cute romance, lots of discussions about family especially sibling relationships and lots of character development for our two MCs. I honestly can’t think of much I disliked about this aside from Pepper’s mom and the thread that connected to one of the plotlines. I read this for the Pegasus Riding prompt which is “Read a book published within the last five years.” 5/5 stars

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9. Behind You

The last book I read for the Olympic Games readathon was Behind You by Jacqueline Woodson. I read If You Come Softly two years ago and really loved it. This book follows the events almost immediately after the previous book. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but this book was as phenomenal as the previous one. It explored grief, love and moving on so beautifully. This book also had a gay side character so technically it had some queer rep and I’m pretty sure Jacqueline Woodson is a lesbian. 5/5 stars.

I read this for the “Capture the Flag” prompt which is to read one of your most anticipated books. Considering the first book was my favorite of 2018, I knew I had to use it for this prompt.

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Non Read-A-Thon Reads

These are going to be all the books I read for fun this month. I tried to stay with the queer theme but I did veer off in some places. Either way, I’m excited to talk about these books so let’s get into them. 🙂

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10. Soft On Soft

The first book I read for fun was Soft on Soft by Mina Waheed. I actually saw this book on WocInRomance‘s site a long time ago and wanted to read it. For some reason, it wasn’t avaiable on Amazon but it is now so I picked it up. The title of this book could not be more appropriate to what the book actually contains.

This is an f/f romance between a plus-sized model and her makeup artist. They’re both so soft and queer. Things do move pretty slowly plot-wise and I wish the book would have had more built up tension. If you want a soft and sweet f/f romance though, I’d recommend this one. 3/5 stars

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11. Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O!, Vol. 2

The next book I read was a graphic novel and it’s volume 2 of Heavy Vinyl. This book is about a group of girls who all work in a record store but are also in a band who is trying to take down this toxic record exec. It’s super cute while also being super kick-ass. I really love the art style and this series just makes me happy. This book has queer relationships too if you’re looking for some queer graphic novels. 4/5 stars

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12. Mooncakes

The next book I read was another graphic novel and that’s Mooncakes. This follows a witch and the second-chance romance she has with her non-binary childhood friend who is also a werewolf. This book was incredibly cute while still being action-packed and having a lovely art style. I think it would be a great Halloween read and it was just so soft and fluffy. 4/5 stars

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13. Pet

The next book was one I listened to on audio and that was Pet by Akwaeke Emezi. This book is truly unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It follows a trans girl named Jam who lives in a world without monster until a hunter comes out from her mother’s painting, looking for a monster. I don’t want to give much else away, but this book is really intense. I will give a trigger warning for child abuse so if you’re sensitive to that, be cautious.

This book features a lot of different identities, too. I’m pretty sure all the characters in the book are Black while the mc Jam is trans. Her best friend Redemption’s parents are in a poly relationship but none of that is a huge part of the story. Rather, the story focuses on monsters and it’s so unique. Like I said, I don’t even really have words to describe this book. Go read it and you’ll see what I mean. 4/5 stars

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14. A Taste of Remy

If you couldn’t tell, I much prefer f/f romances to anything else. I’m not sure why but I always enjoy them. When looking on Amazon, I saw this one was only 40 pages so basically an f/f erotic novella. This is a second-chance romance between two women who knew each other in high school and then reconnected. Tbh it was mostly them having sex with a few “relationship” moments. Either way, it was still good and featured two Black women as the leads which was nice. 3/5 stars

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15. Budding Romance

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of f/f short stories via Kindle Unlimited. Since I’m buying for it, I want to start using it. This is a historical f/f romance between a gardener and the headmistress of a school. These two were just so cute and I absolutely loved watching their relationship development. This is another one like Soft on Soft that features two soft women who are queer. The main issue I had was the ending was incredibly abrupt and I wish we would have gotten more of their relationship development. 3/5 stars

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16. Vanilla Clouds

Next up is one of the few m/m romances I read this month and that’s Vanilla Clouds. If you couldn’t tell, I’ve really been getting my moneys worth with my Kindle Unlimited and I found this one browsing. This is a romance between two guys who meet online and things basically progress from there with a trope I don’t enjoy. Personally, I thought this was such a cute and soft romance especially since one of the MC’s is a chocolatier but ultimately, it was pretty predictable. If you’re looking for a new m/m romance though, then you might enjoy. 3/5 stars

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17. The Falling In Love Montage

The next book I read was one of my library holds and it was The Falling In Love Montage by Ciara Smyth. This is an f/f romance set in Ireland in which two girls embark on a “Falling In Love Montage” inspired by famous rom-coms. The book also focuses on the main character, Saoirse dealing with her mother having early on-set dementia, her dad moving on and everything changing after high school.

This book was incredibly cute and focused on a lot but didn’t feel disjointed. The main issue I had was that the book felt way too long. At almost 400 pages, I think this book could have been at least 50 or 100 pages shorter but still made an impact. Either way, it was a good YA f/f romance so I’d recommend. 4/5 stars

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18. The A.I. Who Loved Me

The next book is another non-queer read but I saw my local library had it on ebook and decided to pick it up. This was originally an Audible original and then Alyssa Cole decided to release it on ebook. It’s basically a romance between a Black woman and a “biosynthetic humanoid” who are both featured on the cover. While I enjoyed their romance and the little “human things” Trinity taught him, the plot twist at the end took me out of the story. It was pretty cute but honestly, not my favorite of Alyssa Cole’s works. 3/5 stars

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19. Worth The Wait

Earlier this month, I read another book by Lara Kinsey and enjoyed it so I figured I’d read another one since this was an incredibly short story. This is another historical f/f romance between a woman who is a daughter of a baron that runs away and the seamstress who hires her as a living mannequin. This is incredibly short but it has an adorable romance along with the two sharing a bed and ultimately things get a little bit steamy. Personally, I enjoyed this one more than Budding Romance so if I had to recommend one between the two, it would be Worth the Wait. 4/5 stars

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20. Fly With Me

The next book I read was Fly With Me by Hudson Lin. This book follows two Asian flight attendants who get off on the wrong foot and then keep bumping into each other while they’re traveling so feelings ensue. This also counts as a queer read since the love interest, Marco is bisexual. Although it was short, I thought their relationship was cute and this is a clean romance if I recall correctly. There was a conflict about 75% of the way in which I wasn’t a fan of so I docked a star. Other than this, this was an excellent read. 4/5 stars

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21. The Roommate

The last book I read in June was The Roommate by Brandy Bush. If you didn’t know, this is Katrina Jackson’s pen name and it’s basically just erotic short stories. This one follows a girl who meets her roommate’s parents and the sexual things that happen between the three of them. This was incredibly hot and sexy like probably my favorite smut I’ve ever read. It’s also an f/m/f read so I’d say it’s queer in some capacity. Either way, I absolutely loved it and would recommend if you’re looking for some quality smut. 5/5 stars

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22. I’ll Be The One

The last book I read was I’ll Be The One by Lyla Lee which was audio listen from the library. This book follows Skye who joins a competition to become a K-Pop Star and prove to her mother that her being fat isn’t an “obstacle” she had to overcome. I will say before I get into anything else. If you’re sensitive to talks about weight or parents encouraging weight loss, then this book could be triggering for you. Skye’s mom is incredibly harsh on her due to her weight.

However, this book features a lot of great representation. Skye is plus-sized, Korean, and bisexual. Her love interest, Henry is also Korean and bisexual. There are two side characters who are in an f/f relationship while one of the finalists is Black. This book has a cute romance, excellent friendships, and isn’t afraid to tackle such a large industry like K-Pop. I absolutely adored this and the only reason I didn’t rate it 5 stars was that I didn’t love the ending. It was kind of meh when I wanted something more. 4.5/5 stars

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

I’m not gonna lie, I ended up really enjoying almost all of the books I read this month especially the last one. In all, I ended up reading 22 books and I’m happy with that. I probably could’ve read more but I didn’t want to push myself. Either way, I’m happy with how June turned out. I’m also happy that I utilized Kindle Unlimited a lot as I’m really getting my money’s worth. 🙂

Before you finish reading my post, please take the time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter. Whether it be signing a petition, donating, or simply re-sharing this same link, USE YOUR VOICE. If you’re a white person reading this, you have privilege and it is your duty as an ally to educate yourself, amplify Black voices, and show that Black Lives Matter. 

Find me on Twitter & Goodreads

Books · Uncategorized

5 Romances by Black Authors Recs + 6 on my TBR

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! For my Friday post this week, I knew I wanted to do something with Black authors. While I’m sure others have done something similar, I wanted to put a twist on it. The first half of this post is going to be romances by Black authors I’ve read and would recommend. The second half is going to be romances by Black authors I have on my TBR.

I’m going to try to focus on books featuring either a romance between two Black characters or at least, one half of the pairing is Black. I’m also going to try to stay away from the romances I’ve recommended before. However, I might end up having some repeats for those who might not have heard of those authors so let’s get into it.

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog
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1. Get A Life, Chloe Brown

No surprise my list is starting off with Get A Life, Chloe Brown. I have an entire post coming out about this book soon so be on the lookout. As for the book, it follows our MC Chloe who has a near-death experience and uses it to help her “get a life.” Along the way, she meets her handsome superenteindent and sparks fly but this story is mostly about Chloe and how she learns to get out of her comfort zone and “get a life.”

It’s no secret that I love Talia Hibbert so I knew I had to put this book on here. I’d also recommend all of her other series, but this one was the book that made me fall in love with her and her writing. I just think she’s an incredible romance writer plus she writes such incredible character. Talia is also Black and British so if you’re looking for something set in a different country than your own, this could be that. Either way, I love her books and if you haven’t read them before, what are you doing???

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2. Fumbled

The next book making my list is Fumbled by Alexa Martin. This is another book I talk about constantly but I absolutely adore it. It’s a second-chance romance between a single mom and the football player she fell in love with in high school. It’s so cute and so swoony plus it has such a topical twist. What I mean by that is the book focuses on the rise in concussions in the NFL and how the league basically leaves them out to dry.

Even if you’re not an NFL fan, I still think this book/series would still be something worth checking out. The books do feature some football scenes but the characters and their relationships take center stage. While I recommend her entire Playbook series, this one is easily my favorite. As for the rep, I know the MC Poppy is Black and I think TK is as well but I could be wrong plus Alexa Martin is Black.

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3. Along For The Ride

I’m pretty sure the last time I talked about this book was when I read it. In coming up with this list, I knew I had to feature it. This book is a hate-to-love road-trip romance between a girl and her brother-in-law’s friend. While it could be a little bit dramatic at times, I really grew to love Jolene and Jason’s relationship. It might not be one of my new absolute favorite but it’s worth checking out.

I think I docked a star since we didn’t get as many road-trip scenes as I wanted. Either way, this book is SUPER underrated and only has 151 ratings on Goodreads. I also think that it’s Mimi Grace’s debut as well. Overall, it was cute and fun so I’d give it a shot if you enjoy hate-to-love romances. As for the rep, I think both Jolene and Jason are Black plus Mimi Grace is also a Black author.

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4. From Scratch

The next book is actually the first queer romance on my list. This is an m/f/m romance between a baker, the police chief and the fire chief. The story all starts with Mary who is Black and Plus-Sized moving to Sea Port to open up a bakery. It follows a polyamory relationship between her, Miguel and Billy. While it’s super short, it’s incredibly sexy and features an incredibly healthy relationship. Even though I only rated it a 3, I do plan on continuing the series.

I also have a lot more Katrina Jackson books on my TBR so if you’re looking for sexy Black romances, then you need to check out Katrina Jackson. I know that Mary is Black and I’m pretty both men are POCs but I can’t remember. I’m pretty sure there also might be some gay or bi rep as well. Either way, this book is a fun smutty time so check it out.

5. Meet Cute Club

The last book I’m recommending is another queer release and that’s Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon. This book follows a guy who started a romance bookclub and the romance he has with the new guy working at his favorite bookstore. I can’t remember how either of them identify in terms of sexuality but I know that Rex is Black but I’m not sure if Jordan is a POC or not.

If you’re a big romance reader, I think you’ll love this book. It talks a lot about what it means to love romance, the shame romance readers sometimes deal with but at its core, it’s an adorable romance. I guess I’d call this one soft enemies-to-lovers as they do have a bit of spat at the beginning of the book but don’t ever really “hate” each other. This is another short but sweet and smutty read. I’m also pretty sure Jack Harbon is Black and has a pretty solid back list full of sexy queer romances if you’re looking for more.

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

6. Training My Heart To Love You

The first book on my TBR is actually one I put on my Amazon Wishlist so I wouldn’t forget about it. I know it’s on Kindle Unlimited and I think it follows a plus-sized Black woman who has a romance with a country boy. From reading the synopsis, that’s what I’m picking up. Either way, this book sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun and I absolutely adore the cover.

7. The Changeup

The next book on my TBR is The Changeup by Nicole Falls. As soon as I saw this cover, I knew I had to read it. I’m pretty sure this book follows a romance between a female MLB player and a male sports journalist. Either way, this book sounds like it’s right up my alley. It also gives me major Pitch vibes so if you enjoyed that show, then this could be a suitable replacement. I think I might read this one during my birthday month as it sounds like it’s going to be good.

8. Blind Date with a Book Boyfriend

This next book is another way I added to my Amazon wishlist for later. I actually don’t know much about this book but the cover pulled me in. Thankfully some of Lucy Eden’s books are on Kindle Unlimited so I can check more of her back list out. I’m assuming from the cover that this book features an interracial romance between a Black woman and white man. Either way, the title makes it so enticing plus the cover along with Lucy Eden being Black. This one just sounds like a win.

9. Coffee In The Noon

I actually stumbled upon this book randomly and decided to add it to my Amazon Wishlist for later. Until now, I’d never even heard of this author or her books so I’m excited to give this one a read. I’m not actually sure about the rep of the characters but I’m assume they’re both Black. I could be wrong but this book doesn’t even have a synopsis. It just has a couple sentences on Goodreads plus it’s less than 50 pages so no doubt it’ll be quick and hopefully fun. I know that Harleigh Rae is Black and this book only has like 10 or so ratings on Goodreads so it needs more love.

10. Destiny’s Embrace

I’d be remiss to not include Beverly Jenkins on this list. I’ve never read anything by Beverly Jenkins and that really needs to change. I’ve read a decent amount of historical romances but have yet to pick up her stuff. I’ve heard a lot of good things from Booktubers so I’m curious to see which ones my library has available. I know that Beverly Jenkins is Black and that I’m pretty sure all of her books features Black heroines so I’m excited to finally read this one especially.

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11. The Air He Breathes

The last book is The Air He Breathes by Brittainy C. Cherry. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about this author but have yet to read her books. I’m pretty sure all of her books are pretty hard-hitting and emotional so they’ll likely be tough reads. Then again, that’s probably why they’re so beloved. Nevertheless, I’m excited to finally say I’ve read a Brittainy C. Cherry book. I’m not sure about the rep of this one but it sounds like it’s going to be an intense read.

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

Anyways, those are my 5 romances recs by Black authors along with 6 I currently have on my TBR. Hopefully you were able to find some new books to add to your TBR or found your next read. I know this post isn’t exactly what I normally do but I want to get more into doing recommendation posts so let me know if you guys like this or you prefer tags or something else 🙂

Before you finish reading my post, please take time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter. Whether it be signing a petition, donating or simply re-sharing this same link, USE YOUR VOICE. If you’re a white person reading this, you have privilege and it is your duty as an ally to educate yourself, amplify Black voices and show that Black Lives Matter. 

Find me on Twitter & Goodreads

Books · My Favorite

My Favorite…LGBTQIA Book On my TBR

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! For the last June prompt for “My Favorite,” I knew I wanted to give others a chance to talk about some LGBTQIA books they still have on their TBR. June has felt like an awesome month for queer releases and of course, it’s going to continue into the rest of the year. With that being said, I knew that I wanted to have a chance to shout out a few releases. 🙂

I usually do the prompts during this post but I’m feeling a little lazy. I’ll have them up on Monday so it’ll give others time to get their posts together. Anyways, let’s get into what “My Favorite” is and my picks for this week.

BookishlyRebecca is now the host of the “My Favorite” meme, a weekly meme posted on Wednesday. Originally started by Maureen’s Books, she agreed to let me take over.

As Maureen described it, “In this meme, we share every week something we love with each other. Because let’s face it. The world can be a dark place and it’s to share something positive. Each week I will post a new My Favorite.. post about one subject and I’ll tell you all about it. And the best part? Everyone is welcome to join. The only thing you’ll have to do is sign up on my weekly post, link back to this post, and visit others.”

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

I actually want to break this into two different categories. For me, it’s going to be Queer YA books I still need to read and Queer romance books I still need to read. I’m going to try to limit it to three for each with a clear top priority one. With that being said, let’s get into my picks.

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Since I’m going with books already released, my biggest priority has to be You Should See Me in A Crown by Leah Johnson. This book has been hyped for the past few months and I’m super excited to read it. I’m pretty sure that the audiobook is available on Hoopla so I’ll be able to read it basically whenever the mood strikes me. As for the other two YA books, I have to go with Date Me, Bryson Keller which is available through my local library and the audiobook sounds awesome. Last but not least is a 2019 release and that’s Wilder Girls which is another one I’m going to get on audio.

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As for queer romance releases, I mostly have a ton on my backlist. Of course, I’d be remiss to not mention the rest of the Kaleidoscope series by Bryce Oakley. Those books are so much fun and I’m excited to continue on. I actually have a lot saved on my Amazon wishlist so the other two were easy to pick out. First is Graham’s Delicacies which I’m pretty sure is a short-story collection focusing on queer relationships. Then there’s Learn My Lesson by Katee Robert which is an m/f/m romance between Hades, Meg and Hercules.

Before you finish reading my post, please take time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter. Whether it be signing a petition, donating or simply re-sharing this same link, USE YOUR VOICE. If you’re a white person reading this, you have privilege and it is your duty as an ally to educate yourself, amplify Black voices and show that Black Lives Matter. 

Find me on Twitter & Goodreads

Books

Mid Year Book Freakout Tag

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! Since it’s basically the middle of the year at this point, I knew I had to do the Mid Year Book Freakout Tag. I think I’ve done this tag every year that I’ve had my blog and I really enjoy it. It’s a nice way to look back at the earlier part of the year and what I hope to achieve in the latter half.

I’m not sure who originally created this, but I pulled the questions from Jess of PeaceLoveBooksxo’s channel. I personally really love her channel as she reads a lot of romance, does fun experiment videos and has an awesome personality. If you’re looking for someone new on Booktube, check her out. 🙂

Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2020.

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This was tough as there are a lot of books I’ve really loved this year. However, the book that is easily my new favorite is You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle. I loved the characters, the unique premise and their love story. It was unlike anything I’ve ever read before and it personally made me reflect on the kind of relationship I want. It also helped me see the things I wanted to change about myself while in a relationship and this book just means a lot to me.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020

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I decided to go with the second book in a series when talking about sequels. The best sequel I’ve read this year has to be Wanna Bet? by Talia Hibbert. This is the second book in the Dirty British Romance series and oh my god, it was so good. It was friends-to-lovers romance and honestly, it had so many cute moments and gah! I just loved Jasmine and Rahul so if you need to read Talia Hibbert’s backlist, I highly recommend this one.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

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The book I chose for this one is Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan. I know this book just released in May but I have yet to get to it. I know it follows characters from her Kingmaker series so I want to get caught up on that. I haven’t seen many reviews of it though so I’m cautiously optimistic. Plus that cover is just stunning so I’m all over it lmao.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

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This was an easy one and that’s because I already have this one preordered. If you’ve been following me, you’ll know that I love Alexa Martin. That’s why it’s no surprise the newest book in the Playbook series is my most anticipated released for the latter half of 2020. She puts her name on anything and I’ll buy it. It’s as simple as that lol plus the subject matter of this book is incredibly timely. Overall, this one is poised to be a new favorite.

5. Biggest disappointment.

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My biggest disappointment so far is easily A Cowboy To Remember by Rebekah Weatherspoon. I normally love her books but this one was a rare miss for me. I don’t know why but this book just didn’t work for me. Maybe it’s because the book was a slow-burn, the lack of chemistry or how all the action started around the 75% mark but this didn’t work for me. I’m still excited to read more of her backlist, though.

6. Biggest Surprise

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When I saw this audiobook on Hoopla, I didn’t think much about it. Either way, I decided to pick it up and what a delight this was. It’s an f/f romance between a songwriter and the singer she’s writing songs for. Honestly, I thought it was super cute albeit super short and a bit dramatic. Nevertheless, I thought it was a solid read and a huge surprise.

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

Surprisingly, I haven’t read a lot of debuts or new-to-me authors. However, I’m going to try to narrow down 3 for each so let’s talk about new-to-me authors first.

First up is Teagan Hunter. When Ellyn picked my TBR in January, I never anticipated I’d end up wanting to devour her books. I’ve only read books 1 and 2 in the Texting series but I’m eager to read more from her. Next up is Jack Harbon who writes m/m romances and I’m so happy I discovered him. Lastly, I have to go with Ngozi Ukazu who writes the Check, Please! comics and gah! I absolutely loved volume 1 so I can’t read to more from her.

As for debut authors, I have 2. First is obviously Sarah Hogle who wrote You Deserve Each Other and it’s clear why I love her. Next up is Emma Lord who wrote Tweet Cute and it was another huge surprise for me. She wrote such an adorable romance along with lovable characters so this was an easy one.

8. Newest fictional crush

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As much as I wanted to say Nicholas from You Deserve Each Other, I wanted to include some other favorites. Keeping with the same name though, one of my newest fictional crushes is easily Nik from Sweet on the Greek. I feel like no one has read this book so they don’t understand how sweet and sexy Nik is. Sigh, I just love him so very much.

9. Newest favorite character.

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For this one, I have to go with Ruth from A Girl Like Her. There’s just something about Ruth I can’t get enough of. She’s unabashedly herself and doesn’t give a fuck who likes it or not. She also wears pajamas everywhere which is goals and I especially loved how she spoke her mind on everything. She didn’t care who didn’t like it because she was saying it no matter what. Honestly, I wish I was half as carefree as Ruth is.

10. Book that made you cry.

Unless I’m forgetting one, I don’t think any books have made me cry this year. They might change in the latter half of the year, though 😛

11. Book that made you happy.

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The book I chose for this one is Mating the Huntress by Talia Hibbert. This is a Halloween novella with a romance between a werewolf and a werewolf hunter. I absolutely loved this book. It was surprisingly funny while still being sexy and I loved every second of it. I especially loved Luke because he was so hopelessly in love and it was just goals.

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

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13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Once again, I’m going to go with three books so let’s get into them.

  • The Wall of Winnipeg & Me by Mariana Zapata. This is on my list of 20 books to read in 2020 and still have yet to read it. I do plan on reading it before the year ends, though.
  • The Rebel King by Kennedy Ryan. I think I mentioned that one earlier in this post and it still stands. I really have no excuse why I haven’t read this one yet.
  • The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. Of course, I want to get this one read as Ellyn and I didn’t buddy-read the original series for nothing. I might end up having to buy this one since the library holds are insane for this.
Credit to Pure Imagination Blog

That’s the Mid-Year Book Freakout. I’m not going to tag anyone since I know this is a pretty popular tag. However, I’d like to know which books you guys still want to read before the end of the year. I obviously have more than three but those three are high priority for me!

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