June in Review

We have made it through another month Friends. I can’t believe this is it for June 2019 yet am excited to see what July has in store for me. June was a month of ups and downs per usual and a few things happened that solidified for me that I still have work to do, personally. Even with all of the craziness that was going on, I still made reading a priority and finished 17 books.

Per my usual, I am going to share my thoughts on my favorites from this month, so let’s get into it.

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First up is Rebel by Beverly Jenkins.

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At this point, I don’t think it’s possible for Queen Bev to have a miss. Staying on brand with her norm, Ms. Jenkins effortlessly weaves historical facts into her love story in a way that it works for me. As a woman of color who wants to adore historical romances just as much as the next romance reader, every time I finish a Jenkins novel, I am so proud to say I (finally) have an author who is writing heroines who I can identify with. Val, our heroine in Rebel, which is book 1 in the Women Who Dare series is so brave and is full of so much passionate. She has no ties to where she is, but is so driven to help the recently freed flourish that nothing could persuade her to leave.

A Duke By Default is next!

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I was so excited about starting Portia and Tavish’s romance. I have so many friends who swear by this book. This is the favorite of so many and I can see why. Portia and Tavish are both complicated as hell but I instantly found myself rooting for both of them. Having loved Reggie from Can’t Escape Love, I was happy to have bits and pieces of her in this story being that she’s Portia’s sister. The ending to this book! Oh my goodness, I swooned so hard. If you haven’t started reading this series, please do so now!

Last but not least is Untamed Cowboy by Maisey Yates. This is book 2 in her Gold Valley series, which is another series I’ve been reading completely out of order.

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Untamed Cowboy is Kaylee and Bennett’s romance. It is very slow burn. Friends to Lovers. Surprise kid, but not what you’d expect. I loved it. I have grown to love the Dodge family so much and each book has it’s own vibe but stays on brand with how close knit the family is. Things between Bennett and Kaylee were intense with both having their own internal conflicts they needed to work through but it was amazing, it all worked. I now only have book 3 to read and then I’ll be all caught up and can move onto the new release, Cowboy to the Core. If you enjoy slow burn, cowboy romance with a strong family element, I can’t recommend this series enough.

I hope you had a wonderful June and read something amazing. Let me know what your reading favorites were this month. Until next time, xo.

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RomanceAThon TBR

Hey Hey! The RomanceAThon is upon us and I’m so excited.  It will be taking place June 17th through June 23rd and is hosted by GabbyReads and Jacqueline from We Be Book’n over on Youtube.

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Here are the prompts:

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Per usual, I am focusing on the prompts only to an extent. I really just want to see how many romances I manage to read throughout the week. I find that I am way more successful with readathons when I stick to the theme but don’t stress myself out trying to find books that fit challenges. I am kind of killing my summer romance bingo board by reading what I want, then pulling out my list to see what challenges what I read fit into. Cool? Cool..here’s what I plan to read!

My LGBT Romance picks *yes, there are two*

First I have Just Juliet by Charlotte Reagan

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I also plan to read How to Make a Wish  by Ashley Herring Blake

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Read a book with pink on the cover: For this one I am picking one that has been sitting on my nightstand for months now and now feels like the perfect time to finally pick it up and that’s The Trouble With Cowboys by Victoria James.

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Read a Romance with a Man on the Cover: For this one, I am picking up one of my most anticipated releases of 2019, Kerry Winfrey’s, Waiting For Tom Hanks  

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Read a romance released in 2019: I will be reading Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

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There are only two prompts I don’t at the moment have anything I want to read for, but I do have quite a few books on my Kindle that I’d like to get to over the next few weeks, and 2 in particular that if I could fit into RomanceAthon would be great!

First is one I am a few chapters into already, and that’s I’ll Be Good To You by Chelsea Marie

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And last, but not least is Reigning Magicking by Candace Osmond and JJ King.

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So those are my picks! I am so so excited. Let me know if you are joining in on this readathon and if so, share with me what you’ll be reading!

xo.

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Summer Romance Bingo *plans*

As soon as last year’s Summer Romance Bingo ended, I anxiously began waiting for the next go around. If you’re unaware, the Summer Romance Bingo I’m participating in is hosted by Sarah, from Steeped in Books on Youtube. I am so excited it is that time of the year again and with this go around Sarah has switched things up a bit in ways I think make it even more fun than last years.

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Important information you’ll need:

The Goodreads group can be found here.

To get a Bingo Card, click here.

Google Docs Folder can be found here.

Now, if you want a Bingo Card with prompts loaded in for you, be sure to click the link for the Bingo Card up above..but if you want to do things more your way, under the Google Docs Folder, Sarah has provided a blank Bingo card with 80 prompts to choose from.

I will drive myself crazy if I pick prompts and aim to stick with them. You know your girl is a mood reader..so I am going to just do my thing and read whatever I’m in the mood for and just casually knock prompts off that way. Obviously I want my blank bingo card to be full with 25 reads but the only real challenge I am setting for myself is to see if I can read 40 books. That’s alot of books to shoot for in three months, but I think it’ll be a lot of fun to try..especially in June because there are quite a few romance readathons taking place this month that may give me the boost I need to get stuff knocked out.

I will keep you all posted with my progress as things go. Maybe I’ll do an every 10 books read wrap up or something..we shall see. Wish me luck..and if you’re participating I hope you kick butt!! You can do this!!

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Book Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

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The Kiss Quotientby Helen Hoang

Berkley; June 2018

5/5Stars

A confession before I get into this review:  I tend to usually wait for the hype around a book to die down a bit before reading it. I honestly was going to treat The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang no different. I hauled it on a random Sunday night trip to the bookstore and planned to sit it on my shelf for a few months before picking it up. Obviously though, that didn’t happen and I am very happy I didn’t put reading this book off. I loved it!

Plot Summary:

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

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Firstly, let’s shout out an own voices story that is in the spotlight and getting some amazing recognition. There is a lot to love about this story.

I really enjoyed the whole premise of this book. It was cool to read from Stella’s perspective knowing she has Aspergers. It is such a big part of who she is, but she didn’t let it define her. But as someone who doesn’t live with Aspergers it was an awesome experience to get bits and pieces of how someone who does live with it, processes things. I found that fascinating. And I adored, once Michael figured out that Stella had Aspergers, how he was immediately able to communicate and interact with her in ways that wouldn’t frustrate or overwhelm her.

I loved how the author created these two very different people from different social statuses and family structures and made them perfect for each other. Michael believes that Stella is too good for him. Stella has this amazing job as an econometrician, while he works in his Mother’s alteration/dry cleaning business and also does escorting on the side. He has it made up in his mind that as soon as she learns about who is father is and the things his father has done, that she won’t want anything to do with him. Stella keeps her disorder a secret, believing that once Michael learns about it, he won’t want anything to do with her. There first couple of scenes together were super awkward but Michael was so adorably patient.

I appreciated the family aspect in this book. Michael literally put his life and the things he wanted to do on hold to take care of his Mom who has been sick with cancer. It was cute seeing him interact with his sisters and Grandmother. There is a scene early on in the book where Stella meets his family, her disorder still being a secret, and she basically blows it. The whole meeting was over stimulating for her and on her part, she says some things and does some things that come across as rude. But she realizes how important Michael’s family is to him, and does what she needs to do to right her wrongs.

This book was so swoon worthy. So many parts of it bought a smile to my face. I’d have to say my favorite part of this story was seeing the feelings grow between Stella and Michael and watching them both try to figure those feelings and emotions out. Stella is so used to trying to please the men she has interacted with that it was awesome to see her finally get comfortable with Michael and allow him the opportunity to please her. It was awesome to see Michael, who sticks to these rules and guidelines he has set in stone to keep between him and his clients, completely throw all of that out eventually when it came to Stella. It was so cute how he noticed the little things; like how she looked at him like he was the most important person in the room, how she wanted to wear his tee shirt to sleep because it smelled like him..I loved reading how happy these things made him feel.

I could seriously go on and on about this book Friends, but I’m just going to leave you with this: Read it. It is fun, it has a steamy romance, cute family moments and two people who eventually realize they are made for each other.

Have you read The Kiss Quotient? What were your thoughts on it? I hope all is well with you, take care of yourselves–I’ll chat with you in my next post. xoxo

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Romance Bingo First 5 Wrap Up

Hey Friends! I hope you had a wonderful week and are enjoying your weekend. I wanted to check in and quickly recap my first five completed reads for the Summer Romance Bingo I’m participating in.

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  • My pick for a historical romance was Katherine by Anya Seton which I gave 3/5 stars. This is the fictionalize depiction of Katherine Swynford and John Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster’s love affair. Their love affair changed history. My first Anya Seton novel was Dragonwyck and it completely blew me away but the two I have read since have just been okayKatherine is over 500 pages and to be honest the first 200 were very slow. Had I not been reading this as a buddy read, I probably would’ve DNF’d it.

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  • I read Redemption Bay by Raeanne Thayne for the challenge of “reading a novel with someone in the medical field.” This is book three in the Haven Point series and I gave it 4/5 stars. Redemption Bay follows Mayor McKenzie Shaw whose sister Devin is a doctor. I loved this story, so much.

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  • For the challenge of “read a paranormal romance,”  I read The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark.  I gave this one 3/5 stars. It had so many things in it that I am a complete sucker for but it just didn’t hit the mark for me. Somewhere along the line, I started losing interest and had no idea what was going on. It had the creepy old house, a town full of witches, demons, vampires and faeries. It had old manuscripts from a romance author who lived in the creepy old house before passing away. I seriously wanted to love the hell out of this book, but I didn’t.

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  • For the challenge of “read a book with a cowboy in the story,” I read the next book in the Haven Point series, Evergreen Springs.  This is Devin’s love story with single dad, cowboy,  Cole Barrett. I gave this one 4/5 stars. Raeanne Thayne does such a fantastic job at truly capturing human emotions. Her characters are very real people with baggage, ghosts in their closets and self-doubt. I loved it.

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  • Lastly, for the “small town romance,” challenge, I read Riverbend Road which is book four in Raeanne Thayne’s Haven Point series. If you can’t tell, I was totally sucked into the town of Haven Point. I literally couldn’t get enough of them so I finished one and immediately jumped into the next and lucky for me, they fit into a few challenges.  Riverbend Road is the love story between Police Officer Wyn Bailey and the Chief of Police, Cade Emmett. These two have pretty much grown up together–Cade’s mentor was Wyn’s Father who was a police officer until his death, and he was best friends with Wyn’s brother.  Raeanne Thayne does such a good job in this novel of capturing that internal conflict we tend to have when we don’t think we are good enough for someone. That was definitely the case for Cade. True enough he worked himself up to Chief of Police but he saw Wyn’s family structure and never thought he was good enough for her because of how his was set up. I gave this one 4/5 stars!

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Let me know if you are participating in any summer reading challenges or if there are any read-a-thons coming up you’re excited for! Until next time, take care of yourself!

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A Christmas romance. A demon lover & reaching my Goodreads Goal.(Weekend Catch Up)

Hey Friends! I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend. I honestly just wanted to check in with you all and chat about my current reading status and my thoughts after having reached my reading goal on Goodreads.

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Recently I finished Evergreen Springs by Raeanne Thayne which is book 3 in the Haven Point series. I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads. This series is just what I need at the moment. I really believe sometimes you read books when you’re truly meant to, and that’s how I’ve felt with each of these books. Yes, this book is a Christmas romance and yes, I know it is the middle of June. I told myself I would read Christmas novels throughout the year because they really put me in a good mood!

After finishing Evergreen Springs, I immediately checked both Audible and Overdrive to see if either had the audiobook to book four, Riverbend Road. I was super excited to see one of my libraries indeed had it-so just like with Evergreen Springs I will be reading the physical copy and following along on audio.

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E-Books I’m EXCITED for!

I love reading e-books Friends. I have the Kindle App downloaded on both my Ipad and IPhone so between the two, I always have a book with me. It can get pretty crazy though! Between checking e-books out via Overdrive from the library and one clicking on Amazon, at times I feel like I’ve went a bit over board–but typically if I am hauling an e-book, it’s because I want that book RIGHT NOW. Once upon a time, I believed all my books needed to be in physical form. But after realizing how convenient e-books are, how much cheaper they can be at times and surprisingly how much faster I seem to read them–I got over needing all physical books pretty quick! Here are a few I have recently hauled that I am excited to read.collage (1)

Beverly Jenkins is at the top of my list of Must Read Romance authors. She writes historical romances that take place in America and the heroines are women of color. I recently checked out Destiny’s Embrace both in e-book and audio form from the library. Destiny’s Embrace takes place in the American West and follows Logan, a ranch owner who begins to fall for his housekeeper Mariah. The two bicker quite a bit but the sexual tension is there and only rises when Mariah’s former lover arrives on scene. You don’t see too many historical romances that take place in America, let alone with a woman or man of color who isn’t a slave so I am excited to read my first Queen Bev novel!

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Honestly this next title I saw on Instagram and within minutes found that it was not only on Amazon but that it’s part of Kindle Unlimited so I was able to click to read it for free. It is Lilith by Willow Aster which at some point had a title change, because when I found it initially it was titled Whore. It is the story of Lilith Fontenot who is beautiful, intelligent, independent and appears to have it all. She is also the highest paid prostitute in New Orleans. She once had dreams of a normal life but buried those long ago and is now focused on surviving. There are two men; a mob boss and a community center owner who have their own specific plans for Lilith and neither will rest until it becomes reality.

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Always Never Yours is a Young Adult Contemporary Romance that caught my eye on Amazon one day and ever since I haven’t been able to get it off my mind. I put it on hold with the library and it finally came through a few days ago. This is Megan Harper’s story of being the girl “before.” She is the girl who after dating her, guys find their one true love. Megan doesn’t waste time feeling sorry for herself. Instead she focuses on directing theatre and fulfilling her dream school’s acting requirement in the smallest role possible. Megan gets cast as Juliet in her high school’s production of Romeo and Juliet and this guy Owen promises to help Megan catch the eye of a sexy stagehand if she helps him with his script writing. Between rehearsals and her divided family Megan begins noticing Owen and questions, shouldn’t a girl to get to play the lead in her own love story? This story sounds so good. I am so in the mood for a young adult contemporary romance at the moment but I haven’t read the genre in years and can be very picky. I don’t have anything against young adult. Just the last couple of books I remember reading, I kept thinking, “I DON’T WANT YOUNG GIRLS READING THIS CRAP AND THINKING THIS IS OKAY.” Just the specific books I read I remember feeling like young girls deserved so much better and are way smarter than what the author was giving them credit for.

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This next one, I read the first few sentences in the synopsis and immediately clicked the button on Amazon. “It was a big lie. The biggest lie she’d ever told. It reverberated through her head as she said it, ringing eerily, and the girl behind her eyes—the girl who knew the truth—screamed, and her scream echoed along with the lie. ” In The Smallest Part    Mercedes says “No,” when she is asked if she loves Noah.  She knows that Cora loves him too. With the lie, Mercedes loses him. She was the best friend, the godmother, the bridesmaid, the glue. She was there through all the good and bad times and ups and downs. She was also there when everything came crashing down. I feel like this book is going to rip my heart all the way out and to be honest, I am so ready for it! I am in the mood for a book to completely shatter me at the moment.

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Lastly, I hauled Dangerous Books For Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels Explained by Maya Rodale. When I heard there were a few non-fiction books about the romance genre floating around, I knew I had to get my hands on them. Maya Rodale’s Dangerous Books For Girls is the first I picked up and it explores the origins behind the stigma against popular romance novels.  The book argues that the stigma behind romance has nothing to do with the covers or the audience but everything to do with the fact that these novels are dangerous. I am so excited to read this one!

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So these are the e-books I have recently hauled! Do you read e-books? Share with me some of the titles you’ve hauled recently on your e-reader. Until next time Friends, take care of yourselves–xoxo, Bree

 

 

 

 

 

Realizations I’ve had since finishing Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

Sleepless In Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

HQN Books; May 31, 2016

My Rating: 5/5

 

What was the last book you read Friends, that after finishing it, all you kept thinking to yourself was, “What took me so long to read this book?” I have been asking myself this question since about 8 pm last night when I finished reading Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan. I buddy read this one with my friend Ashley from Ashheartbooks on Youtube and I think we both finished it, sad that it was over but excited because it’s book one in the From Manhattan With Love series so there is so much more in store!

Plot Summary:

What if the person who broke your heart, is the only one who can help you find your future?
Great friends. Amazing Apartment. An incredible job. Paige has ticked off every box on perfect New York life checklist. Until disaster strikes and instead of shimming further up the career ladder, Paige is packing up her desk.

Her brother’s best friend Jake might be the only person who can help her put her life back together. He also happens to be the boy she spent her teen years pining after, and Paige is determined not repeat her past mistakes. But the more time she spends with Jake, the more Paige realises the one thing that was missing from her world all along. The perfect New York love story…

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This was the perfect book to kick off my summer reading. Once upon a time I would’ve never considered myself a “mood” reader or “seasonal” reader but as times goes on, there’s a certain book I want at specific times. For summer in particular, I want fun reads. I want books that take place in cities I’ve never been to so I can imagine myself there. I want stories centered around friendship. These are just bits and pieces of what make up Sleepless in Manhattan.

Sarah Morgan has been writing for a while now. I’ve found one early series of hers with book one having come out in 2004! Over fourteen years ago and she still wrote this amazing contemporary novel with very realistic characters. I like when I read a book that makes me want to change things in my own life or makes me reflect on things I do or don’t like–So let me share a few realizations I’ve had since finishing Sleepless in Manhattan:

  1. I need more girl time: This book follows Paige who lives with two of her life long best friends Frankie and Eva. Paige is the organizer. She was very sick as a kid and now that she’s an adult, organization is something she has control over. This comes in super handy after her, Frankie and Eva lose their jobs and decide to start their own business. Frankie is the tough one who doesn’t believe in love and would rather watch horror films over romantic comedies. And Eva is the hopeless romantic who loves to cook and has her own blog. Reading about the friendship between these girls, how Eva cooks their breakfast in the morning, their movie nights and dinner at Romano’s Italian Restaurant made me realize how much I need more quality time with friends. We are all so busy! A weekend with no plans always sounds wonderful but in the grand scheme of things, dinner out or in with friends could do me good!
  2. I should visit NYC at least Once before I die: Every book I’ve read that takes place in New York City always makes me question why I haven’t visited there yet–especially with my husband being from Brooklyn. Reading Sleepless in Manhattan reminded me why I need to bump this up on my “make it happen sooner rather than later” list of things to do. Sarah Morgan writes these beautifully descriptive passages where the girls are having movie nights on the roof top of their apartment and I could just imagine myself there gazing out at the NYC skyline, listening to the traffic down below and smelling the different foods being prepared in nearby restaurants.
  3. Take more risks: I don’t stray too far from my comfort zone and I’m realizing how BORING that is. A big theme in this book is risk taking. Paige has been in love with Jake, her brother’s best friend since she was a kid. She spilled her heart to him once upon a time but he shut her down due to a promise he secretly made to her brother. In the book she takes the risk and spills her heart yet again. We also get to see her take the risk of starting her own business after being let go from her job. She instantly thinks, “I have to search for a job.” It’s not until Jake throws out the idea, that the thought crosses her mind that she could totally run her own business with Frankie and Eva. This one was big for me. I have been doing my job since I was 18 and am honestly over it at the moment. With only a year left, I am weighing the pros and cons and considering the “risks,” of trying something new!
  4. I’m a sucker for love in all it’s forms: In a way I can understand how hard it would’ve been for Paige to move on from crushing so hard on Jake after all these years being that they see each other everyday but I absolutely love that after all these years he’s still the man she wants! I love how her love for him has really stood the test of time and seeing him flaunt countless women around. I love Jake’s friendship with Matt (Paige’s brother.) He respected his wishes for so long and turned Paige down when he really didn’t want to. I loved seeing how awesome of a big brother Matt was to Paige. He was very overprotective but after his family witnessed her being sick for so long, protecting her became a natural everyday thing for him. I adored Jake’s relationship with his adopted Mother, Maria. Although she wasn’t his biological Mother, she became the Mother he needed and you could just feel their love for each other coming off the pages. It was a conversation between them towards the end of the book that made my eyes swell with tears..ahh it was so good! And of course, you can’t help but love the friendship between Paige, Frankie and Eva. When Paige gets her heart broken in the book, she immediately knows her friends are going to be there for her.

 

I will be thinking of this book for a long time! If you are looking for a good, fun, sexy book to start your summer reading off, I can’t recommend this one enough. And I didn’t even touch on the sex scenes in this book! My God, Sarah Morgan can write a sex scene!! So share with me Friends what you are currently reading and what some of your summer reading recommendations are! I hope all is well with you and I’ll chat with you in my next post–xoxo, Bree!

June Romance TBR

Hello Friends! We have made it to June which makes us that much closer to Christmas time. I am so over the heat already and may or may not be counting down the days until Hallmark starts playing their Christmas romances. One day at a time though, and here we are a few days into June and I feel like my to be read list for this month is set. I am participating in the Summer Romance 2018 Bingo so I have books that fit into 5 of the prompts.

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The wall of Winnipeg and Me

For the prompt, “Sports Romance,” I will be reading The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata. I don’t know why, but something has me a little nervous about giving sports romances a try but this one was recommended to me in the Summer Romance Bingo group on Goodreads, so I’m excited to read it. (And it has pretty awesome reviews!)  I’ll be reading this one on my iPad’s Kindle App and was lucky enough to get it for free via Kindle Unlimited.

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The next prompt I’ll be completing is “Book by an author writing under a pseudonym” and for this one I’ll be reading The Duke Is Mine by Eloisa James. I have only read one other Eloisa James novel and really enjoyed it. From what I’ve heard and read about her, she is basically a BOSS when it comes to historical romances and fairy tale retellings, so I am very much looking forward to another one of her works. I’ll be reading the physical copy of this one.

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Never Seduce A Scot,” is one I am currently listening to on audio via Overdrive. I saw Nicole from WhoPickedThisBook and Angela at Books Are My Hart post the information for this one on Twitter for their online book club, Romantics At Hart and I immediately checked overdrive and was so happy they had the audiobook available. When it comes to historical’s I prefer having the audio version because reading it myself I know I completely butcher names and tend to not always understand what is being talked about. So audiobooks are very helpful with this. I am already a few chapters into this one and am very intrigued to see where the story is going to go!

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For the prompt, “Novel that takes place in a major city,” I’ll be reading Idle Bloom by Jewel E. Ann. This book takes place in Boston and luckily I came across it while browsing Amazon. I want to read more friends to lovers story lines and Boston is in my top 3 cities here in the states I want to visit, so I’m very excited to read this one. I’ll be reading this one on my Kindle app.

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And my last pick for this month is for the prompt of, “Romance novel published in 2018.” I chose, The Way You Make Me Feel,” by Maurene Goo for this one. It is a young adult novel but the main character experiences a romance in it, so I am counting it. It’s been years since I’ve read a young adult novel and I used to find them so much fun in the summer, so I am really rooting for this one! I hope I like it. I have the physical copy of this one checked out from the library so I need to get to it soon.

 

So that is my TBR for the month of June Friends! Let me know what you reading plans for this month consist of. Do you feel you gravitate toward certain books when summer comes? Hope all is well with you! I’ll talk to you in my next post–xoxo, Bree.