June was quite a month and one I’m not sad to see in the rearview mirror. I read 19 books total during June, DNF’d one, and am most of the way through More Myself by Alicia Keys. I probably should have just made myself finish More Myself if we’re being honest. Anyway, it was a weird reading month where I didn’t really want to read, but when I did, I liked the books I was reading. So let’s talk about the books I read!
The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton
I have an ARC review of this book, which you are welcome to check out for more full thoughts. This is a historical fiction novel set in the early 1900s around Key West, Florida in the aftermath of World War I. There are three women we’re following in the book, Helen (white) who is pregnant and in abusive relationship, Elizabeth (white), who is searching for someone, and Mirta (Cuban), who is on her honeymoon. I loved the way the storylines interconnected and I really liked the overall story. I didn’t love it the way I love Next Year in Havana, but I do recommend it!
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
This book is perfection. If you’ve seen my Mid-Year Freak Out Tag already, you know that this is my current favorite book of the year and that is because Dani (Black) and Zafir (brown) are everything. Essentially, this book is about prickly Dani agreeing to fake date cinnamon roll Zafir to support his charity and things go from there. It has anxiety rep that is a delight. It’s funny and adorable and has a through line of just genuinely good people being genuinely great. I am still amazed I think I maybe like it more than Get a Life, Chloe Brown. Wild.
Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
So far this is my favorite installment in the Kate Daniels series because it involves a competition and also I like the advances we see in the romance arc. But for real, the plot in this one is amazing and… I probably shouldn’t say too much about it because spoilers. So… Yay for Magic Strikes. If you’re unfamiliar with the Kate Daniels series, it is an urban fantasy series set sort of in our world, but like, now there are magic waves fighting with technology so it’s also kind of post-apocalyptic in a lot of ways. It’s quite fun and also there’s a romance to cheer for (several, really). Kate is a white woman with magic, though she’s not a witch. Also, this series is set in Atlanta.
Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
In which our ship at long last actually sets sail. The plot of this is interesting, but stressful af.
Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews
I really liked the character dynamics in this. I think Kate is really growing in a lot of ways and it’s interesting to see her kind of slide back without giving up. I just really liked it.
Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews
This is 5.5 in the Kate Daniels series and actually follows a different main character, Kate’s best friend, Andrea. I liked the romantic aspect of this book (second chance, I’m surprised too), but I didn’t love the plot for some reason. (I think Andrea is white, but her love interest is… not? I think he’s brown.)
Daring and the Duke by Sarah MacLean
I have a full series review up of the Bareknuckle Bastards series because this was the conclusion! It was excellent, though not my favorite in the series (that would be Brazen). This is Ewan and Grace’s book, which was easily the book I anticipated the most given their set-up throughout Wicked and the Wallflower. It’s angsty and grovel filled and just absolutely wonderful. I would definitely recommend reading this series in order though.
All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
This memoir was one I picked up because of two non-binary creators I really adore, Jesse from Bowties and Books and Adri from Perpetual Pages. Additionally, Jesse and a few other creators hosted a Queer Blackathon and I didn’t manage to read books really at all when that happened, so I just did one the next weekend. Because, you know, 2020. Anyway, this memoir from Johnson, a Black, gay activist, was really awesome. It’s targeted toward a YA audience but covers Johnson’s life through college. One of the things I loved is how he explores how long it took him to come out even though he knew he was gay from a really young age. I also adored that he discussed that he really thought he could go to college and just be a whole new person only to discover that he is still himself even in college. Like, yes. I feel that so hard. And, as you may have guessed from the title, there’s so much about gender in here that I thought was fascinating. I’m cis and haven’t ever really questioned my gender but Johnson challenges cis people in his memoir to really think about our gender. He makes a lot of really great points.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Acevedo returns to a novel in poetry form in Clap When You Land and I listened to it on audio, of course, since Acevedo is one of the narrators. The book is really interesting because it’s two sisters who don’t know about one another for quite some time, even after their father’s plane crashes on his way to visit Camino in the Dominican Republic. Yahaira lives in NYC and is a lesbian (I think, I don’t actually remember her label?) and she’s darker skinned than Camino. Both girls have their struggles and obviously the book deals a lot with grief. While I still prefer The Poet X from Acevedo, she’ll remain an autobuy author from me honestly. CW for sexual assault and grief.
Two Rogues Make a Right by Cat Sebastian
If you missed my historical ARCs with lesbian, gay, and bisexual characters, I reviewed this book in full there. This particular book is a quiet book about two friends since childhood who love each other. Will, a white bisexual man, has to nurse Martin, a white gay man, back to health in the countryside and it’s adorable. The plot is essentially like, can these two let themselves be happy and in love? Thankfully, it’s a romance novel so the answer is OBVIOUSLY. It’s great.
The Devil of Downtown by Joanna Shupe
Another series conclusion where I wrote a series review because I loved the series! I really loved this conclusion, which is about do-gooder and privileged white woman, Justine, and her adventures downtown in NYC helping women track down thier husbands who have abandoned them to get child support. She runs into Jack Mulligan, white crime lord extraordinaire, who trades her a favor for a favor. Y’all. I loved this. I did not want to put it down at all. At all!
The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite
Another book that I reviewed in an arc post this month. This sapphic romance moves slow. I really need to read a fast paced sapphic romance so I may have to read Treasure sooner than later. Anyway, this is a historical romance about Agatha Griffin, a white widow living in London, and Penelope Flood, a white married woman living in Melliton. There’s an incident with bees where Agatha needs Penelope’s help and then the two begin a written corespondance, which transforms into visits and IRL friendship. I really love Waite’s writing, but plot wise, I preferred her debut.
My favorite book of the month was Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert, but there were so many really great reads this month! What was your favorite?