I read 65 books in the last three months, which is a little less than in the first quarter of the year. Given the way 2020 is going, I don’t think that should come as much of a surprise. Speaking of the way that 2020 is going, just a quick reminder that Black Lives Matter and also, this pandemic sucks so please, please wear a mask when you’re in public. Things are scary, but we do have control over this one tiny thing and I just would really implore you to wear a mask if you go out. But now, let us turn our attention to the books I’ve loved these past few months!
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
I’ve talked about this book a whole bunch this month because I adore it so, so much. If you’ve missed all of my joyful talking about this book, it’s a fake dating trope after Zafir’s dramatic rescue of Dani goes viral. Dani is a prickly, bisexual, Black, fat, witch and she’s everything. Zafir is my favorite hero I’ve read all year. He’s the softest and sweetest and his charity is literally to teach boys how to express their emotions while coaching them on how to play rugby. It’s everything. I can’t recommend it more highly.
Beach Read by Emily Henry
My former favorite book of the year, pre-Take a Hint, but I still adore Beach Read with every fiber of my being. This one isn’t really a pure romance, though I personally would still classify it as one. It’s about Gus and January who are both authors that knew one another in college. January writes women’s fiction with a romantic arc and Gus writes dark literary fiction. January thinks of Gus as her rival and is quite disconcerted to discover that he’s her neighbor at the house her dad left her when he passed. She’s also reeling from the discovery that her dad had a whole other woman in his life and that this house is likely where their assignations occurred. So she’s struggling to write and so is Gus, so they brilliantly decide they’ll swap genres. This challenge involves January tagging along on Gus’s research trips about a former local cult and taking Gus on romantic dates for inspiration. This book is so beautifully written. The tone is more serious than what the back cover copy suggests, but also it’s still really funny in a lot of places. Definitely check for content warnings though!
Open Book by Jessica Simpson
Y’all. I’m still reeling from how much I loved this book. I know Chelsea from chelseadolling reads turned me onto it when she mentioned it in a wrap up and expressed her own surprise about it, but I’d mostly forgotten everything she said when I picked it up. So I was stunned by how riveted I was to this book. I took longer walks, I elongated my drives, I literally got fast food from the slowest drive thru in town one day because I just wanted to stretch out my listening to this book. I don’t know if it’s that Jessica Simpson’s life is just that interesting or if it’s the way she tells her stories but I mean, she’s been through a lot. And she feels kind of like an older sister telling you about all of her mistakes and the highs and lows. She’s a boss. I mean, I just, I love her. There’s a lot about Christianity in here because of how important it is to Simpson, but I personally didn’t feel that it was preachy. I would HIGHLY recommend listening to this if you can.
Alpha Night by Nalini Singh
Alpha Night is the latest installment in my favorite series of all time, which you likely know by now. It’s the story of Ethan Night, an Arrow who thinks he’s broken, and Selenka Dureve, the Alpha of the BlackEdge wolves in Moscow. I read this book with my eyeballs first and then I listened to it on audio and unsurprisingly, it was even better the second time. I just…. I lvoe the dynamics between Ethan and Selenka. I love having our first female alpha lead. I cannot wait for the next installment already. And I just really want to reread some more. How many times this year can I relisten to various books in this series? We’ll find out!
Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
This essay collection blew me away. I really thought my feminism was intersectional, like, I have worked hard to get to the point where I felt like I’d essentially dismantled white feminism from within me and then I read Hood Feminism and realized that, no. No, I hadn’t. The thing is, what Kendall does so brilliantly is she combines her personal stories with tenets of feminism and she’s so great at showing you the resources it took for HER to be able to make it to where she is and why without those resources, other people may not be able to. I think one of the most powerful things for me was all of the discussions about food insecurity and really, all of the social safety net things. Like, I knew women were disproportionally affected by poverty, but I still don’t think I really thought about the way that feminism should be addressing that? Like, food insecurity is a feminist issue. Anyway, this is brilliant. I bought a physical copy so I can reread it with my eyeballs and highlight the heck out of it.
40-Love by Olivia Dade
Y’all already know I love Olivia Dade, so it shouldn’t really come as a surprise to see 40-Love on this list. It’s a beautiful book about Tess, an assistant principal on vacation, and Lucas, a former professional tennis player and now tennis coach at this resort. The two encounter one another when Tess needs cover after her bathing suit top disappears into the ocean. I just honestly love everything about this book and the way Olivia Dade so perfectly crafts her characters and makes you feel so safe while you’re reading. I really love this book.
The Devil of Downtown by Joanna Shupe
This conclusion to the Uptown Girls series just really captivated my attention, which in 2020 is everything I want out of a book. I loved Justine, our do-gooder who was underestimated by practically everyone, and I fell for Jack Mulligan right alongside her. I especially loved the way they navigated their relationship dynamics because that could have gone so poorly, but Joanna Shupe did a great job with it. Overall, I think this series is definitely one of my favorites in historical romance.
Chaos Reigning by Jessie Mihalik
Speaking of series conclusions, I am devastated this series has come to a close because I still want more stories from it. On the bright side, I think we will eventually get to return to this world if Jessie’s tease in her last newsletter is anything to go off of. Anyway, this also follows a youngest sibling underestimated by practically everyone, Catarina, and the man her sister makes her take as a bodyguard to this party, Alex. I really loved all the adventures in this book and just think the whole series has been the most fun sci-fi adventure with satisfying romance arcs in each installment!
Daring and the Duke by Sarah MacLean
And for our final series conclusion on this list, we have the conclusion to the Bareknuckle Bastards series! I wouldn’t say this book was perfect because I did find the beginning slow and it took me a bit to get completely sucked in, but ultimately, I loved the way this wrapped up the series. I also really liked the way the romance was handled between Ewan and Grace. Sarah did such a good job setting up this romance and I’m not always a big villain redemption person because there’s almost never enough groveling for me, but I really bought into this one. I just really loved the way it was handled.
All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
I am so pleasantly surprised that I have three nonfiction books on this list. Also confused because who am I? Anyway, this memoir is on my list because I think Johnson is really incredible at the way he presents his life story. His life hasn’t bee easy and there have been a few different traumatic things that have happened to him, but the way he frames those things is just really well done. I think it’s easy to say that something that happened when you’re five shouldn’t affect you as an adult, but honestly, you’re still trying to unlearn how things in your childhood impacted you in adulthood, if we’re being honest. And I really loved what Johnson says about gender in here and how he encourages cis people to really think about what our own gender means to us. He narrates the audiobook so I would recommend listening to this one if you can! (It’s on Hoopla!)
And there you have it! What were some of your favorite books of the last three months? Let me know!