Best Reads June 2019

This post gives a list of my favorite books I read in June 2019. June was a sparse reading month for me, due to brain fog and pain flares.

This list definitely shows my bias towards contemporary romance, but also includes paranormal romance, YA, speculative fiction, fanfic, and historical romance. I am putting rereads and audiobooks in separate categories. I link to reviews where I have written them; and also where I have only posted trigger warnings, so you can easily find those. If I have not yet reviewed, I am using affiliate links to Amazon. If you buy through those links, I will make a small amount of money on that sale (which I plan to use to buy more books to review), but it will not add any to the cost of your product. It comes out of the company’s profits.

I’m listing rep at the end of my descriptions. If you spot something incorrect, please do feel free to let me know. Also, I am not intending to out anyone; I get author info from the web and the book bio. If an author would like me to remove any info listed, please do let me know. I want to note that I use the word fat as a neutral descriptor when listing rep, and use the word queer when a character or author identify that way or when I am unclear about their identity but know they fall under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella.

For folks looking for stories with no on-the-page sex, I am putting three asterisks*** at the end of the description.

New reads

Foodie

  • Ice Cream Lover by Jackie Lau (2019 contemporary m/f romance novel) I really enjoyed this, it’s one of my faves by this author & has a bi heroine who I adored. This contemporary m/f romance is from Lau’s Baldwin Village series, & the next book is due out soon! (Rep: Bisexual biracial Chinese Canadian woman MC. Chinese Canadian man MC. Biracial Chinese-Canadian woman author.)
  • Raze by Roan Parrish (2019 contemporary m/m romance novel) So I just want to say that yet again Roan Parrish wrote a book that grabs my heart & gives me so many feelings. I feel all tender and protective of this book, which has more quiet angst, a slower pace, and is less action oriented, but grabbed hold of me hard and felt like a super intense story to read. I don’t really have words yet for this one, but I loved it. (Rep: Bi man MC with addiction. Queer man MC with trauma. Queer secondary characters.)

Knitting & Sewing

  • Take Me Home by Hudson Lin (2019 contemporary m/m romance short story)*** This was an adorable romance between two elderly men who go to the same coffee shop at the same time each week, and eventually bond over knitting. The grumpy MCs POV was lovely to read, and the romance was super cute and made me grin. (Rep: Chinese Canadian queer older man MC. Black queer older man MC. Taiwanese Canadian queer author.)
  • The Craft of Love by EE Ottoman (2018 historical m/f romance novella with a trans man hero) I loved this book so so much. It feels like cozy comfort fic. It centers a trans man & a queer woman who are both craftspeople in early 1900s NYC. I could see the textile strikes on the horizon, and the heroine is very politicized in a way I just completely adored.So much lovely craft detail, and this very gentle arc. Low conflict/low angst. The way it challenges allonormativity, heteronormativity & the supremacy of marriage is breathtaking. I was having ace spec and aro spec feels the whole time, loved how much the MCs value friendship. (Rep: Trans man MC. Queer woman MC. Disabled queer trans man author.)

Speculative Fiction

  • alone and palely loitering by Julian Stuart (2019 paranormal m/agender romance novelette) This story is lovely. I loved the pace and tone of it, enjoyed seeing it evolve very much. I really liked the agender rep, which isn’t named on the page but felt quite clear. (Rep: Agender MC. Agender panromantic author.)
  • An Unexpected Invitation by Ceillie Simkiss (2019 fantasy novelette)*** This is a magical quest kind of tale, that centers an aroace witch who is trying to find an accessible way to get to the wedding of chosen family, despite her motion sickness. It centers a range of platonic relationships, and has some fun moments of magical problem solving. My favorite bit was when the witch’s bisexual fae BFF gives her a beautiful present; it really held the way friendships can be deeply emotional and important, and I loved that. (Rep: Aroace woman MC with motion sickness. Queer and non-binary secondary characters. Panromantic asexual woman author with ADHD and anxiety.)
  • Not Your Backup by CB Lee (2019 YA fantasy novel)*** This is the third installment in a queer YA superhero series that I adore, and I think it might be my favorite. It has a lovely aroace questioning arc that runs parallel to the resist the corrupt government arc, and resolves to a queerplatonic relationship with the person who started out as the MC’s boyfriend. It’s about friendship, identity, finding your place in activist movement, and it’s such a hopeful book to have right now in 2019. (Rep: Latinx aroace questioning teen girl MC. Black trans teen boy secondary character. Chinese-Vietnamese biracial bisexual girl secondary character. Queer girl secondary character. Chinese-Vietnamese biracial bisexual woman author.)

YA

  • Home and Away by Candice Montgomery (2018 contemporary YA m/f romance) I fell super hard for the MC, and was swept along for the ride as she tries to sort out what to do about all this new information she now has about her family that has been kept from her for years. I loved the way she insists on going through her own process, makes completely reckless decisions that felt exactly right for her, and I was really into this as a sports YA, on top of all the other things it was. The romance had me worried for her the whole time, but the way she threw herself into it felt so real, and the arc really worked. I could not put this down stayed up way too late to finish reading it. (Rep: Black girl MC. Bisexual boy love interest. Black author.)
  • You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan (2016 contemporary YA novel) I asked on Twitter for book recs that centered queer friendship, and this was one of the first I got. It was beautiful, and perfect for June, as it centers Pride week. And it was very much about friendship, old and new, and about being afraid you are not enough, about change and getting your heart broken and fear of success and falling in love. It gave me so many feelings and I completely adored it. (Rep: Lesbian girl MC. Gay boy MC. Most of the secondary characters are queer. Lesbian woman author. Gay man author.)
  • This is Kind of An Epic Love Story by Kacen Callender (2018 contemporary YA m/m romance) I really liked the bi representation in this story, so much. It was full of angst and push pull and so much was fraught and the MC was supremely frustrating in his inertia and not communicating or taking action, but all of that felt so real, and resonant. As a friends to lovers romance, it doesn’t follow a traditional arc, but I didn’t mind that. (Rep: Bisexual Black teen boy MC. Latinx Hard of Hearing queer teen boy love interest. Queer secondary characters. Black queer trans author.)

Workplace

  • Truth and Measure by Telanu (2013 Devil Wears Prada f/f fanfic romance) I really enjoyed this romance! The pacing was wonderful, the characterization was lovely and I appreciated the way it flowed seamlessly from the original content and really matched the tone in many ways. I was rooting for Miranda and Andy to be together, and was riveted by the story, especially the romance arc, but also the character arcs. This is a boss/employee, age gap, single parent, class gap, pregnant MC romance and it hits those tropes beautifully. (Rep: Queer woman MC. Older queer woman MC.)
  • Fly With Me by Hudson Lin (2019 contemporary m/f romance novella)*** I really enjoyed this romance; it was sweet and full of wonderful food descriptions and family feels, and I liked the incidental bi rep. I especially appreciated the way Marco kept making mistakes and trying really hard and was all about her competence, and Viv didn’t let him off the hook. (Rep: Chinese Canadian woman MC. Chinese Canadian bisexual immigrant man MC. Taiwanese Canadian queer author.)
  • Bang and Burn by Katrina Jackson (2019 contemporary m/m romsusp novel) I devoured this in big gulps and couldn’t put it down. It was a really fun read! I fell really hard for Caleb and Lamont, and am looking forward to them getting an HEA in a later book; this felt right, kinda like a prequel for that, because the timing was off. I really liked that the author honored that need, to wait for the right time. I liked seeing glimpses of the characters I know and love, especially Chante. It was fun to see Lane go off on his own on a mission. I also really liked the way we got to see Lamont reacting to all the ways his relationships at work go sideways; I think sometimes in spy stories we don’t get to see that, and it made me really feel for him. (Rep: Black queer men MCs. Black queer woman author.)

Rereads

  • Snare by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae (2016 paranormal m/m/m romance ) I really enjoyed discussing this with the #PolyamBookClub, and thinking about what kinds of questions we might explore in that discussion. There’s a lot that I adore in this novella.

Audio Books

  • Tender with a Twist by Annabeth Albert, read by Marc Bachmann and Iggy Toma (2017 contemporary m/m romance novel) This audiobook is a fave of mine; I adore the novice dom character, and the foodie aspect of the story. The narrators are faves of mine, and are definitely part of the draw of the story.

July TBR (I likely won’t get to all of these, but it’s nice to have goals. A in parentheses indicates books I plan to read on audio)

Buddy Read/Group Read

ARCs to Read

Ripped Bodice Bingo

My YARC19 Challenge TBR

Romance Book Bingo TBR

M’s Book Bingo TBR

Hockey Romance TBR

For fun

 

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