June 2023 reading wrap up

June 2023 Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

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June was a great reading month for me. For the first time ever, I created a monthly TBR (a list of all the books I wanted to read) and actually read all but one. The one I didn’t read was a book that I decided that I no longer had an interest in reading, so I’m pretty proud of myself for accomplishing that. I also read so many 5 star books this month and read what I think will be my favorite book of the year (at least it is so far).

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June Reading Stats

Books read:15

Pages read: 6,516

Average rating: 4.63

DNF: 1

Formats: 6 physical books, 3 eBooks, & 6 audiobooks

 

Books Read

These are all of the books that I finished in the month of June. I will mention other books that I read some of but didn’t finish later in this post.

 

1. Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Genre: Adult Historical Romance

Rating & Spice Level: 4/5 stars & 3/5 hearts

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

Also available on: Book of the Month 

 

 

Synopsis:

England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women’s suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain’s politics at the Queen’s command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can’t deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.

Sebastian is appalled to find a suffragist squad has infiltrated his ducal home, but the real threat is his impossible feelings for green-eyed beauty Annabelle. He is looking for a wife of equal standing to secure the legacy he has worked so hard to rebuild, not an outspoken commoner who could never be his duchess. But he wouldn’t be the greatest strategist of the Kingdom if he couldn’t claim this alluring bluestocking without the promise of a ring…or could he?

Locked in a battle with rising passion and a will matching her own, Annabelle will learn just what it takes to topple a duke….

A Few Thoughts:

This was a fun historical romance. I enjoyed the characters, and I am interested in continuing to read the other books in this series.

 

2. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating & Spice Level: 5/5 stars & no spice

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

A Few Thoughts:

I definitely understand the hype now. This was such a fun and unique fantasy. I loved that the main character was morally gray, and I thought the world was super intriguing.

 

3. Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Rating & Spice Level: 4/5 stars & 4/5 hearts

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

Also available on: Book of the Month 

 

 

Synopsis:

The many lives of theoretical physicist Elsie Hannaway have finally caught up with her. By day, she’s an adjunct professor, toiling away at grading labs and teaching thermodynamics in the hopes of landing tenure. By other day, Elsie makes up for her non-existent paycheck by offering her services as a fake girlfriend, tapping into her expertly honed people-pleasing skills to embody whichever version of herself the client needs.

Honestly, it’s a pretty sweet gig—until her carefully constructed Elsie-verse comes crashing down. Because Jack Smith, the annoyingly attractive and arrogant older brother of her favorite client, turns out to be the cold-hearted experimental physicist who ruined her mentor’s career and undermined the reputation of theorists everywhere. And he’s the same Jack Smith who rules over the physics department at MIT, standing right between Elsie and her dream job.

Elsie is prepared for an all-out war of scholarly sabotage but…those long, penetrating looks? Not having to be anything other than her true self when she’s with him? Will falling into an experimentalist’s orbit finally tempt her to put her most guarded theories on love into practice?

A Few Thoughts:

While not my favorite Ali Hazelwood book, it was still good. Thanks to Libro.fm for my complimentary ALC.

You can read my full review here. 

 

4. The Pocket Pair by Emma St. Clair

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Rating & Spice Level: 5/5 stars & no spice

Purchase here: Amazon 

Also available on: Kindle Unlimited

 

 

Synopsis:

Do I have feelings for my sister’s best friend? Of course not.

That would be stupid, considering my sister once threatened to castrate me if I ever hurt Val.

Hurting her is the last thing I want to do, which is all the MORE reason I can’t have feelings for her. Val deserves the world, and I’m NOT the man who can give it to her.

But when Val announces she’s leaving town (and the country), I’m suddenly confronted with some very capital-F Feelings–ones that refuse to stay stuffed down deep where I’ve hidden them for more years than I care to admit.

Having her crash in my guest bedroom until she leaves only makes things worse.

Little by little, Val chips away at my defenses, and despite all the solid reasons I have, my resolve starts to crumble.

The thing is–none of the circumstances have changed.

Val is still planning to leave the country. And I … well, I might have gotten more in touch with my feelings, but I’m still the same man.

NOT a man who can promise things like life-long commitment. NOT a man Val can count on. NOT the good guy everyone seems to think I am.

If only I could get Val and the rest of this nosy, meddling matchmaking town to believe me–and if my own stubborn heart wasn’t trying to convince me otherwise.

A Few Thoughts:

I loved this book and was happy to return to the fun town of Sheet Cake, TX. Even though this is the third book in the series, it can be read as a standalone. I recommend reading all the books because they are so much fun and have swoony romances.

Thank you to author for my complimentary ARC.

You can read my full review here. 

 

5. Royally Rearranged by Emma St. Clair

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Rating & Spice Level: 4/5 stars & no spice

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | AbeBooks 

Also available on: Kindle Unlimited

 

 

Synopsis:

There WILL be a royal wedding. The only question–who will be my groom?

An arranged marriage isn’t the worst fate for a princess like me. Especially because I’ve been in love with my intended groom since we were children.

But when my prince shows up with an American girlfriend instead of an engagement ring, all arrangements are off.

The clock is nearing midnight–I won’t turn into a pumpkin, but if I’m not wed by summer’s end, I’ll forfeit my kingdom.

Just your typical royal dilemma.

Out of sheer desperation, I make a deal with a devilish duke. Rafe de Silva is the prince’s rival and has a plan so ridiculous it just might work.

One moment, Rafe seems to relish making the prince jealous.

And the next… he’s making me question everything with his words, his touch, and his ability to melt my Ice Princess persona.

I’m not always given the luxury of choice, but now I have a huge one to make. I only hope I don’t lose my crown, my heart, or myself in the process…

A Few Thoughts:

This book has one of my favorite book boyfriends that this author has written. He was super charming but also very sweet. I am interested in reading the other books in this series in the future.

 

6. Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy

Rating & Spice Level: 5/5 stars & 2/5 hearts

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

Also available on: Scribd | Book of the Month | Kindle Unlimited

 

 

Synopsis:

After centuries of sleep, the gods are warring again. But eighteen-year-old Iris Winnow just wants to hold her family together. Her mother is suffering from addiction and her brother is missing from the front lines. Her best bet is to win the columnist promotion at the Oath Gazette.

To combat her worries, Iris writes letters to her brother and slips them beneath her wardrobe door, where they vanish―into the hands of Roman Kitt, her cold and handsome rival at the paper. When he anonymously writes Iris back, the two of them forge a connection that will follow Iris all the way to the front lines of battle: for her brother, the fate of mankind, and love.

A Few Thoughts:

This book was SO good! I am so sad that the sequel doesn’t come out until next year because I need to know what happens next! The romance was so good, and the setting was really interesting. I loved the magical typewriters and the sweet letters written between the characters.

 

7. A Change of Affection by Becket Cook

Genre: Memoir

Rating & Spice Level: 5/5 stars & no spice

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

Also available on: Scribd 

 

 

Synopsis:

When Becket Cook moved from Dallas to Los Angeles after college, he discovered a socially progressive, liberal town that embraced not only his creative side but also his homosexuality. He devoted his time to growing his career as a successful set designer and to finding “the one” man who would fill his heart. As a gay man in the entertainment industry, Cook centered his life around celebrity-filled Hollywood parties and traveled to society hot-spots around the world–until a chance encounter with a pastor at an LA coffee shop one morning changed everything.

In A Change of Affection, Becket Cook shares his testimony as someone who was transformed by the power of the gospel. Cook’s dramatic conversion to Christianity and subsequent seminary training inform his views on homosexuality–personally, biblically, theologically, and culturally–and in his new book he educates Christians on how to better understand this complex and controversial issue while revealing how to lovingly engage with those who disagree. A Change of Affection is a timely and indispensable resource for anyone who desires to understand more fully one of the most common and difficult stumbling blocks to faithfully following Christ today.

A Few Thoughts:

The author of this book spoke at my church recently, so I was very interested in reading this book. I loved reading about Becket’s story, and his advice at the end of the book was very helpful. I definitely recommend everyone to check out this book. It’s super short, but is very impactful.

 

8. The Wicked King by Holly Black

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating & Spice Level: 4.5/5 stars & 1/5 hearts

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

This is book 2 in The Folk of the Air series.

 

 

A Few Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book and seeing the progression of Jude and Cardan. The beginning was a bit slow, but part two of this book had me completely hooked. So much happened, and it left me really excited to read the last book.

 

9. Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Rating & Spice Level: 4/5 stars & 2.5/5 hearts

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

Also available on: Book of the Month 

 

 

Synopsis:

Dr. Briana Ortiz’s life is seriously flatlining. Her divorce is just about finalized, her brother’s running out of time to find a kidney donor, and that promotion she wants? Oh, that’s probably going to the new man-doctor who’s already registering eighty-friggin’-seven on Briana’s “pain in my ass” scale. But just when all systems are set to hate, Dr. Jacob Maddox completely flips the game . . . by sending Briana a letter.

And it’s a really good letter. Like the kind that proves that Jacob isn’t actually Satan. Worse, he might be this fantastically funny and subversively likeable guy who’s terrible at first impressions. Because suddenly he and Bri are exchanging letters, sharing lunch dates in her “sob closet,” and discussing the merits of freakishly tiny horses. But when Jacob decides to give Briana the best gift imaginable—a kidney for her brother—she wonders just how she can resist this quietly sexy new doctor . . . especially when he calls in a favor she can’t refuse.

A Few Thoughts:

This book was really cute. Jacob was a total sweetheart, and a new favorite book boyfriend. I think I would’ve enjoyed this book more had Bri been less irritating of a character.

 

10. Crave by Tracy Wolff

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating & Spice Level: 5/5 stars & no spice

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks 

Also available on: Scribd | Kindle Unlimited

 

 

Synopsis:

My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.
Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally―as the bait.

A Few Thoughts:

This was a re-read for me after reading it back in 2021 and loving it. I still enjoyed it just as much the second time around. The characters are so lovable, and I love the boarding school setting. I’m excited to continue on my re-read with the rest of the series. If you like fantasy and romance, I definitely recommend this book.

 

11. The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating & Spice Level: 5/5 stars & 2/5 hearts

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

Also available on: Book of the Month 

This is book 3 in The Folk of the Air series.

 

A Few Thoughts:

This book was amazing! I love how the series wrapped up. I devoured this book because I needed to know what happened next. The last third of the book had me on the edge of my seat. I definitely recommend this series!

 

12. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

Genre: New Adult Fantasy Romance

Rating & Spice Level: 5/5 stars & 3/5 hearts

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

Also available on: Scribd 

 

 

Synopsis:

Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general—also known as her tough-as-talons mother—has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders.

But when you’re smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away…because dragons don’t bond to “fragile” humans. They incinerate them.

With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother’s daughter—like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant.

She’ll need every edge her wits can give her just to see the next sunrise.

Yet, with every day that passes, the war outside grows more deadly, the kingdom’s protective wards are failing, and the death toll continues to rise. Even worse, Violet begins to suspect leadership is hiding a terrible secret.

Friends, enemies, lovers. Everyone at Basgiath War College has an agenda—because once you enter, there are only two ways out: graduate or die.

A Few Thoughts:

I understand the hype with this book. This is definitely my favorite book I’ve read so far this year. The world building was great, and the characters were amazing. I loved them so much and can’t wait to continue with the next book when it comes out. The romance was also really good!

 

13. Compared by Kortney Keisel

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Rating & Spice Level: 4.5/5 stars & no spice

Purchase here: Amazon | AbeBooks 

Also available on: Kindle Unlimited

 

 

Synopsis:

Meg

Confession: I’m attracted to my student’s dad. Let me give you Tyler Dixon’s resume: thoughtful, manly, father of the year, widower, ridiculously attractive (basically the opposite of a dad bod).

This might sound like good news for someone like me—someone who dreams of getting married and becoming a mom—but it’s not. Getting involved with a parent is grounds for immediate removal at my school, and right now, my fragile heart can’t handle being fired.

My mom just died. My boyfriend broke up with me, and to top it all off, my dad started dating again. Stable employment is the only good thing I have. Risking my job and my heart is the most foolish thing I could do.

Tyler

Being a widower isn’t like the movies. There’s not a block of women knocking on my door, bringing me casseroles every day. No, real life is work, laundry, and groceries—all while being both the mom and the dad. I’m pretty much failing at this single-parent thing.

I don’t have time to date. Which is good since the only woman I’m interested in keeps pushing me away: Miss Johnson. Emphasis on the Miss—as in, my son’s teacher. It’s hard to convince a woman to go out with you when she’ll get fired.

But it’s either pursuing Meg, despite her job, or the never-ending depths of loneliness—no big deal.

A Few Thoughts:

This book was so cute! I was obsessed with Meg and Tyler. Their chemistry was amazing, and Tyler was so good at flirting. The only reason why I didn’t give this book 5 stars was because of a few things with the conflict and ending. I’m excited to read the other books in this series.

 

14. Crush by Tracy Wolff

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating & Spice Level: 5/5 stars & no spice

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks 

Also available on: Scribd | Kindle Unlimited

This is book 2 in the Crave series.

 

A Few Thoughts:

This was another re-read for me, and it was so good! There is a lot that happens in this book, and I enjoyed the new character that was introduced.

 

15. All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Rating & Spice Level: 4.5/5 stars & 3/5 hearts

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Aurora De La Torre, or Ora to her friends, knows moving back to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, a place that was once home and is now full of bittersweet memories of her late mother, isn’t going to be easy. Starting your whole life over probably isn’t supposed to be.

But after breaking up with her longtime, famous musician boyfriend, hiding out in a small town in the mountains might be the perfect remedy for a broken heart. And checking out her landlord who lives across the driveway just might cure it, too.

Only Tobias Rhodes didn’t rent out the apartment to her, rather it was his teenage son, Amos. Fiercely protective of his family and distrusting of strangers, gruff and grumpy Rhodes initially keeps little miss sunshine Ora at a distance. But over days and weeks, long hikes and fireside chats, Aurora breaks down his walls and soon an unbreakable friendship blossoms into a once-in-a-lifetime love.

A Few Thoughts:

This was a beautiful story of family and love. I enjoyed the romance and the found family aspect of the story. It’s definitely slow burn, but I liked how the characters formed a friendship first before entering into a romantic relationship.

 

Books That I DNF (Did Not Finish)

These are books that I chose not to finish for a variety of reasons.

 

1. The Love Script by Toni Shiloh

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A Hollywood hair stylist.

Nevaeh Richards loves making those in the spotlight shine but prefers the anonymity of staying behind her stylist chair, where no one notices her. But when a photo of Nevaeh and Hollywood A-lister Lamont Booker goes viral for all the wrong reasons, her quiet life becomes the number-one trending topic.

The silver screen’s latest heartthrob.

Lamont Booker’s bold faith has gained him a platform, and the authenticity of his faith is well known . . . until the tabloids cause the world to question everything he claims to be. With his reputation on the line, he finds himself hearing out his agent’s push for a fake relationship–something he never thought he’d consider in a million years.

A love that goes off script.

With their careers at risk, Nevaeh and Lamont have to convince the world that their scripted romance is more than just an act. But when fake seems to turn into something real, can Nevaeh trust her heart in a world where nothing is ever as it seems?

A Few Thoughts:

Thank you to Bethany House Publishing for my complimentary ARC of this book.

I decided to stop reading this book at the halfway point because it just wasn’t keeping my interest. It’s not a bad story, but I didn’t feel like the characters had any chemistry. Since this was a Christian romance, I liked how it included the characters’ faith. However, I didn’t really agree with a lot of their choices or thoughts.

 

To Be Continued…

These are books that I started in the month of [month] but haven’t finished reading yet.

 

1. Covet by Tracy Wolff

Genre: YA Fantasy

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks 

Also available on: Scribd | Kindle Unlimited

This is book 3 of the Crave series. 

 

 

A Few Thoughts:

I’m loving my re-read of this book, but I forgot how heartbreaking it is.

 

2. Kit McBride Gets a Wife by Amy Barry

Genre: Adult Historical Romance

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The four McBride brothers have their worlds turned upside down when their precocious younger sister secretly places an advertisement for a mail-order bride.

Kit McBride knows that Buck’s Creek, Montana, is no place to find a wife. Between him and his three brothers—plus little Junebug—they manage all right on their own, thank you very much. But unbeknownst to Kit, his sister is sick to death of cleaning, cooking, and mending for her big brothers, so she places an ad in The Matrimonial News to get them hitched.

After Maddy Mooney emigrated from Ireland, she found employment with an eccentric but poor widow. When her mistress decides to answer an ad for a mail-order bride, Madd​y is dragged along for the ride to Montana. But en route to the West, Maddy is suddenly abandoned and left to assume the widow’s name, position, and matrimonial prospects….

With no other recourse in the wilderness, Maddy must convince Kit she’s the wife he never knew he needed.

A Few Thoughts:

I’m only 8 pages in, so I don’t have a lot of thoughts so far. The writing style is funny so far though.

 

Have you read any of these books?

Comment down below if you’ve read or want to read any of these books!

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