July’s post is going up later than I hoped this month (what even is time), and I’d love to tell you it’s because I AM SO BUSY WRITING. LOL! <sob>
I mean, I am nearly done with my extensive and painstaking revision of Finding Home (and yes, I’ve been saying that for a while but it’s a long book with an involved plot of love and adventure, okay). I’ve also been actively crocheting large projects for basically everyone I know, because supposedly yarn crafting is good for your mental health (although I’m not positive there’s enough yarn in the world to tackle 2020).
However, I have also been binging on some amazing romances by Black authors and let me tell you – you have got to join me, if you haven’t already! I’d been aware for a while that my TBR was leaning in a very pale, monochromatic direction, so I’d been snapping up romances by authors of color right and left…but this month I buckled down and reshuffled that to-be-read stack to put Black authors front and center.
It’s been a dream come true, you guys! The characters are so real and I love getting lost in these new worlds. Below, I’ll give you brief reviews of the titles I’ve enjoyed so far, so you can check them out for yourselves.
You can also go a step farther and join author Nana Malone’s #brownnipplechallenge (yes, it is named that, and you can sign up using the link in her Instagram bio). Read along with the picks of some of the biggest, brightest writers in the genre, who choose a new title every month to read and discuss with their followers. It couldn’t be easier, or more fun!
Ready to Jump in? Then Let’s Go!
First up was Awakened by Moni Boyce. Know this going in: Awakened is the first title in a four book series, and it ends in a teeny bit of a cliffhanger. Normally that’s a pet peeve of mine, but with this book, I couldn’t bring myself to care. There was too much to love – from the well-developed, kick-ass cast of characters, to the really cool world-building, to the exciting and suspenseful plot. Fans of paranormal sagas are going to love this series, trust me! Willow and Eli (and their friends) were the bomb.
Next was Secret Heir Seduction by Reese Ryan. This is book 4 in a 6 title Harlequin Desire series, but I did not have any trouble coming in at this stage without having read the others. I thought this one was a perfect romance, seriously! The plot was paced wonderfully and didn’t feel too far-fetched. Darius and Audra were strong, successful, educated adults who came together on even ground without a single whiff of stereotype muddying the waters. I loved their chemistry and thought their HEA was great. I’ll definitely be reading more from this author soon.
After that, came I Look at You and Smile by Janine Caroline. I was in love with the gorgeous cover of this book long before I ever started turning the pages, but believe me when I say – the interior more than lives up to its pretty wrapping. Jessica and Ethan were complex, layered characters, who moved from outright suspicion, to friendship, to love in a very real way. The setting is delightfully British, and the twisty plot keeps you on your toes from page one. It was the emotion that hooked me the most, though. I really cared about this couple and couldn’t wait to see how they fared.
I’m trying to cover a variety of subgenres, so my next read is going to be A Princess in Theory: Reluctant Royals by Alyssa Cole. I know I am way behind the rest of the universe in reading Ms. Cole, but I am very excited to get on this train! Have you read her yet? Is she as great as I’ve heard?
Once August hits, I’ll be hunting for a historical romance next (and by hunting, I mean: struggling to pick from Beverly Jenkins‘s glorious backlist) and hopefully tackling some more indie books. I’ve also got several contemporaries and rom-coms in my digital library queue (and it’s fair to say I’m a bit peeved about how long the wait is for Kwana Jackson’s Real Men Knit).
Let me know if you’ll be reading any of these titles with me, because I’m dying to hear what you think! Also, if you have more recs for me, drop them in the comments. I’m just getting started, but I can’t wait to see where these books take me next.