Hello Readers! I hope you’re safe and well during these distressing times. I’m a few days late with my June TBR (to-be-read), but it gave me more time to shift a few books around. Wanting to contribute whatever positivity I can right now, I decided to add more black authors and/or books with black characters to my tbr for this month, along with some I’d already chosen for Pride month. Books hold the power to change lives and minds. I know they have for me. Happy Reading!
(Link to Goodreads synopsis through book title.)
Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
I read this one quickly the first few days of the month. It was a fun, quick, and steamy read!
Synopsis: Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.
Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.
Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
This is my current read, and I’m about halfway through. I’ve had it sitting on my tbr for awhile, and I finally decided to pick it up. I’m loving it!
Synopsis: Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?
• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.
But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.
Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.
But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…
Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Díaz
I’ll be participating in a blog tour this month to promote the paperback release for Ordinary Girls. I’ve already read some of the beginning and I can tell it’s going to be a powerful memoir.
“There is more life packed on each page of Ordinary Girls than some lives hold in a lifetime.” —Julia Alvarez
While growing up in housing projects in Puerto Rico and Miami Beach, Díaz found herself caught between extremes. As her family split apart and her mother battled schizophrenia, she was supported by the love of her friends. As she longed for a family and home, her life was upended by violence. As she celebrated her Puerto Rican culture, she couldn’t find support for her burgeoning sexual identity. From her own struggles with depression and sexual assault to Puerto Rico’s history of colonialism, every page of Ordinary Girls vibrates with music and lyricism. Díaz writes with raw and refreshing honesty, triumphantly mapping a way out of despair toward love and hope to become her version of the girl she always wanted to be.
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
Since the first time I saw this cover, I’ve been intrigued. So when an ARC showed up in my subscription box from The Strand, I was thrilled! Even more thrilled to see all the great early reviews.
A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch, and who discovers what power might lie in such a curse…
There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.
As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.
Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
I’ve had Maya Angelou’s memoir on my TBR for years, but I finally ordered it. I purchased it from Bookshop.org which supports independent bookstores. Depending on shipping speed, hopefully I can get to this one, too, this month.
Synopsis: Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.
That’s all I’m going to officially “plan,” but I’ll leave room to mood-read, as well. Do we share any books on our TBRs? Have you read any of these books yet? Let me know in the comments!