I read a lot of amazing books (and a few not-so-great ones) the past three months, but there were 10 that really stood out to me as some of my favorites that I just had to share!
Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep
Sequel to Kill the Queen, a fantasy following a woman whose family is murdered and has to fight to reclaim the throne.
I’m sorry, it’s really not nice to include this book when it’s still not out until July 2, but it was so good that I had to! Protect the Prince is the sequel to Kill the Queen, which I featured in my winter favorites, and I’m pleased to report that it’s everything you could want in a sequel. It expands the world and advances the character development and relationships, and I just love it so, so much. If you love female-centered fantasy, especially with a touch of romance, I think you’ll love this series. Keep an eye out for a more in-depth review closer to its publication date!
I received an arc of Protect the Prince from the publisher via Edelweiss.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Nonfiction book about how people form habits, how habits can be changed, and how companies take advantage of habits.
The Power of Habit was such a fascinating read. I like how it’s covers how habits work and how companies take advantage of those habits, as well as how we can work as individuals to change our habits. I’m not a big science person, but the science behind this stuff is fascinating, and I love seeing all of the practical applications. Plus you get some cool behind-the-scenes stories from places like Target and Proctor and Gamble, specifically its development of Febreze. I highly, highly recommend this book, especially if you’re a fan of Malcolm Gladwell or Freakonomics.
A Gentleman Never Keeps Score by Cat Sebastian
Historical m/m romance between a pub owner and the man he tries to steal a painting from in order to protect a friend.
Cat Sebastian is such a great author. I’ve loved a number of her books, and I think A Gentleman Never Keeps Score is right up there among my favorites from her. I don’t usually go for super angsty reads, and there’s a lot of backstory at stake in this one. But watching Hartley start to rethink his life and embrace himself was such a powerful character arc, plus he and Sam were so adorable together. I loved watching their individual growth as well as the development of their relationship, and it made for such a satisfying romance.
A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev
Contemporary romance between a woman who was married as a child but hasn’t seen her husband since and her brother-in-law who’s trying to obtain a divorce on his brother’s behalf.
I already talked about this in my post about some of my favorite romances with crazy setups, but I was not prepared to love A Bollywood Affair so much. I started it on a subway ride home thinking I’d have no problem putting it down once I got home and being productive around my apartment since I’d barely have even started it. Turns out that’s all I needed to get hooked on this book, and I literally didn’t move from the couch for the rest of the night in order to read it. I just got so swept up in the romance between Mili and Samir. It was such a romantic story, and I highly recommend it!
Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole
Contemporary romance between a business entrepreneur and the escape room designer whose voice helps her fall asleep despite her insomnia.
So I’m really not a huge romance novella fan. I’ve almost gotten to the point where I won’t read them even from my autobuy authors because they’re just too short to be believable and as satisfying as a full length novel. But Alyssa Cole is one of the few exceptions to this rule, and I loved Can’t Escape Love. It was just a fun, sweet novella, and I really enjoyed getting to know Reggie and Gus and watching their relationship develop. I would have loved a full length novel just because I can’t get enough of these two, but the reality is that the length here was perfect.
Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh
Last book in the Psy-Changeling paranormal romance series.
I couldn’t put together a favorites post and not mention the Psy/Changeling series after powering through the last few books this spring! I would say I enjoyed all of the Psy/Changeling books fairly evenly, but I picked Allegiance of Honor just because I enjoyed revisiting some of my favorite characters from the series so much. Plus, how cute were the pup cubs?! If you haven’t read this series yet and need some convincing, be sure to check out my series review.
Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse
Sequel to Trail of Lightning, an urban fantasy in which Navajo gods and monsters have come to life.
I was super excited to read Storm of Locusts after becoming obsessed with Trail of Lightning last year, but while I was sure I would enjoy it, I wasn’t sure I would love it as much as the first one. As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about. Roanhorse did a phenomenal job continuing the character arcs and worldbuilding from the first book, but creating a separate story that I loved just as much as the first one, just in a different way. I don’t think I could have asked for anything more of this sequel, and I’m so excited to see what she has in store for us in book three!
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
Nonfiction book about why it’s hard to talk to white people about racism.
This book was amazing. Seriously, every white person needs to read it. The author herself says that White Fragility is primarily written for white people to help us confront our discomfort talking about race and get us to acknowledge all of the ways we benefit from the current power structure and make more of an attempt to stop it, though she mentioned that people of color might appreciate recognizing a lot of their lived experiences in this book. I was already fairly familiar with a lot of the content covered in White Fragility from a lot of the people I follow on Twitter, but I really appreciated having it all laid out in a book and covered thoroughly. It definitely has a lot of food for thought, and I can definitely see myself revisiting it as there’s just so many important things to learn from it. I will say that sometimes I struggled with the language in this book. At times it was more colloquial and easy to read, which makes sense as DiAngelo has experience discussing these topics at diversity training events, but other times it veered a lot more academic and I had to parse through the language a bit more. It wasn’t a deal breaker and didn’t detract at all from the message of the book, but just something I thought other readers might want to be aware of. Seriously, though, I can’t recommend this book enough and highly encourage all white readers to pick it up.
The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare
Historical romance between a woman who collects the animals no one wants and her hardened new neighbor who is determined to make her get rid of her menagerie.
Ok, I’m sorry, I actually have a couple of more favorites that aren’t released just yet that I have to talk about. Tessa Dare is pretty much my favorite author, and I honestly think The Wallflower Wager might be my new favorite from her. It’s just so funny and delightful, but also has some more serious elements to it, and it just combines to create my idea of a perfect romance novel. Did I mention it’s super funny? I was even reading sections out loud to my husband and making him laugh, it’s that good. I’ll be sure to post more of my thoughts about this book closer to the release date, but be sure to keep an eye out for it on August 13.
I received an arc of The Wallflower Wager from the publisher via Edelweiss.
Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik
SciFi romance sequel to Polaris Rising featuring a slow burn, hate to love bodyguard romance.
Aurora Blazing is also a sequel to one of my favorite books I read in winter, and it’s so, so good. It follows Ada’s sister Bianca, and I honestly can’t tell you which book I like better because I enjoyed them both so much. Sadly, Aurora Blazing isn’t out until October 1, so I won’t say too much more here, but I promise to remind you about it when it gets closer because you need to read this book!
I received an arc of Aurora Blazing from the publisher via Edelweiss.
In case I haven’t already given you enough books to add to your TBR, I wanted to shout out a few more of my favorite reads from this past spring. For one thing, I highly recommend the audiobooks of the Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen, narrated by Katherine Kellgren. Kellgren did an amazing job with the narration, and they’re just so fun to listen to. If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out my series review.
I also want to mention how much I enjoyed A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole and The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai (out August 6). They’re both excellent reads that I highly recommend. You can check out more of my thoughts on A Prince on Paper here, and keep an eye out for my review of The Right Swipe closer to its release date.
I really did read a lot of great books the last few months, but these are some of my favorites that I really needed to gush about! Have you read and loved any of these books, too? Let me know in the comments!