My June 2024 Reading List: What to Read and What to Skip in Romance

In this episode of the She Reads Romance Books Podcast, I’m sharing my June 2024 reading list to help you discover romance books that I think you should read and romance books that I think you should just skip.

This is another month full of new releases so tune into the episode below to hear which books I think are worth adding to your TBR list, or read the show notes below. For even more book recommendations, check out all of my What to Read episodes.

Happy listening and reading…because life is better with a love story!

*Disclosure: This post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Episode 62: My June 2024 Reading List – What to Read & What to Skip

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Show Notes:

Hello friends and fellow readers! I hope you’re doing well and enjoying the summer and potentially enjoying a few summer romance books. If you need any suggestions for summer romance books, just visit my Summer Reading Hub and you’ll find all of my summer reading lists there to choose from.

Some of my favorites are from my list of books about summer romance where the characters fall in love over multiple summers. I actually have a few that I should add to that list from my June reading list because that’s becoming a popular topic for summer romance and I’m loving it.

Also don’t forget that you can check out my Passport to Romance which is a fun summer reading challenge that gives you new romance book titles to read this summer that will take you all around the world and the US with the settings of those books for the perfect staycation.

You can download your passport within the She Reads Romance Books Book Club and turn it in by the end of August for your chance to win one of my A Year of Reading Romance Card Decks – a deck of 52 cards with reading prompts on them to help you pick your next book and help you explore the variety within the romance genre. It’s awesome if I do say so myself!

But onto my reading list from June which was a mixed bag. Some I really loved, so that were great, some just OK and a few ehhh. This month I really doubled down on books available on Kindle Unlimited because I put a hold on it at the end of month because I need to crank through some advanced reader copies so I’m going to read those before renewing my subscription.

I also have been listening to audiobooks a bit more – taking advantage of those I can either snag in Hoopla or listen to with my Premium Spotify account. With a Premium account, you have 15 hours of audiobook listening each month which is about two audiobooks.

They have a great selection of romance books, particularly newly published audiobooks so it’s a great bonus if you have a Premium Spotify account and I’m happily using this benefit which is a great deal so I highly recommend it.

The first book I read this month is one that I listened to on Spotify and that is People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry.

It’s one of my all-time favorite romance books and such a fun one about two people who take summer trips together and fall in love in the process so instead of a reread I decided to check out the audiobook and it was phenomenal.

Julia Whelan is the narrator of this audiobook and she is wonderful. Sometimes I just can’t get into an audiobook but I loved listening to this story. If anything, it just made me fall for Poppy and Alex even more than I already had and that’s saying something.

I could really feel their connection and their banter was so much fun to hear. I don’t think I remembered how much I loved their back and forth in this book but between Poppy’s quirkiness and Alex’s dry humor, Henry’s dialogue in this book is what makes this a 5 star romance.

But in case you have not read this Emily Henry book or need a refresher of what this friends to lovers romance is about – here’s the summary:

Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love.

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends.

For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.
 
Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.
 
Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.
 
Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

This is hands down one of my favorite friends to lovers romance books because Henry’s writing is excellent and I just loved these characters and the crazy trips they went on.  

Poppy and Alex are complete opposites and yet they are totally each other’s person and I loved how they finally crossed that line.

This book made me legit ball my eyes out because my heart was just aching for them at parts for what they couldn’t say to one another but undoubtedly felt. It’s a must read and a perfect one for your summer reading list.

This next book I had had my eyes on for a while and it made my list of most anticipated romance books of 2024 so thankfully it was time to read it in anticipation of its release in early June and that book is Just Some Stupid Love Story by Katelyn Doyle and here is what it is about:

Molly Marks writes Hollywood rom-coms for a living—which is how she knows “romance” is a racket. The one and only time she was naive enough to fall in love was with her high school boyfriend, Seth—who she ghosted on the eve of graduation and hasn’t seen in fifteen years.

Seth Rubinstein believes in love, the grand, fated kind, despite his job as, well…one of Chicago’s most successful divorce attorneys. Over the last decade, he’s sought “the one” in countless bad dates and rushed relationships. He knows his soulmate is out there. But so far, no one can compare to Molly Marks, the first girl who broke his heart.

When Molly’s friends drag her to Florida for their fifteenth high school reunion, it is poetic justice that she’s forced to sit with Seth. Too many martinis and a drunken hookup later, they decide to make a bet: whoever can predict the fate of five couples before the next reunion must declare that the other is right about true love. The catch? The fifth couple is the two of them.

Molly assures Seth they are a tale of timeless heartbreak. Seth promises she’ll end up hopelessly in love with him. She thinks he’s delusional. He has five years to prove her wrong.

I was so looking forward to reading this book because this was Katelyn Doyle’s debut contemporary romance when I have already loved so many of her historical romance novels that she’s written under the pen name Scarlett Peckham. And let me just start by saying that I loved it, gave it 5 stars and I cannot wait to read more from her.

Just Some Stupid Love Story is this beautiful, quirky, second chance romance between two complete opposites who once loved each other as teenagers but whose hearts were broken on their high school graduation day. Flash forward 15 years and they find themselves face-to-face again for the first time at their high school reunion that Molly attends begrudgingly.

This awkward re-meet cute set the stage for how much these two “fit” one another despite their complete opposite views on love and relationships.

Seth is the adorable, cinnamon roll-type hero I don’t usually gravitate to but I could not help but fall for. This man was desperate to find his soul mate, his partner, his wife yet he pretty much knew it was the woman he fell for at age 14.

Molly, however, is the heroine afraid of relationships. She is carrying around some significant daddy issues and family trauma that kept her from ever fully embracing relationships since she broke up with Seth because she’d rather be the one to leave before she was the one left.

But Doyle weaves this incredible slow burn, second chance romance between these two opposites that made me believe that they could finally find their happily ever after together.

Her characterizations were so spot on but she didn’t succumb to generalizations that could have made this book seem predicable at best. Instead, my heart ached for these two when they couldn’t get their timing quite right or when they fell victim to their same old patterns.

At the same time, I also loved their maturity in that they could recognize their destructive patterns and try and work on them together because they truly loved each other.

THIS is why I love reading romance and THIS is the book that reminds me why.

Molly and Seth could have easily rubbed me the wrong way but Doyle’s banter and self-reflections were just so well-written that I was hooked and thoroughly enjoyed this read. It’s truly one of the best romance books of 2024 I’ve read so far this year. I highly recommend it!

My next book was another advanced reader copy that I put off until I had the perfect moment to read it and that is Not in Love by Ali Hazelwood which also released in June and was another one of my most anticipated new romance books of 2024 and here is what it is about:

Rue Siebert might not have it all, but she has enough: a few friends she can always count on, the financial stability she yearned for as a kid, and a successful career as a biotech engineer at Kline, one of the most promising start-ups in the field of food science.

Her world is stable, pleasant, and hard-fought. Until a hostile takeover and its offensively attractive front man threatens to bring it all crumbling down.

Eli Killgore and his business partners want Kline, period. Eli has his own reasons for pushing this deal through—and he’s a man who gets what he wants. With one burning exception: Rue. The woman he can’t stop thinking about. The woman who’s off-limits to him.Torn between loyalty and an undeniable attraction, Rue and Eli throw caution out the lab and the boardroom windows.

Their affair is secret, no-strings-attached, and has a built-in deadline: the day one of their companies will prevail. But the heart is risky business—one that plays for keeps.

First off, this book also counts toward the June 2024 Romance Book Reading Challenge where one prompt was to choose a book by its cover and I just adore this cover. It’s a bit different from all the other illustrated covers with the image of both characters embracing. It almost has a manga – vibe to it but the picture and the colors are just gorgeous.

So after reading this book I started off my review saying I don’t think there will ever be a book that Ali Hazelwood writes that I won’t read. Even when she deviates from the STEM-focused, enemies to lovers books she’s known for because she will captivate me each and every time.

Considering her last three romance book releases were 5+ stars for me, I had super high expectations for this book, especially when she shared a note to readers saying that this was a book different from any other she’d written, must more steamy and an erotic romance at that. But if that little tidbit was supposed to be a warning, it only made me want to snatch this book up that much faster.

And let me stop there a bit and say that if an author tells you that this is different from her prior work then take her word for it and either don’t read it or don’t expect it to be what you’ve read in the past. She tells you that this book is different from her previous works and it really is so I don’t think all of her fans will like it but I enjoyed it.

Does it unseat any of her 5 star reads, no, but I’m still glad that I read it.

Let’s also get into definitions for a minute. So she says this is an erotic romance, which according to its definition it is because if you took away Rue and Eli’s physical relationship then there wouldn’t be a whole heck of a lot to this story or more accurately to their relationship development. But at the same time it’s not like a tantalizing erotic romance which is where my mind can go when I conjure erotic romance examples.

It’s definitely spicy because when you first meet Rue and Eli, they have connected via a dating app and agreed to meet up for some f-cking. Plain and simple. A mere transaction where both bodies are shared for each other’s pleasure. Nothing more.

And yet their simple meeting doesn’t go as plan, setting up not only this intense and immediate attraction that becomes unfulfilled, but also a storyline that exposes two people dealing with some crap and I LIKED that so much.

So yes, this is an erotic romance in that Rue and Eli, though on opposite sides of a corporate takeover, cannot deny their attraction and end up getting together to f-ck on multiple occasions. And it’s these continued physical encounters that are the basis of their eventual emotional connection and relationship.

The focus of this book is how Rue felt most comfortable keeping their “relationship” a simple body transaction versus actually exposing her true self. And yet at the same time, while they would hookup they also started this habit of sharing the most personal, “horrible” as they described them stories about themselves that laid them bare to the other person. This was my absolute favorite part of this book.

This personal sharing is what set the foundation of their trust, acceptance, and love for each other when regular dating was completely skipped over. Brilliant.

Usually it is Hazelwood’s heroines that captivate me but Eli stole the show in this one. Oh, how I loved this man and probably did so because this book was told from dual POV so it was easy to get in his head and really see how special this man truly was.

He saw this woman, social awkwardness and all, and had no interest in changing her. He was a man who fell first and HARD and just worked his way into her heart, slowly but surely, as he knew he was dealing with a woman who could easily bolt.

Rue was definitely a unique heroine, possibly neurodivergent (not that she needs a label) with a unique backstory. Though I found it hard to connect with her, I loved the moments when she would push past her hesitations.

This is truly a story about how these two strangers fall hard and fast despite the unfortunate work situation they are in. Their friends are involved but they paled in the background for me. Though Rue’s work is STEM-focused, it wasn’t a huge part of the story but did give an interesting angle to the company and storyline that connected them.

So while this book didn’t blow me away like Bride or Check & Mate (though I loved the quick nod to this book), two other books that also deviate from her signature, STEM and female-focused romance books, I enjoyed it all the same and highly recommend it.

This next book is another that fits the June 2024 Romance Book Reading Challenge because the book cover is just stunning and that is To Catch a Firefly by Emmy Sanders and here is what it is about:

There’s a lot I’ve never told my best friend. The fact that I love him. That I miss him every day he’s gone. That, sometimes, I ache for him with a ferocity that leaves me breathless.

Lucky Buchanan tore into my life as a boy, wild and daring, my opposite in every way. He drew me in, stole my heart without trying. He hears me, even though I rarely speak a word. But I always knew this place wouldn’t be enough for my free-spirited friend. I knew he wasn’t mine to keep.

So why, when I finally try to get over him, does he sweep back into town? Why is he upset? Why is there tension between us for the first time in years?

I never saw a future where Lucky could be mine. But now, unless I want to lose my friend, I might not have a choice but to tell the truth. My heart belongs to him. It has from the start. If only I knew how to hold onto a creature that’s meant to fly.

This is a book I just randomly came across in Kindle Unlimited and after reading the summary had to read it and add it to my list of must-read new queer romances books of 2024 as it released earlier this year in February.

I’ve mentioned before that one reason I love my Kindle Unlimited subscription is because it’s a stress-free way to check out new authors I’ve never read before.

This was my first Emmy Sanders book and won’t be my last because I really enjoyed it. It’s a quick read that is a friends to lovers, MM romance.

What I loved most is that it does not have a third act break-up. I felt myself getting anxious as the book went on just waiting for the other shoe to drop, something that would destroy the love story building between these two friends but luckily it didn’t happen as I think it would have ruined it for me.

So this is really a book that you’ll want to read if you love sweet, friends to lovers romance books and if you like books that are a bit of a slow burn and just give you that happily ever after you’re looking for. But if you like angst or drama or stories where the characters have to really overcome something then this isn’t the book for you.

I picked it because I liked that one of the characters has select mutism. Someone who only says the bare minimum when he does have something to say but who’s actions and body language often speak volumes more than their words.

I loved these characters that Sanders creates- a quiet boy who grew up in the corn fields of Nebraska and the gay boy who moves in next door from New York City, a kid who wants to be anywhere else, but they become instant best friends.

It’s their story of how they are such close friends but how Lucky has always wanted to leave Nebraska and see the world while Ellis has to stay to take care of his ailing mother. It’s how their friendship turned to love for both of them but never sharing it for reasons of their own until they finally do.

I loved the parts when Lucky is describing his travels to Ellis and the epilogue is super cute too.

I think anyone who’s read Archer’s Voice will love this and it gave me similar vibes to Tal Bauer’s book, How to Say I Do that I read and loved last year in terms of how both characters are a bit opposite and yet fit so well together. It’s not a particularly steamy book but is definitely one that I enjoyed.

The next book is another that I listened to as an audiobook with my Spotify Premium subscription and that is Falling for Gage by Mia Sheridan which is also another book on my most anticipated new romance books of 2024 list because I love her writing and I love the books in her Pelion Lake series.

I had read the previous release, Travis, last year where I first met Gage but you can read this as a standalone though you do get appearances by Travis and Archer and their families in this one. The audiobook has dual narration in that there is a male and female narrator who switch off by chapters and here is what it is about:

How is it possible that perfect Gage Buchanan is still single after all these years?

He can’t quite figure it out himself. Perhaps he hasn’t met the right woman. Maybe he’s spent too many years focusing on work―or maybe he just isn’t as perfect as everyone thinks he is.

Gage thought he left his days of one-night stands behind him, however something about the gorgeous cocktail waitress in a town three hours away is far too intriguing.

But when she shows up weeks later in his hometown, Calliope, pretending to be an art appraiser, Gage is completely blindsided―not to mention still very attracted to the (apparent) little liar. He can’t figure her out: not her angle nor the persistent pull between them.

Aurora “Rory” Casteel is determined to find her father. All she knows from her late mother is that he lives in Calliope and he’s an important part of the town.

So when Rory’s gallery-owning friend offers to run cover for her while she sleuths around town, she jumps at the chance. But she doesn’t anticipate the man she spent one wild night with turning out to be a local.

Sure, it puts a wrinkle in Rory’s plan, but she can work around Gage Buchanan. Even as it gets harder to pretend her heart doesn’t flip every time he’s in the room. She has a suspicion he isn’t everything he seems, either, but maybe it’s “perfect” Gage’s flaws that are what she’s really drawn to.

I liked this romance but probably would have liked it even more if I read it as I think the audiobook felt a bit drawn out but that’s me with audiobooks sometimes. I liked that Gage is the eligible bachelor about town who is ready to settle down and is juggling responsibilities as the heir and son who has to continue the family legacy.

The back and forth between Gage and Rory was fun when they first met and you could sense their attraction from their one night stand. When they run into each other again, this time Rory posing as an art appraisal was funny with the way she was evading him.

I like how he helped her in her quest to find her father but I also think the pragmatist in me got a bit annoyed because I was like, can’t you just go up and ask the people, hey are you this artist? Seemed like a lot of running around for nothing but then you wouldn’t have had much of a story.

I wouldn’t say that I fell in love with these characters or their story and won’t be rereading it but I still enjoyed listening to it and would recommend it if you’ve read the previous books in Sheridan’s series.

The next book I read because it was in Kindle Unlimited and had a lot of good reviews and I’ve enjoyed this author duo’s books before and that is What I Should’ve Said by Max Monroe which is a small town, enemies to lovers romance that released in April of this year and here’s what it’s about:

When grumpy, muscled-up artist Bennett Bishop bothers to speak, it’s usually to say something you’re not ready to hear.

When he first speaks to Norah Ellis, a rambling runaway bride who hitchhikes a ride from him, it’s to tell her to get out of his truck and walk because she’s a pain in the a-s-s.

By appearance, Norah Ellis is a fancy fashionista who’s spent the last several years living the good life in the city—expensive apartments, highbrow events, and a fiancé with wealth and good looks. The only problem is that she didn’t choose any of it for herself.

On the day of her July wedding, thanks to a letter from a stranger, Norah’s world turns upside down. She runs for the hills of Vermont to start a new life, but what’s waiting for her, between her estranged sister, the townspeople, and bad-boy Bennett Bishop himself, is way more than she bargained for.

Enemies turn to lovers, strangers become friends, dark secrets bust open like cans of worms, and most of all…Summer will never be the same.

As I said this book has over 8K reviews on Goodreads, was on a billboard in NYC but I stopped reading it at 63% because I should be invested in the story by this point but I just didn’t care for the main characters, found it very slow and saw it going in some directions I just didn’t care to follow.

I typically like enemies to lovers and these two definitely don’t hit it off once Norah arrives in Red Bridge but I just couldn’t connect with either of them. For one, I think Norah’s inability to share why she fled to Red Bridge with her sister kept putting off her back story so I just found her to be unknown and maybe kind of boring.

But I really didn’t like the fact that she slapped Bennett on more than one occasion and this after he ended up helping her with her ex who was manhandling her. Sorry. I just don’t believe you should ever put your hands on someone and her slapping him was just so jarring.

Sure he was so back and forth, acting like a complete dick to her one moment and then kissing her out of the blue another but I just didn’t like him.

Then there is this whole storyline with another character in Bennett’s life that is going to make you cry and then another storyline about the awful behavior of two people in Norah’s life and I just don’t care to know more about either of those but that’s just me.

So overall I say their writing is good but I didn’t care for the characters or the story and I had too many other books I wanted to read on vacation so I stopped reading it and I’m totally cool with that. I’d skip this one because it’s not their typical romcom and check out one of their other books instead. Or read Things We Never Got Over for similar vibes but better.

The next book that I read I had mentioned in my May 2024 Reading list episode as one that was on my TBR list because it is available to read in Kindle Unlimited and because Karen in Book Club totally convinced me that I had to move it up my TBR list so I finally read The Graham Effect by Elle Kennedy which came out at the end of 2023 and is the first book in her Campus Diaries series.

This series is supposed to be a spin-off of her popular Off-Campus and Briar U series and it will be about some of the kids from those characters – but not every book will be about a kid I’m discovering so FYI there.

The Graham Effect became an instant New York Times bestseller and it is about Gigi Graham, Garret and Hannah Graham’s daughter – the couple from The Deal if you’ve read that new adult, hockey romance which you should if you haven’t yet. But here is what The Graham Effect is about:

Gigi Graham has exactly three goals: qualify for the women’s national hockey team, win Olympic gold, and step out of her famous father’s shadow. So far, so good, except for two little things. Fine–a little thing and a big, grumpy thing. She needs to improve her game behind the net, and she needs help from Luke Ryder.

Ryder is six-foot five, built, opinionated, rude…and hot as hell. But he’s still the enemy.

Briar’s new hockey co-captain has his reasons, though. The men’s team just merged with a rival program, leaving Ryder with an angry roster where everyone hates one another’s guts.

To make matters worse, the summer coaching spot he’s angling for with the legendary Garrett Graham is out of reach after he makes the worst possible first impression on his hero. So, really, this compromise with Gigi is win-win. He helps her make the national team, she puts in a good word with her dad.

The only potential snag? This bone-deep, body-numbing, mind-spinning chemistry they’re trying to ignore. It’s a dangerous game they’re playing, but the risks just might be worth it.

If you read and loved The Deal then you have to read this book. I liked the moments you get with Hannah and Garrett so that was a super nice bonus. Even Coach Jenson was hilarious and a fun character to see again. Overall, I liked this book but a few things kept me from loving it so I gave it 3.5 stars.

I like how they were kind of enemies to start who came up with this plan to help each other out. Gigi has this goal to make Team USA which I loved and Ryder really wants to work this hockey camp with her dad. Cool set up and a good forced proximity situation but that pact sort of went to the wayside once they started hooking up.

If you like grumpy sunshine, hockey romance books then this is your jam. I loved that its actually a hockey romance with some hockey in it – go figure.

Gigi was cool and I liked that she could get Ryder out of his shell because he was a man of very few words. But when he did speak he had some nice dirty talking moments.

But as much as I liked their growing relationship, something happens later in the book that just seemed very jarring for them and I felt like it was just filler to cause a rift between Gigi and her dad.

I didn’t like it so that is what probably soured me a bit on this book when I felt like it really could have been great if it was just not so long and the story was tightened up a bit. But that’s just me.

I just got The Dixon Rule from the library and holy moly is that a huge book too so maybe I’ll read it if I can get to it since it’s another enemies to lovers book but I may hold out until Will and Beckett’s story because that one sounds like it will be pretty hot.

The next book I read was another that I read on Kindle Unlimited because I wanted to escape to Montana in the pages as I love romance books that inspire travel and Montana is one of the 8 US states I’ve yet to travel to but it’s on my bucket list.

 I just want to go see the vast scenery and take in all the nature while riding a horse. Sounds fantastic…but until I can do that I have to pretend I’m there right along with the characters in Crossroads by Devney Perry which is the first book in a new Haven River Ranch series.

And if you want to experience Montana, get it from a true source as Devney Perry is from and lives in Montana. A quick aside- not sure if you saw a recent reel on Instagram but the woman flies a private plane and took you on a flight around Montana. It was amazing and I cannot believe she is a pilot. I mean this woman does it all I tell you.

Crossroads released in early June and is another romance about falling in love over multiple summers because everyone is jumping on this bandwagon of a theme and here is what it is about:

I met West Haven when I was eight years old. He taught me to play poker when I was nine, and we made paper airplanes together when I was eleven. He kissed me when I was sixteen. He was the best part about my family’s summer vacations to Montana. He was the boy who stole my heart. I was twenty-three when life ripped us apart.

Years later, I’m breaking my vow and returning to the ranch, not as a guest but its new owner. West might want me gone, but even he has to admit the only way to save his family’s legacy is with my help.

It’s not easy working side by side and facing those old memories. But this situation is only temporary. We’re at a crossroads. And as long as I don’t let myself fall in love with West Haven again, maybe this is our chance to put those ghosts to rest. Maybe this time we’ll finally be able to say goodbye.

This was an enjoyable read. Interesting how Indya was returning to a ranch she had visited many summers as a child, teen and young adult only now as the new owner, much to the surprise of West, the original owner’s son. He’s pretty pissed because this land had been part of his family for generations but Indya saves it and restores it to something amazing.

It alternates between the present tense where West and Indya clash until their ultimate attraction boils over, and the past when Indya visits the ranch in summers past.

I liked those past chapters to give them some history to their attraction but often they only spent one or two days together before she would leave, not to visit again until the following summer or sometimes years later. I’m not sure that I’ll continue with the series but I enjoyed reading this one. If you love dude ranches or want to escape to Montana in the pages then check it out.

The last book I snagged in Kindle Unlimited this month was Morning Glory Milking Farm by C.M Nascosta.

This is book one in her Cambric Creek series which came out in 2021. I thought I’d jump on the monster romance train with this paranormal romance between a human and minotaur in a world with all types of creatures/beings and here is what it is about:

Violet is a typical, down-on-her-luck millennial: mid-twenties, over-educated and drowning in debt, on the verge of moving into her parents’ basement. When a lifeline appears in the form of a very unconventional job in neighboring Cambric Creek, she has no choice but to grab at it with both hands.

Morning Glory Farm offers full-time hours, full benefits, and generous pay with no experience needed . . . there’s only one catch. The clientele is Grade A certified prime beef, with the manly, meaty endowments to match. Hands-on work with minotaurs isn’t something Violet ever considered as a career option, but she’s determined to turn the opportunity into a reversal of fortune.

When a stern, deep-voiced client begins to specially request her for his sessions at the farm, maintaining her professionalism and keeping him out of her dreams is easier said than done. Violet is resolved to make a dent in her student loans and afford name-brand orange juice, and a one-sided crush on an out-of-her-league minotaur is not a part of her plan—unless her feelings aren’t so one-sided after all.

This book is only 247 pages but even at that shorter length I started skimming pretty early on to finish it. I think the writing is great but the story just didn’t do it for me. I liked the beginning where she’s contemplating working as a milking tech and going through her training. It was awesome but I guess I just didn’t find this book to be very sexy or enticing at all.

After her training, all I could think about is trying to visualize the milking room and the bench and how she went about the milking…was she in a bunker with the bench over head and she had to reach up and jerk them off because man that would lead to some major repetitive strain if you’re doing that all day. Where is the ergonomics to this job. So yeah that is was I was focused on which isn’t what I thought I’d be focusing on in a monster romance.

Maybe it’s my fault because I went into it thinking it would be a more erotic read since it is a #1 seller in monster erotica I think I saw on Amazon but it’s actually a cute albeit boring love story between the milking tech and a minotaur who loved her for her technique and then started courting her. But yeah, I skimmed and was bored so I’d skip it and maybe try for another monster romance.

Next up I was excited to read my advanced reader copy of the last book in Meghan Quinn’s Vancouver Agitators series, So This is War, which is Posey’s story.

A hockey romance between a player and the coach’s daughter? Yes, please!

I’ve read all but one of the Vancouver Agitators books and this may be my favorite along with the first book, Kiss and Don’t Tell.

While it is the fifth and final book to this hockey romance series, it can easily be read as a standalone and should be (if you haven’t read the rest of the series) because it’s vintage Quinn! Meaning, this book has all the love, laughter and spice that I’ve come to expect and love about reading Meghan Quinn’s books and this one totally delivers it all.

Posey is the bologna-eating softie who’s a bruiser on the ice. He’s the defenseman you don’t want to face in the world of hockey but off the ice he’s the best friend and teammate you could ever ask for. Plus, as he loves to flaunt, he’s responsible for all of his best bud’s love relationships because it’s his interference that finally got them their happily-ever-afters.

I absolutely loved Posey and Wylie’s initial meet cute which is in a bar. He had no idea who she was but she made an impression that stuck with him for an entire year until he comes face to face with her again, discovering that she’s his coach’s daughter.

To further complicate matters, his coach strong arms him into hiring Wylie as his assistant, an assistant he doesn’t need, which lands her as his roommate since she’s also kicked out of her father’s house to “learn a lesson.”

So first off, Coach Wood sucks. What a douchebag dad to ignore your daughter’s interests and purposefully try and make her life hell. Plus he was horrible in how he treated Posey.

But Posey is a gem. I just loved this guy and his earnestness to be there for his teammates and now struggle with his desire and attraction to Wylie when she was completely off-limits. Their chemistry was super cute and you’re just waiting for them to finally push over that line and get it on!

While I loved the bromance of Posey and his teammates in the previous books in the series, Quinn was a genius in changing things up for this book and creating a text thread between Posey and his “Queens” as he dubbed them – the girlfriends of his teammates- seeking their advice on how to deal with his situation with Wylie since he had to keep it on the hush hush.

Their text threads were hilarious and really showed their different personalities. If you’re looking for a super cute and super spicy book that his both hilarious and just fun to read, I would recommend So This is War as it did not disappoint!

The last book I read was an advanced reader copy of Tangled Up in You by Christina Lauren. This is a new adult romance that is a retelling of the Rapunzel story as it’s part of the Disney Meant to Be series.

So far in that series, there’s been a Cinderella modern retelling, a Beauty and the Beast modern retelling, a Little Mermaid modern retelling and now this one about Rapunzel and here is what it is about:

Renhas never held an iPhone, googled the answer to a question, or followed a crush on social media. What she has done: Read a book or two, or three (okay, hundreds). Taught herself to paint. Built a working wind power system from scratch.

But for all the books she’s read, Ren has never found one that’s taught a woman raised on a homestead and off the grid for most of her twenty-two years how to live in the real world. So when she finally achieves her lifelong dream of attending Corona College, it feels like her life is finally beginning.

Fitz has the rest of his life mapped out: Graduate from Corona at the top of his class, get his criminal record wiped clean, and pass himself off as the rich, handsome player everyone thinks he is. He’s a few short months from checking off step one of his plans when Ren Gylden, with her cascading blonde hair and encyclopedic brain, crashes into his life, and for the first time Fitz’s plan is in jeopardy.

But a simple assignment in their immunology seminar changes the course of both their lives, and suddenly they’re thrown out of the frying pan and into the fire on a road trip that will lead them in the most unexpected directions.

Out on the open road, the world somehow shifts, and the unlikely pair realize that, maybe, the key to the dreams they’ve both been chasing have been sitting next to them the whole time.

It pains me to say that despite loving this author duo, I did not enjoy this book. I eventually started skimming it just to get to the end but should have just put it in the DNF pile.

I think tackling any modern retelling is probably a difficult task but taking on the Rapunzel story is maybe more difficult than most. I haven’t read all of the Meant to Be books but I did read By the Book and I loved all of the nods to Beauty and the Beast that were sprinkled throughout the story.

I was waiting and anticipating those gems in this story but they either fell flat or I just didn’t see them to make the connection to the Rapunzel story. Sure you get the frying pan, the bar scene and of course the hair but the hair of all things really didn’t factor into the story at all.

The main connection between tale and modern retelling was the reason Ren was isolated for twenty some years in the first place. I should have known where this part of the storyline was going and checked out the trigger warnings beforehand because I typically steer clear of this type of plot line where kidnapping or any harm to children is involved. What starts off as a cute story about a girl from a homestead turns pretty dark.

Overall, I just didn’t connect with Ren or Fitz. The beginning when she first arrives at college wasn’t that gripping and it just went downhill from there. Their road trip was anticlimactic and didn’t really give enough for me to believe that they fell in love and would stay together forever from that moment forward.

I commend them on trying this retelling but it’s a pass for me.

And that wraps up my June reading list folks. A few hits, a few misses and a few OK reads. To make sure you don’t miss my monthly round up episodes or future podcast episodes or book lists, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. When you sign up I’ll instantly send you my list of top 10 book boyfriends. I’m cooking up some fun ideas for later this summer so you’ll want to stay in the loop so you don’t miss a thing.

Thanks so much for tuning into today’s episode. If you haven’t yet left a review, I’d so appreciate a quick note on your favorite podcast platform. I really appreciate it. So until next time, happy reading…because life is better with a love story!

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Check out the lastest podcast episode of the She Reads Romance Books Podcast (or view the list) to check out her June 2024 reading list and get her opinion on what new and throw back romance books you should add to your TBR list and which romance books you should just skip.
Leslie Murphy is the owner and writer of She Reads Romance Books.

Why Trust She Reads Romance Books?

Leslie is the founder, writer, and producer of She Reads Romance Books (and the She Reads Romance Books Podcast), an online book community focused on romance books and the readers who love them because life is better with a love story.

Leslie reads 150 romance books a year and has been called a "book expert" by CNN. Reading romance is her passion and she cultivates her book lists with the best books worth reading in the genre. Leslie graduated magna cum laude from Davidson College where she honed her writing skills and also holds two Master's degrees. Join her community in the She Reads Romance Books Reader Lounge.

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