#TBT Recommendations: Happy Pride!

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June is Pride Month, which means it is a perfect time to take a walk down memory lane to revisit some LGBTQ books #TBT styles! When I started perusing my old reading logs, I realized I’ve read a fair amount of LGBTQ books, but I also noted, I am derelict of my duties when it comes to F/F books. I have put myself on notice to grow my knowledge in that particular category; hopefully, F/F books will become a little more mainstream and easier to find because, love is love is love! #HappyPrideMonth

His Royal Secret by Lilah Pace released in 2016, and it earned 5 stars from me. James is the next in line for the throne, and he’s also living deep in the closet with the help of his childhood best friend that doubles as his beard. Ben is the journalist he meets one rainy, sultry afternoon while on holiday. This is a beautifully fleshed out relationship filled with character development for two people that are already pretty complete on the page. They challenge each other in ways the reader won’t see coming.

When Ben ends up back in London on assignment, the two agree to a “friends with benefits” scenario filled with plenty of covert sneaking around and stolen moments in hidden passageways. Because of James’ royal responsibilities, he and Ben find themselves deeply in love but with the most impossible circumstances surrounding them. His Royal Secret has one of the best declarations of love I’ve ever read, all these years later and I can still picture it in my mind! His Royal Favorite is part two of the story and provides us with an absolutely perfect ending, full of swoon and love. Also, Indigo, James’ troubled sister, has a very intriguing subplot that gracefully handles mental illness and self-harm. And we thought Meghan Markle had a tough go of it when joining the Royal Family!

Painted Faces by LH Cosway landed on e-readers back in 2012, and at that time, I had never read anything like it. Freda lives her life without a filter, which can be a bit off-putting at times. Color her surprised when she catches the eye of her sexy neighbor, Nicholas. He is a traveling cabaret performer. Freda is in for a surprise when she realizes what his performance is all about. Nicholas is a drag queen. This unconventional tale takes us on an emotional journey of passion and sexual awakenings that will leave you exhausted but deeply satisfied.

Double Time by Olivia Cunning released in 2012 and is book #5 in the Sinners on Tour series. These books should be read in order, and I can promise, reading all of them is not a hardship! Trey Mills is hands down my favorite character in the series. Trey is bisexual and finds himself falling in love with fellow rockstar, Reagan Elliot. Things take a fascinating turn when Trey meets Reagan’s bisexual roommate Ethan Conner. Oh boy!          

As I mentioned, Trey is my favorite character, he was from book one. He is incredibly complex and my personal favorite, broken but hiding behind his loveable, funny demeanor. Watching these three grapple with their poignantly emotional journey is as gut-wrenching as it is sexually erotic. Good gravy Olivia Cunning has a way with the dirty talking!

How Sweet It Is by Melissa Brayden tells a bit of a taboo story. Released in 2013, Molly O’Brien is the town sweetheart; literally, she runs a bakery. After losing the love of her life four years earlier in a tragic accident, no one is more surprised than Molly when she finds herself drawn to Jordan Tuscana, her dead wife’s estranged younger sister.

Molly has a lot on her plate emotionally – grief, a struggling business, an ailing parent, and then Jordan arrives back on the scene. Brayden writes expertly compelling and witty banter that also gives us insights into this budding relationship. The struggle to their HEA is real but shared grief and a profoundly loving and emotional bond, with some frustrating moments thrown in for good measure, get us there in the end.

The Angel by Tiffany Reisz. It is safe to say Reisz covers all colors and flavors of the rainbow flag with her Original Sinners series. Fair warning lovely reader, Kingsley Edge is my all-time favorite hero, forever and ever, amen. Kingsley was my first pansexual character and frankly, I’d read volumes of him pondering the minutia of the phone book if I could hear his voice in my head. The sexiest, most complex and broken (are you sensing my pattern?) character in the series, The Angel debuted in 2012 and takes place on Kingsley’s home turf, but it’s really more about Michael and Griffin. Oh, Michael…Michael will break your heart and Reisz will painstakingly put it back together.

Reisz writes the most effortless dialogue and banter I’ve ever read. She makes you feel like a fly on the wall in each and every scene, even the ones I had to google because I wasn’t quite sure what exactly was going on, sexually! Reisz is a master of eroticism and kink, but the deeper story of her Original Sinners is so all-encompassing and gripping and twisty and turny and, well, there is never a dull moment. I encourage everyone to read this series, even if the sex seems intimidating to you – it is so much more than the sex.

Of course, Autoboyography by Christina Lauren has to make this #TBT list. Released in 2017, Autoboyography is an LGBTQ YA tale that made me cry real, salty tears. Tanner is bisexual and from California with loving and accepting parents. Sebastian is a closeted gay Mormon kid in Utah – oh the conflicts and sadness. It’s a lot!

Christina Lauren keeps us firmly planted in the world of YA with appropriately authentic levels of angst and drama. These are teenagers dealing with things most adults struggle to comprehend. I highly recommend this book, in fact, I’ve given more copies of this book as gifts to friends and family than any other book in my reading backlog.

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