JUNE’S BOOKSHELF (AKA PRIDE MONTH)

NINE BOOKS OF JUNE (AKA PRIDE MONTH)

June started with a chest infection and a sick 5yo. It wasn’t the best way to kick off pride month but I still managed to get in a few sapphic reads 😀

Just for Show by Jae – I absolutely ADORED this Jae fake relationship slow burn romance. Both Claire and Lana are wonderful, complete characters with human flaws and even more complicated issues and emotions. They come with real baggage.
I love the development of their attraction and their seeing the world a little more through each other’s eyes while also accepting who each are without trying to force changes to them or make the other feel like less. I also love Jae’s inclusion of a ‘not hollywood perfect body’ in Lana, who remains confident and accepting (most of the time) of her ‘bigger’ body. I love Claire’s own attractions to Lana’s body type.
I listened to Angela Dawe narrate just for show and my gosh I love her skills. Simply amazing.

Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree – This is the cozy fantasy slow burn sapphic read I never knew I needed. With coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. Viv is an Orc sick of the Orc lifestyle so she moves to Thune to start a coffee shop. If you are looking for low angst everyday adventures of someone trying to make their way, change what they have always known and the beauty of found family all set in a near medieval fantasy village with all kinds of mythical creatures this is what you’ll find here. There are threads of tension as Viv struggles with perceptions and a secret that distracts her, but there’s so much good surrounding the threads I never felt anxious for the characters. Well perhaps once but that’s to be expected.
I love the coffee, oh I mean the characters as well. Viv is wonderful, although a little unaware and Naive at times which all leads to her being even more lovable. The found family she pulls in around her is wonderful and all are so unique and basically adorable, especially Tandri. But I absolutely want the Madrigal’s story.
I enjoyed the descriptions of this story and one scene specifically I wish was a painting I could hang on my wall. I could see it so clearly. I also loved Travis Baldree’s way with words. Some of my fave lines (that won’t spoil anything):
* it was like drinking the feeling of being peaceful. Being peaceful in your mind. Well, not if you have too much, then it’s something else.
* Tandri recovered some of the pieces of a smile.

Perks of Office by Liz Rain – I couldn’t put this book down. Once I got into it I was hooked, which is impressive for a Single POV, first person story. The Aussieness and humour had me laughing out loud, nodding like a bobble head, and feeling ridiculously seen. I could easily see myself running into these characters at any given time as I popped into Kmart on an errand run. In fact I’m sure I once worked with Haromi, and flatted with Jake in years gone by.
Emma is such a brilliant main character, a balance of human strengths and flaws and humour that made me (several times) spit coffee all over my iPad. I love how down to earth she is, her internal thoughts mirroring both my own and what I wish I was smart enough to think while also being her own worst enemy at times. Emma sums Bridget up in the best way
“Sometimes it’s like you’re a space alien with super extra-sensory powers, but everyday normal stuff is a mystery to you.”
Liz Rain’s writing style and voice is wonderful and the balance of emotion and humour made Perks of Office a warm snuggly delight to read.
* I also had the amazing pleasure of interviewing Liz about her debut … you can view it here)

Pillow Thoughts by Courtney Peppernell – There is so much I love about this book, about these words and thoughts and feelings.
But above it all, I love that it reminded me to stop and feel, to appreciate the moments and to have a little giggle or two along the way.
I’m really looking forward to sinking my teeth into more of Courtney Peppernell’s poetry.

Daughter of Fire: Conspiracy of the Dark by Karen Frost – This is a sapphic YA fantasy about Aeryn, a daughter of the ice crown. Her world is turned upside down and she finds herself leaving her home and discovering what it is to discover her power and the world outside her isolated village.
I really enjoyed the world building and the characters. I found myself wanting to get into the action faster at one or two places but had to remind myself the character is 16 and in a strange landscape carrying grief and fear with her.
I also enjoyed the thread of a possible love interest for Aeryn as she realises her friendship with Leesie isn’t like her friendships with other girls. Brilliant ending. Can’t wait to start book 2.

Cityships (Worldship Files #3) by Erik Schubach – Loving this series, a brilliant balance of sci fi and fantasy all rolled together on a worldship on its way to the Beta World after Earth gave its last breath. This is the third book and has got me loving the series to a whole new level. I adore the world building, the characters and the 80s and 90s ‘anthropological’ playlists. Claire Buchignani does a brilliant job of Knith’s dulcid tones and hilarious attitude, though I have listened to them at 1.2 speed because I’m much more used to faster narrators.
The humour in this book is magnificent and balanced brilliantly with the shocks and the action. It has contributed to my regular vernacular with such phrases as ‘space me naked’, ‘Mab’s tits’, and ‘Oberon’s balls’.
The diverse range of species and how they all interact and the socio-economic aspects fascinate me. Each book adds more to the mythos of the Fae which is a major feature as they are the reason the worldship exists in the first place. Fun and quick reads. I often wish the stories were longer but am enjoying the bite sized adventures. I think though, this book so far is my favourite in the series. And I’m just adoring the sapphic relationships Knith has had and is developing over this series.

The Guardian by Chisto Healy – This book feels like the introduction into a truly epic fantasy adventure and world. You know the war is far bigger than the battles Marista finds herself in the midst of during this book.
Marista is the Elven guardian to the last heir of a fallen people and her job just went from isolated to chaotic. She is thrown into one shit storm after the next, with just enough down time in between for Marista to pine over her long lost unrequited love and question her choices and next steps.
The writing has some truly magnificent moments and Chisto Healy has some truly wonderful turns of phrase.
* The battle cry was primal, universal, and it ripped from each and every one of them, even Marista.
* The only language spoken here was violence, the language of death and loss.
* Every time she found a reason to hope, something else signified the end of the road.
The darkness in the book was right up my alley, with sword fights, pirates pirating, and magic being used and abused.
The battles, oh my the battles were brilliant. Epic doesn’t even quite describe the magnitude. The ramp up of this book is so fantastic and brilliant and I am so excited about the next book in this series. I’m also a little exhausted from the energy and obstacles these characters are put through. A brilliant ride.

Path of War by David Green (I received an ARC of this book and can’t wait to get my hands on the paperback) – I’m not too scared to say I was nervous going in to this sequel. Why? Because I love In Solitude’s Shadow so much but Green doesn’t disappoint. In fact, from the first page I was pulled right back into Haltveldt and struggling with the aftermath of where we left off.
The continuation of the epic fantasy series ‘empire of ruin’, is filled with diverse and flawed characters. The build up between Calene and Brina is delicious and wonderful. Characters you almost understand even as you hate them. We see insights into the true twisted nature of fear and doubt and paranoia. There were a few scenes I literally turned my head from the page, so real I could smell the coppery blood and feel the torture and pain being implemented.
The battles and fights are brilliant as they mix magic with more traditional means, swords lots and lots of kick arse swording (what, it’s a word).
Overall I loved the story and the moments my jaw dropped and profanity spewed from my mouth.

Down to a Science by haley Cass – The first of the I Heart Sapphfic Pride collection and what a way to start it. Haley Cass has a beautiful way of pulling you into the world of her characters and whether or not you understand that world matters little as she unravels the humanity of Ellie and Mia. The layers of these characters are slowly revealed and exposed and the way science is used is beautiful. I felt my heart breaking for Ellie, and for two chapters I wondered if I might ever feel released from the pressure and pain in my chest again. I LOVED this book and the characters, the worlds we touched on and moved around in. Haley Cass your writing is divine.

9 books for June, all with Sapphic protagonists – I got a mix of fantasy, sci-fi, romance, and poetry. Pretty happy with that.

Be Safe
Be Brave
Be Kind

Neen x


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