I was recently watching my TBR stack grow taller and taller and taller (metaphorically because most of them are on my Kindle) and it was triggering some massive anxiety attacks. So, I decided enough was enough and I was actually going to tackle some of those books! And thus TBR TAKENDOWN MONTH became a thing. I am so grateful to my Patreon supports and all those who stuck by me and supported me during this tough month. I'm honestly shocked that I didn't reread a single book (even though I know I could have done it without anyone knowing I swear I didn't).
To those of you who suggested books for me (or even wrote some of the books I read) thank you so much! I had an absolute blast being forced to read books I might not have otherwise picked up or that were wasting away on my TBR. I only DNF-ed one book and it wasn't even a bad book, it was just not my thing at the moment.
Here are the 37ish books I read + a little blurb about my thoughts and whether I'd recommend it to you!. Enjoy!
When She's Lonely by Ruby Dixon (M/F)
This was a cute novella from Dixon's Risdaverse series featuring a hearing-impaired heroine trying to keep her "flaw" a secret from the aliens in charge of her planet and the alien guard who thinks she's really freaking unfriendly. Probably not a book to start with but a sweet, entertaining story.
Their Human Vessel by Lizzy Bequin (M/M/F/M)
Wow. Do not recommend. This was the horn-fucking book that I read for shits and giggles and while I normally enjoy Bequin's books I simply did not connect with the heroine or the alien "heroes". I never felt like they actually liked the heroine for anything other than her uterus' ability to make babies for them. So, yeah, pass on this one for sure.
Little Sip of Sin by Clio Evans (M/M)
These are hilarious little bits of monster romance where an all-seeing barista pairs monsters with specific kinks up with humans who can handle a rough ride. The plots are ridiculous and silly but the heat is pretty hot and I do love all the weird monster shit happening here. Just don't expect something with pacing because there's a lot jam-packed into these ditties.
Zercy by Kora Knight (M/M-ish)
This is the full-length book following the novella Krie Captivity which I raved about a while back. I put off reading Zercy because I was a bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount of sex that happened in the prequel. It was depraved debauchery at best. But this book turned out to be fucking weirdly romantic. There's some dubcon and drugging but between the actual alien King and human captive everything's actually consensual and kind of cute. It's fucking strange.
The Sins of the Orc by Finley Fenn (M/M)
Fuck yeah. Fenn's first MM novella after all those MF reads. Don't get me wrong, her orc books are some of my all-time favorite fantasy/monster novels, but I've been lowkey (aka. very loudly) asking for an MM story after all the little teases she'd given us in the background of her Orc Sworn series. And getting the background of Kesst and Eft was *chef's kiss*. Big, ugly, magic orc virgin shows up and turns damaged, terrified Kesst's life upside down. It'll be my new go-to recommendation for people looking for some orcs.
Mark Cooper versus America by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock (M/M)
This was a recommendation from my lovely friend Shaina after I mentioned wanting a book with fisting. The fisting wasn't a huge part and happens at the end, but totally worth reading for. The main character Mark is just an Aussie asshole encouraged to rush a fraternity by his stepfather who spends most of the book hating on America which was definitely a vibe I was enjoying greatly. And pairing him up with the stick in the mud from the rival frat was a brilliant move because they pushed each other's buttons beautifully.
Bass-Ackwards by Eris Adderly (M/F)
This book a book recommended by my Patreon subscribers and I'm so fucking happy they did. This was filthy, filthy, filthy and so totally wrong on every level and I loved every second of it. The heroine hates her grumpy, asshole boss. When she asks him for some necessary PTO she doesn't expect him to say yes, but she also never expected him to say yes...but only if she fucks him. And he doesn't expect her to agree. But she does. Uh oh. Everyone's in trouble. There's very little plot. Very much fucking.
You & Me by Tal Bauer (M/M)
If we're going to talk about the book that touched me the most this entire money I'd have to say it's You & Me. This was the sort of book I'd never pick up on my own because it would seem too...emotional. And holy shit, this was emotional. It's about a (straight) widowed dad trying to rebuild a relationship with his estranged teenager son. When he becomes a volunteer for his son's football team he never expect to fall for another single dad whose calm presence and advice help him get back what he lost and find himself in the rubble of his life.
Brandon Mills vs. the V-Card by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock (M/M)
This was the second book in the series following Mark Cooper versus America and it wasn't as good at the first, if I'm being honest. It wasn't bad, of course, it was just a really different vibe. Mark's book was two rather confident individuals coming together and this was two insecure, anxious people coming together. The story was cute though, but there was some internalized homophobia from Brandon that was rather sad. I do like a nerdy romance though.
Hefty by Jessa Kane (M/F)
Someone recommended this to me when I made a reel about wanting more dad bods in my romances and holy shit...did this deliver. The hero is in high school, so not exactly a dad, but he's a big ass, unattractive (so he's described) football player madly in love with his twin sister's head cheerleader bestfriend. He thinks he can never have her. He has no idea that she's been daydreaming about him for years and years and is ready to make her move. I normally steer clear of high school stuff, but I just mentally dropped them into college instead and called it a day.
Burly by Jessa Kane (M/F)
As you will see I quickly went down a Jessa Kane rabbit hole. This book wasn't a favorite of mine. It's a burly guy falling for his best military friend's eighteen year old daughter. Had some sexy moments but I'm not really into the best friend's daughter trope, so it's not going into the reread stack.
My Best Friend, My Stalker by Jessa Kane (M/F)
This one was a little more entertaining. Not a bigger guy unfortunately, but the heroine is rescued from her evil stepbrother by a seemingly good man. He offers her a place to stay. He becomes obsessed with her and stalks her everywhere and eventually succumbs to his obsession by dicking her down. I liked the stalking angle.
Wearing Him Down by Jessa Kane (M/F)
Okay, I'm actually having to look these up again because I read them in such quick succession that I retained almost zero information. This was one of the ones with a better story, but also the most ridiculous of plots. A girl gains a stepbrother when her mom marries someone and then jet-sets out of the country, leaving her with this rich asshole of a brother. He demands nightly hugs. He builds and staffs a school so she won't be around other boys. He has cameras in her room. And yet she doesn't think he wants to bang her brains out? Hm. She's a little dumb. Still had some sexy laughs though.
Step Stalker by Jessa Kane (M/F)
I thought this was a really hot plot. The heroine gets a stepbrother, but he's enlisted in the military, so she writes notes to him. He comes home thinking he'll find a younger girl and discovers the girl who has been keeping him alive with her letters is actually a hot eighteen year old with a slamming body. Boom. Sparks fly. And he stalks her. Lots of stalking in these.
Mutually Beneficial by Ava Guerre and Heather Guerre (M/F)
Oh baby. I read this because of my Patreon supporters too and it was absolute fire. One of my favorite reads of the month for sure. I think I read it immediately following Bass-Ackwards too and my head spun. The heroine is short on rent when she spends all her money to put her younger brother in a rehab facility, but when she asks for an extension her landlord (hot, grumpy, growly) demands her body as payment. This was a little easier to take than Bass-Ackwards because the hero's point-of-view made his actions a bit more understandable and tolerable. And the heroine was basically into it from the get-go though she kept mum about that for a while. I adored how they worked through things to go from pay-to-play to a real relationships. Highly recommend this.
Preferential Treatment by Heather Guerre (M/F)
Love a good trope flip. Love some good femdom. I definitely don't read it enough though. But this is another pay-to-play theme with the big, bad Russian CEO paying his female employee to dominate him physically, sexually, and financially. It was stunningly hot. Something about a cold, calculating Russian man being brought to his knees by a woman is unbelievably delicious. And they also play a lot of chess which is surprisingly sexy.
Husband Material by Alexis Hall (M/M)
I really don't think there's any author that makes me laugh as much as Hall. I seriously want to hunt him down and force him to tell me whether he sold his soul to the devil because this level of talent cannot be natural. I actually hate him a wee bit. But, alas, that's my jealousy talking. This book take place two years after Boyfriend Material when the two men have to start making some real big relationshippy decisions like whether to live together, whether to attend ex-boyfriend's weddings, and whether to get married themselves. The same wit and charm of the first.
Straight Guys series by Alessandra Hazzard (M/M)
Oh boy. So, this series is twelve fucking books and I just didn't have the willpower to sit and give you the deets on every single one. Just know that each book in this entire series involves at least one "straight" man having a gay/bi-awakening. I really loved each and every book and how Hazard managed to connect them from start to finish. The plots were totally over-the-top but since they're novellas things have to move a little unrealistically if you want that good-good. I can't recommend these enough if you want fast, spicy reads of men falling hard, fast, and unexpectedly for other men.
Whit by Cora Rose
This book was recommended by my lovely friend Shaina. Well, actually I think she recommended the second book Sem first (because he's kind of stalkery), but I started with Whit and wasn't disappointed. It was a bi-awakening between a jock and his quiet, mysterious, nerdy roommate. The author leans into cliche and tropes and unrealistic scenarios which honestly just made it a fun, spicy read.
Sem by Cora Rose
This is another bi-awakening romance where the petite, very gay, size queen, suspenders-wearing, nerdy guy is pursued by a big, hulking, man wrestling with his sexual identity by stalking the guy he's maybe sort of interested in. Another group of over-the-top scenarios (I bet you can't take my huge dick, oh you're on) but really entertaining.
Davo by N.R. Walker (M/M)
Someone recommended this to me in my IG DMs and it was so stinking cute. Fergus arrived in a remote mining town that's as hot as hell, maybe hotter, to do some research on the people who live their year round. He crosses paths with Davo, a burly manly-man who enjoys wearing skirts (and designing them himself). It was cute and low-angst from start to finish. Just a really unique and well-written story.
The Long Game by Rachel Reid (M/M)
This is the long-awaited sequel to Heated Rivalry. I loved it. I am so lucky that I only recently read Heated Rivalry so I didn't have to wait too long for this because I think my head might have exploded. It was so delightful to get to see what happens after the "HEA" in a sense (even though it was more like a happily-for-now at the end of the last book). Shane and Ilya's relationship isn't perfect. It's a struggle every day to keep their relationship a secret from friends, family, and the public. And that struggle shows in this book. The cracks in their relationship are real and obvious and sad. But that's what makes this book so special... we get to see that it isn't all sunshine and daisies after commitment. Work still needs to happen. Highly recommend these books.
Sightlines by Neve Wilder (M/M)
This was just a cute little book on KU by one of my favorite authors. A grumpy artist arrives back in his small hometown for a gallery showing and falls for the sarcastic gallery assistant. But their time together is limited...or is it? Short and dirty.
Everything For You by Chloe Leise
This was my first Chloe Liese book and I don't know that I'd recommend starting here because it's book 5 in the series, but honestly I wasn't too lost. It just made me want to start from the beginning of the series, really. It follows two soccer players on the same team: an extremely grumpy, asshole one at the end of his career who despises the young, sunshine guy just beginning to shine in his career. And they're neighbors. Woot woot.
Irresponsible Puckboy by Eden Finley and Saxon James
This is the second in the series (the first book was so good!) and features two co-dependent best friends, one straight and one gay, as they wrestle with being too close or not close enough. It didn't go the direction I thought it was going to go which was a little disappointing, but then I realized it was actually kind of refreshing. Their relationship was really cute, albeit entirely unhealthy and strange, but the book was so freaking adorable and hot.
Something Fabulous by Alexis Hall
I have a full review of this book on my site already. Right here. But basically the gist of it is that I loved this book but I didn't like it. Most of the characters annoyed the piss out of me, but the Duke was so sweet and endearing (even though he apparently wasn't supposed to be) that it made up for all the frustration. Would still recommend because Alexis Hall is the King of banter.
A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall
So many amazing books by Alexis Hall in this...haul. Muahaha. This book was way different than his other books have been for me (like Something Fabulous or Boyfriend Material) but was really, really good. I don't know that it'll be a reread for me, just because it's crazy long and was really emotional, but if you're looking for a captivating story and characters who are overcoming and/or living through some really, really difficult things (like addiction) then I highly recommend it. Truly a journey that I'll think back on for a long, long time.
The Thespian Spy by Cheri Champagne
Finally a historical romance where the heroine is a bad ass bitch rather than a Wallflower. I mean, God, I know they exist but I've been having trouble finding them. The heroine is this book is recruited as a spy for the Crown and winds up having to work side-by-side with her childhood friend who broke her heart. He's a bit of a dick for a good portion of it, but mostly because she keeps getting herself into some really difficult situations that make him worried about her. Still, how awesome see an actress heroine unapologetically using her sexuality to fight bad guys. I was here for it!
Thanks for sticking with this lengthy post and going on this TBR Takedown journey with me. I appreciate each and every one of you and the support you offered during this difficult time. I'd like to do something like this again soon, maybe in July, so stay tuned for that!