July was a fantastic reading month! You can check out my full wrap up over on my BookTube channel here.
Here are my stats for the month of July
- Total Read: 28
- Nonfiction: 3
- Fiction: 25
- YA: 2
- Adult: 26
- Fantasy/sci-fi: 4
- Contemporary: 23
- Historical: 1
- Graphic novels: 5
- ARCs: 3
- DNF: 3
- 1-star: 0
- 2 star: 1
- 3 star: 4
- 4 star: 5
- 5 star: 9
- Rereads: 3
Favorite Books I Read in July
Smitten by Lauren Rowe
Two of my most anticipated reads came out this month – this book and Hands Down by Mariana Zapata.
This is a spin-off standalone of both the Morgan Brothers series and the Reed Rivers Trilogy. I do think there is something to be said about reading those first, but you can absolutely read this on its own. It’s about the guitarist of an up-and-coming band who isn’t your typical rock star. He’s very down-to-earth and not drop-dead gorgeous. The heroine is very shy and introvert and she’s also a talented musician.
This book was as sweet as honey and it made me so giddy reading it. It’s absolutely perfect for those of you who need an easy-to-read pick-me-up in the middle of this global pandemic and uncertainty. It’s super low-angst and will absolutely fly by. I challenge you not to have a smile on your face the entire time you read this.
I’ve been listening to the song (that is in the book!) on repeat. It’s so catchy and sweet and if I could describe the book in one song it’d be this one.
Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley
This reminded me of why I adore YA novels so much.
It revolves around our main character who sees herself as the “Rosalind” of her life – the girl that Romeo leaves for Juliet. She’s constantly the girl who comes “before.”
I adored our main character so much. She is so different than many of the YA heroines I’ve read about in the past. She’s boy-crazy and flirty and so confident for her age – all while having this low-key insecurity about the fact that all the guys she dates end up finding “The One” after her.
What I loved is that she’s not at all jealous of this, she’s actually a little too accepting of it.
I also always love when a character has something that they are super passionate about – especially if they work really hard at their craft to be the best that they can be. This was the case for Megan as well. She loves directing productions and she’s really good at it.
Along with all of that, the romance is super sweet and YA appropriate. It’s a great friends-to-lovers romance and their relationship is such a healthy one, particularly for YA. I love that the hero doesn’t judge her because she’s flirty and he appreciates and supports her.
Jo & Laurie by Margaret Stohl, Melissa De La Cruz
This was another highly anticipated release for me! I’ve been such a huge fan of Little Women ever since I was in my preteens and I used to watch the 1949 version of the movie on repeat.
Since then I’ve shipped Jo & Laurie. This is the book for everyone who wishes Jo and Laurie ended up together.
This book ruined the original story for me, but not in the way you’d think. They did such a great job of adapting this book and making minor enough changes that made complete sense and made this a seamless transition from the original book to this one.
I say it ruined the original story for me because I watched the movie again after reading this book and I was broken-hearted that it didn’t end the way the book is.
Radiance (Wraith Kings #1) by Grace Draven
This book ended up being my favorite read of July.
This is an extremely romance-heavy Fantasy about these two different species – there are humans and then Kai. The Kai are humanoid, but they have dark gray skin, yellow owl eyes, fangs, and black claws. Both species find the other completely unattractive and weird looking, however, to show allegiance, the two species marry the youngest prince of the Kai and the niece of the queen of humans.
The two of them meet before they are married by chance and they don’t realize they are to be married, but they hit it off in a completely platonic way and they’re relieved to find out that they are the ones to be married because they get along so well.
This quickly became my favorite friends-to-lovers romance and it’s so unique since the two characters aren’t attracted to each other at all in the beginning. I love how they both have such respect for one another right from the beginning and it slowly grows into love.
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
This was a buddy read with my friend Mallory from @FigsLibrary over on Instagram and we both adored it!
I always forget how much I love reading YA until I come across a book like this and Always Never Yours.
Elizabeth Acevedo is a gorgeous writer and I plan on reading her entire backlist. I loved The Poet X and Clap When You Land is on my TBR! This book was so easy to read and I found myself underlining so many beautifully written lines. I loved the inclusion of recipes with a poetic twist.
Emoni is a young teen mom who is navigating high school while trying to stay under the radar, raise her baby girl with her Abuela, and figure out what she is going to do with her future – all while discovering that her passion for cooking could turn into something more than a hobby.
Elizabeth Acevedo really shines when she’s writing about young people discovering themselves and this book is no different. I’ve always been drawn to passionate characters with special skills – and Emoni’s ability to create dishes that can transport people to another time and place was so inspiring. I’m always intrigued by people who have innate abilities like that. Especially when they are young and learning how to hone that craft into something that can take them places.
The romance was subtle, but also very sweet. I love seeing heroes in YA who set a good example for young people about what a relationship should be.
Hands Down by Mariana Zapata
My other highly anticipated release this month!
This was a one-click, insta-read, and it did not disappoint. I devoured this beast in one day and I have zero regrets… only that it ever ended.
MZ is one of the few authors who can write a 600-page, slow burn, contemporary romance and I’ll be at page 598 crying that it’s not long enough. This book was no different.
I was shocked and excited when I saw that this was Zac’s book. I’ve been in love with him since we were introduced to him in The Wall of Winnipeg and Me YEARS ago. I never imagined he would get his own book – it was such a delightful surprise.
I love that all of MZ’s books are standalones, but you see glimpses of your favorite characters throughout. In this one, especially, we got to see my fav couple: Aiden and Vanessa. You also see a glimpse of Lukov and Jasmine AND the main character works at the gym that the heroine from The Best Thing used to own! It’s so fun finding all of these little Easter eggs in her book.
This is, by far, MZ’a SLOWEST burn yet. But – as is the case with all of her books – it just makes every single tiny little moment the two love interests have together that much more electric. I loved seeing this friends-to-lovers, second-chance romance build into something undeniable.
The family relationship in this one was absolutely everything I needed in my life. Her relationship with her siblings reminded me so much of mine that my sister was like, “I’m the sister, aren’t I?” and I was like, “Yes. Yes, you are.”
The only downside to MZ’s book is that we have to wait another year until we get the next one! I’m waiting with bated breath for the audiobook so I can reread it!
The Forbidden Man by Karina Halle
This age-gap forbidden romance quickly became a favorite for me. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about an age-gap where the heroine is older than the hero. I was a little worried that a lot of the internal dialog would revolve too heavily around her insecurities because of her age, but luckily, it was the forbidden aspect that was at the forefront.
She is the physical therapist for his soccer team and they are not allowed to date. She has also just transferred to this new team after her divorce from the head coach of another team which already has caused a lot of uproar in the media, so starting a relationship with a soccer player on the new team would cause an even bigger stir. Especially for a woman working in a male-dominated career. I loved that most of the focus was on that.
I was a little put off at first because the hero was super pushy, but, luckily, the heroine quickly puts him in his place (asking if he’d act that way if she was a man) and he immediately backed off – which caused even more tension.
This was my first Karina Halle and it definitely won’t be the last.