July Wrap-Up

Although it seems like July was only a minute long, I still managed to read 14 amazing books and listen to one audiobook. I broke down my thoughts on each book on my Instagram page but wanted to add mini-reviews for each on here!

Contemporary Fiction

Dear Emmie Blue ( 5 stars, 311 pages)

I highly recommend Dear Emmie Blue to anyone who is looking for a book to transport you into its pages and leave you feeling as if you are leaving a dear friend behind as you finish the last chapter. For me, this book captured the essence of what it means to feel like you will never reach a point in life where your life feels settled but, in reality, that is what your life is doing. At some point in time, we all look back and realize that the things that we so desperately wanted actually happened. 

Lost Girls of Devon ( 3.5 stars, 352 pages)

I did enjoy the air of mystery to this story but I didn’t find it to be the sole focus as the synopsis implied. I, also, think that the mystery as to what was happening in Devon was wrapped up a little too quickly. But, overall, I always enjoy a book with a mystery as I find I, too, am trying to solve what was happening. 

Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Horror

White Out ( 4 stars, 361 pages)

Besides Lily, I was also perplexed by the two other characters and found an immense amount of satisfaction as each chapter flipped between the three people. I have always loved a book with multiple character viewpoints because I think you gain so much more from the story and I love when thriller’s offer this perspective. It keeps me flipping through the pages, hungry for more information. I was a bit confused at the ending and had to go back to read a few of the chapters again as I wanted to have a firm grasp on the cumulation of events. However, once I had the chance to reread a few of the chapters, I was completely surprised by the twist at the end. I definitely did not see that coming. 

His & Hers ( 4.5 stars, audio book: 8 hours 20 minutes)

Y’all.. this book. Holy cow. I was hooked, speechless and mildly (okay very) creeped out from the first chapter. I did not anticipate being sucked into this story as quickly as I was but once I started I could not stop. I even told my husband that I would do the dishes after dinner because I desperately needed to listen to this audiobook a while longer. I love physical copies of books but I think that HIS & HERS is best listened to on audio. The dual narration between Anna and Jack was what I loved about this story but then the introduction of the third narrator… I mean, it doesn’t get creepier than that

Mexican Gothic ( 4 stars, 320 pages)

I don’t normally read with my phone near me, it is often more of a distraction and I will sometimes pick it up instead of allowing myself to be fully committed to reading. But, with the case of Mexican Gothic, I encourage you to have your phone near you and to look up anything that you have questions about. I did this on numerous occasions as I was unfamiliar with some of the plants, locations, and names that were referenced. By looking up this information, I feel that I had a firm grasp on where the author was leading her readers and could fully appreciate the work and research that she put into creating this book.

Behind the Red Door ( 4 stars, 320 pages)

What an incredibly dark and engrossing story this was! I have always loved a good psychological thriller and this one had all of the psychological components that fascinate me. A lost childhood memory. A kidnapped woman. An absent, self-absorbed, narcissistic father. It was everything that I hoped that it would be. I did figure out where the ending was going fairly early into the book BUT Megan Collins wrote in such a way that I started to doubt my guess. I loved reading as she worked her magic and wove such an enthralling novel that kept me on the edge of my seat. I would love to know where her inspiration for this book came from as I can’t imagine having a father (or mother) as Fern did. 

Romance

The Heir Affair ( 5 stars, 464 pages)

I had so many laugh out loud moments (mainly at Gaz’s expense) and then I shed countless tears. There were some very real moments nestled within the pages of this book — I would like to give a trigger warning for pregnancy loss, if you have any concerns about reading the sequel, please message me so we can chat. I truly felt such real emotions while reading this story and I did not expect to have any of them. In the 464 pages of this novel, I became so incredibly attached to the characters (including The Queen) that I genuinely did not want this book to end. 

What You Wish For ( 4 stars, 320 pages)

I loved Sam’s bright and cheerful personality. Although Duncan, was painted as a bit of a curmudgeon at first, I knew that in his heart that he was a good man just trying to do the right thing after something tragic had occurred. I will say, I saw the direction that Center’s was taking the story after just a few chapters and I think that had me swaying in Duncan’s favor. What happened to Duncan is a very heavy topic that our country has become far too familiar with in the past – I don’t want to give away any of the storylines so if you would like more information, please message me!

Fantasy

Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince ( 5 stars, 652 pages)

This is my second time reading through the Harry Potter series and I plan to do it again in a few years. I do feel like I appreciated the stories so much more than I read them as a child. The Half-Blood Prince may be my favorite in the series as I loved all of the back stories that were provided following the families.

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows ( 5 stars, 759 pages)

I felt all of the feelings while reading this book. I could truly appreciate just how much Harry, Ron and Hermione grew up during the course of this novel. There really isn’t much to say except that I am glad that I made 2020 the year to re-read this series as it provided a much needed escape from the current world.

A Court of Mist and Fury ( 5 stars, 626 pages)

There are no words. This book was truly a work of art and I continue to be amazed at the talent of Sarah J Maas. She created this world out of nothing and I found myself wanting to pick the book back up and immerse myself in this book. I fell head over heels in love with Rhys as he is truly the dream. Chapter 55, takes the cake for steam and likely always will. We should all hope to have the type of love that Rhys and Feyre share.

A Court of Wings and Ruin ( 5 stars, 699 pages)

When I began the ACOTAR series, everyone told me that the second book is the best, and while I do not dispute that, I also truly loved this book. There was so much information to take in, characters to learn and battles to be fought. I couldn’t pull myself out of this book and silently cried multiple tears throughout the final 100 pages. This series is one that I will continue to return to and re-read again and again. If you haven’t had a chance to read these books, I truly encourage you to.

Young Adult

The Hate U Give ( 5 stars, 444 pages)

Well, this book left me at a loss for words. It was a powerful, moving and poignant reality check for me. Within the first chapter of this story my heart was broken at the all too real reality of what many in our Black communities face every day. It is imperative that we all realize that what happened to Starr and Khalil is not a work of fiction, it is a reality that should not be. 

Clap When You Land ( 5 stars, 432 pages)

What an incredible book! This is the first time I have read a book written in-verse and, I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical at first but Elizabeth Acevedo pulled me and mesmerized me with her ability to craft this incredible story in-verse. She provided countless emotions that left me feeling raw. There was also this pure simplicity to the book as she didn’t supply overly detailed accounts of everything but at the same time she did. Acevedo painted the perfect picture of how vastly the lives of the two sisters were.

Magical Realism

South of the Buttonwood Tree ( 5 stars, 336 pages)

Heather Webber has this incredible way of writing that draws you in. I feel myself being called into her books, to her characters and to the towns that she writes about. I truly feel that she encapsulates the beauty of small southern towns. I also adore her way of weaving in magical realism into the book that I’m often left with goosebumps because it “is the South after all, where there’s always a touch of magic in the air.”

Total Pages Read: 6,396

Average Rating: 4.6

Favorites: A Court of Mist & Fury, The Heir Affair and South of the Buttonwood Tree

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