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It’s August already?!!! Where’s time going? January feels like yesterday. Anyway, since we are at the end of yet another month in 2021, it’s time for a monthly wrap-up. July was a bit slow for me reading-wise unlike June, which was my best reading month so far in 2021. But I did read some good books, so without further ado, here are the 10 books I read in July.
- 56 days Catherine Ryan Howard
- Appeal by Janice Hallett
- Yes & I love you by Roni Loren
- What if you & me by Roni Loren
- Exposed by Kristen Callihan
- Totally Folked by Penny Reid
- The Missing American by Kwei Quartey
- Sleep Well My Lady by Kwei Quartey
- Black Coast by Mike Brooks
- Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
BOOKS I READ IN JULY
56 days Catherine Ryan Howard
The first book I picked up this month was this twisty lockdown murder mystery.
The Story : Ciara and Oliver meet in a supermarket queue and start dating. 2 weeks later, Dublin goes into complete lockdown and Oliver suggests they move in together to build on their budding relationship without external interference. A month later one of them is dead.
My Thoughts : 56 days was a great psychological thriller that kept me guessing at every turn. I saw some of the twists coming but it still managed to surprise me. I very rarely get emotionally invested in the characters of thrillers. It’s usually the plot that gets me hooked. But this one managed to do both.
Well plotted, well paced and intriguing with plenty of twists, this lockdown thriller should definitely be on your tbrs!
The Appeal by Janice Hallett
Having read one amazing thriller put me in the mood for more and then I saw Appeal by Janice Hallett on goodreads.
The Story : A murder rocks a small close knit community and everyone is a suspect. Someone confesses but a lot of questions remain unanswered. So two law students are tasked with the job of going through all the written communications and notes involving the suspects and the victim to piece together the events that led to the murder.
My Thoughts : Appeal takes a unique approach to murder mysteries. It follows an epistolary format and turns readers into detectives. It was a bit confusing initially trying to figure out who’s who from emails but once I got oriented it was hard to stop reading. This book had plenty of surprises and plot twists to keep me hooked and the unique formatting works immensely in getting readers invested in the small town drama.
If you are a fan of murder mysteries and looking for something unique that will stimulate those little grey cells, this one’s for you.
Yes & I love you by Roni Loren
I don’t know why but all of a sudden, I was seeing this book everywhere I turned and the hype got to me.
The Story : Yes & I love you is love story of Hollyn, who has Tourrette’s and social anxiety and Jasper a struggling artist. Hollyn’s job as a blogger and online reviewer demands her to get onboard with putting herself out there on video and she needs all the help she can get. Enter Jasper, improv artist, aspiring actor looking for a job. Sparks fly and romance ensues.
My Thoughts : I wanted to love this book but I didn’t. The characters and the premise were amazing. It taught me a lot about Tourrette’s which I loved. But, but, but… the romance was a let down. I wasn’t entirely convinced by it nor was the glow up from severe social anxiety to confident blogger realistic. It was heartwarming, sure but I couldn’t get invested in the relationship or the character development. So this one goes into the ok, not great pile.
What if you & me by Roni Loren
I got the advanced listening copy for the next book in Say Everything series on Libro.fm so I decided to take the plunge and read this one too.
The Story : What if you & me is a friends to lovers romance with Andi Lockley a horror podcaster and novelist and her grumpy neighbor, Hill Dawson. When someone breaks into Andi’s home and her anxiety involving a past trauma resurfaces, former fire fighter Dawson comes to the rescue and a beautiful friendship develops between the two.
My Thoughts : I love a good grumpy vs sunshine rom com and this one definitely delivered. I loved how the relationship developed and how Andi and Hill’s issues were handled. Definite improvement from book 1 and has me looking forward to reading the next instalment in the series.
Exposed by Kristen Callihan
The Vip series by Kristen Callihan is one of my absolute favourite contemporary romance series and I have been looking forward to the fourth book in the series for quite some time. I grabbed the ebook as soon as it was released and devoured it in one sitting.
The Story : Brenna and Rye have been at loggerheads for as long as anyone remembers. Avoidance is the only way both of them can keep working together. But when Rye overhears a secret confession from Brenna, he can no longer ignore the raging chemistry between them.
My Thoughts : Rye and Brenna’s romance has been hinted at from the very first book in VIP series. I loved Brenna in all the previous books but Rye was a bit of an ass. Well, I stand corrected now. Rye Peterson is one of the best heroes ever written in romance and I loved him sooo much. I loved the characters, I loved the romance, I loved the angst, I loved everything about this book! Go add this series to your tbrs asap and thank me later 😉
Totally Folked by Penny Reid
Penny Reid is my favourite romance author. I was lucky enough to get an early copy of her latest release in exchange for an honest review and I jumped in as soon as this landed on my mail.
The Story : Deputy Sheriff Jackson James and budding Hollywood starlet Raquel Ezra shared an unforgettable night five years back. Now they are back in each other’s lives but is a connection still possible?
My Thoughts : Jackson James has been a recurring character in Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers series and someone I didn’t like much. But trust her to make me go and fall in love with him. I loved Jackson and Raquel’s love story, their chemistry, Raquel’s weirdness and all the shenanigans the Winstons get up to, to make this connection possible. I did have few issues with the pacing of the book but overall this one is another winner from Penny Reid. Definitely recommended!
The Missing American by Kwei Quartey
After a series of romances, I was back in the mood for some thrillers and decided to pick up The Missing American by Kwei Quartey on Scribd.
The Story : When Emma Djan’s dream of following in her father’s footsteps to become a homicide detective is ruined, a sympathetic former colleague helps her to get hired in a private detective agency. Her first major case as a PI is one involving a missing American which will take her to the depths of internet scams and fetish priests in Ghana.
My Thoughts : It was refreshing to read a mystery set in Ghana. I could see a lot of similarities in the way a criminal investigation is handled in Ghana and India. The mystery itself was engaging and Emma was a character I could definitely get behind. The uneven pacing is my only complaint but that’s no reason to miss out on this engaging detective novel which is the first book in the Emma Djan Investigation series.
Sleep Well My Lady by Kwei Quartey
The Story : In the follow up to Missing American we follow Emma Djan trying to solve the murder of a Ghanaian social icon and fashion designer Lady Araba woth the help of her colleagues.
My Thoughts : The second book in Emma Djan Investigation series is much better paced and plotted than book 1. The mystery was engaging and kept me entertained. I loved the insights into the Ghanaian culture. The narrative style is also far different from the usual mainstream mysteries set in Europe or America and I found that refreshing. Definitely recommended for fans of murder mysteries and detective fiction.
The Black Coast by Mike Brooks
After bingeing on romances and mysteries, I needed a change and went to my favourite genre, fantasy.
The Story : Black Coast by Mike Brooks is the first book in the God King Chronicles. There are multiple storylines and narrators but we mainly follow the citizens of Black Keep. When the raiders of Iwernia clan land on the shores of Black Keep, the Naridans are determined not to give in to hopelessness. But the clans people are not here to raid. They come in search of a new home.
My Thoughts : Black Coast has plenty to offer fantasy buffs in the form of dragons, assasinations, princesses masquerading as criminal masterminds. But what I found unique and interesting is that this book focuses on two groups of people from contrasting cultures trying to find middle ground and avoiding war at all costs. I loved the concept and kept rooting for characters to succeed in their mission to amalgamate their cultures. I also enjoyed seeing a queernorm world which is also rare in fantasies.
I wasn’t fully into the other plotlines or narrators as they all kind of diverge in different directions without a common fulcrum. Hopefully the sequel would do a better job of bringing it all together.
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
The last book I picked up was Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao. It was an e-arc from Netgalley provided in exchange for an honest review.
The Story : The girls of Huaxia are groomed from birth to make the men’s life easy. Being a concubine to share your chi with boys who pilot Chrysalises is part of the deal even if you lose your life in the process. But 18 year old Wu Zetian has another goal when she signs up. Avenge the death of her sister by assassinating the ace pilot responsible for it. But something shocking happens in their first fight as co pilots that changes Zetian’s destiny.
My Thoughts: Iron widow interweaves Chinese history with mecha science fiction to produce a stunning YA debut that completely blew my mind. This book literally smashes the patriachy!! The way it talks about sexism, taking control of our lives, our bodies, our destinies – glorious, GLORIOUS!!! I had goosebumps the whole time I was reading it. And THANK YOU Xiran for kicking that overused YA love triangle trope on it’s ass.
Wu Zetian is that badass everyone wants to write and everyone else wants to read. She is magnificent!!! Li Shimin is my next favourite and is to be protected at all cost!!
Action packed, exhilarating, freaking awesome YA debut of the year, Iron Widow should be high on all your tbrs!!
That concludes all the books I have read…..oh wait, I read more 🤭 I actually read 13 books this month. But I have already reviewed the other three in my previous post, so check that out here.
Let’s Catch Up
How was your reading in July like? Did you put a dent in your tbrs or did it put a dent in you? What was your favourite and least favourite book read in July? Tell me in the comments below.