Since I took pretty much all of August off – I’m not writing this post when I normally would. So, honestly, I don’t remember specifics of what I read in July. Because like July, I’ve read a shit ton of books in August.
I do know I read some really good books that I highly recommend, and some okayish ones. There aren’t any on this list that I wouldn’t not recommend, but there are definitely some I would 100% recommend. I found some new favorites that I thoroughly enjoyed – which is always a good thing.
If you have read any of these, or if you now plan on checking some of them out, let me know!
Let’s jump in and check out the 20+ books I read in July!
The Queen Will Betray You (Kingdoms of Sand and Sky #2) – Sarah Henning
“[…] Honestly, I’m a bit shocked at how much more I enjoyed this book. I inhaled it in a matter of hours and didn’t really want to put it down. Unlike the first book which seemed to take me forever to read, I actually cared about what was happening. Having to stop to make dinner was a chore – like, I couldn’t stop thinking about getting back to the book, and I was cursing the fact that I didn’t have the audiobook. Then I could have at least kept reading while cooking.
I love it when second books enrapture you and completely change your mind set about a series.”
The Prophecy (Titan #4) – Jennifer L. Armentrout
“[…] Where Seth is annoying, unlikeable and makes terrible choices in the Covenant Series, Jen really grows his character in this spin off series.
I mean, really grows his character.
And then there is Josie. Like Alex, she’s strong. But where Alex is brash, loud and hotheaded and a part of the world of Pures and Half-Bloods, Josie isnt. She’s a quieter kind of strong – mentally strong, incredibly resilient and is the ask questions first, punch later kind of person. But like Alex, she’s incredibly endearing and likeable and fucking badass.
The chemistry she has with Seth is really good, and the way they complement each other is so good. I love them together and the journey they go on…phew, it’s not easy.”
Fortune Academy: Year One (Fortune Academy #1) – J.R. Thorn
“[…] Since I inhaled these books, I don’t quite remember what happens in each, so I’m just going to do an overarching review of what my thoughts are of the first four books. I will say that I’m not the biggest fan of the writing style. I’m finding that the more I read these Indie/Self Pubbed (typically on KU) paranormal/supernatural fantasy books, the writing style tends to be more surface level and not very deep. I don’t mean that as an insult, but it’s just this style that I’ve noticed. It makes for really quick, and addictive reads, so I’m not complaining, but it does leave me wanting a little more depth. I feel like with this style, description and world building and character development kind of go by the wayside. That doesn’t mean that the characters aren’t good, or that the worlds don’t come to life.”
Fortune Academy: Year Two (Fortune Academy #2) – J.R. Thorn
“[…] For the most part, I liked Lily’s Virtues – but they’re incredibly manipulative towards her. There was a lot of Lily noticing and realizing that they were manipulating her, her getting angry and putting her foot down, only to basically acquiesce. It got a little old after a while – and other than the writing style, probably my biggest complaint. Lily is constantly portrayed as this bad ass, hard ass, super independent chick, but she caves to their whims all of the time and then it’s just written off as part of her nature.
I’m all for juxtaposition in characters, but it the constant repetitiveness of this dynamic was annoying. On top of that, the way she almost favors some of the Virtues over others…like, it’s just not an even playing field all around.”
Fortune Academy: Year Three (Fortune Academy #3) – J.R. Thorn
“[…] The plot is definitely interesting, and it keeps getting more intense and crazier. With the introduction of a new Virtue and the world(s) going to Hell – quite literally – shit is starting to hit the fan big time. Not only has Lily just solidified her connection with her 5 Virtues, now there’s a new one and he wants nothing to do with Lily.
Obviously, things are tense.”
You and Me at the End of the World – Brianna Bourne
“[…] I went into this book expecting a end of the world SF story and got so much more.
It’s been a few days since I finished it and I’m still processing. I’m really glad I didn’t write my review right after finishing the book, because the few days I’ve had to sit on it, the more I appreciate it. The more I fall in love with it.
Honestly, it was so good. So perfect. I can’t recommend it enough.
I can’t get over the fucking twist! Never in my wildest dreams, did I expect the book to go that route. I loved it – it was a bit of a delayed love, I’ll admit. I thought I was getting a end of the world SF book, last two human alive, something cataclysmic happens/will happen and fade to black. So, when that bit was revealed, I kind of lost my shit.
This book was so good. The chemistry between Hannah and Leo is really good.”
the Art of Breaking Up – Elizabeth Stevens
“[…] I started this book around 3PM and finished it around 10PM. I probably would have finished it much quicker if life hadn’t interrupted me…multiple times. I’m so damn glad that I finally read this. When I saw it on NetGalley I was interesting, intrigued and willing to give it a chance. I lowkey thought it was kind of funny that the cover resembled another YA contemporary I requested off NetGalley (Fight for Her). It also made me a little wary because I couldn’t get into the other one. But the reviews didn’t lie, and this book didn’t disappoint at all. Like, I’ve already recommended it to multiple people.
It reminded me of Brigid Kemmerer’s Call It What You Want in terms of tone, and What’s Not to Love by Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegemund-Broka in terms of how much I utterly enjoyed it. I mean, it was such a good read. I really didn’t ever want to put it down, and honestly, I could totally read more.”
Fortune Academy Underworld: Book Four (Fortune Academy #4) – J.R. Thorn
“[…] It’s a wild ride that keeps you engaged and wanting to know what happens next. I mean, legit so much changed between the last book and the fourth one. More and more comes to light about who Lily is and what she past was. Whereas things were good between her and her Virtues, things are stressed, strained and at a breaking point. I spent a lot of this book wanting to hug Logan and Orion. Legit I started not to care about the other Virtues. Out of all of them, they manipulate Lily the most and I was growing tired of it. Still like them as characters, because they’re still interesting, but with their roles as Virtues, I couldn’t have cared less.
Logan and Orion though, they’re cocky, but give off Cinnamon Roll vibes.”
Poison & Poultice (The Gate Cycle #1.5) – Kristin Jacques
“[…] I wasn’t ready.
I had to reread pages to make sure I was reading things right. Then I promptly started freaking out. This novella bridges the gap between Marrow Charm and Skin Curse and honestly, I didn’t know I needed a Brixby backstory. But I enjoyed it so much.
And just like with every other book Kristin has written, I was immediately transported into the world. Never-mind that it’s been 3 years since I read Marrow Charm and a handful of months since Skin Curse, but it was so easy to fall back into this world, with these characters.
But seriously! That twist. That little honesty bomb Brixby let slip. I wasn’t ready.”
Capture the Crown (Gargoyle Queen #1) – Jennifer Estep
“[…] I thought I was brutal to my characters, but holy shit does Gemma go through some crap.
Fuck, I still don’t know what to say! I just want to throw the book at you and make you read it. Though, you should definitely start with the Crown of Shards trilogy. I don’t think you have to read it prior to jumping into Capture the Crown, but I think you’ll miss out on a lot of important backstory if you want to understand what happened before.
Like with the first trilogy, the author transports you right into this world. You’re sucked in from the very beginning and you’re hooked. I fell right into Gemma’s life, her risks and her unwillingness to be a typical princess. She’s a badass and has had some of the best teachers anyone can ask for. The lengths she is willing to go to, to help her people is commendable. Her ability to sort of hide in plain sight due to the persona she’s created for her Princess self, is a pretty good disguise.”
Princess Ballot (Royals of Arbon Academy #1) – Jaymin Eve & Tate James
“[…] When I say I kind of lost my shit when I realized this wasn’t just a typical contemporary romance with slight fantastical-esque elements, but like, a full-on dystopian novel. 27-year-old me was thrown right back to 2012 dystopian era and I was living. I mean, I honestly couldn’t ask for a better series that was seemingly tailored to what I love reading. Like, I want to throw these books at you and make you read them.
If you’re missing the glory days of YA Dystopian books, but also want a little spice, some playboy princes and a college setting – go pick this up right now.
I know, it seems like a bit of a strange mix, but omfg it works.
Violet is a really fun character. She’s a bit stereotypical when we first meet her, but she’s clearly got hidden depths. I really loved that she didn’t put up with any shit.”
Faking Reality – Sara Fujimura
“[…] Overall, this was a cute YA contemporary read that sucks you in and keeps you wanting more. I loved Dakota – so much. She was fun and relatable and just a really great character. She cares so deeply for those she claims as family. Her personality is great, and I loved her friendship with Leo.
I also loved Leo. But, and yes, there’s a but – I spent most of this book annoyed as hell at him. When feelings come to light, the way he reacts is…
Let’s just say I think he handled it wrong. And then everything that happens after that – he definitely handled it wrong. I didn’t get the sense that he was doing anything on purpose, but he was still a pretty shitty friend for a while.”
Playboy Princes (Royals of Arbon Academy #2) – Jaymin Eve & Tate James
“[…] I’m sure you want to know about the love interests.
There are 3, but this isn’t a Reverse Harem. One is a bit of a bully romance, one is pure soft cinnamon roll and the other is…well that’s a spoiler. You’ll have to read the books to find out what Prince Alex is.
There’s also a set of Twins who are the highlight of any party. The dynamic between the two of them is so good, and I love how they just adopt Violet. Mattie is a little convenient and a bit predictable, but I enjoyed her character. She goes through some growth over the course of the series. And Nolan is just a goof. Straight up. He’s a shameless flirt and is always down for a good time. He treats Violet like a sister – though, he does hit on her a bit.
But the princes…
Poison Throne (Royals of Arbon Academy #3) – Jaymin Even & Tate James
“[…] Violet is a badass.
Rafe is a badass.
Jordan is still a Cinnamon Roll and should be protected and hugged at all costs.
But remember that darker streak I mentioned??
Jordan could rival Rafe with that wicked gleam in the eyes, and the possessiveness.
Fuck, can I have a Jordan? Please?
The chemistry between Violet and the two guys is so good. I love that they balance each other out. Rafe and Violet would burn too hot and too bright, but add Jordan into the mix, and the heat is tempered to a more manageable level. It’s perfect.”
Demigods Academy: Year One (Demigods Academy #1) – Elisa S. Amore & Kiera Legend Audiobook Finished: July 20, 2021 / ⭐️⭐️⭐️ / GR
I didn’t even realize I didn’t write a review for this book. Honestly, the initial “Harry Potter meets Percy Jackson” tagline drew me in. While it wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t overwhelmingly amazing either. I think I had kind of burned myself out on Greek Mythology and then when the authors gave all the demigods the ability to fly and have wings, I kind of lost interest. Between Greek Mythology, academy based stories, and supernatural beings with wings, I couldn’t have cared less. I also didn’t realize that it was pretty YA, and I’d honestly expected a little bit of spice. I should have known based on the tagline – but to be fair besides ONE other Academy based story – they’ve all be spicy af – so I assumed. And assumed wrong.
I have the next two books on audio since they were part of an Audible deal, so maybe I’ll read on, I haven’t decided. There’s no overwhelming urge to find out what happens next. Hell, I barely remember what happened in this first book.
XOXO – Axie Oh
“[…] But like, can we talk about how vivid this book is? It legit just comes to life right off the page. I had zero issues picturing anything, and I have a very limited understanding/knowledge of what anything looks like. But I felt like I was right there. I’m actually kind of blown away over just how alive it felt. Like, I knew going in that people were praising Axie’s writing ability, and damn, they weren’t kidding.
If you go into this book for anything – go in for the writing. It’s great.
Though, I will say, I found the story a little stiff – BUT I think (for me) it was more about the narrator than the writing. I thought the narrator did a good job, but she just didn’t do much for me. I wasn’t that big of a fan and I do think it slightly negatively impacted my enjoyment of the book.”
Celestial (Angels of Elysium #2) – Olivia Wildenstein
“[…] Um, this book was fantastic. Where I enjoyed the first one, I loved this one. It’s got a whole rivals to lovers, second chance at love thing going on. And it’s second chance at love, in a way I’ve not really seen. Honestly, I didn’t expect it.
When I originally saw that this second book wasn’t going to follow Leigh and Jarod – I mean, how could it after how Feather ended – I was a little apprehensive. I honestly didn’t know how to feel, I didn’t know how there could be a second book with how the first one ended.
The choices Olivia makes for these characters – the journey they go on, that little plot twist that she imbeds – *chef’s kiss* – superior. And then the last chapter/epilogue – jfc, give me book 3 right now.
Celeste and Asher are so good – the chemistry between them. The tension. The snark.”
Barbarian Alien (Ice Planet Barbarians #2) – Ruby Dixon
eBook Finished: July 24, 2021 / ⭐️⭐️⭐️ / GR
This was better than the first book – and I do like how it feels more like a chapter in a much longer book. I liked Liz and Raahosh – I’m always down for a little tension, a little rivals to lovers action. I liked that they complemented each other really well – that Liz could wholly hold her own against Raahosh. But like the first book, it was a little cheesy and a little cringe. But again, it’s fun mindless reads and I can’t be mad about it.
Barbarian Lover (Ice Planet Barbarians #3) – Ruby Dixon eBook Finished: July 25, 2021 / ⭐️⭐️⭐️ / GR
This one was pretty much as enjoyable as the last. Like, I totally get why these books are popular, and why they’re so addicting. Even when you don’t 100% like the characters, you’re incredibly invested. Kira was my favorite female MC so far, but she wasn’t terrible. She definitely shoulders a lot of the weight and the fear. Aehako was a sweetie and I liked how.
The plot is starting to pick up at this point – for the whole series, which I really enjoyed.
Dark Deception (Vampire Royals of New York #1) – Sarah Piper
“[…] Y’all…this book was so good.
I didn’t really have any expectations going into it except for wanting vampires and a bit of spice.
It definitely delivered on both accounts.]
Think, Lucifer (the show) vibe wise – and that’s this book.
It’s dark, delicious and it never stops delivering.
From the moment Dorian and Charlotte (Charley) meet its instant chemistry. It’s easy. They’re wonderful together – not perfect, but wholly enjoyable to read. They complement each other so well. Each has their own set of demons (figurative, not literal – I only specify since demons exist in this world) they have to confront and carry with them. Charley has her own dark past, her own regrets and memories that have shaped her into someone who is strong and capable but craves stability and comfort. Dorian has been handed a mantle he doesn’t really want and with it comes a million and one problems.”
These Hollow Vows (These Hollow Vows #1) – Lexi Ryan
“[…] As for Brie – I really liked her as a character. She’s loyal, loving and incredibly capable. I loved that she wasn’t outright this strong badass. Her character grew and changed over the course of her journey and became so much more than I think anyone realized. All the relationships and betrayals and drive to save her sister turned her into this really amazing character. And based on where she is…who she is at the end of this book – I really cannot wait to see what she does next. Sebastian and Finn better watch the fuck out, because there’s a new power in town and she’s ready to wreck all sorts of havoc.”
Small Favors – Erin A Craig
Audiobook Finished: July 31, 2021 / ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / Review TK / GR
“[…] As for Ellerie – I loved her. I loved her character so much. Stuck in the confines of what society dictates for women, she pushes back. Not in an overtly loud way, but in a more quiet subtle way. Time and time again she proves just how capable she how. How strong she is. Accident after Accident she perseveres, pushes through. She’s emotional and caring and just wants to do what’s best for her family. She loves them so much – she loves her town. I loved that she took charge, figured everything out when things got scary and rough.
Her brother on the other hand – kick a bag of rocks, my dude.
Her sisters are so wonderful – I loved their development throughout the story, and I loved the reveals and the drama around them.
And then there’s Whitaker. Be still my heart. I kind of knew what was going on with his character – only in the sense that something was up with him. Erin has this way of making you utterly fall in love with the love interest and then wham! here’s a twist you don’t expect! I love it. Whitaker is such a charmer, and I love how he interacts with Ellerie and Amity Falls and exists withing the story.”