Although this post is coming very late, I wanted to share the books that I read in July.
Between physical and audio books (and even one e-book), I had a great month of reads in July!
I would love it if you should share a book you enjoyed reading in July in the comments.
What does corn hole, a beauty pageant, alien conspiracies, a girl made out of stardust, and a quirky team of mostly LGBTQIA+ friends have in common? It all comes together in Miss Meteor a unique coming of age story both authors Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anne-Marie McLemore.
Many important themes are explored in this fun book, including: racial, national, sexual, and gender identity. As one of the two main characters, Lita Perez exposes the prejudice that immigrants face. Whereas, the other main character, Chicky Quintanilla exposes the tension that established marginalized communities continue to operate in & the fear of being further rejected from the social environment. Both characters portray the terrible hostility that can come of being perceived as different in a small town. Sadly, both girls experience years of bullying for their “otherness.”
Miss Meteor is a lovable and funny tale of taking ones power back and reaffirming ones identity.
Synopsis: “There hasn’t been a winner of the Miss Meteor beauty pageant who looks like Lita Perez or Chicky Quintanilla in all its history.
But that’s not the only reason Lita wants to enter the contest, or her ex-best friend Chicky wants to help her. The road to becoming Miss Meteor isn’t about being perfect; it’s about sharing who you are with the world–and loving the parts of yourself no one else understands.
So to pull off the unlikeliest underdog story in pageant history, Lita and Chicky are going to have to forget the past and imagine a future where girls like them are more than enough–they are everything.”
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Fate of the Vulture is the final book in the Reapers of Veltuur series by Jessaca Willis. I read the other books in the series last year and my main delay in finishing it is that I truly hate reading e-books, but the book itself I really enjoyed!
In a world where death is controlled by reapers and the gods of old have gone missing, Fate guides Sinisa Strigidae to right the world. If you like high fantasy stories, I suggest checking out this series and supporting an indie author!
Synopsis for Soul of Crow (as the Synopsis for Fate of the Vulture has spoilers for the first books):
“When a mortal wants someone dead, they contract a Reaper of Veltuur, an individual born from the underrealm with fatal magic coursing through their veins.
Sinisa is one of them.
For three years, she’s slain her targets dutifully with the aid of her crow familiar. She only needs one more kill to ascend as a Shade, a coveted status of power. And when the King of Oakfall requests a Reaper to execute his daughter for an unforgivable crime, Sinisa is first to volunteer for the job.
It should be easy.
But when the Prince of Oakfall discovers his sister is in danger, he flees the palace with her. Sinisa is left with only two options: journey through the mortal realm to find and slay her mark, or face the consequences of returning to the underrealm empty-handed. It’s no choice at all. She has come too far and is too close to earning her title to let it be taken away from her now.
Besides, no one can outrun a Reaper of Veltuur.
Or can they…
Soul of the Crow is a dark high fantasy adventure with reapers/assassins, bandits, prophets, and enough death magic to keep the entire mortal realm quaking with fear. . .
Come. Walk through the forest of the underrealm and discover what’s lurking there in the shadows.“
Rating: 4/5 Stars
The Holdout sucked me in from the get go. The premise is fantastic in my opinion, set upon the idea and ideal of jury duty, The Holdout forces us to confront our notions of how we perceive who is a guilty party.
Ten years prior to the start of the book, Maya Seale serves on a jury for the “most sensational case of the decade” and ends up changing the outcome of it. When fifteen-year-old Jessica Silver goes missing, her teacher, an African American man in his twenties, is the prime suspect. Everyone thinks he is guilty, except Maya.
After changing the minds of the other jurors, ten years has passed and Maya is now a defense attorney. When one of the jurors from the case ends up dead in her hotel room, Maya must clear her name and look into the case she believed to be over.
I did like that The Holdout looked at the motivations and thought process of the jury. Some of them were far fetched, but it is a legal thriller and it did add to the interest factor of the novel. One thing that will probably annoy some readers is that many characters in the book took unwise actions that could definitely be held with scrutiny, but again it’s a thriller.
Read this book if you are looking for an entertaining crime/legal thriller.
Synopsis: “It’s the most sensational case of the decade. Fifteen-year-old Jessica Silver, heiress to a billion-dollar real estate fortune, vanishes on her way home from school, and her teacher, Bobby Nock, a twenty-five-year-old African American man, is the prime suspect. The subsequent trial taps straight into America’s most pressing preoccupations: race, class, sex, law enforcement, and the lurid sins of the rich and famous. It’s an open-and-shut case for the prosecution, and a quick conviction seems all but guaranteed–until Maya Seale, a young woman on the jury, convinced of Nock’s innocence, persuades the rest of the jurors to return the verdict of not guilty, a controversial decision that will change all their lives forever.
Flash forward ten years. A true-crime docuseries reassembles the jury, with particular focus on Maya, now a defense attorney herself. When one of the jurors is found dead in Maya’s hotel room, all evidence points to her as the killer. Now, she must prove her own innocence–by getting to the bottom of a case that is far from closed. As the present-day murder investigation entwines with the story of what really happened during their deliberation, told by each of the jurors in turn, the secrets they have all been keeping threaten to come out–with drastic consequences for all involved.”
Rating: 4/5 Stars
I only jotted down a few quick thoughts on Tower of Dawn, which is the sixth book in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I plan on writing up my thoughts on the series as a whole, but for now I will share this relatively spoiler free blurb of my reaction.
This was my favorite book in the series so far. I understand that some fans are frustrated with it taking place in another kingdom and without our leading lady, Aelin. Yet, I loved the world building of the Southern Continent. I also love what Chaol and Nesryn found on their journey there.
Synopsis for Throne of Glass (as the Tower of Dawn synopsis contains spoilers for earlier books):
“In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien. The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.”
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Sweethand by N. G. Peltier is an enemies to lovers romance, but unfortunately it fell into one of the pitfalls of the trope — I just didn’t think there was a good enough reason for the antagonism the heroine felt towards the leading man. Unfortunately, in general I didn’t love the leading lady, so that definitely impacted my enjoyment factor. Yet, I did like the leading man, so I am conflicted on this one.
I felt like parts of the book were really cheesy, especially the ending which basically strung together a bunch of different cinematic rom com moments. However, it was refreshing to see a sensitive, but sexy Black man. This is the first book in a series set in Trinidad and Tobago.
Synopsis: “After a public meltdown over her breakup from her cheating musician boyfriend, Cherisse swore off guys in the music industry, and dating in general for a while, preferring to focus on growing her pastry chef business.
When Cherisse’s younger sister reveals she’s getting married in a few months, Cherisse hopes that will distract her mother enough to quit harassing her about finding a guy, settling down and having kids. But her mother’s matchmaking keeps intensifying.
Cherisse tries to humour her mother, hoping if she feigns interest in the eligible bachelors she keeps tossing her way, she’ll be off the hook, but things don’t quite go as planned. Turns out for the first time in ages, she and Keiran King, the most annoying man ever, are on the island at the same time. Avoiding him is impossible, especially when Keiran’s close friend is the one marrying her sister, and he’s the best man to her maid of honour.
Keiran doesn’t know what to make of Cherisse now. They’ve always butted heads. To him she’s always been a stuck-up brat who seeks attention, even while he secretly harbored a crush on her. Now with Cherisse’s sister marrying one of his good friends he can’t escape her as the wedding activities keep throwing them together.
When things turn heated after a rainy night of bedroom fun, they both have to figure out if they can survive the countdown to wedding day, without this turning into a recipe for disaster.”
Rating: 3/5 Stars
I do not have spoiler free thoughts on Empire of Storms, the 5th book (out of 7) in Sarah J. Mass’ Throne of Glass series. Suffice to say that I really enjoyed it. I will type up my thoughts on the series soon!
Rating: 4.5/ 5 Stars
While I believe that I have read a later book in a series before, I try very hard not to. When The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee was included in this month’s Libro.fm ALC’s I looked it up and found out that it was book two in a series, so I decided to start with book one: A Sweet Mess. And I am glad that I did!
A Sweet Mess is a quick and cute rom com about a baker, Aubrey Choi, who receives a terrible review after her assistant gives a cake meant for a child to a food critic, Landon Kim — the complication: the baker and critic met in the local brewery & hit it off without realizing the other’s profession and connection. With the review driving customers away, Landon whisks Aubrey out to California wine country to set things right but to keep their romantic connection a secret for the sake of the careers and reputation. Without giving it away, this book covers many different romantic tropes, which kept things interesting but was all a bit much. Some of the book was really steamy, funny, or picturesque; yet, there were times when it did become a bit cheesy.
The book features descriptions of delicious sounding food, amazing romantic settings, and adorable side characters. I enjoyed that both characters are Korean American, like the author. This book set me up well for the next book (which I also enjoyed) and was a fun and easy audiobook to listen to.
Synopsis: “Aubrey Choi has been content running her highly successful bakery Comfort Zone and with its first expansion taking up all of her time, dating has been the least of her priorities. Then a one-night-stand with gorgeous Korean hunk Landon Kim makes her want things she didn’t think she had time for. Too bad it turns out he’s a celebrity food critic whose scathing review of Comfort Zone goes viral and nearly destroys Aubrey’s business–and her fond memory of their night together.
Landon tries to clean up the mess he made by offering Aubrey a spot on the new celebrity cooking show he’s producing. She agrees to use this as a way to save her bakery and her reputation–no thanks to him–but vows to guard her heart. Now Aubrey and Landon find themselves sharing a villa in California wine country, which is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. For the next three weeks, baker and critic will tempt each other as they struggle to resist admitting that they have all the necessary ingredients for love.”
Rating: 3.5/ 5 Stars
I was gifted this audiobook by Libro.fm. The Dating Dare picks up right where A Sweet Mess left off. This love story belongs to the best friend of the female protagonist and the brother of the male protagonist from book one. At the beginning of the book, Seth dares Tara to go on four dates with him before he moves from California to Paris and not fall in love with him. This seems like an easy task for Tara who finds Seth attractive, but who guards her heart fiercely. What results is a sweet love story of two people with fierce attraction and genuine appreciation for each other.
I felt like this book was slightly less complicated than A Sweet Mess (which I did enjoy but felt like it was one thing after another). Tara is hysterical and Seth is so endearing. There were still some really cheesy moments, which is why this is 3.5 stars instead of 4. I recommend these books for people looking for easy going and easy to read romance books.
Synopsis: “No serious relationships. This is the one rule Tara Park made for herself and it has been working swimmingly, thank you very much. The occasional fling is fine, especially since she’s busy with Weldon Brewery. But when Seth Kim, temptation personified and her best friend’s new brother-in-law walks into her life, Tara might be willing to bend her golden rule…but only for four dates–the four dates she agreed to after a few good rounds of beer and a game of truth or dare. It’ll be fun. No biggie.
Seth Kim can’t believe Tara agreed to his dating dare. He’s leaving for a new job in Paris in a month and a no-strings attached fling seemed like a nice little distraction for both… But their secret dates, while sweet and sexy, always hit roadblocks straight out of a romantic comedy. Thankfully, their non-dates and chance meetings are smoother, frequent, and heated. However, the more Seth sees of Tara, the less willing he is to let her go–and what was supposed to be a fun little game turns into something that neither of them are ready for. But sometimes, the best things in life are the ones we never see coming.”
Rating: 3.5/ 5 Stars
My last audiobook for July was Treasure Island. I listened to the production that Audible offers with Catherine Tate (she was the best part IMO) and I am here to say something very controversial — I think the movie was better than the book, in this case I am talking about Muppet Treasure Island (it’s on Disney + and it’s fantastic, fun fact: Tim Curry is in it). I shall await having my Master’s of English stripped from me for this admission.
What I did like about the book is the inspiration it has clearly had on other pirate stories, like Pirates of the Caribbean. Sadly to say, this was not a book that I loved. However, it should be noted that I am not an avid fan of pirate and nautical books, so this rating is certainly showing some bias in that regards.
Synopsis: “Following the demise of bloodthirsty buccaneer Captain Flint, young Jim Hawkins finds himself with the key to a fortune. For he has discovered a map that will lead him to the fabled Treasure Island. But a host of villains, wild beasts and deadly savages stand between him and the stash of gold. Not to mention the most infamous pirate ever to sail the high seas . . .”
Rating: 3/ 5 Stars
I don’t think I will be reviewing this book individually, but as promised my thoughts on the series are coming soon! In case you couldn’t guess, Kingdom of Ash is the final book in the Throne of Glass series.
My initial thoughts after finishing the book: Holy book hangover, Batman. I am feeling all of the feels today. I cried a lot. I am fairly satisfied with the ending that the author provided for this series.
Rating: 4.5/ 5 Stars
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Songbirds Puzzle [from 1st picture]
Round Puzzle [from 1st picture]
Candelles [from 1st picture — save 15% off with code: BEKKA15]
Miss Meteor Once Upon a Bookclub Box [from 2nd picture — save 10% off with code: BEKKA10]
Sudio Ett Earbuds [from 4th picture — save 15% off with code: BEKKA15]
Resin Bookmark [from 6th picture]
Sunrise Bookworm Candle & Wax Melt [from 7th picture — save 11% off with code: BEKKA11]
Rifle Paper Co Journal Set [similar to the one in the 8th picture]
I linked items that were easy to find, but if you ever see something in a picture not linked and want to know more about it, let me know in the comments!
Note on affiliate links: While purchases through affiliate links are much appreciated, the purpose of this blog is to educate and spread a love of reading. You don’t have to purchase books to be a reader — that is why we have libraries. However you end up reading these books, I hope that you enjoy them!