July Wrap Up

This year, I had set a goal to read 50 books and I completed that goal very early in the middle of July. For July, I read 11 books, which is still above average for what I had been reading prior to the COVID-19 quarantine. I started going back to work a few days a week at the end of July so I’m curious how that is going to affect my reading moving forward.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
After finishing The Vanishing Half, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. The book has rave reviews on every book related platform and its not that I didn’t like the book, but I didn’t get what all the hype was about. I thought the story was good, but the execution at certain points for me left a lot to be desired. Having never read anything by Bennett before maybe her writing style is to jump around a lot in the same chapter between times and characters, but I found it to be confusing. The story definitely drags you in and I think the best parts of the book is when it went into the LGBTQ storyline which isn’t even mentioned in the synopsis. I do wish also that I had more closure for certain characters in the end.

Older by Pamela Redmond*
Younger is one of my favorite TV shows and while I wait for new episodes, the sequel to the first book was a good replacement to catch up with Liza, Maggie, Kelsey and Josh. I loved the little callbacks to the show, like the mentions of Sutton Foster and Debi Mazar, as well as a few others along the way. While Charles, Diana and Lauren are not characters in the book, I did enjoy the new character of Hugo and pictured him as the British version of Charles. Older is a quick read and if you are a fan of Younger, you’ll have fun with this book when it is released on September 8.

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
As a fan of The Bachelor and Bachelorette, I was excited to read One to Watch and I loved this book! You really feel like you are reading about an actual season of the show and I adored the character of Bea and would love to see someone like her as a lead on the show. You can read my full review here.

Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman
After watching and enjoying the Netflix miniseries, I wanted to read the memoir behind it. While it differs a lot from the series, I liked having a look into the Satmar community that I never would have had access to otherwise. You can read my full review here.

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren*
I love Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies even though they are predictable and cheesy. So when I heard my favorite writing duo had a Christmas book, I jumped at the chance to request it on NetGalley, and this book is sharing the top spot with The Unhoneymooners as one of my favorite Christina Lauren books! Once I started reading it I could not put it down and it had me laughing and crying.

Mae and Andrew may be the main characters of this book, but I loved all of the extended family, their holiday traditions and how no matter what they were always there for each other. Mae was such a likable character and I was rooting for her each time she was stuck in a Christmas vacation time loop. The romance between Mae and Andrew was adorable, but how could it not be when Mae has been in love with Andrew since she was 13? I loved how they came together when on one of her many do-over trips she decided to throw caution to the wind and finally tell him how she felt. I also enjoyed that she had her uncle Benny to confide in and guide her each time her vacation was reset. This was the perfect book to read for a little bit of Christmas magic in July, but it is the perfect book to pick up anytime of year. It will be released on October 6.

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
This is an unpopular opinion on this book, but I just did not like it. I’m sorry now that I did not finish it, so many times I contemplated stopping it but thought it would get better. To me, I just found the relationship between Chloe and Red not believable enough and I wasn’t rooting for them to be together. What I did like about this book was Chloe, she is a Black, curvy girl who suffers from fibromyalgia. It’s not often you see a character like this in books, or if you do, not as the main character.

The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose
I loved this book so much, it will definitely be one of my favorite reads of 2020! It had everything I love about a psychological thriller, it made me think I knew what was going on but also kept me guessing along the way. And that ending, I never saw it coming and want to go back and re-read to see if I can piece it together. If you are looking for an incredibly thriller, read this and also my other favorite, The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson. You can read my full review here.

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren
I’m trying to read through Christina Lauren’s books and this one has been on my TBR list for a while, so I was glad when my library finally opened up for checkouts only so I could finally get around to reading it. Compared to their other cute rom-com books I’ve read, this one was a little different, more drama, and I loved it! Macy and Elliot meet when they are in middle school and they become the love of each other’s life, but something happens when they are 17 to drive them apart. Years later, they run into each other and the story is told in present day and their middle and high school years. It was a perfect second chance romance that I could not stop reading once I started.

Rush by Lisa Patton
This book took me a while to get into and should’ve been on I did not finish. Having never been in a sorority since I went to a very small college, I enjoy reading about them, but I felt like this book took every cliche about the South and threw it into the storyline.

Mermaid Inn by Jenny Holiday
Mermaid Inn is the first book in Holiday’s Matchmaker Bay series. Thanks to Forever Publishing I received a copy of Paradise Cove the second book and wanted to start the series off with the first book. Eve inherits the Mermaid Inn from her aunt in Moonflower Bay, a place she hasn’t returned to in ten years. She stayed away after her relationship with Sawyer Collins ended and of course on her first day back, they run into each other. Eve is determined to spend only the year she has to in Moonflower Bay fixing up the inn and plans to avoid Sawyer at all costs. But Sawyer is determined to breakthrough to Eve and have a conversation about why their relationship ended. It was a very cute story, definitely read like a Hallmark movie, which I love!

Roomies by Christina Lauren
Rounding out my Christina Lauren month was Roomies which tells the story of the fake romance between Holland and Calvin. For months, Holland has been stopping by a subway station to hear Calvin play. When her uncle who is the conductor of a Broadway musical is in need of a new musician, Holland brings him to hear Calvin play and Calvin secures an audition for the musical. Calvin is offered the job, but he turns it down because he is in the country illegally. Holland who has a crush on Calvin and wants to help her uncle asks Calvin to marry her for a year so he can have his dream job. As Holland and Calvin navigate their new life and feelings for each other, both are keeping secrets from the other that will threaten to ruin everything they’ve worked on. It wasn’t my favorite out of their books, but it was cute and an enjoyable read. I would’ve liked a little bit more at the end I think to enjoy it more.

* I received an ARC from either NetGalley or Edelweiss and the publisher, who provide me with a digital copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions on the book are my own.

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