Hey hey, it’s MJ,
It’s July, like seriously, how? At this point time is a construct that I no longer subscribe to, I don’t feel like it anymore.
I wrote somewhere around 250,000 words last month, I actually think it was more than that so I didn’t get as much read as I would have liked so I am hoping that in July I can read 12 books, I really am, but if I don’t, I am not going to stress out about it.
I am opening this for the first time on the 2nd because I finished a book, I started in June but just didn’t have the want to finish. The book was amazing, but I just didn’t want to read.
So, without unnecessary pausing, I will get right into it, enjoy.
The Cartogrpahers by Peng Shepherd (4.2/5)
It was so good; it took me a while to get into and the ending left me with questions and a need for a wrap up. I love realistic fantasy and the idea of hidden Easter eggs in maps being like they are in this book was fascinating. I really liked the murder mystery element of it as well, it almost read like an escape room. I don’t know how else to describe it, I for sure had a few “holy plot twists Batman!” moments in this one as well. There was one that I called about halfway through. I normally don’t like interstitial chapters in books, but here they told a very important story within the story that tied the past and present together and that was so important for the story as a whole. It was beautifully written and I would for sure read a sequel if there was one to happen eventually.
One Evening in Paris by Nicolas Barreau (3/5)
It was fine. I liked parts of it for sure but other parts felt thrown in like the editor said “we need more pages”, it has the miscommunication trope which is never something that I really enjoy. It was messy, it was just a little messy and it felt rushed and then too slow and the characters were flat. It is this love story where they meet and then she disappears and he’s searching Paris for it, she’s in it like 30 pages so I didn’t feel the romance of it. There was a good chunk of the book where I thought that she was like a time traveler or from an old film or something, it was a lot. She wasn’t. The ending felt rushed and cramped which was a little weird for the pacing of the rest of the novel. It ended happy so that was good.
The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins (3/5)
There was so much potential in this one. Like the first chapter and the epilogue, that’s the story I want. That’s what I want to read. The modern twist of it all, but like it was a lot. No shame or hate to the author, I loved the concept but for me there were a lot of things that just weren’t great. Like the mention of SA was not cool, also just the treatment of the concept of sex as well. There were just some things that hit me wrong, like Aisling she changed so much and I understand that trauma changes someone but she did a complete 180 in like fifteen pages. There were so many story lines and so many that just felt rushed in and then unfinished. Anything with the French king made my skin crawl. I had such high hopes for this book, but it wasn’t for me and that’s okay. I know that not every book will be my favorite and when I bought this I might have enjoyed it more, that is the reason for the TBR, to weed my collection. This one will be weeded at the end of the year.
The Bodyguard by Katherine Center (4.3/5)
This was my July Book of the Month, so there is a whole post that will be coming out in a few days. I know that I say this every month with my BoTM’s and it’s still true. I am a huge fan of this book though; it was really cute after some disappointing books in the last few weeks. Really cute banter, body guard rom com, and I loved it so much!
Dreams of Distant Shores by Patricia McKillip (4/5)
I saw this in Barnes and Noble several years ago and the cover was what caught me. I knew nothing about it but I wanted it and I pined over it for months because it looked so good. It did not disappoint, normally I don’t read short stories and novellas, this was a collection of them. My two favorites were The Gorgon in the Cupboard and Something Rich and Strange which was the novella. It was all wonderfully weird and written with such beautiful prose. Some of the stories I expected different things but I was never disappointed. If you like quick reads this one for sure is one because it’s 6 short stories and a novella they are very quick reads and I would read a whole book with the two stories that I mentioned about, whole novels.
Twisted Hate by Ana Huang (4.4/5)
Check the content and trigger warnings, I will always say that with romance novels that are not 100% romantic comedies. This one was…so spicy and like 500 pages. I read it in two days because I got sucked in. There are for sure some triggers for people, little degradation which in real life could not be into, it was rough and a little violent. I love Josh and Jules though, also if they would have involved Alex early on everything could have been avoided because having Alex in their lives just would have made it so much easier. I loved all the twists and turns and of course watching the enemies with benefits go to loving each other, it wouldn’t be a romance novel if they didn’t. I love a good romance though so do not get me wrong. We see so much more of Jules and her story in this one, it is her story, but from what we saw in Twisted Love and Twisted Games she is a very deep character and I was happy to read her story. I also had to remember who Christian was because he’s in the next one. A couple of pages in my copy did come out which is super unfortunate (thanks Amazon) but that’s an aesthetic issue, also there were some spelling and grammar errors, but I can overlook those for the rest of the story that had me laughing so many times.
The Library of the Dead by T.L. Huchu (3.5/5)
Spoilers, I expected more library less children being drained for their youth. I really did. Like spoilers, I expected something wholly different, more dark academic less horror. It was good, it took me a while to get into it and that is totally fine. I will still probably read the second one. I didn’t anticipate the villain, not at all actually and I was shocked when it was revealed. I wish there would have been more context on what happened in Edinburgh so it got that way. (I might have just missed that part and if I did, oops.) I loved the characters though and I cannot wait to see where they go from here.
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King (4/5)
I read the seventh and eighth or the eighth and ninth to be honest several years ago so I know some of the things that happen down the road, I think I need to read them again to really appreciate them. I loved this one, I love the character of Sherlock Holmes because he is so much and such a piece of literary canon that just transcends history. I am not thinking about the age gap in this series because, again, I know what happens. Unless I read the other books incorrectly. I wasn’t sure how I would like this one but I got sucked into it hardcore. It was fun and a lot, but everything with Sherlock Holmes is, honest and truly is.
Solsbury Hill by Susan M. Wyler (2.2/5)
And that score is generous. I should have known how the book was going to go when she caught her boyfriend cheating on her like 20 pages in. I literally finished it in an afternoon so I could be done with it. I have a lot of feelings and most of them are not positive. This one was not for me, I thought that Emily Bronte’s ghost was cool but some of the word choice and just the writing in general was not for me. I was spending the whole-time live texting my cousin because I needed someone else to experience this trainwreck with me. Her mom cheated on her dad so her dad isn’t her dad, there is a family curse because their Bronte’s, she forgives the guy who cheats on her. Like girl, run! Her career which sounded super interesting was just pushed to this back burner and it was weird. It was not great, I wanted to like it so much because the premise sounded cool, it was awful. It ended with her pregnant, so cliché, so boring. It was predictable and I was just waiting for it to get interesting and it never did, it was like throwing all of the romance clichés into one book and then saying “good”. Some of this book for sure gave me the ick, it just did and that is 100% my opinion, if you liked this book, cool, it just wasn’t for me. I couldn’t connect with the main character, I just couldn’t. I have read at least a half dozen books this year where so many of these same things happen.
The Devil’s Workshop (Murder Squad #3) by Alex Grecian (3.7/5)
The first two were better. Like the most interesting character in this one was Jack the Ripper. It felt messy, it really did. I loved the first two that focused on each of these characters and really built something with them. This one felt like a letdown. There are two more in the series which I will read, but at this moment, I don’t really have high hopes for them. I want to, I really do. I love Victorian era fiction, Jack the Ripper is fascinating, and I have read a lot of Victorian fiction with Jack the Ripper as a character in the last few years. I just couldn’t connect with this one. Walter felt very flat, the whole plot and premise felt rushed and then non-existent and I spent time confused.
Girl Online: Going Solo by Zoe Sugg (3.5/5)
I am no longer the target audience for this novel, if I would have read it when it came out in 2016, I would have been a lot closer than I am in 2022. I watched a lot of YouTube at the time and so of course I bought YouTuber books. I liked the first Girl Online when I read it in 2016. I really did at the time. My life has changed since then. It was a good story; it was a cute coming of age novel that was predictable and that’s totally okay. The twists and turns weren’t super twisty, but I am also not the target demographic for this anymore and I feel that bares repeating. I am glad that I did own the trilogy and have for years so I was able to finish it and then I can move on since I have been reading it on and off for the last 8 years.
A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos (4/5)
I normally don’t read YA, we all know this but this one was so hyped on TikTok and honestly, for good reason. It’s so much! There were so many moments where I was left questioning who to trust and what would happen next. I loved the world building and the characters. I will be reading the next one, I have seen stellar reviews on 2 and 3 but not the fourth one and that’s a little concerning. I kind of want her and Thorn together, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I like the trope of enemies to lovers. Like it’s an arranged marriage and you find out why. It took me a while to get into but then I did and I couldn’t put it down. The world that was spun in this book was amazing, it was deep and rich and I cannot wait to eventually get my hands on the next one. Soon even though I won’t read it for months.
Well, I read a dozen books in July. I was hoping to read a few more, but part of July was lost to me because I got sick, so I didn’t do as much as I was planning on. I am excited to finish off my TBR and I am really really hoping to get that done in August. I only have seven books left on my actual TBR pre-planned list from last year for this year so I am hoping to get that done by the end of the August so I can move on and mood read. I want to be able to mood read because I have bought a lot of books this year so far and I have so many more on the list.
If you want to check out all the books that I have read this year, you totally can, just click the month! January, February, March, April, May, and June! If you want to see what I have unhauled so far this year you can for sure do that too!
Let’s Keep Track Shall We?:
General Fiction: 9/10 (The Runaway Princess, Since You’ve Been Gone, Admission, Delicious, The Royal We, The Long Dark Tea Time of The Soul, One Evening in Paris, Solsbury Hill, Girl Online: Going Solo, )
Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 6/9 (because one has been DNFed) (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Hiddensee, The Crystal Cave, Sword of Destiny, The Map of Time, Dreams of Distant Shores, )
Historical: 9/10 (The Velvet Hours, In the Shadow of Paris, And Only to Deceive, Radio Girls, Black Rabbit Hall, A Study in Death, In Falling Snow, Sea of Lost Love, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, )
Thriller: 2/2 (The Alienist and Meddling Kids)
Free Choice: 12/14 (Love and Gravity, A Fate of Wrath and Flame, City of Lost Dreams, It Devours!, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Study in Ashes, A Clockwork Heart, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, The Beast’s Heart, A Court of Wings and Ruin, The last Days of Magic, The Devil’s Workshop, )
Memoirs/Autobiographies: 2/2 (Buffering and Always Look on The Bright Side of Life)
General Non-Fiction: 2/2 (The Happiness Advantage and Teacher Misery)
Book of The Month: 7/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, Dating Dr. Dil, Kaikeyi, Darling Girl, The Stardust Thief, The Bodyguard, )
Extras: 19/? (Midnight Spells Murder, Hot Vampire Next Door S1, Twisted Love, Malibu Rising, A Deal with the Elf King, Hot Vampire Next Door S2, The Fine Print, Well Met, Book Boyfriend, The Sound of Stars, Twisted Games, A Not So Meet Cute, Not the Witch You Wed, Hot Vampire Next Door S3, Hooked, The Flatshare, The Cartographers, Twisted Hate, The Library of the Dead, A Winter’s Promise, )