Hello, my loves! July was a super slow and super quick month for me. Like, I just think 2018 is going by way too fast in general, but July seemed to be the month that not a lot happened. I mean, it was my Grandfather and Brother’s birthdays, but I wasn’t back in Michigan to celebrate. And besides that? I just worked, read, participated in #Smutathon, and went to one concert! Seriously, I live such an exciting life! But with all the downtime I was able to read 18 books! And five of those were favorites of all-time! So, that’s exciting right? 💗
But on to what I read in June…
Like always, you can click the links in each of the titles if you would like to read a more in-depth review of each book and see the individual trigger and content warnings.
➽ The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang – ★★★★★
“But I want you to know I can handle the truth. If I’m not enough for you, that’s fair and I accept it. I’ll get over you eventually. I don’t want to be coddled or lied to because of what I am. I don’t need your pity friendship”
This is an ownvoices novel about a high-functioning autistic woman who has succeeded in every aspect of her life, except for love. Her mother is putting pressure on her to find someone and start thinking about family, now that she turned thirty. Plus, Stella is kind of lonely anyway, and as much as she loves throwing herself into her work, she wants to spend her life with someone who she can completely be herself with. The problem is, Stella thinks her autism makes her unable to successfully date, and maybe even unable to be good at/enjoy sex. So, she hires the dreamiest escort to help her! And I loved it!
“Serina and Nomi were like any other daughters in the cold, industrial town of Lanos. But Serina had her beauty. And Nomi had her secret.”
Grace and Fury is a story about two sisters who feel like they are on the path toward the only future they can somewhat control. Yet that path gets so twisted and manipulated, so very quickly, right before their very eyes. Overall, I really did enjoy this. The first half was easily five star worthy. I might not have loved one of the sister’s point of view for the other half, but I still think this was a wonderful twist on the “princess locked away in the castle” kind of trope. And I can’t wait to see where the author takes this beautiful, feminist, story next.
“I would have chosen you, if they had let me choose.”
I’m not sure another story will ever touch me like this duology has. My review doesn’t even do it justice, honestly. This is a once in a lifetime story that I will cherish for the rest of my life. This isn’t just a shining star in literature, but a glowing constellation over the world. If you haven’t picked up Strange the Dreamer, please do so, because I love this series with every bone in my body, with my heart, with my soul, with every fiber of my very being.
“Some nights, when even my child’s heart knew that what I had been asked to endure was too much, I would stand on the edge of the lake, lift my face to the stars, and scream. Nothing ever called back. Even among the creeping things of the lake’s night, I was alone. Until Victor.”
Kiersten White wrote this book to honor the fact that 2018 is the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley! It has been ten years since I picked up Frankenstein, and even though I didn’t completely love this with my whole heart, Emily May’s review not only made me want to pick it up again this fall, but it also made me realize that I probably missed a ton of beautiful homages within these pages!
“Foundryside. The closest thing Sancia had to a home.”
The concepts in this book are so unique and creative; I loved them so very much! But some of the banter and conversations felt so dry, boring, and sometimes even offensive. Like, two of the main characters have completely captured my whole heart! The others? Meh. I do think this is worth it though, especially if you have enjoyed Robert Jackson Bennett’s other works! I just expected more, especially after the 6/5 star beginning of this book!
“You know that cliché about the best bottoms being the best tops.”
This was nothing short of a treat to read. It had me smiling, it had me laughing, and it had me happy from first to last page. Plus, this book was so damn sexy! And it had so much good representation that I’ll talk about lower in my review! But if you’re looking for a steamy romance read, that’s different than so much out there, I completely recommend picking this one up!
“Once there was a woman, a beauty with fair skin and black hair, and a little boy who loved to wander.”
This is a middle grade novel that has such a perfect spooky atmosphere, and it’s set around scary places in Scotland. Like, sounds perfect, true? And, as always, Victoria’s writing is so very beautiful and lyrical. I think this will be such a fun fall read for so many readers. Yet, sadly, some elements just really didn’t work for me.
“The world seems full of men who are initially infatuated by our eccentricities, but who ultimately expect them to be temporary.”
I really did enjoy this sweet friends to lovers story. I think this is for sure a perfect summertime read. Yet, again, some things (basically everything in the last 10%) just really didn’t work for me. Korean love interest named Jimin though!
➽ Hideaway (Devil’s Night #2) by Penelope Douglas – DNF @ 58%
“Buried in the shadows of the city, there’s a hotel called The Pope. Ailing, empty, and dark—it sits abandoned and surrounded by a forgotten mystery.”
I’m just going to pretend that Corrupt is a standalone. You all, this is just awful. From the Japanese main character who constantly talks about dojos, to the constant grey area consent, to pedophilia and even incest. I can’t. I cannot do this. And I refuse to read a Damon redemption story for the next book. This is easily the worst thing I’ve read all year.
➽ The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory – ★★★★
“I know, but Drew, you’re a white guy. Life is different for you. You were born with a benefit of the doubt that black kids never get.”
I loved so much about The Wedding Date! Like, oh my word, what a damn treat! Seriously friends, I know this cover screams Valentine’s Day, but this is the perfect summer read! Jasmine Guillory’s beautiful debut novel stars two people who take an elevator ride that will change their lives. And so many important topics of what it is like to be in an interracial relationship are woven masterfully into this story!
“Family is duty. Magic is power. Honor is everything”
This was everything I wanted and more! I completely fell in love with Fonda Lee’s world, characters, and writing. And, like, give me all the Asian Mafia books, please. This was beyond words good, and I can’t wait for more!
➽ Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton – ★★★★★
“I fell in love with the forest. And the forest loved me back. And so we traded hearts. Mine is here, larger and stronger than it could have been in the small cavern of my body”
I’ve read over one-hundred books so far in 2018, and Strange Grace is easily my absolute favorite. And I anticipate that it will be my favorite book of 2018 come December 31st, too. What a masterpiece in every sense of the word. Literally perfection. A true gift to the literary world. Friends, if you’re looking for a spooky book, with a dark fairy-tale vibe, that heavily talks about society’s gender expectations, while being a love letter to gender fluidity, with the most heartwarming polyamorous relationship, look no further than this masterpiece.
“A pair of werewolves occupied another booth. They were eating raw shanks of lamb and arguing about who would win in a fight: Dumbledore from the Harry Potter books or Magnus Bane.”
I didn’t love this one, but I did have fun while reading this. I mostly liked every scene without Jace being problematic (and incestuous), and I read it in under twenty-four hours! Yet, I do like this world! And I think that the whole topic of “downworlders” and how people can believe that others have “not as pure blood” is something that I think is still damn important to be talking about in 2018.
“People aren’t born good or bad. Maybe they’re born with tendencies either way, but it’s the way you live your life that matters.”
Overall, I am happy I read this trilogy, instead of just skipping it. I’m not sure if it was completely needed, but I hope that it will feel worth it. I also think this series holds up better than a lot of others that were published during the same time, Naruto references and all. I’ll be honest, this really is more of 2.5 star read for me, and I should probably bump it down to two stars, but I just enjoyed it so much more than City of Ashes that I’m going to bump it up to three. Also, Izzy and Simon deserve that star on their own, let’s be real. Okay, friends, I can’t wait to finally dive into Clockwork Angel!
“I can’t think of a story where the billionaire and the murderer end up happily ever after.”
I am not the biggest superhero fan, but I will admit I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Batman. And you all? I honestly loved this. Also, I’ve never read anything by Marie Lu before (I know, I can’t believe it either, honestly) but now I plan on devouring everything, because I completely connected with this writing style and I never wanted to put this book down.
➽ The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker – ★★★★★
“ What hold does Alaska have on them? What makes this place worth giving everything else up?”
I feel like this book was very catered to my personal tastes, and I’ll go into that more in the review, but The Simple Wild is currently my favorite romance of 2018. The writing, the setting, the messages, the romance? It was all perfect in my eyes. This was also my first KA Tucker book, but I promise that it won’t be my last. This book felt very personal to me, but I recommend it to everyone with my entire soul. And, friends, don’t waste your life on wishes; if you want something – go for it, always. Life is short, but it’s never too late to go after your dreams and fight for something you love. Love can be so messy and so complicated, but it’s always worth it.
“We carry our home with us in our hearts, laden with hope. So much hope.”
Such an amazing book that had me crying all the happy tears, all the sad tears, and all the in-between tears. I feel like this ownvoices book, that Chanel Cleeton crafted, took a piece of my heart, and I’m fine living without it, because this book was such a work of art, inside and out. And this beautiful story is told in two different timelines from two different women.
➽ The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark – ★★★★★
“Because in New Orleans, you can’t survive on just dreams.”
This is an amazing novella that stars a young girl, Jacquelin AKA: Creeper, living in an alternative historical 1884 New Orleans. Oh, and Creeper also has an African orisha, Oya, living inside her and allowing her to tap into their powers. And even though Creeper is loved in New Orleans by so many people who loved her mother before she passed away, Creeper wants more than New Orleans is willing to give her.
A lot of my friends will do shout outs of posts that they enjoyed during the month! (And I’m always so damn honored and thankful when you pick mine!) So, I figured for the month of July I would touch on fifteen posts that I loved more than words and that I think you all should totally check out!
➽ Elise’s Newest Book News 💖
➽ Jamieson’s Diviners Series Review 💕
➽ Lilly’s Book Haul 💓
➽ Julianna’s How Being a Book Blogger Affects Their Reader Life 💘
➽ May’s Mid-Year Goal Check In 💝
➽ Jess & Silvia’s Meet the Blogger Post 💖
➽ Kaleena’s Free Reading Spreadsheet 💕
➽ Kelly’s talk about Influence of The Number of Books You Read 💓
➽ Taylor’s Best Reads of 2018, So Far 💘
➽ Dani’s Things She’s Learned Since Starting Blogging Post 💝
➽ Vera’s Circe Review 💖
➽ Sionna’s Amulet (The Stonekeeper) Review 💕
➽ Lily’s Discussion on Why We Need (More) Confident Female Characters 💓
➽ Justine’s Favorite Naked Hardcovers 💘
➽ LaRonda’s 500 Follower Giveaway (Until August 3rd!) 💝
Okay, friends! That’s my July! I hope you all had an amazing month that was filled with favorite books! I know I gave a lot of three star ratings, but I can’t believe I read FIVE favorite all-time books this month: Muse of Nightmares, Strange Grace, The Kiss Quotient, The Simple Wild, and The Jade City! Like, damn! What blessings! But I hope you all have an amazing August! And don’t forget, you’re invited to buddy read The Traitor Baru Cormorant with me! ❤️