July 2018 Wrap Up

JulyWrapUpHello, 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!

Grace and Fury (Untitled #1) by Tracy Banghart – ★★★

“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.

Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor – ★★★★★

“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.

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White – ★★★

“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 (Founders #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett – ★★★

“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!

The King of Bourbon Street (NOLA Nights #1) by Thea de Salle – ★★★★

“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!

City of Ghosts (Cassidy Blake #1) by Victoria Schwab – ★★★

“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.

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren – ★★★

“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!

Jade City (The Green Bone Saga #1) by Fonda Lee – ★★★★★

“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.

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare – ★★

“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.

City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3) by Cassandra Clare – ★★★

“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!

Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons #2) by Marie Lu – ★★★★

“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.

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton – ★★★★

“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! ❤️

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71 thoughts on “July 2018 Wrap Up

    1. Awh, thank you beautiful! And Strange Grace just… it blew me away! But I hope you have an amazing August, babe! And remember – you deserve the entire universe! 💖xx


    1. Awh, thank you so much, Dani! I only drank… a lot! Hahahahahaha! But at least you appreciated the Fremont picture! Hahahaha! I love you more than words, and I hope you have such a happy August, babe! 💖xx


  1. SMUTATHON was so much fun even though we’re still carrying on with it most likely throughout the rest of the year cause why not? haha! you read so many great books with the exception of Hideaway which saddens me cause I had every intention of reading it but it sounds HORRID smh. Thank you for the appreciation shout-out my friend! you are probably under some palm tree soaking in the sun and reading for our buddy reads lol. I defo have some voice notes I’ll be sending your way later tonight. Happy reading in August! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was SO much fun! So damn thankful for you and all the good books we read! I can’t wait to carry it on forever! Hahaha! And I already miss you and our voice notes after this long weekend! I’M WEAK, LIL! Happy reading, beautiful! 💖xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LMAOOO! You’re gonna need a vacay from your mini vacay! I’ve missed you too Mellie Mel! Girl I’m gonna be in the same boat you’re in come in last week of August but I’ll VN you in a few since I have the place to myself with zero interruptions LOL! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe! I love you MORE and please don’t feel any pressure about IWBFT! You just let me know anytime you’re free after the 7th, and I’m here, beautiful! And thank you for blessing my life every day. Seriously, your friendship is one of the greatest gifts the book community has ever given me! Forever so thankful! (Also – I bought Girl Made of Stars yesterday because of you!) 💖xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m really looking forward to reading Next Year in Havana- I’ve heard a lot of great things about that book! I also really loved the Mortal Instruments, so there are definitely more books in that series to check out if you haven’t already! I think there were 7 total, however if you didn’t love the first three you might not love the rest! Can’t wait to see what you move on to next!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awh, thank you for these kind words! I am totally going to push through and read all of Cassie’s work! I am… super excited, honestly. I really think I’ll enjoy the rest more! *fingers crossed* I hope you love Next Year in Havana, love! And I hope you’re currently having the happiest of reading! 💖xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. wow 18 books thats an accomplishment in itself! Jade City looks really good I haven’t heard of it until just now so of course I added it to my TBR. Also really intrigued by Strange Grace and since it was one of your all time favs I know I have to read it before this year is over! Great wrap up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awh, thank you so much for all these kind words, love! Jade City was just… it was everything! Perfect! And Strange Grace took me by completely surprise! I can’t believe how perfect that book was for me and my tastes! But I hope you are having the happiest of reading, love! 💖xx


  4. Haha your life is way more exciting than mine! I’m going to have to check out that Christina Lauren book–I was surprised by how much I enjoyed “Roomies.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was so surprised how much I looked Roomies, too! And…. I bet your life is way more exciting, love! I hope August treats you kindly, because you deserve the entire universe, beautiful! 💖xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, so not true, Mel! Your life is WAY more exciting and I hope you have an awesome rest of the summer too 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Awh, Rebecca! You just made my day, love! Thank you! And like… you should request from your library or preorder The Simple Wild by KA Tucker… That book literately took me and everything I know by surprise! It’s my favorite romance of 2018 so far! 💖xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So sorry Mel, I won’t be able to buddy read this month because like I said I will be travelling. And don’t you worry, I am reading TTBC this month for your birthday ❤ and will try to buddy read with you next month. Love ya ❤

        Liked by 2 people

  5. So many good reads! ❤️ I am still yet to read something from Victoria Schwab – her writing is getting so much praise and I really need to read something she wrote ASAP! 🙂

    And thanks for the shout out lovely, I’m so happy you enjoyed my review of Circe. ❤️ I loved your review of it as well btw, especially how you shared you own personal story behind it. ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel like I’m the only person in the world that doesn’t five star everything by VE Schwab, so for sure don’t listen to my reviews! Haha!

      And you are so welcome, my love! You are so dang kind, and I’m so lucky to call you my friend! Thank YOU for these kind words! And happy reading, beautiful! 💖xx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. *Realizes she’s half of the reason you found your “worst book of the year” and “hidesaway” in shame!* But for real that book…smdh…beyond that fantastic reading month love and thank you so so much for including a post from my page! Heart you! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LMAOOO! You are not the reason, Taylor love! I promise! Okay, so each year I made a “12 books I must read in that year” list, and Hideaway was on it! So, if anything… you’re the ONLY good thing to come from it, and you made it 102 times better! And like… we had to set the bar low for our NEXT buddy read! Hahahahaha! I love you, never feel bad, beautiful! 💖xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. <3<3 Thanks, Mel! <3<3 And seriously there were so many trigger warnings/ridiculously dojo stereotypical dojo references dojo 😉 throughout the novel our bar is like ground floor for the next time around! =D Love ya! Happy reading!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. You had such a wonderful reading month!! I’ve been hearing wonderful things about The Kiss Quotient, and I’m eagerly anticipating the day I get to read it. 🙂 I also read Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating in July, and I actually loved it! I will admit though, the last 10 percent of the book did take some turns I was not expecting and that teetered on too cheesy for my tastes. Nevertheless, it was an adorable book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awh, thank you, Genni! Yeah, I buddy read Josn and Hazel’s with a couple of friends, and they both five starred it, so… I’m probably just being extra! Hahaha! And you are going to really enjoy The Kiss Quotient, I bet! Happy reading, love! 💖xx


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