July 2023 reading wrap-up

July 2023 Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

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July was a good reading month for me. Even though I did not finish 3 books, I still rated all the books I finished 4 stars or more. Continue reading for my full July reading wrap-up.

 

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July Reading Stats

Books read: 14

Pages read: 6,790

Average rating: 4.71 stars

DNF: 3

Formats: 3 physical books, 6 eBooks, & 5 audiobooks

 

Books Read

These are all of the books that I finished in the month of July. I will mention other books that I read some of but didn’t finish later in this post.

 

1. Covet by Tracy Wolff

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating & Spice Level: 5/5 stars & 1/5 hearts

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

Also available on: Scribd | Kindle Unlimited

Book 3 in the Crave series.

A Few Thoughts:

I loved my re-read of this book. It was heartbreaking, funny, and full of adventure and romance.

 

2. Upping the Ante by Emma St. Clair

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Rating & Spice Level: 5/5 stars & no spice

This is an email newsletter bonus novella from Emma St. Clair (you can read it here)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

He’s been the grumpiest boss a woman could ask for–or he WAS until I quit.

But former football star Deacon Clark doesn’t seem to be getting the memo. Instead, he tags along with me to Sheet Cake, Texas, where I’m hoping to start a new business.

Deacon’s only hope is to hire me back as his assistant.

At least, that’s what I thought.

Until … the very clear lines we’ve always kept start to blur.

I guess that’s what happens when you have to share a loft with only one bed…

Upping the Ante is a closed door romcom in the Love Stories from Sheet Cake series. It takes place between The Pocket Pair and The Wild Cart, though it can be read as a standalone.

 

A Few Thoughts:

I loved this cute novella. It was sweet, funny, and swoony.

 

3. Kit McBride Gets a Wife by Amy Barry

Genre: Adult Historical Romance

Rating & Spice Level: 4.5/5 stars & 0.5/5 hearts

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The four McBride brothers have their worlds turned upside down when their precocious younger sister secretly places an advertisement for a mail-order bride.

Kit McBride knows that Buck’s Creek, Montana, is no place to find a wife. Between him and his three brothers—plus little Junebug—they manage all right on their own, thank you very much. But unbeknownst to Kit, his sister is sick to death of cleaning, cooking, and mending for her big brothers, so she places an ad in The Matrimonial News to get them hitched.

After Maddy Mooney emigrated from Ireland, she found employment with an eccentric but poor widow. When her mistress decides to answer an ad for a mail-order bride, Madd​y is dragged along for the ride to Montana. But en route to the West, Maddy is suddenly abandoned and left to assume the widow’s name, position, and matrimonial prospects….

With no other recourse in the wilderness, Maddy must convince Kit she’s the wife he never knew he needed.

 

A Few Thoughts:

This was such a funny story with great characters and a sweet romance. I loved the whole McBride family, and Maddy was a great protagonist.

 

4. Court by Tracy Wolff

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating & Spice Level: 5/5 stars & 2/5 hearts

Purchase here: Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

Also available on: Scribd | Kindle Unlimited

Book 4 in the Crave series.

 

A Few Thoughts:

I loved this book so much! There was so much action and a lot of sweet moments with the romance. There were heartbreaking moments and things that made me laugh. I definitely recommend it!

 

5. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating & Spice Level: 5/5 stars & 1/5 hearts

Purchase here: Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

Also available on: Scribd 

Book 3 in The Infernal Devices series.

 

A Few Thoughts:

This book completely wrecked me! I can count on one hand the number of times a book has made me cry, and this is one of them.

 

6. Desire of Defense by Leah Brunner

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Rating & Spice Level: 4.5/5 stars & 0.5/5 hearts

Purchase here: Amazon | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

Also available on: Kindle Unlimited

 

Synopsis:

I’m not the hero in this story.

I’m the villain…

The notoriously angry, grouchy, D.C. Eagles defenseman that just can’t keep his temper in check. The temper that leads to a fifteen game suspension from the NHL.

As if that’s not bad enough, I’m forced into a short term youth-hockey coaching gig. Which my manager swears will “rebuild my image.”

But what I didn’t expect was for a gorgeous, spunky blonde to stomp onto the ice on day one and lecture me about being rude to her little brother.

Something about this spitfire of a woman, and the boy she’s so protective of, has my defenses melting.

And if I’m not careful, I’ll burst into flames, forever melting the ice I’ve carefully kept around my heart.

 

A Few Thoughts:

This book was so fun! I loved the chemistry between the characters and am excited to read the sequel.

 

7. Charm by Tracy Wolff

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating & Spice Level: 5/5 stars & 2/5 hearts

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

Also available on: Scribd | Kindle Unlimited

Book 5 of the Crave series.

 

A Few Thoughts:

I loved this book! It was so sweet with a few heartbreaking moments as well. It was such a great addition to the series.

 

8. Come Back for Me by Corinne Michaels

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Rating & Spice Level: 5/5 stars & 3/5 hearts

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks 

Also available on: Kindle Unlimited

Book 1 of the Arrowood Brothers series.

 

Synopsis:

One night, eight years ago, she gave me peace.
No names.
No promises.
Just two broken people, desperate to quiet their pain and grief.
In the morning, she was gone and had taken my solace with her. I left for the military that day, vowing never to return to this small town in Pennsylvania.
When my father dies, I’m forced to go home to bury him. At least I’ll finally be rid of his farm, which is grown over and tangled with memories I’ve fought to forget.
And that’s when I find her. She’s even more beautiful than I remember and has the most adorable kid I’ve ever seen.
Years have passed, but my feelings are the same, and this time I refuse to let her go. They say you can’t bury the past, and they’re right. Because when long-ago secrets are exposed, rocking us both to the core, I have no choice but to watch her walk away again . .

 

A Few Thoughts:

Even though this book contains a lot of heavy topics, it also contained such a beautiful display of love and protection. I loved it!

 

9. Cherish by Tracy Wolff

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating & Spice Level: 5/5 stars & 2/5 hearts

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

Also available on: Scribd 

Book 6 of the Crave series.

 

A Few Thoughts:

I loved this conclusion to the Crave series. It was so good. I am going to miss these characters.

 

10. Voice of the Ancient by Connilyn Cossette

Genre: Adult Historical Fiction

Rating & Spice Level: 4.5/5 stars & no spice

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

Read my full review here

 

 

Synopsis:

As the eldest son of a Levite and a Philistine, Avidan is torn between his duty to his family legacy and the desire for something more. After an enemy attack strikes close to home, he takes the opportunity to fight with his cousins for the newly crowned King Saul. But when one of the cousins goes missing during the battle, Avidan refuses to leave him behind.

Keziah is the daughter of one of the most powerful clan chiefs in the territory of Manasseh. On the brink of a forced marriage to a loathsome man decades older than her, she has no choice but to run, hoping to find sanctuary with her mother’s family.

United during their journeys and battling to survive the dangers that surround them, Avidan and Keziah make a pact to travel together. As challenges pile up, they must not only rely on each other to stay alive but also learn to trust the true and eternal King of Israel to guide their every step.

 

A Few Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book and am excited for the next book in the series. It was sweet and full of adventure.

 

11. Fight for Me by Corinne Michaels

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Rating & Spice Level: 4.5/5 stars & 3/5 hearts

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks 

Also available on: Kindle Unlimited

Book 2 in the Arrowood Brothers series. This book can be read as a standalone.

 

Synopsis:

I fell in love with Sydney Hastings when I was ten years old. At sixteen, we whispered promises of forever. When I was twenty-two I broke them all. I left her and promised never to return. After my father’s death, I’m forced to go home to Sugarloaf for six months. She’ll be everywhere, no longer just in my memories and regrets. When we’re together, it’s as though time never stopped. She’s still the one I want, but I don’t deserve her. Instead of apologizing, I take that beautiful, broken woman in my arms. But after that, it’s her turn to leave me. Now I have to fight. For her. For us. For the life we both want …

 

A Few Thoughts:

I loved reading this second book in the Arrowood Brothers series. It discusses a lot of heavy topics, but the story was so good.

 

12. The One for Me by Corinne Michaels

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Rating & Spice Level: 4.5/5 stars & 3.5/5 hearts

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks 

Also available on: Kindle Unlimited

Book 3 in the Arrowood Brothers series. This book can be read as a standalone.

 

Synopsis:

Devney Maxwell has been my best friend since we were six years old, but she has no idea I’m in love with her.

Even when I’m on the road playing professional baseball, she’s my home—the only one I’ve ever known. But when I return to Sugarloaf to care for the family farm, I discover she’s trying to talk herself into a life with the wrong man … and I become desperate.

It only takes a single, perfect kiss to change everything.

I have six months to get it right with Devney—to convince her to leave this town and turn that kiss into forever.

I aim to do just that as I spend my days coaching her nephew’s baseball team, fixing up the farm, and loving her with all I have. Finally, it seems like our relationship is secure and we’ll find a way to make it work.

Then tragedy strikes … changing her life forever. She’s needed here more than ever, but as for me—there’s no way I can stay.

I know she’s the one for me, but I might have to let her go …

 

A Few Thoughts:

Ahhh, friends to lovers, one of my favorite tropes. This book was so good! The friendship and the chemistry was amazing. I love how this book didn’t follow the typical friends to lovers formula in romance books.

 

13. A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross

Genre: Adult Fantasy

Rating & Spice Level: 4/5 stars & 1/5 hearts

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

Also available on: Scribd | Book of the Month 

 

Synopsis:

Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.

As Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together, they find they make better allies than rivals as their partnership turns into something more. But with each passing song, it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than they first expected, and an older, darker secret about Cadence lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.

 

A Few Thoughts:

This book was good, but I probably should’ve read a physical copy instead of listening to the audiobook. The point of view constantly changes throughout the story, and this aspect was hard to keep track of by listening. I did like the setting and characters though.

 

14. Stay for Me by Corinne Michaels

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance 

Rating & Spice Level: 4.5/5 stars & 3.5/5 hearts

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks 

Also available on: Kindle Unlimited

Book 4 of the Arrowood Brothers series. This book can be read as a standalone.

 

Synopsis:

Hollywood taught me everything I know about relationships—except how to be in one. As an actor, I became an expert at faking it. Faking that I wasn’t affected by my childhood. Faking that I was okay. Faking that I knew how to save the day, the girl, the whole damn world.

But I’ve always known the truth—I’m no one’s hero.

Until I’m forced to move back to Sugarloaf for six months, and Brenna Allen offers me a chance to prove otherwise. She’s everything I never knew I wanted, but can’t have. Her broken heart, perfect face, and adorable children turn my world upside down. Instead of preparing for my next leading role, I’m directing a middle school play.

All to make her smile.

The more time I spend here, the more I want to stay. Build a life in this town that I swore I’d leave—for her.

But when the world comes crashing down around us, I’m forced to decide if staying for her is the right choice or if leaving is better for the woman I love.

 

A Few Thoughts:

A great conclusion to an amazing series! I loved this book, but it was heartbreaking like the rest of the series.

 

Books That I DNF (Did Not Finish)

These are books that I chose not to finish for a variety of reasons.

 

1. Ana María and The Fox by Liana De la Rosa

Genre: Adult Historical Romance

DNF @ 58%

Reason for DNF: I feel like this book wasn’t marketed very well. One reason I was excited for it was because it said it had a marriage of convenience in it. After reading 58% of the book with no marriage of convenience yet, I was pretty disappointed. I also just didn’t really care about the characters, and it felt very insta-lust to me. 

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

Also available on: Book of the Month 

Thank you to Penguin Random House Audio for the complimentary copy.

 

Synopsis:

Ana María Luna Valdés has strived to be the perfect daughter, the perfect niece, and the perfect representative of the powerful Luna family. So when Ana María is secretly sent to London with her sisters to seek refuge from the French occupation of Mexico, she experiences her first taste of freedom far from the judgmental eyes of her domineering father. If only she could ignore the piercing looks she receives across ballroom floors from the austere Mr. Fox.

Gideon Fox elevated himself from the London gutters by chasing his burning desire for more: more opportunities, more choices. For everyone. Now, as a member of Parliament, Gideon is on the cusp of securing the votes he needs to put forth a measure to abolish the Atlantic slave trade once and for all—a cause that is close to his heart as the grandson of a formerly enslaved woman. The charmingly vexing Ana María is a distraction he must ignore.

But when Ana María finds herself in the crosshairs of a nefarious nobleman with his own political agenda, Gideon knows he must offer his hand as protection . . . but will this Mexican heiress win his heart as well?

 

2. Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

Genre: Adult Fantasy

DNF @ 75%

Reason for DNF: This book wasn’t bad, but I was just bored and didn’t feel a connection to the characters. 

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

Thank you to Penguin Random House Audio for the complimentary copy.

Synopsis:

Cambridge professor Emily Wilde is good at many things: She is the foremost expert on the study of faeries. She is a genius scholar and a meticulous researcher who is writing the world’s first encyclopaedia of faerie lore. But Emily Wilde is not good at people. She could never make small talk at a party—or even get invited to one. And she prefers the company of her books, her dog, Shadow, and the Fair Folk to other people.

So when she arrives in the hardscrabble village of Hrafnsvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk. Nor does she care to spend time with another new arrival: her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby, who manages to charm the townsfolk, muddle Emily’s research, and utterly confound and frustrate her.

But as Emily gets closer and closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones—the most elusive of all faeries—lurking in the shadowy forest outside the town, she also finds herself on the trail of another mystery: Who is Wendell Bambleby, and what does he really want? To find the answer, she’ll have to unlock the greatest mystery of all—her own heart.

 

3. With Love, from Cold World by Alicia Thompson

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

DNf @ 13%

Reason for DNF: I did not vibe with this book. It just wasn’t what I expected. 

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

Thank you to Penguin Random House Audio for the complimentary copy.

 

Synopsis:

Lauren Fox is the bookkeeper for Cold World, a tourist destination that’s always a winter wonderland despite being located in humid Orlando, Florida. Sure, it’s ranked way below any of the trademarked amusement parks and maybe foot traffic could be better. But it’s a fun place to work, even if “fun” isn’t exactly Lauren’s middle name.

Her coworker Asa Williamson, on the other hand, is all about finding ways to enliven his days at Cold World—whether that means organizing the Secret Santa or teasing Lauren. When the owner asks Lauren and Asa to propose something (anything, really) to raise more revenue, their rivalry heats up as they compete to come up with the best idea. But the situation is more dire than they thought, and it might take these polar opposites working together to save the day. If Asa thought Lauren didn’t know how to enjoy herself, he’s surprised by how much he enjoys spending time together. And if Lauren thought Asa wasn’t serious about anything, she’s surprised by how seriously he seems to take her.

As Lauren and Asa work to save their beloved wintery spot, they realize the real attraction might be the heat generating between them.

 

To Be Continued…

These are books that I started in the month of July but haven’t finished reading yet.

 

1. Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks 

Book 1 of the Skyward series.

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Spensa’s world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what’s left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa’s dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father’s–a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa’s chances of attending flight school at slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.

 

Thoughts so far:

I’m really enjoying this book, but it is a bit long.

 

2. A Cowboy for Keeps by Jody Hedlund

Genre: Adult Historical Romance

Purchase here: Bookshop.org | Amazon | BAM | AbeBooks | Libro.fm (get a free audiobook when you start a membership)

Also available on: Scribd 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Greta Nilsson’s trip west to save her ailing little sister, Astrid, could not have gone more wrong. First, bandits hold up her stagecoach, stealing all her money. Then, upon arriving in Fairplay, Colorado, she learns the man she was betrothed to as a mail-order bride has died. Homeless, penniless, and jobless, Greta and her sister are worse off than when they started.

Wyatt McQuaid is struggling to get his new ranch up and running and is in town to purchase cattle when the mayor proposes the most unlikely of bargains. He’ll invest in a herd of cattle for Wyatt’s ranch if Wyatt agrees to help the town become more respectable by marrying and starting a family. And the mayor, who has promised to try to help Greta, has just the candidate in mind for Wyatt to marry.

 

Thoughts so far:

I’m loving this book and am excited to continue reading.

 

Have you read any of these books?

Comment down below if you’ve read or want to read any of these books!

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