Monthly Wrap-Up: July 2023

I feel like I’ve said this every single month so far this year, but July has felt very short and also very long. I finished 12 books in July, which has been my second best reading month of 2023 so far. It probably would have been my best if I didn’t attempt to read Girls of Paper and Fire (more on this in a future post). 

My Mechanical Romance by Alexene Farol Follmuth

Read: 3/07/23 – 4/07/23

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I was really looking forward to this because firstly, the cover is adorable and secondly, it was quite short. However, it wasn’t as good as I was expecting and I’m thinking now, after two books, Alexene’s (Olivie Blake’s) books aren’t for me. 

My Mechanical Romance was decent, but it was definitely missing something for me.

Book Review: My Mechanical Romance by Alexene Farol Follmuth

Synopsis: Bel would rather die than think about the future. College apps? You’re funny. Extracurriculars? Not a chance. But when she accidentally reveals a talent for engineering at school, she’s basically forced into joining the robotics club. Even worse? All the boys ignore Bel—and Neelam, the only other girl on the team, doesn’t seem to like her either. 

Enter Mateo Luna, captain of the club, who recognizes Bel as a potential asset—until they start butting heads. Bel doesn’t care about Nationals, while Teo cares too much. But as the nights of after-school work grow longer and longer, Bel and Teo realize they’ve made more than just a combat-ready robot for the championship: they’ve made each other and the team better. Because girls do belong in STEM.

Devil on Her Shoulder by Cédric Mayen & Sandra Cardona

Read: 4/07/23

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I love a good graphic novel and this one has such a gorgeous art style. The story is also very fun, but a little confusing, I would recommend it though. 

Graphic Novel ARC Review: Devil on Her Shoulder by Cédric Mayen & Sandra Cardona

Synopsis: Hell and damnation! The Bruja is missing! When the most powerful witch alive disappears without a trace, Norah, her 17-year-old niece, decides to investigate. But upon entering her aunt’s manor, she interrupts a summoning ritual and finds herself face to face with the devil… Or half of him, anyway, as he has been cut in two and is now stuck in a pentagram. Unable to return to Hell without Norah’s help, Lucifer agrees to assist her in finding the Bruja—a devilish task when you’re the most feared and hated being on the planet!

It’s Not Summer Without You (Summer #2) by Jenny Han

Read: 1/07/23 – 4/07/23

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was surprisingly depressing, but I loved it at the same time. Sorry I can’t think of anything else to say that I didn’t put in my full review. I really need to start writing this post throughout the month.

Audiobook Review: It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Synopsis: Last year, all of Belly’s dreams came true and the thought of missing a summer in Cousins Beach was inconceivable. But like the rise and fall of the ocean tide, things can change– just like that. Suddenly the time she’s always looked forward to most is something she dreads. And when Jeremiah calls to say Conrad has disappeared, Belly must decide how she will spend this summer: chasing after the boy she loves, or finally letting him go.

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

Read: 6/07/23 – 15/07/23

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I was promised good things for this book. It has so many stellar reviews, I don’t get it. I mean, it was fine, I didn’t hate it. But it was nowhere near as good as people were making out. The smut was actually cringeworthy to read, I did hate those bits. 

Book Review: It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

Synopsis: Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington.

Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.

Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart. 

Lore Olympus: Volume One by Rachel Smythe

Read: 19/07/23

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I adore the art style of this graphic novel, it’s so unique. I also really enjoyed the story and I can’t wait to get started with the next volume. 

Graphic Novel Review: Lore Olympus Volume One by Rachel Smythe

Synopsis: Scandalous gossip, wild parties, and forbidden love—witness what the gods do after dark in this stylish and contemporary reimagining of one of mythology’s most well-known stories from creator Rachel Smythe. Featuring a brand-new, exclusive short story, Smythe’s original Eisner-nominated web-comic Lore Olympus brings the Greek Pantheon into the modern age with this sharply perceptive and romantic graphic novel.

Starcrossed (Starcrossed #1) by Josephine Angelini

Read: 16/07/23 – 20/07/23

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I still really love this book and I’m itching to re-read the rest of the series. I’m going to do that yet as I want to continue some other re-read series first, but I’m glad I still like it. 

Re-Read Review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Synopsis: Destiny brought them together. The gods will keep them apart.

When shy, awkward Helen Hamilton meets Lucas Delos for the first time, she thinks two things: the first, that he is the most ridiculously beautiful boy she has seen in her life; the second, that she wants to kill him with her bare hands.

An ancient curse means Lucas and Helen are destined to loathe one another. But sometimes love is stronger than hate, and not even the gods themselves can prevent what will happen next…

Paging Prince Charming by Alyssa Wilkins

Read: 20/07/23 – 21/07/23

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Not to sound absolutely savage, but this was one of the worst books I’ve ever read. I’m assuming it was self-published because it had quite a few mistakes, so I don’t want to be too harsh, but it was genuinely bad.

Book Review: Paging Prince Charming by Alyssa Wilkins

Synopsis: Aurora’s named after a storybook princess, but her romantic life is anything but a fairytale. When her best friend hires a “fairy godmother” for her 22nd birthday party, Aurora wishes for her prince. She means Peter Prince, the hot guy from her office. Instead she gets Prince Percival, an actual prince who has time traveled to modern-day St. Louis.

Percy may be a prince, but he is definitely not charming. While it’s cute that he’s fascinated by the shower and episodes of The Bachelor, his attitude is as medieval as he is. And now Aurora’s stuck sharing her tiny apartment with the annoyingly hot royal. It’s a good thing the more time they spend together, the more their unwanted attraction grows…because their adventure is just beginning.

Love at First Psych by Cara Bastone

Read: 22/07/23 – 23/07/23

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I love a Cara Bastone audiobook, especially the fullcast ones. She really knows how to write characters with great chemistry and banter and honestly, I’m here for it. I’d really like another audiobook from her soon. 

Audiobook Review: Love at First Psych by Cara Bastone

Synopsis: This Psych 312 assignment just might send me off the deep end. Determining whether love at first sight really exists with Robbie Moravian as my project partner of all people?

He’s the sappiest man alive, so upbeat I could scream, and clearly rooting for happy endings at every turn. How does he not learn from experience considering our own meet-cute last semester almost got us expelled?

But we both need to pass this course to graduate. So we’re interviewing five random couples about their meet-cutes and relationships and spending all this time together. Which is certainly…educational.

Because it turns out Robbie isn’t just the charming golden boy I thought I knew. There’s some actual depth beneath all those lame dad jokes and the ‘70s-inspired thrift wardrobe (even if he does look ridiculously great in a flared collar). Next thing I know he’s walking me back to my office on the regular and finishing all my sentences and protecting me from freak storms, and…
Wait. Could Robbie be right? Can happy endings really come from unhappy beginnings? Is he about to change my entire world view?

The Dark Place by Britney S. Lewis

Read: 26/07/23 – 28/07/23

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I haven’t posted my review of this yet, but it’s coming tomorrow (hopefully). I haven’t actually written it yet, but I’m planning to do so once I’ve finished this wrap up.

Also, big love to Penguin and Disney Hyperion for sending me a copy of the book!

Synopsis: You can only hide from your nightmares for so long.

Seventeen-year-old Hylee Williams didn’t ask to disappear. But she did disappear, and not only that, but when she vanished from our world, she materialized in a dark, twisted version of the night that changed her life forever: the night her older brother went missing.

Just as Hylee realizes this moment could be the key to unraveling the truth about her brother, she’s yanked away from the dark place back to our world. Craving a sense of normalcy, she goes to a party with her best friend–where she meets Eilam Roads. Tall, handsome, and undeniably, inexplicably familiar, Hylee can’t help the pull she feels towards him. It’s a classic teen girl-meets-boy situation, until it happens again. She disappears, right in front of him.

Together, Hylee and Eilam investigate the truth about time, space, and reality, with Hylee increasingly convinced her time travel holds the key to saving her brother. But the more they learn, the more Hylee begins to see darkness lurking in her world–and in herself.

The Pumpkin Spice Café by Laurie Gilmore

Read: 27/07/23 – 31/07/23

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I’m not sure why I read this so far in advance because it isn’t out until the end of this month, but I’m on a bit of a roll with ARCs at the moment. Also, the weather has been pretty bad in the UK so I was craving a cosy read. This definitely had elements of that, but it wasn’t too great. I’ll explain it more in my review; coming at the end of this month!

Synopsis: Jeanie is more surprised than anyone when her aunt bequeaths her the quaint Pumpkin Spice Café. Especially since her aunt isn’t dead, she’s alive and well, and currently off working on her tan. Jeanie could have said no. And the old Jeanie would have. But now she’s determined to be the sunshiney owner of the town’s only coffee shop. Logan is not usually one to care about town gossip. In fact, he avoids it at all costs. All he wants is to drop off his produce to the local businesses and then return to the farm he runs with his grandparents. But there are strange things happening in the café, odd noises and misplaced items and lights on the fritz. And Jeanie needs Logan’s help. But Logan wants nothing to do with the pretty new girl who probably won’t stick around, it’s just a shame he can’t stop thinking about her…

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Like this post? Why not read this one too: What I Watched: July 2023

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