July 2017 Wrap Up, pt. 1

Hi, y’all! I was starting to think about my post recapping what all I’ve read this month and then I realized that I’ve read too many books already (15) and that there was no way anyone would make it through a post with twenty books. So, here are the first ten books I’ve read in July, 2017!

Let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of these and what you thought! Or tell me about your favorite read of July.

1. Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

The first book I read this month was Once and for All by Sarah Dessen, who is one of my absolute favorite authors. Sarah Dessen has been referred to as the Queen of YA and I adore her because she’s so open on Twitter when she’s struggling and she’s given me books that have made me feel a whole spectrum of emotions.

Once and For All is about a recent high school graduate named Louna and her last summer before college working with her mom and her mom’s best friend and business partner as wedding planners. I enjoyed this book, but did not love this book. Sarah Dessen is such a talented author, but I just felt like I wasn’t as invested as I should have been in Louna and her best friend or Louna and the guy I was supposed to be cheering her toward. Like… At this point, I’m not sure I can even tell you his name. He felt like a less great Dex from This Lullaby, which made me sad. If you read this, definitely let me know what you think! I’m very curious to see what other people thought.

2. Once More My Darling Rogue by Lorainne Heath

This is a part of Lorainne Heath’s Scandalous Gentlemen of St.

James series, but can be read as a stand alone. This book features Drake Darling, the adopted son of nobility who has not forgotten his rather tragic past. He and Ophelia, his adopted sister’s best friend, have an extremely antagonistic relationship, but when he saves her life, she has amnesia and doesn’t remember anything about her prior life, including him. Shenanigans ensue.

I gave this book a 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads because I felt like the betrayal of Ophelia was so profoundly unforgivable that I just couldn’t really get past it. It was one of those books that if I could suspend reality and my sense of right and wrong, the book itself was enjoyable and well written, but I tend to only be able to manage one or the other. I do not recommend this book.

3. The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn

I had such high hopes of this book because of my complete adoration of Becoming Miss Bridgerton, the first in the series, but I must admit to being disappointed. This was another book where I felt like the unnecessary complication of lying to someone whose memory has been lost was just cruel and unforgivable. However, I felt that considerably less in this book because of the intent. In Once More My Darling Rogue, Darling lies because he wants revenge of sorts, whereas here, Cecelia really just needs information and she needs to take care of Edward. However, she lets the charade extend unnecessarily long, in my opinion, which creates unnecessary conflict that drove me a little crazy. I did, however, mostly enjoy this book, so I wouldn’t not recommend it. I love Julia Quinn and she really does write enjoyable books.

4. Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

And then we get to this book, which should definitely raise your hackles and yet… I loved it. Lisa Kleypas writes alpha male heroes so well. This book is a companion novel to Then Came You and features Derek Craven and Sara Fielding.

Derek Craven is a rather tortured hero. He is a self-made man and owns a gambling club, Cravens, and has some enemies, including his now ex-lover. Sara Fielding is an author who gained quite a bit of critical acclaim after her novel about a prostitute became incredibly popular. She’s in London researching for her latest novel and winds up at Cravens.

This book is angsty and incredible. It’s one that I think you may need to be in a particular mood for, but I personally, really enjoyed it.

5. A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole

This was the first book in this series, but now there’s a new one that I’m SO excited to get my hands on. Lachlain MacRieve, leader of the Lykae Clan, breaks out of captivity because he senses his mate. He had been in captivity for over a century so he’s extremely shocked by his surroundings when he escapes into modern day Paris. His mate is Emma, half-vampire, half-Valkyrie, but at first he only registers the vampire part. He basically kidnaps Emma, which turns out to be a good thing because the vampires are looking for her, which is NOT a good thing.

I had some issues with consent toward the beginning, but paranormal romance is probably the one genre where I can suspend my outrage to accept biological blah blah blah and respect the self-control and restraint that Lachlain exhibits. Also, Emma’s character development anyone? She’s amazing! I was so proud of her by the end.

6. The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean*

If you haven’t read my review, it’s posted, but the short and sweet of it is that I loved it. Sera is the Duchess of my Heart and I don’t care that she’s not real. Also, Haven is an idiot, but he’s Sera’s idiot so I forgive him. For significantly more detail, check out my review!

7. Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

If you’ve read The Bridgerton series (which I hope you have), you

may remember the Smythe-Smith musicale… If you haven’t, the Smythe-Smith musicale is an annual event which causes Mozart to roll over in his grave because the performers are awful. It is a family tradition though and Honoria Smythe-Smith is invested in her family.

Honoria’s older brother, Daniel, was in a duel with Hugh Prentice and then made to leave the country because Hugh’s dad is… Awful. Anyway, Daniel asked his best friend, Marcus, to look out for Honoria and Marcus has taken his duty pretty seriously. So, of course, he’s pretty surprised when he finds himself looking at Honoria as more than just his best friend’s little sister.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s easily one of my favorite Julia Quinn books because it was just so happy. It isn’t nearly as angsty as many romance novels, which I really appreciated. So if you want an angsty read, don’t pick this one. If you want something that’s going to make you smile and make your heart happy, pick this one up! Also, isn’t this cover gorgeous?

8. The Viscount Who Loves Me by Julia Quinn

This is Anthony’s book from The Bridgerton Series and you can definitely check out where this fits on my list of Bridgerton favorites in my first ever blog post from earlier this month.

Anthony has decided to get married because he recognizes that he needs an heir. Anthony is also convinced that he’s going to die at a young age, like his father did. So he needs to find a wife, right now, and that wife needs to be someone he’s not going to fall in love with, but finds attractive. So he chooses Edwina. The problem is, Kate is extremely protective of her younger sister and Anthony soon finds himself thinking about Kate… A lot. More than he should.

This book also features a game of Pall Mall, Colin, and one of my favorite scenes in any romance novel ever, so to say I loved this book is probably a massive understatement. I highly recommend this book and this series.

9. A Night Like This by Julia Quinn

The second book in the Smythe-Smith Quartet, which wildly enough, I’m reading in order! When Sarah fakes an illness to get out of the annual musicale, Anne Wynter (the governess) has to step in. This book picks up about two chapters before the end of Just Like Heaven, so you really do need to read these in order. Anne meets Daniel, newly returned from Italy, and the two of them begin a forbidden romance of sorts.

I really didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first or third books in the series, but I’m not entirely sure why. I think that sometimes I tend to not like the servant/nobility trope a bit, especially when it arises because of a pretty tragic past history like in Anne’s case. It’s a reminder of how precarious women’s positions and lives were in this time period, which sends me into a bit of a rage. If this trope is one that you like, I assume you would love this book. In my case, this one is likely to be my least favorite, though I haven’t yet read the final book in the Quartet.

10. The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn

I was so excited to get to this book because I was beyond excited for Hugh Prentice’s book and I kind of love Sarah. The Sum of All Kisses is the third book in the Quartet, which I reiterate, need to be read in order. This book opens with everyone gathered for Honoria and Marcus’s wedding and establishes that the house party will move to Daniel’s house for Daniel and Anne’s wedding once the first is over. Honoria requests that Hugh sit at the wedding party table and he is forced to oblige and then Honoria requests that Sarah keep Hugh company and she too is forced to oblige. The problem? Sarah really doesn’t like Hugh. And Hugh is not overly fond of Sarah. So, of course, they fall in love.

This is one of my favorite tropes, so it’s not surprising that I adored this book. Sarah is a fairly unlikeable heroine, if we’re being honest. She’s prone to melodrama and she hates Hugh for a pretty irrational reason. She also reminds me so much of myself that I loved her instantly. I also really like Hugh. I love how much he cares for his friendship with Daniel and how mature he is about the events that led up to their duel. I just really enjoyed this book so much. Let me know what you think if you’ve read it!

My favorite books from the first half of this month were undoubtedly The Day of the Duchess and Just Like Heaven. My least favorite book this month was Once More My Darling Rogue. I look forward to sharing with you the rest of the books I’ve read in July next Monday!

What about you all? What have you read in July so far? Have you read any of these books?


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