July Wrap Up, Pt. 2

Despite struggling through the Bar Exam (fingers still crossed because I definitely don’t feel great about it), I was able to get through another ten books! Because I’m obsessed with BooksandLala on YouTube, I’m going to give you all a lot of statistics that you probably don’t care about.

In total, I read nineteen books, which equalled 6,667 pages. Twelve of the books I read were actual paper copies, seven and a half (more on that later) were ebooks, and half of one was an audiobook. I’ve also kept my streak of reading a 500+ page book a month alive! So I’m very excited about that. Finally, five of the books I read this month were 2017 releases: Once and For All, The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband, and The Day of the Duchess can all be found in July Wrap Up, Pt. 1. Additionally, Hot Cop and I Believe in a Thing Called Love are 2017 releases featured in this post. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which is also featured in this post, was Becky Albertalli’s truly excellent debut novel from 2016.

This post is about the books though, so let’s get to it:

1. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I feel like I should have a lot more opinions about this novel, but, if we’re being honest, I really don’t have many opinions. I obviously agree with everything Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says in this because we should all be feminists, but I also feel like, having heard her Ted Talk, I really would have preferred just watching her Ted Talk again to reading the book in this format. However, she narrates the audiobook so I think I should have listened to this rather than read it. I plan to read Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions via audiobook rather than an ebook or hard copy because she also narrates that and I think I would prefer that format.

2. Hot Cop by Laurelin Paige and Sierra Simone

In complete contrast to We Should All Be Feminists, Hot Cop is a contemporary romance by one of my absolute favorite authors (Sierra Simone) about a librarian who falls in love with a cop. I appreciated so many things about this book, but one of those things is that Chase’s sister is married to a black man and they have two kids, which has led Chase to think a lot about the way black men especially are treated by cops. Chase is a huge advocate for body cameras on police officers because of this and this line of thinking made him a much more appealing hero to me than he would have been otherwise.

I also really liked Livia who I found remarkably relatable despite the fact that she’s convinced she’s about to die because she’s 30. Livia, like me, really wants to have a child, but (also like me) is really wary of men. So when Chase persists in asking her out, she agrees to a date, and then asks him to help her have a child that he’ll agree to have nothing to do with. Of course, this doesn’t exactly go as planned, but I really loved the push-pull nature of Livia and Chase’s relationship. This book was a fun read and a well-written one. I would recommend it for anyone looking for a sexy contemporary romance novel.

3. The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne

The cover of this book is delightful eye candy, but it does anything to convey the mood or plot of the novel. This book is about Annique Villiers, a French spy, who was unfortunately captured by another French operative who is, well, not great. She rescues the two British gentlemen trapped with her, only to discover that they’re members of the Fox Club, aka British spies who are world renowned. Grey, while appreciative of Annique’s help and assistance, betrays her trust and kidnaps her because he believes (rightly) that Annique has information vital to the fight against Napoleon.

In the early part of the book, Grey behaves in some rather awful ways and I can understand why some people couldn’t get past that. On the other hand, I felt like Grey’s behavior and Annique’s responses were realistic for the situation. A sort of Crown first mentality and all. I also greatly appreciated how Annique’s manner of speaking felt genuinely French, without being a weird mangling of an accent on a page. Rather, it was the syntax of her words, the cadence, that really gave you a glimpse into Annique’s world through her words. Ultimately, I felt that Annique was an impressive heroine and I found myself adoring the side characters. I’m so excited to continue in this series.

4. Out of Bounds by Lauren Blakely

Again with the abs on the cover despite the fact that this very short ebook did not feature nearly enough of a shirtless Drew to merit the cover. As I stated on Goodreads, I really felt like this book was like reading a Hallmark Movie, with its formulaic plot and saccharine sweetness. Now, I love Hallmark Movies, but I tend to have to be in the mood for them. On most Saturday afternoons, I’m happy to curl up on the couch with my mom or my aunt and watch one, but when I’m reading? Yeah, I’m less often in the mood. I want a book with layers and substance and character development.

This book is about NFL quarterback Drew, who Dani observes trying to surf. He gets knocked in the head by someone else’s surfboard and since he’s trying to fly under the radar, Dani pretends not to recognize him at first. Dani, meanwhile, is a lawyer for the team Drew gets traded to so there’s some can we or is this violating some sort of workplace something or other (which frankly seemed ridiculous, because what does a lawyer have to do with players on the team? Virtually nothing.). Anyway, so there’s a fair amount of miscommunication and stupidity that is, obviously, overcome by actual communication and then they live happily ever after. And none of that is a spoiler because you know exactly how it’s going to go from about page twelve. So, read this if you’re in the mood for a Hallmark movie, but you don’t have access to it for whatever reason.

5. Moral Defense by Marcia Clark*

I have a full review of this book posted on the blog, which I highly recommend you check out if you’re interested in legal thrillers because I fully flesh out all of my concerns and issues in this book. I’m not going to reiterate most of that here. I’ll just note that I gave this book three stars and I’m pretty sure that was a generous ranking for how much I disliked this book. I don’t mind unlikeable characters, but I really don’t like Samantha. But again, if you like John Grisham novels where the lawyer throws the rules out the window, you might really enjoy this one. Let me know if so!

6. I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

I loved this book so incredibly much, you guys. Like, this book might be my favorite book I’ve read in 2017 so far, which is really saying something. This book, as mentioned at the beginning, is a new 2017 release that came out on May 30th.

This book is about Desi Lee, a Type A, Korean-American, who believes anything can be accomplished with a plan. She is student body president, varsity soccer player, president of an association that has to do with plants… Just so much. She has an extremely close relationship with her father and since her mother’s death has done her best to make sure that Appa’s life is as full as she can manage. Appa, meanwhile, loves KDramas and this book has me desperate to try some out! Appa’s love for KDramas inspires Desi after another flailure (flirting+failure) in front of the new kid at school to come up with a plan to get past her flailure’s and finally get the guy. Desi’s best friends are Fiona and Will and they are truly excellent. Fiona is a lesbian who is killing the game with the ladies and Will is a straight dude, who is also killing it with the ladies. So they endlessly enjoy good-naturedly teasing Desi, but also supporting her in her hare-brained schemes.

This book is so funny, so relatable and engaging… I just honestly cannot say enough positive things about it. If you haven’t already gotten your hands on it, you really, really must.

7. Professor Trouble by Soraya May

This book is about Oxford professor (I think it’s Oxford), Will Spencer, who punches the Dean and is shipped off to America for a semester to teach Latin Literature until the fuss can blow over. He’s very young and very attractive and when Emily Masterson literally falls into his arms on the first day of class, he’s done for. He finds everything about her appealing and she feels similarly.

Professor/Student relationships are a guilty pleasure of mine, which seems odd considering my passionate displeasure over teacher/student relationships. But considering professor/student relationships don’t involve statutory rape, I suppose it can be forgiven. Additionally, this book does not have Will getting off on having any kind of power over Emily and there’s a line that specifically notes Will ensuring that someone else grades Emily’s papers so that she can know she’s doing well in his class based on her merit and not her skills in bed. This book does have rather steamy sexual encounters so if that’s not your thing, I wouldn’t recommend it. However, if it is your thing, I think Soraya May knocked it out of the park.

I did knock this book one star because I felt like the ending was a little rushed and didn’t quite tie up everything the way I would have liked. That said, I’m very interested in reading more of what she’s written, so I think she got the job done!

8.Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

This book is about Simon Spier, who has been emailing a guy going by Blue, because the two are keeping their identities a secret. Simon gets blackmailed by someone and winds up having to deal with the fact that he’s falling in love with someone who he doesn’t even know their “real” identity and worrying about being out-ed before he’s quite ready. It’s a really excellent novel that tackles homophobia in an environment where there’s a lot of supportive characters, both friends and adults, which I think is incredibly important. I genuinely recommend this book for so many reasons.

One of my favorite parts of this book was the family relationship and dynamic between Simon, his parents, and his sisters. It was a really awesome experience getting to read two books in a row (basically) where family was heavily featured and in a positive manner. I love my family and my parents were and are so important to me and to my development. It’s nice to not always have YA books where there’s been a disaster and the parents are absent or awful. So, yeah, I highly recommend this book. And I’ve written too much about it here, but still have so much to say. Maybe I should write a full length review of this one. Let me know if you’re interested!

9. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I honestly don’t have the words to describe this book. It is a monster and I would highly recommend the audiobook, if you’re interested in reading it because the narrator brings Theo to life in the most excellent way and voices the lyrical lines of Tartt’s style in an incredibly moving way.

The Goldfinch follows Theo throughout a significant portion of his life where he suffers the death of his mother in a terroristic event. He then suffers from PTSD and depression and a whole host of other issues throughout the book. I went into this book with no idea what it was about and I honestly think that’s the best way to go into it, so that’s all I’m going to say on the matter.

So that is everything I read in July! My favorite book was definitely I Believe in a Thing Called Love, but I loved so many of these books this month!

I’m almost finished with Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate so that’s definitely getting finished up in August, but there are also all of the books I put on my TBR! I look forward to updating you all again when we get to the halfway point of August. I started my internship on July 31st though and on my first day had to read a 500+ page trial transcript so please pray for both my eyes and my continuing ability to read books for pleasure.

Have you read any of these books? What was your favorite book of July? Let me know in the comments!


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