I think this is the first time in a really long time I haven’t done a mid-month wrap up of the books I read this month. I read 21 books this month, which is two more than I read in June, so good job to myself. The reason I didn’t do a mid-month wrap up is because I pretty much have already reviewed each of the books I read. So this post will actually be shorter than normal because I’m only going to go into detail on the ones I haven’t reviewed separately. Let’s dive on in.
Mermaid Inn by Jenny Holiday
This is the first book in the Matchmaker Bay series and I love Jenny Holiday’s writing so I picked this up soon after it’s release earlier this year. Unsurprisingly, I waited until I got an ARC of book two so that I could just read them both together. This is a second chance romance where Sawyer really messed up when he was 17, but he had his reasons. Were they good reasons? Well… I really enjoyed this book, but Sawyer is definitely kind of really annoying. But it was still an enjoyable read, just be prepared for Sawyer to irritate you if you don’t like heroes who make decisions based on what they think is best for their love interest.
I’ve already reviewed each of these books as well. Insatiable Hunger by Yahrah St. John and The Heir Affair reviews can be found here. The more time passes on this one the more I realize how unpopular my complete enjoyment of The Heir Affair opinion is so definitely check out other reviews! They make good points, but you know, I stand by my I love mess stance. (Thank you, Marie Kondo for your brilliant quote.) And finally, my review for One to Watch can be found here. I know I tried to address what I think people may find harmful as opposed to what they may not, but Bethany raised a couple of points about race representation and also did not like the fat representation so I thought I’d link her review here in case you want another opinion.
Go Deep by Rilzy Adams
Twitter was really going off about this book and bless Jazmen, Sil, and Joce for talking about it enough I not only bought it, but actually read it. This was the hottest friends to lovers romance I’ve ever read. It also felt realistic, which is always nice. Yeah, if you haven’t read it yet, would definitely recommend. Essentially, it’s about an erotic romance author who has lost her ability to write the good stuff and so she enlists her childhood best friend to provide some… chemistry and then she gets her magic back. Oh, and they fall in love. Obviously.
A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane
Yeah, so, this was GOOD. I tried to read this a couple of months ago and couldn’t get into the narrator’s voice because I kept mixing up the characters in this book with something else she’d narrated, but I tried again and didn’t have that problem. So that’s good. Anyway, A Heart of Blood and Ashes is a really, really wild fantasy romance and I loved it. This is essentially an Old School romance so like, there are some PROBLEMATIC things, but like, don’t worry, he’s TRAUMATIZED so you understand him. There’s literally a blow job scene where she’s covered in her brother’s blood. Listen, I can’t explain to you why I loved this book, but oh boy, did I ever. Definitely read someone’s review who is capable of coherence because all I really have is like… screams. I mean, it’s so good.
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
I’m really not quite sure how I feel about this book. On the one hand I thought many of the topics had material I could really engage with and learn from and then some of them I was like… what? So, in other words, I think I benefited from having done a decent amount of work on anti-racism before I came into this workbook, which meant I usually had additional outside thinking material already and could better reflect on the various topics. Even with that work, there were still topics where I was just not really sure what to say with the prompts. So I wish that there had been a little more writing in front of some of the prompts. But regardless, I do think this is a great resource, especially to do with a small group of friends. I think a whole lot of people (mostly white, but also non-Black POC) would find at least something to help them in this book and I was definitely not an exception.
Marriage by Arrangement by Sophia Singh Sasson
This Harlequin Desire was the first book I’ve read by Sophia Singh Sasson, but it will definitely not be my last. I loved this one! It’s not 100% perfect and I had a very real wtf moment with the hero when he, um, makes a… gesture fairly late in the book. I will say that I’m not entirely sure the Marriage by Arrangement title does the book justice because while Arjun Singh is theoretically in an arranged situation (not yet announced), our love interest/heroine is not that person. The other thing that kept me from really fully investing in the HEA is that I honestly do have pretty significant concerns about their long term happiness. So, I know that categories need to be short, but… This book really could have benefited (for me) from a post-HEA sort of extension. I’ll have more information in my actual full review and I am so sorry for these jumbled thoughts. BUT the takeaway is that I absolutely would recommend this and also heroes who cook are my weakness.
Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi
This is an Audible Original that as per usual is fantastically produced and is also Roshani Chokshi’s first adult romance title. It’s told like a sort of classic fairytale and after a few starts of telling you brief and quick stories that aren’t about the people we’re actually following, we settle in with Imelda and Ambrose. I really don’t want to spoil any of the plot because it’s such a short book, but I think if you like Chokshi’s prose, this definitely still feels like one of her works. And if you like fairytale retellings with a twists, you should get along well with this. Personally I did enjoy this and thanks to Aarya, I knew it counted for The Ripped Bodice’s Summer Bingo accidentally in the wilderness square so I was excited to be able to check that one off.
So July was definitely a month. I don’t know if this is true for you, but for me, my mental health decided this was a great time to just be all over the place. I was so grateful for folklore and I’m happy a lot of y’all seem to have appreciated those posts! I’m fairly certain I’ve drawn your attention to the Black maternal health statistics before, but my nephew is due this month and I am very excited and also very anxious. My sister is white so not at the added disadvantage of bias based on skin color, but like, y’all, our maternal mortality statistics are absolutely terrifying in the States. And also, I found a nonprofit called everymothercounts, which has several documentaries following immigrant women giving birth in California and some points were made.
As for my favorite books of the month, Boyfriend Material and Deal with the Devil probably take home the top spots, but I really enjoyed so many of these. We’ll see what books stick with me by the end of the quarter! It’s one of my favorite things to reflect on. What were your favorites? Let me know!