Whew! It’s already August! I can’t believe that we’re still in partial quarantine, with no end in sight. I feel like we were all pretty optimistic at the beginning, but it’s becoming more of a struggle as time passes without getting back to normal. July was a pretty good month for reading, with some YA, some Fantasy, and of course lots of mystery/thriller. I read 7 books, which seems to be my average during quarantine. Read on to see what I read in July & let me know what you’ve been reading in the comments!
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (3/5 stars)
Aiden Bishop wakes up every morning in a different body, each one a guest at Blackheath Manor. Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he can identify her killer and break the cycle. This was a lot of mystery with the living-the-same-day-over-again premise of Groundhog’s Day & the story moved quickly, but I didn’t find it as entertaining as I expected to. There was a little too much going on to easily keep track of all of the characters & the plots points. And I didn’t really get invested in any of the characters, they all had faults or quirks that I just couldn’t seem to get past.
A Song of Wraiths & Ruin (5/5 stars)
I loved this YA/Fantasy read, based in African folklore! Malik & his sisters are trying to escape to the capital city when his sister is kidnapped by a spirit. In order to free Nadia, Malik must infiltrate a contest of warriors & kill the crown princess, Karina. He doesn’t know that Karina on a quest to resurrect her murdered mother & requires the beating heart of a king. I had trouble starting this book, but once the action picked up, I was hooked! The characters were complex & interesting, & I was invested in the relationship that slowly developed between Malik & Karina. Plus there was plenty of action & intrigue to keep the story going.
Watch Me Disappear (4/5 stars)
A year ago, Olive’s mother went on a solo hike & vanished. When Olive begins having “waking dreams” (or hallucinations) of her mother, Billie, she is convinced that her mother is still alive & embarks on a journey to find her. It was interesting to read how differently Olive & her father attempted to move on from her mother’s disappearance. Both of their characters were relatable, but Billie was just selfish. Despite my dislike of her, I was still drawn into the mystery of where Billie disappeared to. There were some good twists that really kept the story moving along & my questions were answered by the end!
The Heir Affair (5/5 stars)
I have been waiting for this sequel to The Royal We! Rebecca “Bex” Porter and Prince Nicholas’ relationship is going strong, despite the drama surrounding its beginning. They fled after the wedding, but are called back from exile by a crisis. Somehow their relationships with the royal family & friends are still messy, but they are just as lovable as in the first novel. I was already invested in these characters, so it was fun to follow along during their first years of marriage & to see more into Prince Freddie’s life.
Lakewood (5/5 stars)
Ok, this one was so disturbing on so many levels, but it was so good! When Lena Johnson’s grandmother dies, she drops out of college to support her sick mother & takes a job at a medical facility in the mysterious town of Lakewood, Michigan. As Lena gets further into the medical experiments, she begins to realize that the research may not be above board & questions how much of herself she’s willing to give for her family. It was reminiscent of the Tuskegee Study, combined with questions of what Americans are faced with when trying to gain access to necessary healthcare. This novel was a little bit thriller/suspense, well-written, & very thought-provoking.
Home Before Dark (5/5 stars)
25 years ago, Maggie Holt spent 3 weeks in Baneberry Hall with her parents before they fled the house in the middle of the night. Maggie’s father wrote a best-seller account of their time in the allegedly haunted house, House of Horrors, which has followed Maggie for most of her life. When she suddenly inherits the house from her father, Maggie moves in to restore the house & sell it. Family secrets are uncovered as strange things begin to happen in the house, making Maggie wonder whether her father was telling the truth. I love a good ghost story, so this modern Amityville Horror was right up my alley! Add in a little family drama, with characters that you actually care about, & you’ve got a winner!
This is How I Lied (3/5 stars)
Maggie is a detective in the same small-town where she grew up, & also where her best friend, Eve, was found dead in a cavern. When she is asked to pick up the cold case, Maggie is confronted with her past. There are plenty of suspects, including Eve’s former boyfriend & her slightly unstable sister. The characters weren’t very well-developed & I wasn’t entirely interested in any of them, but the story kept me guessing until the end.