Reading Lately ~ Books I loved (and didn’t love) in July

And the reading streak continued into August! In last month’s post I mentioned that I was emerging from a sever reading slump. Im glad this month was another good one. I could be because my husband is finally back “home” (he’s in quarantine for 9 more days but at least he’s here). Anyway I think you’re here to read about books so lets talk about that. Most of this month’s books were read for Erin’s book challenge, the fourth or fifth consecutive one Im participating in, and thankfully most of them were books I loved or at least really liked.

P.S. This post contains affiliate links.

Loved it:

The right swipe ~ Alisha Rai

Read for book challenge by Erin

I love reading romance novels that have women of colour in the protagonist role. Having a minority male character (Samoan) was also a big draw for me. I also loved that they didn’t shy away from the topic of race.

An enemies to lovers romance told from both the perspectives of Rhiannon and Sampson, the book was cute with a healthy dose of angst. Speaking of angst, I won’t lie, Rhiannon did annoy me at one point because of what I found to be unjustified anger without seeking explanation. I get the whole trust issues thing but felt that the author could have lessened the angst in some respects without detracting from the story.

It was light at times, tough at times, cute at times and definitely steamy. It was one of the books I loved most this month.

4/5 stars

Goodreads link here

Little Gods ~ Meng Jin

Read for book challenge by Erin

What an interesting and captivating story. On the night of the 1989 Tienanmen massacre in Shanghai, a baby was born to a physicist called Su Lan. The story itself follows Su Lan’s life before and after her migration to the US and her daughter’s life in the US after her death. Although Su Lan was the main subject, we never really hear from her l. Instead We are shown Su Lan through the perspectives of her daughter Liya, her ex husband, her neighbour Zhu Wen and stories from her past.

It was so interesting to create a vision of the main character without ever hearing from that character herself.

And here comes a mini rant. Not about the book per se but because I dared to look at the reviews before completing the book. I’ve seen so many mixed reviews online with a lot of them saying that the reader couldn’t connect with the characters or that the book was complicated. I, of course, understand that not every book can be loved. That said, it’s very disheartening reading the slew of ‘I couldn’t connect’ comments. I’ve seen these kinds of comments often with Asian, African or West Indian literature – books that are not the typical with characters that are not ‘westernized’. Honestly, I have an issue with that. I wish we could all remember that the world does not only consist of northern continental America and Western Europe and that not everyone lives or experiences the same things. Ergo, books will follow people of different cultures, in worlds that are different from the one that you/we live in, and that should also be appreciated.

I am not Chinese, but I appreciated this book and the brief look into Chinese culture and immigration. I will say it is intense and deep and at times uncomfortable because of what’s being discussed, but at all times, it was simply a beautifully written book.

4/5 stars

Goodreads link here

Where there are monsters ~ Brianne McIvor

Book club book of the month


This book features a series of short stories set on the island of Trinidad. I’ve never been a big fan of short stories in general, but I actually enjoyed most of these.

There was a nice sequence of contemporary stories mixed with old folk lore. I loved that we got a wide view of Trinidadian society, from rich to poor, black, indian and white, lgbt and straight … it’s all represented in this book. I also really liked that a non Trini reader would get glimpses of contemporary and urban Trinidad. Often caribbean writers focus on the past, or write solely about rural caribbean narrative and international readers get one perception of the caribbean.

Fave stories: ‘things we do not say’, ‘Pembroke Street’, ‘never have I ever’, ‘kristoff and Bonnie’ and ‘one night stand’ (especially since I’m a trini married to a romanian and this girl mother was Romanian).

My main critique? I wish the cover was nicer, more inviting.

4/5 stars

Goodreads link here

Big Lies in a small town ~ Diane Chamberlain

Read for book challenge by Erin

I was hooked by the story immediately from the beginning.

2018- Morgan Christopher was placed in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. At the end of her minimum sentence she is asked to restore a mural by a deceased artist. She moves to a small town to restore the mural.

1940 – Anna wins a competition to complete a mural and moves to a small town to complete the mural.

The two stories are beautifully intertwined in a story that was both dark and redemptive. I did (mostly) figure out the intertwining a while before it was revealed but it was beautiful. I truly enjoyed the story.

TW – vivid descriptions of sexual assault and brief discussion of mental illness.

4.5/5 stars

Goodreads link here


Liked it:

What you wish for ~ Katherine Center

Received from Netgalley for an honest review

Read for book challenge by Erin

I love a book with a great opening line. This one hooked me from the beginning. It was a quick read and in typical Katherine Center form, it tugged at my heart strings. The story follows Samantha a librarian at an elementary school on the island of Galveston TX. Her principal (and friend) suddenly dies and his replacement, a former and drastically changed colleague, is making strict and bizarre changes to the school.

I really enjoyed it, and I zipped through it, but I’d be lying if I said I loved it like I loved things you save in a fire or other earlier books. There were bits that were too unrealistic, cheesy or stereotypical. But again, her writing is superb (underline and italicize – truly superb) and her books have a way of drawing so in. So it’s a 3.5 stars (rounded up to 4) for me!

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads link here

Vanishing Girls ~ Lisa Regan

A story that follows a bad a$$ female detective? The story, generally speaking, was about vanishing girls and the horrors of human trafficking. I approve of how the hard topics were dealt with. I don’t always love detective books (though I love true crime stories) but this one was good.

Ill be honest, I didn’t always love the writing but I was always invested in the story. Also, Josie, the main character had me annoyed at times and rooting for her at others. All in all, I liked getting to know Josie and will definitely read more.

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads link here

Deranged ~ T.R Ragan

Received from Netgalley for an honest review

I received this a long time ago from Netgalley (I know I know it took me a long time to get to it) and it’s not the first in the Jessie cole series but it is a stand alone read. I didn’t read the first two and followed along pretty well.

Ben Morrison a reporter had an accident years prior, developed amnesia and is trying to find out about his past. His dad is in prison for the murder of Ben’s former girlfriend and his deceased mother was also evil. Is Ben the good family man he now portrays or is he deranged. This is the perfect investigation for PI Jessie Cole.

A really well written detective story. The plot wasn’t overly complicated and the mystery easy to connect to. I like that the sub plot was decent and was seamlessly connected to the original story. And of course I appreciated that the PI was a badass female. 3.5 stars.

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads link here

Not my vibe:

The summer I turned pretty ~ Jenny Han

Read for book challenge by Erin

Belly, the main character, spends every summer at Cousins beach with her family and the family of her mothers best friend, including her two sons.

I’m not a huge fan of YA and that’s no secret to anyone who knows my reading taste. I found many of the characters to be exaggerated, melodramatic, overdone, and frankly annoying. That may be less due to the book itself and more due to it being a YA novel. I’m not sure. Also, the love square that included two brothers just didn’t work here. At least for me. The end was ok but I’m not sure it was enough to save the rest of the book.

Needless to say, I didn’t really enjoy this one, but since this series is pretty popular, it may just be me. I enjoyed the ‘to all the boys’ series for the most part (at least the first two books) so although I wasn’t a fan of this, I may give the rest of the series a try. We’ll see.

2.5/5 stars

Goodreads link here


TL;DR I had a good reading month and would recommend most of the books on this list. Have you read any of these?

Linking up with Steph and Jana

Have a great one guys!


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