This was ultimately a very good month of reading. All A’s, across the board, with the exception of one very dramatic C+. The month was definitely dominated by the ACOTAR series, which I of course LOVED. I loved the first 3 books but just did not see the point of the fourth. It was so slow. (I have been saving the fifth book; I’ll probably read it this month). A great historical fiction pick from my mom (The Paris Daughter), a couple fantastic YA thrillers, and a very dark thriller (What Lies in the Woods) that I will be thinking about for the forseeable future.
You know the drill: You can see every book I’ve read over the past 8 or 9 years here on this page, and also filter by genre and grade. But most importantly, give me your book recs! I love your recommendations. <3
Everything I Read in July 2023
The Paris Daughter, by Kristen Harmel
Ooh, this was a saga (in the best way possible!). Another great recommendation from my mother (she’s had me reading a lot of historical fiction lately!). This one is heartbreaking (but don’t worry, it also puts your heart back together). It’s 1939 in Paris. Juliette and Elise meet in the park, both pregnant, and become fast friends. They both have little girls, close in age, and wind up becoming incredibly close. As Germany encroaches upon their city, neither woman thinks their life will be affected much by the war. Both end up being very wrong.
Elise’s husband is a well known artist, aiding the resistance movement. When Elise realizes that the Germans are coming for her, she makes the excruciating decision to leave her daughter with Juliette and her family and flee for the countryside. But Juliette experiences her own loss: just before the war ends, her beloved bookstore is blown to pieces. When Elise returns to Paris to find her beloved daughter, nothing is as it was and Juliette and her family seem to have vanished without a trace. Elise searches frantically to find her, only to wind up in New York. The rest… you’ll have to read! I read this very quickly as it was fast paced (and really sad at times!). I loved it! Overall Score: A // Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon.com
One of Us is Back, by Karen McManus
You know I love this series! I called the first book, One of Us is Lying, a modern The Breakfast Club but with murder. These books are technically written for teens but to me they appeal to adults so much as there is all the nostalgia from our younger years (it reminds me of those teen movies I loved), and it’s twisty!
We are back at Bayview. It has been two years since Simon died (if haven’t read the first book, this isn’t a spoiler, it happens early in!). Everyone seems to be doing well. Bronwyn and Nate are together and happy, the younger kids are all doing great. But then we find out that someone from the past is coming back. Someone dangerous, someone we all hate. And when a billboard proclaims, “Time for a new game, Bayview,” everyone thinks it’s a sick joke at first. No one takes it seriously until someone disappears.. and then… a whole lot more happens but I won’t give away anything else away. Also: if you have not read the other books in the series just order all three at once. You’ll read the whole series in a weekend; they are fun books! Overall Score: A // Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon.com
The Legacies, by Jessica Goodman
I am a big fan of Jessica Goodman’s books and I think this may be my favorite book of hers yet. That is saying a lot as I’ve loved everything she’s written. This is going to be perfect for fans of Gossip Girl and All These Beautiful Strangers. I’ve been describing it as Gossip Girl with a little bit of Big Little Lies mixed in?
The Legacy Club is an exclusive club in New York City that equates to a lifetime of access and power. Every year, six seniors from each of the six most prestigious Manhattan schools are nominated. Bernie, Isobel, and Skyler are all shoe-ins. They have the family pedigree, the wealth, the actual legacy. They also each have secrets that would destroy their flawless reputations. Tori Tasso on the other hand, is a bit of a surprise: the scholarship kid from Queens. None of the other kids know how she managed to snag a recommendation.
The book opens the night of the Legacy Ball. This night is supposed to have been the best night of these students’ lives. Except… there’s been a murder. I will say no more than that and just tell you I loved this book. It’s a fun, fast paced thriller with loads of rich unsupervised teens… (you know that’s my favorite!). Overall Score: A // Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon.com
What Lies in the Woods, by Kate Alice Marshall
This is a very dark, very twisty thriller. Perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn or Riley Sager. I couldn’t put it down! I guessed a few of the twists but sometimes that is satisfying.
Twenty two years ago, Naomi, Cassidy, and Olivia were the best of friends. Just eleven years old, they did everything together but especially: playing in the forest. They had their own game: The Goddess Game, which became their own little world. But when Naomi is viciously attacked (stabbed 17 times), that little world comes crashing down. Miraculously, Naomi survives the attack and is able to identify the man who nearly killed her. Now back in present day, her would-be-killer has died and the women reunite. They’re holding onto secrets. Olivia wants to tell the whole story. But then she disappears. Naomi becomes obsessed with figuring out what really happened that day… and if she identified the right man.
I was on edge the whole time I read this. As I said, it’s very dark and borderline scary. I will be thinking about these characters and what they did to each other for a long time. Overall Score: A // Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon.com
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Alright. I am finally reading these books and of course, the first one was great. I am always really intimidated by these sorts of multiple book editions as I know myself and know that they’ll take over my whole life. The week of July 4th is always a little slower with work (and social plans as everyone goes away) so I dove on in! The first 50-60 pages are a little slow and then it picks up. And shortly after it picks up, it becomes addictive.
Feyre is 19 years old, living in poverty with her family. One day, she spots a deer in the woods but in its path, a wolf. And so, she kills them both. Shortly after, a terrifying beast turns up at her door, demanding retribution. It is either death, or exile to a magical land she knows nothing about. She chooses exile and is in for a surprise. The beast is not a beast after all. Instead, he is a lethal, immortal faerie. She finds herself developing feelings for him; realizing that the faerie world is nothing like what she had been taught in her human world. I feel a little bit embarrassed even talking about these worlds but just trust me, if you somehow have not yet read these books, you really must. They are so fun. Overall Score: A // Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon.com
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Book 2! I am not going to tell you much about this (to do so would give away so many spoilers from the first book etc) so I will simply say that I could not read this fast enough. I loved it. It’s even better than the first book (which everyone said, but I wanted to say that I agree!), and I read all 600 pages of it within maybe two days. There’s a huge twist!!! Overall Score: A // Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon.com
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Book 3! While Book 2 was the steamier one, this one is action packed: all about war. I really enjoyed it, maybe even more than Book 2! As with Book 2 I am not going to say much as I don’t wan to give away spoilers for the other books, just know that the third book is full of adventure and battle. Overall Score: A // Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon.com
A Court of Frost and Starlight, by Sarah J. Maas
I don’t want to be a jerk but if you are spending all of that time reading the ACOTAR series, I think this book is pretty skippable. You get to know the characters a little better but… it’s boring!? No action or adventure, not much steaminess. I posed the question on Threads and several people said they skipped it and didn’t miss a thing, while others called it “The ACOTAR Christmas Special,” which is both hilarious and very accurate. I just don’t really see the purpose of this book when all the other books are so fantastical. Maybe she just really wanted 5 books? Maybe to cool us off after book 3 and prepare us for book 5? IDK. I love this series but this book feels unnecessary. Overall Score: C+ // Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon.