Everything I Read in July 2023.

Everything I Read in July 2023

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

Historical Fiction

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

Thrillers

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

Fantasy

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.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

43 Comments

  1. Katie Herklotz:

    Always love these posts!

    Grace, I think you’d absolutely love The Postcard by Anne Berest (and think your mom would love too!). It’s ww2/holocaust historical “fiction” (the author calls it fiction but after some research I definitely think it deserves quotes) but so much more than most of the genre. I have read almost everything in this genre but this is somehow something more. I think everyone needs to read it!

    8.1.23 Reply
  2. Anamika Moore:

    Grace, I highly recommend The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer. I just finished it and it’s like a warm hug. Perfect nostalgia for anyone who was a big reader as a kid! Also the cover is beautiful

    8.1.23 Reply
  3. Megan Hinrichsen:

    Hi Grace,

    I love reading your book posts. I would love to hear your opinion about the Magnolia Parks series by Jessa Hastings

    8.1.23 Reply
  4. m:

    I’m reading The Guest by Emma Cline and I can’t put it down. No idea where it’s going, but I’m guessing trouble is ahead. Perfect end-of-summer, set in the Hamptons, vague creeper.

    8.1.23 Reply
  5. Dana:

    Are you planning to read Fourth Wing? Reading it right now and it’s very fun!

    8.1.23 Reply
    • Yes but I tend to limit my fantasy intake. I like it, but I have to be in a certain headspace to read it. (This month was good for that as most of my friends were away and my boyfriend was doing his sailing race!) I have it on my shelf but will probably wait a few months to read it, once I finish the 5th ACOTAR book.

      8.1.23 Reply
  6. Laura:

    Ooo The Legacies sounds right up my street! Will definitely add to my TBR. I recently started reading Lisa Jewell, love The Family Upstairs like you did and would also recommend The Night She Disappeared. What can I say? I love a mystery with a creepy old house!

    8.1.23 Reply
    • It is so fun!!!!
      I need to read the new Lisa Jewell, her books are so dark and creepy I love them!

      8.1.23 Reply
  7. erica:

    If you haven’t read The Kind Worth Killing, I highly recommend it!

    8.1.23 Reply
    • It’s on my list!!!

      8.1.23 Reply
      • Katherine Herklotz:

        OMG GRACE you haven’t read the kind worth killing? It’s deep backlist but it’s sooooo good.

        8.2.23 Reply
  8. Rebecca:

    I started the ACOTAR series about a week ago per your recommendation and it is so fun! I’m about 30% of the way through the second book and cannot put it down! I cannot imagine what the twist is…thank you for the recommendation (and for the warning about the fourth book)!

    8.1.23 Reply
  9. I love a twisty thriller. Adding What Lies In The Dark to my cart ASAP!

    xo Jessica
    an indigo day

    8.1.23 Reply
  10. Regina:

    This was a good list this month! I’ve recently finished two I can recommend: The Guest by Emma Cline and Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekrulak. Both creepy in totally different ways but I couldn’t put either down.

    8.1.23 Reply
    • OK sounds like I need to reprioritize The Guest!!! Everyone is recommending it.
      Couldn’t agree more on Hidden Pictures — that one really stuck with me!

      8.1.23 Reply
  11. Mia:

    Highly recommend Why Fish Don’t Exist – an unbelievable (true!) story! 10/10!

    8.1.23 Reply
  12. Jessica B:

    I recently finished Riley Sagers latest book, The Only One Left, and I loved it. He writes such fun thrillers. This one had great twists, and I love good modern gothic with a creepy old house!
    Have finally started Fourth Wing and so far it’s living up to the hype for me! Up next is the 6th installment of the Red Rising series, Light Bringer by Pierce Brown.

    8.1.23 Reply
  13. Helen:

    I just finished The Heart’s Invisible Furies and it was excellent. It’s funny and heart breaking and extremely clever, I am sure you would enjoy it.

    8.1.23 Reply
  14. Lily:

    I agree that the fourth ACOTAR book is definitely skippable, but I actually enjoyed it as a palet cleanser. The third book was so full on and all consuming (in the best way), that I almost started a completely different series in order to give my brain a break. But I dove into the fourth book and it was exactly what I needed. Easy, not complicated, no extra stress! I’m onto the last book now and it’s as wonderful as expected!

    8.1.23 Reply
    • I see your point! I think that I would have just preferred something else (a totally different book!) as a palette cleanser!!

      8.2.23 Reply
  15. Michelle:

    I recently enjoyed Fellowship Point (fascinating book about friendship set on the Maine coast). Just bought The Covenant of Water and can’t wait to read.

    8.1.23 Reply
  16. Frieda:

    I found this post just in the right moment. This year, I started meditating daily which is despite of noticable benefits in daily life not always easy to keep as a habit. Just this morning, it finally went really well again after a few tough days. But only when I read your wise words I realized that this win is due to discipline on the previous days and that I should definitely change my attitude towards this word.
    I loved to read every single comment, there is so much to learn from the exchange on this topic! And as an addition to the one more critical comment: I think both is true. Discipline is on the one side pushed in some working environments to the point that a large part of society is really overwhelmed and close to burn-out because asking for/doing less would not be accepted. But in other areas like working out or raising children, every thing is supposed to be fun and effortless although it is definitely not (always) and people suffer from pretending to be not exhausted. What a crazy contradiction. I assume, every movement also has a countermovement and we just have to accept the parallel existence of the two poles.

    8.4.23 Reply
    • I think this was meant for the motivation post, but thank you for this comment — couldn’t agree more with everything you say!

      8.4.23 Reply
  17. Ashley:

    Love love love your monthly recaps! My “tbr” list at the library grows longer every month thanks to you. Please please please read Code Name Helene if you haven’t… it’s historical fiction, fantastic and main character had Evelyn Hugo vibes. Loved it

    8.4.23 Reply
  18. Terri:

    Check out The Golden Spoon if you haven’t read it yet. Unique premise: murder during the filming of a reality cooking show at an East Coast estate.

    8.4.23 Reply
  19. Adare:

    I just finished Strange Sally Diamond and it was EXCELLENT! Really disturbing but really good, best psychological thriller I’ve read in a while!

    8.7.23 Reply
  20. Love seeing your bookish posts!

    Here me out, without giving anything away, once you get into SJM’s other series, you’ll discover that there are some vital clues in the ACOFAS novella– don’t snooze on the Christmas Special on your reread, but I don’t blame you if you skip it on the first go.

    10.23.23 Reply
    • Interesting! Thanks for sharing. I probably won’t reread (they are long!) but appreciate the tip.

      10.26.23 Reply