What I Read July 2020

by - July 30, 2020

July was another big month of reading for me. I made a small dent in my 30 Books I Want to Read, plus found a new non-fantasy series that is giving me a serious book hangover (weeks after I finished the last book!). Genres this go 'round are a little more varied as I force myself to branch out of fantasy and be a more rounded reader. Not that there's anything wrong with sticking to just one genre! I just felt like I was burning out on fantasy and starting to find more duds than stunners. Anyway, we've got Greek gods and goddesses, a secret society murder mystery, undercover agents, an atypical hero's tale, and historical fiction. Let's dive in!

Goddess Academy series
Author: Clara Hartley

After breaking up with her cheating boyfriend, Cara is whisked away to the Goddess Academy where she learns she is the daughter of Aphrodite and Ares, public enemies number one, thought to be dead but really trapped in another world. Cara's conniving parents may be stuck in this other world, but that doesn't stop them from plotting to continue the fight they fled, using Cara to wreak destruction on the the realm of the goddesses, but they don't anticipate the return of the old gods. This series had a really complicated plot line and some real doozies of characters. If you're a fan of mythology, I would say to give this series a chance.

Court High series
Author: Eden O'Neill

December "Em" Lingquist moves across the country to live with her father after her sister, Paige, goes missing, convinced her mere presence will bring Paige home. But Paige isn't exactly who Em thought she was and she isn't coming home. Together with Paige's closest friends, the leaders of the Court, Em sets out to find out what happened to her sister, uncovering the truth behind the Court in the process. 

Checkmate series
Author: Emilia Finn

This eight book series focuses on the men who make up the Checkmate Security team and the women who stand beside them: Kane and Jess, Angelo and Lane, Riley and Andi, Jay and Sophia, Eric and Katrina, Spencer and Abigail, and Gunner and Libby. This series is unique in that you can read certain ones as stand-alones or duets (book 1-2, book 3-4, book 5), but I'm telling you that you NEED to read them all. They're told from different perspectives, and books 3-4 technically happen in the same time as book 1-2, but you won't get the full picture unless you read all eight. You'll laugh and you'll cry (books 1, 2, and 6 especially got me) and fall in love with these men and women. Kane may be my new fictional boyfriend...

Here Be Dragons
Author: David P. MacPherson

Orus is not your typical hero. Sure, he went to hero school, but his very first quest to save a virgin who'd been kidnapped by a sorcerer ended with said virgin pregnant. Now, Orus is just the palace gardener, but when a retired (really old) hero gets a request for help he cannot fulfill, he sends Orus in his stead. Heroes are supposed to kill dragons, right? Not in this story. Orus is tasked with delivering the last dragon egg to the hatching grounds whilst protecting it from all the other modern knights set on destroying it, thus restoring magic to the land. But Orus isn't your typical hero, remember? This adventure is full of bumps and lots of bumbling, and let's not forget the talking donkey. This book was funny and unexpected, and I really did enjoy it.

The Secret Life of Mrs. London
Author: Rebecca Rosenberg

Charmian London is the second wife of author Jack London (Call of the Wild) but their marriage isn't exactly happy. This is an imagined glimpse into their life after the couple has been married for nine years. Some other famous faces make appearances, but the third star of this tale is magician Harry Houdini. While this book focuses heavily on Jack and Charmian's relationship and their association with Houdini, the underlying theme is about Charmian's quest to become a published author and self-reliant woman. I found her to be flighty and pretty typical of the women of that time period, but I definitely was rooting for her throughout the book. The ending was pretty bittersweet and didn't offer much closure, to be honest. I ended up doing my own research to learn more about Charmian's life so I could have a clearer sense of her life after the book ends.

Books/Series I started but didn't finish
I wanted to mention these because I talked about both in previous posts.

The Rejected Writers Book Club - The blurb about this book had me intrigued. A small-town librarian is invited to a local book club made up of wannabe writers who celebrate their rejections. These rejects want Janet to help them plan a celebration of their rejections. I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't get into the writing style, and honestly wasn't drawn to Janet. I read about five chapters before calling it.

Empath Found series - I actually read the first book of this series, The Terrible Gift, in its entirety and read a few chapters of the second book. It's about a fae girl who's lived her entire life thinking she was human, but when Fi magically rejects the advances of would-be rapist, she's whisked into the land of the Fae where she learns her ability to feel emotions is thought to be extinct and extremely dangerous. The premise of the series was interesting, but I thought there was too much focus on the "mate" aspect instead of the "why is Fi in danger" aspect. I may come back to this series in the future, but for now it's a no-go.

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