The Best Books I Read in July 2022

July was a slower reading month for me, due to care taking my dad before and after heart surgery. I still managed to finish 14 books, most of which were really good!

Here’s a run down of my 5-star reads from last month.

My Cone and Only by Susanna Nix

Contemporary romance

Book one in the King Family series. This was such a yummy read! It’s a pretty perfect romance novel, containing everything I love about the genre with a super sweet friends to lovers trope and some fantastic groveling! Wyatt and Andie have had feelings for each other since they were kids but they’ve always seen each other as off limits so they’ve never acted on those feelings. Now something has caused a shift and they start to wonder if the other may be interested. This book has great tension, humor, and sex scenes. While it’s a romance, it also explores familial obligations and gender expectations. I loved it from start to finish!

More God Than Dead by Angelo Geter

Poetry

This is my book club‘s August selection. I went into this knowing it was going to be heavy, but I wasn’t expecting to be brought to tears. These poems are absolutely in your face in terms of Angelo’s grief and rage. My favorites were the black out poems he created using his wedding vows. Each one was a punch to the gut and they emphasize just how acute and severe his loss is. I appreciated that we got poems about his wife that gave us a sense of who she was and how their love grew. This is a very powerful, raw collection of poems that needs to be read slowly and savored.

Dream On by Angie Hockman

Contemporary romance

Of all the romance novels I’ve read this year, this is by far the most unique! I loved the premise and the storytelling was top notch. After a car accident, Cass wakes up from a coma asking for her boyfriend Devin. The only problem is he doesn’t exist. Yet she has lots of memories of their relationship. Her neurologists say her brain created the false memories, and there’s even a journal article written about her. Almost a year later, she’s returning to her regular life when she stumbles upon Devin, the exact man from her memories. Compelling right?! I was sucked into the story from start to finish. Most of the time with romances, I can guess where things are headed (and I don’t mind that) but here I wasn’t sure and I loved it. All the side characters are wonderful and add to the story. I want books following them too! This was a funny, touching read. While it’s definitely about finding love, it’s also about figuring out how to be true to yourself while facing others’ expectations, which is very relatable.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Historical fiction/audiobook

Don’t let the cover fool you, this isn’t a fun, light book though it is truly unique, I loved it from start to finish. It’s impossible to put this book in just one category. I’d call it historical fiction but it has a strong dose of science, feminism, some smart humor, a love story, and family drama. Elizabeth Zott is a female chemist in the 1960’s. Her life is anything but common and she likes it that way, though she has fought against sexism her entire career. I absolutely loved Elizabeth. She is determined to live life her way. While the story is heavy at times, dealing with rape, harassment, and death of a loved one, it also manages to be hopeful. I listened to the audiobook and found the narration added a lot to the emotional depth of the story.

Something Wilder by Christina Lauren

Contemporary romance

This was a wild ride for sure! It’s not like anything else I’ve read by these authors and I appreciate that. It’s also not a straight forward romance novel. While that’s a huge part of the plot, it’s also an adventure story with a mystery at its core. Lily is the daughter of Duke Wilder, a notorious treasure hunter. He’s no longer around, and she makes her living taking tourists through the desert in search of “treasure.” When Leo shows up as part of group on vacation, Lily is take right back to their past together and their abrupt ending. I enjoyed the geographical aspects of the story, it’s all well written. I could see the orange of the desert and smell the dust. There’s some great humor and also heaviness. I liked this book a lot but something kept it from being a five star read for me. Probably because things wrapped up a little too neatly for all the drama that took place.


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