July Book Reviews

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
 I was excited to see what all the fuss was about with The Duchess Deal and to read my first regency romance. Maybe my expectations were sky high, but I ended up skimming quite a bit.
There is definitely comfort in the predictability of reading romance, which must always end happily, but the journey to that end should keep me engaged. I just felt as if I knew how every single moment in this book would play out and got bored real quick. I also think the idea of using Shakespearean insults has been done already, and I certainly give points for humor on that score... to Shakespeare. I do think the main characters banter was fun, and it made me chuckle.
If anyone has a good regency romance to recommend that might fit a less predictable pattern, please do let me know! I might try reading the Bridgerton books/The Duke and I before the Netflix show comes out...

What You Wish For by Katherine Center
Thank you to St. Martin's Press for the complimentary copy! What You Wish For delivers on what I’ve come to expect from Center’s novels: sweet, funny, romantic, lovable and poignant stories of fallible characters figuring out their lives in the face of trauma.
Last week I posted about a romance novel that felt too predictable to keep me engaged, even though familiar narratives can be comforting. In this novel, and others I’ve read by Center, I generally know where things are going to shake out by the end. But the journey to that comforting ending involved many scenarios I could not have predicted, definitely keeping me on my toes and fully engaged!
If you are new to this author, I’d say that How to Walk Away is my favorite and a great way to get hooked, and What You Wish For has a timely feel that might be inspiring during these trying times we all find ourselves in...
”Joy is an antidote to fear. To anger. To boredom. To sorrow."

All Boys Aren't Blue by George M. Johnson
Adding my praises to the pile for George M. Johnson’s All Boys Aren’t Blue. I love that this memoir covering gender identity, sexuality, toxic masculinity, structural racism, family bonds and Black joy is geared toward a YA audience. Johnson’s family love shines through on every page, and is one of the most honest and brave memoirs I have read. Definitely recommend the audiobook, too.

I can see why people are loving The Girl with the Louding Voice.
The story of Adunni’s coming of age, while surviving all kinds of abuse and oppression, felt familiar and not terribly complex. Though the plot did not grab me, the 14 year old Nigerian village girl who longs for an education absolutely stole my heart. It was eye opening to learn more about Lagos and Nigeria alongside her. I also thought that her non-standard English narration was the most compelling and unique aspect of the novel.
Overall, I found this to be an impressive debut and look forward to more of DarĂ©’s writing!

Snapdragon by Kat Leyh
 A wonderful middle grade graphic novel about self discovery, family, friendship, magic and inclusiveness. LGBTQ+ representation is an integral part of the narrative, which is written so seamlessly and lovingly - it just all around warmed my heart. 

Crossings by Alex Landragin
Many thanks to St. Martin's Press for the gifted ARC of Crossings by Alex Landrigan! I haven’t seen this one on the early reader bookstagram radar, and I’m surprised because it’s a wildly fun premise...
A little bit fantasy, a little bit historical fiction, and a little bit mystery that can be read in two different ways. If you read it cover to cover, it is like reading the story from three separate, subsequent perspectives. If you decide to read in the “Baroness“ sequence, directions are given at the end of every section where to turn next, giving it an alternating perspective of telling of the story (and the nostalgia of Choose Your Own Adventure books). Naturally, I chose this method and thoroughly enjoyed watching the pieces of the puzzle come together. I also thought it would be easier to skim the opposite method of reading once I was done!
I won’t say too much about the contents of the book to avoid spoilers. But it felt reminiscent of Anne Brashares novel My Name is Memory, and the more recent Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow. I love the idea of souls destined to be together across time and space.
If that, along with Paris after the turn of the century, sounds like your cup of tea, definitely check out this book!

Go to Sleep, I Miss You by Lucy Knisley
Ah, Lucy Knisley just perfectly illustrates real life with her drawing and wit in every book she writes. I feel pretty far removed from the crazy baby days with a 10 and 13 year old, but ‘Go to Sleep, I Miss You’ made all those hazy memories rise to the surface. I even got out the baby books to peruse. Short and sweet, it’s a hilariously fun read for parents of any age!

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
This was as gorgeous, haunting, and of course, lyrical as I expected it to be. Usually I share a favorite quote from a book, but with  it is IMPOSSIBLE to choose. Her novels, written in verse, carry such emotional heft and absolutely captivate with her beautiful words.
It’s good going into this story about two girls who’s lives are mirror images, and yet worlds apart, without knowing too much. The way Acevedo masterfully lays out the plot and builds incredible tension, while also clearly illustrating the effects of race, class, misogyny and the power of women despite the patriarchy, is perfection.
Run, don’t walk to pick up this book. I’d also recommend The Poet X, and I’m so glad I already have With the Fire on High in my stacks at home!


  1. I enjoyed What You Wish For and plan to read more Center books since this was my first!

    Here are my recent reads, if interested:

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.