July Reading Wrap-Up

I feel like it’s been ages since I read some of these…
July was a loooong month! 

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood – Paranormal romance is not normally my thing and witch stories, especially, don’t usually hold my interest. That said, I absolutely adore Born Wicked. Jessica Spotswood writes beautifully and even though her story has a historical setting, her protagonist, Cate, is no delicate flower. She’s smart and strong and determined — I love her. Also, I’d heard a lot about the steamy kisses in this book. They do NOT  disappoint. Born Wicked‘s ending was a heartbreaker. I can’t wait to read its follow-up, Star Cursed.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo – My heart broke a thousand times while reading this gorgeous middle grade story, and the final pages gave me chills. Edward Tulane‘s themes of giving and accepting love are relayed with such nuance, and main character Edward, a ceramic rabbit who likes fine clothing (YES), is incredibly compelling. This book’s chapters are short and its language is unembellished, but the story is so profound. If you’ve got kiddos, I highly recommend reading Edward Tulane with them.

Dare You To by Katie McGarry – Pretty much what I expected. Entertaining, sexy, and full of drama. I like a dual narration in romance novels, and Katie McGarry pulls of both Beth’s and Ryan’s voices fantastically. If you’re a fan of Pushing the Limits, you’ll like Dare You To. Noah and Echo even make a few appearances!

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin – The Westing Game was an entertaining  middle grade read. The characters were interesting and the mystery was cool, but the story didn’t have the emotional impact necessary for me to fall truly in love with it. My full YA Book Club post is HERE.

The House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell – This is a strange novel. It’s very literary — beautifully written, but unconventional. The story centers around a husband and wife who live in seclusion and struggle through some intense (and graphically described) fertility issues. Their marriage is a trip — I was never quite sure what was real and what was conjured by the damaged imaginations of the characters. If you like a book that’s different and dark and surreal, The House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods might be the story for you.

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken – Yowza… This book was a wild ride. It’s a dark dystopian thriller with tons of twists and turns, and a core group of four characters who I came to truly adore. Chubs, especially, won my love, and Liam is a total heartthrob.  The Darkest Minds is a complex book with heavy themes and heavy moments. It left me with plenty of questions, most of which will hopefully be answered in the next installment of this trilogy, Never Fade.

All I Need by Susane Colasanti – This book came at just the right time — I was looking for something airy and beachy and romantic, and All I Need is those things and more. It’s a fast read, dual narration, and very sweet. It reminded me a bit of Judy Blume’s Forever… in its earnestness and portrayal of two real teens just trying to make their love work. Check it out of you’re looking for a contemporary YA to set the tone for your summer.

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys – I love this book so, so much. Main character Josie’s life is brutal, but she experiences moments of such sincere beauty. Out of the Easy is layered with a cast of fantastically riveting characters, and its setting (gritty 1950 New Orleans) is enchanting. I urge you to pick this one up if you’re looking for a historical novel that’s equal parts mesmerizing and affecting.

OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu – More on this book next week in a pending Bookanista/Debut Author Challenge post, but for now I’ll just say that OCD Love Story is outstanding — one of my favorite debuts of the year. The voice is contemporary YA perfection. Main character Bea’s struggle with OCD is gripping and distressing, yet she possesses an irresistible quirkiness that makes her a narrator you’ll want to befriend. A big ol’ recommend!

Tell me: What’s the best book you read in July? 

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14 responses to “July Reading Wrap-Up

  1. Oh my goodness you go through so many books this month! Jealous! I’ve been looking forward to OCD, and after your review, I think I need to bump it up my TBR list. 🙂

    • I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, Erin. I think you’ll love OUT OF THE EASY, too, as well as TIGER LILY, which I finished last night. Happy reading!

  2. I’m actually reading Dare You To right now (about 3/4 thru it). I admit I struggled a bit at first because Beth was just so damaged and so abrasive. The slow arc of her character has been good to follow.

    But my favorite his month was Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. Excellent end to the series. And I thought the epilogue was going to have me completely unglued. I was a weepy mess. 🙂

    • Beth was hard for me to like at first too, Tanya, but she grew on me. Ryan was definitely a fun character to read as well. I’m sort of embarrassed to admit that I’ve never read anything by Cassandra Clare. Clearly I need to change that before CITY OF BONES comes out in theaters. 🙂

  3. I’m adding EDWARD TULANE to my list – all I can think of is how much I loved THE VELVETEEN RABBIT when I was a kid 🙂

  4. Such a great round-up of books, Katy! I haven’t read most of what you’ve listed here, so I know I have plenty of great reads to look forward to. I just finished reading THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, and it was light, fun, and cute. And I kind of loved Xander, the love interest. 🙂

    • I’m really looking forward to THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, Jaime. It totally seems like one I’d like, especially since the love interest is apparently appealing. 😉

  5. I just finished Dare You To, too! It was very good. I got very involved in the characters, and it even brought me to tears a few times. That’s not easy for a writer to do.

    Born Wicked looks wonderful. I’ve heard a lot of things about Jessica Spotswood, but I haven’t tried any of her books yet. I really need to.

  6. I love the sound of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, I’ll definitely need to look our for that one. I also must read Out of the Easy and Birn Wicked. I’ve heard such great things about them.

    The best books I read this month were Something Like Normal and Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell.

    Hope you find lots of great reads in August!

    • Aaah! I love SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL. Trish Doller is one of my favorites. 🙂 And please let me know what you think of EDWARD TULANE, OUT OF THE EASY, and BORN WICKED when you get around to reading them. I adored all three!

  7. WOW quite an impressive round-up and there are a LOT in there I want to pick up very soon 🙂