Reading Wrap-Up: July 2020

Previously: Booker Longlist TBR 2020| Coming Soon: August TBR

Too Wicked to Kiss by Erica Ridley ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Too Wicked to Kiss is the series in a series of companion historical romance novels, this one with an urban fantasy element to it. It follows Evangeline, who has run away from her abusive stepfather and is supposed to help a friend of hers gain a marriage proposal from a broody, potentially murderous member of the ton. The catch is that whenever she touched someone she can see visions of their past or future. There’s also a murder mystery element to this book, so you can see that there is a lot to unpack. I really enjoyed this book and it took me completely by surprise. There are a lot of elements for Erica Ridley to balance but I think that she did it well. There was one tiny moment towards the end, barely even half a page that just felt like lazy writing but other than that I liked her writing. I was glad that it strayed away from mimicking an oppressively Victorian narrative voice, which I don’t usually enjoy, and that keeps it feeling fresh and vibrant. There’s also not as much romance in this book than you in typical historical romance because you have all these other things to balance it. That said it is a romance novel so prepare yourself accordingly for all that entails. Sometimes it felt a little campy, and I wich that Ridley had persisted with certain elements more but it was a wholly enjoyable and easy read. Technically this is a 3.5-star book, but I always round up, so it gets a four from me. It’s also free on the Amazon Kindle store in case you are interested in trying it out.

A Mourning Wedding by Carola Dunn ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The thirteenth book in the Daisy Dalrymple series, a cosy murder mystery series set in the 1920s, takes place at the wedding of Daisy’s best friend, Lucy. When Lucy’s Great Aunt Eva, known for collecting gossip on the members of the family, is killed the whole family comes under suspicion. This was a nice mystery because Carola Dunn made it really difficult to discount anybody. Even in the final few chapters, I was still changing my mind about who the murderer could be. There are a lot of characters, all members of Lucy’s family, and there is a family tree in the begining to help you with identification. However, you don’t need to memorise the conncetions and I found that you could just pick it up as you read. I appreciated that it was a secluded location murder so that the suspect pool was restricted. Unfortunately, the ending was a little abrupt which was a shame but overall a nice addition to the series.

Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cocaine Blues is the first book in the Phryne Fisher series of cosy murder mysteries set in 1920s Australia. The book follows Phryne who travels to Australia to investigate whether a woman is being poisoned by her husband, on the request of her parents. Once there she finds herself embroiled not only in that mystery but also a drugs ring, and a dodgy abortionist. In all honesty, I picked this up because it is short and available as an e-Audiobook from my library. I wanted an easy mystery and that’s exactly what I got, no more no less. It was enjoyable, and even though I’d seen the Netflix adaptation I was pleasantly surprised by the reveal at the end. I would say that I do prefer the Netflix show because the relationships between the characers are stronger, but that may change as the series continues. Overall a perfectly fine cosy mystery and worth a read if you’re looking for something of this genre. 

Bloom by Kevin Panetta and Savannah Ganucheau ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Bloom is a graphic novel that follows two boys, working in a bakery. The boys, Ari who would rather be anywhere else, and Hector who loves baking, find themselves bonding over bread and romance ensues. I absolutely adored this book because it was just so damn adorable. It took me only a couple of hours to read the whole thing and I desperately wished that there was more. While it is a love story between Ari and Hector, it’s not a coming-out story so all out the care and attention was on them and their relationship. While the majority of the book focuses on the two of them, we do get glimpses of the relationships between other characters. Although there glimpses are short they’re so well written and illustrated that we learn so much. The scene between Ari’s parents making dough is the perfect example. I really did adore Bloom and would love to see more from this team. It’s the sort of book that I see myself gravitating towards as the perfect summery comfort read.

Bound by Love by Cora Reilly ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The sixth book in this mafia-romance series takes us back to the beginning by following our original pairing, Aria and Luca. I’ll always have a soft spot for these two over some of the other couple because they were the first. Unlike that first book, the perspective is split between the two of them which I love, and it was great to see how they’ve grown over the previous books. When it comes to the plot and pacing things begin to get a little messy. Half of the book is snapshots of how they experienced various events of other books, which was interesting but as it wasn’t new you had to be invested in the characters over the plot. This part also jumped around a lot. You’d get a couple of chapters from the events of Bound by Hatred and the skip to events from Bound by Temptation, which did not feel cohesive. However, it does catch you up on the series if you skipped a book or if it’s been a while. The second half was a lot stronger as it had a plotline all of its own. I read the second half in a single sitting because it was that compelling. Overall, this book was a bit of a mixed bag but if you enjoy Luca and Aria then this is a great chance to spend more time with them.

Agatha Raisin and the Faries of Fryfam by M.C Beaton ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The tenth Agatha Raisin cosy murder mystery takes us to the village of Fryfam where Agatha has rented a cottage on the advice of a fortune teller. With strange lights at the bottom of the garden, which the locals claim to be faeries, a burglary, and a murder Agatha soon finds that she has her hands full. This was a really nice addition to the series and probably one of the better instalments. I am beginning to miss the Carsley crowd, but a new location does give us a fresh cast of characters, or should I say supects. The pacing was lovely, and the book was nice and short. I’ve noticed as I’ve read this series that the less James Lacey is in the book the more I like it. James Lacey is barely in the book at all, give or take a couple of paragraphs from his POV, and that was just right for me. Unfortunately, in the next book he will be playing a bigger role and that makes me very nervous.

White Nights by Fyodor Dostoyevsky ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This Penguin Little Black classic collects two of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s short stories, ‘White Nights’ and ‘Bobok’, both of which appear in the collection The Gambler and Other Stories’. I initially picked it up because it inspired the Andre Aciman book Eight White Nights and I was not disappointed. It’s a bittersweet love story between two strangers, which is exactly what I love to read. The second story ‘Bobok’ reminded me a lot of another book I loved, Lincon in the Bardoby George Saunders, as a frustrated writer ends up listening in to the conversations of the dead. While this may seem vastly different from the first story they both have this sense of opportunity to them, and fate, and made for an interesting little read. I would highly recommend if you want to try a bit of Dostoyevsky, as it is refreshingly concise and both have a very modern feel to them despite being nineteenth century stories.

Conventionally Yours by Annabeth Albert ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I challenge you to find a cuter romance than this one. Oh wait, it doesn’t exist. Conventially Yours is a new adult-ish contemporary romance set around the fictional card game, Odyssey. The boys are rivals in the game but find that they have more in common than they thought as they road trip to the convention in the hopes of winning the big prize. It’s told in dual perspectives which I love, and it ticked a lot of other boxes for me, such as rivals to lovers, and overall geekiness. There was so much depth to both characters that even though this is a romance, you don’t feel as thoguh the romance is the only thing driving the plot. The only problem I had with this book was that the second to last chapter did something which messed up the pacing slightly, and I wished that the conversation could have happened at a more low-key setting. Other than that I loved this book and will be recommending it to everyone. 

Dreamfever by Karen M. Moning ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Captain America, Vol.2: Captain of Nothing by Ta-Nehisi Coates ⭐️⭐️

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ [Coming Soon]

The Tower of Fools by Andrezj Sapkowski ⭐️⭐️⭐️ [Coming Soon]

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