July TBR

I will be participating in the Battle of the Bands readathon in July and am on Team Journey, but my plan is to mood read. Click here if you want to learn more about the readathon and to see the prompts.

Sometimes the past refuses to remain buried. Salem, Massachusetts, has built a thriving industry of tourism on the foundations of its dark past. But, beneath the seaside charm, bewitching shops, and seasonal surge of witches and thrill-seekers, the ancient darkness still lurks. Oblivious to the brewing danger, Skye Temple buys an historic house in the witch capital of the world and on her first day uncovers a skeleton and ancestral diaries in her new home’s library. In escalating events of magic and murder, Skye discovers her true bloodlines and a familial birth task that involves guarding a powerful knife. Police officer Jerome Phips has been searching for answers to his mother’s disappearance for 30 years. She’d vanished during a ritual, and none of the other coven members had information about that night. So, when he receives the phone call about a skeleton and its location, his heart beats with hope and fear that he might finally know the truth. As information unfolds and danger heightens, Jerome discovers Skye’s relationship with one of the people present during the disastrous ritual. Though anger and blame make it difficult to work together, Jerome and Skye must overcome emotions to prevent the darkness from returning and fulfilling its own long-awaited task.

There is a new book club called The Black Hat Book Coven where they exclusively read witchy books. I adore witchy books, so you know I had to join. The July book is A Witch’s Lament, the first book in The Salem Witches series. I had never heard of this before but it is on KU and it has witches, so I will give it a try.

Okay, hear me out! I know that Rejection and Possession are books I would never read on my own, but I have friends on Booktube who are doing a read-along and I decided to join in. I have to admit that I had so much fun with the first book, Obsession. These are cringy, ridiculous, steamy, and full of silly one-liners but I flew through book one and haven’t laughed that much in ages. We are reading a book in the series every two weeks, so I will get through two more in July.

If you want to hear more of my thoughts, I read the first few chapters with friends on a live stream!

This richly told adult fantasy debut teems with Chinese deities and demons cavorting in jazz age Shanghai.

Pawned by her mother to the King of Hell as a child, Lady Jing is half-vampire, half-hulijing fox-spirit and all sasshole. As the King’s ward, she has spent the past ninety years running errands, dodging the taunts of the spiteful hulijing courtiers, and trying to control her explosive temper – with varying levels of success.

So when Jing overhears the courtiers plotting to steal a priceless dragon pearl from the King, she seizes her chance to expose them, once and for all.

With the help of a gentle mortal tasked with setting up the Central Bank of Hell, Jing embarks on a wild chase for intel, first through Hell and then mortal Shanghai. But when her hijinks put the mortal in danger, she must decide which is more important: avenging her loss of face, or letting go of her half-empty approach to life for a chance to experience tenderness – and maybe even love.

I am currently failing at reading my Fairyloot books, but I am hoping to get back on track starting with Shanghai Immortal. I love books about Chinese mythology but you add in the fact that the main character is half-vampire and you know that this is something I need to read ASAP!

The prophecy of the nameless god—the words that declared Malini the rightful empress of Parijatdvipa—has proven a blessing and curse. She is determined to claim the throne that fate offered her. But even with the strength of the rage in her heart and the army of loyal men by her side, deposing her brother is going to be a brutal and bloody fight.

The power of the deathless waters flows through Priya’s blood. Thrice born priestess, Elder of Ahiranya, Priya’s dream is to see her country rid of the rot that plagues it: both Parijatdvipa’s poisonous rule, and the blooming sickness that is slowly spreading through all living things. But she doesn’t yet understand the truth of the magic she carries.

Their chosen paths once pulled them apart. But Malini and Priya’s souls remain as entwined as their destinies. And they soon realize that coming together is the only way to save their kingdom from those who would rather see it burn—even if it will cost them.

There are a few sequels I want to catch up on, starting with reading The Oleander Sword, the second book in the Burning Kingdoms series. The Jasmine Throne was one of my favourite books of 2021, so I cannot believe we are halfway through 2023 and I haven’t read the sequel yet.

First, there was a trunk. Inside the trunk was an egg, and inside the egg was…

Well, it certainly was not a chicken.

Miss Mildred Percy, former wallflower and current adventurer, is now in charge of a dragon. Along with Mr. Wiggan and Mrs. Babbinton — our stalwart companions from the first volume of Miss Percy’s adventures — she embarks on a journey across Wales, in search of the mysterious Nyth y Ddraig, or Nest of Dragons.

But traveling with a young dragon in an unfamiliar land proves more difficult than anticipated. Between angry mobs, midnight rescues, and recalcitrant sheep, they battle (figuratively) their way across the countryside, defend themselves against enemies old and new, and discover something remarkable hidden in the mountains of Wales.

Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons was my favourite finalist for SPFBO 8 and I bought the sequel, Miss Percy’s Travel Guide to Welsh Moors and Feral Dragons, right away. Here we are months later and it is sitting on my shelves unread. I loved these characters and cannot wait to see where the story goes!

Halla is a housekeeper who has suddenly inherited her great-uncle’s estate… and, unfortunately, his relatives. Sarkis is an immortal swordsman trapped in a prison of enchanted steel. When Halla draws the sword that imprisons him, Sarkis finds himself attempting to defend his new wielder against everything from bandits and roving inquisitors to her own in-laws… and the sword itself may prove to be the greatest threat of all.

I didn’t read anything by T. Kingfisher in June, which is not acceptable, so I would ideally like to read a couple of her books in July, but Swordheart is the priority. I know that this is so many readers’ favourite book of hers, so to say I am excited is an understatement.

Flor has a gift: she can predict, to the day, when someone will die. So when she decides she wants a living wake–a party to bring her family and community together to celebrate the long life she’s led–her sisters are surprised. Has Flor forseen her own death, or someone else’s? Does she have other motives? She refuses to tell her sisters, Matilde, Pastora, and Camila.

But Flor isn’t the only person with secrets. Matilde has tried for decades to cover the extent of her husband’s infidelity, but she must now confront the true state of her marriage. Pastora is typically the most reserved sister, but Flor’s wake motivates this driven woman to solve her sibling’s problems. Camila is the youngest sibling, and often the forgotten one, but she’s decided she no longer wants to be taken for granted.

And the next generation, cousins Ona and Yadi, face tumult of their own: Yadi is reuniting with her first love, who was imprisoned when they were both still kids; Ona is married for years and attempting to conceive. Ona must decide whether it’s worth it to keep trying–to have a child, and the anthropology research that’s begun to feel lackluster.

Spanning the three days prior to the wake, Family Lore traces the lives of each of the Marte women, weaving together past and present, Santo Domingo and New York City. Told with Elizabeth Acevedo’s inimitable and incandescent voice, this is an indelible portrait of sisters and cousins, aunts and nieces–one family’s journey through their history, helping them better navigate all that is to come.

I have an eARC of Family Lore, which comes out on August 1st. I would love to read and review this before release day because I absolutely adore Elizabeth Acevedo and I am excited to read her adult debut.

Heartstopper meets A Knight’s Tale in this queer medieval rom com YA debut about love, friendship, and being brave enough to change the course of history.

It’s been hundreds of years since King Arthur’s reign. His descendant, Arthur, a future Lord and general gadabout, has been betrothed to Gwendoline, the quick-witted, short-tempered princess of England, since birth. The only thing they can agree on is that they despise each other.

They’re forced to spend the summer together at Camelot in the run up to their nuptials, and within 24 hours, Gwen has discovered Arthur kissing a boy and Arthur has gone digging for Gwen’s childhood diary and found confessions about her crush on the kingdom’s only lady knight, Bridget Leclair.

Realizing they might make better allies than enemies, they make a reluctant pact to cover for each other, and as things heat up at the annual royal tournament, Gwen is swept off her feet by her knight and Arthur takes an interest in Gwen’s royal brother. Lex Croucher’s Gwen and Art Are Not in Love is chock full of sword-fighting, found family, and romantic shenanigans destined to make readers fall in love.

I read Reputation by Lex Croucher and had a great time with it, especially on audio, and I have an eARC of Gwen and Art Are Not in Love. This does not come out until November, but I am too excited about it to wait any longer. I mean… Heartstopper meets A Knight’s Tale?

An ambitious wedding planner must work with her grumpy florist ex, whose heart she broke, on the most high-profile wedding of her career, in this spicy and emotional romance from popular fanfic author Julie Soto.

He loves me; he loves me not…

Ama Torres loves being a wedding planner. But with a mother who has been married more times than you can count on your fingers, Ama has decided that marriage is not the route for her. But weddings? Weddings are amazing. As a small business owner, she knows how to match her clients with the perfect vendor to give them the wedding of their dreams. Well, almost perfect…

Elliot hates being a florist, most of the time. When his father left him the flower shop, he considered it a burden, but he’s stuck with it. Just like how he’s stuck with the way he proposed to Ama, his main collaborator and girlfriend (or was she?) two years ago. But flowers have grown on him, just like Ama did. And flowers can’t run off and never speak to him again, like Ama did. 

When Ama is hired to plan a celebrity wedding that will bring her business national exposure, there’s a catch: Elliot is already contracted to design the flowers. Things are not helped by the two brides, who see the obvious chemistry between Ama and Elliot and are determined to set them up, not knowing their complicated history. Add in a meddling ex-boss, and a reality TV film crew documenting every step of the wedding prep, and Ama and Elliot’s hearts are not only in jeopardy again, but this time, their livelihoods are too.

I have an ALC of Forget Me Not and I cannot wait to read to it! Everyone seems to be loving it and I am always drawn to romances set around weddings and wedding planning in particular.

What is on your July TBR?

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