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July 2021 Wrap-up!

Here we are once again at the start of a new month. I truly have no idea where July went and now August has begun!

I went into the first few days of July expecting to read a few more historical romances before the end of the #HRReadathon but my mood reader brain just wasn’t feeling it. Then I got halfway through the month thinking I was extremely behind and would not have read much by the 30th. ‘Lo and behold, I ended up reading 9 books and DNF’ing 1.

On top of that reading, I also did a couple of re-reads as well as coming to a breakthrough in terms of my Catch Up goal!

But you’re here for the books so, without further ado, here’s what I read in July.

When Calls the Heart (Canadian West #1) by Janette Oke

This is the book I mentioned at the end of my June Wrap-up post that I was thinking could be a stretch for the #HRReadathon. While it does have some elements of romance, it is one of the least prominent aspects of the book and definitely could not be considered a romance… but more a coming of age story. I read this on Canada Day and it felt a bit conflicting with how sensitive I am to the current political climate in Canada right now surrounding much of the topics brought up in this book but looking past that to the (pardon the pun) ‘heart’ of the book, I found it a very sweet and wholesome story. Even if too many pages referenced the mice in her home. The ending did feel rushed and nothing really wow’ed me but I do eventually want to continue the series unless I can’t get through the noted concerns of book 2.

The Sea Before Us (Sunrise at Normandy #1) by Sarah Sundin

This book was so close to being perfect for me. It had so many detailed nuances and insights as well as having amazingly layered characters who each have their own history and obstacles. I don’t want to get too far into my thoughts with this one because I plan on writing a full review for it (eventually) but if you are looking for a historical fiction set in the 1940’s with unique characters and a (in my opinion) fresh take on writing war fiction, you need to pick this one up. I will certainly be continuing this series and grabbing more from this author.

Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

I borrowed this book and listened to most of it via audiobook whilst doing data entry at work and it was fascinating. Aside from the fact that it is interesting to learn about Einstein, I was more engrossed in the amount of correspondence that has apparently been saved between himself and various individuals which gives immeasurable insight into his life. The discussions around his actual work and equations, admittedly, went over my head but learning about his life kept me going. He was a very interesting fellow and I did not expect much of what I learned.

New Girl in Little Cove by Damhnait Monaghan

Such a sweet read. It isn’t often that I come across a book set in Eastern Canada but I new this was a must-read when I discovered it was historical fiction (set in the 1980’s which hurts my heart that it is considered ‘historical fiction’) about a French teacher from Toronto starting over after getting a job at a school in this small community. The cast of characters are such a treat and I loved every last one of them. There were definitely people who did not want a city girl taking jobs away from locals but the story was so wholesome and the growth of each of the characters was nearly perfect.

The Memory of Fire (The Waking Land #2) by Callie Bates

And here we come to the DNF’d book of the month. This is one I have held onto for literal years and was anticipating it to work for #ReadWhatYouOwn2021 but, alas, I could not finish it. I really wanted to because I remember really liking book 1 but I could not get invested in the character who’s POV we read from. Each book in this trilogy has a different POV and while I liked his character from book 1, I didn’t find I cared enough to have a whole book devoted to his journey while just getting nods to characters I had grown attached to in book 1. I did end up skimming through the whole thing so I do have an idea of the story as a whole and the outcome leading into book 3 but I can’t consider this properly read and I’m not going to continue with it.

The Revenant Express (Newbury and Hobbes #5) by George Mann

From one disappointing read to the next. With only 1 book left in this series (which comes out in August!) I have been holding off on reading this one so that I wouldn’t have long to wait between installments. I personally think this should have been one of the novellas that Mann offers from this world. Not required reading, but helpful when gaining insight into the world. It was very short and I could tell he tried to find a good balance between the cliffhanger ending of book 4 and the progression of the story while one character is not a part of the main plot in ‘present day’. It’s hard to say much because this is book 5 but I will say it fell very flat for me even though I am eagerly awaiting the series finale.

Very Sincerely Yours by Kerry Winfrey

Set in the same world as her adorable Tom Hanks duology, Winfrey brought in a brand new cast of characters who were incredibly unique but also very relateable. This is another I will do a full review for but I will say, Everett St. James is one of the most unique leading men I have read in a while and I really appreciated how she wrote him as a workaholic. Our leading lady, Teddy, took a few chapters for me to get on board with… actually, I’m still kind of iffy just based on how she first learns about Everett. It’s just a bit odd to me.

This Earl of Mine (The Bow Street Bachelors #1) by Kate Bateman

Another fun historical romance series to add to my ever-growing list. Having this series based around a group of Bow Street Runners was what piqued my interest with this series for sure. It’s not an avenue I have heard many writers work in so I wanted to give Bateman’s idea a shot. This one offers a marriage of convenience trope (which I don’t tend to lean towards) with our leading lady wanting to take control of her life and finances. Having a business savvy lady is almost a trope at this point as well but there were many ideas put forth in this story that did not make it seem like a re-hash of things I’ve already read. I will say, this ‘big confrontation’ was a bit anticlimactic for me and I think there could have been more but overall I enjoyed this one and will keep up with the series.

A Killer in King's Cove (Lane Winslow Mystery #1) and Death in a Darkening Mist (Lane Winslow Mystery #2) by Iona Whishaw

This series has quickly become a favourite and I am only 2 books in. I have the next 2 books on order and know I will devour those quickly as well. I was recommended this book by Kaley on Bookstagram after my regular gushes about the Veronica Speedwell Mysteries by Deanna Raybourn and I am so glad she told me about them. There 7 out at the moment and I am excited to follow Lane and Darling in their exploits in the Canadian West. Having this series being a historical fiction, set after the war, based in Canada, a cast of characters that are unbelievably detailed with backstories that are given at the perfect time, it’s next to perfection.

So there we have it! All the books I read in July.

I will say, I am pleasantly surprised at how many Canadian authors and Canadian settings I read from this month. It was not planned but was a very happy outcome - especially considering reading more Canadian books was part of my goals at the start of the year.

Hope your July reading was also successful and that August will be as well!

Until next time, keep reading ;)

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