We officially entered the second half of 2023! Time flies but despite it all, I still managed to read a good amount in July. I listened to four audiobooks and read six physical and/or ebooks, making it one of my best months in a while. These are my July 2023 book reviews.
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
I finally managed to read this controversial book a couple of years after its hype died down. I won’t have anything much to add to the discussion other than the fact that it was a great depiction of Mexican immigrants trying to flee the cartel’s experience.
Although the issue most people had with the book is because the author is white, the writing and the storyline are well executed. I do not take offense to the fact that it is a white woman who wrote a book about a marginalized community. She did an in-depth research on the subject that was well-related and easy to follow.
Let’s not forget that it is a work of fiction after all. She never pretended to have experienced any of the things the characters in her book did. Hence, I thought the book was decent overall.
I didn’t rate it higher because I thought it was a tad too long and I didn’t connect with the story nor the characters. But I had no issues with the book itself either.
Read it for yourselves before forming an opinion on it.
Death In Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh
This book was so disappointing to me! Although the author writes eloquently, the storyline was boring and the plot nonexistent.
It is the inner monologue of a seventy something year old widow who rebuilt her life after losing her husband. Her brooding and self-obsession borders on psychotic, and the author captures that throughout the narration. But honestly, about halfway through the book I just stopped caring what she thought. I just wanted it over.
The only reason I powered through is because I thought the ending will make up for the lack of action. But nope, it was as underwhelming as the rest of the story. I was generous and gave it two stars because the author is a great writer.
The Connellys of County Down by Tracey Lange
As the first book I read by this author, I must say that I loved it. I heard great things about her debut novel We Are The Brennans. Hence, I was curious about this new release coming out August 1st. I recently bought the ebook for her debut novel, so I’ll definitely read it at some point in the future.
The Connellys of County Down is a family drama that centers around the three Connely siblings, who lost their parents when they were still children.
The author weaves a deep web of tangled character flaws, disappointments and betrayals, yet a fierce sense of loyalty and love. Like most families, The Connellys have their issues, which only come to light in the last quarter of the book.
The book is heavy on character development, with an ending that was very hopeful. The author left us with a positive outcome, which I enjoyed. The storyline had me rooting for them while I was getting transported into the siblings’ lives.
Although it was a feel-good, well developed family drama, I thought it was a bit slow to start. It did make up for it towards the end, and I couldn’t put it down. I definitely recommend it.
Thank you Celadon Books, NetGalley, and Tracey Lange for my chance to read and review it.
All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir
I listened to this book on audio, and it was an overall pleasant experience. The author is best known for young adult books, but this one can be considered adult literary fiction. Very well written, the narration was also on point for this audio. It was a sad tale but one that had a hopeful ending. I don’t want to give away more than that, but it tied up nicely at the end, which I appreciated.
Family is at the center of this book, as well as themes of young love, regret and forgiveness. There are a few other trigger warnings such as alcoholism and racism, which the author tackles with raw honesty and poignancy. Her writing is sublime, and although it is considered a YA fiction novel, it can resonate with adults as well.
I enjoyed this book very much, enough to give it 4 stars on Goodreads. The reason I didn’t give it five stars is because a couple of the characters irritated me, but that doesn’t take anything from the deep message the book sent out. Heart wrenching, it will make you feel many emotions while reading.
Really Good, Actually by Monica Heisey
Maggie is recently separated after being with her husband for many years. Although they were married for a short 18 months or so, they started dating from very young, in their late teens. So the story follows her journey through the first year after her separation. It is interesting to see how she tries to figure out who she is on her own.
The realization that has never been alone as an adult is shocking to Maggie. The way she deals with it is unique, to say the least. The things that stress her out and the decisions she makes are comical at times, but also stupid at times. I loved Maggie’s messy, weird thought processes and neediness. She’s not a great friend while she’s going through her divorce. But the fact that she’s willing to put in the work in order to figure out what she is all about is admirable.
This is my favorite book of the month, from a Canadian author I will read again.
Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin
This is a different type of mystery, it can almost be considered a satirical novel that contains some thrilling aspects.
That being said, I thought it was enjoyable and funny for most parts, even though people died in this story. The author approached this plot from a very unique perspective, but I didn’t love it. Many people enjoyed the style, but I wasn’t crazy about it.
If you’re into thrillers that don’t take themselves too seriously and have a humorous side, then I suggest you grab it. But it’s not one that will pop into my head when someone asks for a rec.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
I finally took the plunge and embarked in the mystical world of Alex Stern and the Ninth House. The secret societies from Yale are the subject of much mystery and speculation, and Alex has been given the chance to uncover them. The way those societies are structured and function is complex. The fantastical side of the story was one of my favorite parts of the book, but so was the murder mystery. Although the book was categorized as fantasy, it contains dark academia and mystery/thriller vibes.
Since I listened to it on audio, I am certain I missed some important details, soi ill have to get back to you in the future. I gave it four stars, but I’m certain that if one of these days I’ll read the physical book, my rating might go up. Will keep you posted!
The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh
The book had a very slow start, but it did pick up in the last third. I probably would’ve dnf, but it was part of the LaughLoveMurder book club, so I decided to see it through. I’m not sad I did, although I thought it had too many unnecessary details, hence my rating. I gave it 3 stars, but struggled to get into the story. The first part of the book left me feeling frustrated, and I couldn’t connect with the characters. But once the secret Emma kept from her husband was revealed, the pace picked up. Then I found myself devouring the book.
Curiosity got the best of me, but I wondered what was up with Jill at the end? It felt like more was needed to be developed with that story. I didn’t get that part. In my opinion, it was irrelevant to the overall storyline.
There were too many twists that were far-fetched, but the plot was entertaining. Would I recommend it to anyone? I guess if you’re into books that contain lots of details and multiple twists, you might enjoy it more than I did. If not, you can probably skip this one.
One Italian Summer by Rebecca Searle
This is a great summer book to read. It has the perfect setting, delicious food references, and there is a feel-good story at its core. I will not review it here, and you’ll soon understand why. I must say that I loved listening to its audio. It was the perfect book to listen to pre-vacation. Now I’m looking forward to my travels even more! Look out for my full thoughts on it next month!
You Were Always Mine by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza
I finished the month with this arc that came out on June 13th from Atria Books. Thank you NetGalley, Simon & Schuster, Atria Books, and of course the authors, Christine Pride and Jo Piazza for my chance to read and review this book.
As usual, I’m behind on my arc readings from NetGalley, but at least I’m making my way through the list, one book at a time.
From the writers of We Are Not Like Them, this new book continues with the black and white themes that are still present in the US in our day and age. Although it has a brand new story with completely different characters, the underlying message is very similar to their debut novel.
How it differs from their debut is how the question of motherhood is approached. It was another important theme the book was centered around. Not to mention the way experiences shape us into becoming who we are. As we grow and mature our perspectives change, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. What we thought was really important to us in our twenties is most likely not the same as we approach forty.
The authors managed to blend these different topics into a work of fiction that is highly relatable. Eye opening, emotional and beautifully woven, the story of Cinnamon will not leave you unmoved.
If you want something to read that is well developed yet emotional, this book might be for you.
All in all, July was very decent reading-wise! I hope you enjoyed my reviews of all ten books I read this month.
Which ones were your favorite books in July? Which books are you looking forward to reading in August? Let me know in the comments box below.
Until next month, my fellow bookworms. Keep reading lots of great books!