July 2021 Wrap Up

Okay, so I’ve just come back and am already starting to fall behind… whoops, my bad! I didn’t realize how disorganized I’d gotten behind the scenes, as well. This post took me longer than usual to pull together because I apparently didn’t care about my own sanity and didn’t write in my planner at all this month.

Sure I had an amazing camping trip, and yes I found time to read during the month.

But by not writing anything down I forced myself to have to sift through all my books – physical, eBooks, AudioBooks – along with my library history to try and remember what I’d read when. I could more or less put together the timeline based on notes (especially date stamped eBook notes) and where I remember reading the stories.

All that means that this might not be as complete a list as it should be. My bad. Here’s hoping I remembered everything I read in the month of July.

.

Obligatory pictures of Yzma:

.

Or, check out my BookStagram account @PhantomOfTheLibrary1995 (which I will definitely be posting to as soon as I finish this dang move):

.

Without further ado, here are my reading stats for June 2021:


**For reference: Physical bookseBooksAudioBooks, Kindle Unlimited, and Library Books**

.

Total titles completed: 21

Total pages read: 5705 pages (avg. 272 pages)

Average rating: 2.9 stars


Completed Books:

  1. Dark, Witch & Creamy by H.Y. Hanna (Bewitched by Chocolate, Book 1)[2 stars] 464 pages
  2. Witch Chocolate Fudge by H.Y Hanna (Bewitched by Chocolate, Book 2)[2 stars] 266 pages
  3. Witch Summer Night’s Cream by H.Y Hanna (Bewitched by Chocolate, Book 3)[2 stars] 465 pages
  4. Blood, Sweets and Tears by H.Y Hanna (Bewitched by Chocolate, Book 4)[2 stars] 282 pages
  5. Bonbons and Broomsticks by H.Y Hanna (Bewitched by Chocolate, Book 5)[2.5 stars] 272 pages
  6. Double, Double, Toil and Truffle by H.Y Hanna (Bewitched by Chocolate, Book 6)[2.5 stars] 358 pages
  7. Salted Caramel Sorcery by H. Y. Hanna (Bewitched by Chocolate, Book 7)[3 stars] 394 pages
  8. Stolen Goblin Bride by Emma Hamm (Stolen Brides of the Fae, Book 1)[3 stars] 118 pages
  9. Stolen Mage Bride by Sylvia Mercedes (Stolen Brides of the Fae, Book 2)[2.5 stars] 170 pages
  10. Stolen Midsummer Bride by Tara Grayce (Stolen Brides of the Fae, Book 3)[4 stars] 193 pages
  11. Stolen Shadow Bride by S.M. Gaither (Stolen Brides of the Fae, Book 4)[3 stars] 183 pages
  12. Stolen Ice Bride by Angela J. Ford (Stolen Brides of the Fae, Book 5)[3 stars] 110 pages
  13. Stolen Threadwitch Bride by Clare Sager (Stolen Brides of the Fae, Book 6)[3.5 stars] 238 pages
  14. Stolen Thorn Bride by Kenley Davidson (Stolen Brides of the Fae, Book 7)[4 stars] 224 pages
  15. Stolen Mayfly Bride by Sarah K.L. Wilson (Stolen Brides of the Fae, Book 8)[4.5 stars] 105 pages
  16. Soulbound by Bethany Adams (Return of the Elves, Book 1)[2.5 stars] 255 pages
  17. Witch’s Bell 1 by Odette C. Bell (Witch’s Bell, Book 1)[3.5 stars] 324 pages
  18. The Royal Companion by Tanya Bird (The Companion, Book 1)[4 stars] 320 pages
  19. The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke (The Assassin’s Curse, Book 1)[3 stars] 298 pages
  20. The Palace of Lost Memories by C.J. Archer (After the Rift, Book 1)[4.5 stars] 262 pages
  21. The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella (Goodreads)[3 stars] 404 pages

.


.

Wrap Up:

Dark, Witch & Creamy by H.Y. Hanna:

Caitlyn’s world changes when she learns that she was found as an abandoned baby and adopted by her American family. Now, her search for answers takes her to the tiny English village of Tillyhenge where a man has been murdered by witchcraft – and where a mysterious shop selling enchanted chocolates is home to the “local witch”…

Soon Caitlyn finds herself fending off a toothless old vampire, rescuing an adorable kitten and meeting handsome aristocrat Lord James Fitzroy… not to mention discovering that she herself might have magical blood in her veins!

When she’s dragged into the murder investigation and realizes that dark magic is involved, Caitlyn is forced to choose. Can she embrace her witchy powers in time to solve the mystery and save those she loves?

I’ll admit, this series isn’t the most well written. But it is an incredibly enjoyable read. The plot of all of these books is quite predictable, but in a fun way. Sure I wasn’t really shocked by what I read here, but I had fun watching things unfold along the way.

This, the first book in the series, does a pretty good job at setting the scene for the series that is to come. Set mostly in a small village in the British countryside, the characters are all up in each others’ business. And while I’d hate that being my actual life, I certainly love that atmosphere in the worlds I read about.

This book must have done something right to get me to pick up the next 6 books in the series. And read them all in the span of just a couple of weeks.

.

Witch Chocolate Fudge by H.Y Hanna:

Since arriving in the tiny Cotswolds village of Tillyhenge, Caitlyn is discovering that there are lots of perks to being a witch (although sadly, magic still can’t make your thighs thinner or stop you acting like an idiot every time you meet handsome “lord of the manor”, James Fitzroy).

But when the nasty housekeeper at Huntingdon Manor is murdered and Caitlyn becomes the main suspect, she finds herself surrounded by suspicious villagers. With the help of her sassy American cousin, a mischievous black kitten and a slobbering English mastiff – not to mention the old village witch and her shop of enchanted chocolates – Caitlyn sets out to clear her name.

She soon realizes that this is no simple murder. Her sleuthing leads her to an ancient ring with mythical powers – a ring worth killing for. But with a few clever spells and some chocolate magic, Caitlyn just might solve the mystery – and find her real family too!

In this story, the little village starts coming together more and more – that is to say, the setting itself. Not the people. The people are still incredibly divided when it comes to all things magic – both perceived and real. Caitlyn is starting to understand herself better, but she’s still not confident in her magic or herself.

.

Witch Summer Night’s Cream by H.Y Hanna:

Caitlyn is looking forward to Midsummer’s Eve in the tiny English village of Tillyhenge. Celebrating the summer solstice can be fun – especially when your grandmother is a witch with an enchanted chocolate shop! But when a teenage girl is murdered and a priceless love potion goes missing, Caitlyn and her cousins are plunged into a puzzling mystery.

Is the girl’s death connected to the midnight bonfires at the ancient stone circle? What about the two strangers who recently arrived in the village? With her naughty black kitten and toothless old vampire uncle (not to mention handsome British aristocrat, Lord James Fitzroy!) all lending a helping hand, Caitlyn sets out to do some magical sleuthing.

But Midsummer’s Eve is fast approaching and spells are going disastrously wrong… can Caitlyn use her newfound witch powers to find the killer – and maybe even mend a broken heart?

Three books into the world, and I’ve got to say that it was at this point I decided to get the rest of the stories. It’s nice to sit down and read a story that’s just pure fun. Sometimes things might get serious, but that doesn’t detract from the simple enjoyment that I got from reading these books.

Plus a little love potion never hurt anyone. (I’m kidding!)

.

Blood, Sweets and Tears by H.Y. Hanna:

When novice witch Caitlyn Le Fey heads to the outdoor cinema festival at a beautiful Cotswolds manor, the last thing she expects is for the evening to end in murder. But when a dead man is found with fang marks in his neck and her old vampire uncle, Viktor, is arrested, Caitlyn must use all her newfound magic powers to clear his name.
Sleuthing isn’t simple, however, with so many strangers arriving at her grandmother’s enchanted chocolate shop: there’s the secretive village tenant with creepy Goth tastes, the inscrutable new butler at Huntingdon Manor–and a charming Frenchman keen to win Caitlyn’s heart. And that’s before she has to master the art of making the perfect chocolate soufflé or deal with a Levitation spell gone horribly wrong! Still, at least she has the help of a friendly English mastiff and her naughty kitten, Nibs, not to mention her sassy American cousin and all the village gossips!
Then a wild goose chase leads to an unexpected discovery and Caitlyn realises that she’s missed a clue under her nose all along. Can she solve the mystery–and maybe even discover Lord James Fitzroy’s real feelings for her? Or will she succumb to a vampire’s fatal bite?

I enjoyed this installation of the series for its simple murder mystery case. The clues were fun to tease out of the story, to put together and solve the case. Caitlyn’s adorable kitten familiar doesn’t hurt, either.

Fitzroy and Caitlyn’s love story might not be straightforward, but at least there’s some movement happening here. Maybe not always in the best direction, but movement nonetheless.

.

Bonbons and Broomsticks by H.Y. Hanna:

Caitlyn is settling into life as a novice witch in an English village chocolate shop – although she’s finding the hardest magic to master is making caramel sauce without burning it! When two men are murdered, and a ghostly black hound is seen haunting the countryside, the village gossips are sure dark witchcraft is to blame. Caitlyn decides to do a little magical sleuthing of her own. Luckily, she has her very own shape-shifter to help (even if he does come in the shape of a toothless old vampire) not to mention her naughty kitten Nibs, and her sassy American cousin!

But her investigation soon leads to unexpected revelations about the mysterious runestone necklace she’s worn since a baby. Can Caitlyn find the killer and unlock the secrets of her past? And will she ever convince the dashing Lord James Fitzroy to accept who she really is?

I’ll admit, I’m still curious about Caitlyn’s past. Something serious had to have happened for her to be abandoned when she was a babe. I hope to uncover Caitlyn’s past along with her, to discover what it is about her past that’s such a big secret.

Her vampire uncle’s slip ups about her mother’s past continue to tease at the truth. Giving just enough of a glimpse to intrigue but not enough to give the entire mystery away. Nibs might be an adorable part of the story, but it’s the mystery of Caitlyn’s past – and the cheesy romance elements – that keep me coming back for more.

.

Double, Double, Toil and Truffle by H.Y. Hanna:

Caitlyn Le Fey is enjoying her first autumn in England, nut-picking in the forest, creating delicious treats in her grandmother’s enchanted chocolate shop, and dreaming of cosy evenings with the handsome Lord James Fitzroy. But the peace is shattered when a mysterious woman claiming to be a witch arrives in the village. Some love her, others fear her… and one person is driven to murder.
Soon Caitlyn finds herself drawn into a mystery with links to ancient witch trials and–with the help of her toothless vampire uncle and a few magical spells of her own–she sets out to do some sleuthing. But strange things are happening, and Caitlyn is worried and confused. Why isn’t her kitten Nibs growing any larger? What does the new guest at Huntingdon Manor really want? And what is the jewel that seems to be exerting a sinister influence over her cousin Pomona?
There are dark forces gathering in the village of Tillyhenge, and Caitlyn is about to discover that the savage tradition of witch-hunting is still very much alive…

As the story progresses, it becomes ever more apparent that the elusive billionaire that Pomona has started spending time with might just be a bigger player in this story than Caitlyn expects. Her romance with Fitzroy might be a slow one, and Pomona might have always been the type to jump headlong into an adventure, but their relationship continues to get progress at an alarming rate.

Pomona might love the attention being thrown her way, but at what cost?

.

Salted Caramel Sorcery by H. Y. Hanna:

The autumn equinox is here, and Caitlyn Le Fey is excited by the upcoming masquerade ball to celebrate the festival of Mabon. Not only is it a chance to dress up in glamorous costumes, but—with the Widow Mags catering—the villagers might finally put their prejudices aside and appreciate the delicious treats from her grandmother’s chocolate shop. What’s more, with the dreamy music and romantic dancing, Caitlyn might even get her first kiss with the dashing Lord James Fitzroy! But on the night of the ball, Caitlyn barely has time to sample the decadent caramel fountain, or help her old vampire uncle search for his missing fangs, before a guest is brutally murdered. Was he killed by witchcraft? Who was the mysterious woman seen following him? And why did he lie about his identity?

Many at the ball might have wanted him dead, from a jealous ex-lover to an old foe seeking revenge, but to Caitlyn’s horror, it’s her cousin Pomona who becomes the top suspect. Although Pomona has been acting strangely and showing a disturbing interest in black magic, ever since she was given a cursed diamond, Caitlyn refuses to believe that her pretty, bubbly cousin could be capable of murder! With the help of her quirky witch family, a few chocolate spells, and a pony with a sweet tooth, Caitlyn is soon close to finding the real killer. But solving the mystery could also mean facing a shocking truth about her own family and the secrets of her past…

Continuing with the flow of this series thus far, it’s clear that Pomona isn’t in the healthiest of relationships. The real question, though, is whether she knows what she’s gotten herself into.

.

Stolen Goblin Bride by Emma Hamm:

When a mortal girl steals a necklace from a Goblin, there will be a price to pay…

Esther knows the rules. Don’t talk to the goblins. Don’t look at the goblins. Above all else, don’t buy or trade with the goblins.

Then, one day before market, she sees a young rat faced boy selling a necklace that looks eerily like her mother’s, what’s a young girl to do? Of course she tries to buy it, but he won’t sell it to her. So she steals it because it’s her mother’s necklace.

Lux knows the rules. He’s a jeweler and he can sell his wares to those who want to faithfully buy them. Something doesn’t feel right about selling this particular piece to the beautiful young woman who immediately steals his heart. So he doesn’t.

But when he realizes the mortal girl stole from him, he’s forced to enact magic that can’t be unwritten. Stealing from a goblin always has a price.

Stolen Brides of the Fae is a series of stand-alone short novels written by various romantic fantasy authors who share a passion for fantastical love stories.

I enjoyed this story for its slow (for a short story, at least) romance. It’s not love at first sight or best friends to lovers. It’s two people finding themselves in a situation and realizing they can make it work for them if they want to.

.

Stolen Mage Bride by Sylvia Mercedes:

A brutal king. A gentle mage. A bond neither of them desires . . . nor has the strength to resist.

King Lodírhal has no choice—he must battle the human champion in single combat and save his people from slaughter.

Mage Dasyra also has no choice—she must serve her masters and channel the powerful magic in her soul for a chance to stop the deadly fae king.

But when they meet on the battlefield, these two adversaries discover they have bigger problems in store. For they are fated by the gods to be each other’s True Love . . . and the moment they lock eyes, the Fatebond awakens. Now all that matters is breaking the bond before it can be sealed for eternity.

Can these mortal enemies work together and survive the perilous journey to the Sundering Place? Or are the demands of fate—and the desires awakening in both their reluctant hearts—too powerful to be thwarted?

Stolen Brides of the Fae is a series of stand-alone short novels written by various romantic fantasy authors who share a passion for fantastical love stories.

In a complete twist to the first story in this collection, the love interests can’t fight destiny. Love at first sight wasn’t something either party wanted, but making sure it doesn’t stick is something they can agree on. Stealing away in the middle of the night to sever their bond to each other didn’t end the way that either part expected, but it might just be what they needed.

.

Stolen Midsummer Bride by Tara Grayce:

Steal a bride. Save the library. Try not to die.

Basil, a rather scholarly fae, works as an assistant librarian at the Great Library of the Court of Knowledge. Lonely and unwilling to join the yearly Midsummer Revel to find a mate, Basil takes the advice of his talking horse companion and decides to steal a human bride instead.
But Basil never expected to find a human girl waiting for him, wanting to get snatched. Nor had he expected a girl like Meg, an illiterate farmgirl who has no use for books.
With the barrier with the Realm of Monsters wearing thin and the chaos of Midsummer Night about to descend, will this unlikely pair put aside their differences long enough to save the Great Library from destruction? And maybe find a spark of love along the way.

This story contained so much of what I love – libraries, the fae, fighting monsters, and saving the day. (I apologize for that but I’m not taking it back.) Meg and Basil might not have expected each other, but both knew what they’d need to survive and protect what they hold dear. The fae realm is twisted, the courts not always getting along or playing by the rules. It takes someone strong of heart and mind to be able to navigate the courts and not lose themself in the process.

.

Stolen Shadow Bride by S.M. Gaither:

A desperate sister. A cold Fae prince. A dangerous trick, and a spark of passion that might set a fragile peace ablaze…
Sephia has always known that her younger sister was destined to wed the prince of the Sun Court.

Long ago, the human kingdom of Middlemage struck a bargain with the neighboring Fae that resulted in peace between them. As part of that bargain, one of the two ruling Fae courts lay claim to a human bride from each new generation. As long as anyone can remember, this is how it has been: The Fae come to take their bride on her eighteenth birthday, the humans allow one to be stolen away, and the peace continues.

Until now.

Until the Sun Prince comes for her sister, and Sephia does the unthinkable: She disguises herself with magic and goes to the altar in her sister’s place.

And she doesn’t intend for her marriage to end happily ever after.

But Sephia soon finds that all is not as it seems within the cruel and sparkling Court of the Sun. The king is sick. Strange shadows paint the halls of his palace, leaving death in their wake. The prince is desperate to find answers, whatever the cost. And Sephia is the wrong bride, but she may be the right woman to help the prince save his world—

That is, if they can somehow find a way to work together… while ignoring the forbidden passion igniting between them.

Stolen Brides of the Fae is a series of stand-alone short novels written by various romantic fantasy authors who share a passion for fantastical love stories.

What would it be like to pretend to be someone you’re not? To try and protect the ones you love by any means necessary – even giving yourself up? What if the world isn’t as cut and dry as you’d once thought, but rather shades of grey? Would you be able to do what needs to be done and still keep true to the mission you’d set out on, or would you learn to grow as a person and become more understanding of the things you don’t know? Will you lose yourself to this mysterious world or will you rise, stronger than ever? These are the exact things Sephia must deal with. The things she must overcome.

.

Stolen Ice Bride by Angela J. Ford:

When spring breaks the unforgiving grip of winter, the mages arrive to steal a bride. . .

Solvay is known for her talents with mixing potions but she hides a treacherous power. She’s avoided the watchful eyes of the mages until now. . .

When Solvayh is chosen as a bride for the mage king, she’s terrified he’ll discover her secret and use it to bring war to the northern lands.

To protect the people she flees only to fall into the hands of a ruthless ice lord. He intends to use her as a hostage to secure peace between the mages and ice lords.

As Solvay travels into the heart of the mountains with the ice lord, she discovers there’s more to him than his savage ways.

But even love can’t change the course of fate. To prevent a war, she’ll sacrifice herself to save the man she loves. . .

Stolen Brides of the Fae is a series of stand-alone short novels written by various romantic fantasy authors who share a passion for fantastical love stories.

This is a cute story. I’m not usually partial to journey romances, but I like the way that the journey impacts this story. The journey of self discovery that the characters go through mirror the physical journey from place to place they find themselves travelling along. Things aren’t always as they seem, one just has to be smart and strong enough to see through the façade.

.

Stolen Threadwitch Bride by Clare Sager:

True names hold power. Fae cannot lie. And the women they steal become their brides.

When threadwitch Ariadne is taken by a fae lord as part of a centuries-old bargain, she expects to marry him whether she likes it or not. But, desperate to return home, she won’t give in easily. Even if Lysander claims he doesn’t want her hand in marriage but for its skill with needle and the threads of magic, everyone knows the fae are not to be trusted.

Plotting her escape, she sews spells into cloth and tries her hardest to ignore his charms as well as the fae realm’s equally alluring beauty.

But she soon discovers his world is as dangerous as it is beautiful. With dark creatures in the forest and enemies who wear friendship as a mask, Ariadne must make every stitch perfect if she wants to not only escape but also keep Lysander alive. Which, it turns out, is something she wants far more than she ever expected.

If you love feisty heroines, enemies-to-lovers romance, and arrogant fae lords with hearts of (mostly) gold, you’ll love this new adult fantasy romance that’s perfect for fans of Holly Black and Sarah J Maas.

Stolen Brides of the Fae is a series of stand-alone short novels written by various romantic fantasy authors who share a passion for fantastical love stories.

Compared to the other romances in this series, this one has a steamier element to it. I don’t believe I’ve read anything else by Sager – either before or after I read this book, though I plan to after enjoying this story – but the reviews I’ve read mention that the fade-to-black in this story isn’t her usual go to. Sager seems to be known for some very steamy scenes, so for her this is tame (or so I’ve read).

That being said, I truly did enjoy the plot of this story. I enjoyed the characters and the writing style. The fae can’t lie, but they’re known to be tricky with their truths. To find a fae that’s honest without pretense isn’t easy to find, yet that’s exactly what you get from this book. Lysander remains kind and patient, even when Ariadne doesn’t deserve it.

.

Stolen Thorn Bride by Kenley Davidson:

After a century of war, the elves of Abreia are losing hope. Their greatest defender—Dechlan, king of the Northwatch—lies near death, and only a soul bond with a human bride can save him. The problem? No humans have set foot on elven lands for over a hundred years.

Kasia is no stranger to the fight for survival—she’s spent her life in the far northern reaches of Garimore, struggling to provide for her three siblings. When she’s captured by a trio of beautiful but terrifying elven warriors, her only thought is to return home, until they inform her she must marry their king… or be put to death.

Both Kasia and Dechlan are reluctant to accept their unwanted bond, until the elves’ ancient enemy rises up to threaten both their worlds. Kasia might just be the key to ending the war, but only if she is willing to sacrifice the life she’s always known.

And only if Dechlan is willing to risk losing the bride he never expected, but is no longer certain he can live without.

Stolen Brides of the Fae is a series of stand-alone short novels written by various romantic fantasy authors who share a passion for fantastical love stories.

When you’re tricked into an alliance, how willing are you going to be to live up to your end of the bargain? If you’re tricked away from the only life you’ve ever known, how easily will you be able to give up your heart? Kasia and Dechlan both might have found themselves in a situation they’re not comfortable with, but it’s up to them to make the best out of the situation.

.

Stolen Mayfly Bride by Sarah K.L. Wilson:

Sometimes stealing a life is the only way to save it.
Elkhana is the Mayfly Seer. Ripped from her family, drowned, and set into a magical cage, she lives only one day a year to tell fortunes for her former people.
When Vidar meets her, he sees a resource he can use to save himself from his enemies and the torturous demands of his own liege and court.
But the bond between Elkhana and Vidar is growing. She’s slipping into his dreams and changing how he sees the world and he doesn’t know if he can keep on using her now that he sees her as a person.
Without her visions, he’s powerless against his enemies, but if he has the chance to steal her away from her cage, shouldn’t he take it?
To succeed, he’ll need a plan, a lot of nerve, and all the bargains he can strike. Will it be enough?

Stolen Brides of the Fae is a series of stand-alone short novels written by various romantic fantasy authors who share a passion for fantastical love stories.

With ages both ahead of and behind you, it can be difficult to remember who you are and what’s most important to you. To try and remember why you’re alive rather than just living. I’ll never have a fae’s lifespan, but still I can’t imagine how hollow and lonely that might feel.

To find someone that truly makes you feel alive again must have been something that Vidar thought impossible. To see him learn to live again – not just exist – was great. And to get to see Elkhana as more than just a seer was powerful.

.

Soulbound by Bethany Adams:

A deathbed promise

Arlyn’s quest is simple: Find her father and let him know her mother is dead. After all, Arlyn had promised her mother she’d go. The problem? Her father’s people are myths and legends, and he doesn’t even live on Earth. But despite a long journey through the mysterious mists of the Veil, finding him turns out to be the easy part.

A dream long-buried

After five hundred years, Kai has given up on finding his soulbonded. So when he stumbles across Arlyn after returning from his latest mission and recognizes her as his mate, Kai starts their bond in haste. But he never could have imagined that his bonded is his best friend’s newfound daughter. Whoops.

A hidden conspiracy sparked to life

Though the sight of Kai makes Arlyn’s heart pound, she isn’t sure she can forgive him for starting their bond without her permission. But her love life is the least of her problems. Her father is an elf lord, and his sudden acknowledgment of a half-human heir reignites the same conspiracy that took him away from her mother in the first place. Now Arlyn and her family must face iron wielding assassins, bigotry, and her newly awakened magical abilities if they hope to come through in one piece.

Arlyn thought she would return to Earth after meeting her father. Now she must fight to save the family she never knew she wanted.

Overall, I enjoyed this story. It’s been a couple of months now since I read this book, since the grammar and wording was quite confusing at times, but I look forward to reading on in the series. Arlyn has no idea what she’s gotten herself into, but that’s not going to stop her from getting to know the only living family she has. Kai’s decision to start the bonding without her permission is the least of Arlyn’s problems as she starts to learn what her new world has in store for her. Here’s hoping she can survive it.

.

Witch’s Bell 1 by Odette C. Bell:

An urban fantasy with everything from romance to mystery, The Witch’s Bell Series follow a feisty witch, Ebony Bell, as she solves magical malady after magical malady.

Ebony Bell is living just exactly the life she wants. She has her very own magical bookstore, a wardrobe full of fabulously glitzy clothes, and a sweet bowl just brimming with lollies. But when a 6ft-tall annoyance by the name of Detective Nathan Wall walks through her shop door, her sweet life turns to ruin. As witch consultant for the local police department, Ebony has to work infuriatingly close with the man. And if that wasn’t the worst thing that could happen, she slowly finds out that an ancient, thoroughly powerful entity might just be out to curse her.

Very soon she finds herself ditching the ruby-red heels, dashing across rooftops, breaking and entering, and stuffing whole bookstores into bags. Oh, and possibly kissing annoying detectives.

Like I’ve mentioned a couple of times already in this post, it’s been a while since I picked up any of these books. Because of that, I’m finding it hard to remember the specifics of this story without diving back into the world itself.

Yet I can still remember the feelings I had while reading this story. The excitement and the nervous energy I had reading about how Ebony was overcoming her obstacles. The laugher that was pulled from me.

Sure I might have to reread this story to remind myself what was going on in it, but that doesn’t sound too bad to me.

.

The Royal Companion by Tanya Bird:

Companions are the kingdom’s most beautiful and educated women — possessions of Syrasan’s royal men.

Aldara is sixteen when she is sold to the obnoxious crown prince as a gift for his brother. Forced to leave the only life she has ever known, Aldara is sent to Archdale Castle, where she is mentored to become Prince Tyron’s perfect Companion. But no amount of lessons can prepare her for the troubled man marked by war. He sees straight through the polished exterior presented to him. He sees her.

Prince Tyron has just returned from war. All he wants is privacy to grieve the men who died at the border. So when his brother gifts him a Companion upon his return, he is forced to embrace a tradition he has so far managed to avoid. Except Aldara is not like the others. She walks with her face to the sun and arms swinging. Her laughter makes him forget the lie. But if they ignore the rules that safeguard them, there will be consequences…

This is book one in The Companion series. If you enjoy dark medieval romance, then this epic tale of love against all odds is for you.

Please note: This is part one of Tyron and Aldara’s story. Their story continues in books two and three.

Trigger warning: This book contains sexual violence, death and dark themes.

It might have been 6 months since I read this book, but I still remember so much of what happened in it. And if that’s not a sign of a good book, I don’t know what is.

This world is incredibly brutal. The things these people do to each other are horrifying. The stupidity and naivety of some that have lasting impacts on entire kingdoms. I’m horrified of what else I might read from this cruel world yet I still want to keep reading. I can only hope that there will be less suffering the further into this story I progress.

.

The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke:

Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to another pirate clan. But that only prompts the scorned clan to send an assassin after her. When Ananna faces him down one night, armed with magic she doesn’t really know how to use, she accidentally activates a curse binding them together.

While this story was predictable at times, I really did enjoy my time in this world. It might not have been the best story that I read this month, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

The characters were fun to hang around with, even if they often made stupid choices. The world is full of mystery and intrigue. The plot, while easy to guess at times, still had the ability to keep me on my toes when it called for it.

Like I said, this might not have been my favourite read this month, but I still look forward to reading on in this story, to seeing where the winds will take Ananna.

.

The Palace of Lost Memories by C.J. Archer:

The king’s magnificent palace was built in a matter of weeks. No one saw the builders, no villagers are allowed beyond the gilded gate, and only one servant has ever left. The haunted look in her eyes as she was recaptured by the palace guards is something Josie, daughter of the village doctor, has never forgotten.

For Josie, the palace is a mystery that grows more intriguing after she meets the captain of the guards, a man known only as Hammer, as mysterious and captivating as the palace itself. Whispers of magic fuel Josie’s desire to uncover the truth, but an ordinary girl like her can only dream of ever being invited inside.

When the king decides to take a wife from among the eligible daughters of the noble families, the palace gates are finally thrown open and the kingdom’s elite pour in. In a court where old rivalries and new jealousies collide, the king’s favorite is poisoned and the doctor is summoned. As her father’s assistant, Josie finally sees inside the lavish walls, but she soon learns the palace won’t surrender its secrets easily, for not a single resident, from the lowest servant to the king himself, has a memory from before the palace existed.

In the search for the truth, Josie is drawn deeper into danger, and the answers she seeks might shake the very foundations of the kingdom.

Now this story was my favourite story in the month of July. The world drew me in from the first word, the characters were enticing and gripping. The plot kept me guessing. While I haven’t continued on with this story yet, you’d better believe I plan on it. It’s been months since I read this story and I’m not kidding you when I say this book has been on my mind a lot. I have no reason for not picking up the next book. Someday soon I’ll read the next one. Someday soon….

.

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella:

Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She’s made a mistake so huge, it’ll wreck any chance of a partnership.

Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she’s mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they’ve hired a lawyer–and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can’t sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the #@%# ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope–and finds love–is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.

But will her old life ever catch up with her? And if it does…will she want it back?

Honestly, there wasn’t a lot about this book that stood out to me. It’s was a cute slice of life romance novel. The characters didn’t stand out much, some being very stereotypical archetypes, but were enjoyable enough to read. The world wasn’t super developed, but it was a cute little village to visit. Not the kind of romance that I typically go for, but it wasn’t too bad.

.


.

You can see why it took me longer than usual to try and pull this post together. I pride myself on being an incredibly fast reader (much to the chagrin of anyone I buddy read with or undergo buddy challenges with). But even for me, this was a crazy busy month.

21 stories and an average of 272 pages a book is a lot of words to go through. An average of over 175 pages a day. Considering that none of these reads were AudioBooks, that’s a lot of words to look at. And yet I still had the audacity to mess with myself and not keep proper track of the reading I’d done.

It helps that I enjoyed so much of what I read this month. An average rating of 2.9/5 isn’t too bad – it’s more than 50%. And I managed to introduce myself to some series I plan on reading more of. Isn’t that the most a reader can hope for?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s