Tuesday, August 2, 2022

On the Shelf: July 2022

I think I still have a good-book hangover from all the great stuff I devoured in July. Like the early copies of Kennedy Ryan's Before I Let Go and Husband Material by Alexis Hall. There's a reason Kennedy is one of the most-lauded authors in romance fiction right now. Because her books make you feel every emotion, including ones you didn't know you had. And the second-chance romance of Yasmen and Josiah is a gripping and gorgeous roller coaster of feelings. Meanwhile, Husband Material—which hits store shelves today—is another hit for Alexis. It's bursting with so much wit you might have to take hilarity breaks like I did. I also took a stroll down Angelina M. Lopez's Milagro Street, where a passionate bartender wants to save her family legacy any way she can. It's by no means an easy road, but certainly a compelling, and at times very entertaining, one.

And then there's Tasha Suri's Wuthering Heights remix, What Souls Are Made Of. Holy crap, this book is beautiful. I fully admit that I have never read the source material. I keep meaning to watch the movie with Merle Oberon and haven't gotten to that either. But I know enough of the story and characters from pop culture that I wasn't lost and could see what the author was subverting. Tasha's exquisite and lyrical retelling grounds this famous and familiar tale in themes of cultural loss and unmoored identity, and thus renders the selfish Cathy and brutal Heathcliff in much more sympathetic lines. It's a far more hopeful book, too. We need more hope in our lives.      

The Reading Rundown
Heartwood Box by Ann Aguirre (YA thriller/suspense, YA romance)
A Christmas Spark by Diana Biller (historical romance, short story)
Olivia and the Masked Duke by Grace Callaway (historical romance)
Pippa and the Prince of Secrets by Grace Callaway (historical romance)
Fiona and the Enigmatic Earl by Grace Callaway (historical romance)
Husband Material by Alexis Hall (contemporary m/m romance)
After Hours on Milagro Street by Angelina M. Lopez (contemporary romance)
Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan (out 11/15, contemporary romance)
What Souls Are Made Of by Tasha Suri (YA romance, gothic romance, Wuthering Heights retelling)
Take Her Down by Lauren Emily Whalen (YA fiction, YA LGBTQ+ fiction)

Backlists and rereads: Locked Box, Open Hearts, and Baby Talk by Eve Dangerfield and Too Wicked to Kiss by Erica Ridley were my forays into author backlists this month. Meanwhile, I made a return visit to Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas, as well as Backwoods, Getaway, and Shivaree by Cara McKenna.

Currently reading: Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed and Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai.

On the TBR/wish list
The Vibrant Years by Sonali Dev (12/1)
What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher
Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn (9/6)
The Oleander Sword by Tasha Suri (8/16)
All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

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