July’s Bookshelf

Well July starting with a bang. I read so many incredible books this month, so let’s dive right in.

A Curious Woman by Jess Lea – Well damn! This book was everything I have been looking for in a cozy mystery. Brilliant Sapphic main characters, enough red herrings and filtering of information to keep me staying up until stupid o’clock, beautiful setting and description, and the Aussieness to tie it all together.
I LOVED this book so much. Laugh out loud moments that had perfect timing, real characters that were wonderful and flawed. I loved that the main character is a larger size but wonderful and beautiful and a confident individual in many areas of her life.
The balance within this book was perfect and I cannot wait to read more from this author.
Video Review: https://youtu.be/7u7ukedaGbM
Bonus Author Interview: https://youtu.be/aI3Vy4TwGi4

Never Too Late for Heroes by A.L Brooks – YES! Everything about this book is a hella yes! Multiple and amusing points of view, several romantic storylines, laugh out loud spit coffee over the book kind of banter, family dynamics in the good and the bad and writing that made me experience all the feels. I am in love with the ensemble cast but if push came to shove I’d have to say my favourite character is Reed. She made me laugh more than any other character, although I need more adventures with Agent Fox and, and, and all of them really. They all added to the brilliance of this book and I just simply adore A.L Brooks writing style. Highly recommend this book … and the audio which is done phenomenally by Abby Craden.
Video Review: https://youtu.be/BsbCuNciHrY

Kick Back by KJ – I read this book alternating between a goofy arse smile on my face, wanting to kick someone in the shins, and wondering how I am enjoying a sports book with this much sport detail in it. I struggled a little at the start, but again see comment about sports and infer what you can. Despite my antisportness, once I sunk my teeth in, there was no going back.
A few sections I got major A League of Their Own vibes which was both fabulous and mortifying when I thought about how we have not come nearly far enough since then. Ridiculously similar issues that Sophia and the other player have to face.
The writing has the trademark long flowy sentences and chuckle worthy internal thoughts and banter evident in all of KJ’s writing.
There is a damn fine and 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 sex scene, that is well worth the read in and of itself.
Cam is my new spirit animal. Two examples why:
1. “Will bears be chasing you?”
“Then there is absolutely no need to be running,”
2. “Oh, please. It’s instant and the only resemblance it has to actual coffee is that it’s brown.”
*brushes hands of dust* my work here is done.
Video Review: https://youtu.be/uQvYISER4xU

Morrigan by Erik Schubach – The fourth book of the Worldship Files. Overall I enjoyed it. Up until now the series has focused on fantasy and sci-fi working side by side. I got far more of a versus vibe in this book, that morphed into a symbiosis sort of feeling. The story itself was good, with the Morrigan wrapping up nicely, while the overall story of the series is really kicking up a gear.
It’s good for anyone wanting to pick up or read the books out of order as relevant history of the world of Nith and the previous books is recapped, but having read them all in pretty small time frames it did feel a little painful having to hear it all again, but that is the way with more series I guess.
The humour remains spot on, though there was an anxious lack of historical music happening.
* ‘Nith, love please don’t try to flirt, you’re not very good at it and you’ve already won my heart.’
* I had questions but I knew now and probably never would be the right time to ask.
The writing hade a few moments of pulling me from the story, but the emotions and story were pretty awesome, especially as we learned more about Mother and the history of the Fae and creation of the Worldship.
Video Review: https://youtu.be/aT8DgOHGArI

Inked by Rachel Rener – Ok, when a book starts with the first chapter title being called Butt Cobras it’s a pretty good guess that I’m going to enjoy it. And did I ever. Inked is a F/M fantasy with a Jewish main character who is in love with her tattooist boss. Talia’s boss goes missing and a whole world, literally, opens up for her. It’s well written and the story is brilliant. the sexy inclusions are detailed and on point, and the humour had me chuckling often. The one time I thought my head might explode was explaining the types of blood, but when the information was required, a quick summary of what you need at the time was included without taking away from the flow of the story. It also helped having a nice little spreadsheet (I love a sexy spreadsheet) at the back for reference.
I adored the relationships between Talia and her mother. Amusing and relatable. I also loved how the author tied things up full circle in the end, except of course for the things that will get me reading the second book ASAP.
Video Review: https://youtu.be/teR3Fwxc-Ns

An Art to Love by Helena Harte – Lauren is forced to return to her small hometown when tragedy strikes her and her family. While mourning at the cemetery Lauren runs into an old school acquaintance, Jamie. Having known loss and tragedy herself, Jamie is the perfect shoulder for Lauren to lean on. But Jamie had always crushed on Lauren, all through school which was otherwise a nightmare for her.
A second chance story about friendship, love, and bravery. Themes of loss and overcoming the past are weaved beautifully through Harte’s wonderful way with words. The way grief and humour are balanced is magnificent.
I adored the small town vibes and the multitude of relatable characters. Family was a vital part of An Art to Love. The dynamics and differences of Lauren and Jamie’s relationships with their parents was wonderful and real. Jamie’s mum might just be my new favourite parental, she was so wonderful and her conversations with Jamie were often hilarious and poignant.
There were a few moments when oomph, the story brushed so close to home with the emotions and sense of isolation of being bullied for simply existing. I also may have screamed at a few parts (scaring the pets) when I wanted the characters to realise what they were doing before it exploded into disaster. But wow, what an ending that had me grinning ear to ear.
Overall, a wonderful read that I didn’t want to put down.
Video Review: https://youtu.be/PllXhl752j4

Two to Tangle by Melissa Brayden – This is book two in the Tangle Valley Romance series. You don’t have to have read the first one to enjoy it, but it does have small spoilers from the first book. I was SO excited to see that Gabriella was in the drivers seat for this book. She’s an amazing character who I fell in love with in book one. She’s a sunshine character with a feisty spit fire attitude when needed, and is so upfront and honest (most of the time), it’s divine.
I love Melissa Brayden’s writing. The poetic way she describes location, emotion, and events is *chefs kiss*
The story is wonderful and realistic, and the characters even more so. No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes but that doesn’t mean they can’t be forgiven or grow. I LOVE this message. Relationships of all sorts are explored in this book – from friendships, friends with benefits, lovers, unrequited, and familial. They are all in-depth and dynamic.
On the steam level, lots of beautiful build up, but the sex scenes were minimal in detailed description but they were perfect for this book and it was a nice change to some of the steamier step by step sex scenes I’ve read in the past.
I really want to visit Tangle Valley. Very excited to read the third book.
Video Review: https://youtu.be/0wwqvQrBM4w

Never-Tied Nora by Cheyenne Blue – Fun and easy to read story set in London. The main characters are mid 20’s with Irish Catholic families feuding for generations. A sapphic Romeo and Juliet, but an actual romance and not a tragedy.
The writing is beautiful and the characters are great. Never tied Nora explores the ideas of family, and instant attraction that is something beyond lust.
Side characters are fantastic and in such a small word count (novella) Cheyenne Blue has created a tangible world populated by an array of dynamic and well rounded characters.
Can’t wait to read more of this series.
Video Review: https://youtu.be/5IiJgcXrDh8

Daughter of fire: The darkness Rising by Karen Frost Book 2 in the destiny and darkness series. I enjoyed this book even more than the first. Partly because I knew going in that it was a YA book (my hate of being spoiled sometimes bites me in the butt) but also there was so much more action and intrigue. A lot of things that had been set up in the first book came to fruition in this book and it was glorious.
Loved the romantic subplots, the writing is just as marvellous and descriptive as book one. But oh my, the action and intrigue was far more prevalent and what an ending. I now have to find the third book and really looking forward to it.
Delving further into the world of magic and how affinities work and interact with each other had me smiling ear to ear and loving every second of it.
Video Review: https://youtu.be/1VYY36AUAlI

The Trip by Robin Alexander – This book and this audio are just everything. Abby Craden worked her magic on these characters and used the humour in the writing to maximum effect. I laughed so hard during this book I had to keep going backwards and relisten to parts because I laughed too hard and missed things.
This was my first Robin Alexander book and it is just the beginning of a bing. I love the writing, the characters, and most definitely the humour.
The trip is 2 weeks driving her grandma and great aunt (not by blood) around the country, what else could Jill ask for on a holiday.
Ellie and Anne are 70+ year olds with no shame, boundaries, or end to their curiosity and questions who set up Jill and Shay on this Ill conceived holidays. But Ellie (Jill’s grandma) has only brought them together, she’s done her part and now it’s time to sit back and ‘let lesbian nature run it’s course.’ 😂🤣
Jill and Shay are fantastic characters who seem opposites at the beginning but as layers are peeled back their chemistry is wonderful, brilliant, and based on real friendship and deeper compatibility.
I had to fan myself over Jill’s character, but I understood Shay on so many more levels. Robin Alexander does a brilliant job of showing that quiet does not equal weak or door mat.
I loved the descriptions and the scenery and how seamlessly and natural the story develops alongside relationships and characters.
Video Review: https://youtu.be/NTQzR_pJ1c4

Thanks for getting this far.
I loved being able to do video reviews on all ten books this month.

Be Safe
Be Brave
Be Kind

Neen x

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