July/ Aug Wrap Up

Hey everyone!

Last month was intense for me personally with the move from Japan back to the UK. I thought all the stress would be actually leaving the country and I would come back to 10 days in isolation for non stop reading, I was so wrong. It’s literally been non stop chaos since I arrived home with one thing after another taking priority. The books I did manage to read, I literally crammed where I could and I had no time to review them so I decided to skip July wrap up altogether and mix it with this month. A cop out I know, but I wasn’t happy with a half fast post so here we are.

August was a much better reading month for me where things settled down more at home. I wasn’t able to catch up with my goodreads challenge, I’m still a few books behind but I’m determined to hit it this year no matter what!

As a positive, I do have to say, it’s been so nice to be able to walk into English bookshops again, even if they have no hardcover books on the shelves. Damn you UK printing. I’m still sticking to my kindle for now for my instagram and blog posts as I feel I’ve got a good routine with it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t buy as many books as possible for my shelves! Hello birthday presents!
I think I’m going to do another instagram challenge next month to get me back into it again. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would last time I did it in June, let’s see how far I get with it this time around!

So here we go. A list of books I’ve read in July/ August, it wont take you long, it’s not an impressive list for a two-monther!

1. The Little Paris Patisserie
2. Mercurial
3. Beast of Shadow & Light
4. The Greek Escape
5. The Hazel Wood
6. Hell on Earth

The Little Paris Patisserie

First up, I give you The Little Paris Patisserie by Julie Caplin

This is the first I’ve read of Julie Caplin and I’m sure it won’t be the last. This book hit all the sweet spots for me in all the right places and I didn’t hesitate to put it on my favourite shelf. I mean the title and cover says it all. I must admit, I do pick up books simply if they are based in Paris because I know instantly I will love the setting no matter the plot. This book didn’t disappoint in the least when I was in the mood for a good romcom.
Nina is a 30 year old in a rut, surrounded by a big family who all have their lives figured out, always pushing her to do something one way or another, she can’t help but need distance away from them. When the opportunity comes up for her to help run a patisserie course in Paris, she can’t help but take up the opportunity to explore her next endeavour without her family breathing down her neck, even if it does mean working with Sebastian. Her brother’s arrogant best friend and biggest crush.
I absolutely adored this book and couldn’t get enough of it, it just made me want to book the next flight to Paris, or get in the kitchen and start baking. I would recommend it to all who sometimes need a good romance to curl up with for an evening.


Second on my list, I give you Mercurial by Naomi Hughes

One of my never ending NetGalley books that has been sitting in my TBR shelf for many months, I’m glad I picked this one up. Mercurial was a fantastic book that I’m sorry it took me so long to read. Whilst it didn’t blow me away or have me craving more, I really came to love the story and the unique magical aspects of it. It was unpredictable, fast paced and told from three perspectives, Princess Eloide (The Destroyer), Tal her bodyguard and Nyx, Tal’s sister, that each had strong character building to really pull you in through their individual actions and flashbacks throughout the story.
The Destroyer is feared by all, her blood filled with mercury, she is a weapon of pure destruction used by her sister, the Iron Empress, to do her bidding. When a stranger shows up offering to protect her through a metal oath, she can’t help but feel intrigued by him knowing he is the only person she can actually trust to keep her safe. After another assassination attempt, she wakes up with no memory or magic, she looks to Tal to discover the truth.

Tal is a silver smith, silver ran through his blood like a curse giving him the divine gift of foresight into the future, visions through the Unforged God himself. When a vision pushes him to become a protector for the Destroyer, the princess weaponised by the Iron Empress, Tal does not hesitate to follow his new path, believing his part will eventually save the empire. He soon becomes lost in the darkness that surrounds the Destroyer, unable to escape, unable to understand his path that is consuming more of his humanity through each kill to protect her. When the opportunity suddenly presents itself to finally be rid of the oath, Tal instead finds himself questioning everything he ever knew and the real person behind it all.
Check out my full review here.

Beast of Shadow & Light

Next up, I give you Beast of Shadow & Light by Stephany Wallace

Part of my reading challenge, I thought it was time I read one of my kindle unlimited downloads. While I didn’t like the writing style at times, it was very much aimed at young adults with typical slang language and cliches, I did actually enjoy the book. It isn’t every day I pick up a werewolf fantasy, it felt like a nice change for me. I guess this is me stepping away from all things fairytale (although this did have many red riding hood qualities about it). And yes, I did download it based on the cover, it’s so pretty 😻
Set in a small town in Alaska, two sisters Lucy and Ellie couldn’t be any more different but were best friends through thick and thin. Rich but down to earth, popular but weren’t afraid to be who they wanted to be, and both dating the admired hot twins at university. Even with the old supernatural rumours still going around about a Beast in the forest, life couldn’t be better. When a stranger shows up at the abandoned cabin down the road, Lucy can’t help but feel frustrated that the newcomer isn’t interested in being friendly in their quiet close community. No matter how many advances she makes to try to be friends, he’s determined to push her away at every turn. Bodies start showing up around town, ripped to shreds by an animal, she soon finds herself suddenly facing the very rumour that has haunted the forest for years.
It’s a good pace with an exciting plot, it had it’s unpredictable moments that pushed the story forward. It was confusing and sometimes rushed at times and clouded with mystery all of which ended on a cliffhanger, but it dragged me in enough that I’m tempted to find out what happens next. I may or may not write a full review for this one, keep an eye out I guess! I haven’t made up my mind yet!

The Greek Escape

Next up, I give you The Greek Escape by Karen Swan

I was looking forward to this one after reading The Paris Secret (one of my favourite books by Swan). Whilst I can say I really liked the story, I didn’t expect the first half to be so slow. Really slow. I appreciate this helped the character and world building, but most of it felt unnecessary for the most part and just dragged. I’m honestly surprised I was able to push past it and finish the book. I’m glad I did because it was worth it in the end, even if the story conclusion was given like a story around a campfire to fill in the blanks.
Chloe left her old life behind in London to start fresh in New York after a heartbreak tore her life apart. Working at a luxury concierge company, she assists in making powerful clients wishes come true by any means, no matter how crazy they sound. Penguins needed at a black and white event held on a glacier in Alaska? Done. Taking down the scaffolding set up for cleaning the Taj Mahal just so her client can take the perfect photograph? Done. When a terrible accident forces Chloe to step up close and personal with the companies most elite clients, she has no choice but to take the lead, even if it means taking on a new client that showed up on their doorstep who is looking for a private home on the Greek Islands. When her ex suddenly shows up out of the blue, Chloe jumps at the chance to help her new client Joe inspect the Greek homes in person, only to discover more mystery behind his motives and the connections they have with her other clients and the mysterious disappearance of one of their wives.

The Hazel Wood

Next up, The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

This fantasy took me by surprise, but I haven’t quite decided if it’s in a good way or a bad way yet. There was so much going on, literally a world through into wonderland. It was quirky, it was confusing, it was dark but colourful and filled with horrific creatures and characters. I’m sure this one book you either love or hate which I can totally respect. There were parts of it that I really did enjoy that were creepy and delightfully twisted, but there were times I had no idea what was going on and where the characters were with the world-between-worlds element.
Alice is a seventeen year old who is always moving around with her mum Ella, trying to escape the bad luck that seems to follow them everywhere they go. The key seems to be connected to her grandmother, her reclusive hidden mansion ‘The Hazel Wood’ and the dark fairytales she wrote that Alice isn’t allowed to read. A letter arrives for them one day telling them her grandmother has passed away, Ella is relieved and believes their luck will finally change and gives them a chance to settle down somewhere permanently for the first time in their lives. Unfortunately their bad luck only gets worse when Ella is kidnapped by characters from her grandmother’s stories, Alice has no choice but to follow the trail to The Hazel Wood and unlock the secrets her family has been keeping all these years.
I loved the premise behind it, the dark fairytales told within the story were definitely the highlight. I would recommend this book just to see how you all feel about it and get your opinions!

Hell on Earth

Finally, we have Hell on Earth by Brenda K. Davies

As rare as it is, I do come across books I’m unable to finish from time to time. Sometimes I just hate the writing style so much I can’t continue, occasionally the plot just falls too flat and I can’t seem to finish after picking up to for the 10th time. This was one where I just lost interest and knew it wasn’t something for me. Perhaps it was just the wrong book at the wrong time. I just wasn’t enjoying it, it was as simple as that, so I have little to say about it. I’ll give you the quick low down, maybe some of you might pick this one up and think differently.
It’s told from duel perspectives, Wren; a human wilder and Corson; a demon straight from hell. Fourteen years ago, the government were involved in a project that ended up opening a gateway to hell, releasing evil and corruption onto the earth. The wilders are a group of humans who track down and kill the creatures roaming the earth with the help of the angels, but with the gateway always open, it’s a never ending battle. The high level demons make a truce with the humans that they will join together to close the gateway and get rid of the creatures together as they want it closed as much as they do.
I’m even struggling to write this short review because of how tacky and silly it sounds, I’m just surprised so many people highly rated this book. I’m curious as to what you all think! Let me know!

So there you have it, my July/ August wrap up!
Let’s hope I can stay on top of my goodreads reading challenge next month, time shall tell!

Thanks for reading 🙃

See you next month!

Posted by

Hey! I'm Gemma :) I moved to Japan with my husband and cat three years ago which has been one big adventure. The only downside (besides missing my family and dairymilk) is that I've moved to a country where English bookshops are limited, plus the idea of transporting so many books back home sounds dreadfully expensive. I've grown to love my Kindle which is why I'm fixated on ebooks. It connects nicely to my goodreads and netgalley account also which means I'm always adding more to my never ending list of books. I read fiction and love all things fantasy, YA, historical fiction and classics. Add a bit of mystery and I'll be hooked!

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