July Books

There was a lot of focus this month on completing projects around the house, plus all the job hunting, but I still made it through a decent number of books. Most of which I recommend, while there were 2 that were ugh, and a few of the books I even sat down and read in one sitting (disclaimer: not in the SAME sitting)!
July Books#1 The Wolf at the Door: Sean Dillon #17 {Jack Higgins} B+ Jack Higgins was one of my favorite authors when I was in high school but over the years I kind of fell off his books/series. I saw this at the library and picked it up for nostalgic reasons! Overall I found the new character that was introduced, Daniel Holley, very similar to the main character of the series, Sean Dillon. The book started out with a bang – simultaneous attacks on various members of group (aka the Prime Minister’s Secret Army) that were ultimately unsuccessful. Then the book drops back into an entire back story on this new character (who by the way is supposed to be the “bad guy”) and how he came to be a pawn for the Russians. Then an entire backstory on the planning of the attacks. Then finally it jumps forward to post-attack yet it’s all told from Holley’s point of view. The series in general is fantastic, especially the first 3 books, but this one was not one of his best.

#2 Backlash: The Scot Harvath Series #19 {Brad Thor} I was definitely excited about this book considering the massive cliffhanger Spymaster ended with! The book starts out pretty traumatically (I won’t go into details to spoil it) and Harvath has been kidnapped by the Russians and tortured for information. Ultimately the plane he is traveling on crashes somewhere in Russia and he has to escape through backcountry in the winter while trying not to get caught by his kidnappers or ravenous wolves. The book highlights really well the training soldiers get in SERE school and what can make a difference in life or death in that kind of situation. The whole series is fantastic, though I feel traumatized by all the personal trauma Brad Thor feels he has to put Harvath through! READ ALL THEM.

#3 Under Currents {Nora Roberts} B- I love Nora Roberts’s stand alone books and the mixture of mystery/suspense with romance. However, I feel like she’s revamping or cycling through a lot of her old plot lines. This one provided A LOT of backstory {I would say about 80% of her books provide a before or prologue to showcase a devastating backstory for one of the characters before moving into the present time} and build up of the relationships before anything really happened*. There were 3 different “villains” in this one, and they all attacked really close together. The casual side of the story seemed to drag on forever then all of a sudden it was Attack! Attack! Attack! Also the trauma that happened to Zane as a kid/teenager wasn’t even related to the 2 main attacks {spoiler}. The fact that both Zane and Darby had suffered domestic abuse in the past does tie in though! Also, given the character development of Zane and Darby, the 2 “big” arguments they got in seemed silly and shouldn’t have been an issue. Two things I think Nora Roberts does really well – she is an excellent storyteller. Her descriptions really paint a picture in the mind and you feel like you can actually see the story happening. In this particular book, I thought she did a great job with the minor characters and how they contributed to the story as a whole. If anyone is interested in reading more of her books, my top 5 are: Black Hills, Blue Smoke, The Search, Montana Sky, The Obsession.

*present day happened. Obviously something happened in the backstory!

#4 Age of Legend: The Legends of the First Empire #4 {Michael J Sullivan} I talked about books 1-3 in the series back in January and February (linked here). I’ve been on the edge of my seat waiting for this 4th book! This one jumps in right after the events in Age of War, but also jumps ahead in time as the war itself between Rhunes and Fhrey has gone on for several years. Persephone seeks peace yet a betrayal by the Fhrey puts Suri in danger and could tip the war back into the Fhrey’s hands. I don’t want to spoil too much here because I want everyone to read the whole series, so all I will say is 8 people come together to chase a legend with hope to rescue Suri. The book ends literally in the middle of a scene and caught me off guard (nice work there Michael J Sullivan!) so I’m once again on edge waiting for book #5!!

#5 The Wedding Date {Jasmine Guillory} C Another standard rom-com style book, kind of a prequel to the Proposal. In my opinion, it’s just mindless reading on a lazy afternoon. Alexa and Drew end up stuck in an elevator together and she agrees to be his plus-1 to a wedding that weekend. There’s some mild character development in there, but really just about the chemistry and sex between Alexa and Drew and how they handle their “relationship”. I recommend if you need an easy “pool-side” read without much brain activity.

#6 Celtic Empire: Dirk Pitt #25 {Clive Cussler & Dirk Cussler} B+ This is the 4th book I’ve read of his this year – 2 from the NUMA Files, 1 from the Oregon Files, and now 1 from the Dirk Pitt series. Like I’ve mentioned before, Clive Cussler is an author I’ve been reading for what seems like forever. His books are always full of action, science, and history all taking place on the water. This particular one focuses on an ancient Egyptian princess who escapes a plague by traveling on a ship then jumps to the present time of a mysterious illness manifesting itself across the world, gunfights at archeological sites in Egypt, and an oil spill in Detroit. Pitt works to figure out the connection between the spread of the unknown disease, a bioremediation company, and this missing Egyptian princess. Cussler did extremely well tying in the storyline Pitt was following (the shadowy corporation) and the storyline his 2 kids, Pitt jr and Summer, were following (the burial place of the Egyptian princess). Although eventually, this guy is going to have to retire!

#7 Ghosted {Rosie Walsh} B- This one ultimately ended up pretty good, and was a story about forgiveness and love, but it took a while to get there. I read this in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep and had a hard time getting through the flashbacks to “the week with Eddie”. I really thought this book was about being “ghosted”. Sarah spends a memorable week with Eddie, then all of a sudden he drops off the face of the Earth and she’s sent into a tailspin – calling, texting, emailing, swearing that something happened to him and he didn’t really just drop her. It’s not until halfway through the book that I realized there was so much more to their story and their tragic past that somehow intertwined. I do recommend this one, and if it feels hard to get through – just keep going. It will surprise you!

#8 Surfside Sisters {Nancy Thayer} C This one started out with a lot of promise but lost me along the way. Majority of the book takes place on Nantucket and focuses on 2 friends, Keely and Isabelle, and their aspirations to be writers. The timeline travels from the early stages of their friendship in grade school to their adult lives and all the drama in between. Their backgrounds and home lives are completely different, and in that Keely has to work harder for everything she gets while Isabelle seems to have everything handed to her. A “betrayal” by Isabelle just as Keely lands a book contract destroys their friendship. That right there all sounds like a fun, fantastic read. Yet everything that actually happens is too neat. Keely has been in love with Isabelle’s brother, Sebastian, her whole life and it never worked, yet as soon as she moves back to Nantucket (despite the fact that she has a boyfriend) Sebastian declares his love for her and they get together. And then her current boyfriend just completely understands and they break up amicably. What? And then dispute with Isabelle is just magically over. There’s no apology or remorse from Isabelle for her treatment of Keely, they just move on and Keely tries to get her a book deal too. I get the power of forgiveness and all, but this was just a bit unbelievable for me.

#9 The Terminal List: James Reece #1 {Jack Carr} B+ Very Brad Thor-esque! James Reece’s entire SEAL team is killed on a mission, his family is murdered when he returns home, and he’s diagnosed with a brain tumor. Who is behind these events, who keeps trying to kill him, and how is all of this tied together?! Reece creates a list of people involved in the murders and goes rogue, working his way through the list. The whole time he’s convinced he’s going to die soon anyway (the tumor) and he’ll get to join in his family. There were a couple technical parts I skimmed over, but overall this was a great read. I’m already looking forward to picking up the next book in the series. And you know if I don’t give a lot of plot points or spoilers it’s a great book that I recommend you read yourself!

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