Recent Reads, July 2022

July was definitely a slower reading month for me. This was partially because I had a lot going on and didn’t have a lot of time – or mental energy! – for reading, but also because I found it hard to get into a book groove. I picked up and put down at least five books, all of which are actually things that I want to read at some point but just wasn’t in the mood for right now. I did love almost everything I read this month, though, it just took me a while to land on the “right” books to read.

A Hundred Other Girls by Iman Hariri-Kia

This was a really fun read that definitely helped me get back into reading. It’s a The Devil Wears Prada-esque story – Noora is a blogger and writer who starts working as an assistant for Loretta James, the editor-in-chief at the iconic Vinyl magazine. Noora hopes to be able to do some writing for the magazine, but actually ends up doing more and more odd requests and tasks – basically, anything that Loretta asks her to do, no matter what it is. As she gets more and more enmeshed in the importance of her job, she grows further and further apart from her sister and best friend Leila. And then there’s drama between the print and the digital teams that Noora finds herself caught in the middle of, and needing to pick a side, quickly. There’s some romance, too, and some great thoughts about identity and tokenism. It’s great and I highly recommend!

Easy Beauty by Chloé Cooper Jones

One of my friends recommended this book and I’m so glad I read it! I included it in my post from July with books about disability – it’s an incredible memoir from a disabled woman about disability and identity, about motherhood, and basically about finding herself. There are SO many anecdotes from this book that will stick with me for a long time. Chloé studies and teaches philosophy, and starts the book by recounting a time she was out with two colleagues at a bar as they argued, basically, over the worth of her life as a disabled woman. From that moment on, I was sold, and there are so many other little stories recounted through the book that I felt so deeply. When she ended up, after a series of events, sitting on the corner of the stage itself at a Beyoncé concert in Milan, I was cheering her on. It’s such a poignant memoir, and I really loved it.

The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas

I really love a gothic thriller, and this was a perfect one. It reminded me a lot of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier as I was reading, and I’m seeing that it’s being described as a combination of Rebecca and Mexican Gothic, which I think is absolutely correct. After Beatriz’s father is killed during an overthrow of the Mexican government, she wants nothing more than safety and stability. So when Don Rodolfo proposes, she agrees, even though rumors swirl about the death of his first wife. When he takes her to his home at Hacienda San Isidro, she feels that something is off – and once he leaves for business, more and more odd and frightening things start to happen. At a loss for what to do, Beatriz reaches out to the local church for help, and finds herself growing closer and closer to Padre Andrés as the two of them grow closer and closer to finding out the mystery behind Hacienda San Isidro – all while racing against the ticking clock of a ghost that seems determined for Beatriz to meet the same end as Don Rodolfo’s first wife. If you like a dark thriller, this is a great book for you.

Book of Night by Holly Black

It took me quite a while to get into this book – I felt like I spent the first 25 – 50% really trying to understand the world and the rules and what exactly was going on. Basically, Charlie Hall is a super talented con artist, and for years, she’s worked for gloamists – people who can manipulate and separate themselves from their shadows. She is trying to turn her life around, but someone from her past reappears and she finds herself and the heart of a mystery around a missing object that everyone wants and no one knows the location of. Charlie finds out that nothing is as it seems and that no one can be trusted, and it’s up to her to keep them from gaining access to lots and lots of power. Even though it took me a long time to get into it, I will definitely be reading the sequel when it comes out to find out what happens.

Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen

On the surface, Ava Wong’s life looks perfect – she’s a lawyer, her husband is a surgeon, and they have a young kid and a great home. But in reality, Ava is really struggling and feels lost – she doesn’t use her degree, she’s having marriage troubles, and her son’s frequent tantrums have her worried that there’s something wrong. All of this is to explain why, when a college friend comes back into her life and asks her to join in on a scheme of knocking off designer bags, Ava finds herself agreeing. And why Ava finds herself someone getting more and more involved, saying yes to things she never thought she would agree to. But nothing good can last forever, and when the scheme is busted, Ava has to deal with the fallout. I liked this book, but didn’t love it as much as I thought that I would – it does make for a good summer read, though.

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