What I’ve Been Reading | July Wrap Up & Instagram Story Templates

Recent Reads Wrap Up Elaine Howlin

Hello friends, it’s wrap up time again! I read a few short stories this month and of course, it was Jane Austen July which I really enjoyed taking part in. I really wanted to read more Jane Austen but I still had a great reading month. It was a month of fantasy and paranormal instead of classic romance and I managed to catch up on some NetGalley ARC’s. Scroll to the end of the post for the Instagram Templates.

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Emma by Jane Austen

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Emma may be my favourite Austen leading lady. I love a character with flaws that makes mistakes and learns from them throughout the book. Plus this book is quite funny with plenty of that Austen wit and keen eye for human behaviour.

I listened to the audiobook from Audible narrated by Emma Thompson (fantastic) with the dialogue read by a full cast. It was a wonderful way to enjoy the story.

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This was really good but I also found it a bit tiresome at times. I don’t like having too many characters to follow in a book but if this were a movie I’d be all over it! It was a beautiful book exploring life through an Austenified lens.

I listened to the audiobook from Audible narrated by Richard Armitage. He’s one of the few male narrators I’ve listened to that doesn’t make the female voices sound whingy and grating.

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The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A lovely story and the perfect thing to read during lockdown/isolation. The characters are so charming and real it’s easy to connect with them and their experiences.

It’s really heart-warming but manages to be heart-wrenching at the same time. Full of joy, pain, humour and life.

I listened to the audiobook read by two narrators for the dual points of view. They did a wonderful job expressing the story really enhancing the reading experience.

RomeAntically Challenged by Marina Adair

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is a super cute and endearing story with elements of Three Men and a Baby and a gender swapped Good Luck Chuck. It will give you all the warm fuzzies if you’re a fan of rom-coms and friends to lovers slow burn romances.

Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Scarlett Johansson from Audible. She was a fine narrator but it was kind of strange listening to this story with an American accent. It’s a nice little story….not much to say about it really.

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Venetia by Georgette Heyer

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I love Georgette Heyer! Her historical’s are just so lovely.

I listened to the audiobook on Scribd narrated by Richard Armitage and he done a wonderful job with this one as well. He’s definitely one of my favourite narrators.

Fangs by Sarah Anderson

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is so freaking cute!

Quite a different style to the Sarah’s Scribbles comics but the humour is pretty close. Sweet and cute but a touch dark at times. The comic chronicles small moments in the relationship between a vampire and a werewolf playing on several horror and romance tropes. It’s a very quick read but oh, so sweet and fun.

The Culling Trials by K.F. Breene and Shannon Mayer

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A fairly short book but pretty good. It’s straight forward YA fantasy with a kind of The Hunger Games meets Divergent meets Mulan feeling.

I listened to the audiobook on Scribd which was very well narrated.

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Desperate Measures by Katee Robert

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

This Aladdin retelling was a pretty big hit among the romance BookTube community. It re-imagines the story as a present day mafia story with Jasmine hooking up with Jafar. I was intrigued by the idea of this pairing but the execution was a bit….boring. It’s very much erotica with lots of BDSM so very little was actually going on. I need a bit more of a plot in my books.

Under Her Skin Anthology

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pack by Jeaniene Frost

Pretty simple werewolf story. Not much going on here but it’s enjoyable. A woman lost in the woods is bitten by a werewolf and taken in my the local pack.

In Sheep’s Clothing by Meljean Brook

This was my favourite one from the collection. A friends to lovers story where a woman returns home after coming to terms with becoming a werewolf to help her friend track down a serial killer.

Grace of Small Magic’s by Ilona Andrews

This is the longest story in the collection and I kind of wish it wasn’t… It felt like it was gearing up for a full length novella but was cut short so the ending feels rushed. A woman’s family is cursed into servitude to a family of shapeshifters but only when they are called upon. She is summoned to fight in a deathly battle to keep the shapeshifters in power.

The anthology is no longer available and the only story I could find online was Pack by Jeaniene Frost. All three stories were originally published in The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance.

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Silent Blade by Ilona Andrews

Rating: 5 out of 5.

An earlier short story from the duo which clearly shows the direction their stories were going. You will enjoy this if you’re a fan of their Hidden Legacy series. It’s full of breadcrumbs for that world.

Long Ride Home by Elizabeth Hunter

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A very short story introducing the world of Cambio Springs. It was very engaging but it damn near broke me! I’ve never gotten weepy so quickly. Despite how emotional the story made me, it really peeked my interest in reading the series. The characters and the world seem very interesting.

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