The Books I Read in July 2020

9 books. That’s not too bad for July, considering that I was on vacation for two weeks and didn’t have much time for reading. In July I rediscovered my old ebook reader from 2011 and enjoyed finding a few treasures from years ago. But I (still) use my tablet much more because at this point my Kindle Unlimited Subscription just knows what books I’m going to like. Anyway, without further ado here are all the books I read in July:


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I had read the first seven volumes of this series in June. While I liked the premise, the novels have certain weaknesses. Like the clichéd language. Or the fact that I feel that the writer gives too much of her story and esp. the suspense away when she changes perspective and tells through the eyes of evil Katherine. I still enjoyed reading this series to the end because I wanted to know what would happen. I know that the series continues with a focus on Finch, Harley’s brother, but for now I won’t read these books.

Bella Forrest: Harley Merlin and the Challenge of Chaos (Harley Merlin, #8)If what is hidden is found, the mighty shall fall… Time is running out. For the final ritual, Katherine will sacrifice twelve magicals with rare abilities. Harley has already lost so much, and she can’t bear to sacrifice anything more. She will protect her friends at all costs—even if that means flying solo against the greatest evil the world has ever known. With her parents’ Grimoire, Harley finally has a weapon capable of overpowering Katherine. If only she could figure out how to reveal the hidden pages within, to perform the spell Chaos itself has written. And the spell may reveal more than she’s bargained for…

Bella Forrest: Harley Merlin and the Mortal Pact (Harley Merlin, #9)The Goddess of Discord finally rules the world… Without magic, Harley knows the odds of defeating Katherine are stacked against them. Yet a sliver of hope survives in the pages of her parents’ Grimoire. The final, mind-boggling spell entails making a deal with a Child of Chaos. But what must be offered in return? Finch wants to be the one who ends Katherine. Mother Dearest brought him into the world, and he wants to take her out. He will give anything for that chance—even his life. Meanwhile, Katherine needs Harley’s body, or her carefully crafted façade will crumble. And she can’t let that happen, not when she’s so close to becoming a goddess walking the Earth. Unbeknownst to them all, Chaos still has surprises in store—ones that not even Eris herself could predict—in a showdown of epic proportions.


Kiera Cass: The OneWhen she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.

I liked this novel, the third in a series, a lot. The idea of changing U.S. American history is refreshing: what might have happened if the country had decided to become a monarchy? And introduced a horrible system of classes. The novel is more chick lit and an easy read. It is fun to see how far America has come and to root for her to be chosen by the prince.

Daniel Kehlmann: RuhmEin Schriftsteller mit der unheilvollen Neigung, Menschen, die ihm nahestehen, zu Literatur zu machen, ein verwirrter Internetblogger, ein Abteilungsleiter mit Doppelleben, ein berühmter Schauspieler, der lieber unbekannt wäre, eine alte Dame auf der Reise in den Tod: Ihre Wege kreuzen sich in einem Geflecht von Episoden zwischen Wirklichkeit und Schein. Ein Spiegelkabinett voll unvorhersehbarer Wendungen – komisch, tiefgründig und elegant erzählt vom Autor der «Vermessung der Welt».

I rediscovered this book on my old ebook reader and decided to finally read it. While a lot of people seem to like this collection of short stories that are all somehow intertwined, I found them only semi interesting. I feel they are often too shallow or I at least would like to know much more. Also, it is not clear to me what the writer actually wanted to achieve. There isn’t any consistent topic.

Amy Boyles: Witcher Upper (A Magical Renovation Mystery #1) Southern gal Clementine Cooke is busy. The house renovation business she runs with her best friend in the small town of Peachwood, Alabama, is thriving. That is until Clementine discovers her partner dead, face-down in poured concrete. It looks like murder. Clementine starts to investigate, quickly realizing that not only had her so-called best friend spent years lying to her, but plenty of folks wanted her dead–from the unionized wizard mafia to the old lady quilting club. But even with haters coming out of the woodwork, Clementine finds herself fighting off suspicion. She must locate the killer before the local police chief tosses her in jail and throws away the key. With no one to turn to, she enlists the help of a wizard suffering from amnesia. But there’s a hitch–he might not remember who he is, but Clementine does, and for her own reasons, she’s not talking. Can Clementine clear her name and save her business? Or will this be one magical renovation that winds up in demolition?

Hello, new cozy mystery! Clementine is sympathetic while investigating her best friend’s murder. I liked the magical elements as it turns out that, although Clementine wanted to give up on her magic, she ended up in a town full of it. I am curious to see how this series continues.

Mark M. Bello: Betrayal High (A Zachary Blake Legal Thriller Book 5) What does a kid do when it just won’t stop? Kevin Burns has had enough. Today, the bullying stops. Today, he has easy access to his father’s gun cabinet. Today, Kevin exacts his revenge. “You think I’m small? Maybe I am, but my gun is huge . . . Size does matter—the larger the gun, the larger the . . .” Jake Tracey’s phone buzzes. It’s a text from his brother, Kenny. Where are you? English class. Stay there. Someone has a gun. Lock the door. Bloomfield, Michigan, an affluent Detroit area suburb, is home to trial lawyer Zachary Blake. Other school districts envy Bloomfield, that is, until Kevin Burns commits shocking, all too familiar, acts of senseless violence. In the aftermath of the tragedy, everyone wonders ‘why?’. Zack Blake seeks answers, justice for the victims, including his own son. How does a kid get a cache of weapons? The sellers are politically powerful and cover up their role in the bloodbath. The 2nd Amendment protects them, doesn’t it? And President Ronald John, Zack’s old nemesis, is a friend. Can powerful evildoers be brought to justice? Can Zack expose a dark web weapons conspiracy and the abuse of absolute political power in court? How does a broken community heal?

Mark M. Bello chose a current topic. But what is new is that he wove a thrilling story around it. This novel deals with such an important, terrible and current topic. The book combines U.S. American history with current politics – although the name of the president is changed. I could see parallels to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida in 2018 and the movements in its aftermath. The book deals well with all parties involved and shows why there are regular school shootings in the U.S., esp. in contrast to pretty much all other countries. The story succeeds in building up suspense through the personal points of views of the protagonists. It is this constant change of perspective that gives an insight into what all parties think – the shooter, the victims, the protesters, the gun lobby … and it shows that not everything is black and white.
The one thing I did not like was that the whole story is narrated in present tense. This might be personal preference, but I found it weird and it prevented me from a very good reading experience.
The novel is part of a series. Although I do not know the other parts, this was not a problem for me at all to understand everything that is going on.
I recommend this book to everyone who wants to engage more with the topics of U.S. gun laws and school shootings. Esp. high school students can learn a lot through this fictional story and it might be easier to start with a novel.
I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.


This is a wonderful series that has two of my favorite narrative elements: magic and mystery. It is set in New York City, only that there is a sixth burough where the magical folks live. Dani DeMarco is fierce and tries to find murderers. It takes several volumes until it becomes clear what the Hex Files are and that they are the actual focus of this series. While I like all books, I am not sure how I feel about this. I prefer when the focus is clear from the beginning.

Gina LaManna: Wicked Never Sleeps (The Hex Files: Mysteries from the Sixth Borough, #1)Wicked—the paranormal sixth borough of New York—is home to witches and goblins, werewolves and necromancers, elves and vampires…and former Detective Dani DeMarco. Dani’s busy with the grand opening of her family’s pizza parlor, when a knock on the door leaves her face to face with the stunning, yet lethal vampire in charge of the NYPD’s supernatural branch—Captain Matthew King. There’s been a high profile double homicide in the Sixth Borough, and Dani’s peculiar talent is the only hope to untangle the web of lies and magic connecting the dead victims. As the case spirals into a pulse-pounding chase, Dani’s not sure what’s worse: the fact that a ruthless killer has his sights set on her, or that her feelings for New York’s most infamous vampire have returned…

Gina LaManna: Wicked Long Nights (The Hex Files: Mysteries from the Sixth Borough, #2)When a powerful witch goes missing from NYPD, Dani is dragged out of retirement to assist her sometimes boyfriend, sometimes boss—Captain Matthew King—in locating the detective before it’s too late. But things are never that easy, and Dani is soon faced with three bodies missing from the morgue, two reports of necromancy that rock the borough, and a new strain of illegal magic wreaking havoc across Wicked. Dani doesn’t know who to trust. The medical examiner is lying. A detective is reverting to dangerous habits. A rich lawyer is wrapped up in a gruesome murder-suicide. In addition to the job, Dani’s forced to balance a potential new suitor with her complicated feelings for Matthew, while demons from her past threaten to destroy the future. When the case begins to crumble from the inside out, Dani must re-examine those she loves most…and risk losing everything in the name of justice.

Gina LaManna: Wicked State of Mind (The Hex Files: Mysteries from the Sixth Borough, #3)It’s Detective Dani DeMarco’s first week back on the job, and she is not amused. The coffee at the precinct is a disaster, a most annoying colleague is driving her insane, and her on-again, off-again boyfriend is now officially her boss. As if that’s not bad enough, Dani’s faced with a double homicide before the caffeine even hits her system. When a high-profile young elf is kidnapped and destined for death, Dani’s forced to go toe to toe with a kidnapper who has unlocked a secret so potent it could destroy an entire race of paranormals. Coupled with a favor she takes on for a mysterious friend, and Dani’s cup has runneth over. Way over. And if she can’t unmask the kidnapper before it’s too late, Dani might find herself in the crosshairs…

© janavar

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