Jul 29 2016 11:30am

H&H Bloggers Recommend: Best Reads of July 2016

Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole

What are the best new romances in July 2016?

Each month, we ask our bloggers to share the best thing they’ve read (or things, plural, if our bloggers declare a tie ’cause they just can’t choose). It doesn’t have to be a new book, as evidenced below; just something that made the month sparkle a bit more.

Rachel Kramer Bussel:

I loved the 1960's civil rights movement romance novella Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole. It's my first, but definitely not my last, time reading her work. The writing was gorgeous and made me stop several times to reread particularly lovely sentences, and she wove so many parallels between white Jewish hero Ivan and black heroine Sofie. Both have lost their mothers and are living with controlling, angry fathers, and are finding themselves and rekindling a much frowned upon passion while also becoming budding activists. The injustices Sofie and her community face have clear parallels in what's happening today around police violence against African Americans, but this is not a polemic, though it's rooted in history. It's a love story through and through, an incredibly touching one. I loved seeing their passion and emotion build throughout the book.


We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman

Sometimes I have recommendations and sometimes I don’t. This month is a red-lettered month, because I have three books that I want to recommend.

I have an aversion to books that are sad. I am like a hound dog searching out words like bittersweet, poignant, heart rending, or even moving. So it takes a strong book, and a talented author to pull me pass my aversion and two authors did that —Rowan Coleman with We Are All Made of Stars, and Karma Brown in The Choices We Make.

TANYALK did a First Look on We Are All Made of Stars  so that can tell you a lot more about the story than I could in a short paragraph. Writing about people facing the end of life or living with a chronic condition is obviously a difficult task but Coleman handles it masterfully. The story has romance, levity, and yes sadness, but it felt so honest. Even with the subject matter it is still a book filled with hope. The book made me smile, it made me cry – more than one time, and it touched me. I highly recommend it.

The Choices We Make by Karma Brown

The Choices We Make by is a book that will make you think – what would I do in this situation? Could I do this for a friend? How would I react to this crisis?   One of the characters is facing infertility. And she is written so authentically — warts and all. At first I felt for her, then I disliked her, and finally forgave her –because I really wasn’t sure that I would act any differently. The book explores both the giving and the selfish part of friendship when faced with an ethical dilemma. If any of you are in book clubs I think this would be an excellent book to read and discuss.

And last but not least, David Rosenfelt released a new book this month, Outfoxed. Rosenfelt definitely knows how to pander to dog lovers because he is one, and his books reflect that. But that is not the only reason I love his books. There is always a great mystery, lots of humor and the main character Andy Carpenter is madly in love with his wife, and he is not afraid to say so.  Outfoxed has a more realistic mystery than some of his other books. I like how he mixes that up.  Outfoxed is perfect for readers who love mysteries, a characters with sarcastic- sly humor and hilarious secondary characters. 

Sahara Hoshi:

Broken Prince by Erin Watt

My best of July has to be Broken Prince by Erin Watt. Broken Prince delivers everything readers have come to expect from The Royals series and more. My only complaint is that we have to wait for the next book. An additional great read was Sugar on the Edge by Sawyer Bennett, a romance between a reclusive British novelist and a struggling photographer, this book can stand alone or be read with the rest of the series, so far it's my favorite in Bennett's On Call series.


I read a lot of great books this month, but my favorite was Never Sweeter by Charlotte Stein. The former-bully hero and bullying-victim heroine premise kept this in my TBR for a while but DAMN. I should have read it earlier. This book hit the entire emotional spectrum for me. My poor husband received the “wait, please” signal several times until he finally fell asleep and I kept reading past midnight. Guys, I have a 2 year old who gets up at 4:30am. Reading past midnight is usually physically impossible for me. Summary: all the feels, believable romance and angst, and the hottest sex (and not sex) I’ve read in a very long time.

Jen Wattley:

Level Up by Cathy Yardley

I had a lot of fun reading Eloisa James's novella A Gentleman Never Tells. It hardly took me any amount of time to complete because I was so wrapped up in this cute, quick story. I had such an affection for the heroine in this novel—she's a widowed virgin which I had no idea could be a favorite trope of mine, and now it is. It most definitely is. I also got swept away by Cathy Yardley's Level Up. It's fan fic-y, which I adore, has a heroine who's not really all that great with people, but can absolutely hold her own when necessary, and a lovely story to top it all off. Also, it's full of girl power! 


Jess Moro:

I read so many great books that have been sitting on my tbr this month, it's hard to chose one! I'll have to pick Deep Redemption by Tillie Cole and The Highwayman by Kerrigan Bryne. Both of these stories had crazy strong heroines that face hardships head on. The men were both swoonworthy but, weren't also great people. Even though the books are in different genres, now that I think about, the MC's were pretty similar. I loved how strong they all were. Plus both plots are MIND BLOWING. Deep Redemption is poignant, heartbreaking and ultimately, redeems Rider. The Highwayman by Bryne spans years and kept me on the edge of my seat. It's also a story that packs an emotional punch as well as a plot that keeps the story spinning

Anna Bowling:

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

I'd had my historical pick all locked and loaded, and then I read Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver. This haunting YA came barreling out of nowhere, like a speeding truck, or a car that looks like, no, I'm saying too much; no spoilers. Mean Girl teen Sam dies in a car crash at the beginning, but then a funny thing happens. She keeps reliving her final day, Groundhog Day style, each day with a new piece of the puzzle to bring about the ultimate resolution. Not a romance, but the entire plot takes place on Sam's school's Cupid Day, where students send roses to those they love -and those they don't- and the book does serve up my newest YA book boyfriend. Though Sam's romance with boyfriend, Rob, is headed for disaster, it's weird boy Kent who steals Sam's heart, but is it ever too late for true teen love? Artistic, sensitive, charmingly disheveled, genial host, and enamored of bowler hats (seriously, he makes it work) Kent is well worth falling in love with over and over again.


We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman. This book captivated me from the first page as I followed three main characters and their stories of love. When a night nurse at hospice decides to write letters for patients when they are no longer able, she gifts these patients a final communication before they pass. Over the course of the story, we learn about Stella's own struggles, yet witness her pivotal role in the lives of others. Particularly one young woman recuperating at hospice and another man who doesn't realize how connected he will be to a patient. The story is written beautifully and the letters raw and tender. I just loved this one.

Andrea Cunningham:

Until Harry by L.A. Casey

My top read for July is a standalone book called Until Harry by L.A. Casey.  The story takes place in York, England, and starts off with a tragic death in the family and the protagonist has to travel back home from New York city to attend a funeral.  After that the story unravels slowly; I blew through the pages to find out what was going to happen next.  This story had all the right feels, with British banter , intense romance, and a family that you will fall in love with.  I felt like I was in York, England sitting right next to them watching the story unfold. 


Learn more about or order a copy of Team H&H's Best Reads of July 2016:

Let it Shine by Alyssa Cole  
We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman  
The Choices We Make by Karma Brown  
Outfoxed by David Rosenfelt  
Broken Prince by Erin Watt  
Sugar on the Edge by Sawyer Bennett  
Never Sweeter by Charlotte Stein  
A Gentleman Never Tells by Eloisa James  
Level Up by Cathy Yardley  
Deep Redemption by Tillie Cole  
The Highwayman by Kerrigan Byrne  
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver  
Until Harry by L.A. Casey  



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