My July 2021 Reading List: What to Read & What to Skip

Every month I share my reading list so you get the scoop from a reader who LOVES romance books whether a book is worth reading or if it’s one to skip.

Never waste your time or money on a mediocre book when there are so many great romance novels to choose from!

See which romance books made my reading list for July 2021 and what I honestly think about them below.

*Disclosure: This post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Discover what romance books to read and which books to skip from these mini reviews from romance book blogger, She Reads Romance Books.

With another month in the books, it’s time to check out my reading list so you know what to add to your must read pile and what to exclude.

This month I was on vacation! Woot woot! You’d think that would mean I would have a lot of reading time, but instead this year was all about family time since it had been SO long since I saw my family in person.

That being said I of course did get some welcomed reading time in and am ready to share my thoughts with you.

This month’s reading list was a mix of both new releases and older throwbacks of titles I’ve been meaning to read forever. I’m pleased to say that ALL of the new releases where hits with one earning a 5 star rating!

Mini Reviews to Save You From Mediocre Books

Why do I share my reading list each month? Because it’s my goal here at She Reads Romance Books to help fellow romance book lovers find the best romance books worth reading.

There is no shortage of romance books available, so why waste your time (and money) reading a mediocre book?

That’s why every month I share with you my reading list with my recommendations for those romance books worth reading and which romance books you should skip.

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My July 2021 Reading List: What to Read & What to Skip

My Favorite Book of the Month:

It Happened One Summer is an opposites attract romance from Tessa Bailey.

It Happened One Summer
by Tessa Bailey

Published July 2021
*ARC received
The Perfect Summer Romance
5 stars

Piper Bellinger may be a fashionable influencer, but when her wild child reputation goes a bit too far and lands her in the slammer, her stepfather cuts her off. Hoping to teach her a lesson, he sends her off to Washington to run her late father’s dive bar where she meets a big surly sea captain who instantly knows she doesn’t belong in their small town.

Brendan figures Piper won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills even if there is an undeniable attraction between the two opposites.

Piper is determined to prove everyone wrong and can’t risk any distractions, including the feelings she’s beginning to have for the sailor.

OMG, for my first Tessa Bailey book, I have to say that I hit the jackpot. After reading the synopsis, I knew this story sounded so good as I love opposites attract romances, but I was so surprised how much I fell for these characters.

This was my pick for the July 2021 Romance Book Reading Challenge (a summer romance book) and it was the perfect choice!

I loved it and only want more of Piper and Brendan. Now I’m counting down until Piper’s sister’s book, Hook, Line and Sinker, comes out next year.

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review

More Romance Books to Read and Those to Skip:

I’m Only Wicked With You is one of the best summer reads of 2021, especially if you love historical romance.

I’m Only Wicked With You
by Julie Anne Long

Releasing August 24, 2021
*ARC received
A Book That Flourished When It Almost Didn’t
4 stars

Nothing and no one can stand in the way of Hugh Cassidy’s drive to build an American empire until he meets the sheltered darling of London, Lady Lillias Vaughn.

When they meet, sparks ignite and lead to an inevitable indiscretion. Hugh’s proposal salvages Lillias’ honor but kills their dreams for their futures…until they arrive at a plan that could honorably set them free.

I honestly had a hard time rating this because initially I almost stopped reading it!! I couldn’t get into the first 30-40% of the book as I was just confused on all the characters and what was really happening but by the 50% mark the story finally flushed itself out and I totally fell for these two.

I wish that first part was just cut out or rewritten as I’m afraid it will turn off many a reader but then they would miss the moving, eloquently written and tension filled conversations between Hugh and Lillias. Man, the sparks between those two just hooked me!

If you can get through the initial beginning, it’s worth it.

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review

Carnal Urges is a new romance book release in June 2021 from J. T. Geissinger.

Carnal Urges
by J.T. Geissinger

Published June 2021
A Romance With a Hot Alpha and His Match
4 stars

Declan blames me for starting a war. Consorting with his enemies. Getting his men offed. Though I’m innocent on all charges, he wants his pound of flesh and makes me his captive.

But as we’ll both soon discover, there are more powerful urges than sticking it to your enemy.

I definitely liked this better than the first book in this series. All 4 stars were earned by Declan and his alpha ways and Sloane because she’s just one kick a$$ heroine.

I actually think their dominant/sub relationship fit them really well but know you’re not getting too much mob world if that’s what you’re looking for. I highly recommend if you’re a fan of Geissinger’s work.

Amazon Goodreads

Her Dirty Professor is a must read teacher student romance novella.

Her Dirty Professor
by Penny Wylder

Published September 2016
A Student-Professor Novella that Sizzles
3.5 stars

I watched a video I’m pretty sure no one in my class was meant to see. But then my classmates dared me to confirm if our professor,  Loche Johnson did indeed have THE biggest… well, “Johnson”.

I was just supposed to take a look. It was not supposed to become more. If we are found out, he could risk his job and I could risk my scholarship.

This was a hot novella featuring a star student and her professor. A hot, short read for a bit of fun! Wylder always delivers the heat and this one was no different.

Amazon | Goodreads

A Different Blue is a stunning teacher student romance book worth reading.

A Different Blue
by Amy Harmon

Published March 2013
A Teacher-Student Romance About Self Discovery
3.5 stars

Blue Echohawk doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know her real name since she was abandoned at two and raised by a drifter. At nineteen she is just a senior in high school and the complete opposite of the young British teacher who decides he is up for the challenge, and takes the troublemaker under his wing.

This is the story of a nobody who becomes somebody. It is the story of an unlikely friendship and of falling in love.

I love Amy Harmon books because her writing is magnificent and her stories are so thought provoking.

I liked this one as Blue’s story is a fascinating read and I loved her journey. I didn’t think it was a particularly strong romance (not that that detracts from the story at all) as it felt like more of a coming of age story.

If it’s the romance aspect of the teacher/student piece you’re looking for it’s more of a simple slow burn without much show at the end.

Amazon | Goodreads

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Discover which romance books to read and which to skip in this book list.
The Love Interest is a fun, teacher student romance book worth reading.

The Love Interest
by Kayley Loring

Published April 2021
A Student-Professor Romance Between Writers That Worked!
3.5 stars

One night is all it took for Fiona and Emmett to forge a connection neither was expecting or looking for. But what happens next when you realize he’s your new professor and she’s your new student? Emmett is a handsome, bestselling author of thrillers and she’s a budding romance author. Can these two opposites make it through the semester?

I really like Kayley Loring’s writing and enjoyed this fun take on a teacher-student romance. How the characters used their own lives as inspiration for their novels was a unique twist as you get chapters of their work interspersed between chapters of their own romance.

Definitely check it out.

Amazon | Goodreads

Depth of Field is one of the best enemies to lovers books in MM romance.

Depth of Field
by Riley Hart

Published July 2017
An Enemies to Lovers, MM Romance Worth Reading
4 stars

Shane Wallace has made a decent life for himself in Last Chance. He’s a far cry from the lonely boy who was bullied but that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten the torment Maxwell Sullivan put him through.

Maxwell Sullivan never planned to step foot in Last Chance again. But now he’s back as “Van,” a provocative artist and photographer who’s only in town to help his mom after his father’s death and to apologize to Shane. 

Despite their history, it isn’t long before Shane and Van find themselves drawn to each other and making creative use of Van’s camera. But with two different lives, can they find a future together?

I really enjoyed this one. In fact, it helped to inspire my latest book list: the best enemies to lovers books in MM romance!

This book totally had a different tone than I was expecting but I loved it. And the scenes where Van brings out his camera in the bedroom were HOT!

Amazon | Goodreads

Make It Sweet is a must read, new romance book release from Kristen Callihan.

Make It Sweet
by Kristen Callihan

Published February 2021
A Lovely, Tortured Hero Romance
4 stars

Actress Emma needs a change of scenery. After losing her job and finding her boyfriend in bed with another woman, she’s ready for the escape and relaxation promised at the Rosemont estate. She finds the estate gorgeous, and the owner’s grandson, ex–hockey player and current recluse Lucian Osmond, equally so yet with such pain in his eyes.

The two avoid each other despite their growing attraction but in staying apart they only seem to grow closer, healing each other in the process.

I admit that I have a thing for torture heroes in my romance books so this book was right up my alley. Lucian was injured, cutting his hockey career short and leaving him adrift as to who he was without his sport. I liked how Emma didn’t “fix” him but provided the catalyst for him to see that there’s more to life.

A great read and one that made my Most Anticipated Romance Books of 2021 list!

Amazon | Goodreads

Someone Else's Ocean is a romance book by Kate Stewart.

Someone Else’s Ocean
by Kate Stewart

Published July 2018
A Decent Childhood Friends to Lovers Romance
3 stars

The first time I met Ian Kemp in the sparkling blue waters of St. Thomas, I was six years old and we shared a summer beneath the stars.

The second time I met Ian Kemp, he was a shell of the boy I once knew. Turbulent and infuriating, he refused my friendship at every turn. Like me, he was a casualty of life’s cruelty, but we were planets apart.

We’d both sought refuge on the island, hoping to find our anchor. Instead, we found each other and managed to reclaim our stars…until we both got swept away. 

I ADORE Kate Stewart so I’m making my way through her books that I’ve yet to read. The best part of this book was witnessing the struggle Ian was going through and his honesty in his feelings for wanting to be selfish for once.

I did want more moments of them together outside the bedroom to build their connection but overall a good book!

Amazon | Goodreads

Looking for More Recommendations?

Check out all of my What to Read book lists to see which romance books I recommend you read and which I suggest you skip.

Don’t forget to join my email list so that you never miss a post or a book recommendation.

Here’s to finding your next book boyfriend!

What book did you love (or dislike) this month? Share in the comments below.

Leslie Murphy is the owner and writer of She Reads Romance Books.

Leslie Murphy, Author

Leslie is the founder, writer, and producer of She Reads Romance Books (and the She Reads Romance Books Podcast), an online book community focused on romance books and the readers who love them because life is better with a love story.

Leslie reads 150 romance books a year and has been called a "book expert" by CNN. Reading romance is her passion along with raising her two amazing children who love to read! Leslie graduated magna cum laude from Davidson College where she honed her writing skills and also holds two Master's degrees. Join her community in the She Reads Romance Books Reader Lounge.

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She Reads Romance Books helps romance book lovers find their next book boyfriend because life is better with a love story.