Yay! We made it to the end of July! Seriously, it’s been a tough month for me mentally. I’m struggling with staying home, but at least my time is spent with a little more reading than it was last month. This month, I finish out with 11 books under my belt.
There were definitely some things I noticed about my reading this month. First off, it took me five days to read Kevin Kwan’s Sex and Vanity, but then it took me two days to finish Catherine House. They may look similar, but one was a fun, summer book, and the other was a book filled with themes and ideas that made you think beyond your average scope. Two guesses on which was which.
The thing I’m most proud of is that I stuck to my TBR. I didn’t complete my TBR, but the books I read were all the ones I set out to read. However, I do want to make some adjustments for next month. I’ll share more when I share my TBR. For now, here’s what I read:
My Top 5 Standouts
I read this one on audio and it was such a great experience. The narrator brings a lot of personality to each character. I will say that there were moments when four or five characters are talking at once or their switching off what they’re saying and I couldn’t discern on audio who was who. But this book was fun! It’s got superheroes and teens trying to find their identity among the superheroes. I absolutely adored Nick. He reminded me so much of my friends in high school who would get obsessed with something to the point that they’re writing fan fiction (especially romantic fan fiction between Nick and Shadowstar lol). I also loved that TJ Klune included a kid with ADHD. It’s inclusive AF, it’s got so much to think about, funny and clever, but maybe a little unrealistic and I’m not talking about the superheroes. It’s probably better off you read this one on paper, but it was an interesting read. You can find my review of The Extraordinaries on Goodreads.
I prioritized this read because 1) the final book in this series is releasing later this year 2) I was participating in the readalong before then! I’ve been collecting these books for a few years and I’m so glad to have finally started reading them. I absolutely loved this first book. I loved the dual narrative because you get the full scope from two perspectives on what’s going on. I’m also a huge fan of spies and court intrigue, so it was definitely there in full force. My only issue? I didn’t start reading them sooner. I can’t wait to continue my dive into this series next month and I can’t wait for the final book. I feel like I’ll have more excitement for that one once I actually finish the ones I have first. You can find my review of An Ember in the Ashes on Goodreads.
This was probably the most cerebral book I read all month and the one that I’m still thinking about today. I will note that this book isn’t for everybody, but if you’re a fan of literary fiction then you can truly appreciate this book. I went on a rant about transcendentalist philosophy in my review, which wasn’t my intention, but the story itself is engaging and has just enough in it to keep you going. I will note there was a little bit of a lull in the middle when Ines is going through school, but what you read there isn’t just unnecessary BS. I like to think that the lull in this book is the complacency of the school and the impact that it has on its students. That impact is more relevant when you finally see the end. I thought it was a wild novel with some twists and turns that kept me reading because I wanted answers. You can find my review of Catherine House on Goodreads.
I just finished this book and wow. I haven’t written my thoughts about this one yet, but I can tell you right now that I absolutely loved it. It has deep magic in it, political intrigue, a little bit of a love story, and a massive world. Seriously, I’m so impressed with the magic in this world. It’s similar to many of the anime shows I watch where magic kind of pops up and a whole other world comes to light, if that makes sense. If anything, I was a little disappointed that the characters were so good at using magic without even trying. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a Mary Sue situation, but it made me a little skeptical.
But I honestly was blown away and the book will keep you engaged and reading because there’s so much happening. And as you read, more and more is revealed into this world and I fell in love with it! I’m a huge fan of complex fantasy books and this is one of them. Nothing should be taken at face value and everything ultimately has an intriguing end. I also loved the characters here. They read incredibly real. I can’t stress that enough because sometimes I read these YA fantasy books and ask why decisions were made and chalk it up to them being teenagers. This read so much more mature, more articulate, and thoroughly well planned. I cannot wait for the second book!
I read this one for a promotion on my Instagram and I was really worried I wouldn’t like it because it was dense and at some points a little dull, but I ended up really enjoying this one and anticipating the next book. I think the only issue I had with this is that it’s an offshoot from a bigger trilogy LaFevers wrote. If you’ve read her other series, then I would highly recommend this after because there was some stuff happening towards the end and throughout where I didn’t have any context and got lost. It wasn’t the worst thing in the world, but it wasn’t the greatest experience. But it’s another court drama, dual narrative between Genevieve and Sybella. Both of these characters are daughters of Death. One is the best at what she does and the other has been hidden away as a spy for five years. A little bit of a slow burn, but reads way more like an adult fantasy than a YA. You can find my review of Courting Darkness on Goodreads.
- Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
- Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
- How to Save a Life by Lisa Steinke and Liz Fenton
- Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan
- A Cowboy to Remember by Rebekah Weatherspoon
This particular book I picked up alongside many other folks in the world after the tragic murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others. Reading a history book is not my favorite thing to do, but I wanted to know more. I wanted to understand when people say that our educational system didn’t include a lot of US history and I’m so thankful to those who suggested this book. It took me two months to read and I read about a chapter or two a day. It’s a big book, but the lessons you’ll learn will definitely resonate. I would highly recommend this book if you’re committed to anti-racist work and understanding the other part of American history that I didn’t know and never really learned. There’s lessons here that will stick with me for the rest of my life.
How did you make out this month? What did you end up reading?