Kickin' It: July 2020 Wrap Up

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

July was a whirlwind! It felt like it went by so fast but based on all the books I was able to get done this month, it looks like I was able to stop time in order to finish them all. I have never, in all my years as a reader, read these many books in a month. I’m completely surprised by myself. Looking at the book stack I finished, it’s hard to believe I also finished up my summer course and actually socialized with friends this month. It seems that my little reading slump of the last few months is finally over! In July, I was able to finish a total of 19 books. Here’s what I read:

The End of Oz by Danielle Paige (3.5 stars): I finished the final book in the Dorothy Must Die series. To be honest, I’ve kind of been over this series for a while. I think it was a bit too long for what it set out to do. Overall, though, it was a fun installment.

Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams (4 stars): Even though I gave The Bromance Book Club four stars too, I actually enjoyed the sequel much more. This book fulfilled the prompt of reading a book in a genre I want to read more of, during the Reading Rush. Undercover Bromance, while keeping the book fresh and fun, also tackled sexual harassment in the workplace. 

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer (5 stars): If only I could rate a book 100 stars! As A Curse So Dark and Lonely was my favorite book of last year, I had such high hopes going into this. While the sequel changes protagonists, its direction leads so much possibilities to the overall series. I can’t wait to read the third book!

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh (4 stars): Vampires in New Orleans, sign me up! While I can see why people didn’t like this book, I went into with an open mind and ended up loving it. The ending was very frustrating since it used one of my disliked tropes ever but I can’t wait to read the sequel, The Damned, to see where that trope will take readers. 

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (3.5 stars): I don’t know what I expected this to be but it I definitely wasn’t expecting a series of short stories of Norse mythology. I enjoyed it and it made me interested in learning more myths and folklore out there.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (3.5 stars): Several years ago, I read about half of this and just never continued. I finally reread the first half and finished it this month! It’s not my favorite Tolkien. I think the first half of the book was very strong and then the last half lost its way. 

Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz (3.5 stars): Stolarz is one of my all-time favorite authors so it pains me to give this book only a 3.5. However, Jane Anonymous tackled some dark stuff in such an upsetting, triggering way that it was difficult to even get through. It shows you how amazing her writing and story-building is, since I had such a strong reaction to this. The book follows the aftermath of a teen who has returned home after months in captivity. It was stress-inducing, frustrating, and poignant. 

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle (4 stars): I switched this from a 3.5 to 4 star because I just cannot stop thinking about it. The characters were so well written. Even though I had some issues with it—primarily that the two characters fought most of the book and my stress levels did not take it well—this debut was so lovely. I’m looking forward to reading more from Hogle in the future.

Slayer by Kiersten White (4 stars): Now I want to go back and rewatch every Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode. Slayer was so reminiscent of the show, as it is set after the events of the TV show’s season finale. White was able to capture the essence of the show in her writing and it made for some humorous and action-packed moments. Slayer is the first in a duology and I definitely hope to snag a copy of the sequel soon.

Stuart Little by E.B. White (3 stars): For the Reading Rush, this book fulfilled the prompt of a book of a movie I’ve already seen. I adored the Stuart Little movie as a kid so I was excited to pick this up. I finished it and it sort of feels unfinished as it leaves readers in the middle of an adventure. 

Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich (4 stars): Usually my friend and I try to go to a Broadway show every summer. With the pandemic, Broadway has been cancelled for the rest of the year so I decided to bring Broadway to me. My friend and I got the lovely opportunity to see Dear Evan Hansen last year and it was absolutely fantastic! The book adaptation follows very closely to the show, but it still put me in tears at the end. 

Eats, Shoots, and Leaves by Lynne Truss (4 stars): I didn’t really know what to read next so I picked this one up on a whim. It may not seem like it, but for those who know me in real life, I’m a bit of a grammar snob. There were some adorable anecdotes and easy-to-understand grammar techniques in here, great for middle school students.

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (4 stars): I usually don’t binge series but it was something about this book that made me want to immediately pick up the sequel. 

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa (4 stars): While I don’t think this book had as a clear adventure plot as the first one, it was still a solid sequel. It certainly ended in such a cliffhanger that I had to continue reading the series straight away.

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa (4 stars): This volume holds the most character development and we seem to get the most depth from the love interests. It was quite interesting to see where Kagawa took the plot and I can’t wait to snag a copy of the fourth book to finish off the original series (there’s a spin-off series too!)

Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney (2 stars): I’ve had this one on my shelf for so long. This fulfilled the prompt during the Reading Rush of being the color of my birthstone. This was an ARC, so I can’t rightfully say if some of this made it into the final draft (and as far as I can see, it’s also out of print now). However, the writing was so choppy and unbelievably poor. The premise of Night at the Museum set in an art museum in Paris sounded so phenomenal. However, it seemed to be written like readers were supposed to know what Whitney was thinking. Like, the potential was clear with a great premise, but Whitney leaves most of the story up to the reader to figure out instead of putting anything on page. 

The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski (4 stars): While I don’t think I liked this as much as The Winner’s Curse trilogy, I still enjoyed it. The plot was a bit too slow but the characters were what made the book shine. 

The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler (4 stars): I was so excited about this release that I preordered it. It was just something about a tourist and a grumpy diner owner set in Alaska that sounded absolutely great to me. And it certainly was! I will most definitely be reading anything Morgenthaler writes now.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (4.5 stars): Wow, that was stressful… but in the best way possible. I’ve been waiting for the hype surrounding the book to die down but it’s one of those books that may be popular forever so I finally decided to just read it. I enjoyed it immensely. Tahir’s writing is absolutely gorgeous and riveting. The discussions were both poignant and significant. I will most definitely be reading the sequel!

Eighty Days to Elsewhere by K.C. Dyer (8/11/20): Put romance and travel in the same book—two of my favorite elements—and I definitely have a new favorite.

Bright Raven Skies by Kristina Perez (8/25/20): The third and final book in the Sweet Black Waves trilogy. Am I ready for this? No, I still haven’t read the sequel (but I still haven’t read the sequel yet either because I know these books will just rip my heart out). I need time to prepare to read this lovely installment of the Tristan and Isolde retelling.

Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram (8/25/20): I absolutely loved Khorram’s debut, Darius the Great is Not Okay! When I found out there was going to be a companion novel, I couldn’t have been happier! I can’t wait to see what happens in this one; it’s definitely one of my most anticipated reads of the year!

How was your July? Did you read any amazing books? Watch any cool shows or movies?

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