Sunday, July 31, 2016

July Wrap-Up

July interesting month. I honestly thought I blogged more than I did, and then I looked back and found that I had published three entire posts. That's low, even for me.

To be fair, I had a reading slump for most of the middle of the month, and for me, reading slump = blogging slump. But also, having that reading slump did not stop me from reading over 30 books this month (not to mention DNFing 2, which is another weird thing), so I really have no excuses whatsoever about the blogging part.

Also having to do with blogging - remember when I made a post about blogging goals in May, gave myself until the end of June to do them, and then gave myself an extension until the end of July? That still didn't happen. I'm going to keep trying, though!

Let's get back to the good part, though - I read TONS of books! 


The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson (Shades of London #2): I loved this addition to the series. There was everything I loved from the first book - hilarious dialogue, interesting characters, and just the right amount of scary ghosts - and more. But since I read the third book right afterwards, all I can remember is the ENDING and how much that made me need to read the third book IMMEDIATELY.

The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson (Shades of London #3): Definitely the scariest book in the series so far. I scare easily, so it's probably not really all that terror-inducing, but I was unsettled pretty much the entire time and flat-out terrified at a couple of points. But with that kind of book, it's a good thing, right?

Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw: This book was hilarious, but unfortunately, it didn't really do much else for me. And I honestly can't believe that when Scarlett decides to write and publish fanfiction about the people she knows, she never even thinks about changing their names. Really?

Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee: I've always liked learning about the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, so I was really happy to find this book. I was a bit surprised by how much of the book took place before the earthquake, but reading the second half, I definitely understood why.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett: After rereading The Secret Garden in February and loving it a lot more than I'd remembered, I decided to give this other Frances Hogdson Burnett book a try. I didn't love it as much, but it has the same infectious happiness of pretty much all children's classics, and I had a smile on my face the whole time I was reading.

On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis: I'll admit that I was a little bit scared of this book because I really hate the idea of asteroids/comets/mysterious space objects hitting Earth. But this was a really good read, and it had some of the most amazing diversity I've ever seen in a book! The protagonist is biracial and autistic, her sister is trans and bisexual, and there's also a Jewish family, a Muslim couple, and a lesbian couple, to name a few. All in 400 pages, while the book is literally about the apocalypse.

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch: I really loved this book. I devoured it almost as quickly as I would devour gelato! And it may have had the slight effect of making me want to drop everything and move to Italy. You can read my four reasons why (and somewhat of a full review) here.

Star Wars, Vol. 1: Skywalker Strikes by Jason Aaron: And here come the Star Wars books. Fair warning: I read quite a few of them this month. That wasn't the plan - I didn't expect to love this so much! But it was so fun and so engaging and I already love this universe, so seeing even more of it was wonderful! ½

Star Wars: Darth Vader, Vol. 1: Vader by Kieron Gillen: Yes, I did read this concurrently with the main Star Wars series in order to get all of the issues in the proper order. And I'm really glad I did! I liked seeing how the two series went together, and even though the first few issues were a little slow, things picked up quickly. I especially loved Triple-Zero - think evil C3PO, and you've got it.

The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan (Kane Chronicles #3): Look, guys, I finally read it! Years and years later! It was long enough that I had to reread the other two books in the series first (included in my reread section below), but I finally finished this series. This was my least favorite of the three, but I did enjoy it and I wouldn't mind seeing more Riordan books with Egyptian gods!

Demigods & Magicians by Rick Riordan: This was a good addition to both the Percy Jackson series and the Kane Chronicles series. My expectations weren't too high, and they were about right - the plots weren't anything spectacular, but I liked seeing the characters again, and the interactions were pretty great.

The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick (My Life Next Door #2): I wasn't expecting to love this so much! I finished it in one evening and didn't stop thinking about it for days. From what I remember of My Life Next Door, this is pretty different, but I loved it. There's so much important stuff in here, and now I really want a book about each and every Garrett sibling please.

The Marvels by Brian Selznick: This book took my heart, ripped it to shreds, shattered those shreds, jumped all over them, put them in a blender, where they were mixed with my tears, and returned them to the emotional blob that was me once I finished. Definitely my favorite Brian Selznick book, and absolutely one of my favorite books of the year. I can't say much, but...just read it. Please.

Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson: This looked like it was going to be another fun summer contemporary (albeit an awesome one, since it's written by Maureen Johnson), but there were quite a few...unique aspects about it. Not bad things at all, but things that I probably shouldn't specify because they're technically spoilers. ½

The Moth & the Flame by RenĂ©e Ahdieh (The Wrath & the Dawn): After a 10-day reading slump (which I still think makes the number of things I read absolutely ridiculous - do I have a life?), this was exactly what I needed. I actually forgot that this existed, and then I saw it on my library's digital site and I NEEDED it. I loved that this centered around Despina and Jalal, and I'm so happy that it was so good! It was short, though, even for a novella. The only problem is that this is a completed series and now I want more. ½

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson: I can't believe I didn't know this was nonfiction until I started reading it. I haven't read much fiction in verse, and I know that this is the first nonfiction book in verse I've ever read! I like that verse made every word count, and it made the book that much more powerful; however, it being in verse did mean that I wasn't always sure exactly what was going on.

Amusing the Million by John F. Kasson: I read two nonfiction books in a row! I can't remember the last time that happened. I loved learning more about Coney Island and its predecessors, but for such a short book, there were a lot of specifics that went over my head. I'm awful with names of historical figures, and there were a few sections that seemed to be nothing but names.

Fire by Kristin Cashore (Graceling #2): I read Graceling last month, after meaning to read it for years, and I loved it so much that I had to read the other two books ASAP. I didn't like this one quite as much as Graceling, but I loved seeing a different part of the same world! And, as with all the books in the Graceling realm, I loved all of the characters, especially Brigan and Hanna.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (Graceling #3): I'm still not sure how I feel about this book, because I loved the plot and the ideas, but the execution didn't always seem up to par with the previous two books. It was unnecessarily long, the plot twists didn't feel as world-changing, and I didn't get as attached to the supporting characters. I still really enjoyed reading it, though.

Star Wars: The Weapon of a Jedi by Jason Fry: Another Star Wars book. This one was a middle grade novel instead of a comic book, though. I thought that it was a nice addition to the Star Wars universe, and it had a good story, but it wasn't anything particularly special.

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye (The Crown's Game #1): I might be a tiny bit obsessed with this book. It was so amazing, and I can't believe that we don't have a release date for the sequel yet! I'm going to write a full review for it later, so watch out for that. In the meantime, READ THIS AMAZING BOOK PLEASE.

Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen: Finally, it's actually summer because I've finally read a Sarah Dessen novel. This one definitely wasn't my favorite, but it was a good, summery read.

When We Collided by Emery Lord: I've read every Emery Lord book so far and really liked all of them, so even though this wasn't what I was expecting, I still really liked it. It deals with mental illness incredibly well, and Emery Lord's characters are always perfectly imperfect. I can't wait to see what she writes next! (Side note: if you're not already doing so, you should follow Emery Lord on Twitter. She's the best.)

Star Wars, Vol. 2: Showdown on the Smugglers' Moon by Jason Aaron: This wasn't quite as great as the first volume, but I still really liked it. Even if it had been the best comic book in the universe, though, the best part would still have been Leia with a light saber.

Star Wars: Darth Vader, Vol. 2: Shadows and Secrets by Kieron Gillen: I'll admit that I didn't really know what was going on for the first few issues, but they quickly improved. This got me really excited for Vader Down!

Star Wars: Vader Down by Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen: I don't normally like comic crossover events, but this one was amazing. I'd already been reading both series concurrently, so seeing them finally really come together like this was incredible. I really hope that there's another one in the future!

Meet Me Here by Bryan Bliss: This was a classic book case of "it's not you, it's me." I don't think that this was a bad book, I just didn't particularly like it. I'm sure that it's a great book for a lot of people, and I'm glad that they like it. It just wasn't for me.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston: This is a very important book, and one of the best things about it is that it feels so real. I know that's not a particularly good way of putting it - wow, a contemporary book about a real issue feels real! - but it's really the best thing I can say about it. It's so effective because it's so believable.

Run by Kody Keplinger: This book is told in an interesting (but not quite unique) method: alternating perspectives, with one character in the present and the other in the past. I really liked that about it, and I really liked pretty much everything else...and then the ending happened. To be fair, I think that it was an objectively good ending, and I don't have a better one in mind, but I didn't like it.

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga: Problem - I pretty much have no idea what I think of this book. I didn't even rate it. I know I didn't dislike it, but I seriously can't tell how much I liked it. Make your own opinions.

Scarlet Witch, Vol. 1: Witches' Road by James Robinson: Scarlet Witch is pretty much my favorite Marvel character ever, so when I heard that she was getting a solo series at the end of last year, I had to read it. I almost bought individual issues, which I literally never do. This was nothing like any of my expectations - it's definitely not your average comic. But I'm really excited to see where it goes!

Archie, Vol. 1: The New Riverdale by Mark Waid: I am SO happy I took a chance on this one. I think that it's the first time that I've read an ongoing comic series that isn't Marvel, and I loved it! I also liked that the average issue was a lot longer - it might mean that I even go and buy the individual issues, since they'd last me longer than about 10 minutes.

Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett: This definitely wasn't my favorite Discworld book. I liked it, and, as always, there were quite a few funny bits, but it was too long and the many plots took WAY too long to converge. It just doesn't shine, especially when compared to other Pratchett books.

Reread this month:
  • The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan (Kane Chronicles #1): I finally tackled something that's been on my to-read list forever: finishing the Kane Chronicles series. I really only had to read the third book, but I'd forgotten so much of what happened in the first two that I marathoned the series. Original rating: ★★★★; new rating: ★★★★
  • The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan (Kane Chronicles #2): Continuing the Kane Chronicles marathon. I was actually shocked about how little I remembered from this one. I remembered most of the major plot points, but there were entire characters that I forgot. To be fair, I read it about 5 years ago. Original rating: ★★★★; new rating: ★★★★
DNFed this month:
  • The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone: I only got 30 pages into this one. With how rarely I DNF books, I'd normally have given this one more of a chance. But I got that far in and already, I couldn't stand any of the characters and the humor got on my nerves. There were other books that I'd rather have been I did.
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (Outlander #1): To be fair, I might end up trying this one again in the future. But when I was about halfway through this gargantuan book, I just stopped caring. My original plan was to read a couple of shorter books and then go back to Outlander, but I just never got around to it and I don't particularly mind that.
  • Total books: 33 new, 2 rereads, 2 DNFs
  • Longest book: The Marvels, 665 pages
  • Shortest book: The Moth & the Flame, 40 pages
  • Favorite book: The Marvels and The Crown's Game (yes, I chose 2)
  • Least favorite book: Meet Me Here
  • Diverse reads: 25 (all except Love & Gelato, The Boy Most Likely To, Girl at Sea, Amusing the Million, The Weapon of a Jedi, Keeping the Moon, and Unseen Academicals)
  • Nonfiction: 2 (Brown Girl Dreaming, Amusing the Million)
  • Comics/Graphic Novels: 7 (Star Wars Vols. 1-2, Star Wars: Darth Vader Vols. 1-2, Star Wars: Vader Down, Scarlet Witch Vol. 1, and Archie Vol. 1)
  • Novellas: 1 (The Moth & the Flame)
Do you read more in summer? Did you read any amazing books this month? Do reading slumps interfere with your blogging? Tell me in the comments!