Welcome to the end of July everyone! It’s Harry Potter’s birthday, it’s my brother’s birthday, and it’s also time for my first ever monthly reading wrap-up! Kate will be joining in these shenanigans in future months, but she’s had maybe the busiest July ever (one of her awesome friends got married out of state, and she is getting married herself this weekend. SEND GOOD VIBES HER WAY!) So here are all of the books I read this month, along with a few of my thoughts and general ratings for them.
Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch- This was a failed buddy read with my friend Mike, and by that I mean I could NOT keep up with him. He’s actually already finished with the 3rd book in the series, but I totally don’t blame him. This book was PHENOMENAL. Scott Lynch weaves such a beautiful braided narrative where I truly don’t know what’s going to happen next. Locke and Jean are one of my favorite brOTPs of all time, and I am infinitely entertained by their antics. This is the second book in a series (the first is The Lies of Locke Lamora) featuring orphans, thieves, con-men, and general fuckery. I highly recommend picking up the first book. FIVE STARS
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows – This was an audio read for Tome Topple, and I really had no idea what it was going to be like before I got to it. I knew My Plain Jane was coming in my July Owlcrate box, so I decided to get a taste of what was to come. Ultimately, I’m currently at about a 3.5 star rating because I can understand why some people enjoy it, but it really isn’t for me. I definitely appreciated the audio version more than I think I would have enjoyed the print version. This was basically a retelling of the story of Lady Jane Grey, but with magical shapeshifters and a complete alternate history, told with humor. It sounds cool, but it ultimately didn’t jive with me.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee- HOLY CRAP. I loved this book, and it is a classic example of me wondering why I took so long to read something. I read this in two days, and I regret nothing. Our main character Monty is the ridiculously charismatic bi character I never knew I always needed to read about. Monty and his best friend Percy are about to go on tour before Percy goes off to school and Monty takes over learning how to manage his father’s estate, and hijinks absolutely ensue. I absolutely adore Monty, Percy, and Monty’s sister Felicity (who will make an appearance later on in this wrap-up!), and I was heartsick while I was rooting for Monty and Percy’s love. I definitely was thrown for a loop near the end, but ultimately it was exactly what my little heart wanted. 4.5 stars!
Renegades by Marissa Meyer- Oh man. Okay. Let me start off by saying this book is fine, and I will absolutely be continuing with the series. That being said, I was so disappointed. If I hadn’t been buddy-reading this with Kate for Tome Topple, I probably would have set it aside. I absolutely adore Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and Heartless, so I was absolutely amped to read a story she wrote about superheroes and villains and what happens after society collapses and needs to be built back up. Sadly, I absolutely did not connect with a single character, and that is the easiest way to get me to stop caring. Our main character, Nova, was never gray enough for me. The plot didn’t drive forward enough for me. But goddammit, did that ending shock the crap out of me. Probably about a 3.5 stars, but I’m kinda wishy-washy about that.
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – You guys. This book…I cannot handle it. While I was reading it, I had to keep setting it aside for 2-3 minutes and take a breather before I could pick it back up again. My angst and stress meters were off the goddamn charts. I LOVE THESE CHARACTERS SO MUCH. I cannot even begin to pick my favorite. Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Wylan, Nina, and Matthias are so important to my well-being. This series probably deserves its own gush post just so I can screech about how much I adore them. What the original Grisha trilogy didn’t do for me, this did in SPADES. Since this is the second book in a duology, I once again cannot elaborate too much about my love, but keep an eye out for my thoughts on this duology. Once I can form coherent thoughts again, that is. FIVE HEART-PALPITATING STARS
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – This is one of my favorite books. This was a re-listen to the audio. Jim Dale is flawless. Celia and Marco own my soul. Just…go read this book. It will enchant you.
Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart – This is a book that actually comes out today! I got a copy in my June Fairyloot box, and we were fortunate enough to get access to the story early. The book itself is gorgeous. I sped through the story in a couple of days. It was very easy to read, and it definitely gave me hardcore Red Queen vibes. I’m hesitant to recommend this book because it definitely felt foundational. I’m intrigued to see where the story goes from here. I’m hovering around a 3.5 star rating. I recommend checking out Goodreads reviews to get a few more coherent thoughts and investigate the plot.
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee- Felicity is back! This October, Felicity Montague gets her own book that takes places after the events of Gentleman’s Guide. We find Felicity living in Edenburgh (swoon), working for a local bakery and trying to find someone to take her on as a student of medicine. This book is a love letter to the struggles women face, especially in traditionally male spaces. There’s also a variety of LGTQ+ representation (I won’t speak exactly to the types of rep because no character specifically states their orientation, so I don’t want my lack of education on the subject to step on the toes of anyone who is Own Voices in this situation. If you can enlighten me more on Felicity and Sim’s rep, please feel free to leave a comment!!!), as well as a Muslim main character. Again, loved this book. Preordered it before I finished it. It comes out this October! 4.5 stars
Leah On the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli – While I have read up on some criticisms of this book due to a particular line (which I will 100% say put a bad taste in my mouth), I will again leave it up to those more knowledgeable to me to speak about the bisexual representation in this book. What I CAN say is that Leah is a character that grew on me, and I was happy to be inside her head for the duration of my audio listen of this book. I absolutely ADORE Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and I was excited to return to Shady Creek. That being said, PLEASE look up some other reviews for information on (potential) hurtful bisexual representation if that is something that is concerning for you. I have read several reviews that have alluded to a harmful scene. Besides that, 4 stars. I wish there had been a little more plot, but this book read more like a slice of Leah’s life. I’m not totally opposed, but I’m glad I was able to listen to this instead of reading a physical copy. It probably would have been a difficult read.
Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, and Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas – I figured I would talk about all of these together since they are books 3, 4, and 5 in the Throne of Glass series. I will admit, it took me until Heir of Fire (having read the first two books plus the prequel novellas) to finally get into the series, but once I got there, I was totally hooked. Surprise, I’m Sarah J. Maas trash. There’s not much more to say other than I am SO EXCITED for Kingdom of Ash. 5 fangirl take-this-with-a-grain-of-salt stars.
Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston – Meh. This was an Owlcrate book, and I WANTED to love it. It was an Owlcrate book earlier this year, and we got a gorgeous copy with purple sprayed edges. PURPLE. There are not enough purple books. However, this Anastasia in space retelling just fell flat for me. There were some EGREGIOUS editorial issues, and I ultimately wasn’t that engaged in the story line. I definitely should have been. There is a M/M romance, a rogue AI, and it’s set in space. The premise was really good and should have checked a lot of boxes for me, and it just fell flat on execution. I’ve been waffling for a while because I hate giving reviews on meh books, but I think I’ve settled on 2.5 stars overall.
Furyborn by Claire Legrand- This was a reread for me. I had gotten an advanced copy of this book (and I’ve reviewed it on this blog!), but I hadn’t read a finished copy. I had put a hold on the audio version ages ago, and when it popped up on my Libby app, I decided it was time. I really loved the narrator. It was only one person, but she was talented enough to make it feel like full cast audio. If you’re interested in some more in-depth thoughts, check out my review here!
So there you have it! I read 14 books this month, and I feel like that is pretty solid for me. I’m hoping life will get less crazy and I can tackle even more books in August, especially since I am excited for a TON of fall releases, but my TBR shelf just doesn’t seem to be getting any less crowded. Comment down below to let me know your thoughts on these books if you’ve read any of them. You can also ask me for more elaborate thoughts on books that have piqued your interests. Thanks guys!