Christmas in July and other shenanigans

the-monthlies-2

This is going to be a marathon of a blog post as I have done two bigger readathons this month in addition to my regular reading. Despite the fact that I went on vacation the first week-ish if July, I got quite a bit of reading done. I had dreams of reading by the beach during my vacation but alas that didn’t happen as I was too busy snorkeling, knitting, eating, and sightseeing. St. Thomas is beautiful, y’all! I highly recommend vacationing there if you need a time out from the hustle and bustle of your daily life.

 

 

 

***SPOILERS POSSIBLE    *NOTE: UNDERLINED TITLES WERE SHOPPED FROM MY OWN SHELF

 

Bride Quartet series and Summer Desserts (Nora Roberts) ♠♠♠ and ♠♠♠♠

 

 

These were basically my guilty pleasure vacay reads. I have a soft spot for anything Nora Roberts and these did not disappoint. They were fluff, over-the-top cheesy, entertaining, and some of the couples proved even to be relatable. I flew through them like is expected from any Roberts novel and have already half-way forgotten what the plots were about.

Read any of these books if you want to: escape reality in a light-hearted way

Skip these books if you: can’t stand romance novels

 

The Transfigured Hart (Jane Yolen) ♠♠♠♠♠

238

Magical. Full of imagery. Life lessons. Friendship. Keeping your inner child alive. We are all different but also alike. Unicorns? Fantastical tales. Bravery. Need I say more? I quite loved this story and would highly recommend it to anyone.

You should own this book!

 

 

 

My Friend Fear (Meera Lee Patel) ♠♠♠♠♠

252I have had this book on my nightstand for quite a while and I am so glad I finally picked it up and read it in one sitting. The watercolor illustrations are magnificent and the message is even more beautiful. Let’s embrace our fears and allow them to push us forward. Patel talks about her fear of being different, looking different, having brown skin, and parents who don’t speak English well. I don’t have the same fears but still saw myself in her tellings. Fear can be universal and can unite us and make us relate to each other. She captures that sentiment perfectly. I’ve added her book to my collection of near-and-dear-to-my-heart self-help and spiritual books and I will reference it in the future I am sure.

Give this book a read if you: want to feel less alone with your fears, are looking for encouragement

This book is not for you if you: are not ready to tackle your anxieties

 

Trapped in Room 217 (Thomas Kingsley Troupe) ♠♠♠♠

244This novel is part of The Haunted States of America series. It’s written for middle-grade and how can I not get excited about horror books for kids???? I loved the story and really wish the author would write it again for adults. I wanted it to be longer and even scarier :). I immediately got drawn in by the plot. Parts reminded me of King’s The Shining and of course I was going to love it simply based on that. I could relate to the main characters and middle-grade me would’ve devoured this novel. I am so glad someone is writing these types of stories for a younger audience. I now definitely want to check out the rest of the series and, hey, I might start a campaign to get an adult version of these books as well! The cover art is also on point!

Read this if you enjoy: horror, scary plots, spooky things, strong lead characters

Don’t read this if you: scare easily

 

Ghoulia (Barbara Cantini) ♠♠♠♠♠

245Another spooky book. This one is illustrated and for an even younger reader. I loved, loved, loved everything about the plot, the characters, and the main message. I will have to buy this book and read it to my pets (since I don’t have kids) on Halloween. I hope this series will become a staple in kids’ libraries and their homes.

Get this book if you: like spooky Halloween stories, enjoy playing dress-up, feel different but want to fit in

I can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t like this book.

 

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep/Blade Runner (Philip K. Dick) ♠♠♠

251I listened to this on audio. I tried the eBook but couldn’t get into it. The audiobook turned out to be a lot more engaging. I was disappointed by the writing though. I can’t even explain what I expected but I had hoped for more, after all, it is on the 1001 book list. The story itself was interesting although a bit boring. I am glad I can cross this book off my list but for me, it wasn’t anything special.

This story is for you if you: love classic sci-fi

This story is not your cup of tea if you: need a lot of action in a plot

 

Begone the Raggedy Witches (Celine Kiernan) ♠♠♠♠

246The premise of this world is great: it’s dark, there is witchcraft, we have intrigue and betrayal, we find rebellion and bravery. I loved the main character: she is fierce, adventurous, and has an impeccable moral compass. What I struggled with was what age group this was written for. The plot was kinda dark and mature but then the ending was an “everything is fine and everything worked out as expected” ending, which I generally associated with younger audiences. Somehow, to me, the ending didn’t fit the overall feel of the story. I can’t quite put my finger on it but I don’t think everything should’ve just fallen into place at the end.

Pick up this book if you: want to be sucked into another series, like good world-building, enjoy a little witchcraft, read books based on cover art

Put this book away if you: are not ok with an easy plot

 

Crooked Kingdom (Leigh Bardugo) ♠♠♠♠

250This was such a solid sequel to Six of Crows! I still enjoyed all the characters and Bardugo is a master at world-building! The descriptions are detailed and vivid, the plot is complex, the characters are deep and relatable, and the ending left me wanting more. I found Six of Crows to be a bit more suspenseful and action-packed but otherwise, I loved both books equally. Also, why Matthias, why?

This series is a must-read for anyone who loves fantasy novels.

 

readathon-wrap-up

 

I have two readathons to wrap-up. The High Summer Readathon (HSR) ran all of July and included an optional Christmas in July weekend, which I did not observe as it coincided with Dewey’s (surprise) reverse readathon. I am really pleased about how both went. I read a total of 12 books for HSR and read about 450 pages for Dewey’s readathon. I had set myself some very low expectations as it was a reverse readathon aka I should do the opposite of what I normally do, which is to plan out every minute essentially. So, I definitely didn’t do that and just read whenever I found the time. I also (wo)manned the official Dewey’s Twitter account for two hours and wrote a readathon blog post on their site. I chose to focus on Crooked Kingdom during Dewey’s as I had read Six of Crows during the last one in April and found it fitting to read its sequel this time.

 

Did you participate in any readathons this month? How did you fare in general in July? Did you reach your reading goals?

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