July Wrap Up

Despite a rocky start with a rough DNF, July was a much better month for reading than June. I thought I was going into another slump but I think I pulled through. While some books were so-so, I read a couple that were absolutely incredible—and some that were damn good but then faltered due to side-eye worthy endings.

On the bright side: I FINISHED MY GOODREADS CHALLENGE!

My yearly challenge is 130 (with a usual secret challenge of 150), because I don’t want to stress myself out with numbers and I can usually hit 130 pretty easily by November, but also recognized that life happens and 150 can be hard to reach some years—and I want to keep reading fun.

BUT because my wife was deployed during the first half of the year I um, kinda had a lot of time on my hands, and so read a *mumble mumble mumble* amount of books. So I think that my new super secret challenge (if you read this, I will now have to kill you to keep my secret, sorry these are the rules) is 200. I have five months to read 64 books, which boils down to about 13 books per month. I think I can make it.

I read 16 books this month, which broke down to 5200 pages (weird that it was such an exact number) over three audiobooks, three graphic novels and 10 books. 10 were ARCs, 5 were library books and 1 was owned. Stats are fun!

I also read about nine comics/graphic novels that I didn’t count in my overall wrap-up or Goodreads challenge because they were under 200 pages.

The Books

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The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

This laugh out loud contemporary romance was one of my highlight reads of the month. I was dying over Olive and Ethan’s witty banter and slow-burn enemies-to-lovers romance. Also, the food poisoning with a wedding buffet should be a huge red flag to all folks planning a wedding—elope and avoid aaaaaaaaaall that potential for disaster. Save that money for a Hawaii honeymoon 🙂

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

After a vicious battle, Red picks up a mysterious letter that reads, “Burn before reading,” and kicks off a competition with Blue that spans worlds, time and space. While the lyrical writing was a bit overly poetic at times, and all of the twists and turns had me falling in love with each page. Think Spy vs Spy meets Romeo and Juliet. If you enjoy time travel, sapphic romance, spy shit, lyrical writing, slow burn romance and madcap capers throughout time, this is a must read.

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Emoni Santiago has a lot on her plate—juggling school, a part time job at the Burger Joint, and a toddler. But she has a passion for cooking and a dream, and she’s not going to let anything stop her. I think Elizabeth Acevedo is now one of my auto-buy (or auto request from the library) authors. I was late on the game in reading The Poet X, but that book was amazing and this one is too. Sooooooo good.

The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner

Moth always knew she was different. It wasn’t just because she was a person of color in coastal Massachusetts. It was because she was weird. Different. But she didn’t know how different until she discovered she had magic—and was a witch! This is the cutest damn thing I’ve read in a while, and Mr. Lazlo was so damn adorable. Yes, I have a thing for books with cute-as-a-button fluffies, but even without Mr. Lazlo this is fantastic. History, heritage, witchcraft, family, belonging and more!

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Lots of variety here but these were all pretty entertaining—or enlightening, as Coming Out Under Fire was not entertaining at all but was very educational and rage-inducing (and we still have work to do by overturning the military’s transgender ban). All but Coming Out Under Fire was an ARC, which is a further reminder that I need to finish more of my ARCs and also complete my task of actually reading some of my backlist titles (here’s looking at you, SFF TBR). While Spin the Dawn and The Bookish Life of Nina Hill have been on my TBR since…quite a while (and downloaded from NetGalley for a while as well), Mooncakes, The Last Astronaut and Bloodlust & Bonnets were impulse clicks—The Last Astronaut because I was doing pretty damn well on my July ARCs and we all know that getting ahead/catching up on ARCs is for losers, and the two graphic novels because those are quick and totally don’t put me behind at all (heavy sarcasm). However, these were impulse clicks that were well worth it!

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A Dress for the Wicked, The City in the Middle of the Night and Maid were all…okay. I think that Maid and A Dress for the Wicked definitely fell on the lower end of the 3-flower scale, while City was five stars up until that ending that left much to be resolved and no sequel in sight (please people read this book and demand a sequel so I can get answers!!).

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Aaaaaaaaaaaand the two-star reads. While Shatter the Sky was more disappointing than anything (and blandly YA fantasy despite the bisexual MC, sapphic romance and dragons), and Brave New World was just wtf, I really strongly disliked Breathe In, Cash Out. I haven’t been that frustrated by a book and compelled to finish it just for the spite-review in a while (okay, since last month probably), but damn.

PLUS: Graphic novels/comics under 200 pages!

From Hoopla: I’m slowly closing in on being up-to-date with Giant Days (and with my library moving from 5 to 7 check-outs a month on Hoopla, I’m getting there even faster!) and OMG I just love this series. While the recent issues have really gone nowhere and the girls (and Ed) seem to be stagnant, I’m looking forward for things to pick up again! Nancy Drew: The Palace of Wisdom (🌺🌺🌺🌺🌺/5) did something all of those horrific 1950s yellow-spined mystery novels did not—turned me into a Nancy Drew fan! Holy shit that was incredible.

Netgalley ARCs: Sparrowhawk (🌺🌺🌺🌺/5 flowers) was a really intriguing read—where Alice in Wonderland meets Fight Club meets the land of Faerie. POC rep and colonialism and faeries, oh my! Stage Dreams (🌺🌺🌺🌺/5) was the queer Western I never knew I wanted (or needed), with a sapphic relationship between a trans woman and a Latinx woman all set during the Civil War in the New Mexico Territory. Read it. Sweet Valley High (🌺🌺/5) was my only disappointment in terms of graphic novels/comics, mostly because of the uncredited Mean Girls quotes and the super cringe-worthy high schooler dating a college TA fauxmance (thank you Elizabeth for being the voice of reason but it was still gross).

And that’s a wrap for July!

Here’s hoping August brings some great reads for you and me 🙂

2 thoughts on “July Wrap Up

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