I had hoped to read more in July, but it just didn’t happen.
I had three books lined up to crush in the last week, and it’s now Friday the 31st and I still have three books to read. Which is fantastic because there are several ARCs releasing on August 3 and 4th that um, I have not read and were not the three on my list (okay, one is).
But despite only reading 12 books this month, I did read some fairly long books, so kudos to me? I read 5,006 pages, with eight books and four audiobooks.
I had a lot of five star books this month, and yet while they were excellent, two were heavy yet necessary reads.
The Warmth of Other Suns was an fucking masterpiece of historical research, covering a span of over 70s years of the Great Migration, where millions of Black Americans left the South for a better future elsewhere. They went north, they went west, they went northeast, and while they found things were different, they were hardly better, as racist policies and laws followed them. There is a lynching scene in this book that will forever haunt me—trigger warnings for graphic torture. Hood Feminism, on the other hand, was uncomfortable but for other reasons—it calls out the hypocrisy and short-sightedness of white feminism, and the wrongness of white women (because let’s face it, it’s the white women) who treat womanhood as a monolith. Being a woman is not a universal experience, and feminism needs to reflect that. How can you push for all women getting master’s degrees in STEM when many women can’t even pay to keep the lights on?
The Relentless Moon was a four-star read that got bumped to five because of that epilogue. It’s fantastic, but in an entirely different way than the first two in the series. I did not like Nicole Wargin, but she was a riveting character who had been through hell and then reentered it.
And Take a Hint, Dani Brown, was a delightful read about a soft Muslim rugby player and a no-nonsense bisexual professor who fake date for ~reasons~ and then realize that they are breaking the professor’s rule number one. It talks anxiety, emotional attachment and emotional damage, and the bliss of really fantastic oral.
I’ll be honest, none of the above wowed me, although I gave them four stars because they were good, if relatively unmemorable.
The Book Charmer was heartwarming, but I felt it could have done a better job if it had leaned harder into the book magic aspect. Girl, Serpent, Thorn was solid and I loved the world-building and plot, but I did feel that the the f/f romance was a little forced.
All Clear had a phenomenal final 100 pages, but the previous 550 had the main characters running around like chickens with their heads cut off, always getting interrupted mid conversation. Here and Now And Then (what is it with time travel this month?) was a solid three stars throughout, but that ending had me in (happy) tears.
I enjoyed Parachutes, and was really loving the Crazy Rich Asians meets Gossip Girl vibe, and then the Speak comp slammed into me and the book just. kept. getting. darker. It’s good, but don’t expect anything like Front Desk. This is about rage and inequity, privilege and poverty, coercion and Coach, all in a California high school.
Darling Rose Gold was one giant mind-fuck, and I found myself hating that I was weirdly rooting for Rose Gold at the end. Literally everyone in the book is awful, minus Adam, but that’s only because he’s a baby and hadn’t grown into a damaged asshole yet.
Bookish and the Beast was the next installment, and while I loved everything about my favorite fictional fandom, this was definitely the weakest addition to the series, despite the really cute Beauty and the Beast Easter Eggs. I thoroughly enjoyed it, however, I just wished that I had more of Elle and Darien, and more Vance having a personality instead of whatever the hell he had. Brooding is not a personality trait.
I had such mixed hopes for this. On the one hand, the comp titles were a mix. I loved Sorcery of Thorns and DNF’d Furyborn. But it had a strong Tamora Pierce vibe with that cover (for some reason) which was way off. It also had a kinda Goose Girl storyline, with a girl sent off through the woods and mountains to marry a dude, her entire party dies (ambushed through deceit) and she barely makes it to the city of her betrothed and pretends to be someone else to keep herself safe. In this version, Jennesara (what even is that name) is a warrior, although…I dunno. It was weird. Most of the plot was enjoyable, but I felt that the cutaways to the Big Bad were annoying, and I needed more resolution from the magical forest. There will be a sequel where I’m sure everything will be revealed, but this was one heavy trope-fest of YA-dom, and I’m weary of insta-love.
What did you read this month?