It’s been a while…I accidentally took an extra week off from blogging! Good news! I made my main phd thesis deadline for my upcoming presentation!!! Now I just have to do my presentation in two weeks…so wish me luck!
So july was my most productive month in terms of my thesis but it was also the most productive reading month I have had this year.
Make that make sense???
In July, I mostly read romance (which is not a surprise, I needed lighthearted fun) and fantasy. 13 books that I read were between 300-499 pages with most of the books’ mood being adventurous, reflective and mysterious. I also read 3 non-fiction books! My average rating for July was 4.04 which is freaking amazing!!!!!!!! Honestly, 2022 has been one of the best reading years I have ever had. And I wonder if that’s because I know my taste a little bit better? Hmmmm….that’s something to think about.
Let’s break down my ratings for the month:
- five 3 star books
- three 3.5 star books
- seven 4 star books
- one 4.5 star book
- seven 5 star books
See??? A really amazing reading month!!!!!!
I hope you all don’t mind, but I am so exhausted so I’m going to organise my wrap up by star ratings – going from lowest to highest. Like most of the wrap ups, I’m only going to talk about my feelings! I’ll link each book to their storygraph for your own perusal of their blurbs, etc.
Actually, a question: do you prefer me linking to storygraph or to goodreads when i introduce each book? Which one is more helpful to you? Let me know!
MY FIRST DNF OF 2022
Before we get properly into the wrap up, i just wanted to talk about the fact that I HAD MY FIRST DNF OF 2022. 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑩𝒖𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒅 𝑮𝒊𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒃𝒚 𝑲𝒂𝒛𝒖𝒐 𝑰𝒔𝒉𝒊𝒈𝒖𝒓𝒐 was my second Ishiguro book I have read, the first being The Remains of the Day which I absolutely loved. But The Buried Giant…I could not get into it. The vibes were not vibing, friends. I honestly thought that I would love this book. It sounded weird and magical, a character study of a married couple – it had aspects that, historically, I would absolutely love. But I couldn’t get into the writing, I was so incredibly bored that I switched to the audiobook but that did not help.
I then thought, life is too short to try and read books that I am not enjoying. So I actually DNF’d it. Are y’all proud of me?!
I think at this stage, it is a hard DNF. But if any of you have read it and loved it and think that I should power through, let me know.
three star books
I read two novells as part of a historical fantasy romance series, 𝐑𝐞𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐲 𝐅𝐚𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞 𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐬 𝐛𝐲 𝐎𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐢𝐚 𝐀𝐭𝐰𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫 called 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑳𝒐𝒓𝒅 𝑺𝒐𝒓𝒄𝒊𝒆𝒓 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑳𝒂𝒕𝒄𝒉 𝑲𝒆𝒚. 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑳𝒐𝒓𝒅 𝑺𝒐𝒓𝒄𝒊𝒆𝒓 is technically a prequel to the first novel in this series, 𝑯𝒂𝒍𝒇 𝒂 𝑺𝒐𝒖𝒍 (which I talked about here) and focuses on – you guessed it – the Lord Sorcier, Elias. I really enjoyed it but I wish we had more of a nuanced exploration of Elias in Half a Soul. I think that was the main aspect that was missing in 𝑯𝒂𝒍𝒇 𝒂 𝑺𝒐𝒖𝒍. 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑳𝒂𝒕𝒄𝒉 𝑲𝒆𝒚 is following Half a Soul and it was just adorable. Again, we focused on Elias and his childhood trauma and his reflections on what it means to be a father. If you want to read 𝑯𝒂𝒍𝒇 𝒂 𝑺𝒐𝒖𝒍 – I recommend reading these novellas as well, because I think it does add a little something to the characters.
I’ve already talked about 𝑳𝒆𝒕𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒐𝒏 𝑪𝒆𝒛𝒂𝒏𝒏𝒆 𝒃𝒚 𝑹𝒂𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒓 𝑴𝒂𝒓𝒊𝒂 𝑹𝒊𝒍𝒌𝒆 and 𝑾𝒂𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝑮𝒐𝒅𝒐𝒕 𝒃𝒚 𝑺𝒂𝒎𝒖𝒆𝒍 𝑩𝒆𝒄𝒌𝒆𝒕𝒕 here, so I won’t say anything more other than they were good. Rilke is incredible and I want to read more from him. Beckett…I don’t think I fully got but it was unlike anything that I have ever read.
Honestly this next book is a slight disappointment, 𝑻𝒓𝒊𝒄𝒌 𝑴𝒊𝒓𝒓𝒐𝒓 𝒃𝒚 𝑱𝒊𝒂 𝑻𝒐𝒍𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒐. From how people have spoken about it, I was expecting to love this non-fiction collection of essays. Here’s a little video of me in my pjs talking about why I didn’t really love this book:
three and a half star books
𝑾𝒉𝒊𝒕𝒆 𝑻𝒆𝒆𝒕𝒉 𝒃𝒚 𝒁𝒂𝒅𝒊𝒆 𝑺𝒎𝒊𝒕𝒉. My second Zadie Smith but my first fiction novel by her, I was waiting to be hit in the face with awe. It was more of a gentle flick against the forehead.
This was also a disappointment. The first half had me hooked. Smith’s writing is immersive and almost poetic in some cases. The care that she took in crafting the different characters and highlighting their flaws and their unlikeability but also pulling on your heartstrings and finding empathy for them – amazing. But the latter half just got incredibly boring. I read three books in the period that I was reading 𝑾𝒉𝒊𝒕𝒆 𝑻𝒆𝒆𝒕𝒉. The latter half really lost me. I don’t know if I want to pick up more Zadie Smith, but I do have one of her other books on my shelf, so we shall see.
This next one I have already spoken about at length here. 𝑨 𝑯𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒚 𝒐𝒇 𝑴𝒚 𝑩𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒇 𝑩𝒐𝒅𝒚 𝒃𝒚 𝑩𝒊𝒍𝒍𝒚 𝑹𝒂𝒚-𝑩𝒆𝒍𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒕 was good. I can appreciate it and what it did whilst also thinking that it ventured too much into the academic voice. It was fine.
July was also a month where I re-read the 𝐏𝐬𝐲-𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐓𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐛𝐲 𝐍𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐢 𝐒𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐡 which is a part of one of my all-time favourite series of all time, the 𝐏𝐬𝐲-𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬. 𝑶𝒄𝒆𝒂𝒏 𝑳𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕 is the second book in the 𝐏𝐬𝐲-𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐓𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 series and book 17 in the overarching 𝐏𝐬𝐲-𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬. This is one of the very few books in the series that i just think is okay. I love this world and the characters so much, but I have never really cared all that much for Bowen Knight – the main character of 𝑶𝒄𝒆𝒂𝒏 𝑳𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕. I loved being introduced to characters in the BlackSea Coalition (essentially, the pack of sea changelings!) but Bo? Didn’t really care. But if you haven’t read this series yet, DO IT. It is a paranormal romance series and yes, it’s a committment. But this world is so complex!!!!!!!!!
four star books
Another book in the 𝐏𝐬𝐲-𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐓𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐛𝐲 𝐍𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐢 𝐒𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐡 that I re-read was 𝑾𝒐𝒍𝒇 𝑹𝒂𝒊𝒏, book three. I love this installment in the series – which might be a controversial opinion as I think a lot of people consider this as a filler book. I LOVE IT.
Mainly because I love the SnowDancer pack, which is one of the main Wolf changeling packs of this series. SnowDancer will always have a huge chunk of my heart (the alpha of this pack, Hawke, is MY NUMBER ONE). I think this novel actually furthers the overarching plot line of this series incredibly well. I love the main woman character, Melody and her wolfie love, Alexei. I think they’re adorable and Melody is a boss ass bitch. However, I forgot that this story takes place within a few weeks and I won’t give spoilers, but…I wish the timeline (especially in terms of the romance) was a bit longer.
𝑯𝒐𝒘 𝒕𝒐 𝑷𝒓𝒐𝒏𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝑲𝒏𝒊𝒇𝒆 𝒃𝒚 𝑺𝒐𝒖𝒗𝒂𝒏𝒌𝒉𝒂𝒎 𝑻𝒉𝒂𝒎𝒎𝒂𝒗𝒐𝒏𝒈𝒔𝒂 was a great short story collection that I recommend to people who want to start reading short stories and have no idea where to start! I also spoke more about it here.
𝑯𝒂𝒍𝒇 𝒂 𝑺𝒐𝒖𝒍 𝒃𝒚 𝑶𝒍𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒂 𝑨𝒕𝒘𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒓 was such a cozy and wonderful historical romance fantasy that I spoke about here. In that same post, I also spoke about 𝑾𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒕𝒆𝒏 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑺𝒕𝒂𝒓𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑨𝒍𝒆𝒙𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒓𝒊𝒂 𝑩𝒆𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒇𝒍𝒆𝒖𝒓 which I loved!
Oh my god, how could I forget about 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑾𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒊𝒂 𝑺𝒐𝒄𝒊𝒆𝒕𝒚 𝒐𝒇 𝒍𝒂𝒅𝒚 𝑺𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒓𝒆𝒍𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑰𝒏𝒅𝒊𝒂 𝑯𝒐𝒍𝒕𝒐𝒏?! THE LOVE I HAVE FOR THIS SERIES IS IMMENSE. This was absolutely ridiculous and fun. This is historical romance fantasy since I have seen some reviews of people confused about the flying houses. This is definitely a fantasy and it is WILD. We have women who are pirates – who fly houses because duh they need ships. And within the backdrop of the wild and wacky ladies of the Wisteria Society, there is a romance between our main character Cecilia Bassingwaite and Ned Lightbourne. I’m not going to say any more because the best way to read this book is not knowing what the fuck it’s actually about. Have fun!
The last four star book I read in July was 𝑨𝒄𝒄𝒆𝒑𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝒃𝒚 𝑱𝒆𝒇𝒇 𝑽𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒓𝒎𝒆𝒆𝒓. What a wild fucking ride this series was. 𝑨𝒄𝒄𝒆𝒑𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒆 is the third and final (?) book in the 𝐒𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐧 𝐑𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐓𝐫𝐢𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐲 and I don’t really know how to talk about this book and this series? Its nature (or eco?) horror with a big dollop of psychological thriller. This book and this entire series is meant to cause absolute confusion and I loved it. I don’t really know what else to say because EVERYTHING IS A SPOILER but there is this random area of land called Area X that does not act like a normal ecosystem.
A covert government agency called The Southern Reach have sent expeditions to Area X to figure out what the fuck is going on…and these expeditions never go to plan. I also should add a disclaimer that I don’t typically read books like this and possibly if you do read more within this genre, you would think that this book did nothing interesting. But as someone who does not really read horror or thriller, this series was awesome. As a conclusion, I think this book could have reached that extra mile and become something fantastic – it lacked some of the momentum that was created by the second book in this series, 𝑨𝒖𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒚, which was slightly sad. But overall?! Great.
four and a half star books
𝑨𝒖𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒚 𝒃𝒚 𝑱𝒆𝒇𝒇 𝑽𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒓𝒎𝒆𝒆𝒓 is the second book in the 𝐒𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐧 𝐑𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐓𝐫𝐢𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐲 and this was the start of the trilogy, in my own opinion. There was action, confusion, some answers, more questions, secrets and betrayals – literally everything! I read this on the edge of seat – literally. LITERALLY ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT. The exploration of Area X and its possible origins was so fascinating and all I want to do is reread this entire series so that I can annotate the foreshadowing and my conspiracy theories. I really loved it and this book as well as the series was something that I never had read before. I really do want to read more from 𝑱𝒆𝒇𝒇 𝑽𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒓𝒎𝒆𝒆𝒓 so if you have any recommendations, please let me know!
five star books
The sequel to the 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑾𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒊𝒂 𝑺𝒐𝒄𝒊𝒆𝒕𝒚 𝒐𝒇 𝑳𝒂𝒅𝒚 𝑺𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒓𝒆𝒍𝒔, is 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑳𝒆𝒂𝒈𝒖𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝑮𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒍𝒆𝒘𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒏 𝑾𝒊𝒕𝒄𝒉𝒆𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑰𝒏𝒅𝒊𝒂 𝑯𝒐𝒍𝒕𝒐𝒏. This was leagues (heh) better than the first book in this seres and I think that was because the characters in this were top tier. This book follows witches instead of pirates (which there is some backstory about this divergence that involves a woman named Beryl and a bookclub a hundren or so years ago) and our main character Charlotte Pettifer, a witch is on a mission to take back an amulet by the aforementioned Beryl that is incredibly important and powerful. Charlotte though has to deal with the fact that every witch and lady pirate also wants this amulet. In comes Alex O’Reilly – a pirate and best friend of Ned Lightbourne (from book one). THEIR SEXUAL TENSION?! THE DEVELOPMENT OF THEIR RELATIONSHIP?! This was absolutely fantastic, hilarious and ridiculous and I loved every second of it.
𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑳𝒊𝒇𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑴𝒊𝒏𝒅 𝒃𝒚 𝑪𝒉𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒆 𝑺𝒎𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒘𝒐𝒐𝒅 hit my in the chest. I’ve been trying to find the words to describe this book for so long but I’ve been struggling to (look out for a future post where I talk about this book in more detail). All I will say about this book is that the audience for it would be quite niche – think 𝑴𝒚 𝒀𝒆𝒂𝒓 𝒐𝒇 𝑹𝒆𝒔𝒕 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑹𝒆𝒍𝒂𝒙𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒃𝒚 𝑶𝒕𝒕𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒂 𝑴𝒐𝒔𝒉𝒇𝒆𝒈𝒉 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑵𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕𝒃𝒊𝒕𝒄𝒉 𝒃𝒚 𝑹𝒂𝒄𝒉𝒆𝒍 𝒀𝒐𝒅𝒆𝒓 with a side of 𝑬𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒊𝒏 𝑻𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝑹𝒐𝒐𝒎 𝑾𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝑺𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒅𝒂𝒚 𝑩𝒆 𝑫𝒆𝒂𝒅 𝒃𝒚 𝑬𝒎𝒊𝒍𝒚 𝑨𝒖𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒏. I loved it. The writing blew me away. The character study of the woman, Dorothy and everything that is happening to her set within the backdrop of academia was truly confronting and emotionally affective.
I finally read it! 𝑳𝒆𝒈𝒆𝒏𝒅𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑳𝒂𝒕𝒕𝒆𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑻𝒓𝒂𝒗𝒊𝒔 𝑩𝒂𝒍𝒅𝒓𝒆𝒆 was everything that everyone said it would be. This was just so adorable and cozy and so heartwarming that I can’t stop thinking about. I also have a crush on Viv the Orc, DON’T JUDGE ME. This book is about Viv, an orc who wants to lay down her sword and settle down somewhere to open a cafe – because Viv? Loves coffee and wants to share her love of coffee to people who may not know what it is. There are some obstacles on the way to her dream but she also finds love and family. This was gorgeous and adorable.
And then the rest of my five star books are from the 𝐏𝐬𝐲-𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐓𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐛𝐲 𝐍𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐢 𝐒𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐡. I re-read 𝑺𝒊𝒍𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝑺𝒊𝒍𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆, 𝑨𝒍𝒑𝒉𝒂 𝑵𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑳𝒂𝒔𝒕 𝑮𝒖𝒂𝒓𝒅, books 1, 4 and 5 respectively and these books are fucking fantastic. Not only is the romance in each literally top tier, but the furthering of the overarching plot is incredible. I think my absolute favourite out of these three is 𝑨𝒍𝒑𝒉𝒂 𝑵𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕 only because I love every Arrow (which is like a secret squad who used to be assassins for a government leader that was corrupt. The Arrows waited until they could break away from this leader in order to become protectors) and they are all precious and need a hug.
I then read 𝑺𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒎 𝑬𝒄𝒉𝒐 which is the most recent release in this series (hence my reread) and wow. The deepening of the macro-plot was amazing and the twist at the end was one I did not expect! We follow Ivan Mercant and Soleil Garcia (a Psy and Changeling, respectively) and their love story but also how they, specifically Ivan, is important to the continued survival of the PsyNet. The PsyNet is the psychic network that enables those of the Psy race (think humans but with powers like telepathy, teleportation, telekenisis and a whole lot more) to live and Ivan’s power opens up a possibility for its future survival. And we got to see some of the characters from the DarkRiver pack (leopard changelings!) which I loved. Everytime I read books from this series, my heart is always warm. I’ve been reading this series overall since I was in highschool!
And that’s it for today, friends!
I hope you enjoyed. I may not be posting my usual two times a week just until my major presentation is finished because I’ve been super exhausted and stressed!
What did you read in July? Any standouts? Talk to me in the comments!
Until next time, happy reading!
All the love,