July Wrap-up

I hope to also post my August wrap-up soon, to catch up completely. From then on, I’ll try to post a lot more than just wrap-ups! I have quite a few review copies to get through, so you can expect my reviews of those, but I’ll also try to come up with fun other topics to write a blog about:) If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments!

Julie Murphy – Dumplin’

I was really excited to read this one, because I was hoping for a very relatable main character. But I didn’t get that. I’m not sure if it’s personal or if there’s a problem with this book, but it made me feel really uncomfortable. The aim of the book is, I believe, to provide body positivity. But instead, it was full of all sorts of negative judgments of others. Not only does the main character get judged a lot (and by her own mother, no less!), she herself is the first to judge others on how they look as well.

Nina LaCour – We Are Okay

I really loved Nina LaCour’s writing! It’s clear but poetic and deals with the biggest themes there are: life and death, love and friendship, grief and loneliness, guilt and betrayal. I have a thing for books like this, books that are painful and hopeful at the same time.

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Rick Riordan – The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1)

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’ve been making my way through Rick Riordan’s books over the last months. And now I finally got to reading Magnus Chase! I love how Riordan adapted Norse Mythology, and this book was once again full of amazing characters. Magnus himself was a funny, loveable main character, probably one of my favorites so far. And I especially liked Sam, the Valkyrie.

Lemony Snicket – The Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events #4)

Another fun installment. Things get weirder and weirder, and I do love that. These books are taking frustration to a whole new level, with the adult’s incapability of actually protecting the Baudelaires from Count Olaf, and Count Olaf himself is definitely one of the best villains – he does have a thing for dressing up! So far, I’ve known what would happen, because I’ve watched season 1 of the Netflix series, so I’m really curious to see what will happen next!

Kayla Cagan – Piper Perish

I really wanted to like this book, and Piper, because the idea seemed really fun. But it was just another ya contemporary, with too much childish drama – between Piper and her friends, between Piper and boys, and most of all, between Piper and her sister. The art felt more like a sidetrack than an actual plotline, which is strange, seeing Piper’s love for Andy Warhol was one of the central premisses. Moreover, Piper’s (boy)friend, Enzo, was a very problematic character, with his ‘turning gay’ (?).

S.J. Kincaid – The Diabolic (The Diabolic #1)

Well written, well paced and original, I ended up enjoying this book very much. Nemesis was a very interesting main character, who went through a lot of development. Her struggle with her place in the world and her humanity was really interesting, just as the concept of Diabolics in general: are they human or animal, do they have emotions, should they be able to make their own choices (yes!)? I hope these questions will be focussed on more in the next book in this series!

David Arnold – Mosquitoland

Pretty early on in the story, we learn that Mim, the main character of Mosquitoland, has some mental health issues. Because of that, Mim isn’t a very trustworthy narrator. Throughout the book, the reader really experiences what happens when she stops taking (all of) her meds, because the story grows less straightforward. So that’s the plus side. On the down side, Mim was a very annoying character, with her putting on ‘war paint’ because she’s ‘1/16th Cherokee’ and her unrealistically ‘wise beyond her years’ (meta)philosophical remarks on every other page. I really did like the ending though!

Meagan Spooner – Hunted

This right here is why I read (ya) fantasy! I’ve been reading some disappointing books lately, but this book really surprised me! It’s the perfect retelling: original enough to be interesting and keep the reader curious to see what happens, but recognizable enough to really have that Beauty and the Beast feel. I loved everything about it! The book is pretty slow, but not the sort of slow that gets you impatient, but the sort that’s calming. Moreover, the format was pretty amazing, with the ‘handwritten’ parts in the Beast’s POV, which gave a lot more insight in his character development and the struggle between the human and the beast inside of him, something that the original Disney classic, for example, doesn’t pay a lot of attention to. And the bonus: the main character’s dog is the most loyal and loveable fictional dog I’ve ever seen!

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Rick Riordan – The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #2)

This book has me craving for the next one! And that last sentence has me really excited to see what happens next. This was again a funny read. Magnus is a lovely main character and I loved the addition of Alex Fierro, who made for a cool, interesting new character!

Marvel Now!/G. Willow Wilson – No Normal (Ms. Marvel #1)

This was my first ever ‘real’ comic, and I loved it! It was a very quick read, and Kamala was an endearing main character, with her having to juggle her new-found powers with her day-to-day life. I loved the message in this book: getting what you want most doesn’t necessarily make you happy, that’s something that has to come from inside you. Kamala is a teenager who really wants to be deemed ‘normal’, and all she gets are powers that make her even less so. I was a bit at a loss as to how Kamala exactly got her powers. This wasn’t explained in detail and I would have liked to know more about it. Also, I would have liked the art work to be more detailed.

Marvel Now!/Brian Posehn – Dead Presidents (Deadpool #1)

This comic was just as funny as I thought it would be! I especially liked the parts where Deadpool broke the fourth wall. I’m curious to read more about him.

Sandhya Menon – When Dimple Met Rishi

As ya contemporaries go, this was a rather cute one! It was a nice change to have this much cultural diversity. Often, whenever there’s a racial diverse character, you don’t read a whole lot about their culture. That was completely different here: Indian culture, and (especially) Dimple’s struggle with it as an immigrant kid who was born in the US, was a central theme. My only criticism is that the plot itself was more than just a little predictable, and, even though I loved her and it was great to see all the characters with realistic flaws, Dimple was rather intense at times: highly defensive, sometimes too manipulative, and unfairly taking out her issues on Rishi, who was nothing but kind to her.

Lemony Snicket – The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events #5)

Things are starting to get even more unfortunate, but also more interesting for the Baudelaires. They finally made some friends and they’re onto a lead about the reason behind everything that’s happening to them. This installment ended in a cliffhanger for the first time, so I’ll read the next one soon!

Marvel Now!/Brian Michael Bendis – Cosmic Avengers (Guardians of the Galaxy #1)

This was a really fun comic! Star-Lords backstory was rather different than in the movies, so it was interesting to read about that. Rocket and Groot were really fun side characters, of course, just like Drax. And it was cool to see Iron Man team up with the Guardians! I would have liked to see more of Gamora though, because her role was rather small…

Francesca Zappia – Eliza and Her Monsters

For all the fangirls out there, this is definitely a mustread! I love the recent trend of having geeky main characters, like in Fangirl, Queens of Geek and Geekerella, and it was again very well done here. To me, Eliza was less relatable than the main characters in those other books though. But I did like Wallace a lot, and Eliza’s little brothers turned out to be real cuties as well.

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Sam Maggs – The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy

I could have done without the first three chapters, which were mainly a sort of guide to geekness. But the fourth chapter, about feminism in fandom (and irl, of course!), was really good! Maggs is big on intersectionality in feminism, and tackled all sorts of related topics lightly and with humor

Lemony Snicket – The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events #6)

This was probably my favorite book in the series so far, even though it leaves us with the same mystery as the previous book. I love the character development of the Baudelaires: they’re getting braver with every single book, and Sunny learns to talk a little better, which makes for some really funny word puns. The caretakers in this one were as delightfully frustrating as in the other books, but it was good to see that Jerome was at least nice to the orphans, even though he quickly turned out to be a massive coward.

Fabi Ghittoni – The Elven Tales: The Company of the Rose (The Elven Tales #1)

To read my review, click here!

Karen M. McManus – One Of Us Is Lying

Because this book came highly recommended, I was excited to read it. And it was so good! The fun part about this book is that you get all the information you need to help solve the puzzle. It is more of a mystery crime novel than a thriller, and it’s character driven instead of plot driven like a lot of crime novels. And that’s the strong suit of the book: the characters. They started out as complete stereotypes, and throughout the book they grew into fleshed out human beings, who felt completely realistic. The book is basically Gossip Girl/Pretty Little Liars meets The Breakfast Club, but the characters definitely take it to the next level!

Renee Ahdieh – The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1)

When I picked up this book, I was a little weary, because it has been hyped so much that I felt it could only disappoint me. But instead, I was drawn in right from the start. Ahdieh did an amazing job on the writing and world building and it made me feel like I was there. It all felt dreamy, mysterious and exciting at the same time. I would have given this 5 stars if Khalid’s motives would have been just that much clearer. Because it seems a little arbitrary that Shahrzad would change this much for him. Maybe this will be resolved in the sequel though!

Cora Carmack – Roar (Stormheart #1)

This book was such a pleasant surprise! I got it in my FairyLoot box, and had never heard of it before, so I probably wouldn’t have picked it up otherwise. And that would have been a shame, because this book was a real treat! It was utterly captivating. The writing was beautiful and the plot was very well-paced and steady, with great world building and amazing characters. All in all, it was the perfect mix of fairytale and fantasy! The idea of sentient storms is so original that I really can’t wait to see what happens next.

Changed my initial rating a little, because the longer I think about it, the more it bothers me that the love interest in this book really was quite abusive a few times. It’s easy to overlook, and at first I unwantingly did, but I really do hate this kind of thing, so now that I’ve realized it, I wanted to acknowledge this anyway.

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Virginia Woolf – To The Lighthouse

Woolf’s writing is amazing, and I especially love her stream of consciousness style, but I felt like literally nothing happened in this book. I kept forgetting who was who and had a hard time keeping track of what did happen.

Lemony Snicket – The Vile Village (A Series of Unfortunate Events #7)

A village that burns people at the stake whenever they break a rule, how gruesome! I love how Count Olaf keeps coming up with these hilarious disguises, and how Sunny is making word puns every other page now that she’s getting better at talking. This book gave some nice clues, but still really keeps you in the dark about VFD…

Rhoda Bellezza – Empress Of A Thousand Skies (Empress Of A Thousand Skies #1)

I heard a lot of great things about this book, but it wasn’t for me. I didn’t get immersed in the story at all and while I was reading it, I just felt like I had seen it all before… It wasn’t a bad book, but I felt no connection with it.

Marvel Now!/Brian Michael Bendis – Yesterday’s X-Men (All-New X-Men #1)

I think the X-Men universe is pretty fascinating, and this was definitely a good start to dive into the comics. I do think it helps to watch (some of) the movies first, just to get familiarized with the characters, as there are quite many!

Jenny Moyer – Flashfall (Flashfall #1)

When it comes to the dystopian plot, I’ve seen it all before. There’s conspiracies, there’s rebellion, and there’s the one teenage girl about to change society… It might all seem pretty unlikely, but Moyer’s writing made me believe it and I was sucked into this book right from the start. It was just such a fun read! This book kind of proves you don’t have to be the most original to write a good story. We don’t watch movies for their originality either, do we? They’re pretty much all based on the same formats. And there’s a reason for that: it can be fun to read or watch something predictable yet entertaining. Even though it might not be all new, there were loveable characters, an action-packed plot, and good world building – although I would have liked a little more explanation at the start of the book.

Marvel Now!/G. Willow Wilson – Generation Why (Ms. Marvel #2)

This second volume is already quite a bit better than the first. Kamala meets Wolverine! Her powers are explained, giving her an interesting background story! Actual stuff happens!

Conclusion

This was the month I fell in love with Marvel comics. It was also the month I read 27 books, which baffles even me. How did I do that?! Who knows, certainly not me… And most of them were really good as well!! Couldn’t be happier about this reading month:)

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