In August, I participated in #ARCAugust, with the intent to read as many of my eARCs as possible. I ended up sticking to my TBR for the most part, which was surprising as I don’t generally manage to stick to my TBRs very well. I’m very pleased with this!
All in all, it was a really successful reading month in terms of quality – I read so many amazing books. I read 31 books in total.
My plan for September and October is to read a good amount of books by Latinx authors for Latinx Heritage Month, and I’ll share my TBR for that soon.
In this post, I’ll share my Goodreads reviews of my 4 and 5 star reads of July. Want to keep track of my reading in more detail? Feel free to add me on Goodreads!
Lyssa Kay Adams – Crazy Stupid Bromance
This is my favourite book in the series so far. For two reasons: these two main characters appealed to me the most, and friends to lovers is my favourite trope, and it was so well done here. It was amazing to see them very carefully going from best friends to lovers. I loved their relationship so much.
One downside is that I think this book maybe took on a few too many sideplots. I think it would have been even better had there been more of a focus on only two or three things.
CWs: discussions of sexual assault, discussions of death of civilians because of military operations, kidney transplant/organ donation/surgery/hospital, past death of a parent/grief, sex
Amparo Ortiz – Blazewrath Games
After reading only three chapters, I already felt so invested in this book and it felt like such a fresh, original story. I couldn’t predict where it was going at all. And this rings true for the rest of the book as well – it’s such a refreshing read in that sense. Because while I love YA fantasy, I feel like it gets predictable and formulaic at times, and this wasn’t at all.
Another reason why it was a breath of fresh air is that this book didn’t have a main romance. While I love reading romance, it’s a shame to see that almost all YA books focus on romance, and it’s delightful to read a book that focuses on dragons instead. I feel like, even though the book doesn’t have aspec rep, it will appeal to people on the asexual and aromantic spectrums for that reason! As well as just everyone who sometimes isn’t in the mood to read about romance.
But let’s get into the book itself. Honestly, it was so full of unexpected twists and turns, backed up by amazing world building and a super interesting magic system, that I feel like you should preferably go in without knowing too much about it. It’s about a Puerto Rican-American girl who’s always been a massive fan of Blazewrath, a dragon sport, and she wants to compete in the world cup. I loved how international this book was and how much diversity it had: there’s so many nationalities and ethnicities featured, and there are several LGBTQ+ side characters as well as a disabled character who’s in a wheelchair. I don’t really want to tell you anymore about the story, because you should really experience it for yourself, but I can’t recommend this book enough!
Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Mexican Gothic
This book is proof for me that sometimes I need to venture outside of my comfort zone. I’m not a horror reader, and so I was a little hesitant to read this book, and I made sure to wait until I was in the right mood for it. But I’m literally stunned by this beautifully eerie novel. I was completely unable to put it down, and I found it such an engaging and immersive read that even though it moved quite slowly, especially in the first half, I still felt incredibly invested and my mind never wandered. It’s such a gorgeously written book, Silvia Moreno-Garcia has a truly amazing writing style. And the book was so creepy and so atmospheric, it was absolute perfection.
CWs: incest, (attempted) rape, gore/body horror, human sacrifice, murder, death, racism/fetishization/eugenics
Ari North – Always Human
This wasn’t very substantial, but it was a perfect comfort read
Harry Cook – Fin & Rye & Fireflies
My review will be up soon!
Brandy Colbert – The Only Black Girls in Town
This is a really special book, and I have no idea how to properly review it. I think this will be a very important read for young Black readers, because it deals with race in so many different ways and in such a layered way. It deals with Black history, it deals with growing up Black in a predominantly white small town, it deals with microaggressions and how there are many different ways to be Black. And that’s not even all of it.
It’s honestly amazing to see how many themes this book dealt with without it ever feeling too much. This was my third Brandy Colbert book and she’s for sure one of my favourite authors now. I really loved Alberta as a main character, and I found this a very wholesome read.
Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn – Off the Ice
I previously read book 2 in this series but skipped over the first, and I’m glad I finally read it
Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn – Trade Deadline
This was definitely my favourite book in what’s now one of my favourite romance series. The reason for that is mainly that I related to these characters the most. But the setting definitely helped as well: there’s not just hockey but also the rehabilitation sea aquarium that Micah works at.
What I love most about this series is how different each of the books is based on the characters personalities. These are so distinct and the choices they make reflect their personalities so well. It’s easy to see why they would act the way they do and their choices just make so much sense for them.
I had a few instances where I was like: “please just talk to each other”, but luckily that then quickly happened every time.
C.S. Pacat – Fence, vol. 4: Rivals
It’s not like a lot happens in these comics aside from fencing, but I’m so invested! I could read these forever. Can’t wait for the novel!
Christina Hammonds Reed – The Black Kids
My main takeaway from The Black Kids is that it’s a historical fiction that’s much too timely. It’s set in the early 90s, but it could just as well have been set in current times – everything that happens in the book still happens now. Which is also what makes this such an impactful read.
I have to admit I had a bit of a hard time getting into this book. The writing was absolutely beautiful, and it actually made me pause at times so I could reread a sentence. But while I love slice-of-life, character-driven books, I missed some plot here. I felt like part of the novel missed some direction, and it made me zone out a little at times. This did improve in the second half, which I pretty much read in one sitting – it was a lot more gripping than the first half.
I did really appreciate the perspective of this book. Usually books that deal with racism and what it’s like to be Black in the US have main characters who are very much empowered, know or learn how to stand up for themselves and take a clear stand against racism. I feel it’s so important to also see other perspectives, like this one of someone who has always tried to live a carefree life but that keeps being made impossible by microaggressions and other racist instances from her friends and other people.
CWs: police brutality, racism, use of the N word (both as a slur and as a reclaimed slur), sexual harrassment, cheating, mentions of someone dying of AIDS, homophobia, fatphobia
V.E. Schwab – The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
My review will be up soon!
Gloria Chao – Rent a Boyfriend
This book in a nutshell:
– Girl needs a reason to decline a proposal from the most awful person ever
– Hires professional as a fake boyfriend who should get her parents’ approval
– But… are there feelings, maybe?
– Bonding over mooncakes at midnight
– Baking cookies together at Christmas
– Drama, struggles, but also Fluff
This book has such a perfect balance between being a fun romcom and dealing with deeper issues, like how the main character struggles in her relationship with her parents and in her cultural background because of her parents’ expectations of her and the way her community judges her and the focus on needing to save face.
Roseanne A. Brown – A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
This book had me going back and forth a little in terms of enjoyment, but the really amazing elements and especially the truly wild ending solidified it for me as a really entertaining read, that I can’t wait to read the sequel of.
That said, I do wish the synopsis had revealed a little less about the book. It spoiled a good half of the book for me as I already knew what would happen. Of course this is at no fault of the author, but I just wanted to mention it because I think it’s best to skip the synopsis and go in without knowing too much.
How many books did you end up reading this month? What was your favourite read of the month?