July is always a great month and this time was no different. The weather was hot, YALC was amazing, and I read some really great books.
I read eight books in July, including three audiobooks, two short stories, and a graphic novel. And, aside from The Devouring Gray, which I’ll be finishing in August, I read every book on my TBR. I’m shook.
These Witches Don’t Burn // 2.5 stars // I loved all the queer rep and gay romance in this novel, but the plot and dialogue just didn’t hit the mark for me.
I listened to this on audio and I think it fell flat because I didn’t love the narrator. I found her voices for the female characters too similar, and her voices for the male characters too forcibly deep.
The actions scenes were good, but everything in between was a little dull. Even the the mystery didn’t draw me in, although I did think the ending was good. I was hoping for more queer witchy magic and sadly this book just didn’t give me it in the way I’d expected
As Kismet Would Have It // 3.5 stars // I read this for Indian Lit readathon, and it was such a cute addition to the Dimple and Rishi universe.
I enjoyed seeing their growing feelings of love for one another the big ‘event’ at the end made me so happy. I did feel that I should have read There’s Something About Sweetie before picking this up, but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the story.
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows // 3 stars // I read this as an audiobook for Indian Lit readathon and the full-cast narration was excellent.
The story itself wasn’t quite what I expected, but once it got going I enjoyed it. The narrative tackles issues such as sexism and racism among the Punjabi community, arranged marriages, and career expectations. If you’re looking for a book that tows the line between laugh-out-loud funny and sombre/reflective then this is a great pick.
TWs for discussions of rape and sexual assault, abuse, and violence.
The Black Veins // 3.5 stars // I was actually on the blog tour, so you can check out my full review and author Q&A here.
I had a lot of fun reading this, and the characters were great. Would honestly die for Antonio, he is such a kind soul, who needs to be protected.
TWs for kidnapping, racism, violence.
The Candle and the Flame // 4.5 stars // I was taken aback by how much I loved this book. I thought I was going to like it, but I really, REALLY adored it.
The world enthralled me and I’m completely taken by Fatima and Zulfikar. The pacing is reliable and the plot is full of drama and action, but everything happens for a reason. There are no random tangents or superfluous scenes; everything Nafizah Azad wrote into this book needs to be there, and augments either the character development, world building, or the overall plot. The magic system and dual words are pretty unique (which is saying something for YA fantasy) and the cultural nuances really set the book apart.
TWs for sexism, on-page death, death of a child.
Heartstopper volume 2 // 5 stars // I gave Heartstopper volume 1 a rare 5 stars and oh look, I’m giving this one 5 as well because it was so soft and heartwarming, and I adored it.
It was lovely to see Nick and Charlie moving forward with their feelings and this volume made me laugh even more than the first. Some of the panels were incredibly funny, and I never grow tired of Alice’s wholesome, gentle art style. We also got introduced to Tara and Darcy and got a bonus story about them, which I really enjoyed. The diversity and positive messages in this series just go from strength to strength and I honestly can’t wait for volume 3.
TWs for homophobia and bullying.
Sadie // 2.5 stars // Oh man. Time for an unpopular opinion : I’m disappointed. I read the audiobook of Sadie after hearing so many people rave about how great the cast was, and I definitely agree that the narrators were all fantastic. Their intonation and the emotion they injected in each character’s voice was spot on.
But the plot felt underwhelming. Each time a Sadie found a new connection, the narrative should have been building and increasing the intensity, but it fell flat for me. There wasn’t a sense of urgency, and the twists didn’t really take me by surprise. I thought the way the author explored human interactions and Sadie’s psyche was excellent, but I didn’t feel drawn in by the plot.
The ending was also far too open for me; after spending all that time with Sadie, I wanted closure for her story, but it’s left open to interpretation.
TWs for sexual assault, implied rape, pedophilia, child abuse, drug abuse, violence, gore.
July was finally YALC month! I’ll be posting my full wrap up in the coming weeks, but as always, it was an incredible weekend.
I got to hang out with amazing friends and we had so much fun going to panels and picking up ARCs. I was also lucky enough to meet a few friends for the first time who I’ve been chatting to on social media for months.
(Yes, we dabbed.)
I also got to see Victoria Schwab for the second time this year (be still my beating heart) and she was as wonderful and inspiring as always. She remembered me from her March tour (I’m not crying, you’re crying) which was lovely, and I congratulated her on finishing Addie LaRue.
I also got to meet Christine Lynn Hermann, Kristen Ciccarelli, and Bex Hogan for the first time and they were all really friendly. I also finally met the lovely Lucy Powrie, and Alice Oseman signed my copy of Heartstopper volume 2.
I saw Toy Story 4 in July with my family and it was AN EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER RIDE. I’m a huge fan of the trilogy and although I didn’t think the fourth one really needed to be made, it still added to the Toy Story universe and developed the characters further, so I’m glad they decided to made it.
I discovered vegan croissants in July after my mum found them in a shop and I think my life might be changed forever.
I also had some of the best vegan froyo ever while I was in London, and even found a company at LFCC that do vegan cakes in a jar. I got myself a cookies and cream flavoured cake and bought my sister a coffee and biscuits one. Both were good!
Work has been very busy over the last month, and I’ve had less time for blogging because I’ve had evening meetings. But I’m hoping to get back into it in August because I have so many post ideas I want to draft.
How was your July? What did you read last month?