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In July, I read 7 books and most of those ended up being new favourites, which was wonderful.
Forest of Souls // 3.5 stars // Audiobook
TWs: Violence, on-page death.
After a slow start, I ended up really enjoying this. I loved the main characters Sirscha and Saengo and their connection to one another.
I would have liked to see more of the magic system, since we don’t get to see much of Sirscha’s magic until the end of the story, but what we did see reminded me of Avatar TLA (which I loved).
Boyfriend Material // 4 stars // e-book
TWs: Homophobia, discussions of cancer, discussions of eating disorders, absent father, emotional manipulation.
This ended up being an unexpected new favourite. I was worried it was going to be very similar to Red, White & Royal Blue, but it was completely different in tone, plot, and character development.
And I absolutely loved it. The humour was right up my street and I found myself laughing out loud in most chapters, which is RARE for me.
I buddy ready this with Kirsty, but I found myself getting so caught up in the characters and plot that I kept accidentally skipping ahead of her and then having to slow down.
Get a Life Chloe Brown // 4 stars // Audiobook
TWs: Discussions of emotional abuse, gaslighting, and ableism.
I’d heard amazing things about this book so I picked it up on audio and, folks, it didn’t disappoint. The main character, Chloe, is a plus size Black woman with fibromyalgia who realises after a near miss that she wants to ‘get a life’.
This is another new favourite. I loved the romance in this novel because it’s enemies-to-lovers and incredibly slow-burn. Chloe has fibromyalgia, a chronic illness that causes widespread body pain and a heightened pain response to pressure.
I don’t have any disabilities so I can’t speak on the rep or its accuracy, but I thought the way discussions of chronic pain were woven into the story was fantastic.
Six of Crows (reread) // 5 stars // Paperback
TWs: Ableism, violence, gore, on-page character death, discussions of sex work, abuse, and assault.
This is my first time rereading Six of Crows since I first read it in 2016 and I loved it just as much this time around. Since it’s been four years, there was quite a lot I’d forgotten, so in some chapters, it was like I was reading this for the first time again. And I loved it.
I’ll admit, there was a point (about a third of the way in) when I was worried that this wasn’t going to be a 5-star read (again). My reading tastes have changed since 2016, so I wondered if perhaps I wouldn’t enjoy it as much this time.
But I needn’t have worried. The dialogue was just as sharp, characters just as fantastic, and the action scenes were just as electric as my first time reading it. This book has definitely cemented its position as one of my all-time favourites.
Slay // 4.5 stars // Audiobook
TWs: Racism, sexism, threats of violence, toxic relationships, online harassment and abuse.
I listened to the audio of this novel and it was fantastic. I loved Kiera’s character; her voice and personality really came through in the audio. Her relationship with her sister was lovely and I really enjoyed their scenes together. I also liked how they stuck by each other, no matter what was happening.
I’m not a huge gamer so I didn’t know how much I would enjoy the gaming scenes in the novel, but I ended up loving them. The way the world of the game is described really draws you in and the way the battles are narrated keeps you captivated.
This novel also explores issues of racism, cultural appropriation, toxic masculinity, and colorism in an incredibly powerful way. Each issue is raised and continuously discussed and challenged throughout the novel from Kiera’s perspective as a Black woman. The whole story is a celebration of Black culture, power, and joy, and it’s a truly fantastic read.
The Court of Miracles // 3.5 stars // Audiobook
TWs: Kidnapping, violence, discussions of sexual and physical assault.
This is a historical retelling of Les Mis and The Jungle Book that follows Nina (Eponine) as she tries to save her sister and keep another young girl Ettie (Cosette) out of danger.
I haven’t read Les Mis so, while I enjoyed a lot of the nods to the original story, I may not have picked up on some of the more minute references. But I loved some of the plot twists and I thought the whole story was excellently written.
The final few chapters left me with more questions than answers. Characters started to do things that didn’t match up with their previous actions and I kept wondering why they kept making certain decisions when others made more sense. On the whole though, I enjoyed the action and court intrigue and will probably pick up the sequel when it releases.
The Archived // 4.5 stars // Paperback
TWs: Violence, off-page death of a sibling.
The slow-paced start had me worried that I wasn’t going to like this, but I ended up loving it. The story follows Mackenzie ‘Mac’ Bishop, a Keeper at the Archive, as she moves to a new apartment with her family and tries to discover why so many histories keep waking up.
I loved the concept for this book from the moment I read about it, so I was thrilled that when it came to life on the page, it didn’t disappoint. The idea of having a library of the dead and librarians who guard them is both mesmerising and exiting, so I can understand why Victoria took her time to set up the world-building.
The twists and unexpected betrayals were fantastically written and I honestly couldn’t work out who the villain was until a few paragraphs before it was revealed.
The best parts of this novel definitely come in the last few chapters when all the threads of the plot come together to create drama, action, and an electric conclusion. Nothing could have made me put the book down until I’d finished reading, it was that intense.
I also took part in Finishathon and shared my TBR for that readathon.
July was the first month of Schwab Readalong and it was such a fun kick-off month for the readalong.
Quite a few people joined in with reading The Archived and our liveshow at the end of the month was so enjoyable. I had a wonderful time chatting to Alison about our thougths on the book, and you can find the live here.
I also took part in Tazmyn’s Finishathon in July, with the aim of finishing a number of books on my current reading shelf.
I managed to finish three of the books on my TBR, which were The Archived, The Court of Miracles, and Loveless.
This wasn’t quite the seven books I had planned to complete (let’s be honest, seven was a bit over-ambitious), but I’ve almost finished two of the others and the readathon definitely put me in a mindset to get through some books. So a big thanks to Taz for hosting. ❤
Work has been incredibly busy over the last few weeks because our team started a new project that’s taking up a lot of time. It’s been intense but very fulfilling, and as I’m writing this, I’ve just completed my section of the project today. *fireworks*
I’m also about to head off on a long weekend away to see my family for the first time in 8 MONTHS. It’s been so long since I last saw them (before Christmas) and I honestly can’t wait.
We’re visiting for my Grandma’s 80th birthday so we’re going to visit have a careful, socially distanced get together to celebrate.
What have you been reading recently? What did you get up to in July?