July Wrap Up

It has been a crazy month! I feel like I say that every month, but it seems to be true time and time again. It summer, I’m supposed to be relaxing! I moved to a new apartment and went to my first orientation day for my new job. I’m in the process of setting up my classroom and I’m getting so excited about the beginning of the school! Only about a week left to go! I also completed the Book Junkie Trials! I so rarely complete a readathon TBR so I’m really excited about the fact that I actually read every single book I set out to read! On the other hand, The Reading Rush readathon didn’t go quite as well. It’s fine because I still read a ton of books and I thoroughly enjoyed the majority of them. In some cool blog news I made it to 53 followers and I’m official a YA Book of the Month Affiliate and an Amazon Affiliate! The Book of the Month Club has been one of my favorite ways to receive books over the last year and I highly recommend it so it’s nice to be able to represent something I’m such a big fan of! (If you are interested in learning more click the link below)

Book of the Month YA

Rating: 4.5 Stars
Nonfiction

The Buried by Peter Hessler – I think this might be one of the most difficult books I’ve ever read, it was fascinating and sucked me in quite quickly but it was very difficult to read. There was a lot of information thrown at the reader in this book and as I was reading it I kept my computer or phone near me so I could look up some of the major political figures Hessler was referring to. The book also dealt with a lot of crude information. I’m not sure why the author chose some of the topics he chose but I still learned a lot despite the odd topics. The book is an archaeological look at the Egyptian Revolution from the perspective of an American foreign journalist. While this book was interesting and taught me a ton about Egyptian culture I wish this story was coming from someone Egyptian. In archaeology there is always a bias that comes from an outsider looking and reporting on another culture. The author worked really hard to stay unbiased, the bias cannot be completely erased. That being said, it did make a lot of really good points and did a great job showing how colonization and Ancient Egypt has effected what it has become today.

Rating: 5 Stars
Science Fiction

The Martian by Andy Weir – I’m sorry but why did I wait so long to read this book?!?! I forgot how much I absolutely adore the science fiction genre until I read this book and now I’m so happy that I’m back in the world of science fiction. I knew what was going to happen in the book because I saw pieces of the movie before I read this but I was still so fascinated and excited by each and every moment in this book. The text has really heavy science talk which sometimes went over my head but it showed that the character truly knew what he was doing. The text was also hilarious! I never expected to pick up a book about a man trapped on Mars and expect to find so much humor! Personally, I would have been freaking out about everything, which he was, but he used humor to deflect his anxiety. Now that I’ve read the book I can’t wait to go and watch the full movie!

Rating: 4 Stars
Contemporary

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan – I must confess I watched the movie before I read the book. The movie just looked to good to resist and at the time I didn’t enjoy reading contemporary books. I’m happy I picked this up because it gave some interesting insight into the characters, but I preferred the way the movie handled Astrid’s story. I’m intrigued by the next book but I have noticed a lot of people have said it’s not nearly as good as the first one so I’m curious to read it and see how they approach it with the next movie. They also toned down for the movie so hopefully anything too crazy and outrageous in the next book will be better in the movie as well. That being said, this was a fun read and I’m happy I finally read it!

Rating: 2 Stars
Science Fiction

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie – Ok so this one was a little weird. I get why it’s won so many awards and I completely understand why people love it but it just wasn’t a good fit for me. The entire novel is written from the perspective of an emotionally detached main character who’s society has only one pronoun for gender. I had no problem with the character, I just had a really hard time relating to the character because I didn’t understand her reasoning for doing things. I also didn’t feel like I understood any of the other characters because they were described somewhat clinically. I really struggled to get through this novel, and I think most of it was just over my head analytically. Again, I get why people like it but it just wasn’t for me.

Rating: 4 Stars
Science Fiction

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers – I loved this book! I had so much fun diving back into the world that Becky Chambers has created with the Wayfarer’s series. To be honest I have no memory of what happened in the last book but I didn’t feel like that held me back from enjoying and getting to know the characters in the second novel in the series. I liked that we got the perspective’s of both of the main characters but I didn’t like that the character’s former names (the ones they didn’t choose) were the headers for the chapters. I don’t really want to give a synopsis or anything of the book because it’s the second in a series and I would prefer not to ruin it for anyone who is interested in picking it up. I will tell you that I love the slice of life, over nice, culturally aware, and progressive science fiction that Becky Chambers brings to the table. It’s a massive relief amidst all the intense space battles of the genre.

Rating: 3.5 Stars
Fantasy

The Waking Land by Callie Bates – I’m so happy I was finally able to pick this book up! I saw this book a couple of years ago in the fantasy section and considered picking it up but the low reviews on goodreads held me back from buying it. Luckily, a couple of years later I stumbled onto the book in the Library and I was finally able to read it. I get why the goodreads reviews were low but I found it really enjoyable! I loved the main character and her back and forth indecision on who she is and who she is loyal to. The main character, Elanna, is kidnapped and taken to the land of Eren, away from her family and the land of Caeris. 14 years later she must escape back to Caeris but isn’t so sure that is her home anymore. The reason I originally wanted to pick this book up is because the magic in the book is based on plants and I love the idea of magic centered around plants. (There’s not nearly enough of that in fantasy.) The book is a debut so it’s not without it’s tropes and problems, and there’s a couple of scenes that are a little weird, but it was a fun fantasy and I plan on continuing with the series.

Rating: 4 Stars
Fantasy

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik – I tried reading Spinning Silver last summer but found that I wasn’t in the mood for it at that moment. I set it down but held on to it because I had the feeling that it would be a book I would really love when I was in the right mood to read it. I didn’t expect to pick this book up this month but the audiobook came through from my library so I started listening and was completely sucked into the story. I love fantasy based on fairytales and this doesn’t disappoint. I liked that this story dealt with women’s roles in fantasy. It showed women in a patriarchal society and how even in that society they were able to find ways to get what they wanted. Whether that was taking control of the family business, using their position to manuever politically, or trusting others to help them care for their family. The women all had similar problems but found different ways of taking control of their own lives.

Rating: 2 Stars
Contemporary

Faithful by Alice Hoffman – I was not expecting this book to be as intense and messy as it was. The book follows Shelby who is dealing with intense amounts of grief after she survives an accident with her best friend. For the first part of the book the events of the accident are hazy and unclear to the reader. Don’t be fooled by the gorgeous cover of the book this book dives into some really difficult and heavy topics including sexual assault, suicide, mental illness, cancer, drug use and includes heavy language and some difficult imagery. The beginning of the book is extremely difficult to read but as the book started to go on it got a little bit easier. I wish the book had been a little bit more fleshed out. Although we never saw the characters overall progression but we didn’t get to see her day to day fight to change. We only got glimpses into important moments in her life.

Rating: 5 Stars
Science Fiction

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers – I’m happy to have finally finished this series. To be honest with you I had low expectations coming into this book because most people I follow rated this book lower than all the others. It ended up being my favorite in the series, the conclusion of the book left me sobbing happy tears which I never expected. I can see why people would struggle with this book, because it reads like an ethnography. It’s truly a record of the human beings that are born in space. It follows the sad moments, the happy moments and everything in between. I will definitely be re-reading this series because each book has been so different but so beautiful and meaningful. I wish I had read this before I posted my bookish dream roles post because I would’ve added Tessa, one of the main perspectives to the list.

Rating: 4.5 Stars
Fantasy

Jade City by Fonda Lee – I can’t believe I waited so long to read this book! It was so much fun! It was so refreshing to read a fantasy that wasn’t predictable. The world in the book resembles ours but isn’t the same world, it made the story feel fresh and new. Plus the magic system surrounding jade was fascinating. I highly recommend this for readers of adult fantasy who want something that feels like an action movie. This book does contain sex, drug use, cursing and violence but the scenes are fairly short and on par with the entirety of the fantasy genre at the moment. It doesn’t really bother me but I’m mentioning this because I’ve been specifically asked about what this book contains so I figured I would mention it. All that said, it’s a fun read and I’m excited to read the next one which just released this month.

Rating: 3.5 Stars
Science Fiction/Fantasy

Red Rising by Pierce Brown – I finally re-read Red Rising (say that 5 times fast) I forgot how insanely brutal the first book is in terms of violence. I don’t remember the next books in the series being quite as intense, they were more politically driven. It’s really hard to read the first book due to all the violence. Pierce Brown does a great job writing a world in which I definitely do not want to live. The Red Rising Series is the first series I ever picked up in the SFF genre and it set the standard for me. I rated this a little bit lower this time because I didn’t think the things some of the characters did in the novel were necessary. I was happy to see all my favorite characters again but the brutality and crude nature of the villain characters was difficult to read at times. I would compare Red Rising as a cross between Roman Mythology, Julius Caesar, Titus Andronicus, and Coriolanus.

Rating: 4 Stars
Young Adult Historical Fiction/Mystery/Thriller

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco – I just love the characters in this book. Audrey Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell are so cute together! I decided to re-read this series in preparation for the release of Capturing the Devil in September. I know this book has a lot of issues but I still love it! I love that it features a woman working in a scientific field during the 1800s, it also reminds me of a slightly darker version of Murdoch Mysteries. I highly recommend this book if you are interested in the mystery/horror genre, it’s a great starter series for fans who are new to the but are interested in a good introduction. The one warning I will give is that it deals with forensic science and that includes some descriptions of an autopsy. (If watching the tv show bones is too much for you, this might also be too much.) It doesn’t bother me because it’s handled in a scientific way but fair warning.