July Wrap-Up (2015)

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Happy Friday, readers! Is it really the end of another month already? This summer really feels like it’s flying by. Anyone else feeling the same way? Regardless, it’s time for another monthly reading wrap-up! It was a pretty decent reading month for me as I completed six books, a step up from the last couple months. Hopefully I can keep this streak alive through August.

Before I get into my thoughts on all of the books I read, I need to give a quick shout-out to a couple people you may know. A very Happy Birthday to The Boy Who Lived and to the lovely woman who created him and his world. Let’s raise our Butterbeer glasses in their names, shall we? And maybe watch an HP movie. I have no words to express how much Harry and Jo mean to me, and I doubt this blog would exist without them. Cheers! Now, let’s talk about the books I read in July!

1. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater 

shiver

Goodreads synopsis

My Rating: 3.75/5 stars

You guys know I had to keep my Maggie Stiefvater marathon going after The Raven Cycle and The Scorpio Races. However, I didn’t go into this with very high expectation because I knew this was one of her earlier series and got much more mixed reviews. I thought it was entertaining enough and had decent enough characters to warrant higher than a 3 stars, but it wasn’t quite good enough to get 4. The writing wasn’t up to par with her later books, but there was still something unique about this story that separates it from other werewolf novels. I enjoyed the two main protagonists, Grace and Sam, and I especially appreciated that Sam wasn’t a very typical YA love interest. He was the shy one instead of the other way around. He was sensitive and read poetry and wrote songs instead of the female character. Overall, this wasn’t a spectacular book by any means, but I flew through it and remained interested enough to want to read the sequel.

2. The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

the red pyramid

Goodreads synopsis

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

This is the first book in the Kane Chronicles by the same author who wrote the Percy Jackson series. I started it months ago, but it was pretty slow moving. I’m not sure if I had trouble getting into it because it’s about Egyptian mythology (which I know little to nothing about) or because the characters just weren’t that exciting. Or maybe both. I decided to finally pick it up again this month for a read-a-thon, and I found myself struggling to finish. At the same time, it wasn’t necessarily bad. Just boring. Until the end, that is. Toward the end, it finally started to pick up and get more exciting, and it finished in a good place for the sequel to start up. If I decide to continue the series at some point, I think the second book will be much better. There were still parts that made me laugh because Riordan always has the best humor, but it was just missing that special something that makes the PJ books so fabulous and enjoyable. I’d still recommend this book, but I’d also warn readers not to raise their expectations too high.

3. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson 

wintergirls

Goodreads synopsis

My Rating: 5/5 stars

I wrote a full review for this novel which you can read here. I really loved this book, hard as it was to get through at times (because of the heavy subject matter). I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to know more about the dangers of eating disorders and to anyone who has previous enjoyed any of Anderson’s work.

4. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

linger

Goodreads synopsis

My Rating: 4/5 stars

I definitely enjoyed Linger more than Shiver. The addition of a certain character and the change of plot made this an even quicker read than the first book. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it this novel was building up to something big the entire time, and when it finally happened, I wasn’t surprised, but I loved how the event was written. It made me want to start reading the third (and last) book in the series right away. Unfortunately, I still don’t have the last book, but I’ll definitely get it in the near future. The writing also seemed to be improved from the first book which shows how Stiefvater matured in that way. The characters have begun developing, and the plot is taking an interesting turn. I’m really not sure how the heck everything will be resolved, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

5. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

aristotle-and-dante-discover-the-secrets-of-the-9781442408937_hr

Goodreads synopsis

My Rating: 3.75-4/5 stars

My rating on this book is weird because I really couldn’t decide how I felt about it at the end. I guess my biggest complaint was just the writing style. The sentences were short and direct and sometimes even repetitive. There were also a few instances where I could’t tell who was talking because the author didn’t like dialogue tags very much. All of that kind of threw me off a bit at times, and it was something I couldn’t really look past. Besides the writing, I loved this book though. The parents to both Dante and Aristotle were probably the most complex parent characters I’ve ever read about, and I found myself loving them just as much as the teenagers. This was a beautiful coming-of-age story about identity and friendship and family. If you haven’t read this yet, you definitely should! It made me teary at times, and it made me laugh at times. It made me feel multiple emotions, and I’m glad I finally gave it a go.

5. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins 

rebel-belle

Goodreads synopsis

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Wow, this book really surprised me in a good way. I heard so much about this last year, but I never thought it would be for me. The cover and the plot really turned me off for some reason. But then I found a cheap copy at Half Price Books and decided “eh, why not?” And I’m so happy I bought it. This book was hilarious and unique and had the greatest characters. I was immediately hooked and ended up flying through it in 2 days. Harper has a seemingly perfect life until she is forced to become a warrior and protect the guy she hates from supernatural beings. The dialogue is golden, and there’s something so comical yet horrifying about her situation that I couldn’t help but love every moment of it. If the girly cover turns you off as it did me, I recommend trying it out anyway. I have already purchased the sequel, Miss Mayhem, on my Kindle and plan to finish later today or tomorrow. This book has action, humor, drama, and a semi-love triangle. But, oh is it fantastic! Go read it if you haven’t yet. I’ll probably do a full review of this next week.

There ya have it, the 6 books I read in July! Hope you enjoyed these mini reviews, and if there are any you want more extensive thoughts about, let me know and I’ll do a full review!

What did you read in July? Let me know below!

Until next time, keep reading and writing! – Veronica

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