July Wrap Up – Too Many Sad Books and a Five-Star Middle Grade

July is officially over, which means it’s time for another wrap up! This month was kind of a weird reading month for me, because I went through some pretty distinct reading phases. After flying through a bunch of romance novels, I read enough sad books to sink myself into a terrible mood that lasted for a few weeks. Because I’m smart like that. Luckily, I ended the month on a happier note. Here are the fifteen books I read in July (and other things that happened this month):

What I Read:

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey – ★★★☆☆. I went through a bit of a romance phase this summer, and picked this up after seeing it on Instagram a dozen times. I definitely enjoyed reading it – I actually rated it four stars until I had some distance and started realizing the issues with it. Still a fun book, though.

The Lost World by Michael Crichton – ★★★☆☆. I finally got around to reading this, after really enjoying Jurassic Park a few years ago. And… it was just okay. Honestly, the first half was kind of boring – way too much time was spent on the backstory.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang – ★★★☆☆. Everyone has been talking about this book for so long, I finally decided to read it. And I don’t really get the hype. Sure, it was good, but I didn’t love it. If you’re looking for a romance with a neurodiverse main character, I thought The Rosie Project was better.

Roomies by Christina Lauren – ★★★☆☆. I wanted some more fun romance, and picked this one up. I’d read The Unhoneymooners a month or two ago and really wanted to read more Christina Lauren. This one was pretty fun, definitely a quick read. Which is exactly what I was looking for.

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Garcia-Moreno – ★★★★★. This one was amazing. I loved it so much. The mythology and atmosphere were just perfect. I’d definitely say it was my favorite book of the month.

I Am I Am I Am by Maggie O’Farrell – ★★★☆☆. This one was kind of disappointing. I do see the value in it as a memoir, but I had trouble connecting to it. Just not for me, I guess.

Normal People by Sally Rooney – ★★★★☆. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one, but I ended up liking it a lot. It was sad, but I also think it represented real people so well. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book like this, but I definitely want to read more.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones – ★★★★☆. I actually really enjoyed this one, even though it broke my heart. It’s another book that really just feels like it’s about real people. What happens in this novel is not okay, but sadly not unheard of. I would highly recommend it if you’re looking to read more fiction that delves into racial issues.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – ★★★☆☆. After reading An American Marriage, this one just didn’t have the same impact. It was good, but it was also really long, and I felt that the story got a little lost.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate – ★★★★★. I put off reading this for a while, because if there’s one thing I can’t really handle, it’s mistreatment of animals. But I am glad I read it, because this was fantastic. It wasn’t the easiest read (and definitely contributed to my sadness fest – see the last four books), but totally worth it.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova – ★★★★☆. Because I was just reading myself into a depression, I picked up Still Alice. Which definitely lives up to the hype. But it also kind of messed me up emotionally. After my MS diagnosis last year, I realized that I can be okay with a physical disability as long as it doesn’t affect my brain. And experiencing that through Alice was pretty much my worst nightmare. So, if you’re overly empathetic (welcome to the club) just know this is going to be a hard book to read.

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie – ★★★★★. I obviously needed something a bit happier, and Peter Pan seemed like a good idea. I didn’t have very high expectations for this book, but I ended up loving it.

And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness – ★★☆☆☆. This was my first Patrick Ness book, and, unfortunately I didn’t love it. (I am still planning on reading more of his books because one, I own a few, and two, I’ve heard this one is very different from what he usually writes).

The Killer in Me by Olivia Kiernan – ★★★☆☆. I read the first Frankie Sheehan book, Too Close to Breathe, last year and really enjoyed it. I thought this one was pretty good, but not amazing. It was fairly predictable, and I had a bit of trouble connecting to it. But I liked it.

Barnum: An American Life by Robert Wilson– ★★★★☆. I’ve been wanting to read more about P. T. Barnum for a while (ever since I watched The Greatest Showman and saw him portrayed so inaccurately). This one was pretty good. I did learn a lot about him, and found it interesting. It wasn’t as engaging as other biographies I’ve read, but I did enjoy it. (Review coming soon!)

The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien– ★★★★☆. I’m finally reading The Lord of the Rings this year! I didn’t love this one quite as much as The Hobbit (which I read a few years ago) or The Fellowship of the Ring, but that’s quite possibly because I listened to those two on audio, and read a physical copy of this one.

What I’m Currently Reading:

Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie. I am currently listening to this on audio – I find nonfiction, especially lengthy biographies much easier to get through in audiobook form – and I’m LOVING it. I wasn’t expecting to like it quite so much, but I’m kind of obsessed. If you have any biography recommendations, especially biographies of women, leave them in the comments. Because I need more!

The Swallows by Lisa Lutz. This is about a group of girls at a boarding school who decide to finally stand up to the boy’s gross tradition of a BJ competition. So far, I’m really liking it.

What I Watched:

Veronica Mars season 4 (Hulu). I have been a fan of Veronica Mars since season one, when I was in high school. So, obviously, I had to watch the fourth season. And I really liked it. I completely get why people hate the ending, but you have to know Veronica Mars is never going to have a happy ending. That’s just not the show.

I Love You, Now Die (HBO). This is a documentary about the trial of Michelle Carter, who was convicted of encouraging her boyfriend to commit suicide. It was fascinating and awful, especially because it was so obvious that she did it for the attention.

What I Did:

Completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge! That’s right, I have read 100 books so far this year, which is huge! I’m definitely on track for this to become my biggest reading year yet.

With the exception of making myself depressed with my reading choices, I’d say it was a pretty good reading month. Found a few new favorites, and read a few books I’ve been meaning to get to for years. I’d call that a success.

What was your favorite book of the month?

In case you missed it, check out my June Wrap Up! It’s a big one.

19 thoughts on “July Wrap Up – Too Many Sad Books and a Five-Star Middle Grade

  1. Congratulations on completing your challenge! I have Normal people on my tbr-soon, so was glad to see you liked it. Gods of Jade and Shadow is getting such good reviews from my friends that I just must read it now.

    1. Thanks! It’s such a good book. Kind of gave me the same feeling as Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver, so if you like that, you’ll probably like this one, too. Happy reading!

  2. Seems like you overall had a great reading month! My favourite book of July was probably The Lies of Locke Lamora, I don’t know why I’d delayed reading it for so long because it was so much swashbuckling fun. 🙂

    I’m participating in NEWTs Readathon in August and I’m hoping I somehow manage to read as much as you did here in July! In particular I’m really looking forward to reading Gods of Jade and Shadow, I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things about it.

    1. It’s so good! Based on what you’ve enjoyed in the past, I definitely think you’re going to like it.

      I need to read the Lies of Locke Lamora soon! I’ve had a copy for at least two years, but still haven’t read it. No idea why.

      1. Oo yay, this makes me all the more excited to start reading it now! 🙂

        It’s very good, it’s super engrossing, and I hope you enjoy it when you do pick it up. I’ll admit, I was a little worried it would take me a while to read because it’s not a short book and I have it in mass market paperback which isn’t my favourite to read. I needn’t have worried; I flew through it. I’m itching to start the sequel now but I need to pace myself, I think!

        1. I have way too much I need to read this year, but hopefully I’ll get to it soon. Maybe I’ll look into the audiobook? I’ve heard great things, I feel like I’m just hesitant to start too many series at the moment. But I will read it!

          1. Yes I listened to a bit of the audiobook and the narrator seemed really engaging so I’d imagine it’s not a bad way to read it. I know that feeling tho, I’ve started way too many series that I’ve only read the first book of!

            1. I also read so many books that I can’t keep track of what happens in most series. I’m turning into one of those people who waits until the series is completely released… and then never reads it.

  3. So many books!!! 😀
    I was planning to read «Normal People» during the reading rush week but ended up swithing it for something else instead, so it continues on my TBR… And since it didn’t fit any of NEWTs prompts, I’ll just have to read it when I find time for it (hopefully in August!)

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