July is my birthday month and I’m sad to see it gone, although I ate everything and it shows. Maybe I took that indulgence thing a little too far, but it’s my birthday and apparently I’ll eat if I wanna … and boy, did I ever. Weirdly and somewhat unfortunately, I read a lot less than I ate and probably should have done the opposite, which is why hindsight is 20/20.
The Books I Loved, Liked and Loathed
Still I did read, so yay me. I tried to pick books that were perfect me books to ensure an amazing reading month. Overall, I did pretty good, although I read less than expected. But I also hoped to be taller than I am, so there you go. No matter what Marianne Williamson preaches, you can’t “will” cancer away or make yourself taller than five feet with positive thoughts and energy.
The Book I Loved
The I will always love you books.
Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
Book Description: For Jules, this apartment sitting gig is a dream come true but The Bartholomew houses secrets that she might not survive.
Book Review: I really enjoyed Sager’s debut novel, The Final Girls and Lock Every Door proves it’s not a fluke. I was immediately drawn into the story and wanted to know what was going on in The Bartholomew. It wasn’t what I expected, which I love, although it’s not a gotcha twist either but more like great misdirection. 😀 It’s very fast-paced, quick read and I oddly think it makes a good beach read too. It’s obviously not a “light” story but it’s not dark, dark either. Also I want to point out that Sager’s books sometimes get labeled as horror and this isn’t full of slashers or ghosts but more like dread, lots of secrets and a little murder on the side.
To Read or Not To Read: Yup. Mystery or thriller fans will enjoy this.
The Books I Liked
These are the books that I liked, from most liked to like or 4 to 3 stars.
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
Book Description: Cursed to die on her 11th birthday, Morrigran Crow is saved by a mysterious benefactor who blah, blah, blah … talking cat.
Book Review: You read the description right … talking cat, aka Magnificats. So yeah, I’m down with this book based on that alone. Harry Potter is definitely in the DNA of this book, although it’s not wizards and witches. Overall, I enjoyed this quite a bit, although not as much as HP. At first blush, I assumed it was me being fussy (probably true) but after some reflection, I realized why I didn’t enjoy it as much: Nevermoor felt like a lot of set-up for book #2, which made it a bit slow for me (although eager to read book #2) and the characters in HP felt more complex. I found Morrigan and Jupiter interesting but everyone else was somewhat one-dimensional to me.
To Read or Not To Read: So I know my review doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement but I do recommend this book. The world Townsend is building is interesting and I am curious as to where she (and Morrigan) go next. Also, talking cat.
If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann
Book Description: Life takes an unexpected turn for Winnie when she becomes Misty Haven’s Summer Queen.
Book Review: So … this is a good/okay book that had some real missed potential in my opinion. Winnie had a falling out with her Grandma but she played such a minor, one-note role that they break-up (and also subsequent growth) didn’t land the way I assume Kann intended. I was also seriously confused with Winnie’s sexual orientation, which took up a lot of my focus. My assumption is she is bi-sexual, which is definitely not the issue, but her relationship with Kara borderline unhealthy and weirdly … not sexual. Apparently they are in a queer platonic relationship and I don’t even know what that means. Isn’t that just friendship? I am obviously too unhip and reason #38572 why YA that is not fantasy or dystopian is not my jam. I do, however, appreciate Kann giving space to those who don’t fit traditional sexual orientations and labels and just wish she had also helped those who want to be allies feel better able to support. I do get my job is to accept, even without fully understanding, but I honestly feel more confused and likely to offend now than I did before I read the book.
To Read or Not To Read: Eh, dealer’s choice. This is not a bad book but not one I’d race out to buy/borrow either.
TL;DR: What I Recommend
Overall I had a solid reading month in July. It might not have been the spectacular reading month that I wanted, but I really can’t complain since I had no duds either. My recommendations: Lock Every Door is a great read for mystery/thriller fans and Harry Potter fans should definitely give Nevermoor a chance. If It Makes You Happy wasn’t my favorite but it would be a great book if you know someone who is struggling with their sexual orientation or doesn’t fit a traditional “label”.
To More Great Books
I say this every month but I am going to tackle my NetGalley queue. However, I’m not going to make any bold promises, like I’m only going to read NetGalley books or something crazy like that (because I’ll break that promise immediately and know it). Nope. My goal is to read ONE book, which should be doable. But still I make no promises. I read whatever catches my fancy and I’m confident my fellow book lovers from the Show Us Your Books Link-Up, hosted by Jana and Steph, will have some great recommendations that I’ll want to read immediately. Be sure to checkout the link-up and see what everyone read last month.
What was the best book you read last month or are looking forward to reading this month?