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?
Confuzzled Bev says
Your first paragraph cracked me up. I hope you had a good birthday month.
Love the description of Nevermoor… blah, blah, blah. Talking cat. Have you read The Last Chance Hotel by Nicki Thornton? I loved the talking cat in that one.
Thanks, Bev! I did have a good birthday month, but waistline maybe had a little too much fun. 😀 Seriously, talking cat was the whole reason why I read Nevermoor. I have not read The Last Chance Hotel but I will now. Thanks for the recommendation!
Happy birthday! Nevermoor sounds like a good audiobook candidate for a road trip I have coming up with my kids.They want to listen to Harry Potter over and over again, and I just need a break.
I can understand needing a break from HP (and I say that as a huge fan). I think they will really enjoy Nevermoor too.
Nancy @ NY Foodie Family says
Lock Every Door was already on my to read list! I’ve never read a Riley Sager book so will have to give this a try. I’m going to get Nevermoor to see if my son will read it. He’s a tough one to find books for, but he just turned 11 so maybe he’ll enjoy.
I think your son will enjoy Nevermoor, especially since he enjoyed Harry Potter. Lock Every Door is my second Sager. I haven’t read her second book but I’ll get to it eventually.
I didn’t finish Nevermoor although I wanted to make it through! I am going to read Final Girls soon. I’ve heard mixed reviews on Lock Every Door.
I really enjoyed Final Girls too, not sure which one I enjoyed more but I liked both books. Some found Lock Every Door a little slow in the beginning but it didn’t bother me.
Kasey Holloway says
Lock Every Door sounds so good! I haven’t read The Final Girls yet either! I need to give them both a try!
I really loved it. Both in fact. I hope you give them a try!
I’m all for celebrating birthday months! I usually get a headstart since my birthday is in November … I start mid-summer. 🙂 I put Nevermoor on my mental list last month (or maybe before that), but then promptly forgot about it. A binge-watch of the Harry Potter movies this weekend put me back in the magical/fantasy world so I’ll try to remember to look for it again.
LOL! It’s one nice thing about having a summer birthday – no competition from other major, national holidays because I’m a brat. 😉 Yes, definitely give Nevermoor a chance. I think you’ll enjoy it!
Lock Every Door was nutty.
I hope you had a good birthday month!
Brittany Always says
I keep hearing about Nevermoor but forgetting to pick it up! The relationship description in IIMYH makes me laugh.
I’ve been meaning to read Nevermoor for months. To be completely honest, this is the 3rd time I’ve checked it out and I guess 3rd time really is the charm since I actually read it this time. Seriously, I still confused about the relationship in IiMYH. I also feel bad about being confused too. Sigh.
Kay R.D. says
Nevermoor isnt generally my type of book but I chose it for a challenge and now I cant wait to read it!
I hope you enjoy it!
I feel like the only person who hasn’t tried Nevermoor but it’s just way not my genre.
I feel that way about certain books too. Everybody raving about it but it’s just no my jam. No shame in that.
I still need to read one of Riley’s books, and Lock Every Door sounds great! I love a good mystery. I have Nevermoor, which I hope to read soon.
I really enjoyed Lock Every Door. But I’m a sucker for a good mystery. And a talking cat. Hope you enjoy Nevermoor!
Jana @ Jana Says says
I have never heard of Nevermoor and I 100% will not read it. Not for me.
Calories consumed during birthday month do not count.
Yeah, it’s not your kind of book. 😀 Sadly, my waistline did not get that memo – super rude!
Rebecca Jo says
Glad you finally got around to Nevermoor… & I see exactly what you’re saying. I think we’ll forever compare anything like this to HP forever, wont we?
Yeah, I feel bad because what a beloved book to be compared against. Still glad I read it though and looking forward to book #2.
no way man, birthdays are about eating! at least, mine is lol.
ok, good to know about the riley sager book, i avoided that one because i don’t want to read horror but i can handle a little dread.
talking cats!!!! i hope you like book 2 when you get to it. i had to tell myself to stop comparing to HP when i was reading. it mostly worked.
My birthday is all about eating too. Seriously, I’m already thinking about next year and what I’ll eat. LOL! Yeah, it’s not horror or anything like Stephen King’s earliest works. My biggest problem reading Nevermoor was I was soooooooo impatient for the talking cat to make an appearance and a reappearance and another appearance and so on. So terrible!
Lock every door is to be read next. Glad you liked it!
YAY! Hope you enjoy it!
I have heard around the ‘ol interwebs that people really like Lock Every Door. I will have to check it out 🙂
LOL! Try it – I think you’ll like it!
I’ve heard LOTS of good things about Riley Sager on book podcasts! The premise of Lock Every Door sounds intriguing so I’m going to add it to my TBR! I know a lot of people from SUYB liked Nevermoor but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be my jam. Your review helped me decide that so thanks for the details!
Nevermoor has definitely been popular on SUYB but it’s definitely not a book for everyone. I really enjoyed the two books of Sager’s I read. They are good, solid thrillers.
Erin | Chasing Sweet and Simple says
I love a good thriller so Lock Every Door sounds great! Hope you had a great birthday month!
Thanks, Erin! I hope you enjoy Lock Every Door!
I hope you enjoyed the heck outta your birthday month! No shame, lady! It’s your month to eat all the yummy foods and read how ever many (or few) books you’re feeling!
I enjoyed Nevermoor but I haven’t slipped in with the sequel yet. I got it from the library but returned it because my reading mojo died. Hopefully I pick it back up someday soon. I really enjoyed Jupiter and Morrigan. Lock Every Door sounds really interesting!
Been there, done that. I checked Nevermoor out three times before I finally read it. 😀 Reading mojo can really sap the reading love out of a person.
I have Lock Every Door and I’m excited to read it (along with most every other book in my TBR pile)!
I hope you enjoy it! And Lordy, do I understand about having an overwhelming TBR. It’s awesome that there are so many books I want to read but sometimes it’s also exhausting!
I’m fairly certain I added Nevermoor to my TBR from another rec. Last month maybe? Who knows. The HP comparison drew me and I added it immediately.
Same here. As soon as someone on the link-up compared it to HP, I was in. It just took me a lot longer to read it than I expected but that’s what happens when you’re in the midst of a long-term reading slump. It’s worth it whenever you get a chance to read it!
Olya @ The Siberian American says
I’m a July baby too! I have Lock Every Door on my NetGalley, but I just haven’t been in the mood for thrillers lately. I hope to read it soon, though!
Happy belated birthday to you too, Olya! Ah, I hear you about moods. I never realized how my mood affected what kinds of books I want to read. Hopefully, when you get to it, you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
Lock every door is going onto my TBR list! I like a good thriller so this sounds like something I’d enjoy.
Hope your birthday month was awesome. I like to think birthday calories don’t count 🙂
kathy @ more coffee, less talky says
Surprisingly, A Curse So Dark and Lonely was fantastic…I wasn’t expecting to like it at all. hope you had a great birthday month!