’18 books ahead of schedule.’ – Goodreads~
Remember to stay up to date with the world, listen to those facing atrocities and help spread awareness/donate where you’re able to.
It’s the end of July already!
Normally, I would do a tbr at the beginning of the month, however, for July I wanted to challenge myself a lot and knew that if I did the tbr I probably would have panicked and failed very badly 😅
For July, I played along with Stephanie’s Bookverse’s TBR Star Hop. It’s a super cute idea, but it played her dirty! 16 books! 😮
I’d hoped to have finished a few more things, but my laziness got in the way. However, I’m so happy with how I did! I read and have started so many things!
Before I begin my wrap up, I want to say that I have used Manga for Graphic Novel prompts. I think they’re the same thing.
The Night Watch; Sergei Lukyanenko
- Roll 2 || 🌙 Witches & Wizards
- Finished: 18.07.21
- Rating: 3.5⭐
Walking the streets of Moscow, indistinguishable from the rest of its population, are the Others. Possessors of supernatural powers and capable of entering the Twilight, a shadowy parallel world existing in parallel to our own, each Other owes allegiance either to the Dark or the Light.
The “Night Watch,”… follows Anton, a young Other owing allegiance to the Light. As a Night Watch agent he must patrol the streets and metro of the city, protecting ordinary people from the vampires and magicians of the Dark. When he comes across Svetlana, a young woman under a powerful curse, and saves an unfledged Other, Egor, from vampires, he becomes involved in events that threaten the uneasy truce, and the whole city…Goodreads
I definitely wanted to be able to rate this higher. The setting of Moscow and the sense of atmosphere is wonderful in this book and the translation only hinders a few aspects. The agencies and magic in this book, especially the twilight, was so intricately woven into the plot and was very interesting.
The characters for the most part were also very captivating. Anton is somewhat ordinary in the beginning, but we soon discover there is more to him. I enjoyed following the story through his eyes, and hearing his perspective about the war between good and evil happening around him.
The problem is, the plot got less interesting near the end. The book is set into 3 parts, with each having it’s own arc that becomes part of the bigger picture. The first two were great. However, the third takes the plot in a direction I wasn’t expecting and sort of gave an underwhelming reason for previous plot points. And that’s because certain important relationships weren’t well established. Due to Anton’s perspective, we could only get glimpses, gossip and surmises about one. However, the one that Anton himself was in, just came out of nowhere and the other person didn’t feel like she had much personality.
Overall, this was a solidly good book. I enjoyed reading it and often loss track of time because of that. I just wish the plot hadn’t shifted so much in the final act.
The Princess Diaries: Take Two; Meg Cabot
- Roll 3 || 🌙 Set in a Different Country
- Finished: 09.07.21
Nothing’s simple when you’re the new Princess of Genovia. At least, that’s what Mia reckons.
With her mother dating her Algebra teacher, a secret admirer sending her mysterious e-mails, and a bad case of the hots for her friend Lilly’s brother Michael, Mia’s discovering that life as Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo can feel like a right-royal muddle!Goodreads
I enjoyed Take Two so much better than the first book. Not only is the writing better, but the plot and characterisation of Mia was better. Mia is a dramatic teenage girl with her priorities majorly skewed, but she’s a lot more relatable here. I liked how we got to see Mia grow a bit, especially in how she thought about herself and the relationships she has with her family and friends.
Mr G. is still the true mvp! I love that man ♥
Arsenic For Tea; Robin Stevens
- Roll 5 || 🕳️ Series Continuation (Murder Most Unladylike #2)
- Finished: 11.07.21
- Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Schoolgirl detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are at Daisy’s home, Fallingford, for the holidays. Daisy’s glamorous mother is throwing a tea party for Daisy’s birthday, and the whole family is invited… But it soon becomes clear that this party isn’t really about Daisy at all. Naturally, Daisy is furious.
Then one of their party falls seriously, mysteriously ill—and everything points to poison. With wild storms preventing anyone from leaving, or the police from arriving, Fallingford suddenly feels like a very dangerous place to be. Not a single person present is what they seem—and everyone has a secret or two. And when someone very close to Daisy looks suspicious, the Detective Society must do everything they can to reveal the truth… no matter the consequences.Goodreads
Arsenic for Tea is a great sequel! The mystery elements were great and the plot was full of twists and intriguing suspects. The fact that this is set in Daisy’s family home helped me warm up to Daisy a lot more. It was very easy, especially through Hazel’s narration, to understand her behaviour in the first novel better.
And talking of Hazel, I found her so much better in this book. She still has her insecurities and understandable fears (we can’t all be fearless Daisy Wells’), but she was far more proactive and vocal. This book made it much more evident as to why we’re meant to enjoy reading about these two girls’ friendship. And it was a also nice to see Beanie and Kitty be part of the investigation.
Bleach 3-in-1 Volume 7; Tite Kubo
- Roll 6 || ⭐⭐ Fantasy + Graphic Novel
- Finished: 11.07.21
- Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
It’s the day of reckoning and Ichigo must fight Byakuya Kuchiki one on one, whether or not his bankai is battle-ready. Meanwhile the mastermind behind the chaos in the Seireitei is about to be revealed, but will the truth spell the end of the Soul Society?!Goodreads
I don’t have much to say about this bind up, because all three of the volumes were incredible, but especially the last. The revelations in these volumes were so good!
I love Ichigo so much, and I’m incredibly invested in him and love that he is so thoughtful, kind and protective of those he loves. His strength of never giving up is wonderful to see. He’s also still a big idiot, so I love that too.
The Pink Line: The World’s Queer Frontiers; Mark Gevisser
- Roll 7 || ⭐ 1st Book You Can Think Of
- Finished: 17.07.21
- Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
More than five years in the making, Mark Gevisser’s The Pink Line: Journeys Across the World’s Queer Frontiers is a globetrotting exploration of how the human rights frontier around sexual orientation and gender identity has come to divide—and describe—the world in an entirely new way over the first two decades of the twenty-first century.
In between sharp analytical chapters about culture wars, folklore, gender ideology, and geopolitics, Gevisser provides sensitive and sometimes startling profiles of the queer folk he’s encountered on the Pink Line’s front lines across nine countries.Goodreads
This is an incredibly well researched book with interviews and stories of a huge range of diverse people from all over the world.
I will say that quite often the portions about certain individuals got bogged down by a lot of dense information (some of which felt repetitive) and people’s narratives became a little muddled.
The Midnight Library; Matt Haig
- Roll 8 || ☀️ Has Prologue
- Finished: 15.07.21
- Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.Goodreads
This is a good book with a clear message that is laced throughout the entire narrative. The library itself was an interesting concept and it was well done.
Haig’s writing is easy to read and his pacing is good. I will say, that this novel is very Matt Haig. The message is very positive and about self realisation/growth and how the best life is the one you’re living. Of course there is huge merit in this thinking, I just feel that it can come across as somewhat simple.
First Class Murder; Robin Stevens
- Roll 9 || 🕳️ Series Continuation (Murder Most Unladylike #3)
- Finished: 17.07.21
- Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are taking a holiday on the famous Orient Express. From the moment the girls step aboard, it’s clear that everyone in the first-class carriages has something to hide. Then there is a scream from one of the cabins, and a wealthy heiress is found dead, But the killer has vanished – as if into thin air…
Daisy and Hazel are faced with their first locked-room mystery – and with competition from several other sleuths, who are just as determined to crack the case.Goodreads
In the previous book we got to see the dynamic between Daisy and her father, and in this book we got to see the dynamic between Hazel and hers. Seeing this so close together in the series gives us a good look into their characters and how they grew up.
This murder investigation was good, and there were some interesting characters. It’s always interesting when Daisy has to contend with other people being part of the investigation, be it her Uncle and his associates or the friendly and enthusiastic American boy Alexander. The use of different clues and mysteries bulked out the plot and meant that some of my thoughts were subverted in unexpected ways.
I also like that we again got to see Hazel being vocal and standing up for herself. Hazel and Daisy’s friendship is also growing in such a cute and enjoyable way.
Jolly Foul Play; Robin Stevens
- Roll 11 || 🕳️ Series Continuation (Murder Most Unladylike #4)
- Finished: 21.07.21
- Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong have returned to Deepdean for a new school term, but nothing is the same. There’s a new Head Girl, Elizabeth Hurst, and a team of Prefects – and these bullying Big Girls are certainly not good eggs.Goodreads
Then, after the fireworks display on Bonfire Night, Elizabeth is found – murdered.
Many girls at Deepdean had reason to hate Elizabeth, but who might have committed such foul play? Could the murder be linked to the secrets and scandals, scribbled on scraps of paper, that are suddenly appearing around the school? And with their own friendship falling to pieces, how will Daisy and Hazel solve this mystery?
This is a weaker instalment as the investigation wasn’t very well executed and the resolution/ending felt clunky.
I did enjoy being back at Deepdean with the other girls. Beanie, Kitty and Lavinia are becoming much more alive on the page as their direct involvement has increased in certain cases.
Roll 12 was a comet spot on the board which is a free spot with no book or prompt.
Mistletoe and Murder; Robin Stevens
- Roll 16 || ⭐ Paperback
- Murder Most Unladylike #5
- Finished: 24.07.21
- Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are spending the Christmas hols in snowy Cambridge. Hazel has high hopes of its beautiful spires, cosy libraries and inviting tea-rooms – but there is danger lurking in the dark stairwells of ancient Maudlin College.
Two days before Christmas, there is a terrible accident. At least, it appears to be an accident – until the Detective Society look a little closer, and realise a murder has taken place. Faced with several irritating grown-ups and fierce competition from a rival agency, they must use all their cunning and courage to find the killer (in time for Christmas Day, of course).Goodreads
I really enjoyed Mistletoe and Murder. We’ve had a bit of a weird Summer so far in England, so it didn’t feel super out of place reading a Christmas cosy murder mystery in July.
Hazel and Daisy were wonderful! Their friendship has definitely gotten better and we’re seeing each develop and grow, especially as they’re meeting so many new people. The inclusion of The Junior Pinkerton’s – George and the already met Alexander – was fun. I loved seeing our girls become friends with George, especially his and Daisy’s little rivalry of equals.
The murder mystery itself was great, as was the social commentary about the time (that sadly still pertains to today). The setting of a college of Cambridge gave it a great atmosphere. And there were lots of little twists throughout to throw us off the scent.
Bleach 3-in-1 Volume 8; Tite Kubo
- Roll 17 || 🌟 Graphic Novel
- Finished: 11.07.21
- Rating: 3.5⭐
Ichigo and his friends have returned home from the battle in the Seireitei, but everything is far from back to normal. Ichigo’s inner Hollow is getting more powerful and can’t wait to devour him, and having to deal with the sinister new transfer student isn’t helping matters. Plus, a deadly new enemy is poised to attack Karakura Town!Goodreads
After the previous omnibus, this was disappointing. It was still good, as we got a lot of new information and there are some great characters. I’m interested in where the plot is going and the further growth of Ichigo. Plus, I love that the Soul Reapers are still a prominent part of the story, but I find it a bit boring when it focuses very heavily on just one (and mostly in the setting of a fight).
I do wish we got more Ichigo and Rukia, but I was happy with their scenes.
Hollow Earth; John and Carole E. Barrowman
- Finished: 05.07.21
- Rating: 3.5⭐
Imagination matters most in a world where art can keep monsters trapped—or set them free… Together… Matt and Emily… are able to bring art to life and enter paintings at will. Their extraordinary abilities are highly sought after, particularly by a secret group who want to access the terrors called Hollow Earth.
The twins flee from London to a remote island off the west coast of Scotland in hopes of escaping their pursuers and gaining the protection of their grandfather, who has powers of his own. But the villains will stop at nothing to find Hollow Earth and harness the powers within.Goodreads
The concept of Hollow Earth is really interesting, from the magic system to the setting and main characters. I liked the twins and how they worked well together and grew throughout the book. I also enjoyed the side characters, it was nice to see a prominent deaf character.
I enjoyed the integration of the historical timeline that is connected to the Scottish setting, especially when we got to see how it intertwines with the modern day plot on the island.
I will say that the ending and pacing of the book in general took it down a few notches. Even so, I do think that this is a solidly good book and I can see a lot of younger readers truly loving this.
Cream Cakes and Crime; Robin Stevens
- Murder Most Unladylike #0.5,#3.5,#4.5
- Finished: 26.07.21
Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are famous for the murder cases they have solved – but there are many other mysteries in the pages of Hazel’s casebook. From the macabre Case of the Deepdean Vampire, to the baffling Case of the Blue Violet, and their very first case of all: the Case of Lavinia’s Missing Tie.
Just like Daisy and Hazel’s cases, there’s more to this book than meets the eye, including: brilliant mini-mysteries, including two brand-new and never seen before stories. Daisy and Hazel’s own tips, tricks and facts.Goodreads
This is a cute and fun little companion to the series. We get sections from several different characters, as well as commentary and recommendations from Robin Stevens herself.
It was interesting to learn about authors from the time that Daisy and Hazel would have read, as well as different recipes etc. We all know my main girl Hazel has great taste in desserts ♥
Roll 1 🌙
The first roll was a moon prompt of a book ‘over 500 pages’. Last month I finished City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare, so thought in July it would be great to continue the series with the short story collection Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassie Clare and her cohort of author friends.
I got to page 271 of 651. I enjoyed what I read, but in some parts I just wish we got to spend more time with Simon. The short story I’m currently reading is about characters that I’m not too interested in. I don’t really care all that much about the Circle and I think that is why my reading of it stopped.
Roll 4 🌙
For the moon prompt ‘ends in odd page no.’ I chose The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. This is a murder mystery set in an old people’s home/village, and a group of old age pensioners get right on the case. I got to page 285/377.
I’m really enjoying this so far and had hoped to finish it by the end of the month, but I’ll get it done pretty soon in August. The characters are great and so far the mystery and investigation has been really engaging. It’s also really fun seeing characters go to places in Kent that I’ve been to.
Roll 10 ☀
The sun prompt here was a ‘Gifted’ book and I don’t have many of these… unless you can count gifts I gave myself 😂
For this roll I chose Jack Flint and the Redthorn Sword by Joe Donnelly. I was gifted this by my mum and I think I started it at the time (in 2007… I was 12 😅) but don’t remember ever finishing it. The book is a medieval type high fantasy where a trio set out to save the kingdom from an evil man bent on doing evil with the aid of the Redthorn sword.
Roll 13 ⭐
The star prompt for this roll was a book from a ‘book box’ and I don’t subscribe to any. For this reason I went onto one of the ones I’ve heard mentioned on booktube for years and that was Owlcrate. I was looking for a book that I own and so the one I chose was Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake from the September 2016 box.
I started this one quite late into the month and only got to page 93 of 407. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, but the world does seem intriguing and we have a whole host of characters to get to know. Three triplet girls are separated during childhood and raised to learn and evolve their coveted individual powers. On their 16th birthday, the battle begins to use their magic to fight to the death and become the only surviving Queen of Fennbirn.
Roll 14 🕳️
This roll was another wormhole spot, which is a ‘series continuation’. The Desolation of Devil’s Acre by Ransom Riggs is the last book in the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series. I’m reading this mostly through audiobook, as the narrator – Kirby Heyborne – is one of the best I’ve ever heard! This series is fantastic in audiobook format.
In July I got to page 376/528. For the most part I’m enjoying this book. I love the peculiar children and they are truly the best thing about this world and series. The pacing and length of the action can be strange, but Ransom’s writing is very engaging.
Roll 15 🌙
This roll landed on the moon prompt of ‘Foiling’. For this I chose Shine by Jessica Jung as the title is in sparkly gold foiling.
The book is a contemporary novel about an teenage Kpop trainee who is striving to meet the standards of perfection and make her dream of debut a reality. It’s not something I would have normally picked up, but I’ve been a fan of SNSD for around 8 years so I was both intrigued and happy to support Jessica ♥ And I’m being pleasantly surprised at how I’m actually enjoying Shine more than I thought – I’m on page 112 out of 338.
I would say that July was a great reading month for me! I hope you had a great one too, whether you read a lot, a little or none at all.
Thanks for reading!
I hope you’re having a lovely day and staying safe ♥