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july wrap-up & august tbr

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Hola, my pretty chickens!  I’ve actually read an average amount of books in July *gasps* and here’s a mini recap and review session of all those books, along with a TBR list (that I probably won’t follow, let’s be honest) of the books I’d like to read in August.  Let’s get into it!

july wrap-up

20560137An Ember in the Ashes // Sabaa Tahir

★★★★★ (5 stars)

AEITA was a reread for me in anticipation for its upcoming sequel, A Torch Against the Night.  Tahir’s writing and storytelling was one of my favorites of 2015, and despite of just adding to the hype, if you haven’t even thought of picking up An Ember in the Ashes, what are you doing with your life?  Bold, vibrant characters, thick and twisting plot lines, and a fascinating world to fall into are all a fantasy reader could ever ask for in a fantasy novel, if not more.  READ IT.

23163709Down From the Mountain // Elizabeth Fixmer

★★★☆☆ (3 stars)

This is one of the more interesting books I’ve read this year, and quite the eye-opener. I’d originally picked this up from the library racks because of its cover (yup, good job marketing department!) and what is inside is so much more. The main character in this novel is a young adolescent girl who lives in a religious cult controlled by a so-called “Reverend,” who abuses his congregation’s faith for selfish and forthcoming reasons. They’re taught that the outside world, full of “heathens,” are followers of Satan, and modern medicine and technology are the works of the devil. Before reading this, I’ve heard the word “cult” be thrown around, but never thought they actually existed. Though the writing and other parts weren’t quite above par, Down From the Mountain was a fascinating read about a serious topic that Fixmer somehow managed to explicitly tell the reality of while keeping a positive tone.

12000020Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe // Benjamin Alire Saenz

★★★★★ (5 stars)

I’ve seen this book all over Instagram, and Antonio from Maniac with Books loves and adores Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, so somehow this book found its way into my TBR pile this month.  I picked it up expecting something life-changing, and that is what I got.  This is definitely in the top five favorite books I’ve read this year.  I don’t think I have the right words to describe this book. Awe-inspiring, breath-taking, and heartbreaking; all phases insufficient enough to properly praise this novel. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a mind-opening read, and delves into the story of two boys simply just trying to find themselves in this big world. Pair it with beautifully written exposition and witty dialogue, you have yourself a masterpiece.

17993765-2.jpgWoven // Michael Jenson

★★★☆☆ (3 stars)

Woven was an average read with an intriguing concept.  Nels, a young man in a small village, aspires to be a knight and serve his people.  Princess Tyra is spoiled, privileged, and aware of her class; so when Nels is murdered and comes back as a vengeful ghost that only the princess could see, Tyra wants nothing to do with him.  As the plot unravels, the story becomes much more than just about Nel’s murder plot, and more of the threat of destruction to their entire world. There’s a bit of flaws, such as the unsteady character development (the romance was undeveloped, and felt like it was there because every book needs a romance plot) and lack of depth; the writing felt like it was written for a younger audience, but maybe it’s just me from reading maturer novels.  Otherwise, it was an pleasant read altogether, and I’d recommend it to middle grade fantasy readers.

18006496Queen of Shadows // Sarah J. Maas

★★★★☆ (4 stars)

SOMEONE GIVE ME AN OSCAR.  I have been struggling to get myself to read Queen of Shadows, and half of the time I’m thinking what are you doing with yourself, Linh?! read the darn thing!  and the other half I’m thinking nope nope nope nope nope nope.  The aforementioned part of my brain finally won over, and I started QoS.  For the first fifty pages, I cringed, because so many flaws that I was avoiding popped up (hence the 4 star rating), yet then the storyline took a turn, and I was yanked back into the world of Prythian nope wrong book Aelin Galanthynius and her butt-kickery.  I did have a few problems with Aelin’s attitude (I eventually got over it) and the entire love situation (it wasn’t well developed at all, it was very “meh”) but otherwise, Queen of Shadows was another thrilling installment in the Throne of Glass series.

23299512This Savage Song // Victoria Schwab

★★★★☆ (4 stars)

According to all the peeps over on Instagram, Victoria Schwab (or V.E. Schwab) is the fantasy-magic queen.  I hear nothing but praises towards her books!  This Savage Song, her latest release, was OwlCrate’s July book, and I got to read her work for the first time.  I devoured this novel on the plane ride to California, and it was awesome.  A strong female lead, a mysterious demon boy, a deceptive murder plot, and a world where nighttime is never safe, This Savage Song has me looking forward to the rest of the books in Monsters of Verity.

23546634.jpgThe Way I Used to Be // Amber Smith

★★☆☆☆ (2 stars)

Though this book is no eye-sore (look at that cover!), the words inside were.  Disappointing is what pops up in my mind.  The Way I Used to Be is a story about the aftermath of a young girl named Eden who was raped by her brother’s best friend, and is told in four parts: freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years.  Eden keeps hushed about it, and falls into the gap of alcohol, drugs, and all the things you wouldn’t want your high school daughter to be doing.  I understand that Amber Smith meant this to be “realistic,” as seeing a few individuals that are survivors of sexual assault may wander off the path.  But this book is just one bad event after another, a constant downward spiral.  Eden gets into drugs.  Eden hates life. Eden hates her parents.  Eden is drinking her weight out every night.  Eden sleeps around.  It was seriously overdone.  Everything felt shallow and cliche and that the author was trying too hard to prove a point.  I realize sexual assault is a touchy topic that isn’t flowers and sunshine.  I realize it can be life-changing in the worst ways to many people.  But the way the author tried to handle it was just…bad.  This book is not a good representation of it at all.  The story and its characters were so watery (like when your ice melts in your soda or juice), and the writing seemed too immature for the story at hand. There are many books who have written about this topic beautifully; this is not one of them. I’m not asking for a happy ending; I’m not asking for a book chock-full of negativity, either.

21414439.jpgTruthwitch // Susan Dennard

★★★★★ (4.5 stars)

Oh my cheese, Truthwitch is like a fantasy revival for me.  I haven’t found a new fantasy novel that I’ve been able to fall into and truly love in a long time.  Starting a new series and making a commitment to it is a big deal, guys!  Truthwitch was the perfect antidote;  it’s about two best friends who are “Witches,” one being able to see threads (the connections between people) called a Threadwitch, and one being able to tell truth from lie, a Truthwitch (hence the title).  Long story short: they can both kick butt, there’s a cute prince, a crazy, vengeful monk, a messed-up economy, a mystic prophecy, and an unwanted betrothal.  There’s a lot of magic and intense fight scenes and character development and cutesy moments and IT WAS GREAT.  (lol just go read the Goodreads summary please) If you love Sarah J. Maas, you’ll surely enjoy Truthwitch as well.

to be read

  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, J.K. Rowling
  • A Torch Against the Night, Sabaa Tahir
  • Ivory and Bone, Julie Eshbaugh
  • The Martian, Andy Weir
  • Riverkeep, Martin Stewart
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum
  • We Were Liars, E. Lockhart
  • The Unexpected Everything, Morgan Matson

So…that’s my July Wrap-Up!  What’s you favorite book you’ve read last month?  Tell me in the comments below, and I’m always open for discussion. ❤

With much love,

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7 thoughts on “july wrap-up & august tbr

    1. AH all of Marie Lu’s writing is the bomb. her books are the best! and I’m even more excited to get my hands on We Were Liars, so thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person


    Liked by 1 person

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