July Wrap Up Part 2

For my belated July Wrap Up, I decided to split my initial (very long) post into two shorter lists, with bite-size reviews and rating for each book. In case you missed Part 1, I read 22 books over the month of July in the midst of a very hectic time.

Today, I’ll share what the 11 other books I read in July were. It’s mostly YA (again) but I also read some non-fiction including one of the best anthologies of the year for me.

The rest of the books I read in July:

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1 and 2. One Dark Throne and Queens of Fennbirn by Kendare Blake 

One Dark Throne: Ok, I’ll admit it. I am obsessed with the Three Dark Crowns series. It’s deliciously dark, magical and the kind of fanatasy that I really enjoy with subtle world-building and intrigue around every corner. I adore the twists that Blake seems to sprinkle in with reckless abandon, even though I called one. Gripping, fantastical and ends with such a cliffhanger. Four stars.

Queens of Fennbirn: The collection of novellas was also a really enjoyable way to delve back into this world, but I just wanted more. I think Blake has also sown the seeds for another twist with one particular aspect of the world that was mentioned in The Young Queens.  A fascinating look at more of the mythology and past of the queens. Four stars.

3. Close Your Eyes by Nicci Cloke 

A gripping YA thriller with twists galore, so many red herrings and a brilliant use of multiple narratives to really mess with your head. I devoured it in one sitting. I would recommend that you read it without knowing anything about the plot, as it really adds to the atmosphere, although I will just add a trigger warning of a shooting (which isn’t a spoiler at all). Four stars.

4. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

This was a interesting, relatively enjoyable read that has introduced me to a series that I will continue, when I have cut down the rest of my TBR a bit. I found the book a bit and to get into, but once the action picked up, I absolutely raced through it.I will add in a trigger warning that does seem to be missing, as there is a rape scene where the victim then blames herself afterwards, which isn’t corrected by any other characters. This really affected my enjoyment of the book and ultimately affected my rating. Two stars.

5. Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows 

Another case of an amazing premise with little to actually back it up. For a book that’s “all about dragons”, I didn’t feel like there were many parts with dragons in the book, but hopefully I will get more of that in the sequel. The political intrigue was interesting and the last third of the book was rather engaging, but I feel like there’s too many books where the “chosen one” discovers their powers that just feel under-developed. Two stars.

6. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

This won a Twitter poll I did to decide my next read, so I delved back into the wonderful world of Ketterdam and beyond. This was slick, chic and intensely gripping. I could read so many more books about Kaz, Inej and the rest of the gang. I feel like I now have to own a copy of these books and I only do that when I really love a book. Four stars.

7. Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Nijkamp has such a readable writing style that you just get drawn into her books, but unfortunately I found that this book had little substance. I guessed the reveal from the outset and there wasn’t much more to the plot. However, I really enjoyed the setting, the claustrophobic atmosphere and how Nijkamp makes a point of including diverse characters in all her books. Three stars.

8. Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt

I first heard about this book through bookish Twitter with the statement that Maggie Harcourt was like the British Rainbow Rowell, which are some pretty big shoes for me to fill. She exceeded every expectation I had. There’s that same realistic portrayal of teenagers, adorable romances and lovably award characters. A sweet YA contemporary about the magic of theatre that just sweeps you off your feet. Four stars.

9. Truth or Dare by Non Pratt

Another YA romance I picked up on my library’s ebook system that I really enjoyed. It had a gritty plot with plot threads about disability, racism, sexuality and social media. So easy to read, enjoyable and I liked how you got to hear both sides of the story. Four stars.

10. The Good Immigrant (anthology)

This is one of those books that everyone should read. It’s a collection of essays from BAME people about their experiences of living in Britain today and it describes both the overt and casual racism that is still intricately weaved into our society. As a white person, I am constantly trying to check my privilege and inform myself about other people’s experiences. So, I will be shouting about this book for a long time to everyone I know. Essential, educative and alternatively hilarious and moving. Five stars.

11. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough 

I first heard about Behind Her Eyes through the marketing campaign of #WTFThatEnding and I dismissed it as just another thriller trying to duplicate the success of Gone Girl. Eventually I picked it up to read while I was on holiday and reasonably enjoyed it. It was pacy and fast moving, which I liked alongside the feeling that you couldn’t trust any of the characters. Three stars.

That’s all the books I read last month, but I’ll be sharing my August reading goals and checking my July ones soon. Which books did you read in July and what did you think of them?

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