Hello readers! July was a great month for reading because I participated in both the final Biannual Bibliothon and the Reading Rush. I read a lot of books in the month of July, so let’s get started.
First up, I read Before the Devil Breaks You, the third book in the Diviners series by Libba Bray. It was great. I adore this series and can’t wait for the next book! The imagery was amazing, as always. The plot was a little less cohesive than in the first two books, but it still worked. I love these characters so freaking much.
Next, I read the new Buffy graphic novel by Jordie Bellaire. This series brings the same old Buffy we all know and love from her high school days into the modern era. It’s different in a lot of ways, but it also feels like the same old Buffy in a lot of ways. I enjoyed it and I will probably pick up the next one.
I then FINALLY read my first Mackenzie Lee with The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. I heard a lot of incorrect things about this book before I read it, most notably that it takes place during the Victorian Era, and that it follows the general plot structure of a historical romance. False and false. This book takes place several decades to possibly a century before the Victorian Era even starts. The clothes are different, the slang is different, the politics are very different. So right off the bat, I was thrown, but it didn’t take long to resituate myself in the correct time frame. I only bring this up because if, like me, you really enjoy reading books that take place in Victorian England, then you should know that this isn’t one of those books. There also is some romance, but the plot doesn’t hit the typical beats of a romance novel. It’s much more of an adventure with some light fantasy, and some strong romantic themes. Now that we’ve cleared that up, I did enjoy this book. It was fun, funny, and touchingly sweet. I didn’t love Monty as the narrator. I found him crass and sometimes annoying, but I still wanted him to have a happy ending. I loved Felicity, and I am so excited that the sequel follows her because she is the coolest.
Next, I did something very unlike me and read some poetry. I read Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill. I am very unfamiliar with poetry, so I don’t really know what to say about it other than I thought it was really neat.
I then read Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Overall, I enjoyed it, but there were a few very specific plot points and character arcs that I could have lived without. I couldn’t help comparing parts of it to These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, and Skyward by Brandon Sanderson, both of which I think are better YA Sci-Fi books.
I read another couple of Agatha Raisin books this past month. They were both pretty good. Agatha is still up to her old tricks and I still want to give her a big hug.
I also read The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston. I loved Geekerella, which was the first book in this series. It was adorable, and wonderful, and just basically everything I could ever want in a modern-day, fandom inspired, Cinderella retelling. This second book was somewhat disappointing. The Prince and the Pauper has never been one of my favorite fairytales for retellings, and this version suffers from the same problem most of them have, namely, the lack of character development. In the end, each character learns to appreciate their own life a little bit more and be a little less grumpy, and that’s about it. We only spend a few days with these characters, so we can’t really expect much more from them, but part of what I loved about Geekerella, was the slow build of the romance and both narrators learning throughout the novel how to be the best versions of themselves. Princess was still a well written and generally well-executed version of the fairytale, but it didn’t shoot to the top of my favorites the way Geekerella did. The next book in the series is going to be based on Beauty and the Beast, so I am very excited for that.
After that, I read another graphic novel, Ladycastle, by Delilah S. Dawson. If you like fantasy and fairytale tropes thrown on their head, jokes poking fun at Disney movies, heart-warming friendships and sister relationships, and also a well-witch, (because, why not?), then this is the book for you.
I am going to go out of order for a second to talk about the other graphic novels I read this month, because there are a few more. Papergirls, which I really liked, but also found kind of confusing; Nimona, which is probably now my favorite graphic novel of all time; and Umbrella Academy Vol. 1, which I kind of liked, but mostly had a really hard time following. I have come to the conclusion that I have a strong preference to funny, character driven graphic novels over the more serious and plot driven ones. If you have any recommendation for more things like Nimona, I would love to know!
Okay, next up, I finally finished my re-read of East by Edith Pattou. I have now read this book three times and I still adore it. I then read the sequel, West, which was kind of a disappointment. In my opinion, it would have been way better as a totally separate novel with different characters. The magic system felt completely different, the ending of the first book was retconned to make the sequel possible, the whole experience was just totally bizarre. I wanted to love this book, but sadly, I didn’t. Edith Pattou has said she’s thought about doing a South or North, but would probably do it from the perspective of the next generation. I kind of hope she does keep writing so that West can just be a slightly weird middle book. We’ve already introduced an entirely new kind of magic, so why the heck not? Exploring the world further might make it better. Anyway, none of this takes away from my enjoyment of East. It remains one of my favorite books ever.
August will probably be another crazy reading month for me because I am participating in the month-long NEWTs Magical Readathon. We’re only one week in, and I’m already on my sixth book. Until next time, happy reading!