July ’16 Wrap Up + Book Haul!

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This has been a most excellent month in reading for me! I read a grand total of NINE books this past month, which is probably the most I’ve read since spring of LAST YEAR. It definitely has had something to do with picking up the Lunar Chronicles this month starting with the #MakeMeRead read-a-thon, in which Cinder won first place in the poll which I created to create my TBR! I’m so glad I decided to participate again and can’t wait to do so next year! I can’t even imagine what I might discover then. (Last year was Throne of Glass, and it’s been a long, strange (and fun) trip through Sarah J. Maas’ work since then!)

As I’m at a loss for what to do about book reviews right now, I’m really happy to finally share my thoughts on all the books I read this month in a cumulative wrap up post. I also ended up acquiring a few books over the past couple of weeks and thought I’d throw in a cheeky book haul as well! (It will probably be my last until Christmas anyway.)

What I Read

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Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo | In June I started my reread of this series with my friend Sara who was reading the Grisha trilogy for the first time. Siege and Storm ended up being my first read of July. I liked it just as much as I did the first time! (★★★½)

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo | I ended up loving this book so much more upon my second reading! The first time around, I was seriously disappointed by the plot’s twists and turns. This time I appreciated Bardugo’s decisions more and enjoyed reading it. (★★★★★)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer | The was the first place book on my #MakeMeRead It TBR poll and the only book I finished by the end of the read-a-thon, because I wanted to finish rereading the Grisha trilogy before I started a new series. I really, really enjoyed the fast-paced, (soft) science fiction adventure that’s inspired by (Disney’s) Cinderella. It was so different from everything I’ve been reading lately and much appreciated. It did end a little flat for me though, which brought down my rating. (★★★)

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer | I started this book immediately after finishing Cinder, but I had trouble getting into it. I didn’t really like how stereotypical Scarlet was as a fiery redhead with a temper who cared about nothing else than rescuing her grandmother, even when it put her in harm’s way when it was clear that was the last thing her grandmother would have wanted. I did like that this book didn’t completely abandon Cinder’s storyline and when hers and Scarlet’s finally merged.  (★★★)

Cress by Marissa Meyer | Cress is probably my favorite protagonist of the four girls of the Lunar Chronicles! Her book was the first in the series that was really exciting and didn’t lag or disappoint for me by the end. I loved all the traveling and how the characters were separated and brought back together again. I think this book even made me tear up at points, making me feel quite silly. (★★★★)

Fairest by Marissa Meyer | Fortunately this was a very quick read, because I did not enjoy it in the slightest. It serves as a decent bridge book between Cress and Winter because it helps explain Levana’s confusing relationship to Winter and shows what Levana and Cinder have in common. But it didn’t help me empathize with her. And it was distracting to me as I read how badly it was written. (★★)

The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander | While I was waiting for Winter to arrive, I decided to read something short and non-fantasy that would not pull me out of the series. This was quite perfect. I think it was a very well researched book that taught me more about the real Romanovs than I knew before, especially about their lives in captivity. But it was a tad heavy-handed on the foreshadowing, and there’s a twist at the end that didn’t do anything for me in the slightest. Except annoy. (★★½)

Winter by Marissa Meyer | This book was a rollercoaster of emotion for me! I read it all day and night once I got it, with breaks in between to breathe and assess. There were two major events in the story that were torturous for me involving Kai and Wolf respectively, that I still don’t want to talk about (and not just for the sake of not spoiling anything)! The climactic ending was predictable, but I could not help but reread the resolution chapters a few more times even after I’d finished the book. The series was ended satisfactorily enough for me. I would love to read more about the lives of these characters in the future! (★★★★★)

The Quick by Lauren Owen | I had trouble leaving the world of the Lunar Chronicles after Winter, so I needed to read something that wasn’t going to be fluffy YA fantasy. After watching Crimson Peak (2015) one night, I decided I’d love to read a gothic romance. I have a handful of books that fit that bill, but the most enticing to me at the time was The Quick. It started off well-enough, and I enjoyed the characters and how their storylines ultimately converged, but I hated the ending. There was a lot of unresolved questions left for me. Overall, I’m just glad I can scratch this one off my TBR. (★★½)

July Book Haul

I had unofficially been on a self-imposed book-buying ban this summer on account of there being zero books I neeeeeeeded and lack of spare money. But I ended up acquiring six books in the second half of July, some to complete my series set and others due to…impulsiveness.

The first two books I bought at a Target whilst on vacation. I had just finished Cress, the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series, and needed to have the last book. Unfortunately Target did not offer Winter at a great price, so I settled for Fairest, the bridge book between the third and fourth book. I also picked up The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry which I learned of from Kristina Horner who I follow on Goodreads, which was a Target Book Club pick that seemed like would be a pleasant read.

The next two books I bought, I ordered from Amazon after realizing I wouldn’t find Winter in a physical bookstore at a price I liked. And so that I would get free shipping, I decided to also finally get Inheritance which is the final book in the Eragon series (actually it’s called the Inheritance series, but I call it the Eragon series so people know what I’m talking about!). I hope to finally finish reading that series before I return to Dallas at the end of August.

The final two books I ended up purchasing were new paperback editions of These Broken Stars and This Shattered World, the first two books in the Starbound trilogy which I borrowed from the Ames Public Library during my last semester of my undergrad at Iowa State University and absolutely loved. I was able to get them a slightly discounted priced at a Hastings, which is shutting down. It’s kind of sad because it was the only bookstore in this town, but it wasn’t even a real bookstore. I’m hoping they begin to have better deals soon so I can scour the store for more goodies!

End Note

I am now only five books behind on my Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge, so if I can read another nine books by the end of August I will be in really good shape for the last four months of 2016. This was actually one of my summer goals, to catch up on my reading challenge. So it will be great to be able to tick that off my list! I’ll be needing to reconsult that list and see what else I might still accomplish by the end of August.

My next post will be either writing-related (as I am still trying to write) or an August TBR (because I do hope to read a lot this month before I must return to Dallas). Until then, I hope you enjoyed this long post and have maybe decided to pick up one of these books for yourself!

Thank you for reading!
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