And just like that another month has flown by. The sun has been shining here in the UK, but today as I’m writing this I’m accompanied by the gentle patter of rain upon my window. The sound of rain makes me feel so cozy, as does reading a good book, so I thought now was an apt time to write about what I’ve read this month.
As I mentioned in last month’s wrap up, I’m aiming to reach for books across all genres and I had a great reading month once again! Read on to find it what I’ve delved into this month.
The Star-touched Queen – Roshani Chokshi
‘His voice echoed with all the desperation of someone who has not slaked his thirst in eons and had just spied a goblet of water sweating beads of condensation, thick as planets. His voice lulled me, coated me.’
That is just one of the endless over-descriptive passages in this book. I picked this one up at the library and and it took me about a week to read. At some points, I was tempted to not finish it at all. It picked up slightly in the middle but this didn’t last long and I was once again left confused and bewildered by the meandering plot.
Furthermore, the lyrical prose made the plot hard to follow. Unless I pulled out my magnifying glass and analysed every sentence, these over-descriptive passages went straight over my head. All in all, a lot of the airy-fairy writing didn’t add anything to the story. Rather than describing the world and building an atmosphere, it left me confused to the point where I skimmed through a lot of it.
There were so many doors, mysteries, voices, and mirrors and I didn’t know where the plot was taking me. To completely honest, I stopped caring about what was happening and just wanted to get to the end. I either found myself lost or just plain bored.
Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
“Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn’t be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I’m just saying.”
I know I’m late to the party with this one, but this book restored my faith in reading after my first read of July, and made its way to my all-time favourites.
From cover to cover this story was adorable and made me feel all gooey inside. I read the entire thing with a smile on my face; the story, the characters, everything was just so much fun to read. I devoured this book. the mystery of Blue is what instantly had me hooked and kept me racing through the pages.
What’s more, the story is so relevant and real. Simon’s conversational narration shines light on the thoughts of LGBT+ teenagers and young adults reflecting how being gay, even today, can be hard. The story reflects how people can be downright awful, and how we live in a society where people react differently when the default is challenged. However, there shouldn’t be a default. Who’s to say what’s right and wrong? And that’s exactly where Becky Albertalli hits the nail on the head.
It’s honest, it’s relevant, it’s adorable. It’s such a wonderful and diverse book which I think everyone needs to read at some point.
I have a full review here
The Silent Companions – Laura Purcell
‘’You have written of these ‘’companions’’ as you call them. You say you were afraid of them. But do you know what really scares us? It is not things that go bump – or even hiss- in the night. Our fears are much closer than that. We are afraid of the things inside us.’
You can find my full review of this book on my blog, but I loved it!
This was another library choice, and after devouring this creepy tale, I’m definitely going to be scouring my library’s bookshelves for more horror stories.
This Victorian horror story is thoroughly creepy and extremely well written. I loved how the different timelines interweave to create one immersive narrative which kept me glued to the pages the entire time I was reading. Purcell keeps the reader guessing as we question what to believe. We we ask ourselves – has Elsie truly lost her wits? Or is there a darker evil at play?
The wooden figures, the silent companions, stalk her every move. As the narrative progresses, new companions appear out of thin air and strange events begin to occur. The Silent Companions is an unsettling, haunting, yet darkly enchanting novel in which two genres combine to create one gripping story.
It Ends with Us – Colleen Hoover
“All humans make mistakes. What determines a person’s character aren’t the mistakes we make. It’s how we take those mistakes and turn them into lessons rather than excuses.”
This was my first book by Colleen Hoover and I’m blown away. I didn’t know much before starting this novel, and in all honesty I expected some cheesy romance story. I was so wrong. Hoover digs deep into the pressing topic of domestic abuse and handles it so well.
This book forces readers to recognise the struggle victims undergo when being in love with their abusers. It’s eye-opening, realistic, and heart-breaking.
However, one thing I did dislike from the very beginning is Lily’s love interest Ryle. I’ll keep it spoiler free and let you decide for yourself, but his domineering attitude was off putting from the word go.
Nonetheless., the ultimate message of this story is salient: if you happen to be a victim of domestic abuse, find help. Be brave and put yourself first, no matter what your partner’s background may be. At the end of the day, your mental and physical health should always come first. This book is so much more than a fluffy romance novel, I highly recommend it!
Goodreads (2016 choice winner!)
Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor
“You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable. Something beautiful and full of monsters.”
Oh how I loved this book. Strange the Dreamer instantly swept me away to a vivid and beautiful world. Laini Taylor’s writing is purely magical. Her sugary sweet language encapsulates the dreamlike atmosphere of the story, and truly brings her worlds, characters and scenes to life.
What stood out for me was the protagonist, Lazlo Strange, an orphaned librarian. He’s shy, bursting with imagination and lives and breathes for books. He spends his entire adolescence dreaming of travelling to the far away land of Weep and the fiery desire within him to discover more about the mythic city never stifles. One day, the opportunity he’s been dreaming for finally presents itself, and he grabs it with both hands. As he embarks on his adventure, he learns more about Weep, and about himself, than he could have ever anticipated.
Although the pacing let the book down at parts, Laini’s description captured a world which was like nothing I’ve ever read before. I found it so easy to get lost this world. Strange the Dreamer is a wonderfully told story of gods, ghosts, magic, romance, and secrets left, right and centre. I can’t wait to get my hands on The Muse of Nightmares!
I have a full review here
The Corset – Laura Purcell
After receiving an ARC for this chilling tale from NetGalley, I instantly had to delve in.
Purcell has already proven herself victorious when it comes down to the Gothic genre with her debut, The Silent Companions. The Corset depicts the juxtaposing lives of two young women who sit at opposite ends of the social spectrum. Dorothea Truelove is a well-off, beautiful lady, who refutes all her father’s attempts at having her married. She’s a charitable lady and upon visiting prisoners of Oakgate prison, her fascination with phrenology and with observing the characteristics displayed by criminals only elevates when she meets teenage seamstress Ruth Butterham.
Ruth is poor, has zero prospects and is awaiting trial for the murder of her employer. From just the age of 12, Ruth has a notable talent for sewing. However, each person she has ever stitched for dies in a horrific manner. It’s inevitable for her to wonder that maybe, in some inexplicable way, it is her fault. She spends her final days in prison determined that she has the supernatural power to bring death by sewing hatred and ill will into the garments she works on. Purcell triumphs in making the reader question, has Ruth Butterham gone mad or is there really some supernatural evil at play? Is she really a victim in all of this?
After leaving home, Ruth embarks on a life of drudgery as she toils for the malevolent Metyards, resides with merciless twins, befriends a black girl called Mim, meets the charming Billy and comes upon the contemptible Captain. The unsettling scenes that occur from the Metyard house are hard to forget.
Review also found here
Despite the rocky start, this was another amazing reading month, my favourites being The Corset and, Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda.
Have you read any of these books? What’s been your favourite read of July?