Hi everyone! I hope you had a good July! I felt like this last month sped by so quickly, I can’t believe we’re at August already! One thing I’m really happy about this month is that most of my friends and family are almost fully vaccinated. Things opened up fully in the UK again, and it really stressed me out because cases weren’t doing very well, but I’m taking things slowly and trying to be as safe as possible. I even got to see some friends I haven’t seen in over a year!
Whenever I think about what I did over the last month my mind goes completely blank! I feel like I didn’t do much at all in July. Some of the things I have managed to do are: I’ve started boxing for exercise and I’m having a lot of fun! I’ve actually started to work on my postgraduate degree again instead of just avoiding it. I’ve started to plan a book I might write! It’s been weirdly busy, but also I haven’t actually completed anything yet?
I’m trying out a new format to these wrap ups because the way I was doing them before was just so long! Let me know if you like it! Towards the end of August will be my blogging anniversary and I feel like I’m only just getting a grasp on what I want my blog to be, and how much time I want to spend on it. I’m really looking forward to the content I’ll be making over the next month, so I hope you enjoy!
These are the books that I read this month! I read 17! That was 6672 pages! During July I actually thought I wasn’t reading much but obviously I wasn’t correct. Here’s a list of everything I read, and then I’m going to chat a bit about my favourites! If you want to know more about my thoughts on any of these books feel free to ask!
Feed by Aveda Vice ✰ The Empire’s Ruin by Brian Staveley ✰ Jade City by Fonda Lee ✰ She Who Became The Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan ✰ Once Stolen by D.N. Bryn ✰ A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske ✰ A Queen of Gilded Horns by Amanda Joy ✰ Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky ✰ A Lady of Rooksgrave Manor by Kathryn Moon ✰ Skin by Aveda Vice ✰ Descendant of the Crane by Joan He ✰ Star Eater by Kerstin Hall ✰ The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould ✰ Night Shine by Tessa Gratton ✰ These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong ✰ Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh ✰ The Wolf and The Woodsman by Ava Reid ✰
Here are my favourite reads of the month! I usually don’t have as many favourites so I was super excited to have such a good reading month! I want to quickly point out that if I don’t chat about a book below it’s not because I didn’t enjoy it, a lot of these books are wonderful, just not new faves.
- Feed by Aveda Vice – Adult Paranormal Romance – I was in a bit of a reading slump towards the start of my month, so I figured ‘what could be better to get me out of this than reading a spicy novella about a corporate succubus and a genderqueer goth moth faerie?’ This book was short, but really managed to pack so much fun into it’s pages. It was especially fun to read an erotic romance that had a genderqueer character, we love monsterfucking diversity in this house.
- Jade City by Fonda Lee – Adult Fantasy – This was actually a reread! I read the Jade Bone Saga in 2020, but I joined a buddy read with my friends over at Celestial Book Club in preparation for Jade Legacy to come out later this year. I already knew I loved this book, but somehow it became even better? Jade City is an intricate urban fantasy based in a world with similarities to our own. Some inhabitants of Kekon Island can use a type of rare jade to give them superhuman abilities. Although regular people can also use jade it’s unstable and has devastating consequences on their health. Jade is a heavily regulated substance managed by the major clans; No Peak and Mountain. After years of peace, tensions are rising between the clans, leaving violence and destruction in its wake. If you love detailed fantasy you absolutely need to pick up this series.
- She Who Became The Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan – Adult Fantasy – I was so excited to pick this one up as it was one of my most anticipated reads of the year! I’m so glad it didn’t disappoint! Shelley Parker-Chan writes so gorgeously I was blown away. She Who Became The Sun is a historical fantasy retelling of the founding of the Ming Dynasty, with a wonderful genderqueer twist to it. There were two children, the girl destined for nothing, the boy destined for greatness. However, it was the boy who succumbs to grief when their father is killed. The girl sees her opportunity and steals his identity, becoming Zhu Chongba. Zhu isn’t happy with a simple life, she wants the greatness her brother was fated, and she’ll do anything to grasp a hold of it. I loved how this book analysed gender and queerness so much; it was nuanced, thoughtful, and brilliant.
- A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske – Adult Historical Fantasy Romance – Getting an advanced copy of this book was such a blessing! A Marvellous Light mixes fantasy, historical, and romance with such mastery. Robin and Edwin are my favourite sunshine himbo x grumpy nerd pairing. When an administrative error placed Robin in charge of liaising with the magical community, he’s shocked such a community exists. Facing the strange disappearance of his predecessor, and a nasty magical curse given to him by people who think he knows where some kind of artefact is hidden – Robin’s not having a great time. Edwin, his counterpart and magician, is determined to free Robin from his curse even it means bringing him to his eccentric and occasionally cruel family. I loved the relationship dynamic so much. If you enjoy fantasy with a strong dose of romance, or romance with a dose of fantasy, you need to pick this book up when it releases!
- Star Eater by Kerstin Hall – Adult Fantasy – This book was absolutely disgusting in the best kind of way. It was such a strange read, I can’t help but think about how the author decided to include all of these different aspects. You’ve got bisexual nuns, horse-sized cats, sexually transmitted zombieism, a floating city, cannibalism… Star Eater is definitely not for everyone, but I loved it. Occasionally I wish plot threads and worldbuilding were followed through more closely, but the pure ingenuity of this book made it an immediate favourite. Star Eater follows Elfreda as she’s offered the chance to avoid the Sisterhood of Aytrium’s requirement of pregnancy by spying on her fellow sisters. Soon she uncovers that not everything is right within the Sisterhood, and she is at the heart of it.
- The Dead and The Dark by Courtney Gould – Young Adult Horror – This book surprised me with how much I loved it, it’s been a long time since I fell so in love with a contemporary young adult (with a paranormal twist). There’s something that hits different about having a queer, ghost-hunting family in an isolated, judgemental town. The atmosphere and tension in The Dead and The Dark was absolutely perfect. Logan is the daughter of a popular TV ghost-hunting duo, but she’s never visited her dads’ hometown before. Ever since her family arrived in town strange disturbances have been occurring, and teenagers are going missing. Ashley’s boyfriend was the first person to go missing, and now she’s being haunted by him, literally. As Logan and Ashley are thrown together in their investigation of the town, they find dark histories they might not be ready to uncover. The Dead and the Dark is a young adult horror, but I think people who don’t usually enjoy horror would enjoy this one!
- These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong – Young Adult Historical Fantasy – Everyone has been telling me to read this since it came out, and I finally did! Everyone was right, this book is amazing. I can’t get over how fun of a dynamic there is between Juliette and Roma, we need more sexy knife-against-throat scenes in books. The setting is also perfect, I mean, excuse me, 1920s Shanghai? What could be better? These Violent Delights is a retelling of Romeo and Juliette where a strange plague is impacting the city, and whispers of a monster spread like wildfire. The main characters belong to different gangs, and have a complicated, fraught history with each other, will they be able to put their differences aside to save the city? If you were wondering if These Violent Delights is worth the hype, this is me saying, yes.
- The Wolf and The Woodsman by Ava Reid – Adult Fantasy – This book was another one of my most anticipated reads of 2021! And another one that completely matched my hopes! I loved how rich and evocative this book was; it was filled with folklore and stories. The different religions represented in the book were so interesting and detailed. The Wolf and The Woodsman is a Jewish-inspired fantasy featuring Évike, a woman from a pagan village, who is given to the Woodsmen, cruel soldiers whose religion values sacrifice. Unfortunately, she’s not what The Woodsman were looking for. When monsters attack the travelling party, only her and the captain survive. He’s not an ordinary Woodman, he’s a disgraced prince who is attempting to prevent his cruel brother from seizing the throne. The two make a pact to help each other, but as their feelings grow stronger they have to decide who’s side they really belong to. Get a man who loves that he has been ruined by you, that’s all I have to say here.
I’m taking part in Tropecial Readathon this month! I don’t often do readathons anymore, but this one has a special place in my heart as the first bookish community thing I ever took part in. I can’t believe it’s been a year already!
- After The Dragons by Cynthia Zhang – Adult Fantasy Romance – I’m so excited to read this book because dragons are always so amazing. The book correlates loosely with the prompt for climate change, since it’s ecologically focused. Dragons live in the overheated pollution of Beijing, struggling but surviving. Xiang Kaifei, a college student, scours the street for abandoned dragons, trying to distract himself from his diagnosis of shaolong. Shaolong is a mysterious disease caused by pollution that impacts humans – it’s terminal. Elijah Ahmed, a biracial American medical researcher, has moved to the city, drawn by the memory of his grandmother, who died from shaolong. The two are drawn to each other, bringing together dragon rescue and immunology research, but the journey to change is always a difficult one.
- All’s Well by Mona Awad – Adult Contemporary Literary Horror – I loved Bunny by Mona Awad so much that I can’t wait to read this. This book features a main character who has chronic pain, and I’m interested to see how that’ll tie in with Mona Awad’s writing style. I’m completing this for the prompt ‘Read in 24 hours’. Miranda has been struggling with chronic back pain since an accident that ended her acting career. She’s determined to put on All’s Well That Ends Well, the play that cost her everything, but she faces a mutinous cast hellbent on staging Macbeth instead. When three mysterious benefactors promise her a better future, she takes it, but nothing ever comes without a cost.
- In The Watchful City by S. Qiouyi Lu – Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy – I am so excited to pick this book up, it looks like it’s going to be such a memorable read! I’m also excited by the use of neopronouns! I’m going to be using this for the prompt about suspended animation. The city of Ora uses a complex living network called the Gleaming to surveil its inhabitants and maintain harmony. Anima is one of the extrasensory humans involved in this mechanism, and æ takes great pride in keeping the city safe. That changes when a mysterious visitor with a cabinet of curiosities visits ær. Anima’s world expands and æ finds themselves wondering about ær entire purpose: what good is a city if it can’t protect it’s people?
- No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull – Adult Contemporary Fantasy – I knew I needed to read this book as soon as I looked at the blurb. It looks absolutely amazing and so unique. I’m using this for the prompt post-apocalyptic. Laina gets the news that her brother has been killed by the cops. But what looks like a case of police brutality is actually something stranger; monsters are real. Creatures from legend come out of the shadows setting off a chain of seemingly unrelated events. The world is forever changed. However, no one thinks to ask, what has frightened the monsters out of the dark?
- The Second Rebel by Linden A. Lewis – Adult Sci-Fi – This book is the sequel to The First Sister, which absolutely destroyed me. I am fully expecting this book to tear my heart from my chest. I’m reading this for the prompt of a book released in 2021. Astrid has reclaimed her name and her voice, and seeks to bring down the Sisterhood from within. She quickly discovers that the business of politics is far deadlier than she ever expected. Meanwhile, on an outlaw colony station deep in space, Hiro val Akira seeks to bring a dangerous ally into the rebellion. Lito sol Lucious continues to grow into his role as a lead revolutionary and is tasked with rescuing an Aster operative from deep within an Icarii prison. Back on Venus, Lito’s sister Lucinia must carry on after her brother’s disappearance and accusation of treason. She manages to keep her nose clean – until she’s offered an opportunity to join the fight.
- The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon – Adult Fantasy – Some of my friends have been begging I read this for ages, so it’s time to start the chonker! I’m reading this for the prompt ‘a book over 500 pages’. The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door. Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic. Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel. Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.
- Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé – Young Adult Mystery – I have been so excited to pick up this book, everyone has been saying such amazing things, so I’m here and ready to join the hype. I’m reading this for the prompt ‘Book with multiple PoC characters’. Talented musician Devon buries himself in rehearsals, but he can’t escape the spotlight when his private photos go public. Head girl Chiamaka isn’t afraid to get what she wants, but soon everyone will know the price she has paid for power. Someone is out to get them both. Someone who holds all the aces. And they’re planning much more than a high-school game…
- The Outside by Ada Hoffman – Adult Sci-Fi – As soon as I found out this book features an autistic main character written by an autistic author I knew I had to grab it. I’m reading this for the trope Blast from the Past. Autistic scientist Yasira Shien has developed a radical new energy drive that could change the future of humanity. But when she activates it, reality warps, destroying the space station and everyone aboard. The AI Gods who rule the galaxy declare her work heretical, and Yasira is abducted by their agents. Instead of simply executing her, they offer mercy – if she’ll help them hunt down a bigger target: her own mysterious, vanished mentor.
These are some of my favourite posts that I wrote this month!
- Time To Eat The Rich // What We Devour
- Addams Family Vibes // What Big Teeth
- Ableist Tropes 101: Miracle Cure
- Is There A Meaning To Life? // A Psalm For The Wild-Built
- A Fantastic Epic Fantasy // The Empire’s Ruin
- 10 Unconventional Beach Reads For Horror, Fantasy, and Sci-Fi Lovers
- A Gorgeous Literary Fantasy // She Who Became The Sun
- August’s New Book Releases I’m Excited For
Books by other bloggers that I loved this month!
- Talking about Dark Reads
- The deep cleanse of my Goodreads tbr – it’s time folks….
- Recommending Books Based on Their Levels of Sass // where all I do is gush
- 2021 Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag | Relishing the chance to scream about my favourites (again) + Showcasing a fraction of my huge 2021 TBR!
- ARC Review: SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN by Shelley Parker-Chan
- anticipated releases: the second half of 2021