Although I prefer cold weather over hot, July is easily one of my favorite months. It epitomizes summer for me – the fourth of July holiday, vacation at the beach, days at the pool. My daughter started first grade at the end of the month, and it’s so exciting to read with her now that she can read some on her own. Speaking of reading, it was another excellent reading month for me, with a total of 8 full length novels and two short stories under my belt. Read on to find out what I read and what I thought.
The City of Mirrors (The Passage #3), by Justin Cronin – GUYS! Guys. I finished three series this month, but this one takes the cake. I laughed, I screamed, I cried. My heart was pounding half of the time, and in my throat for the rest. Cronin really builds you up but you know, since you’ve read the rest of the series, that it can’t be that simple. And trust me, it isn’t. If you have not read this series, it starts with The Passage and it is wonderful. It is LONG but wonderful. My only gripe with this one is the epilogue. It was probably about twice as long as it needed to be, so I honestly skimmed some of it until the end. But oh, the writing is beautiful. Here is just one of the quotes that I wrote down: “It’s children, he thought, that give us our lives; without them we are nothing, we are here and then gone, like dust.” *sigh*
The Girl with All the Gifts, by M.R. Carey – I saw the preview for the movie and immediately checked this audiobook out from my library. And boy am I glad I did. This was an excellent read, set in a post-apocalyptic-type world where the children are infected with a zombie-like virus activated by the smell of humans. What’s especially unique is that most of it is from the point of view of Melanie, one of those children. I think it takes a lot of skill to write and adult book from a child’s point of view, and Carey does it very successfully. So even though it’s not my typical read, I gave this one five stars, and I cannot wait to see the movie.
The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4), by Maggie Stiefvater – To be perfectly honest, The Raven Cycle did not win me over at first. She almost lost me at The Dream Thieves, but there was so much hype around the series that I kept going, and boy am I glad I did. I tore through this one while I was at the beach. The Raven King was a masterfully written conclusion to the series. And of course, Stiefvater’s writing is beautiful. I would still pick The Scorpio Races over this series, but it was a satisfying read full of action and magic and wonderfully flawed characters.
The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #4), by Rick Riordan – My quest to finish all the Percy Jackson books continued this month with the final two books, which I listened to while I was at the beach. This one really sucked me in with a plot that kind of twisted and turned, which I guess is what happens when you’re in a giant maze.
The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5), by Rick Riordan – And my quest was completed with this final installment in the series. It was a good ending to the series, and while I’m not joining the fandom here, I’m glad I kept going with it and I look forward to reading more of his books.
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces, by Isabel Quintero – I checked this audiobook out from the library after I listened to a podcast interview with the author. Gabi’s voice is smart and funny and above all, real. While some of the situations were maybe a little exaggerated, I think the way that Gabi coped with it is true to how a teenager might. It’s chock-full of diversity and adversity, and is an important contribution to the YA market.
All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven – I wasn’t sure about this one. I had heard mixed reviews, criticism for how it handled mental illness, but putting all that aside, I enjoyed it. I might have even cried a little, and I am NOT a crier. It’s beautifully written and the narration for the audiobook was really great.
Tales from the Front (Air Awakens #2.5), by Elise Kova – I read this one out of order, which I deeply regret, but I’m really bad at remembering to read .5’s. It was good, though anti-climatic for me since I had already continued the series. You get this one (or you did) free when you sign up for her newsletter. If you’re interested in the series, go sign up and read them in the right order.
This Night So Dark (Starbound #1.5), by Amie Kaufman – You may recall that I read #1 in this series last month, and I had every intention of continuing the series. Sadly, this is as far as I got. It’s a great story, and I loved going back to Tarver, but then my hold on City of Mirrors came up and I never got to book #2. I hope to get back to it some day, but this was a really great read in the meantime.
So that’s it! What did you read this month? Let me know in the comments.