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July-August Reading Wrap-up

Updated: Sep 18

JULY READS


1. Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead (Adult Mystery) (353 pages) (3.75⭐️)

This is the sequel to Finlay Donovan is Killing It in which a struggling single mother accidentally becomes a hit woman. In this book, however, she is trying to track down a hit person. These books are what is considered cozy mysteries and I read them more as fun little adventures than serious mystery novels. These are perfect books to get you out of a reading slump!

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4813260593


2. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown (YA Fantasy) (466 pages) (4.25⭐️)

A princess (Karina) tries to use forbidden magic to resurrect her mother. Meanwhile, a refugee (Malik) joins a competition to get close to Karina to kill her (which he must do to save his little sister). This book is so meaningful to me because of the mental health representation. The world of this series is so rich and full of culture and history.

Full Review: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/my-final-fantasy-of-2020-a-song-of-wraiths-and-ruin-by-roseanne-a-brown-a-review


3. A Psalm of Storms and Silence by Roseanne A. Brown (YA Fantasy) (547 pages) (4⭐️)

This is the sequel to A Song of Wraiths and Ruin that takes place immediately after the events of the first novel. The world expands even more here and continues to be the absolute reason this is a fantasy readers must read. Karina's character is improved here as well and the stakes are catastrophic. Please see trigger warnings before reading this book.

Full Review: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/a-psalm-of-storms-and-silence-by-roseanne-a-brown-book-review


4. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (Adult Mystery) (323 pages) (5⭐️)

Rachel is a lonely alcoholic who rides the train everyday. She imagines an idyllic life for the couple whose house she passes (Megan and Scott). When Megan goes missing, Rachel involves herself in the mystery. This novel is well worth its hype. It features an unreliable narrator and lots of scenes that made me feel tense and even frustrated at times. The characters are complicated and will leave you wondering who you can trust.

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4848364977


5. Book of Night by Holly Black (Adult Fnatsy) (304 pages) 4.25⭐️)

This is Black's adult debut and it is about a girl named Charlie who lives in a world where there is shadow magic. Essentially, people can manipulate their shadows to perform incredible feats. I've seen some say the characters here are flat but I disagree. We get insight into Charlie and her boyfriend Vince's childhoods that helps us better understand them present day. The magic lends itself to some pretty awesome scenes but I do wish the world building was as good as I know Black is capable of.

Full Review: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/the-book-of-night-by-holly-black-book-review


6. Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor (YA Fantasy) (391 pages) (4⭐️)

Two sisters, Jani and Zosa, get jobs at the magical moving titular hotel. Once inside Jani learns the hotel's magic is actually quite sinister. This novel is darkly enchanting. The setting is like a hundred fairy tales (and any fairy tale lover knows they can be quite dark). Jani wasn't my favorite protagonist, but the plot was so intriguing and the shocking reveals kept on coming.

Full Review: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/check-out-time-isn-t-coming-to-hotel-magnifique-by-emily-j-taylor-book-review


7. The Night Shift by Alex Finlay (Adult Mystery) (309 pages) (3.25⭐️)

Ella was the sole survivor of an attack on the Blockbuster where she worked years ago. Present day there is a similar mass killing at an ice cream store. FBI agent Keller is trying to get to the bottom of it while Chris (the brother of the suspected Blockbuster killer) thinks he may have found his brother. The first half of this novel is quite boring. It isn't until the way the characters are all connected is revealed that things truly become interesting.

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4878022050


8. Love & Other Disasters by Anita Kelly (Adult Romance) (384 pages) (4.25⭐️)

Dahlia and London are two competitors on a cooking show who bond and fall in love. Dahlia is recently divorced and London is the show's first non-binary star. They are both endearing character whose relationship is full of mutual support. It's great to see such representation in books as well.

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4813549568


AUGUST READS


1. Force of Nature by Jane Harper (Adult Mystery) (324 pages) (4.25⭐️)

Coworkers go on a retreat into the Austrailan bushland but one of them doesn't make it back. Aaron Falk investigates. The novel is like a mixture of Erica Ferencik's The River at Night with its survival thriller aspects and Ruth Ware's One by One in its coworker drama. Falk is a tad dull, but the dual POV between the investigation and the employees in the bushland ensured I was never bored.

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4882641608


2. Briar Girls by Rebecca Kim Wells (YA Fantasy) (342 pages) (3.75⭐️)

Lena is a girl with a poisonous touch. She teams up with two unlikely allies and braves the cursed woods known as The Silence in order to break her curse. This book is very loosely based on Sleeping Beauty but it's NOT a retelling. It's more reminiscent of Melissa Bashardoust's Girl, Serpent, Thorn. Even though I had mixed feelings om the characters Lena was well written. the Silence was brimming with ominous magic just like I like.

Full Review: Coming soon to the blog!


3. Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto (Adult Thriller) (299 pages) (4.25⭐️)

Meddy accidentally kills her blind dates and enlists the help of her aunties and mother to help her dispose of the body. All the while they are working an expensive wedding at an exclusive resort. This book was quite the over the top wild ride but that was the fun of it all. Meddy's mom and aunties were all so endearing and empowering.

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3970096120


4. Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber (YA Fantasy) (403 pages) (5⭐️)

A heartbroken Evangeline makes a deal with a magical being known as a Fate named Jacks. This seals an alliances between the two and Evangeline finds herself in over her head. This novel has usurped Only a Monster as my favorite YA fantasy of the year. It's got this fairy tale quality to it, mixed media elements, and two opposites with amazing chemistry.

Full Review: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/once-upon-a-broken-heart-by-stephanie-garber-book-review


5. European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss (YA Sci-fi) (706 pages) (3.75⭐️)

This is the sequel to The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter which follows the daughters of classic sci-fi characters. In this installment the girls travel across Europe to rescue Lucinda Van Helsing. All the characters are different but work very well together. I like how this book can (mostly) stand on its own has its own adventure. I was never bored despite the long length.

Full Review: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/european-travels-for-the-monstrous-gentlewoman-by-theodora-goss-book-review


6. Under Lock & Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian (Adult Mystery) (333 pages) (3.75⭐️)

After almost dying in a stage accident Tempest's career has a stage musician is over and she moves back home. She begins work for her fathers' eccentric construction company but soon her doppelgänger is found dead in a wall. This is a very whimsical, cozy mystery. I do wish characters had been developed more.

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4945119665


SOME STATS

TOTAL PAGES READ (JUL-AUG): 5,484 (avg. book length: 391.71 pages)

AVG. STAR RATING (JUL-AUG): 57.5/70⭐️ (avg. rating: 4.11⭐️)

TOTAL PAGES READ (JAN-AUG): 26,940 (avg. book length: 434.52 pages)

AVERAGE STAR RATING (JAN-AUG): 286/365⭐️ (avg. rating: 4.61⭐️)


GENRE BREAKDOWN (JAN-JUN)

ADULT: 32/62

AGE NA: 2/62

CONTEMPORARY/ROMANCE: 10/62

FANTASY/MAGICAL REALISM: 20/62

HISTORICAL FICTION: 2/62

HORROR: 1/62

MYSTERY/THRILLER: 24/62

MIDDLE GRADE: 1/62

NONFICTION/POETRY: 2/62

SCI-FI: 3/62

YA: 27/62


GOAL CHECK-IN


1. Post a blog every weekend unless ill.

I did a good job of keeping up for the past couple months with the blogs though I do still sometimes post late.

2. Read at least 80 books (UPDATED: original goal was 60)

I read 14 books total in the last two months. This means my goal is 80% complete.

3. Participate in Booksandlala's Buzzwordathon

The May buzzword(s) were directions (A.K.A. up, down, east, west, etc.). The June buzzword(s) was all. For May I read Dreams Lie BENEATH. For June I read Ophelia After ALL.

4. Read at least 3 nonfiction or poetry books (UPDATED original goal was 5)

I have read 2 nonfiction books this year.

5. Read at least 1-2 adult books every month.

I read 5 books in July and 3 in August.

6. Reread at least 8 books in 2022

I reread 1 book in July. This means I've accomplished my yearly goal. While I'm not setting a new one per se I will likely reread more books this year.

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