As with every month, it feels like I have NO idea where the time has gone. We’re halfway through summer, I feel like the summer is going too fast and I haven’t done enough “summer” things! My garden is thriving, I have way too many cucumbers (somebody pls take some), I’m becoming an expert at zucchini bread and I’m now a plant lady. I’m hoping to use August well and do some more summery things!
I wrote a July TBR post this month – how did I do? I read 5 books on my TBR, and am currently in the middle of my arc of Fresh and the Harley Quinn graphic novel I wanted to read – so I consider that a win!
In July, I read 9 books total – this seems to be my monthly average these days! The month started off a little rocky but once I found my footing in books, I read a lot of 4 and 5 star reads so I’m really happy about that!
1. Darling – Audiobook – 2.5/5 ★★★☆☆
Get ready for a quick and emotional ride. The In Between is told in alternating times – before the accident, and after the accident and Skylar’s death.
This is a story of insta-love, and the timeline moves fast, with chapters alternating between the “before” and “after” in a series of countdowns. It’s a summer love of two young people. Reading it, you already know the outcome, and that makes it all the more bittersweet knowing how it will end.
2. Mary Jane – Audiobook – 5/5 ★★★★★
Mary Jane caught my attention when I saw it marketed as Almost Famous meets Daisy Jones and the Six – I love both of those so of course I was going to read Mary Jane! I adored this book and will be recommending it to everyone – but be warned, this is more Almost Famous and basically NOTHING like Daisy Jones.
I adore Mary Jane and Izzy. Mary Jane is only 14 herself, she’s old enough to have responsibility but not old enough to be tainted or jaded by the world, so her views are still pure. Izzy is a delightful little girl full of energy and curiosity, and Mary Jane teaches her as much as she can over the course of the summer as well as looking after her. I loved seeing this story unfold through the eyes of a 14 year old – her voice felt young, but not so juvenile. It was the perfect point of view for this story and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
3. Ace of Spades – Audiobook – 2.5/5 ★★☆☆☆
For a thriller, never once was I “on the edge of my seat” so to speak. I was never really invested in this plot line or these characters – they felt one dimensional and continued to make stupid decisions, say later how they made a poor decision, and make the same stupid decision the next time. Rinse and repeat. The plot line was predictable, and I’m terrible at guessing mysteries, so I feel that says a lot. This story had potential, but it fell flat.
Overall, I wish I DNF-ed this earlier on. I thought it would get better, so I kept going, but I was left disappointed with an unsatisfying conclusion.
4. Life’s Too Short – Audiobook – 5/5 ★★★★★
I had a feeling I would like this book but it still took me by surprise and I really enjoyed it. Vanessa is a travel vlogger, but this focuses on the “home” part of her life – when she’s taking care of her niece since her sister left the baby with her and then left. I love how down to earth Vanessa feels and how she cares about her family, even when they don’t always seem to care about her. She’s a strong woman who is always herself, even in front of her super hot neighbor Adrian – she never puts on a front or acts like someone she’s not.
This story gave me all the feels and really made me think about living each moment to its fullest and inspired me. It’s more than I could have asked for from a book.
5. Firekeeper’s Daughter – Audiobook – 5/5 ★★★★★
Firekeeper’s Daughter is one of those books you really need to experience for yourself. I recommend going in without knowing too much – that’s what I did and I was pleasantly surprised.
This book is everything I never knew I wanted. A mystery/thriller with Native American characters with contemporary Native American culture and language (Anishinaabemowin) prevalent throughout the book. This book is set in 2004, so while its not present, it’s still contemporary. This is considered “young adult” but I’d consider this on the higher end of YA, or even “new adult” – the characters are seniors in high school or in college – but this is a story everyone should read and can benefit from.
6. Neon Gods – Audiobook – 4/5 ★★★★☆
I was in the mood for something quick and easy to read – and for me, that usually means romance. I’ve heard good things about Neon Gods, and after seeing Hadestown on Broadway in 2019 I fell in love with the story of Persephone and Hades, so figured I’d give this one a try! Warning, this is an adult novel with adult themes (aka sex. Lots of sex.)
I loved this retelling of Hades & Persephone, I found it to be very well done and the scenes between the two of them were always incredibly hot. If you’re looking for a story with good romance AND really good sex scenes between a couple, this is the story for you. This was my first Katee Robert book but certainly not my last.
7. Take More Vacations – Audiobook – 5/5 ★★★★★
I’ve been a long time follower of Scott’s Cheap Flights newsletter and social media pages. I’m always in awe when I see super cheap flights pop up, but have never had the guts to just book a flight without intense planning and choosing dates ahead of time. This book was a refreshing read and motivator to remind me that I should take more vacations. Its difficult in present time with COVID restrictions, but travel isn’t going anywhere and cheap flights are here to stay.
Take More Vacations made me think about just that – taking more short vacations rather than a long vacation. I’m now going to be monitoring emails and flights and see where I can go in 2021. I’ve always dreamed of going to the UK and I would love to return to Japan, but I’m not going to put myself into just those two locations. I’m going to be open minded and maybe travel somewhere I wouldn’t have thought of before. I’m embracing the idea of traveling solo – I’ve done it before and I really enjoyed it, so I’m not going to rely on others. If I want to take a trip, I’m going to take a trip.
8. Malibu Rising – Audiobook – 4.5/5 ★★★★★
I think I would like to live inside of a Taylor Jenkins Reid book please and thank you. She has such a way with words and setting the scene, I feel like I am really THERE. Her storytelling ability is unlike anything else and I am still slowly working my way through her backlog.
Overall I LOVED this story, as I thought I would. It has predictable moments and it had shocking moments. I grew to care for all of the Riva children throughout this story and see the people they became – and things they learned about themselves.
9. Tasty Adulting – Hardcover Cookbook – 2.5/5 ★★☆☆☆
If this was published in 2020 and not every recipe has a full color photo of the finishing dish, WHATS EVEN THE POINT??? We all eat through our eyes first! I want to see what something will look like!
I saw this at Five Below and decided to check a copy out of my library, and I’m really glad I didn’t buy this. I found a few good recipes I hope to try but overall, this wasn’t that exciting. It wasn’t terrible, it has some very basic cooking recipes. I don’t really know how to cook well but I found this almost too basic. Might be good for a college student to find new things to try and cook, but overall meh, would not recommend.
TV: I finished watching Loki on Disney+ and…I am still obsessed. If you check my personal twitter, all I do is RT Loki fanart all day long and I have no regrets. Seriously considering cosplaying Sylvie so thats where I’m at!
Movies: I saw Black Widow in theaters – I’m glad I saw it on the big screen even if going to the MOVIE theater gave me big anxiety – but I did it! It was an ok movie, not my favorite but I’m happy for a female lead superhero movie so I can’t complain too much.
Concerts: …concerts are a thing again? WHAT? I bought tickets to see Walk The Moon in Brooklyn, NY and New Haven, CT in September so uh, thats a thing. Buying concert tickets again! And on August 4th, I’m going to my first concert in 524 days – but who’s counting! I’m seeing the Hella Mega Tour with Green Day, Fall Out Boy, and Weezer! I’m excited but also anxious about being around so many PEOPLE!