reading challenge

Reading Challenge Update – July 2019

Hello, hello! I hope you’re doing well and not melting when you go outside. It’s gotten stupid hot where I am; so glad summer decided to finally show up, I guess.

Today, I’m going to be reviewing how I did on my reading challenges for July. I, uh, actually skipped June because I started a lot of books that month but didn’t finish enough to warrant a post, oops! Sorry if you noticed, but if not, that works for me. I’m just going to include the two I did finish here.

The Five-Star Favs

we set the dark on fire
Finished: 6/17/19 | Rating: ★★★★★

Challenges met:

  • A book published by HarperCollins – @MommyMannegren’s 52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge 2019

Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, published We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia, but there’s honestly so much more to say about it than that. It’s gay, it features Latinx culture and characters, and it’s the better version of The Handmaid’s Tale, imo. [Review]

middlegame
Finished: 7/4/19 | Rating: ★★★★★

Challenges met:

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire is set at a college university at one point, but thanks to its time travel element and how long we follow the characters, it contains many other settings besides. I’d already wanted to read this book, but I also wound up finding it on a “What New Books We Recommend” shelf at a local library, pushing me towards reading it. (I had to get it at another library, though, because the one I was in wasn’t actually a part of my library system, though.) [Review]

red white & royal blue
Finished: 7/8/19 | Rating: ★★★★★

Challenges met:

  • Favorite prompt from past challenge: 2018’s A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist – PopSugar Reading Challenge 2019
  • Recommended by a friend – Pingel Sisters 2019 Reading Challenge
  • The name of a color in the title – @MommyMannegren’s 52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge 2019

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston covers quite a few colors in its title and came highly recommended to me by my friend, Colby. I truly did not expect to love this book as much as I did, but it’s truly not a New Adult book to be missed, especially if you’re desperate for some amazing LGBTQ+ representation.

saga
Finished: 7/21/19 | Rating: ★★★★★

Challenges met:

  • Award-winning book – Pingel Sisters 2019 Reading Challenge
  • A graphic novel – @MommyMannegren’s 52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge 2019

I think I might have read that Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples is one of the most award-winning graphic novels of all time, and it’s clear why. The art and story are as impressive as they are wild, and the characters are instantly memorable. I’m excited to continue this one!

an enchantment of ravens
Finished: 7/21/19 | Rating: ★★★★★

Challenges met:

  • Read a book during the season it is set in – PopSugar Reading Challenge 2019
  • The first book you see in a bookstore/library – @MommyMannegren’s 52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge 2019

Despite its very fall coloring, I read An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson in the thick of summer, reflecting the town of never-ending summer the main character, Isobel, lives in. It wound up being the first book I saw at a library because I’d placed a hold on it, and I was of a completely one-track mind to get my hands on it. I’ve seen this book get mixed reviews and accusations of insta-love, but honestly, the story, setting, and characters completely worked for me. It helped immensely that the fae here were depicted as being very fae, not watered-down elves in disguise, so this was a standalone fairy tale that held up to my standards.

the adventure zone murder
Finished: 7/23/19 | Rating: ★★★★★

Challenges met:

  • A book recommended by a celebrity you admire – PopSugar Reading Challenge 2019
  • A humorous novel – @MommyMannegren’s 52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge 2019

Okay, The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited by the McElboys and Carey Pietsch isn’t a novel technically, but damn is it a hilarious graphic novel. I already love the podcast so much, so I didn’t need this book recommended to me by any means, but the glowing words of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Patrick Rothfuss certainly go a long way. I still can’t believe all these people know each other and are friends in real life. The world is full of wondrous things, huh?

fruits basket vol 1
Finished: 7/23/19 | Rating: ★★★★★

Challenges met:

  • A reread of a favorite book – PopSugar Reading Challenge 2019
  • A book you read in high school – Pingel Sisters 2019 Reading Challenge

Listen. Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya is such a beloved manga of mine, and I remembered how much I loved it by introducing the old anime to a friend recently. Now that the new anime is happening now, I thought I’d reread the series from the beginning to remember all that’s in store for me. And yes, I’m definitely being thrown back to ninth grade, and what a strange school year that was…

gods of jade and shadow
Finished: 7/25/19 | Rating: ★★★★★

Challenges met:

  • A book told from multiple POVs – PopSugar Reading Challenge 2019
  • Historical fiction from a favorite time period – Pingel Sisters 2019 Reading Challenge
  • Set in South America – @MommyMannegren’s 52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge 2019

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia takes place in the 1920s, which is a favorite time period of mine, but starts off in Mexico, which is cool because I’ve never really explored the 1920s outside of a white, U.S.-centric lens. This book is told from the point of views of two Mexican characters and two Mayan death gods, and how cool is that? I read an ARC of this one, and I recommend it so highly. It’s that perfect blend of historical fiction and magical things happening. [Review]

fruits basket vol 2
Finished: 7/30/19 | Rating: ★★★★★

Challenges met:

  • An allegorical book – @MommyMannegren’s 52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge 2019

This will probably be the last instance that I include Fruits Basket as part of the challenge since it can’t possibly fulfill anymore than it already has, but I wanted to include volume two here because this is where the series starts being super allegorical. From Tohru’s story about a rice ball in a fruits basket to Momiji’s story of “The Most Foolish Traveler in the World,” there’s so many allegorical stories within this manga that Takaya uses to convey so many different perspectives, life lessons, and morals. It’s part of what makes the entire manga so strong.

The Good

every heart a doorway
Finished: 7/31/19 | Rating: ★★★★☆

Challenges met:

  • Set in a country you’ve visited  – @MommyMannegren’s 52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge 2019

Sadly, the only country I’ve ever really visited is the United States, but luckily that’s where Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire takes place. That’s not what’s interesting about it, though. It’s where the characters have been before arriving at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children that make this novella series so intriguing.

The Meh

to kill a kingdom
Finished: 6/9/19 | Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Challenges met:

  • A book featuring an extinct or imaginary creature – PopSugar Reading Challenge 2019
  • A fairy tale retelling – Pingel Sisters 2019 Reading Challenge
  • A “beach read” – @MommyMannegren’s 52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge 2019

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo features sirens and mermaids and can be interpreted as a loose The Little Mermaid retelling, and c’mon, that cover and this subject matter screams “beach read,” though I admit I wasn’t at a beach at the time. (I always am in my heart, though.) Sadly, I really didn’t love this one like I thought I would at all. The writer’s style was the strongest thing about it, which I did enjoy, and I liked the darker subject matter and how ruthless and cutthroat Lira was in the beginning. Then, it all goes out the window for insta-love with a relationship that didn’t do anything for me (advertised as enemies-to-lovers but wasn’t treated like that super much), and it completely, unconvincingly changed everything about who Lira was. Sigh, and we were so close, too.

war
Finished: 7/28/19 | Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Challenges met:

  • Set in a post-apocalyptic world – @MommyMannegren’s 52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge 2019

War by Laura Thalassa takes place in a fictionalized biblical end times, where the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have appeared, mysteriously vanished, and are now returning one by one to end all humanity because there’s no possible way they can redeem themselves, right? This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year because Pestilence was so damn good, a well-written villain romance and a shockingly amazing book in the romance genre in general. However, War was such a let-down and a complete departure from the quality I had been introduced to and was expecting here. But no worries, I’ve already ranted all about it. [Review]

Yeah, this month kicked ass for reading! (And thanks, those two June books, haha.) I can already tell my August won’t be nearly as successful, but that’s okay. It happens.

How is your reading going? What did you read in July? Are you taking part in any reading challenges, and if so, which ones? What are you planning to read in August? Holler at me!

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