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July Wrap Up

Can you believe that July is over already because I can’t! I feel like I had an amazing reading month this past month as I ended up finishing 11 books, 3 of those being rereads, 2 audiobooks, and 6 books off my physical TBR which is amazing! Even though I’m sad this month is already over as it was a great month in general I am really excited for August as the N.E.W.T.S are coming. If you would like to check out my TBR for that readathon here it is – LINK.
Now let’s just get on into all the books I finished in July.


The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli

4

Kristen Ciccarelli’s distinct brand of lyrical, haunting fantasy continues in the companion to her bestselling debut, The Last Namsara. Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and Renee Ahdieh.
Once there were two sisters born with a bond so strong that it forged them together forever. Roa and Essie called it the hum. It was a magic they cherished—until the day a terrible accident took Essie’s life and trapped her soul in this world.
Dax—the heir to Firgaard’s throne—was responsible for the accident. Roa swore to hate him forever. But eight years later he returned, begging for her help. He was determined to dethrone his cruel father, under whose oppressive reign Roa’s people had suffered.
Roa made him a deal: she’d give him the army he needed if he made her queen. Only as queen could she save her people from Firgaard’s rule.
Then a chance arises to right every wrong—an opportunity for Roa to rid herself of this enemy king and rescue her beloved sister. During the Relinquishing, when the spirits of the dead are said to return, Roa discovers she can reclaim her sister for good.
All she has to do is kill the king.

I have to say I really enjoyed this and was pleasantly surprised as I have seen mixed reviews. At first, when I was around 30/40 pages in I thought this was more of a three-star read as I wasn’t really getting the feel for it, however, I was taken by surprise when I ended up getting lost in the book. Reading 100 pages without even noticing, now that means it must have been good (for me anyway).

I’m going to start off with saying that Roe wasn’t my favourite character in this book, she was quite unlikeable most of the time but her bond with Essie, her sister, I was fascinated with from the moment it was mentioned. I love reading about twins, especially if they have a certain bond and I literally found this to be such a unique bond that I had to keep reading to find out more about it. And that quest… Wow, the ending was kind of predictable and most of the ‘mind-blowing’ revelations were easy to guess but I still enjoyed reading about them.

Since starting this book I feel like I have something for Dax’s family as I really liked Asha in The Last Namsara and I find his cousin, Safire, fascinating so I am definitely going to have to read the first and final book, and of course I started to fall in love with him too as we got to see more of his character.

I really enjoyed the throwbacks to the past and just the overall lesson of this story. I adore sisterly friendships so I did tear up at the end a couple of times.

Great book and I think Kristen Ciccarelli can write really well, though I did miss the dragons as they didn’t really play the biggest part in this story as they did the first book. Still, a great book and I’m so glad I got to meet the author at YALC festival to tell her I really like her stories.

GOODREADS


How To Create a Vegan World: A Pragmatic Approach by Tobias Leenaert

5

In this thought-provoking book, Tobias Leenaert leaves well-trodden animal advocacy paths and takes a fresh look at the strategies, objectives, and communication of the vegan and animal rights movement. He argues that, given our present situation, with entire societies dependent on using animals, we need a very pragmatic approach. How to Create a Vegan World contains many valuable ideas and insights for both budding advocates for animals and seasoned activists, organizational leaders, and even entrepreneurs. 

This is a really great book if you are a vegan with a more laid back approach. I really liked that it didn’t preach that veganism is the cure to fixing our world but it looked at how reducers, so meat and animal product reducers, impact the movement greatly and I just found that the author tackled a lot of subjects I haven’t seen tackled in any other book.
It won’t be for every vegan out there but I definitely felt like the author made very valid points and I definitely agreed with him. It’s better to encourage people to reduce their meat and animal product intake than force down a vegan lifestyle when most will be opposed to it. I also agreed with him on not being preachy vegans and to actually listen to the people and not just talk at them. I always get super happy when anyone in my life tells me they have vegan meals or drink coconut milk lattes as they prefer them, I always thought it’s the small wins that count a lot as most people will transition slowly. Slow and steady always wins the race so I’m not surprised that majority of the times vegans that go vegan cold turkey are the ones to rebound the most frequent. Also, it was interesting to see the statistic that people that have been vegan for over 7 years are the ones that usually are vegan for life, that means I have three more years to go!

Highly recommend for anyone to read this book and you will highly benefit from this if you are a vegan as it shows you how to educate others on this subject and how to literally create a vegan world, also not to stress yourself to be the perfect vegan which is something I really related too 🙂

GOODREADS


Scythe by Neal Shusterman

4

Thou shalt kill.
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.
Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

I have done both a blog review and video review which if you haven’t checked out yet I highly recommend that you do as I dive more into my thoughts in those but I will just give you my overall thoughts briefly.

I really found the concept of this book/series fascinating. We follow a world in which humans have eradicated all that is evil meaning they have basically become immortal and a Scythe order has been introduced who maintain the population by choosing who dies! How interesting is that! I really liked both the Scythe apprentices we got to follow as they learn what it is to be a Scythe. I can’t wait to pick up the next book which is Thunderhead as I am really excited to see where the story goes and I definitely want to learn more about the Thunderhead which is the governing system in this world.
I highly recommend this book if you have been eyeing it as I’m kind of mad at myself for not picking up sooner.

GOODREADS


I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk

4

Join Angela and Jenny in the series finale of the bestselling I Heart books, on the balmy beaches of Hawaii.
When Angela Clark’s best friend Jenny invites her to join a press trip to Hawaii, three days of sun, sea and sleep sounds like the perfect antidote to her crazed life.
At work in New York, she’s supposed to be the face of Having It All. But the only thing Angela feels she excels at is hiding in the printer cupboard, eating Mini Cheddars and watching Netflix on her phone and if this is living the dream, she’s more than ready to wake up.
A few days away with Jenny sounds like exactly what she needs but Angela’s talent for getting into a scrape guarantees nothing goes to plan – and not even the most beautiful beaches, blue skies and daiquiris will get her off the hook…

Let me start off with saying that I really love Angela and Jenny, they are such a fun friend duo to read about but to be completely honest with you I wanted to read about Angela and someone else in this book. Now I won’t spoil it away but given how I Heart Forever (the previous book) ended, I really thought we would see a more grown-up Angela and how she is dealing with the life she currently has but in the end, she ended up running away from her home life to Hawaii. One of the most annoying things about this novel is the reader pretty much knew Angela was going to go to Hawaii however for the first 100 pages Angela kept denying she would be going to Hawaii. I do wish we got to see Louise with Alice and I definitely wanted even more of Alex (than we actually got) as I love his and Angela’s relationship. Overall, I really enjoyed this novel yet it is sadly my least favourite in the series.
It did get me thinking though why there isn’t a TV show out there following a Brit in America or just a sit-com following British people as I adore the British humour. Or are there actually British sit-coms and I’m just being saturated with American sit-coms (which I still love, but still…)

I still highly recommend this series as all the books are highly entertaining and will definitely make you laugh out loud, plus they are easily readable in one sitting so that’s always a plus.

GOODREADS


Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

3.5

“I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin”
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.
But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.
Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

I really wanted to love this book as much as I have seen others love it but for me, it fell flat in some places. I really liked that the protagonist Nona had a great friendship with one of the other novices, Hessa, as I loved Hessa, she was one of my favourite characters in this book and I just feel like majority of the time in fantasy especially, the female protagonist tends to not have any friends but at least Nona did.
I actually listened to this book and I have to say I really liked the narrator, Helen Duff, as many of the novices are from different backgrounds and areas in this world meaning they have different accents and I felt like the narrator did a really good job with that.
I personally really enjoyed the beginning and the ending however the middle was a little dry for me. It felt like not a lot happened and it could have been condensed.
Maybe this just wasn’t the fantasy for me but I guess many other people will love it. But I’m still really happy I picked it up and I think I will be continuing with series as it’s dark and has many aspects to it that I love in fantasy novels, plus I’m intrigued to see where the story goes.

GOODREADS


Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

5{REREAD}

As this is a sequel and I don’t want to spoil the first book for those who haven’t read it yet then I will link the Goodreads link to the first book, Six of Crows.

This was actually my first time rereading this book and I think I loved it even more the second time around. This book has made me feel a rollercoaster of emotions but I loved it! This cast of characters – Nina, Matthias, Jesper, Inej, Kaz and Wylan, are so precious and I will forever keep them safe in my heart. Also, as this time around I have actually read the Grisha Trilogy before jumping into my reread of this I feel like I picked up on so many little bits of information Leigh Bardugo dropped, plus seeing some of the characters that I love from the Grisha Trilogy make an appearance in this story is making me want to reread the Grisha Trilogy… Send help as I think I’m still not over this book and just Leigh Bardugo’s writing and crafting of characters, I am now so excited to finally read King of Scars!

GOODREADS


Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

4

There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.
Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.
More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.
 

I really enjoyed listening to this story as an audiobook. It’s a fun, easy and fast-paced story, I will definitely be picking up the second book soon. I personally really liked Alosa, our female protagonist, she made me laugh out loud a couple of times. This is just a lovely light fantasy that I recommend you listen to as the audiobook is fab. I also really liked the setting, plot and romance. You would think this story would be quite heavy as it follows pirates but I found it just the perfect read to listen to when you are in the mood for an easy-breezy audiobook to fly through. 

GOODREADS


The Hardest Fall by Ella Maise

5★ {REREAD}

The first time you meet someone, you make eye contact. You smile, say hello. Should be simple, if you’re anyone but me. The first time I met Dylan Reed, I found myself making eye contact with a different part of his body. You see, I’m very good at being shy, not to mention extremely well-versed in rambling nonsense and, unfortunately, rather highly skilled at making a fool of myself in front of a guy I’m attracted to. 
At the time, I knew nothing about him and thought none of what I said would matter since I’d never speak to him again. Turns out, I was very wrong. He was the star wide receiver of the football team, one of the few players expected to make it into the NFL, and I ended up seeing him all over campus. 
I might have also propositioned him, run away from him, attacked him with a cooking utensil…and…uh, maybe I shouldn’t tell you all of it. It’s pretty normal stuff, things you’d expect…from me. Eventually, the time came when I couldn’t hide anymore—not that he’d have let me even if I tried. 
Before now, he never knew I was secretly watching him. Now that we see each other every day, he knows when I have a hard time looking away. It doesn’t help that I’m not the most subtle person in the world either. 
He smiles at me and tells me he finds me fascinating because of my quirks. I can’t even tell him that I think my heart beats differently whenever he’s around. 
He thinks we’re going to be best friends. I think I have a big thing for him, and the more I get to know him, the more I don’t care that I’m not allowed to be his friend, let alone fall for him. 
The thing is, that’s exactly what I’m doing—what we’re doing, I think. 
Falling. 
Hard.

Will this probably become an annual reread? I think so! If you want to read a “slow-burn” college romance between two of the most sweetest and adorable people ever, aka Zoe and Dylan, then look no further as this is the book for you! I can’t believe I have only read this book for the first time in 2018? I feel like it has been in my life for so long as I constantly think about these two. They are my favourite OTP (One True Pairing). That epilogue is one of my favourites as well, usually some of the epilogues in romance novels feel so cheesy but this one I just found so adorable! Should I now reread some other Ella Maise books? She is my favourite romance author for sure, love her and her books!
I am so happy I decided to listen to this as an audiobook this time around and follow with the physical copy as well.

GOODREADS


Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis

2★

With wry wit and hard-earned wisdom, popular online personality and founder of TheChicSite.com founder Rachel Hollis helps readers break free from the lies keeping them from the joy-filled and exuberant life they are meant to have.
Founder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and CEO of her own media company, Chic Media, Rachel Hollis has created an online fan base of hundreds of thousands of fans by sharing tips for living a better life while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own. Now comes her highly anticipated first book featuring her signature combination of honesty, humor, and direct, no-nonsense advice.
Each chapter of Girl, Wash Your Face begins with a specific lie Hollis once believed that left her feeling overwhelmed, unworthy, or ready to give up. As a working mother, a former foster parent, and a woman who has dealt with insecurities about her body and relationships, she speaks with the insight and kindness of a BFF, helping women unpack the limiting mind-sets that destroy their self-confidence and keep them from moving forward.
From her temporary obsession with marrying Matt Damon to a daydream involving hypnotic iguanas to her son’s request that she buy a necklace to “be like the other moms,” Hollis holds nothing back. With unflinching faith and tenacity, Hollis spurs other women to live with passion and hustle and to awaken their slumbering goals.

Sadly this book was just not for me. I think it’s great if you are looking for a self-help book that has many Christian and Bible references. I actually didn’t mind those but I just found the information she provides the reader with to be generic and I didn’t learn anything new. I listened to the audiobook which the author narrates herself which definitely helped me finish it as I did think about DNFing this book a couple of times. Also, I felt like Rachel Hollis contradicted herself a lot as she shares examples from her life and then gives other women advice, one of the pieces of advice she provides is to not be with a man that treats you like crap but she did! Plus, I found some of the stories she shares very uncomfortable to listen to. This book just wasn’t for me and I did think about picking up the other book she has released but now I don’t think I will as I doubt I will get anything out from it.

GOODREADS


The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

5★{REREAD}

Skipping on the description as that will spoil you as this is the last book in this trilogy. LINK TO THE KISS OF DECEPTION, which is the first book!

As you could probably gather this was a reread for me and I think I loved it even more the second time around which is something that happens to me often with rereads, that’s why I highly recommend everyone to reread books as it shows you which stories are truly your favourite and which ones you loved in the moment. But anyway, this was such a fast-paced novel which I flew through. It’s big but the short chapters, the engaging story and my love for the characters definitely made me fly through it. I highly recommend The Remnant Chronicles to fans of fantasy as it is truly one of my favourite series ever! I really loved the ending and now I can’t wait to read (finally) Dance of Thieves which is set in the same world but follows different characters. I have heard you don’t have to read The Remnant Chronicles in order to read that but I bet it will be like it was with Six of Crows, that small details are laid out in this new story and I want to be able to pick up on them as I’m reading it.

GOODREADS


Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

3

Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut Children of Blood and Bone.
They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us. 
Now we rise. 
Zelie remembers when the soil of Orisha hummed with magic. When different clans ruled – Burners igniting flames, Tiders beckoning waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoning forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, anyone with powers was targeted and killed, leaving Zelie without a mother and her people without hope. Only a few people remain with the power to use magic, and they must remain hidden. 
Zelie is one such person. Now she has a chance to bring back magic to her people and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zelie must learn to harness her powers and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. 
Danger lurks in Orisha, where strange creatures prowl, and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zelie herself as she struggles to come to terms with the strength of her magic – and her growing feelings for an enemy.

I have done a full review on my blog which you can read HERE. I am just going to have to say that the hype got to me in this instance. I liked some aspects like Amari and Tzain, the dark magic and danger, and the first half of the book. However, I found a lot I disliked like the second half, the two perspectives out of the three we got to follow, the romance and the underdeveloped magic system as we didn’t really learn a lot about it. I am still happy that others love it but it just wasn’t for me. I am excited to watch the movie though!

GOODREADS


So that is it for my July Wrap Up. As you can see I read some amazing books and then some I was disappointed by but that’s okay.

Hope you all enjoyed this post. How many books did you read in July? Are you excited for the N.E.W.T.S next month? I definitely am and I can’t wait to read a lot (hopefully) next month.

See you in my next post 🙂
Natalia aka Bookish Vegan

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