Features, Wrap Ups & Hauls

July 2018 Bookish Wrap-Up + Book Haul

 

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Goodbye July & hello August!

It is so crazy to think that summer is almost over.  My kids will be returning to school in T-minus 2 weeks!  As much as I dread the crazy schedule, I am ready to get back into the swing of things… well that and my children are driving me crazy, so it’s time to go back lol

Let’s see what I had going on in July shall we?

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BookishBlogHappenings
At the beginning of the month, I committed to making my blog a priority again.  I am slowly starting to get back into the blogging groove and be active in the community again.  I must say it feels great to be more consistent again.

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What I read this month

 

» Sisi: Empress on Her Own by Allison Pataki

sisi

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5-Star Rating System

Feelings in a few thoughts:

  • I’m very conflicted with my feelings with this one.  I am not sure my rating is fair either.  When I requested this on NetGalley, I didn’t realize that it was actually the SECOND book in the series.  I read this one without reading the first book, so this may have impacted my reading experience.  Take my thoughts/rating with a grain of salt.
  • Before reading this, I knew nothing about Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary (Sisi).  I really like how the author took a controversial figure in history and tried to shed some light on her motivations in life.
  • The time hops throughout the book felt a little jarring at times.  The transitions felt a little off.
  • Sisi wasn’t exactly a likeable character, at least for me.  Despite the author’s attempts to show Sisi’s point of view, I still couldn’t help but cringe at Sisi’s selfishness throughout the novel.

» Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran

CleopatrasDaughter

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5-Star Rating System

Feelings in a few thoughts:

  • I really enjoyed this fictionalized account of the early years of Cleopatra Selene after she is taken in by Emperor Augustus after he defeated her parents, Mark Antony & Cleopatra.
  • This is my second novel about Cleopatra Selene, the first being The Daughter’s of Palatine Hill, I really liked both versions despite the fact that the authors’ portrayed the characters very differently.  Both books are good for different reasons: In Cleopatra’s Daughter, Moran really did a fantastic job with the setting and time period.  In Daughter’s of Palatine Hill, Smith did a great job with the political intrigue and cut-throat drama of the era.
  • The biggest strength of this novel was how well Moran set the scene.  You could really picture what it was like to live in Ancient Rome – at least how the ruling class lived.  When I read historical fiction, I want the author to take me to another time and place, and Moran did just that.
  • I wasn’t a fan of the audiobook narrator in the early parts of the book.  She went too overboard with her “whiney child voice” for portraying the characters as young children.

» The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

TheKeeperOfLostThings

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5-Star Rating System

Feelings in a few thoughts:

  • This was a very sweet & charming story.
  • TKoLT felt more like a novella – coming in at just under 300 pages.  Since this was such a short book, Hogan may have been a little too ambitious with everything she included.
  • My biggest complaint would be that Laura’s romance in the novel took too much of a central role.
  • I really liked how the author gave us back stories for the lost things.  It almost felt like we were getting short stories throughout the novel.
  • I wanted more about the Keeper of Lost Things.  I also felt like the reuniting of the lost things was anti-climatic.  I was expecting the lost things to have made a bigger impact in the novel.
  • I could see how the format of the novel could be confusing, especially if you were listening to this audiobook format.  I would recommend reading this book instead of listening to it.
  • Overall I did enjoy this book, but the story had potential to be so much more.

» Hunger: A Memior of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

Hunger

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5-Star Rating System*4.5 Stars*

Feelings in a few thoughts:

  • I love how real Roxane is.  I don’t always agree with her beliefs, but I never get that “my views are right and others’ are wrong” vibe from her.  I respect that she’s not afraid to talk about the hard things.  Her books always make me think.
  • Despite the fact that I was classified as morbidly obese at one point in my life (my BMI was 40, so I was on the borderline of this category), I gained new insights to the struggles of those who are placed in this category.  I never had to worry about things like fitting into an airplane seat, seat belt extenders, stepping up onto a stage, seats with armrests, etc.  Reading this book can really shed light on the challenges those who are morbidly obese must face every day.  Definitely a perspective that I wish more people would read.
  • Loved that Roxane narrated this audiobook herself.  It was very well done.
  • There are so many powerful moments in this book…

“This is a memoir of (my) body because, more often than not, stories of bodies like mine are ignored or dismissed or derided. People see bodies like mine and make their assumptions. They think they know the why of my body. They do not.”

“The bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.”

“As a woman, as a fat woman, I am not supposed to take up space. And yet, as a feminist, I am encouraged to believe I can take up space. I live in a contradictory space where I should try to take up space but not too much of it, and not in the wrong way, where the wrong way is any way where my body is concerned.”

» Smoke in the Sun (Flame in the Mist #2) by Renée Ahdieh

SmokeintheSun

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5-Star Rating System*3.5 Stars*

Feelings in a few thoughts:

  • Many of the questions I had throughout the Flame in the Mist were finally answered in this book.  My biggest complaint with the first book was that I was confused about the fantasy elements, but things were cleared up in Smoke in the Sun.
  • I loved Mariko’s character in this series.  She is confident, intelligent, clever, brave, strong, etc.  A great lead character in a YA book.  I respected her for always sticking to her convictions and not letting anyone, even the boy she loves, sway her from her goals.
  • The villain in this book was not developed enough.  The best villains, in my opinion, have motivations behind their actions, but I didn’t see any reasoning behind any motivations here.
  • While I appreciate that this was the conclusion to this series and not a series that drags on unnecessarily like so many YA series out there, I wasn’t exactly satisfied when I finished it.  Unfortunately this book felt rushed & abruptly ended.   The book either needed to be longer, or this needed to be a trilogy.
  • I debated between the 3.5 star rating and a 4 star rating.  I really did enjoy this series, but I feel like it had the potential to be more.

» Bright We Burn (The Conqueror’s Saga #3) by Kiersten White


BrightWeBurn

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5-Star Rating SystemFeelings in a few thoughts:

  • Fantastic finish to a GREAT YA historical fiction series.  Actually, I feel like the books progressively got better with each installment.  Favorite book of the series!
  • Lada is a very complex main character.  If you are a fan of anti-hero stories, and would fancy one with a badass female anti-hero, here is the series for you!  While Lada does have some good qualities – loyalty, strength, drive, etc – she does whatever is necessary to obtain her goals, regardless of the cost.  Despite her bloodthirsty ways, I couldn’t help but like and admire Lada.
  • Radu!  I loved him more with each passing book.  His progression over the series was very satisfying to watch.  Whereas the other main characters, Lada & Mehmed, stayed constant throughout the series (Lada is vicious and Mehmed is an asshat) Radu goes through a tremendous amount of personal growth.

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Challenge UpdatesGoodreadsJuly18
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ThisMonthOnTheBlog.jpeg

June18WUJune 2018 Bookish Wrap-Up + Book Haul

Ohioana2018Ohioana Book Festival 2018 + Book Haul

DaughtersofPalatineCoverBook Review: The Daughters of Palatine Hill by Phyllis T. Smith

SabaaTahirBookTourBook Event: Sabaa Tahir’s Book Tour for A Reaper at the Gates

EligibleCoverBook Review: Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

FavBooks181sthalfFavorite Books of 2018 (1st Half)

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Book Haul

Physical Books:

» The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicles #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

*Signed by the author*

NameOfTheWind

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» Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

wutheringheightsbook

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*I have two other copies of this book, but I picked up a lovely edition at my local Costco.  It is a pink leather cover with quotes from the book all over the front.  It is gorgeous!  I wish they had one for Jane Eyre 😦

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Which books did you read in July?

Have you read any of the books I read or hauled this month?  If so, what did you think?

Did you buy any books?  If so, which ones?

Comment below & let me know 🙂

11 thoughts on “July 2018 Bookish Wrap-Up + Book Haul”

  1. I’m so happy you enjoyed The Name Of The Wind! It’s one of my all time favorites, and I’m way overdue to either reread it or at least read the sequel. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Bright We Burn! Looks like you had a wonderful July. Here’s to an even better August! xx

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I might pick it up in one of the next months as well and make it into my 800+ pages read of the year. And I absolutely love the conquerors saga as well; I really need to get a copy of book three ASAP.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahoy there matey! Yer reviews be delightful. There were two books I tossed off the ports for plunder list. I was on the fence anyways and then yer bullet points convinced me that I shouldn’t read them. I am glad ye liked them as much as ye did though!
    x The Captain

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wait. You picked up a copy of The Name of the Wind from the library. Is it AFTER you read the book you picked up a signed copy? Either way, that’s super cool! I will admit, when I traveled often for work I would follow my favorite authors on Twitter because occasionally Sanderson and Rothfuss (along with others) would go into an airport bookshop and sign books while waiting for their plane! I picked up a signed copy of The Name of the Wind I gifted to a friend this way. 🙂

    I haven’t read it yet, but you know me and series. The series isn’t done, and so I wait.

    I’m so sad to hear that Smoke in the Sun didn’t work out well for you. Ugh. The series has so much potential. Well, I’ll have to read it for myself and see if I agree, right? 😉

    Like

    1. I read the library copy before attending Patrick Rothfuss’ author event, which is where I purchased a copy for him to sign 🙂

      I’ve never thought to check airport bookstores for autographed copies!!! I’ve seen Neil Gaiman do this on twitter… I just don’t travel much lol

      I think you’d enjoy The Name of the Wind! I haven’t read the second book yet, but I’m confident I’ll love it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah! This makes much more sense. It’s always exciting to get a copy for the author to sign. I appreciate that you patroned your library AND the bookstore. Well done!

        I used to travel a lot for work, so I had the opportunity more often than I’d like to admit. I have quite a collection of signed books because of this!

        I know I’ll enjoy The Name of the Wind someday when I get to it. I just want the series done first! I struggle to remember all the little details over time, so I like to read a series over the course of a few consecutive months. Or close to consecutive. It’s more fun that way for me.

        Like

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