You know that feeling of unrivaled bliss when you’re finally in the mood to read after months of relentless slumping and it’s like you’re seeing the sun after a lifetime of shadows? That’s me. The universe has somehow aligned in my favor and I’ve read a total of 15 books this month, most of which were remarkably impressive reads, and two of which were, well, remarkably unimpressive.
All in all though, this was a good month and I hope it carries on this way for the month of August because I’m really excited about my planned tbr list! But first things first, let’s take a look at this month’s wrap-up! (Click on the title for a more detailed and elaborate review!)
✘ The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang — 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
“But I warn you, little warrior. The price of power is pain.”
Equal parts heartbreaking, and thoroughly satisfying, The Poppy War is the fantasy novel I feel I’ve been waiting two lifetimes and a half for. I wish my pupils were at least heart-shaped so I could more accurately demonstrate my passion but if I ever die suddenly and don’t have time to say anything profound, just know that my real last words will always be about how much I love this book.
✘ Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor — 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
“Once upon a time there was a silence that dreamed of becoming a song, and then I found you, and now everything is music.”
This book holds more wonder and beauty than most places in the world. It’s as if the universe decided that it was tired of being so immense, so it compressed all of its complexity and splendor into a smaller form just so it could make everyone around it feel like they were a part of the stars. If you haven’t found your way to this wonderful series, please do so now. Trust me: you need these characters in your life. Also, I would lay down both of my kidneys for Lazlo Strange.
✘ Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant — 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
“It was beautiful, in its own terrible way. So many monsters are.”
There are too many stories of mermaids sitting on rocks in sexy poses braiding their hair and not enough of them luring men to their deaths and I’m glad this book is propagating the latter. Also, the cast of characters is exquisitely diverse!
✘ Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik — 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
“So the fairy silver brought you a monster of fire for a husband, and me a monster of ice. We should put them in a room together and let them make us both widows.”
I love this book so much—the kind of love that is peculiar to inhabiting the perspective of young women with agency and the relationships they form when relying on each other. I honestly feel like I should have experienced this book in some beautiful rose garden under the stars on the biggest bed with silk sheets, laughing maniacally as I burn letters from ex-lovers and eating green tea ice cream with a tiny spoon. That’s how much iconic it was.
“Everyone has heard stories of women like us—cautionary tales, morality plays, warnings of what will befall you if you are a girl too wild for the world, a girl who asks too many questions or wants too much. If you set off into the world alone.
Everyone has heard stories of women like us, and we intend to make more of them.”
Girls don’t want boys, girls want a science girl gang and big fluffy dogs with pink silky bowties and to go on a pirate expedition to save see monsters. So basically, we want to retreat into this book.
✘ The Wicker King by K. Ancrum — 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
“If you drop the weight you are carrying, it is okay. You can build yourself back up out of the pieces.”
There are books you like and then there are books you end up thinking about in the middle of the night with a cosmic ache in your chest, feeling like what still existed of you has been wrung out with all the things you want to say but can’t really articulate.
This book is one of them.
✘ Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas — 🌟🌟🌟🌟
“Wouldn’t we all look guilty, if someone searched hard enough?”
I’ve regretted every display of emotion I had throughout this book about two minutes after it was over, because I had barely taken into myself the knowledge that I’ve reached the last page before I realized that this book had a knife so deep in my side I didn’t feel it until it twisted. Dangerous girls may begin as a whodunit, but by the end it will have you wondering whether there’s any such thing as a who at all. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself in a bruised funk for a few days after, rapt and emotionally spent. Because cool as this book is, it’s twice as cruel.
“When they both realized they were heartbroken enough to want the love torn from their rib cages, they touched each other with their hands and their mouths, and they forgot they wanted to be cured.”
McLemore’s books always read like centuries-old fairytales that villagers with restless imagination would spin around a fire; each conveying separate emotions with the exact same intensity. In fact, I have a strong suspicion that McLemore resides on a separate plane of existence and only decides to every now and then visit our realm to bless us with her presence and books, only to immediately retreat into the moors of her homelands to dance with the Old Gods.
✘ Running With Lions by Julian Winters — 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Cracking open a cold one with the lions… except it’s my icy heart and they’re teaching me how to love again. This was such a sweet, casually diverse story that left me feeling warm and pure and as if someone has wrapped me in love like a kind boa constrictor!
“Even girls made of stars are captives, bound at the wrists and traded like property. Even girls made of stars aren’t asked, aren’t believed, aren’t considered worth the effort unless they can offer something in return.
Even girls made of stars buy into those lies sometimes.”
Some books shape you in so many different ways. Some books change you so intrinsically that you couldn’t erase their influence on you anymore then you could change your DNA.
Girl Made of Stars is one of those books.
I’m less of a person and more of a physical manifestation of how much this book disappointed me. It’s like my personality has been factory reset and all I want now is to go out into an empty field and scream for about an hour and generally just give in to the brief privilege of hating myself for harboring so many expectations. This book was a disappointment and the extra star is because there was a very brief portion of it that I wish I could steal with the photoshop eyedropper tool and expand into a full book of its own.
I remind myself that my face isn’t a deformity. It’s magic. I am magic.
The ultimate goal in life, as I expect for everyone, is for small children to think you’re some sort of transcendental, otherworldly magical being but for grown men to fear you. Which makes Sorina Gomorrah the goal. I don’t care in which sense, whatever you’re doing, Sorina Gomorrah is the best ultimate outcome.
When I die, I want Marie Lu to lower me into my grave so she can let me down one last time.
✘ The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater — 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
“It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.”
I don’t how to say “I love this book so much” and make you eager to read it, but I’ll say this: if I could just steal a moment from this story—the breeze scented with the last dying gasp of winter and tracing across closed eyelids, the ground soft and sandy, the ocean rocking against the shore, the freedom and these moments of being “so, so alive” on a horse’s back ripping through the wind—and exist in it forever, I would be so content.
Arden’s The Bear and The Nightingale shares the same DNA as Naomi Novik’s marvelously brilliant Uprooted, and Spinning Silver: the three tales all center on young women who are stronger than they know and their monster-turned-ally who aren’t as monstrous as everyone think they are. It’s a premise that appeals to me so much, which is why this book worked so well for me.
Now, onto my August TBR!
I’m really excited for this month. I’m finally reading many of the books that have been sitting on my tbr for so long! Some of this year’s new releases too. Also, City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab is getting published by the end of this month, and if you know me, you’ll know I’m in love with everything she writes, so I really can’t wait!!
And for #ARCAUGUST: