July Wrap Up

Hey everyone, welcome to the end of July – the time when parents are already run ragged looking after children in the holidays, teachers are kicking back, and students are waiting for exam results.

It’s also that time where I’m going over what I’ve read this month. So without further ado, lets get on with this tidy little wrap up! Fair warning, there may be spoilers.

The first book on this list is A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin, which is the second book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. July meant that the show would soon be back on our screens, so I had to continue with the books. Following on from the first book, problems in Kings Landing has created an uprising, with many Lords now calling themselves Kings. Daenerys is planning to conquer Westeros still, whereas the Nights Watch are planning to go Beyond the Wall to investigate the wildlings. It is perhaps longer than the first, with a lot of viewpoints to take into consideration. It is just as good though, and I rated it 4 stars.

I naturally followed this up with A Storm of Swords Part 1: Steel and Snow and A Storm of Swords Part 2: Blood and Gold by George R. R. Martin. These make up the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. The book is so large, that it’s split into two separate volumes. It’s just as deadly as the first two though. With its many characters returning to tell their stories, it is a powerhouse. Civil war is still rife in Westeros, so the reader should prepare for battles, weddings and murders. I rated Steel and Snow 4 stars, because I found it quite hard to get into at first. I rated Blood and Gold 5 stars.

I also read Blood and Gold for the Biannual Bibliothon as it completed the task Read From a Hosts Favourite Genre (Brittni – Epic/High Fantasy), and also Book to Movie Adaptation (read and watch).

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The next book I read was an eBook – Switched by Amanda Hocking. The first book in the Trylle trilogy, it follows Wendy Everly, who was nearly killed at her sixth birthday party, after her mother claims that Wendy is not her child. Saved by her brother, Wendy moves in with him and her aunt, although Wendy experiences trouble wherever they go. She already suspects that she is not like others. One evening, new boy Finn tells her that she has persuasive abilities and that she is part of the Trylle community – think troll. And then she learns that she is a princess too! An intriguing YA read, I really enjoyed the conflict between the human mother and Wendy. Wendy is likeable enough, although I didn’t enjoy the romance between her and Finn. It seemed strange, especially as Queen Elora seems to have a soft spot for him. I gave this 5 stars, as it was such a solid start. I had bought this a while ago, so cannot confirm price.

I followed this up with the sequel, Torn. Picking up at the end of the first book, Wendy has run away from her new life with the Trylle, although this leaves her vulnerable to enemy attack. She is kidnapped along with Matt, and Matt’s real brother, Rhys. Here Wendy learns the truth about her heritage and why the Vittra (another sect of the Trylle community) are intent upon keeping her. It’s a comfortable book, not as good as the first, as it’s predictable in places. Wendy still longs for Finn, although she is destined to marry another. There is also the addition of Vittra royalty, Loki, who sounds devilishly handsome. He’s cocky, making him funny, and is a welcome addition to the novel. He and the Vittra are utterly prepared to disrupt Wendy’s life. I gave this 4 stars. I had bought this a while ago, so cannot confirm price.

It was natural to finish the series up. The final book, Ascend, follows Wendy’s marriage to Tove and how she struggles to accept this new part of her life. They can never be in love as Tove is gay, and Wendy cares for another. As if this isn’t enough to turn her 18 year old head, she is struggling with Queen Elora’s failing health, and how to deal with the problems with her father, the Vittra King! It is much more enjoyable than the last book, and Wendy finally gives in to her lust and, eventual, romantic feelings. Wendy decides that she must be the ruler that the Trylle need, and aims to change the way her world is. An addictive read, I wanted to keep going, unlike the last book, where I felt bored. I gave this 5 stars. I had bought this a while ago, so cannot confirm price.

I also read Ascend for the Biannual Bibliothon as it completed the task Read a Book You’ve Seen Somewhere Other Than BookTube (Amazon online), and LGBTQIA+ (Tove married Wendy to keep up the appearance of being straight).

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I was on a bit of a manga kick this month, and read the first FIVE volumes of Death Note by Tsugmi Ohba. The series follows the trials and tribulations of top student, Light Yagami. One day, Light finds a Death Note on the ground and picks it up. If a human name is written into the book, they will die. Light is sceptical, until he sees the power at work, and so decides to use it to create a perfect, crime free, society. This catches the attention of young, legendary detective, L. And so the battle begins. The first five volumes keep getting better, and really keep the reader guessing. What will Light do now? What is L’s next move? Volumes one and two were rated 5 stars, as everything was still so new and fresh. Volume three was rated 4 stars, as I struggled a little when starting this. Volume four was 5 stars (it also featured my favourite character, Misa). The fifth volume was 3 stars, as half of it seemed so boring. There’s still many left to read!

I also read the first volume as part of the Biannual Bibliothon as it completed the task Read a Book That Has Been Banned/Is Still Banned (banned in China), and completed the Throwback challenge – a Book Set in Another Country (Japan).

I also used the first volume for the second blogger challenge, which was a review.

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The next book I read was an eBook, bought for 99p, as part of my Kindle haul in July. That book is Through the Shattered Looking Glass by M. L. Crane, which is a take on the classic, Alice in Wonderland. In this tale, Alice starts an internship at the Lutwidge Mental Health Institute. She is content, happy, with the past behind her at last. Until the nightmares start, and the patients she meets seem to know more about her than they should. This eBook was graphic in places, and dealt with pressing issues and mental health. It was an interesting plot, with room to continue and plenty of nods to the classic story, but I felt the writing was a little weak in places. I’ve always had an idea in my head to rewrite Alice in a horror style, and reading this makes me want to go for it! For this reason, I rated it 3 stars.

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The penultimate eBook I read was Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill. The novel follows freida (and yes readers, it does not have a capital letter – in fact, all female names don’t), as she enters her sixteenth year at the School. She is an eve – perfectly designed, and trusted to become the perfect companion, concubine or chastity when they are seventeen. freida’s world is all about being perfect – being at target weight, being happy and always pleasing. And yet, her world is flipped upside down, and she finds herself struggling to be the perfect eve. A standalone, debut novel, I could not put this down, even though it was a reread. It was easy to connect to the various characters, and there is a lot of development. Set in a dystopian future the girls are hooked on technology eerily similar to our own, and its a clever take on the culture we’re embodying now. At times, it is uncomfortable reading, in relation to mental health and eating disorders, but it makes you think about your own life, and your own choices. I gave this 4 stars. I had bought this a while ago so cannot confirm price.

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The final book I read was an eBook, and that was Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters. I bought this for £2.99, and it was part of my Kindle haul, earlier in July. The novel follows Nancy Astley as she becomes infatuated with male impersonator, Kitty Butler. Nancy is so in love with Kitty, that she jumps at the chance to leave her oyster-girl life to be her dresser in London. Eventually Nancy becomes Nan King, and joins Kitty’s act on the London stages. When Kitty breaks her heart, Nan finds herself in a state of depression, and finds a new career as a rent boy. This career path eventually leads her to become a well kept ‘pet’ for an older woman. The world isn’t finished yet with Nancy, and life takes a drastic turn. Nancy’s journey is about finding out who she really is, who she wants to be, and what she wants out of life. I rated this 5 stars.

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So that completes my second wrap up for this blog! Let me know what book/books you have read in the month of July – whether it’s paper/hardback, audio, eBook, graphic novels or manga. They all count! Of course, if you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know!

– ReadWriteZoe.

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