July Wrap-Up (2021)

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Happy August! We’re getting so close to chilly temperatures, gorgeous colors, and cozy reading nights. I, for one, am SOOO ready for that, and the end of this humidity.

I’ve taken quite a large break from this blog….life, work, all manner of things that took precedent for that time. I didn’t stop reading, and I did manage to keep taking pictures for Instagram here and there. But I missed writing and sharing my book finds with the rest of you bookworms. So I’m back, kicking it off with a wrap up. Let’s talk about some books!

I managed to plow through a total of 9 books in July, which was quite a few for me. Aside from being ultra proud of that number, I’m just really glad to have been immersed into some great stories. That’s what reading is all about, right?

One of Those Days by Yehuda and Maya Devir

This is a graphic novel written by a husband and wife team chronicling their experiences with dating, marriage, parenting, and just everyday life. I had a ton of fun reading through this as they take experiences that aren’t so fun in the moment and find the humor when looking back on those memories. If you haven’t heard of these two, definitely check them out! I believe you can also get a pretty good look at the type of comics they do from their social media pages…they are always posting things to make you stop and laugh throughout the day.

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist 4 stars

I can’t remember where I first saw this book but I’ve been on a horror kick lately and Let the Right One In was the perfect slice of cake to get that craving started. It’s a vampire story, written in a really unique way that I haven’t encountered yet. It can be pretty grotesque, creepy, and down right hard to read at times (there is triggering content) which really added to the overall shock of reading from the horror genre.

Behind the Veil by E.J. Dawson 4 stars

Netgalley came through for the win with this gothic, Victorian story about a woman whose otherworldly gift may be the key to solving some pretty terrible crimes in 1920’s Los Angeles. It’s extremely atmospheric, and has a cast of characters that are easy to love and relate to. If you’re all about the black lace, veiled shadows, and mysterious paranormal activity, this may be the book for you. Behind the Veil is set to publish in October so keep an eye out for a spooky read just in time for Halloween!

The Elementals by Michael McDowell 5 stars

My first Michael McDowell novel and it was SO good! This is a haunted house story set on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. There are three houses, two families, and something in the atmosphere that everyone knows is wrong. Beware of the sand, and make sure you go with your gut on anything that happens. I loved reading this, especially since it’s set in summer. I was able to sit outside and read this, letting the summer heat transport me into the story, along with the flawlessly immersive writing. I’ll be checking out more of McDowell’s work in the near future.

Lakebed by Chris Coppel 4 stars

This was another Netgalley find for me and I really enjoyed the story. A couple tires of their lives in the city and are both offered positions at an animal sanctuary in Southern Utah, just in time. Upon arriving, it seems too good to be true, a Utopia of sorts, minus the strange sounds at night and weird founders. The couple soon finds out they may have stepped into a nightmare they may never escape. Earthy, cultish, and with Native American undertones, this horror novel is one to add to your shelves stat. Slightly predictable, but delivers exactly what it promises. Lakebed published back in March of this year, so definitely go grab a copy if you’re curious.

Daughters of the Lake by Wendy Webb 3 stars

I enjoyed reading this mystery thriller with a blanket and a hot drink. It’s the perfect companion to a cozy night in, candles lit, and comfy pants on. Our main character finds herself going through a divorce and can think of only one place she’d like to go to recover and get some distance from all the stress and hurt. But she begins having dreams that coincide with things going on in her real life, things she can’t explain but is determined to find out. While I did enjoy certain aspects of the story, it was mostly a cover grab for me and I thought it would be spookier than it was. But that’s ok! This is still a book I would recommend to mystery fans who like a bit of paranormal mixed in.

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh 5 stars

While I usually end up regretting the decision to pick up YA Fiction that catches my attention, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. It’s a classic vampire story but it takes place in New Orleans. It’s gothic, Victorian landscape makes for a beautifully colorful and vivid backdrop, and is atmospherically everything you could want from a dark and creepy, yet lavishly decadent story. My only complaint, despite giving this 5 stars, was that our main character finds herself caught up in both a love triangle and insta-love. I still recommend giving it a read, though.

The Folcroft Ghosts by Darcy Coates 4 stars

I am a HUGE fan of Darcy Coates’ writing. She does the classic haunted house story so well. As a reader, you want to be transported into what you’re reading…it amplifies the experience, sparks emotion, and is just a good time altogether. Folcroft Ghosts follows two siblings who go to stay with their estranged grandparents while their mother recovers from an accident. At first everything seems cheerful, the Hallmark family experience if you will, until strange things begin to happen and the grandparents begin to act even stranger. This was such a fun read, and I know I can pick up anything by this author when the mood strikes without ever being disappointed.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

This is the first book in a series and was a buddy read for me in the month of July. I really enjoyed it, more than I thought I would. In a Utopian world where mankind has solved all problems, can live multiple lives, and have basically taken purpose out of living, Scythes are necessary to help curb the population. The story follows two apprentices as they navigate the moral and obligatory issues that come with being a Scythe. I had a ton of fun reading this and it definitely does a great job of exploring a lot of different issues related the philosophy of morals in a world where life is boring because there is nothing to strive for any longer. I will be continuing with the series at some point in the future.

Thanks for reading! Happy August all!