So July happened!
The UK managed to reach 38/39 degrees (in London anyway) a couple of weeks ago and literally no one was having a good time.
My cat would take a few steps and then flop to the ground while my guinea pig looked so uncomfortable in her cage in our living room that I had to shift her into our much cooler kitchen.
I pretty much took all the ice blocks from the freezer, wrapped them in tea towels and took them to bed with me.
The UK is sadly not equipped for temperatures like that and believe me when I say everybody gets grouchy.
My reading slump is over which is great but the slump is over mainly on account of the fact that I’m currently signed off work. I’m signed off for a variety of reasons which I won’t go into here but needless to say not being at work has given my brain some much needed rest time!
Unfortunately the novelization of Pan’s Labyrinth wasn’t a patch on the movie and I gave it 2 stars in my ARC review here.
I know I said that I wouldn’t get into the reasons why I’m signed off work but sadly one of those reasons is why I read this book. Stress: The Psychology of Managing Pressure is a reference book all about stress (surprisingly); what causes it, who is more likely to suffer from it, what are the symptoms, what’s the impact on a person and how can it be dealt with.
There’s nothing in this book that will rock the world or advance the understanding of stress but it provides clear and understandable explanations and colourful graphics illustrations. This is a solid 3 star read.
The Girl Who Chased the Moon is a vanilla cupcake of a story. This story feels like a mix of Practical Magic, Sweet Home Alabama and Big Fish where a small town has a variety of strange, magical realism-esque things happen but everyone just gets on with it.
There are some life traumas that are explored (parents dying, teenage pregnancy, self harm) but these aren’t particularly heavy and aren’t the main focus of the individual characters.
There are two main characters/ story lines – one is Emily, a teenager returning to her recently deceased mother’s hometown to live with her grandfather and the other is Julia, an adult who has reluctantly returned to what is her hometown to sort out her deceased father’s estate. Both of the characters converge (they happen to be neighbors) but have separate stories albeit both focus on romance.
Like I said, this is a vanilla cupcake. Good as you eat it but with no lasting nutritional value. A solid 3 stars.
This is part of my Mini Magic Challenge.
Sadly, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic was a bit of a disappointment.
The title had me believing this would be a contemporary fantasy about a woman discovering she had magical powers/ was a witch or was already aware she had powers/ was a witch and was learning to master them. Maybe there would have been an apprentice witch somehow.
I don’t know why I concocted that summary of the book as the actual summary pretty much tells us this is a portal fantasy where the main character, Nora, becomes a grumpy magician’s apprentice.
The book was well written and had some funny moments and it’s definitely not the writer’s fault that Uprooted has a similar concept or two as this was published first.
Unfortunately I don’t know if this book knew what it wanted to be. Epic portal fantasy? Contemporary fantasy? Comic fantasy?
The plot meanders at times and there’s approx. 100 – 200 pages which could have been removed from the middle. This is a long book (563 pages) and feels longer when there is no action.
The overall arc – a war between fairies and non fairies – was set up in the beginning and not concluded at the end which bring me to the thing that really irritated me – for a book of 563 pages there was absolutely no conclusion and instead left on a cliffhanger for the supposed second book.
As this was published in 2013 and its now 2019 with no sign of book two this just makes for an incredibly annoying finish to a story. I wavered between 2 and 3 stars (that extra star would have been for the parts I did enjoy) but in the end I gave it 2 stars because I was so pissed off by the ending.
This was also part of the Mini Magic Challenge.
I finally read The Farm which should have been an ARC review in May. Instead it will be an ARC review in August! Not what I was expecting. Not horrible but not the most amazing book either. I’ve given it 3 stars and a full review is pending.
Despite me not giving high ratings this month, I’m just so happy that I’m back reading books!
- I gave 2 books 2 stars
- I gave 3 books 3 stars
That means July’s average is 2.6 which is pretty middle of the road. No mover’s and shakers this month but sometimes a book just needs to be a book!
I actually ended up reading all the books that I set myself for July which is 1000 shades of yay!
I’m going to keep it at 4 for August because that seems to be a fairly realistic goal!
- Ever Alice by H.J. Ramsay (an ARC for August)
- Circe by Madeline Miller (part of my Mini Magic Challenge)
- Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (part of my Mini Magic Challenge)
- Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones (part of my Mini Magic Challenge)
July was a rest and recuperation month which has sadly been a long time coming. I’ve seen lots of friends whilst off though which has been a wonderful mental health boon.
Aside from that, here’s a picture of Willow helping me become more productive.
How was everyone’s July?
Good reading or…. reading good? That makes no sense.
May August be good to you!