July Reading Wrap Up | 2016

(ukelele music only) Hey guys! It’s Trina and it is time for
my July reading wrap up where I’m gonna review the 15 books that I managed to read
this month. I don’t know how I read 15 books, but… let’s get into it! Normally I start my wrap ups out by giving
some shout outs. Three brand new BookTube channels did my New To BookTube tag
this month. Those channels were Megan Darling, Lauren’s Late Night Library, and noseinabook. If you guys want to check out some brand new BookTube channels and
give them some support, I’ll put links to their channels down below. (bling sound effect) Let’s get into the books now, shall we? And starting out like always with my TBR Check- In, this is how I did on that.
I actually completed every single goal that I wanted to in the month of July! Usually I don’t complete every goal and
I did this month so that’s really cool! (bling sound effect) Like usual, I’m starting at the lower end
of my ratings this month and I’ll work my way up to my favorite read of the month. So starting out, I feel so bad about this
but I actually gave two stars to the brand new debut novel that I read this
month, and that is The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi. This is a YA
fantasy novel set in India. It’s about a young princess in a
war-torn country that is being forced to make a marriage alliance but her
horoscope says that her marriage will be full of death and destruction. I gave it two stars because I felt like
the characters and the plot got completely lost among all the
descriptions. Like, if you’re really into flowery descriptions that go on for
pages and pages this is the book for you, but I just
struggled through it. This one is interesting, but it took a lot of digging to find that. I didn’t understand the character motivations because so much time was spent
describing how this one gust of wind felt, and looked like, and sounded like, and smelled like. The plot that was here was just really weird in a way that just did not appeal to me.
I do think that if you liked Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge or if you liked The
Wrath And The Dawn by Renee Adieh that you may enjoy this one too. You may also
like this one if you’re looking for a diverse read, diverse fantasy, if you like
horoscopes, or reincarnation, or books that kind of have an Otherworld or an
Underworld type setting to them, but for me it absolutely just did not work at
all. I didn’t get to know these characters, I didn’t really care about
the story that was happening here because I was just trying to wade
through the descriptions. I do think Chokshi is a skilled author, I do think
it’s a unique story, but there was a lack of balance there between plot and detail.
So for me it was a no. Next is like the oddball of the group, I
read Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans and I picked this one up for
BookTubeAThon because one of the challenges was to read a book that is
older than you. This is a children’s classic, it’s like a
rhyming storybook about a little girl named Madeline, who… I don’t even know
what to tell you about it! (laughing) It was fun to read, to be
honest, as an adult it was fun to read the rhymes and some of the artwork is
really beautiful, but when I got to the end I was like, ‘are
you kidding me?’ If I read this book with my child — I don’t have a child, but if
I had a child and I was reading this with them, I would like sit down and seriously
talk to them about like… um… ‘this is something that maybe you shouldn’t do.’ (laughs)
Take my opinion with a grain of salt because I’m not the intended audience. It
was cute it, was pretty but I just didn’t get it. (laughs) Next up I read Zenith part 1 by Sasha Alsberg
and Lindsay Cummings and this is a YA sci-fi adventure. So I picked this up
because I do love Sasha’s channel. She BookTubes over on the channel abookutopia. This is a book that is being released in different sections so this
is just part one and I feel like I can’t give you a good
review on this book because it’s not a complete book. It was fast paced and
action packed, it did really grab my attention, however, it did still have that novella
feel. It’s not a complete story and so because of that I really don’t know how
to rate it so I’m going with a three star rating for this because I do
see potential but without knowing where the story is going to go it’s not
a fulfilling ending. I guess the most important thing that
you would need to know from me about it is do I want to continue? And the answer
to that is yes. However, I’m going to wait until all the installments are out so I
can kind of get the full story at once. The only, like, criticism I would say is
that it felt kind of like Throne of Glass fanfiction like if Celaena was
put in space, which could be really cool! I love Celaena! I love space stuff! But I
do hope to see a little bit more originality in the future installments
of this book and I think those will be more apparent as we get to know the
characters better. Next up are volumes 1 & 2 of Sweet Tooth , which is
written and illustrated by Jeff Lemire. This is a post apocalyptic, survival
comic series. In this world, children are all being born as human-animal hybrids and
there is a disease that is killing off all the adults so the whole purpose of
this is trying to figure out what caused this disease and what caused the kids to be
born with animal features. So we’re following a nine-year-old boy named Gus
who has deer antlers and he has lived his entire life in the woods only
knowing his father and then one day his father dies and he ends up leaving the woods
with this big tough man named Jeppard who kind of has his own agenda in this world.
In my opinion volume 1 was a bit lackluster. You meet
the characters but this world did not yet set itself apart from any other
apocalyptic type of graphic novel and I wasn’t a big fan of the art style. At
times it can be kind of gruesome or just rough looking and I personally just have
a big fear of personified animals and so some of these children are much more
animal than they are human and I kind of get the heebie-jeebies from that. But
vol.2 did get much more interesting. You start kind of diving into finding out
maybe what the origins of all this was, This is a finished comic series and there are a
total of six volumes so it’s one that you could just binge read back to back if
you wanted to. Then I read More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera and this is a YA science fiction leaning on the side of contemporary
novel. This is a world where scientists have developed a procedure that allows
you to erase memories. This is about a young boy and although he has a girlfriend he
starts having feelings towards his male best friend and he thinks he might be gay so he
decides he wants to have this memory procedure and erase the parts of him
that make him gay. I heard about this book as being an
LGBTQIA+ diverse read about memory erasure and neither one of those
aspects really come about until halfway in. I was reading and reading and reading
and thinking, ‘did I pick up the wrong book? This isn’t the book that was sold to me.’
In the end, it did have a really powerful impact. The way that Adam Silvera
wrote it, I was like, ‘this man is a genius! I can’t believe what just happened!’ This
was very very well-crafted but one page of an amazing plot twist does not make
up for a hundred and fifty pages of me wondering what the heck this book is
about. There’s a lot of detail in the monotonous and stuff that wasn’t gonna come back around. Like, I literally can tell you exactly
how to play like seven different neighborhood games that these kids are
playing. I’m never going to play these games in my life! I don’t need to know
every single rule of them! So I wish it had kind of gotten to the point much
sooner because we all already knew what this book was about because it’s on the
actual book jacket. To me it’s very frustrating when books pitch themselves
as one thing and then take forever getting to it. However, by the time everything is said
and done I do recognize and appreciate all of the time that was spent getting
to know this main character, Aaron, up front. I do really appreciate it in
hindsight but that doesn’t take away the fact that I was really bored for a lot
of the book. But please keep in mind that I am not the intended audience for this
book. I am an adult, white, straight, woman and this is about a teenage, puerto rican,
gay, boy so don’t let my rating make you think
this is not a good book or that you shouldn’t read it because it’s a wonderful
book, it’s very important, and I would highly
recommend it. Next, I read the entire Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
series by Ann Brashares. Books 1, 2, & 3 are young adult, book 4 is new adult,
and book 5 is Adult, so this is a series that grows with the
characters, which was really interesting to see. The series follows a group of
four friends that have known each other all their lives and they’re facing their
first summer apart as each of them are traveling to different places and they
find this pair of jeans that somehow fits all four of them perfectly so they decide they’re going to use the
jeans to stay in touch over the summer, they’re going to mail them back and
forth to each other. This is actually my first time ever reading the books and I
listened to books two, three, four, and five on audio book which is one of the
reasons that I was able to just blow through these so fast. These characters
were fantastic and the friendships were fantastic. The books do touch on some really
important topics, like I think all four of the girls at some point in the series go
through a very serious depression and I appreciated that the books were touching
on that, however I did feel like — at least the first two books — kind of lacked
a lot of depth. It was telling me this girl is depressed for whatever and
whatever but it wasn’t showing me like how they were reacting to it and I
wanted more of that. In book 3 and onward I thought there was a lot more depth added
to the characters. However, overall I had a lot of fun reading
this series and I do really love these characters. I gave all these books either a three or
four star rating. This month I also read Eldest and
Brisingr, which are books two and three in the Inheritance Cycle series by
Christopher Paolini. This is a YA high fantasy series about this kingdom that’s
being ruled by this evil overlord and this young boy that has been chosen to
rise up as the next great dragon-rider who can possibly take on this terrible
villain. If you want a series about dragons where the dragons are like
actually characters, they talk, they have points of view, they are amazing! This is a series for you if you love
dragons. I love the dragons in this series! So I read the first book, Eragon, like two
years ago and didn’t really enjoy it. I had a lot of trouble getting into it so
it took me forever to pick up the second book and I finally did and I was
so surprised at how much I actually enjoyed it! However, I did listen to these two
books on audio book and the narrator does a great job. Maybe I just didn’t like that exposition
where you’re like learning every single thing about this world but I really
enjoyed these two. I love the magic system in the series. It’s
so cool! I don’t know, I’m really into it. I think it’s really cool! Can you tell (from my excitement) that I like this series?? I didn’t know I was gonna nerd out that much talking about it but apparently I’m
really enjoying this series! They aren’t like Lord of the Rings level favorite in
my head. I still like other series better but this series does things differently
and I really like the things that it does, so… Why am I geeking out this much? Also at five stars is The Female of the
Species by Mindy McGinnis. This is an advanced copy and this one comes out in September. I probably am going to do a full review on this one to kind of promote it closer to the release date. This is a YA contemporary novel that
takes on rape culture. It examines the ways in which females are weak, how we
are strong, how we treat each other, and how we are
treated by men. So it’s just a really great examination
of what it means to be female in a world where rape is kind of hushed
up and pushed under the rug and nobody really wants to talk about it or deal
with it. This book examines the differences between human and animal
nature, it examines the differences between violent thoughts vs acting on
those thoughts, and it does try to bring up the differences between right and
wrong and what makes something right and what makes something wrong. It gave me a
lot to think about. The way that characters were used and the way you
think about them in the beginning of the story and then later on, even though it’s
not said outright, you come to a realization that, ‘oh, the book was doing that on purpose!’ So to me it was a think-piece. I really enjoyed it. Mindy McGinnis is
like my favorite author and this isn’t my favorite of hers but this was just so
cool to see her write her first foray into the contemporary genre, see her take
on multiple point of views, see her take on a male point of view, to take on a bit more
romance — like she did all these new things and I felt like she really slayed them all.
So definitely it’s one that I would highly recommend but I would give you guys a
warning since it is dealing with rape culture — there are depictions of sexual
assault, and since the characters in this book work in an animal clinic there are
some depictions of injured animals, there is some gore since it does deal with
violence. So if those are things that you can’t
take or that are triggers for you then just be warned, but I think that all these
things are approached with care and with purpose to kind of make a real statement. They aren’t just kind of pointlessly
added in there for shock or anything like that. I bet you guys thought that was gonna be my
favorite book of the month, right? And I gave it five stars so you know I
did love it, but I actually had a different book that was my favorite one
this month and that is In Real Life by Jessica Love. This is a YA contemporary
about two internet best friends, Hannah and Nick, that have never met in
real life and one day Hannah starts thinking, ‘maybe I have more romantic
feelings towards Nick,’ and she wants to go to surprise him, meet him in real life
without telling him and when they meet she realizes that her
best friend has been hiding some things from her. This is just — like look at it. This is an
unassuming book. You think there’s gonna be nothing to it. That’s what I thought. I
had like no expectations for this book and then I was like you know what I’m
going to read it because I met my husband online, I’ve had so many of my
best friends online so I think this is relevant to my interests. I read this
book in one sitting! I could not put it down. And this is also a diverse read. The main
character and her sister are Korean American. I really loved this book. I have a video up on three reasons why I
think you might want to read this one. So that’s everything I read in July. If
you have any questions about any of these books that I didn’t cover please
ask me down below. If you’ve read any of these I would love to know what you guys
thought, and let me know what your favorite read of July was! Thank you so much for watching and I’ll see you in the comments. Bye! (background music starts) Hi. Hi guys. Oh no. Madeline you are a jerk.
Why were you made so huge? Books two and three and the Inheritance
Cycle trilogy — no it’s not a trilogy. The things that it deals with are horoscopes… (hums) I – I don’t even know how to sum this up. I don’t know. Uhhh. Uhhhhh. (weird noises) Then I read More Happy Than Not
by — yeah that’s the name of it. Like you know magical realism? It’s like sci-fi realism. That’s not a thing but I’m calling it that! Why is that not a word? (weird nervous laugh) (music only)

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