July 2019 has been an amazing month book wise and I did read a lot of books! I am taking part in a Youtube challenge cold The 4 Houses Challenge. It is a reading challenge happening on the French booktube. I am putting the like here just in case, should you speak or understand French, and want to check it out. However, the books in that challenge will not be mentioned in this post otherwise it is gonna be the longest ever.
I will however, do a blog post just dedicated to that challenge once it is over!
Because as far as the challenge is concerned, I have read four books till now. Unrelated to this challenge, I have read eight books! Which is almost three a week. Which explains my addiction and why I keep on ordering new books…
Because I just discovered this website called Bookoutlet where so many popular and recent books are heavily discounted. If this isn’t a reader’s dream, then I don’t know what it is! Anyway, back to what I read in July 2019!
1. Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
|Author: A. Kaufman & J. Kristoff
Published: October 2015
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Pages: 608 pages
Series: The Illuminae File
Synopsis: This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
My review: I mentioned in my June reading recap how I don’t usually like Sci-Fi but how I adored Aurora Rising, by the same authors. Well, I fell like those guys are really making me love science-fiction because O.M.G! I adored Illuminae, just as much as I loved Aurora Rising, maybe even more!
Yes, I must admit, the format of the book did unsettle me at first and I had to get used to it. It is not your usual writing but a collection of emails, maps, files, instant conversations, medical reports, interviews, etc. Since yes, it is all a file, the Illuminae File. But once you get used to it, you just cannot stop reading. The format of the book does help a lot in building a lot of suspence, secrecy and mystery. You get the transcript of a video file for example but why, what, how? So many questions pop in your head every two minutes or so!
I was also very impressed at how I could never guess what would happen next. Or was convinced something that had happened was the truth, forgetting the whole thing is a file, which can be tempered with. Seeing how wrong I was and all the revelations blew up my mind. We’ve got space travel, life aboard space ships, chemical weapons, blood thirsty corporations, characters that are funny, relatable and very well build. The main character is a hell of a hacker and one of the best female character ever build in YA in my opinion. So, yes, I highly recommend this book!
2. Crown of Feathers – Nicki Pau Preto
|Author: Nicki Pay Preto
Published: February 2019
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 496 pages
Series: Crown of Feathers
Synopsis: I had a sister, once…
In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.
I promised her the throne would not come between us.
Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.
But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.
Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.
Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.
My review: Ok, so, what attracted me in this book at first, was the cover. Because it is beautiful. But then I saw a phoenix on it, plus apparently there were plenty of those in the novel AND… they were dragon size and companions to Phoenix riders. So yeah, Eragon meets Game of Thrones meets ACOTAR. You had me in love, you had me hooked. And what a book…
Being 100% honest with you, I did think the beginning was a bit slow and sometimes I was drowning in information. However, this allowed a really good world building and a much better grasp of the whole plot and everything that was happening next. The writing was beautiful, the world amazing too, the characters very well built and I did not see half of the things coming.
I cannot say too much without spoiling. If I go into details about why I loved this book so much, it will inevitably happen. So I’ll keep quiet. I can only say that there will be times you will share the main character’s anger, frustration, helplessness as well as joy, amazement and sadness. And if you like fantasy, GoT style book, dragons and thick plots, then, this book is for you!
3. Truthwitch – Susan Dennard
|Author: Susan Dennard
Published: January 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 432 pages
Series: The Witchlands
Synopsis: In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble―as two desperate young women know all too well.
Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.
Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her―but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safiya’s hotheaded impulsiveness.
Safiya and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and privateer) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.
My review: Truthwitch is a book that I had spotted a long time ago and that Amazon kept on recommending me, so I took the leap. And although it was a good read and I spent a good time, I feel like something was missing to make it an incredible book. Let me rephrase, it had everything it needs to be a hit but I feel like the book is not reaching its potential.
We are promised many things in the synopsis, which announce a lot of action, adventure and all. Yet, as far as I am concerned, I did not feel like Safi was particularly important to the plot, or at least not as important as the summary would suggest. Because, yes, she does seem to have that interesting power, but from what we see of it in the novel, it is nothing special nor extraordinary. I have found her quite passive most of the time, despite some bravado and swagger here and there. Even when she comes to a realization that she is capable, she can’t do anything. More talks than actions. I feel like other characters are much better developed and could hold the novel on their shoulders alone.
I am quite curious to see how this will fare in book two, because I want to read it, for the sake of the other characters which I find much better. Furthermore, I feel that this book as a lot of potential and that most of it revolves around “things are never what it seems”, which had some mystery I guess. So yes, a good read, but not the best.
4. An Enchantment of Ravens – Margaret Rogerson
|Author: Margaret Rogerson
Published: September 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 304 page
Synopsis: Isobel is an artistic prodigy with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.
Furious, Rook spirits her away to his kingdom to stand trial for her crime. But something is seriously wrong in his world, and they are attacked from every side. With Isobel and Rook depending on each other for survival, their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.
My review: If you’ve read my June recap, again, you know how much I loved Sorcery of Thorns from the same author. I am sad to say, An Enchantment of Ravens did not live up to the hype.
Yes, the cover is absolutely gorgeous and the premise is super interesting. However, the book is so short and most of the narration is focusing on the romance. Thus, there is barely any world-building. It is a shame as the information popping up here and there really bring more mystery and had me ask so many questions. There are so many things I wanted to know about the world itself, the Faes, the raison d’être of the novel, etc. But no answer at all, and instead romance.
Which isn’t a bad thing, since, despite being a bit cheesy at time, the romance progresses very naturally and goes beyond the “love you, love you not” or “love at first sight because he is hot” tropes. Still, the world-building was missing, which gave me hard time understanding what was going on or all the revelations that we had coming along the novel.
5. Shadow & Bone – Leigh Bardugo
|Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published: June 2012
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 368 pages
Synopsis: Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across the Shadow Fold―a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.
Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha, her country’s magical military elite―and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.
As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation.
My review: I had heard so much of the Grisha trilogy and wanted to read Six of Crows from the same author. Booktubers seemed to say it is better to read Grisha first to understand the Six of Crows series, so here I was.
I read this book in two evenings. The writing was fluid, easy, well written. The story had a very good flow and enough mystery to keep me reading. Despite the main character’s tendency to always question her worth and belittle herself which at one point annoyed me so much, I felt most of the characters were very well built. And I sure did not expect what happened at the end. Although I had a feeling, things would not go smoothly for everyone.
I really love all the references to the Russian culture with names, religious terms, countries, etc. It added something different to the novel, to the point I even thought the author was Russian. But she is not. Overall it was a good read and I can’t wait to read book 2. However, I really hope the main characters quits her “putting herself down” with her “why me? what do they see in me?” every other page. Fake modesty is at best crying for attention and at worst hypocrisy. At worst worst, it is the trope of the woman who is amazing but does not know about it, which is what makes her so attractive, and is validated only when the male character tells her she is so strong and beautiful. Curious to see how this fare in book 2!
6. Caraval – Stephanie Garber
|Author: Stephanie Garber
Published: January 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 416 pages
Synopsis: Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . beware of getting swept too far away.
My review: I had heard so much about Caraval! Everywhere! On bookstagram, on blogs, on booktube. Everybody seems to love the novel. And I always saw the book in bookstores but the synopsis never really tempted me. Until I finally, after two years, decided to take the leap.
I am not gonna lie, I don’t see why people are so crazy about this book. I did enjoy reading it, it was a good read, entertaining, easy and quick to read. However, as far as I am concerned, the praises stop there. The world building is in my opinion very good. We have all the information we need to understand. But, the characters lack charisma and development. Especially Scarlett. I disliked her so much: her closed-mindedness, how priggish she is, how her opinion is the only what that matters, how she is convinced the world lays on her shoulders, etc. I hated the free violence from the father, with as sole explanation for his behavior that his wife left him… Not a reason to beat your daughters almost to death. However, I did like Tella and Julian.
The main character is what made me struggle with the book. However, I do admit that the time crush really worked on me. There were enough suspence and sense of urgency to keep me going and that I did not see the end coming at all. Not at all. And that was a very good surprise. Plus the revelation at the very end which tickles my curiosity and the fact that Tella might be at the center of the next book. So I bought book 2, which I will read in August!
7. Renegades – Marissa Meyer
Published: November 2017
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Pages: 576 pages
Synopsis: Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.
The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies―humans with extraordinary abilities―who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.
Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice―and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to the villains who have the power to end them both.
My review: I had never read a novel by Marissa Meyer but I did heard there always was a lot of fluff in her books. Renegades was, however, a very good surprise.
For the characters which were very well developed and never too shallow, with different personalities, abilities and motives. Never too clichés I might had. You know how much I dislike clichés. The world building was also very good and it was very interesting to see the main characters lean one side or another. Because, another thing I loved about this book, is that things are never what they seem, what you are told might not be the truth, nothing is black or white.
So the main characters cannot decide which side she is on. Both sides think they are the good side and the other are vilains. The heroin is trying to understand what both side’s motives are. The end was a very big surprise to me. Indeed, who she thought her entire life were vilains, turned out, as she evolved alongside them, maybe to be good guys, but the end… wow! I am not gonna say more but I can only recommend this book!
8. Clockwork Prince – Cassandra Clare
|Author: Cassandra Clare
Published: September 2015
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 560 pages
Series: The Infernal Devices
Synopsis: In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when it becomes clear that the mysterious Magister will stop at nothing to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.
With the help of the handsome, tortured Will and the devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal and fueled by revenge. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.
Tessa is drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa answers about who she really is? As their search leads to deadly peril, Tessa learns that secrets and lies can corrupt even the purest heart.
My review: I read Clockwork Angel, which is book 1 of the series, last month and I quite enjoyed it. It was a very good read with some suspence, surprises and things I did not see coming, along with some mystery around the main character that I want answers to.
Book 2 was just as good, with more information, a plot that thickens and a bigger sense of urgency. You want to know what happens next. There were a few things I did not see coming, and although the love triangle did annoy me at times (i.e. near misses, lack of communication, etc), I still enjoyed this book.
Speaking of one of the main characters, I could not decide whether the reason behind his shitty behavior was hilarious or farfetched, and I hope no one will forget about it in book 3. Because no matter the circumstances, nothing justifies being an ass. Indeed, I feel that in many YA books, if the author comes up with a “good enough reason” (i.e. brutal past, death of previous partner, “I just wanna protect you”) people tend to forgive that awful behavior, which sets a very dangerous precedent. But that’s just my opinion. Still a good read, and can’t wait to read book 3!
Have you read any of the books mentioned above? Did you like them? Was July a good month for reading? What books did you read?
Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope you liked this post.
See you soon,