Not gonna lie, I didn’t super want to write this wrap-up. I don’t know what’s going on, but I am really pulling back creatively from talking about the books I’m reading and the life I’m curating, but I also really appreciate having something to look back on and see what I’ve done in the last month, so I chugged through, and I’m glad that I did. A lot happened this month, creatively, so I want to document that!
Mini Book Reviews
🌈 LGBTQPIA+ characters
🔥 BIPOC authors
🌑 BIPOC characters
Lore Olympus, Vol 2 | Rachel Smythe
This volume was one that I remembered a lot more than the first one, and it looks like I’m nearly caught up with where I was when I stopped reading the webcomic, so I’m excited for the next volume because I think there’ll be some new content in there for me. As always, this was fantastic, and I absolutely adore the artwork and storytelling that Smythe has in here. This is definitely my favorite version of Persephone & Hades out there, and I’m so hyped to watch their story continue to unfold.
This Wicked Fate | Kalynn Bayron 🌈🔥🌑
What a wild, chaotic journey this was. I do definitely think it could have been longer because a lot was thrown at us very fast with not a whole ton of explanation, and while that made me relate to Bri’s confusion a lot, it also would have been nice, as the reader, to get a little more cushion to the sudden onslaught of gods and Greek mythology and just everything. It felt like this book was being walloped by world building, and like it was definitely the second in a trilogy. All that said, though, this was a very satisfying conclusion to Bri’s story, and I enjoyed every page of it. The magic, the plants, the plot, the characters–all of it was top notch, and I was so excited to be back in this world. I do really wish it was a trilogy purely because I want to linger in this world with these characters a little bit longer.
The Half Life of Valery K | Natasha Pulley 🌈
Don’t even get me started. I read 150 pages of this in one sitting, and I well & truly had to force myself not to read the rest of it in the same sitting because I knew I wanted to thoroughly enjoy it, and I wouldn’t be able to do that if I read it too fast. There was also a lot of plot, and being able to actually follow that required me to read a bit slower. This was absolutely fascinating, though. Between the incredible science that even got my scientists talking excitedly and the slowest of all slow burn romances ever, this slayed me. There was not a single part of it that I didn’t wholeheartedly adore, and I can’t wait to reread this eventually. It was just so damn good. Valery reminded me so much of Thaniel in his will fight everyone, but also very tired attitude, and Shenkov was so soft and sweet, and it just killed me. Obviously, I have to shoutout Albert because Pulley creates the most fantastic sidekick animal characters ever, and I would be remiss if I didn’t state for the record that Anna was amazing, and I would 10/10 fight in a war for her. This was another fantastic addition to Pulley’s collection, and I truly cannot wait for what comes next. (Also lowkey sad Mori wasn’t in this, but I digress.)
A Vigil in the Mourning | Hailey Turner 🌈
The title of this had me cackling for so long, it’s just fantastic. This was another welcome addition to the series, although I will admit that I’m writing this review after reading On the Wings of War, and I can no longer remember what happened in this one. The plots are kind of starting to blur together because they’re mostly the same each book with only slight variations, but you know what? I don’t care! I’m still having the best time ever reading these, and I’m going to continue to enjoy the heck out of them.
A Mixture of Mischief | Anna Meriano 🔥🌑
This honestly felt more like a middle book than an end book, and I’m lowkey very surprised that this is only a trilogy. This felt like it was setting up a lot of future plot, and I’m kind of bummed that there isn’t more. I thoroughly enjoyed this conclusion, though, and it was wonderful to see the world expanding and shifting as more magical knowledge was discovered. Leo was, as always, a fantastic narrator, and I’m so sad to leave her behind!
The Witch’s Path: Advancing Your Craft at Every Level | Thorn Mooney
Despite the constant this is an advanced book vibe, this felt pretty standard. It was still good, don’t get me wrong, but there wasn’t a whole lot of new information. There was a huge bibliography and constant talk about looking at other sources for more “advanced” information, but it was a little strange to go in thinking that’s what I was getting just to be told that it is out there, it just requires looking elsewhere. Still, this had such a gentle touch to it that it felt very welcoming and accessible, and I enjoyed taking my time with it.
On the Wings of War | Hailey Turner 🌈
HELL YEAH! Seriously, hell fucking yeah. The second that they got on a flight to Paris, I was like LET’S GOOOOOOOO NECROMANCERS IN THE CATACOMBS. Plus Baba Yaga?? Y’all, this was probably my favorite book in the Soulbound series so far. I had so much fun with this one, and even though I saw that cliffhanger at the end coming from a mile away, I was shrieking into my dark room at midnight when I finally got to it, and I can’t wait to read the next one. I’m so sad that this series is going to be over soon for me, though it’s probably for the best given the plots are really blurring together at this point, but damn. Damn, damn, damn. Necromancers in Catacombs and Baba Yaga and the Eiffel Tower on literal magical fire while a dragon scales it like he’s King Kong, hell yeah.
And They Lived… | Steven Salvatore 🌈
(6/29-7/4) DNF @ 160 pages
I think I gave this a solid try. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t for me. If I was a new college student in my late teens/early twenties, I would have loved this something fierce, but as a thirty-year-old who is tired more often than not, this is way too much. It’s very dramatic, and everything is the end of the world, and it’s a lot. Every sentence is trying to be the best sentence of the whole book, and the characters were just overwhelmingly overwhelmed by the smallest things. A younger me would have vibed hard with this, but current me was starting to avoid it, so it was time to DNF.
Books read: 7
Pages read: 2,436
Great TBR Challenge: 30/96
I honestly don’t know what I want to read in the next month. I guess that’s a little bit of a lie because I kind of do, and that desire is obviously fed by my recently having read Pulley’s new book because damn, so yeah, let’s just call it a historical fiction magical realism month even though nothing is going to stir me quite as much as Pulley.
- Much Ado About Nothing by Rajani LaRocca
- The Midnight Bargain by CL Polk
- A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske
- An Echo in the Sorrow by Hailey Turner
- A Veiled & Hallowed Eve by Hailey Turner
- Base Notes by Lara Elena Donnelly
Okay, so only three of those are actually in the vein of historical fiction magical realism, but I’d like to square away LaRocca’s new release and finish out the Soulbound series, so hopefully I’m in a silly and serious mood all at once this month!
It was like something in my brain was waiting for Erin to arrive before I was able to write again because I finally started Vlad’s section the second weekend she was here! Which was about 838 words before I called it quits for the month again. I know that I need to kick my butt into gear and just force myself to write, but easier said than done, so we’ll see how next month goes.
What I’ve Been Watching
Rather than watching a bunch of movies while Erin was here for the long weekend at the beginning of the month, we watched AJ & the Queen, and it was fantastic. I’ve never seen Drag Race, and I probably never will, but I’m a huge fan of Trixie & Katya through UNHhhh, and I’d never actually seen RuPaul in anything, so figured it was high time. I definitely cried at the end, and I’m so sad there’s not going to be more.
Obviously, I’m heartbreakingly deep in my Harry Styles love, so I had to finally watch Dunkirk. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long given I’ve been wanting to watch it for him & Cillian Murphy literally since it came out, but I’m bad at movies unless I’m sat down and told to watch it, so I really had to play myself and pretend that was happening. Made some popcorn, told myself it was movie night even though Erin wasn’t available, and proceeded to make the most intense face for two hours straight as I was absolutely consumed by this movie. Even setting aside the fact that I scared my cats half to death when I suddenly screamed HAROLD into an otherwise quiet room, this movie was fantastic. It was so well done, and it had me weeping by the end, and it was just excellent. Cillian, Harry, Tom, Kenneth, James–all of them were so freaking superb.
It’s been a lot of not watching things this month–between a board game night with a few of the boys, our company BBQ, and video chatting with Sara, Erin and I haven’t had a lot of Fridays to actually get any watching done, so all we really got up to was starting Uncoupled. I finished it the same weekend and absolutely adored it, and I’m keeping all my fingers & toes crossed that it gets renewed for a second season.
What a month! July was just one thing after another, but in a good way. Erin came back for a second weekend in a row, and we spent most of it at the beach. I’ve got some more super cute beach pictures below because I was feeling myself, and I can’t remember if I linked my bathing suit in last month’s post, but I’m definitely doing it here because y’all. I got these from Amazon. I have spent my entire life trying to find plus size bathing suits that I actually liked, spending stupid amounts of money on them, and only just now am I actually vibing. Aqua Eve & Yonique are truly fantastic stores for plus size bathing suits, so much so that I ordered two from each, and if I had a reason to go to the beach more, I would buy several more.
I also went to see Josh Groban at the month, and I 100% cried during You Raise Me Up. Admittedly, I was a little disappointed by his set list, and there were quite a few songs that he normally plays that he didn’t, so that was a bit of a bummer, but it was such a wonderful start to a season of shows. And! I got to go with Jenny because my mom was off in Utah, and we had such a nice night. Plus, shortly after that, Whole Foods got passionfruit in again, and I nearly recreated the truly outstanding passionfruit lemonade I had on Sao Miguel, so it was a pretty excellent start to the month.
There was lots of yoga, another BBQ with the boys in which I looked adorable, and, drumroll please, a new tattoo!!! I’ve been wanting to get the Kings of Argonath statues for ages now, and I’m so pleased with how they came out. I remembered to schedule my next one while I was there, too, so I’ve got another two appointments booked in November, during which we’re going to be tackling a huge new project, and I cannot wait to see it come to life.
All in all, it was a very busy, but also very solid month. I had a lot of fun, spent a lot of time with the boys, and am so ready for August to be just as amazing.