The Fiction Fox
The month of July, despite the readathons, turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag as far as ratings go. I read a total of 13 books, 5 of which were on audio, with an average rating of 3.1 stars. I feel like I've already given plenty of intro about this month in my other posts (see my Readathon Wrap Up, as well as my Best of 2019 and Life Updates), so therefore, I'm going to get straight into the books.
1. Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant I picked up Rolling in the Deep on audio on a complete whim, and kind of regret doing so: man was I disappointed in this. Rolling in the Deep follows a film crew shooting a mockumentary on mermaids hiding deep within the Mariana Trench. They come fully prepared, bringing everything from a group of actresses to play the mermaids to a biologist who is willing to twist the truth a little to fit the documentary’s narrative. What they didn’t come prepared for, however, was finding actual creatures living in the deep. And they’re far from friendly… I probably should have lowered my expectations from a story based on killer-mermaids a little bit, but every underwater horror has the potential to greatly terrify me, so I wanted to go in with an open mind. I came out feeling like I had just read any other creepy-pasta on the internet… It was predictable, heavily relying on every trope in the book, and not written particularly well. I’m guessing the publication had something to do with Seanan McGuires name (albeit a penname) being attached to it. Suffice to say: this was not for me unfortunately.
My Rating: 1/5 stars
2. The Color of the Sun by David Almond
The Color of the Sun has a premise that sounded very much up my alley, and I was lucky enough to be provided an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Unfortunately, this was a bit of a disappointment. The Color of the Sun is the 2019 YA contemporary novel by David Arnold and centers around the inner world of a teenage boy who has recently lost his father. We follow him during a single day, mere weeks after his father’s passing, on a walk through his small town, as he interacts with his environment and towns folk, and tries to rediscover the beauty in what surrounds him. You can find my full review and thoughts via the link here My Rating: 2/5 stars
3. Nocturna by Maya Montayne Nocturna received quite a lot of buzz before and surrounding its release, prompting me to give this a try. Unfortunately, I don’t think it deserved the hype it got… This was a very standard YA-fantasy, about two magically gifted teenagers (a prince and a thief) teaming up to fight an ancient force that has been unleashed and is threatening to destroy the kingdom. Although it was perfectly enjoyable, it lacked the originality and uniqueness to be memorable to me. You can find my full review here.
My Rating: 2/5 stars
Stardust was the groupbook for the Book Junkie Readathon, and although it was on my “want-to-read” shelf on Goodreads, I doubt I would have picked it up anytime soon if it weren’t for that. Gaiman and I have proven not be the greatest match over the past years. Although I almost always love his ideas, to the point where I feel they have to translate into five-star books for me, I’m always left a little disappointed near the end. The same goes for Stardust to some extent. Stardust felt like a childrens fairytale. Nothing more, nothing less. As with many of Gaimans books, despite some of the dark imagery, this reads extremely “young” to me, as if written for a middle-grade audience. Due to the aforementioned disturbing imagery or sexual references the author includes, it clearly isn’t meant for that audience however… Leaving me to wonder: who is this written for…? If you are an adult, who loves fairytales, especially combined with some dry English humor, this is probably the book for you. English humor aside, I don’t think I’m that person necessarily, making this a disappointment for me.
My Rating: 2/5 stars
5. Mona in Three Acts by Griet Op de Beeck Mona in Three Acts was technically both an ARC, aswell as a reread for me. This is the first English translation of one of the most popular books by well-known Flemish author Griet Op de Beeck. I’ve read all but one of her many novels in the original Dutch, including “Kom Hier, dat ik u Kus”(the books original title), but was very curious to see as to how this would translate into English. Upon rereading it however, I did find my opinion on this book has changed over the years since I first read it. I found I had a lot more issues with it than I originally had, and therefore gave it a lower rating than expected. That being said; this is still a very beloved book, both in The Netherlands and Belgium, and I’m happy that it will become available for more people to read with the new translation. You can find my full review linked here. My Rating: 2.5/5 stars
6. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
I’m not sure what came over me this summer, but I had the sudden craving to reread the Raven Boys, a series I haven’t thought of revisiting for years now. This series genuinely needs no introduction in the bookish world, nor does it need much explaining on my part as to what I loved about it. This has never been an all-time favorite, 5-star series for me, but the characters and settings are still quite dear to my heart and I had a great time revisiting them. I’m especially looking forward to reading book 3 next month, which I remember originally being my favorite of the series.
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
7. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater Being the sequel to The Raven Boys, I can be quite short about this one as well. I’ve always found this the least interesting book in the series, which this reread confirmed so far. For that reason, half a star less than The Raven Boys: still a worthwhile addition to the series.
My Rating: 3/5 stars
8. And the Ocean was Our Sky by Patrick Ness
Patrick Ness… Mad genius, or just madman…? That question always comes to mind with this man’s books, as all of them just have an element of bizarreness that seems to be unique to his brand. And the Ocean was Our Sky was no different in that regard. There is no better way to explain this than saying it’s a “species-flipped” retelling of Moby Dick. Yeah, you heard me right: species-flipped. In this beautifully illustrated retelling we follow a crew of Whales on their version of a hunting vessel, searching for the monster that has terrorized whalekind for years now: the terrible human Toby Wick. Yes, this book is a little ridiculous. It’s also quite brilliant at times, especially when it comes to the worldbuilding and symbolism. You can find my full thoughts in my review, linked here
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
9. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
With my finishing update, I wrote on Goodreads that I wanted to write a review about Freshwater, but needed some time to set my thoughts straight, as there is so much to unpack in this little book. I still stand by that update. Even though it has already been two weeks since then, my thoughts are not much clearer than they were straight after finishing it. Freshwater weaves a Nigerian woman’s struggle with her sexual and personal identity, together with African spirit-mythology, into an intricate and tapestry with an important message. I’m not sure if I’m the correct person to review this novel, as I share none of the struggles of sexuality or race with the protagonist and couldn’t share any insight on that part. No matter what I decide to do (write a review, or don’t), I’m going to sit on this one for a while, to fully let it sink in. It’s a very interesting novel, and no matter your background, I encourage you to read it and judge for yourself.
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
10. Petra’s Ghost by C.S. O’Cinneide
My final and favorite ARC I read this month was Petra’s Ghost; a travel-story with a ghostly twist, that made for a very impressive debut by C.S. O’Cinneide. We follow a recently widowed man, walking the Camino de Santiago (the 500-mile road to Santiago de Compostella) in honor of his wife with the goal of scattering her ashes at the end. He meets a young woman along the way, and the two continue their journey together, until both of them find themselves haunted by literal (?) ghosts of their pasts. You can find me full review linked here.
My Rating: 4/5 stars
11. Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
I’m going to be short about this one, as I’ve reread Grief is the Thing with Feathers many times before, and tried to talk about it as many times. I usually fail at the latter, mind you. This book is very personal to me, as it’s inseparably linked to the death of my mother, and my teenage self’s grieving process over that. Rereading it is therefore more a kind of therapy, than anything else, which means that I can’t possibly view this objectively in any way. As a book it has always been a 4.5 star for me, even thought my emotional attachment over the years has probably well cemented it as a 5-star favorite by now.
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
12. The Comet Seekers by Helen Sedgwick
After a false start in June with the audiobook of The Comet Seekers (due to the voices and accents the narrator choose being very jarring to me), I almost put down The Comet Seekers for good. However, as is by a sign from above, a stunning hardcover, deckled edge copy of the physical book showed up in perfect condition at my local used bookstore for only 4 euro’s . I took it home, I read it and I loved it. This beautifully crafted multigenerational magical realism story starts with two people under a comet-lit night-sky in Antarctica, and encompasses different countries, families, cultures and generations. If you like familybased stories with a magical realism twist (like for example The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender), you might want to consider picking this one up as well.
Full review to come
My Rating: 5/5 stars
13. Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
Lastly, my favorite book of the month is one that doesn’t require much introduction either. Muse of Nightmare, is the sequel to Strange the Dreamer and was many people’s (including my own) most anticipated 2018 release. I had heard some mixed reviews from people that I trust, and as I absolutely adored Strange the Dreamer, I was terrified that Muse of Nightmares would ruin that magic for me. Fortunately, the opposite was the case. I was, again, transported into Laini Taylors wonderous world from page one, which I didn’t realize I’d missed so much until I returned to it. Although I can understand some of the problems other readers had with it, it was still a near-perfect conclusion to a near perfect duology for me. You can find my review for the duology as a whole linked here
My Rating: 5/5 stars
That conclude my July 2019 wrap up. Normally, this would be where I talk about a few of the books I’m planning to read for the next month, but as I’m planning on participating in another readathon over the month of August, I already have a separate TBR up on my blog for that. I’d love to hear what your favorite book of the month was, and what you’re planning on reading during August. Until then, happy reading and see you soon!