July 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

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My reading life is just like real life – an up and down roller coaster on the daily. Some days I’m excited to read and other days…not so much.

July By the Numbers:

  • Total Books Read: 9 (6 DNFs)
  • Audiobooks: 2
  • Five Star Reads: 1
  • Unread Shelf: 1 (0 DNFs)
  • Books Aquired: 22
  • By Women Authors: 7 
  • Nonfiction Reads: 3
  • Published in 2020: 7

Favorite Book of July Without a Doubt: *** Deacon King Kong 🧡💛

Hands down…it’s my favorite book of the year so far!! I loved it so much!

This book tackles some serious subject matter, but also has some witty one liners that literally had me lol’ing! There is the most delightful cast of characters, but especially Sportcoat.

I LOVED this book so, so much! Please put it on your TBR immediately! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Here is an honorable mention:

  • *** Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (see below…)

I’m still participating in The Unread Shelf Project (hosted by Whitney at The Unread Shelf) and July’s prompt to was read a book picked by someone else. I posted a blog that offered Deacon King Kong, Friends and Strangers, and Mexican Gothic. The votes were overwhelmingly for Deacon King Kong – and yay! It’s so good!!!

  • *** Mexican Gothic by Silvia Garcia-Moreno ♥️
    • This was definitely a highly anticipated summer book for me, but overall I was left a little underwhelmed. I loved the gothic elements – haunted house, isolated setting, totally creepy vibes – and I was introduced to just enough information about eugenics to want to research the topic a little more outside of the book, but I thought the plot could have been a little tighter. There were times where it felt too meandering and not enough plot propulsion. I’m happy I read it, but I just wanted a little bit more by the end. ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
  • *** Friends and Strangers by J. Courtney Sullivan 😫
    • ❌ Sadly, this is a DNF for me. I just couldn’t get into the plot. It felt like Sullivan was trying to introduce too many issues without any real exploration. To be fair, maybe a lot of these seemingly random topics would have come together in a more coherent way, but I just didn’t find myself caring enough to find out.

If I’m being honest, having people pick my books doesn’t really excite me, so after I had one book picked (to fulfill the challenge), I focused my attention on ready NetGalley/Edelweiss books in an effort to get some of my ebook TBR numbers lower. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feel like I even made a dent, so I may extend this to August’s TBR (stay tuned!).

I also read the following books:

  • *** The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix 🧛🏼‍♂️
    • On the surface, this book provides some good discussion points: classism, captialism, racism, white saviorism, and sexism. But the main story about a vampire lurking in the neighborhood, slowly feeding on the bodies of children is just bizarre. Literally, there is no other word for this book! The book’s banter immediately sucked me in, I enjoyed the satire of the entire book, but when it was all said and done, I also felt icky at what I’d just consumed (ripped off earlobes, rats, snakes, cockroaches – IYKYK!). This is possibly one of the hardest books for me to give an actual star rating, but I ultimately landed on ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (**Trigger warnings!**)
  • *** 🎧 Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Díaz 👱🏽‍♀️
    • This was the second go-round I had with this book. I started it on audio a few months ago and could not get pulled into the story. I knew it was important and I knew I’d want to hear what Díaz had to say – I just had to find the right time. I ordered a puzzle at the beginning of quarantine and it finally came in, so I pulled out my earbuds and settled in. Díaz is incredibly raw and honest and vulnerable (my favorite kind of memoir). She has a heartbreaking story, but one that’s also full of hope and promise. I’m genuinely amazed at how resilient some people can be given their upbringing and Díaz is, without a doubt, a survivor! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (**Trigger warnings!**)
  • *** 🎧 Craigslist Confessional: A Collection of Secrets from Anonymous Strangers by Helena Dea Bala 🗣
    • I’m an outlier on this one, but I disliked this book so much! Each chapter was the absolute most depressing story you’ve ever heard…and then you’d get to the next one and it was just as depressing as the last one. There wasn’t a single bit of light in this book – nobody showing any growth from their tragedies or mistakes, no insight into the situation…literally just a confessional of what seemed to be each person’s worst day of their life. ⭐️⭐️
      • (To be fair, I have since read a review of this book where it was suggested to read the actual book and not listen to the audiobook and that definitely could have been where the dislike came from for me. I may have had a more favorable opinion if I had read it in print…so if you still feel like giving this one a try – get the actual book!)
  • *** Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein 🤸🏻‍♀️
    • This was a great distraction read and it helped fill the void I’m feeling from the Olympics being canceled. I really liked the elite gymnast angle and how it took on the corruption of the real life USA Gymnastics program. What didn’t work so well for me was the romantic relationship between Avery and Ryan. I just never felt the spark between them and found myself skimming these parts to get back to the gymnastics! ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
  • *** Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi 👩🏾‍🔬
    • After loving Gyasi’s first book (Homegoing is on my All-Time Favorites list!), my expectations were pretty high. It was a slow start, but once I got into the plot, the story really took off. Very different than Gyasi’s debut, this book takes a hard look at addiction and its ripple effects on family members. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha 🕵🏽‍♀️
    • Though this book was written last year, it feels extremely relavant to current events. Set in LA during the riots of 1992, this book really accentuates the racial tension between the Koreans and Blacks of that time period. I was compelled enough to finish, but I was really hoping for nuance and insight. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • The Beauty in Breaking by Michele Harper 🏥
    • Another book I had high hopes for but ultimately fell just a little flat. Harper proves herself to be a highly empathetic, kind, and patient emergency room doctor in Philadelphia. She is constantly on her toes as she never knows what’s going to be coming though the ER doors. She does a fabulous job of taking a single patient’s story and examining it in greater detail to relate it to her own life and experiences, as well as adding to the nation conversations – specifically, the racial tensions we’re all experiencing right now. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I tried but wasn’t feeling:

Unread Shelf Update:

I recounted my books because I SUCK at keeping track of these details. I will try harder for the second half of 2020,🤞🏼but we’ll see how it goes. Either I’m not organized enough, I’m too lazy, or my system doesn’t work, but my numbers never seem to be accurate.

Here’s the thing: these piles of unread books are driving me crazy! I want/need these numbers to dwindle down for my sanity’s sake. What’s kind of making me sad is that my numbers haven’t decreased at all despite my purging and reading mostly from my already owned shelves! 😳 For whatever reason, that stresses me out!

I acquired 22 books in July.

My newly updated totals are:

  • Physical: 287
  • Digital ARCs: 71
  • Kindle Books: 50

The new total of books on my bookshelves is 408! 😭😭😭

I’m still loving this challenge though I do feel like I lost sight of it due to everything else going on in my life. If you’d like to participate, head over to Whitney’s blog for more information!

There you have it! What was your favorite read from your July TBR?

(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)

 

2 thoughts on “July 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

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