July Reading Wrap-up 2019

Saturday, August 03, 2019
For the month of July I did want to dedicate most of the month to classic books but that didn't go to plan...at all. I managed to read eight books in July and the month overall was disappointing sadly but I did read a couple of great books including: Girls of Paper and Fire, All That Remains and The Raven's Head. I was also in the middle of two great books but those books will be reviewed my next wrap-up post.

Unfortunately I did have to DNF a few books this month which is even more disappointing as I had to DNF a book I thought I'd love: Wakenhyrst by Micelle Paver which was just incredibly bleak and a little boring, if I'm honest. I also DNF'd five LGBT fantasy/historical fiction reads which were just unbelievably cheesy but thankfully they were all free on Kindle Unlimited so I didn't waste any money on them. Overall, not a great reading month so hopefully August will be better as it's my birthday month!

*Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan (384 pages) ★★★★ 
Unlike June, the majority genre I read in July wasn't non-fiction but fantasy. I adore fantasy reads especially with LGBT characters so when I was offered the opportunity to take part in the blog tour for Girls of Paper and Fire, I had to accept, particularly as it has been on my wish list since it was released. I've already reviewed this book on my blog so for my full review and thoughts, check it out. I will say that it's full of magic, courtly rituals, power play, a forbidden romance and the bonds of family and camaraderie. I loved the quick and easy but very vivid writing style which allowed me to read half of the book in one day as I couldn't put it down! If you like rich fantasy worlds with LGBT characters, magic and politics then check out Girls of Paper and Fire.

*The Bone Garden by Heather Kassner (336 pages) ★★★ 
How gorgeous is this cover, it is making me wish that it was halloween and October now! Although to be honest, I want it to be autumn all year round. In The Bone Garden, we follow Irreelle, who is not your typical girl, with her mismatched limbs and white hair; she is tasked with unusual duties she carries out for her beautiful, magical and mysterious guardian. When she uncovers a secret about herself and a mysterious boy, she finds that her already dark and mysterious world of bones and the dead is even darker and more tragic than she imagined.

Firstly, I love the incredibly quick and easy writing which allowed me to speed through this book in one day. I also liked the The Addams Family and halloween vibes of the storyline/characters so I think it would have been more appropriate for me to read it in October but I still enjoyed it despite the 31 degrees celsius weather we had while I was reading it! If you like books with a halloween theme, friendship and things that go bump in the night then definitely check out this book.

Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli (212 pages) ★★★ (3.5) 
I only read a few non-fiction reads in July which is very minimal compared to the month before but I did enjoy all of the non-fiction books I read, including this one all about inspirational, intelligent and groundbreaking women throughout history. The individuals mentioned each have a page describing the main aspects of their lives, struggles and achievements as well as a second page featuring a gorgeous portrait. The illustrations throughout this book were utterly gorgeous!

As this is a YA/childrens book, the language was suitable for that age group but that was my only negative as an adult reader (well, that and the inclusion of Margaret Thatcher who shouldn't have been included, in my opinion). It was a great introduction to so many amazing women, some of which I hadn't heard of. I think this book would be an incredible read for any girls or young women and I wish I had this book at a younger age. I cannot recommend this book enough, especially for younger audiences so I've donated it to my local primary school.
Messenger Of Fear by Michael Grant (309 pages) ★★ 
A used book that I've had on my shelves for a while is Messanger of Fear by Michael Grant which has an amazing cover and beneath the cover it is covered in illustrations too - love! We follow Mara as she is confronted by a mysterious young man who calls himself the 'messenger of fear'. What follows is an uncovering of Mara's new life, her macabre duties and her ultimately devastating memories.

The writing style is very simplistic, the text is huge and the dialogue is quite basic so it made for an extremely quick read. I didn't personally connect with it or the characters at all and I was left feeling a little disappointed if I'm honest. I did like the discussion around morality and the inclusion of darker, more controversial topics such as bullying, death, murder, grief, OCD and more but I felt as though a book that's going to fully deal with those topics needs to be more in-depth and more meaningful than this one was, in my opinion. I won't be carrying on with the second book and if I'm honest, I don't think I'd fully recommend this read sadly, especially if you might be affected by the potentially triggering topics I've mentioned.

*Hearts Of Blood by Kay Doherty (155 pages) ★★
I was in such a reading slump throughout most of the second half of July so I wanted to pick up a short, quick and entertaining read and for me, those tend to be paranormal LGBT or fantasy reads. This e-arc from Netgalley seemed perfect as a pick me up while in a reading slump and it did work but as with some of the other books of this nature, it was just very cheesy at times which I can never seem to ignore. I did love the fast pace, entertaining story and the paranormal/vampire/wolf elements but it was more explicit than I thought it would be and it was incredibly cheesy at times so I ended up rolling my eyes throughout it sadly. I do tend to like books from this publisher though so I will look out for them in the future.

*Seance on a Summer's Night by Josh Lanyon (318 pages) ★★★
As well as history focused non-fiction and fantasy genres, another of my favourite genres has to be mysteries. We follow Artemus as he is summoned back home to the Green Lantern Inn by his aunt who may have murdered her philandering husband. It's a haunted house story with two LGBT characters and a mystery involving subterfuge, ghosts, a seance, money and deception. Before I get into the negatives, I will say that it was a quick and easy read with some fantastically eerie supernatural sections but...it was quite repetitive, drawn out and I didn't like the insta-love. It had a great premise but I just didn't connect with it at all and I was left a little disappointed, if I'm honest.
*Jack Of Thorns by Amelia Faulkner (402 pages) ★★
Through most of the month I didn't want to read anything from my shelves so I decided to request this book on Netgalley which was very different to the books I typically read. We follow Lawrence, a florist with a troubled past, drug addiction and magical abilities with plants. We also follow Quentin, the earl of Banbury, who has mysterious untapped and uncontrolled magical abilities of his own.

I liked the premise and the inclusion of Celtic gods as well as how quick and easy it was to read but...it was just incredibly cheesy, ridiculous and I couldn't help but roll my eyes and cringe throughout it. I hoped it would get better and I never like to DNF books, especially if I've requested it from the publisher and as I had DNF'd so many books this month already, but I wish I hadn't carried on with this one sadly.

All That Remains: A Life in Death by Sue Black (368 pages) ★★★★★
I finished this book during the Reading Rush Readathon for the 'read an authors first book' challenge and I believe that this is her first solo book although she has contributed to others. I've already read a couple of books on this topic by Carla Valentine, Caitlin Doughty and Judy Melinek and I found all of them to be incredibly interesting so I knew this one would be too. Sue Black is a professor of anatomy and forensic anthropology so within this book she explores her field and her career as well as her life, relationships and her encounters with the death of relatives.

I'm not an outwardly emotive person but the sections in which she explains her experiences with the death of her parents had me very close to tears numerous times! I also found the section about Kosovo to be extremely heartbreaking and I had to put the book down quite a few times as it was just too much. She approaches the topic of death and everything it involves in a very logical, slightly distanced way at times and she also doesn't shy away from the harsh realities, regrets and more macabre truths but she combines that with personality and dark humour (I loved Caitlin Doughty's books because of those reasons too).

There's dark, dry British humour within this read which I loved, I found it to be incredible interesting and while I did know some of the information from watching the History Cold Cases TV show she was involved in and from my previous reading, it was still throughly interesting. From her own life experiences, her career and her views to a plethora of shocking statistics, case studies and her opinions on death. I cannot recommend this book enough as I found it to be equally interesting and thought provoking as well as utterly heartbreaking and moving.

Have you read any of these books? 



  1. All That Remains sounds like a great book x


  2. Girls of paper and fire sounds like a great read!

    Candice x


  3. I've actually not heard of any of these! I've been a bit slow over the last few weeks with reading xx

    Tiffany x www.foodandotherloves.co.uk

  4. Oh I love a good book post!! Will have a nosey at these ones xx

  5. I really must read an actual book and not something easily found online! Thank you for sharing your recommendations x

  6. I can't believe how many books you get through!
    Em x

  7. I've heard amazing things about All That Remains book!

    Love, Amie ❤
    The Curvaceous Vegan

  8. I always write down the books I like the sound of from your posts! x

  9. All That Remains sounds amazing. It's a shame there wasn't more stand out reads this month x


  10. I hate it when I have a DNF book and it is rare I get one, but this month I did have one and it was such a dull book x

  11. A Life in Death sounds really incredible!

    Jasmine xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

  12. Fantasy is my favourite type of book. They all sound interesting.


  13. I haven't read any of these books. I'm really into reading biographies.


  14. Girls of Paper & Fire sounds so good! I'm currently reading Mythos by Stephen Fry.

  15. I so wish I had the energy to read more! :(

    Erin || MakeErinOver

  16. Wow! Never heard of any of these titles and I think I'm going to give them a miss. They don't really seem up my alley and especially since they seem all that good! Thanks for the heads-up!

    Daisy xoxo | TheDeeWhoLived

  17. the bone garden sounds so interesting.

  18. I have Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls for a while now but still haven't gotten around to it.


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