Sunday, August 7, 2016

July Wrap-Up

Hi guys ^^ So today I'm sharing with you all the books I read in July and what I thought about them. Overall, July was a nice reading month for me. I read a total of 8 books and in general, I enjoyed everything I read. Below I've ranked the books in the order I rated them, starting with ones I gave the lowest rating to till the ones I enjoyed most.

And as usual, this wrap-up is spoiler-free!

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum - After a tornado whisks her aunt’s house out of Kansas, Dorothy suddenly finds herself into the strange land of Oz. There she meets new friends, the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion, and together they set out to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz, who is said to be powerful enough to grant wishes and send Dorothy back home.

I honestly thought the book was just okay. I didn't hate it or anything, but I'm not crazy about it either. I thought the characters were waaaay too nice XD. Especially, the sweet little Dorothy... Like, come on, no one is that nice, lol. But apart from that, overall the story was quite fun. Also, I actually listened to this one on audiobook and it was narrated by Brooke Shields, who did an awesome job with it. In fact, it's only because I loved Brooke Shields's narration so much that I ended up kind of enjoying the book. I don't think I'll be reading the rest of the Oz books though. 

My rating: 3 stars

If you want to give this book a go, I recommend listening to the audiobook narrated by Brooke Shields. She did such a great job with it!

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne - Set in an early Puritan New England colony, the story follows Hester Prynne, who is condemned to wear a scarlet letter A on her chest for having committed adultery and given birth to a child as a result. The story also follows Reverend Dimmesdale, a man tortured by a terrible secret and the vengeful Chillingworth, the man Hester was married to and who has now returned to the town after several years of absence.

So this is a classic I'd been meaning to read for the longest time. While I can appreciate its literary value, especially with regards to its social commentary and the time period when it was written, unfortunately I didn't ended up enjoying it as much as I thought I would. I found the book a little dry to be honest. Not much happened plotwise and I couldn't really connect with any of the characters. I do think this book is worth a read, but I don't see myself ever rereading it.

My rating: 3 stars

This is not a bad book by any means and I do think you should give it a try if the book interests you. However, there are a lot more classics out there that I enjoyed way more than this one.

Falling Kingdoms and Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes - In a world when magic is banned, four young people from different parts of the realm are brought together through violence and fate. In the kingdom in the south, privileged Princess Cleo finds her world turned upside down as she finds herself trying to save her dying sister while around them, their kingdom is readying for war. In another land, the young Jonas finds himself in the middle of a rebellion. And in the north, prince Magnus is trying to earn his father’s respect as he prepares himself to one day succeed him while his sister, Lucia discovers a terrifying secret about her heritage.

Firstly, I'd like to point out that this book is not the best literary work out there. There are a few tropes thrown in here and there and the writing wasn't anything that blew me away. However, I still fell completely in love with the series! The books are so fast paced and fun to read that you can't help keep turning the pages. I wasn't crazy about the characters in book 1 but they've been growing on me since book 2 and now I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

My rating: 3 stars for Falling Kingdoms & 4 stars for Rebel Spring

If you want a fun YA fantasy series which is as fast-paced as it's action packed, this series is for you! Plus, the series does improve with each book.

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix - Strange things have been happening at the Orsk furniture superstore. With the security cameras revealing nothing and management at the brink of panic, some employees volunteer to stay after work hours to investigate. As they patrol empty showroom floors and follow strange sights and sounds to horrors beyond their imagination, they soon realize that they are not alone inside the store.

I’ve never had so much fun reading a horror story before! Plot-wise, you could say that it’s quite a straightforward ghost story. However, what sets this book apart from others in the genre is the setting of this fictional Ikea-like store. A furniture store after dark can be spooky as hell and the book makes the best use of its setting to convey the feeling of horror that hovers over the characters trapped in there. There’s never a dull moment in this book and although I wouldn’t say that this is the scariest book I’ve ever read, there were several places where it did seriously spook me out! Also, the design of this book is just great. The book is basically designed like an IKEA catalogue. Like, how cool is that? I wrote a full review of this book, which you can also check out here if you want.

My rating: 4 stars 

Do yourself a favor and pick this book up! You might not want to read it before going to bed though, haha.

Wildwood by Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis - When Prue's baby brother is kidnapped by crows - yes, actual crows - she jumps on her bike and follows them inside a strange world known as Wildwood. In this strange land, a deposed ruler is amassing an army of coyotes to take her vengeance on those who ended her rule, some bandits are forming a rebellion and in the midst of it all, a terrible and powerful threat is about to be unleashed on all of Wildwood. Soon enough, Prue realizes that whether she wants it or not, her fate is now tied with the rest of the land's. 

I really, really enjoyed this book. It was like an old school children magical adventure full of fantastic settings, awesome descriptions and world building, great writing and lots of whimsical and interesting characters ranging from coyote soldiers to owl princes. The main characters were pretty cool and it was nice to follow each one's point of view and storyline. Plus, the book is illustrated and the artwork was just amazing. There are 2 more books in this series and I can't wait to dive into those as well.

My rating: 4 stars 

I highly, highly recommend this book. Reading it was such a magical experience!

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodges Burnett - After she is orphaned, Mary Lennox comes to live with her uncle in his great and mysterious house on the Yorkshire Moors. At first Mary is bored, with no one of her own age around to keep her company. One day though, Mary finds a key that leads to a secret garden where no one has been in years. As she begins to unravel the secrets of the house and this mysterious garden, Mary finds help in unexpected friends and together, they begin to restore the locked garden slowly back to its former life.

Reading this book was so much fun! I loved the story, the characters, the writing, everything! Sometimes, classic children books can be a bit sickly sweet. Looking at you Dorothy XD. However, The Secret Garden does a much better job at portraying endearing, yet flawed characters. Mary, our main character is witty and sharp-tongued. She's quite a detestable child when we first meet her and throughout the book she undergoes a truly interesting character growth. Overall, this book was really charming and I do see myself rereading it at some point.

My rating: 4 stars 

I highly recommend this book for those of you who enjoy children books, especially those with unique characters.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab - In a world where acts of violence give birth to real monsters, nowhere is really safe. Kate Harker wants to be as ruthless as her father, the most powerful man in town, whose forces keep the monsters at bay, and who makes the humans pay for his protection. August Flynn wants nothing more than to be human, as kind-hearted as his father, the man leading the resistance against the monsters and Harker. However, August is one of the very monsters his world has fallen prey to. His is the ability to steal souls and all it takes is music. When violence suddenly forces Kate and August to cross paths, everything they thought they understand about themselves and their world begins to change.

This book guys! It was my favorite was last month. It was fast paced, the plot was unique, the writing was very descriptive and all the characters were well fleshed out and unique. You follow both August's and Kate's perspectives in this book and I enjoyed both equally. Plus, the setting itself of this world was really cool. And then you have the monsters. We're talking actual blood and flesh preying monsters here guys! So yeah, this book was lots of fun. If you want to know what else I thought of it, look forward for my full review which is coming in a few days ^^

My rating: 4 stars 

Read this book. Trust me, you deserve it :)

So that's it for this wrap-up guys. I hope you enjoyed it. If you've read or plan to read any of these books, share your thoughts with me in the comments. And look forward for my next post which will be a full review of This Savage Song ^^


  1. I so badly want to read This Savage Song! I've heard so many amazing things about it and it sounds like something that could be really awesome. I mean, it's music and monsters! I also really want to read Horrorstor since for one I love IKEA XD Awesome haul!

    1. I hope you'll enjoy them when you pick up these books. Thanks ^^

  2. Horrorstor sounds interesting. Interesting cover too. At first glance I thought it was an ad or a magazine. I just started This Savage Song! Only a few pages in, but I think I'll like it!

    Ally @ The Scribbling Sprite

    1. Yeah, the book is designed like a catalog. That's part of the fun hehe.

  3. I read The Secret Garden for the first time in high school and I loved it! We watched the television series in English class too! After that, I reread it a few times and always enjoyed it so I'm glad you did too :D I NEED to get my hands on This Savage Song...I'm kicking myself for not preordering it with my gift card a while back >.< Oh and your experience with Oz reminds me of mine with Alice in Wonderland. I grew up with the animated series and love the films but the original book fell a bit flat for me. I didn't hate it, I just didn't love it either. Lovely reviews all around Soudha! xxx

    1. Oh that's so nice! I wish I had discovered the book as a child. And watched the series too! I wish I could have enjoyed Oz more! I also felt the same for Alice at first but now it's one of my favorite books :)