Reading report July 2023

Everything in read in July 2023

8 min read

I didn’t do a post about what I read in June because I didn’t finish one single book during that month. However, I managed to get out of that reading slump with a vengeance and made my way through 13 books! So, let’s dive right into the reviews!

Books I read in July

“Have I told you this already? Stories I don’t want to Forget to Remember” by Lauren Graham

I am not normally into reading memoirs or books by celebreties but I do love Lauren Graham. Gilmore Girls is my number one favourite TV show and Lorelai my favourite character in it. And Lauren Graham is actually quite like the role she plays. Or at least she comes across that way in her books. I had previously read “Talking as fast as I can”, which I really enjoyed. “Have I told you this already” was fun, but some of the stories felt a bit unfinished or random. And she sounded a bit sad but covered it with humour. I don’t know. It was an okay read, but I didn’t love it.

3 stars.

“One Italian Summer” by Rebecca Searle

I thought I would love this as it had been recommended by a fair few people and I really enjoyed “In five years” by the same author. However, this one was not for me. The story has a good premise but I did not connect with the main character at all. It was difficult to understand the choices she made and I found her annoying and selfish. Similarly, some the other characters in the book, namely Caroline and Adam weren’t very likeable either.

However, the ending redeemed the book for me slightly and I did rather enjoy the descriptions of scenery, atmosphere and food. It made me feel like I was in Italy myself.

Another bonus, I listened to this on audio and the narrater is Lauren Graham (clearly I need to rewatch Gilmore Girls soon) and she was an absolute delight.

Overall though, 2.5 stars from me.

“1984” by George Orwell

This one was a book club read. I had read it previously but it was quite a while ago and because this is exactly the type of book I love to discuss I decided to re-read. It’s a great book but not a fun read. Rather, it is a bit depressing and quite frightening how close some of the descriptions of this dystopian world come to our lived realities today.

There are some sections which are a bit lengthy. Overall though, I am glad I decided to dive into it again. I listened to it on audio and it was quite well produced.

4.5 stars.

“The Humans” by Matt Haig

Another re-read – also due to book club. This was just thoroughly enjoyable. I think the best word to describe this book is “delightful”. I loved the cleverness, the humour and the characters. It’s so well written. Matt Haig analyses life as a human from an outside perspective, which is at times funny, at times also a bit tragic. However, after reading it I felt so grateful to be human and it just really made me appreciate the miracle we call life.

5 stars.

“Fourth Wing” by Rebecca Yarros

So, there is a lot of hype around this book. Which I wasn’t aware of when I picked it up. It was recommended to me in a newsletter I read but I hadn’t heard about it otherwhise. (Apparently I am not spending enough time on bookstagram!)

I loved every second of it. I normally don’t read fantasy, so this was very outside the box for me but I think I might have fallen in love a bit with that genre now. There’s dragons, a war college and an amazing female main character, who deals with disability and being belittled but does not let others get her down. And there is a very good, slow-burn romance. The only thing that wasn’t great about the whole experience was the audio production. I would not recommend it.

After finishing Fourth Wing I had a biiiig book hangover. I couldn’t stop thinking about the story and the characters and couldn’t stop despairing over the fact that the sequel won’t come out until November. This is very unlike me but I have spend considerable amounts of time scrolling fan-art and reading fan-fiction of possible ways the story might unfold. Yes, I am in deep…

5 stars with bells on!

“Wrong Place Wrong Time” by Gillian McAllister

This was fantastic. Again, a genre a normally don’t go for – thrillers are usually a bit too intense and gory for me. Wrong Place Wrong Time was neither of those things but instead just very clever. I loved the concept and the main character and the mystery. I didn’t really see any of it coming. This is the type of book that I think would make an excellent gift. I can imagine that nearly everyone would enjoy this who likes a good story with some unforseeable plot-twists.

Solid 5 stars.

“The Life Council: 10 Friends Every Woman Needs” by Laura Tremaine

I liked the general idea of this book: that we have different types of friendships. Most of the time there isn’t one friend who fills lots of different roles in our lives. Instead, we might have old friends who we share history with, friends who obsess over the same hobbies, books or sports and friends to do life with.

In the introductory part of the book Laura shares her friendship philosophies, some “rules” she lives by when it comes to friendship that really inspired and challenged me. However, the main chunk of the book is her detailing the 10 different type of friends. None of this seems to be based on any type of reasearch but just personal anecdotes. Reading about someone elses’s friendship was a bit boring and also made me feel a bit inadequate.

So overall, 2.5 stars for this one.

The Charlotte Holmes series by Brittany Cavallaro

This was actually four books: “A study in Charlotte”, “The Last of August”, “The Case for Jamie” and “A Question of Holmes”. The main characters are Charlotte Holmes and James Watson, descendents of the famous detective and his companion.

The stories were clever, fascinating and had real depth. I listened to them on audio and the narrators were just fantastic. The second book was my least favourite but some of the elements I disliked or found confusing made a lot of sense once I read the books that followed.

If you enjoy a good detective story that also deals with friendship, trauma, family conflict, young love and finding yourself, I would recommend these most highly.

5 stars for the series as a whole.

“Wenn der Glaube nicht mehr passt: Ein Umzugshelfer” – Martin Benz

This is a German book about an approach to faith. The title could be translated as “If you have outgrown your faith – a moving aid”. The book speaks to people who have come to limits with their faith, questions that don’t seem to have answers or have felt to hemmed in by it all.

Martin Benz tries to show some alternative approaches to the Christian faith that might solve some of those issues without having to abandon ones beliefs alltogether.

Some of his thoughts are certainly very intersting, others I did not find that convincing or new. However, it could serve as a good conversation starter, even with oneself.

3.5 stars.

“A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas

After loving “Fourth Wing” so much I decided to pick up another Fantasy novel (one where the whole series has been published already, so I am not tortured again). A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) is the first instalment in a five book series.

I found it pretty slow to begin with. There is a lot of set-up and background story given for the series as a whole. I didn’t mind this too much but it took me a little while to get into the book. The latter half got a lot more exciting and I immediately started the sequel (which is a lot more fast paced) once I had finished.

As a pretty new fantasy reader I sometimes struggled to imagine the different beings described in the story, ACOTAR had a lot more fantasy elements than Fourth Wing does. However, I am now thoroughly in the world of Fae and the different courts and all the magic that surrounds it.

4 stars for this one. (However, I am already very blown away by book #2!)

What have you been reading lately?

Have you read anything good lately? I am always so keen for recommendations! Have you read any of the books above or are you planning to do so?

Also, I listen to most audiobooks on Scribd, which I love. You can get a free 3-month trial if you use this link. If you want to read any of my previous book reports, you can find them here.

For now, happy reading!

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