I think… maybe… possibly… I’ve started to get the hang of this new mom thing. I mean I managed to read 8 books! Most of them were from the library because I’m trying to spend less money on the books I’m itching to read because hi newborns are expensive. Here’s my official wrap-up of the month, in chronological order of when I read them.
1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han: 3 / 5 stars
Yes, it was my first time ever reading this book (despite the fact that I got a physical ARC way back in 2013). Yes I read it specifically because the movie was coming out. And honestly, giving it 3 stars is generous. I just… do not understand the hype around this book! I personally thought the movie was better. I thought Lara Jean was incredibly immature and annoyed me so so much. And everything was just overly descriptive, of both the scenery and Lara Jean’s life. Basically it was too sugary for me. Sickly sweet and predictable.
2. Carry On – Rainbow Rowell: 3.5 / 5 stars
I definitely would have given this book more stars if it didn’t take me so long to get into it! As it was though, for like at least half of the book I just kept thinking of how much of a knock off of Harry Potter this is! SO. MANY. SIMILARITIES. Humdrum as a villain is just like Voldemort, down to him being connected to Simon and there being a prophecy. Penny = Hermione. The Mage = Dumbledore. Fight me, you know I’m right. All that being said, the book definitely got better once Baz showed up. And once it got hella gay I obviously loved it more.
3. Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy: 3.5 / 5 stars
I so wanted to love this book. I figured Willowdean would be wonderful and relatable, and it would have cast of wonderful contemporary characters, and that I would fall head over heels for Bo. Nope. I was let down in those respects. Not to say the characters were bad or that I disliked this book; I enjoyed my reading experience of this and the characters were fine. But that’s just it – everything was simply fine. All of the things that I wanted to be drawn out more and explored were under written.
4. When I Was Puerto Rican – Esmeralda Santiago: 4 / 5 stars
I absolutely loved this book. It’s basically a latina version of The Glass Castle. It’s an intricate look into the author’s early childhood years, and her relationship with her parents. She had a tumultuous life experience when she was a kid and they definitely did not have much growing up – something exacerbated by the fact that her mom kept getting pregnant… ended up with 11 children altogether I believe. But in the end I felt really uplifted. I enjoyed getting to see a slice of her life in particular, because I loved her perspective as a girl from Puerto Rico who was basically raised as both Puerto Rican and American. The mix of Spanish and English words felt so authentic I could almost smell the food her mother was cooking, breath the air she was breathing in their tiny hut in Puerto Rico. I highly recommend this if you enjoy nonfiction, and it’s not a very long book so it’s easy to get through.
5. Eliza and Her Monsters – Francesa Zappia: 4/5 stars
I read this in one sitting in a matter of hours. And to be honest when I closed the book I had hearts in my eyes and wanted to give it 5 stars immediately. But now that I have reflected on it a bit, I’m definitely leaning towards 4 stars as my final rating.The biggest reason for this is that some of the characters in this were assholes. I understand creating unlikable characters, and I do think they add variety to a story. However I don’t think these characters were meant to be that way, which is troubling. Specifically Eliza’s parents (I could write an entire thesis on their wrong-doings) and Eliza’s love interest, Wallace. I’ll give you one big example from each for why I hate them and their incredibly problematic ways. So Wallace basically yells at her and guilt trips her about her fame when I finds out she was keeping it a secret that she wrote the fanfiction story. He blows up on her to the point that she contemplates suicide. After having dealt with his father’s death already e doesn’t even think about the impact his words have on her. Then her freaking parents… they are so oblivious about their children: what their personalities are like, how to care for them, the best way to look out for them, how to talk to them… it’s gross. BUT. Besides these 3 characters, I adored this book. I thought it was an interesting way to look at individuals with anxiety, and it was a stellar tribute to fandom culture.
6. My Plain Jane – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows: 4 / 5 stars
To say I had high hopes for this would be an understatement. My Lady Jane was in my top 5 favorite books of 2017 easily. It was freaking hilarious and original and adorable. This book, while still great, basically had watered down attributes of the first one. It was funny, but not hilarious; cute at times, but not adorable; and still original, but I didn’t care as much about the originality at this point since I had already had a taste of their writing. The “original” aspect of it that I did love was the idea of Charlotte Bronte and Jane Eyre being close friends, and Charlotte basing her novel on the real events of her friend. What was disappointing about this book was that the titular character was my least favorite of them. Alexander was probably my favorite, followed by Branwell to be honest. But I did laugh a couple of times out loud while I listened to this audiobook. And it was an interesting reimagining of the events of Jane Eyre. Especially the ghostly bits.
7. Leah on the Offbeat – Becky Albertalli: 5 / 5 stars
This was such an easy 5 stars to give. Leah is my everything. I relate to her on so many levels it’s insane. I love her complexity, how she’s so snarky and distant, but craves love and attention and friendship. She’s complicated and precious and I love her to bits. Oh and she’s bi as hell and it’s wonderful. I loved seeing Simon & Bram and Abby from a new perspective. I loved how her growth in this as she is basically told by her mom and Abby how what she says impacts them. I just loved this book and thought it was flawless.
8. Hephaistos – George O’Connor: 5 / 5 stars
I received an electronic version of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I honestly learned more in this volume than I have for a long time. This is definitely in the top 3 favorite of this series for me. I really liked hearing about Hephaestus’ story, I knew basically nothing about it previously. And I’m glad we finally got to see Dionysus. I’ll definitely be buying a finished paper copy of this when it comes out! The last page had blank speech bubbles so I need to see how it ends!
And that’s it! Comment below and let me know what you read this August <3