Well everyone, July is over! Seven months down, only five more to go for the year, if you can believe it. July has certainly been quite a hectic month for the both of us, but I think we’ve also both ended it in a good place, so yay for that! We hope you’ve ended the month in a good place too 🧡
Before we get into the post, we have a few important resources to share with you:
- The sacred Pololū Valley is under threat due to a proposal to build a subdivision along the ridge. Here is a petition you can sign to help and a video with some more information (particularly in the comments, rather than the video itself).
- In June, the Hungarian Parliament passed a law that bans the ‘portrayal or promotion’ of homosexuality or gender reassignment. You can learn more about the Hungarian government’s systematic oppression LGBTQ+ people here. If you can afford to, you can also donate to Háttér Society, an LGBTQ+ organization operating in Hungary.
- The Legacy of Hope Foundation, which is “a national, Indigenous-led, charitable organization that has been working to promote healing and Reconciliation in Canada for more than 19 years.”
- The Indian Residential School Survivor Society who “strive to provide physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual growth, development, and healing through culturally-based values and guiding principles for Survivors, Families, and Communities.”
- Decolonize Palestine is “a collection of resources for organizers and anyone who wants to learn more about Palestine.”
What We Did
Just to get the bad bits out of the way: my state underwent lockdown number five which we are just coming out of, the state above me is experiencing a bad outbreak, and my family is also going through some tough stuff.
Moving swiftly on, however: before the lockdown, I had a nice time out in the city with a couple of my friends! We visited some vintage stores which were full of interesting items and clothes. We also went to an artist’s market which had a lot of unique stuff and of course, we broke up the shopping with brunch. It was a lot of fun to explore the city after being away from it for a while.
Additionally, I had a lot of fun getting into Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links once again with no regard for moderation and I got a new phone for the first time in years! I’m also trying out a new face cleanser and so far I think it’s working well, which is honestly a shock after so many failed products. Ooh also – I have a snake plant that I was keeping indoors before I killed it. Or so I thought! I put it outside even though all the leaves were dead, and a couple days ago, I discovered a new leaf was growing! Hopefully it gets healthier as time goes on. So, there has been a lot of good amongst the bad 🙂
July was an interesting month, to say the least! As some of you will remember from our June Wrap Up, I promised to myself that I would start looking for a job on the 1st of July. I was extremely stressed and worried about the whole process, as I know very well how challenging it can be to find a job, particularly when you don’t own the most useful of degrees and when you have extremely limited job experience. Long story short, I fully believed that it would take me at least a couple of months to find a job. Imagine my surprise when I managed to land a job that sounds really decent in nine days. I know I needed a lot of luck for this, but nonetheless I’m also really happy and proud of myself, especially because I managed to keep my cool during the job interview which just so happened to be my very first job interview. There’s a three month long probation period – this is normal in Hungary and I assume lots of other places – so root for me during that, please? 😊
I spent the weeks before starting my job trying to meet up with all of my friends, so I went hiking and shopping multiple times, and even tried a few cool ice cream places throughout the month. It was incredible to meet with friends I haven’t seen for a while, and I’m hoping that I will be able to find the time to meet with and keep in contact with all of my friends even while working. Speaking of work, I started working on the 26th, so that means that I’m still very much in the process of being trained for my job. To tell you the truth, we haven’t even had the chance to try the job we’ll be doing yet, so that’s a bit surprising, but I’m glad they are trying their best to give us a full training. The first day was rough, as I typically struggle when I’m thrown into new environments and am forced to interact with new people, but the second day was a lot easier and it really feels like each day gets a little easier. 😊 Currently, I’m going into work nearly every day, but after the training I’ll be able to work from home the majority of the time, which makes me really happy.
What We Read
I went through a terrible slump this month where I couldn’t bring myself to even touch a book for about a week. I had to return some books to the library even though I had been waiting in queues for a long time for them 😦 I’m already back in the queue for one of them, and hopefully it won’t be as long a wait this time. Somehow, I still managed to finish nine books, which, though on the lower end of the scale, is not bad for me. Here’s some thoughts about just five of those books:
THE ONES WE’RE MEANT TO FIND was certainly an interesting YA sci-fi book. It wasn’t the one for me, however, as I found it to be extremely slow moving – especially in the first half. There were several twists in this book, but they either did not surprise me or they didn’t matter at all to me because of a lack of secondary character development. I still enjoyed the themes explored in the story and would be interested in reading more from this author.
ACT YOUR AGE, EVE BROWN is such a fun adult romance – it constantly had me laughing – out loud! – and grinning at the characters’ antics. Eve Brown in particular is precious and I adore her and the way she realises things about herself over the course of the book. There were so many amazing scenes in this one that will stick with me for a long time.
WATCH OVER ME is a book I’d been wanting to read for a long time, and I finally squeezed it in. Sadly, I don’t think the book lived up to its full potential – it read more like a short novella than the full YA contemporary I was expecting. The atmosphere was wonderful and the story was truly poignant. I think I could have grown to love the characters and their relationships too, but I believe a longer book was necessary for that. A lot of relationship development seemed to happen off page which could be quite jarring for the reader. Still, I gave this 4 stars!
SITTING PRETTY is a nonfiction mostly-memoir on disability, ableism, accessibility, feminism and more. I really loved the writing style of this one and the way the author approached telling her story. It was very easy to read but still introduced me to new ways of thinking and taught me some things I wasn’t aware of. I highly recommend this one!
THE MAIDENS was unfortunately a massive disappointment to me. I was expecting a thrilling dark academia mystery, but, among other things, it was boring, lacked atmosphere and was predictable. It had terrible messaging and characters plus some of the dialogue was actually laughable. I agree so much with Jesse’s video review here, and it gave me a laugh as well, if you want to hear more about this book.
I’m surprised and pleased to say that I managed to read 16 books in July, which is my second best month of 2021 so far. I’m really happy with this number, as well as with my average rating, which was a 4.0. As I’ve read so many books this month I’m going to only mention the highs and the lows of this month.
I rated five books five stars in July – you can’t see the fifth book here (Wild Invitation) because I chose to not include it as (1) it was a reread, (2) I talk enough about the Psy-Changeling series on here. But just in case you haven’t read the series… maybe you should look into that? 😛 Anyhow, let me say a few words about the four boks highlighted above.
- TOKYO EVER AFTER is a fantastic YA Contemporary novel that was inspired by The Princess Diaries and Crazy Rich Asians. Not going to lie, some of the things were predictable, but with such a charming novel and a bodyguard romance, this was an absolute winner for me.
- LITTLE is a historical novel that focuses on the childhood and teenage years of Madame Tussaud. Of course, this isn’t the book to read if you want to get factual information on Madame Tussaud, but it’s great fun and I particularly recommend it for those who enjoy darker, more macabre novels.
- IN THE GARDEN OF SPITE is another historical novel, albeit an even darker one than Little, as it is based on a real life female serial killer / black widow. If you are into slower horror novels, you really shouldn’t miss out on this one.
- CHINA RICH GIRLFRIEND is, of course, the follow up to Crazy Rich Asians, and I’m pleased to report that it’s even better than it’s predecessor. Filled with over the top situations and characters, this is a book I could not put down.
- THE TAKING OF JAKE LIVINGSTON is, sadly, the biggest disappointment of July for me, as it’s the only book I didn’t finish this month. My biggest issue with this YA horror was that the characters felt incredibly bland, which made me unable to care about their story.
- THE WOLF AND THE WOODSMAN is an adult fantasy novel I’m super conflicted about – I definitely liked some aspects of it, while others left me utterly disappointed. For more information, you can read my review by clicking here.
- THE SHADOWS is an adult horror novel that I expected so much more from after how much I enjoyed The Whisper Man by the author. Sadly, The Shadows didn’t hold my interest at all.
- ALIENATED is a YA fantasy that has been on my physical tbr for years, so even if it wasn’t particularly good, I’m glad I finally read it. It’s definitely a low in terms of how ridiculous it is, but it was also a high (kind of) because of how much enjoyment I got out of this old-school YA.
What We Watched
After a couple months of watching next to nothing, July saw me watching nine whole movies and an entire TV show! There were some hits and some very big misses so I’ll give you a brief rundown:
- Though my highest rated movie this month was SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE (very well done and I enjoyed the cute, fun story) but my favourite was probably THE GREAT RACE despite its faults. It was so ridiculous, but my whole family had a fantastic time watching it.
- My least favourites were NEW YORK MINUTE and WHAT A GIRL WANTS which honestly are pretty interchangeable early 2000s movies. I left them both unrated because they are definitely products of their time, but they made me fairly uncomfortable at times plus they’re nonsensical.
- SOMEWHERE IN TIME was another I didn’t really like (the central relationship was not developed anywhere near enough!) but I thought the ending hilarious, so it gets some points for that… even though it’s probably not the response the director was intending.
- LOVE, GUARANTEED gave me pretty much exactly what I was expecting, with an extra side of unbelievable, but it was enjoyable enough if I don’t think too hard about it. SILVER SKATES was a step above it – I loved the atmosphere and the whole ice-skating deal. I also liked some of the characters!
- FINDING ‘OHANA was another favourite – though it has its cringe-y moments it was ultimately charming, heartwarming and fun. THE WHITE TIGER was definitely not fun, and I did find it a bit predictable, but it was a lot more intense than anything else I watched this month and as such, stood out quite a bit. It still had me thinking about it days after watching, so that’s a point in its favour too.
- WANDAVISION is the TV show I watched, and I have to say that I enjoyed it overall though I’ve got a lot of complicated feelings about some aspects of the show – especially about how the conclusion plays out. I feel like I actually know and care about the character of Wanda now which is something the movies never achieved for me, and the early episodes in particular were so much fun. Unfortunately I forgot to watch all the after-credits scenes, lol, so I still have to go back and do that.
With regards to films, my July was all about the Fear Street film trilogy, which I watched together with one of my friends. I found it kind of genius on Netflix’s part to release one movie per week, as this way there was a bit of time between the films to digest them without losing the excitement for the next film.
To me, the films seemed really well-directed and were an absolute joy to watch. I appreciated the way the plot got more layered and complex as the trilogy progressed and I was shocked by the main twist. I liked the first film fine, but both the second and third films are miles and miles better than the first, so I’d recommend continuing onto them even if you aren’t a massive fan of the first one. I rated the first 7/10, the second 8/10 and the third 9/10, so there’s a definite development there.
I have watched COCO countless times, and I’ll never get bored of this film. I love the animations and the characters and the story so much. In fact, this is one of the few movies that always makes me tear up at the end, and it did so this time around too. I watched it with a friend who hasn’t seen it before, and I’m happy to report that like me, she also gave it a 10/10 rating.
I was a bit hesitant about watching LUCA because it received a pretty lukewarm reception, but ultimately I thought it was a really adorable animated film. That being said, I found the ending unsatisfying and so did the friend I watched it with. 8/10
Another film I had my worries about was SILVER SKATES, a Russian adventure / romance film that was recommended to me by one of my friends. I convinced another friend to watch it with me and we ended up having such a good time while watching it. 8/10
In the Blogosphere
- Eleennae @ Inkhave posted a guide to finding audiobooks on Spotify.
- Emily @ Paperback Princess shared how she chooses which books to read next.
- Emme @ The Literary Latte discussed the pros and cons of goodreads.
- Kate @ Your Tita Kate reviewed the Fear Street film trilogy and discussed bookish social media and how it has affected reader-author relationship.
- Malka @ Paper Procrastinators asked if blog burn outs are inevitable.
- Maria @ The Character Study shared some excellent themed book recommendations and recommended books based on songs she has on repeat.
- Marie & Nyx discussed the best books they’ve read so far in 2021.
- May @ Forever and Everly shared some excellent book recommendations.
- Nick @ The Infinite Limits of Love interviewed one of my favorite authors, Nalini Singh.
- Roberta @ Offbeat YA discussed how she writes her reviews.
- Rukky @ Eternity Books took a look at her 2021 goals.
- Tasya @ The Literary Huntress shared three signs that suggest you should DNF a book.
How did your month go? Did it end on a good note? What are you looking forward to in August? Let us know!