I will forever look back on July 2018 and think of the month that I went full on fangirl over a book series. Y’all, I’m a grown woman and I can’t explain it. I just fell right in, head over heels for a bunch of fictional characters, and I will not apologize. Only because I know that I’m far from alone. ***this post contains some mild spoilers that you would easily find on Instagram.
We started the month pretty lazily when we finished The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser on audio while on a quick road trip to a neighboring town that has three awesome indie bookstores. I have wanted to visit Square Books, Jr. since we moved here, but when we are in Oxford, it’s always for date night and this store is closed. We always make it to Square Books and Off Square Books, but never to Jr. We visited all three on this day out and spent too much money, but that’s life with a bookworm family.
Anyway, The Vanderbeekers. This was a great book to get my kids out of their own world and get them to see that not everyone lives like us. The family in the book lives in Harlem in a brownstone with different families on every level. We have a fairly small family, and there are five kids in the Vanderbeeker family. The family is being evicted unfairly at the end of the year, and the kids work together with their whole neighborhood to try to change the landlord’s mind. The very idea of a neighborhood coming together like that had my heart swirling with pride. I have no idea if my kids got a single thing from that book, but I loved it and we can always listen to it again.
The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley. If you’ve followed me on social media or this blog for any length of time, you know how much I love Flavia de Luce. She is a sparky, now 12 year old, chemistry loving super-sleuth that I can’t seem to get enough of. In this latest installment, Flavia finds a dead body (of course!) in another town and goes about finding the killer outside her comfort zone. I love that the circus was featured in the novel–I do love the circus. I also love the role that Dogger has taken on in the absence of Flavia’s father. I’ll have to wait until February 2019, I believe, for the next book.
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. I saw people in a Facebook reading group and then on Instagram talking about this one and rating it in flames instead of stars due to its raciness. There, that’s your fair warning. I don’t usually read pure smut, but the fact that this was from the view of a girl with autism peeked my interest. I greatly enjoyed The Rosie Project and thought it may be along the same lines and all these women were over reacting with their blushing and discomfort reading it in front of their kids. *eye roll* Except they may not have been overreacting at all. I don’t easily blush with my line of work, but I wouldn’t go around recommending this steamy read to just anyone and I almost didn’t admit to reading it in this post. I’ve surprised myself here. Anyway, Stella has Asperger’s and is very driven and focused at work. The problem is that she is awkward outside of work and wants to be better at sex, so she hires an escort to give her lessons and anyone can see where that leads. Apparently, this is going to be a series that I will decide later if I want to continue on with. July held a lot of romance for me from here on out, and I might be done with it for awhile.
July 21-22 was the 24 in 48 readathon. I was ambitious and participated, even though it was a work weekend for me. I read for a total of 14 hours which was quite impressive. I had a whole stack of books from the library (that all came in at the same time) that I was going to tackle. However, I had one on my kindle that I needed to finish first and I had no idea the domino effect it would have when I put it down.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Y’all. Believe the hype. I started this book several months back and put it down, just not feeling it at that time. I decided to go all in and finish it quickly so I could get back to that stack, but once I started, there was no going back. The first in this series if very “beauty and the beast” with Feyre captured and held in Tamlin’s estate while he deals with a 49 year old curse that’s threatening to destroy him and all the people in his court. He sends her back to her home when he realizes that he loves her and doesn’t want her to get hurt. She risks it all and comes back for him. She is so tough and relentless. She also meets more key players in the rest of the series–including Rhysand. Don’t let this first book fool you, everyone you thought you loved will shift in the next books. Dun dun dahhhhhhh. I bought this book as a kindle daily deal maybe in December? Just now getting around to it. Ridiculous.
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. I went straight to amazon and picked up the second in the series for whatever price they asked because I knew I would want to own it and I was dying to read the next book! Ebooks have spoiled me with their instant gratification! Anyway, we pick up with Feyre back in the Spring Court planning her wedding to Tamlin when Rhysand swoops in and saves her from all that and I fall in love with his character immediately. All the grimy thoughts I had about him in book one are gone for good. Yours will be, too. Feyre and Rhys are now officially my favorite fictional couple of all time. The two of them have to save their world–of course.
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. I picked this one up months ago as a kindle deal as well. I may have actually bought it first. I let peer pressure guide me from time to time. Feyre and Rhys pretty much fight for their lives for the entire book and after more than 700 pages of that, I was emotionally, mentally exhausted. These two! Heart eyes! I have to take a break before I read the last one. I was delighted at how long these books were because I got to spend more time with the characters, but that takes a toll, and I need a minute before I revisit Prythian. I am excited to see where Maas takes the series from here. *Heads up! This series is sexually graphic with a scene or two in each book. I would not hand it to my 11 year old. Ever. I believe Amazon says 17 and up.
My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan. I bought this one as a kindle daily deal recently. I needed a good change of pace after the Court series, and this was definitely a change. If sappy romance with a large dose of heartbreak is your jam, this one is for you. It was not for me. I can handle a little romance, but I need more to a story. Ella goes to Oxford for a year as a Rhodes Scholar and meets a stunningly handsome man and accidentally falls in love with him. Turns out, he’s sick. Like, really sick. And now she has to make a decision about her future back in America. I never set myself up to cry while reading a book. I didn’t see this coming because I never read a book’s synopsis. This sometimes proves to be a bad idea. I picked this one up on recommendation from online bookish peeps alone. Anyway, it’s over now. I shed a couple of tears, the couple may or may not live happily ever after.
July was sort of a whirlwind with that one series consuming my life for about a week. I highly recommend it to adults who like some fantasy and YA. I do not recommend it to young teenagers. I also got a real kick out of the Instagram fandom that came with that series. One search of the hashtag #acourtofthornsandroses and I was beside myself in laughter. I was also not expecting people to be drawing elaborate scenes and characters from the books. Nor was I expecting all these people to be dressing up as the characters. Halloween may put me in their ranks though. Hold your judgement.