July Monthly Wrap-up and August TBR

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If you have been following my blog for a while now, you’ll know that July has been a rather busy month for me at work and it proved itself up to its very last day. The number of patients who visited us doubled this month, and this affected my other duties as the clinic’s most tenured member. I had to take home some of my work (aka reports) because I just can’t seem to finish them while I’m at work, and it decreased my reading time.

On happier, less stressful side of things, our family celebrated my nephew’s first birthday and christening recently, which was a ton of fun. He’s very fascinated with dinosaurs so his mom and my brother-in-law set up a dinosaur themed christening reception. I wasn’t able to take many pictures because my phone’s battery got drained halfway through the event, but here are some that I took just before my phone shut down.

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My reading time woes aside, I think I still had a wonderful July. Here’s a quick snapshot of what the month has been for me:

Books I’ve finished:

🍂 Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Pèrez (Young Adult Fiction // Series, Fantasy, Re-telling)

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2  // Review: “Sweet Black Waves” Kristina Pèrez

I really enjoyed this book despite the little problems I had with it, mainly its slow pacing in the middle and unrealized secondary character. It’s the first book in what is to be a trilogy so I’m sticking. I mean, hey, this book got me at Tristan and Iseult re-telling.

🍂 Ghosted by Rosie Walsh (General Adult Fiction // Contemporary, Romance)

My rating: ⭐⭐ // Review: “Ghosted” by Rosie Walsh

This is one book I really wanted to love but just couldn’t. I thought it was interesting as it centered around the topic of ‘ghosting’ so I went on and requested it from Penguin’s First to Read reader program. The first few chapters were okay, but as it progressed it just became tedious. This book ultimately failed to live up to its promise.

🍂 Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza (General Adult Fiction // Women’s Fiction, Political Satire)

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ // Review: “Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win” by Jo Piazza

Now, this book is the total opposite of Ghosted for me in that I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. Jo Piazza took some of the most important issues we all face in our regular lives and weaved it through her narrative. Though, I have to say, the best part of this book is the titular character herself, Charlotte Walsh. I don’t have any political ambitions (why would I put such stress on myself?!?) but I saw a lot of myself in her – determined, flawed and conflicted – and that’s something that is so rare for me, so this book really earned its gold stars.

Books I’ve started:

🍂 Wait For Me by Caroline Leech (Young Adult Fiction // Series, Historical Romance, WWII)

I borrowed this from the library at the start of July and had to return it because my 21-day loan was up. I was already 63% into the story and I really want to finish it because I enjoyed what parts of it I finished. I’m second in line for it though, which translates to about a 2-week wait.

🍂 The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis (General Adult Fiction // Historical Mystery, Prohibition, mid-70s)

Have you noticed I’ve been on a historical fiction kick lately? Well, I certainly have though I didn’t really notice it not until I was reading them one after the other.

I’m already about 70% through The Masterpiece and I’m loving it. I think I can finish it today, or maybe tomorrow, and have the review for it up by Sunday. That’s all tentative though as my work week is only starting tonight.

July Book Haul:

I kind of splurged on books this month. My local bookstore was celebrating it’s anniversary and they had this massive sale. 20% to 70% discount anyone? So, of course, yours truly broke out her wallet, picked up a basket and filled it. I’ve already read three of these five books, (bought their e-books first because I just don’t want to wait!) but still wanted physical copies so I’m pretty happy to get them on discounted prices.

I also bought a couple of second hand mass market paperback of books from the In Death series. They are hard to find, owing to the length and the age (is that the right term?) of the series, and I made it into a sort of treasure hunt for myself. It’s fun sifting through secondhand books and finding gems. Here’s a photo of my July haul (featuring my hand).

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Book hauling and lifting are valid forms of exercise!!!

August TBR:

I have a couple of books lined up for this month, almost all of them releasing on the same day (a reason to freak out, I know) so I’m really going to try to get my act together and carve some reading time.

36575823A Touch of Gold (Annie Sullivan)
Publisher: Blink/HarperCollins Christian Publishing
Release Date: August 14

 

 

 

 

32718970See All the Stars (Kit Frick)
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster
Release Date: August 14

 

 

 

 

39897647The Learning Year (Pam McGaffin)
Publisher: SparkPress/Ingram Publisher Services
Release Date: August 14

 

 

 

 

37506437Darius the Great is Not Okay (Adib Khorram)
Publisher: Dial Books/Penguin Publishing Group
Release Date: August 28

 

 

 

 

36911793White as Silence, Red as Song (Alessandro D’Avenia)
Publisher: Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins Christian
Release Date: September 4

 

 

 

 

I’m hoping that August eases up a bit work-wise. I could really use a break, honestly. Anyway, I think that’s it for me today.

💗💗💗

Rachel

let's chat

How’s your July been and what are you planning to read this August? 

 

Review: Zoje Stage’s “Baby Teeth”

35410511Title: Baby Teeth

Author: Zoje Stage

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: July 17, 2018

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

Pre-order it:

IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Books-a-million

(Digital ARC provided by the publisher thru NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

 

A seemingly perfect family is the center of this thriller of a debut from former filmmaker Zoje Stage.

Sweetness can be deceptive. 

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

Goodreads

Baby Teeth takes the love-hate relationship between a mother and her daughter to a new level and will make you question just how far can a mother stretch her love for a child who keeps pushing her.

Told from the point of view of emotionally-exhausted Suzette and precocious but silent Hanna in interchanging chapters, mother and daughter play protagonist of their own stories, and each other’s antagonist.

Stay-at-home mom Suzette loves her daughter, but Hanna is making it hard for her. Gone is the dark-haired angel she brought to life replaced by an intelligent but devious, cunning and manipulative child with the full intent to harm her. With a husband who is too blind to see that there is something wrong with their child, Suzette is backed into a corner helpless as she fears for her life and watches as her idealized, perfect family falls apart.

Hanna loves her father and she wants him all to herself. With the help of a late 17th century witch as her imaginary friend, she finds her voice and plot ways to get rid of her mother, the only person who stands in the way between her and daddy.

I have to be upfront, Baby Teeth was a tough book to read. There were parts I loved and parts I didn’t. I will try to detail both polar ends as much as possible in this review without spoiling the story starting with the things I liked about this book.

Baby Teeth is a well-written book. Zoje Stage is sure to hook readers, reel them into her story with her snappy, straightforward writing. It’s jarring, but she does not sugarcoat things, neither does she go into unnecessary detail – what you see is what you get no matter if you like it or not.

Another thing that I really love about Baby Teeth are the characters. Stage’s characterization of both Suzette and Hanna is so strong you could just imagine them pop out of the pages. These two characters are the heart and soul of this book, driving the plot and moving the story with every step, every decision they make, which is a testament to just how perfect Stage played Suzette and Hanna against each other.

Now, for the parts that could have been done better.

From start to finish, I had one major problem while reading Baby Teeth – I couldn’t suspend my disbelief – and the reason for this, Hanna. Though she speaks like a 7-year old, the way she thinks is more apt for a 12-year old, which is why I just can’t picture her as she is described in the book. The whole time I was reading the book I found myself asking this question: “Can a 7-year old really make very detailed plans?” And the answer I keep on getting from both a personal and professional viewpoint: “No”. It just stopped me from fully enjoying the story, which takes a big chunk of how I rate books.

Still, Baby Teeth is a worthy read. It’s a strong, controversial debut, and I’m sure other people will love it. I guess, it just wasn’t for me.