July 2017 Wrap Up

» 4 August, 2017 » Reviews, Wrap Ups » 5 comments

Books I Read

It might look like I had a decent reading month with four books in this wrap up, but the first three I read mostly in June and just finished in July. The last book I devoured in just a few days in the middle of the month and then I haven’t finished anything since then! August isn’t off to the greatest start, but I’m hoping to pick up my reading pace soon. Here is what I thought of the last four books I finished!

July 2017 Wrap UpThe Circle by Dave Eggers
Published by Knopf on October 8th 2013
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Pages: 493
Format: eBook
Source: I Own This
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository
3.5 Stars

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency.

As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO.

Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in America - even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

Oh man, this book was a big disappointment for me. I LOVE dystopians, and I had heard such great things about this book (not to mention the movie adaptation with Emma Watson and Tom Hanks!) that I was pretty excited when it was selected for my work book club. I was really intrigued by some of the radical ideas happening in the story. Occasionally I would start to be convinced that some of the ideas the Circle were implementing were good ideas, and then they would either take it too far or I would realize how much of an invasion of privacy these ideas were. It was definitely an interesting internal struggle for me. The plot really dragged and not a whole lot happened, which would be alright if there was a lot of character depth and growth – but that wasn’t there for me. I never really connected with Mae and didn’t understand her internal processes or many of her actions. While I loved the IDEA behind the book and found it very thought provoking, the plot and the characters really fell flat for me. Overall it was just very MEH for me, which is so disappointing!

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

July 2017 Wrap UpRoyal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts
Series: Royal Bastards #1
on May 30th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository
3 Stars

Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . . .

This book was a bit of a struggle for me. The plot and characters were interesting enough to keep me going, but I can’t say I really enjoyed it all that much. The world building and writing style were more on the simple side, which I think could work well for younger readers or readers who are new to fantasy (although there were references to sex that might not be appropriate for younger readers). I enjoyed the characters and especially loved the relationship between Tilla and her brother Jax and the portrayal of friendship throughout the story. Overall, it was a fairly mediocre young adult/middle grade fantasy for me that might be more enjoyable to a younger reader or a reader who is just starting to get into fantasy. I won’t be continuing on in the series.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

July 2017 Wrap UpShadow Run by AdriAnne Strickland, Michael Miller
Series: Kaitan Chronicles,
Published by Delacorte Press on March 21st 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Pages: 390
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository
3 Stars

Nev has just joined the crew of the starship Kaitan Heritage as the cargo loader. His captain, Qole, is the youngest-ever person to command her own ship, but she brooks no argument from her crew of orphans, fugitives, and con men. Nev can't resist her, even if her ship is an antique.
As for Nev, he's a prince, in hiding on the ship. He believes Qole holds the key to changing galactic civilization, and when her cooperation proves difficult to obtain, Nev resolves to get her to his home planet by any means necessary.

But before they know it, a rival royal family is after Qole too, and they're more interested in stealing her abilities than in keeping her alive.
Nev's mission to manipulate Qole becomes one to save her, and to survive, she'll have to trust her would-be kidnapper. He may be royalty, but Qole is discovering a deep reservoir of power--and stars have mercy on whoever tries to hurt her ship or her crew.

I was really excited for this book because it was described as Firefly for YA, which I really loved that show. I agree that this book was very reminiscent of Firefly, from the type of space ships involved to the adorable crew that is like family, for some reason it didn’t really do it for me. I’m having a hard time pinpointing exactly what about this book I didn’t enjoy, but overall it was just very mediocre for me. I didn’t get emotionally attached to any of the characters and at times the plot really dragged, but at other times the plot really held my attention. The characters and plot were interesting enough to keep me reading but at the same time I wasn’t completely enjoying myself. I won’t be continuing on in the series.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

July 2017 Wrap UpThe Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
Published by Simon Pulse on January 1st 1970
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Pages: 512
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository
4.5 Stars

Stop the Magician. Steal the book. Save the future.

In modern-day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.

This is definitely my favorite book of the month, in fact it’s one of my favorite books so far this year! I’ve already reviewed this book, but suffice it to say that this book has great world building, characters, and a twisty and intriguing plot. If a historical fiction with a bit of magic, time travel, and a tricky heist intrigues you, I definitely recommend this book! Check out my full review for more of my thoughts.

What was your favorite book of July?

Jade Signature

5 Responses to “July 2017 Wrap Up”

  1. Maraia

    Wow, three three-star reads in a row. Ugh. But at least The Last Magician was good! Even though I haven’t been enjoying many YA fantasies lately, I’m tempted if you liked it that much.

    My favorites were The Last Mortal Bond and The Fourth Monkey. 😊
    Maraia recently posted…[Roundup] July 2017My Profile

    • Jade @ Bedtime Bookworm

      Yeah…. I had a pretty blah reading month sadly. And I’ve already read (well, finished :P) two 3.5 star books this month so far! Luckily my new book is much more exciting. I picked up The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima today and I’m already hooked only 36 pages in!
      The Last Magician was so good – I really enjoyed it! I hope you give it a shot. I just added those two books to my TBR – along with a BUNCH of other recs from your blog haha. Thanks!!
      Jade @ Bedtime Bookworm recently posted…YALLWest 2017 | VlogMy Profile

      • Maraia

        Noooo. Clearly you need some recommendations, so I hope the ones you just added work out! I’m glad you’re liking The Gray Wolf Throne, though. (I had to look up which book in the series it is. 😂) I put The Last Magician on hold, so we’ll see. I would prefer to do audio, but I didn’t like the sample I listened to, lol.

        • Jade @ Bedtime Bookworm

          Have you read the Seven Realms series? Ooh fingers crossed you like The Last Magician. I have some really high priority books on my TBR right now (like Crooked Kingdom, Strange the Dreamer, and A Conjuring of Light) so it will be a bit before I get to any of these new recs. It’s the ARCs that are always so mediocre for me, but then every once in a while I hit gold, like with the Last Magician. So I keep trying haha.
          Jade @ Bedtime Bookworm recently posted…ARC Review: The List by Patricia FordeMy Profile

          • Maraia

            Yes! I think I probably recommended it to you at some point, haha. I hope you have better luck with Strange the Dreamer than I did! And I know you’ll love ACOL.
            The thing about ARCs is, you can always get the books later from the library. Maybe you should try requesting less if you always end up disliking them. 😂