The Month in Books: July 2021

Hello everyone, and happy August!! How have you all been spending your summer (or winter, depending on the hemisphere)? For me personally, July was a much-needed reprieve from school stress, and I finally got the chance to indulge in some fantastic books, which I’ll be talking about in this post! I feel like I’m supposed to say something more in this intro, but it’s been so long since I’ve written a wrap-up—the last one was in March, I think—and my head is just blanking on what I’m supposed to write 😅 So why don’t we just go ahead and get started!

Reading

I read seven books this month, which is a huge accomplishment considering my less-than-impressive track record this year 🥳 

The Princess Will Save You by Sarah Henning. I’ve been excited to read this since before it released—I mean, a feminist fantasy inspired by The Princess Bride? Sign me up!! And the book delivered on its pitch… on some level. Like TPB, The Princess Will Save You was filled with adventure, romance, sword fights, and above all, tropes. Also, the heroine stabbed people. In other words, it was basically a standard YA fantasy. I was rather bored for the first three-quarters, but the last 25% definitely upped the stakes and got me very invested in what the next book holds for the characters. Avid YA readers aren’t missing out on too much with this book, but I would recommend it for people looking to explore the fantasy genre or in need of a palate cleanser. ★ ★ ★

🎧 Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. A quick but chilling read from the one and only Jason Reynolds! I made the unfortunate decision to start listening to the audiobook at 11 in the evening and ended up being too creeped out to go to sleep 😅 It’s not a stereotypical ghost story, but something about the various characters entering the elevator one by one and seeing how their lives and deaths have affected Will refused to leave my mind for days after finishing the book. I would definitely recommend this for people looking for a thoughtful read about gun violence! ★ ★ ★ ★

Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao. A solid, satisfactory Asian fantasy! I enjoyed this one and loved following the cast along their journeys, especially since Lan and Bao had such compelling character arcs. Their combined character development resulted in the SoftestTM, tenderest second-chance romance ever 🥰 This book has definitely put Julie C. Dao on my radar, and Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is going right on my priority TBR! ★ ★ ★ ½

🎧 Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee. This book. My goodness, THIS BOOK. The first half was on the slower side, which kind of turned me off, but I ended up loving the rest of the book thanks to its endearing characters and complex relationships. Especially Valora and Jamie’s sibling bond, which was so beautiful and made me go 🥺❤️ The pacing gradually picked up speed as the story reached its climax; the last 20% was just pure adrenaline 😨 I loved that all the different aspects that Stacey Lee explored with this story: anti-Asian racism, acrobatics, the luxury of the Titanic’s first-class, family relationships, and even haute couture. And don’t even get me STARTED on the ending 😭 (Buddy read with Ren & Veronica!) ★ ★ ★ ★

🎧 Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon. I was right to go into this one with high expectations! Instructions for Dancing was the perfect balance between fluffy romance and tragic magical realism. One moment I was having a meltdown because of a cuteness overload from the main couple, the next I was on the verge of tears over Evie’s inner monologue. The last 15% was a ROLLERCOASTER. I was sobbing by the time the last chapter rolled around. So many insights on love and pain and heartbreak and how they are inextricably tied together. ★ ★ ★ ★

🎧 We Are Not Free by Traci Chee. Stunning. Gorgeous. Heart-wrenching. Quite possibly the most beautiful book I’ve ever read. There was something about this story that struck me to my very core. Maybe it was because of the complex, three-dimensional characters. Or the beautifully expressive writing. Or the honest portrayal of the difficulties of growing up Asian-American in the United States. Whatever it was, this book now belongs on my all-time favorites shelf. Just thinking about it still makes me want to burst into tears. (Buddy read with April & Katie!) ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

🎧 The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Okay, I see why people are so obsessed with this one. The Inheritance Games was a thoroughly entertaining story with immaculately plotted puzzles and characters with surprising depth. I picked this book up to take a break from all the heartbreak of my previous reads, but it turned out to be the worst possible choice I could make—I ended up with even more emotional damage because of all the twists and turns Barnes put me through 🤯 My only complaint is that the main character, Avery, deserves better than either Grayson or Jameson, and she deserves better than THAT ENDING. I have a feeling the second book is going to resolve some of my frustrations, but ugh. Still frustrated. ★ ★ ★ ★

As you might have noticed from the many headphones emojis (🎧), I’ve taken to regularly listening to audiobooks this month, and I am officially in love with them 😍 They’ve truly been a lifesaver for me. You see, I’ve developed this weird habit these past few months where my brain has to analyze literally even the simplest of sentences at least three times over whenever I read a physical/digital book. As you can imagine, it’s very annoying, not to mention incredibly exhausting—I think school has scarred me for life 😭 Audiobooks help so much with this, and they also help me get through books so much faster. Can’t recommend them enough!

Blogging

I haven’t been able to blog-hop all that often these past few months, but here are a few amazing posts that I was able to read! 

Other Media

Waitress (musical). Unexpectedly catchy tunes, lovely characterization, the sheer power of Jessie Mueller’s vocals—definitely worth a listen!

Clean with Passion for Now & My First First Love (K-dramas). Both of these were on the better side of the “just fine” spectrum, I guess? The former is a good choice if you’re craving mindless rom-com fluff with a surprisingly somber dose of emotional angst. The latter is a good choice if you’re looking for a slightly more subdued coming-of-age friends-to-lovers romance. You can watch CWPFN for free on Viki; MFFL is available on Netflix.

Touch Your Heart (K-drama). Ahhhhh this drama 😍 Touch Your Heart isn’t a cinematic masterpiece nor does it have a very original storyline, but it deserves all the love just for how warm and fuzzy it makes you feel. The premise: An actress suffering from the aftereffects of a drug scandal starts working at a law firm to prepare for her comeback role, and ends up working as a secretary for the firm’s prickly (but annoyingly attractive) ace—and you could say that sparks start to fly 😏 This show is, in one pitch, a big bag of romance tropes, with a few murder cases mixed in, featuring two main leads with fantastic chemistry. It’s been so long since I’ve watched a K-drama that does all the clichés justice while still managing to keep me engaged for all 16 episodes 😍 Highly recommended if you’re seeking a high-quality rendition of the traditional K-rom-com formula! Available to watch on Netflix.

Personal

July was a good month. Things are still busy, even without school, what with preparing for next year’s classes and balancing all my different hobbies (books! K-dramas! binging YouTube videos!)… but it feels so good getting the chance to breathe in, breathe out for what feels like the first time in a long while 😌 

Also, I’m now fully vaccinated! I felt rather out of sorts for a few days after the second shot, but otherwise, everything went smoothly, which I’m very grateful for!

I’ve had the chance to spend more time reading the Bible (though I still procrastinate way too much), and this passage stood out to me during my reflections:

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. (Psalms 139:7-12 NIV)

Thinking about how even my inner darkness is not dark enough to deter Him evokes so many different emotions within me. I hope it touches your heart as well ❤️

Looking Ahead

Here’s a (very tentative) possibility pile of books I’d like to get to in August! I’m currently in the mood for contemporary, though I may end up shifting toward fantasy by the end of the month 🤔 Whatever happens, hopefully I’ll be able to check at least a few of these off my TBR!

You and Me and Us by Alison Hammer. 
A Touch of Death by Rebecca Crunden.
Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price. 
XOXO by Axie Oh.
I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn.

And that’s it! Thank you all for reading 🥰 I’d love to hear from you in the comments section! What was your favorite read of July and what are you planning to read this month? Anything exciting happen in July? Anything planned for August? ❤️

Wishing you all a lovely month ahead! 💖

31 thoughts on “The Month in Books: July 2021

  1. abby i’m so glad that you were able to take a little rest from school! it’s nice to have that extra time to yourself for reading and relaxing.

    i’m happy to see that you enjoyed luck of the titanic! it was a release i was really anticipating, though i wanted to see some people’s thoughts before i ordered a copy, and will definitely be doing so now!

    it seems like you had a good month, and this is a lovely wrap up post as always. i hope that you have a good august!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thank you Sanah!! I completely agree, it was so refreshing to have some me time without having to stress about anything else! And yess Luck of the Titanic was amazing 😍 I hope you love it as much as I did when you pick it up!!

      Thank you so much Sanah!! I hope you have a beautiful August as well 💖

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I know right?? They’re so beautiful ❤️ And yess Luck of the Titanic gave me irreparable emotional trauma, but it was completely worth it. And it’s my pleasure, your post was so well-written and informative! 🥰

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting Kaya!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, you really did have an amazing reading month, Abby! I haven’t read any of your July books, but had been curious about The Princess Will Save You. But seeing that you think it’s pretty standard YA fantasy and a bit boring at the beginning, I think I’ll probably pass 😅😂
    Also, congrats on being fully vaccinated! I’m sorry you felt a bit off afterwards – trust me, I relate 😅 – but I hope you’re fully recovered now! 💕

    Like

  3. thank you for featuring my post, abby! 💖 can’t wait for you to read xoxo and i love you so mochi, both contemporary romances that i absolutely adore. planning to read how we fall apart once my physical copy reaches me (: so excited! have a wonderful month ahead!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s my pleasure, Belle—I loved your post so much! Ahh I’m so happy to hear you loved both of those books 🤩 I’m planning to start I Love You So Mochi soon since I’ve been in the mood for fluffy contemporary lately. I can’t wait to dive in! 🥰

      Ooh I’ve been hearing the best things about How We Fall Apart, I hope you enjoy! I don’t usually reach for mystery/thriller books, but I might end up adding that one to my TBR because the premise sounds so intriguing 😍

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Belle! I hope you have a lovely August as well 💗

      Liked by 1 person

  4. hi abby!! ahh it’s summer here all year round (equator problems 😂) but i’m so heartened to hear that you managed to take a good break in july! i’ve heard so much about long way down and luck of the titanic and am glad that you enjoyed them both, very excited as they both seem like such meaningful reads with a great coverage of themes! and ahh we are not free 😭 truly it was such a beautiful, heartfelt read and even though it has been 3 months since i read it, my heart still aches! congrats on being fully vaccinated and again, it’s lovely to hear that july was a good month to breathe a little for you! 🤗 hope you enjoy your tbr and wishing you a lovely august! ❤

    Like

  5. hhhh, thank you so much Abby for including me in this post!! I’m so glad you were able to read 7 books!! I only read 4😅. Lovely wrapup!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s my pleasure Sans, I loved reading your post! 🥰 Aww thank you! Don’t worry, four books is still a great number—to tell you the truth, July was actually the first month this entire year where I read more than two books 😂

      Thanks so much Sans!! Hoping your August is off to a great start 💖

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello Abby! Lovely post as always!

    I see you had a great reading month which is always a plus. I’m not sure if I even finished a book last month. I have Nicola Yoon’s Instructions for Dancing on hold at my library which I hope to pick up tomorrow along with Malibu Rising. Also I’m glad you enjoyed the Inheritance Games. I read it earlier this year in January I believe and breezed through it. The intrigue and character dynamics got me flipping the pages. Glad things are also looking up (despite being busy) in your personal life. Best of luck to you Abby!

    Like

  7. Pingback: evermore book tag
  8. You had an awesome July and great reading month! And hooray on being fully vaccinated! July was a weird month for me personally and I am still trying to figure out how August is almost over??? Thanks so much for sharing my post and I hope you’re having a good month!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lovely wrap-up Abby, and thank you for including my post!! I agree with you about The Inheritance Games, and I’m so pleased you enjoyed Luck Of The Titanic 😍 I’m planning to buddy read it September, and of course you were the one who made me to decide to add it to my TBR in the first place. Yay for being fully vaccinated, I hope you are having an amazing August! ❤

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s