July 2020 Book Wrap Up!

After a short, shaky start, I’ve had a wonderful and summery reading month with not one, not two, but three 5 star reads! That was such a relief. It’s still a bit hard for me to become absorbed in a new book- to check out from daily life for an hour at a time or more- and to find myself moved by the books I’m reading in a positive way is an hour well spent, in my opinion.

On that note, I hope you and yours are staying safe and well during what is the 5th month of quarantine in the U.S. This is tough for us all, and I hope you are making sure to take the time to practice a little self care. For me, it is usually reading, but I’m also making my peace with those moments in which I can’t bring myself to read. It’s okay to be in a funky head space, just do your best, and remember to take care of yourself first. Me? I’ve started having a 3pm Coffee or Tea Time. I find preparing a hot beverage (and yes, even on a hot day) provides me with a chance to be present in the moment, and to reflect on how the day has gone so far and what I want to do with the rest of it.

Now, on to the recap of my beloved July books!

By the Book: A Novel of Prose and Cons by Amanda Sellet

Rating: 2 out of 5.

As a devotee of classic novels, Mary Porter-Malcolm knows all about Mistakes That Have Been Made, especially by impressionable young women. So when a girl at her new high school nearly succumbs to the wiles of a notorious cad, Mary starts compiling the Scoundrel Survival Guide, a rundown of literary types to be avoided at all costs.

Unfortunately, Mary is better at dishing out advice than taking it—and the number one bad boy on her list is terribly debonair. As her best intentions go up in flames, Mary discovers life doesn’t follow the same rules as fiction. If she wants a happy ending IRL, she’ll have to write it herself.

Please see my review of By the Book HERE.

In a nutshell, it wasn’t my favorite. Moving on!

Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries

Rating: 4 out of 5.

In the witch kingdom Hyalin, the strength of your magic is determined by the length of your hair. Those that are strong enough are conscripted by the Witch Guard, who enforce the law in peacetime and protect the land during war. However, those with hair judged too long are pronounced enemies of the kingdom, and annihilated. This is called a witch burning.

Witchy is a comic about the young witch Nyneve, who is haunted by the death of her father and the threat the Witch Guard poses to her own life. When conscription rolls around, Nyneve has a choice to make; join the institution complicit in her father’s death, or stand up for her ideals?

Witchy was a bonus book included in the June Owlcrate book box, and I finally picked it up in July. Boy, has it caught my attention! Full review here.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Rating: 5 out of 5.

In a novel-in-verse that brims with grief and love, National Book Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.

And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

Elizabeth Acevedo is becoming an auto-buy author for me. Every time I read a new book of hers I am absolutely blown away! If you are familiar with my rating system, you know that if a book is already pretty great but then makes me outwardly emote (i.e. laugh out loud in delight, cry from heartbreak or happiness, makes me clutch my racing heart in fear) then it gets a full 5 stars. If I love a book, but it doesn’t give me that need to outwardly express my emotions based on events occurring on an innocent and otherwise unassuming sheet of paper, then it’s typically a 4. Is that logical? Not really, but so it is for me. And this book?

5 stars all the way. View my full review here, as well as my heart on a platter.

March: Book 1 by John Lewis

Rating: 5 out of 5.

March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.

Book One spans John Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall.

Many years ago, John Lewis and other student activists drew inspiration from the 1950s comic book “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story.” Now, his own comics bring those days to life for a new audience, testifying to a movement whose echoes will be heard for generations.

What is that old adage? “The more things change, the more things stay the same”? This graphic novel depicting the early life of John Lewis in flashbacks is simply moving. We must remember that we have come a long way, but we also need to recognize that we need to move further forward still. The issues John Lewis addresses made things better for millions of Americans, but there is a lot depicted in here that continues unchecked today. Unacknowledged segregation, violence against minorities, the correlation between race and poverty, the sleepy American’s extreme hatred for public and disruptive protests. All of these things we see today and have little empathy for- if we even acknowledge them at all.

Read this book today. I am on to read Volume 2. The fight continues. All lives matter when Black lives matter.

Considering SEL Frameworks and the Three Musketeers?
Seriously, tho.

Me by Elton John

Rating: 5 out of 5.

In his only official autobiography, music icon Elton John writes about his extraordinary life, which is also the subject of the film Rocketman.

Christened Reginald Dwight, he was a shy boy with Buddy Holly glasses who grew up in the London suburb of Pinner and dreamed of becoming a pop star. By the age of twenty-three, he was on his first tour of America, facing an astonished audience in his tight silver hotpants, bare legs and a T-shirt with ROCK AND ROLL emblazoned across it in sequins. Elton John had arrived and the music world would never be the same again.

His life has been full of drama, from the early rejection of his work with song-writing partner Bernie Taupin to spinning out of control as a chart-topping superstar; from half-heartedly trying to drown himself in his LA swimming pool to disco-dancing with the Queen; from friendships with John Lennon, Freddie Mercury and George Michael to setting up his AIDS Foundation. All the while, Elton was hiding a drug addiction that would grip him for over a decade.

In Me Elton also writes about getting clean and changing his life, about finding love with David Furnish and becoming a father.

Outstanding! I laughed, I gasped, I told anyone who would listen all about the amazing book I was reading. That’s all I have to say, in a nutshell.

Please read my full review HERE!

That wraps up my July book wrap up! I feel blessed to have found so many amazing reads last month, I really hope you find something you like and take a little time for yourself to enjoy it. Take care, readers!

P.S. Wish me luck. August is the N.E.W.T.s Readathon. I am not sure I have ever read 9 books in a month, but I need to read 9 books this month. Gah!

Published by francinewonders

Hi! My name is Francine and I spend a lot of time wandering about while wondering about stuff. I like to talk about cats, books, travel, and all things w@nderful. Follow me on Instagram: @francinewonders

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