monthly review

July Wrap-Up

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We’ve had some summer!  There has been sunshine and outdoor activities!  Sure, it’s gloomy now but we managed to squeeze in a longish bike ride this morning (we’ve become the kind of people who cycle on Sunday mornings…) and I fancy spending the afternoon with a book so I’m fine with a few clouds.  I’ve been spending a lot of time away for work recently so I’ve mostly been working and then  we’ve been seeing friends and spending time outside at the weekend.  It feels like it’s been a nice month, all told.  Between a trip to Florence, birthday celebrations and a trip to London, August will be pretty hectic so a relatively low key month was probably important!

I just checked my GoodReads ‘Read’ list and I’m actually surprised that I haven’t read more.  I’ve felt as though I’ve been reading quite a bit and it turns out that I’ve read 4 books (or at least I will have done by the end of today!).  Not as much as I thought but they have been pretty damn good on balance so it’s still been a solid reading month. 
It seems like a long time ago but my first read was Thin Air by Michelle Paver.  I loved Dark Matter when I read it a few years ago and I was so excited to get an early copy of Thin Air from Orion via NetGalley.  As with the earlier release, this one was full of atmosphere and tension and feels incredibly well researched.  It was a brilliant read and I can imagine that it’ll be even better when the cold weather draws in and readers can pick it up with wind roaring around outside and rain battering the windows.
Next up was Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye, which I absolutely adored.  I gave it five stars without hesitation.  It’s sort of a retelling of Jane Eyre with a serial killer twist.  What’s clever is that rather than just being a retelling, the main character, Jane Steele, acknowledges the similarities between her story and her favourite literary heroine’s and sprinkles her own tale with quotes from the original.  It sounds kind of gimicky but I thought it worked a treat.  I’m hoping to get a proper review of this one written soon because I haven’t heard much about it and it deserves some love.
I fancied some more historical fiction after Jane Steele but then I remembered that I’d had Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg on my Kindle for a while.  The premise of a commune-based thriller really intrigued me.  I wound up a bit disappointed…the writing is good and the style is distinctive but it was all a bit…obvious and frustrating.  It was a three star read but nothing particularly special, unfortunately.  I’m feeling kind of the same about The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway, which I’ve wanted to read for ages but have been a bit underwhelmed by.  It’s readable enough but it’s going a little bit overboard on the time travel philosophy/warring factions of time travellers thing and I keep running into great long rambling sections where characters discuss the principles of time travel in a way that feels dry and laboured and really interrupts the otherwise quite entertaining story…I’ve got about 50 pages to go and it’s ok.
and Blogging

I’ve made a bit of an effort to scribble down some notes while I’ve been travelling for work and I’ve managed to post a few actual review-type posts this month.  I gushed some more about my Wheel of Time re-read with a double review of books 2 and 3, The Great Hunt and The Dragon Reborn.  I declared myself a Wyndham fan and reviewed The Day of the Triffids.  Last up, I posted a set of review minis for some of the opening volumes of comic series that I read in early Spring, The Wicked + The Divine, Rat Queens and Wytches.  Hardly regular posting but it’s been nice to be talking about books again and something I’ll try and keep up with over the next few months.
Hope you’ve all had a super July, friends!  Any standout books that I need to keep my eyes peeled for?