JULY WRAP UP || Mini Book Reviews for 17 Books || August 2022 [CC]

all right it is time for my july wrap up
and it was way better than june although
i wouldn’t say like anything was like
spectacular but i wasn’t as apathetic
and i actually went back to my normal
way of putting things into categories
because if you’re new here
typically i take all the books i read
and i put them into categories and
that’s how i talk about them and there
are time stamps down below etc
everything you could possibly need is in
the description of this video and so
yeah i have one two three four
categories i think i read 17 things but
like seven of them were novellas so like
if we put those novellas as like two
books instead of seven
you know it’s it’s a more like normal
number although i looked at the pages
and i have read a lot of pages and yeah
we’re just gonna get into it and my
first category is after the apocalypse
because these were books that basically
took place after the end of times
which you know
such a theme such a theme in sci-fi the
first one

i’ll talk about is i read
books two and three of the xenogenesis
series by octavia butler and i need to
some sort of series discussion on these
books cause these are books that like
they’re so much
they’re truly so much i don’t
i don’t know how her brain did these
things okay um i was vague when i was
discussing dawn i feel like i need to
discuss a little bit of the premise um
it’s not actually us really a spoiler
for dawn but there are time stamps down
below so if you want to like skip ahead
to where these images are not on the
screen feel free but i’m really just
gonna say the premise which is that
after the world ends because humans suck
it’s cold war related especially based
on when these books came out it was
nuclear fallout i think
probably russia u.s you know cold war
stuff and
as a result this alien race actually
finds the planet and kind of saves what
it could of humanity and in exchange
requires a genetic trade and so there’s
a lot of discussion of body autonomy
what does it mean to be human human what
does it mean to start a new species
there’s a lot of uncomfortable things in
this series and i think it gets better
for me in books two and three than it
did in one because one was really
focused on the humans
in books two and three we are looking at
the the series was originally called
lilith’s brood at some point because the
main character in book one is lilith so
we are looking at the children
of lilith in books two and three and
they are both in books two and three
the first of their kind and it’s really
interesting the new perspectives they
bring to their community their new
experiences how they change the
trajectory of their communities
it’s it’s fascinating and disturbing and
i don’t know if i like it
but it makes me think about stuff so
probably we’ve accomplished our goal so
i really do need to put something
together but if you don’t mind
uncomfortable science fiction i would
try it out like it truly does have
theming around body autonomy and you
know the right to choose and
manipulation there’s a lot
there’s a lot especially if you’re like
really anti-stockholm syndrome like
there’s a lot of that in there like i
think it’s never romanticized i feel at
least i never felt any of this was
romanticized but it was also really
interesting because it was really hard
to have a true antagonistic force
because of how things are set up and
because of the thought experiments
it was
it was something it was something she’s
truly a classic
author and people really need to read
more of her because she likes to play
with the same ideas over and over again
and i always find them fresh even though
they really are always community driven
like every time like she truly is
fascinated with how would a community
respond to x that is something i’ve seen
her do consistently except for maybe
kindred that might be the only one
anyways another one is happier and
that’s psalm for the wild built by becky
chambers this is one where we don’t
completely screw up we come around and
we have a better relationship with earth
and this is far future this is more like
you know what do you do when you have an
existential crisis but your life is
perfect that’s basically the theme what
is purpose what makes me feel fulfilled
these are themes you need in your life
you should read this definitely i talk
about it more in the video where i talk
about all the novellas so i won’t go
into too much depth here
i liked it it’s not my favorite becky
chambers but it’s not my least favorite
solidly somewhere in the middle of the
pack i think for me um this would have
been great for me when i was in my early
20s on the eve of my 30s i have already
gone through the hard work of
untraining my brain to care about
purpose like i think it’s important to
have things that make your days
meaningful to you and to be fulfilling
but the idea of like having a purpose i
have left that in the dust i have like
very little aspirations i think grad
school just does that to you i think
grad school just like
gets rid of that
i don’t care about that anymore i just
want to make enough money to read my
books to play games with my friends to
have food on the table i like to eat
i don’t need a higher calling that’s
where i’m at and the next one though is
one that i read for the novellas that i
really liked and that’s the past is red
this is we didn’t really make it but
people still live they just live on
trash piles in the ocean and one of this
character is what’s her name tetley i
love tetley
and it’s basically kind of folklore
fairy tale futuristic sci-fi because
we’re hearing the legend of her from
herself she’s telling her own story and
it feels very fairy tale um how she
ended up being this ostracized you know
individual of her community what did she
do and then also the world building of
it was so fascinating truly such an
interesting novella i really liked it i
need to read more by catherine m valente
it was such a strong character voice
such strong vivid descriptions
and also
oddly hopeful because tetley despite
everything despite being hated despite
the state of humanity is very content
and optimistic she’s very much like why
do we care about what the past was white
like why are we striving for a different
future we can live happily here we have
enough resources here to live we
shouldn’t waste our resources we should
be happy with what we have and i’m just
like you know you’re so optimistic you
i love you tedley and sometimes i need
that in my like dystopian or
post-apocalyptic sci-fi sometimes i need
uh this next one is less optimistic but
whoa i really liked it and that was and
what can we offer you tonight this is
ooh there’s a lot of pollution basically
the economy doesn’t really even exist
anymore like there are haves and like
the opposite of have-nots like if you
cannot find a job which there are very
few of you just get killed like
i don’t even know how this economy
functions and one of our characters is
lucky enough to have a job working
essentially at a high-end brothel
and we’re following the story of her
friend who was killed by one of her
clients but brought back to life as kind
of this vigilante zombie and our main
characters struggle with her cowardness
and kind of
should i resist should i not
it’s very messy i really liked the pros
i am definitely reading more by this
so that is after the apocalypse that is
that category i guess those a lot of
those are sci-fi so we’ll stick with
sci-fi for a bit and we’re going to go
into mystery sci-fi where the
hook of these is that there was a
mystery that needed to be solved um the
first one is blood trials unfortunately
this one didn’t really work for me i
think i’ll still read the sequel because
it’s just a duology and i am curious
about where we are but as time has gone
away from it
my feelings have not grown fonder of it
and i think this really just lies in
it’s a first-person point of view story
with a character that i found
insufferably dumb and i don’t think that
was bad character work i think she’s
meant to be as dumb as she has put on
page truly i think
sometimes we get spoiled by intelligent
characters in books that’s fair but
truly could she not find more brain
cells to think things through truly
that’s my biggest complaint is there are
moments and yes i am a person reading a
book and i know i’m reading a book
but it was so obvious the things she was
missing and it was incredibly
frustrating as a reader and like she was
also just so
i don’t know she was just
very brash impulsive individual which is
again consistent to her character there
is not it’s just one of those situations
where it’s like you are a well-fleshed
out well-rounded character but i did not
like being in your head for 400 pages
it’s truly where it was and it got a
little more interesting as we kind of
left the murder mystery part of it
because the driving force of this is who
killed my grandfather
and you know she doesn’t realize that
it’s you know never the first person you
think about like goodness watch some
scooby-doo i don’t know but
anyways but she also has this blood
magic that she has to keep hidden and
when we learn more about that that gets
interesting the actual global politics
and world building is actually
interesting so in like the last 30
percent i was actually really like into
it especially once we left the blood
trials the blood trials themselves
i did not like them they did not make
much sense to me it didn’t even make
much sense to the in-world characters
they’re like why are we doing these
things like i didn’t quite
understand this republic and why they
did the things that they did
and then again near the end didn’t
understand my main character’s reasoning
for doing things that she did
yeah so i’m intrigued want to read the
next book but i don’t think i’ll be
keeping my copy of the blood trials
which is unfortunate cause i was really
really really really hoping to like it
more than i did not a bad rating but you
not what you want from a potential five
star right um the next two i had a
better experience with and um the first
one i’ll talk about is elder race which
i wasn’t expecting to be sci-fi but it
is sci-fi we have this anthropologist
who everyone thinks is a sorcerer
because they are kind of technologically
in their medieval era um they were kind
humanity spread among the stars and this
part of humanity regressed back to
medieval era
and this is an anthropologist from
a more technologically advanced line of
the human race and he’s supposed to keep
separate until like his home
planet contacts him and in the process
this fourth daughter of the queen comes
and it’s like we need you there is this
monster in our land that is doing stuff
so it’s kind of like a dnd quest sci-fi
thing and that mystery was actually
really intriguing the whole let’s go on
this quest to figure out what’s doing
what and normally that is not an
intriguing premise to me whatsoever but
i thought it was really well done
and there’s this really fun back and
forth of communication and
mistranslation between our two
characters that i thought was really
um so yeah i talk about it more
in the novella video if you want more
thoughts and then the last one
this might be my favorite book of the
month now that i look at this list
of books yup this is my favorite book of
the month far sector by nk jemisin which
you know that’s not shocking
is it shocking that my favorite book of
the months of jemison no i’m a little
surprised because it’s a graphic novel
or comic whatever you call these
bind-ups it’s a bind-up of 12 volumes of
this green lantern comic and i loved it
i loved it so much and this is also
probably why blood trials didn’t work as
well for me because i read it right
after this and they both have murder
mystery things in them
but joe is just such a better character
okay like i i don’t even remember the
main character’s name in the blood
trials i think her last name was amari
and i only know that because there’s a
book amari in the night brothers like
that’s the only reason that stayed in my
head but like
far sector the main character she is
clever she is smart she is nimble she
has flaws she’s messy oh and the world
building is so jemison it is it is
jemison’s theming it is maybe a little
on the nose for the average person but
man i loved it i was like yell at me
more the quotes that they chose to use
throughout these comics yes give me
lauren hill quotes yes
the art stunning absolutely stunning art
i read this i bought it for my best
friend instantly okay because i’m like i
need more people to be obsessed with
this with me and i know she loves
superhero stuff and she already likes
so i’m like yeah this was fantastic this
was absolutely fantastic and i wrapped
up super well it was trying to answer
some pretty complex questions
about um this alien world or three alien
races and they were in great conflict in
the past and to resolve that they
basically turned off their emotions
and we are now 500 or so years from that
and they asked for a green lantern to
come because they had their first murder
in 500 years and it kind of goes from
there and it’s really interesting and
the races like one’s like a plant
one is like a flying carnivore thing one
is an ai species it’s so cool it’s so
vibrant it’s just ah it’s everything i
ever want like pseudo cyberpunk noir to
be it’s not even cyberpunk per se it has
those elements because we have like some
ai matrix e moments and the green
lantern powers are so cool and i
i love how it’s drawn so pretty and
because it’s a graphic novel and it’s
noir style you kind of still get the
sassy voice that jemison almost always
instills in in one of her characters it
was so fun oh it was so fun so yeah
definitely the highlight of my month was
reading far sector i need more things
like that in my life asap please
next up we will go into
political fantasy and these were
one of these i actually really liked and
the other two were kind of misses for me
but i kind of i always know political
fantasy is not my buzz word and putting
one of these books in here is kind of a
stretch for that anyways and that’s the
one i liked but let’s first start with
rain and ruin which is a political
fantasy romance and
i i put it more here because the fantasy
romance is there but like if you pick it
up for a romance it is incredibly slow
burn in terms of how many pages you have
to get to to get to the parts of a
romance that you are traditionally used
to as a romance reader i feel personally
like the last this is again a case of
the last 30 of the book was like pretty
great like almost made me want to read
the sequel and i still don’t know if
i’ll read the sequel or not because i
really liked the last 30
but up to that point it was political
fantasy it wasn’t badly done but that’s
not what i didn’t want to read a
political fantasy i i didn’t want that
i wanted to read a fantasy romance you
know like it was one of those things and
like it’s elemental magic so it’s pretty
cool but it wasn’t like
i don’t think it was super original or
gripping for me but again i’m not a
political fantasy reader so i don’t know
for people who like this is their buzz
word how would this work for you how
original is it to you for me it was kind
of standard this person’s trying to
retain her power in whatever way she can
she’s trying to you know do schemes oh
this person’s against them this back and
forth like it’s not my favorite thing
it’s just not i don’t find that
particularly interesting and that was
more of this book or at least more of
this book than i planned for it to be
versus the romance and the romance was
great i really loved their chemistry but
what i didn’t actually love was them
individually they were way better
together than they were apart being in
their heads they were made more
interesting to me i guess i should say
the next one’s fireheart tiger and this
one’s one i just i needed it to be
longer um i say that in the novella
video it’s like
the way that the character jumps from
thought to thought was really quick and
hard for me to follow and especially in
moments where it’s like oh no i need to
go talk to this person i’m like but why
why why
i don’t understand tell me more make me
understand please
so that was part of my issue
i don’t think it’s poorly done or
anything like that it’s just
i would have liked i mean even by a
novella standard this was only 100 pages
i would have liked for it to be more
pages but it’s definitely very political
we have a princess who is in her home
country maneuvering with a former lover
trying to make a good treaty deal for
people who are trying to fight
imperialism so lots of fascinating
themes here
i just wish we had more pages to explore
and the last one which i said was maybe
kind of a stretch but i needed to put it
somewhere and that’s bone hunters by
stephen erickson i still have not made a
spoiler video for this because i just
don’t know how to talk about it and
there was a heat wave and it was really
hot and i didn’t
i didn’t want to film more than i had to
because filming is really hard in the
summer because i don’t have fans on and
i’m it’s really warm like i’m sweating
right now it’s so much but i really like
bone hunters it’s not my favorite i
don’t think i don’t know it might be
tied for my favorite we’ll see the way i
know if i really like molassen book or
not is how long it lingers with me and
this one though i think had some of the
most payoff so far for me as someone
who’s been like invested in this series
so many of my favorite characters were
here i didn’t have to like meet new
people i finally felt grounded in the
world although
the politics just keeps getting faster
the gods have their own politics going
on right now the actual like on the
ground malazan politics versus the seven
cities i’m just like who is with who so
that’s why i kind of put it here because
i feel like a lot of this book is also
the characters themselves trying to
figure out what is the new political
terrain globally godlike etc who is on
whose side what are the lines being
and at the same time there’s a lot of
trials our characters have to go on lots
of huge moments
there was a chapter as long as a novella
in this book and it’s probably one of my
favorite chapters that i have ever read
in fantasy it was so well crafted okay
so i had a lot of payoff reading this
i’m excited to get to reaper’s gale
hopefully in the fall if i can get some
of my other fantasy series read i feel
like i have such a backlog of like
really chunky fantasy books but i’m so
glad i finally pushed through and
finished it this month i’ve been meaning
to read it for months so i finally did
it and it was a good time like win-win
uh oh i do have like a new favorite
character for those who do read it it is
it is bottle of course i think that’s
his name it’s either bishop or bottle
it’s the one who has an affinity for a
certain rat
and there was a scorpion anyways
i feel like that’s definitely big enough
that that cannot be considered a spoiler
for anyone and our last category are fun
listens so these are just books that i
just enjoyed listening to i don’t think
i have very deep thoughts about them but
in terms of like escapist entertainment
things things that were nice to listen
to while i did chores or while i just
stared off into space or while i was at
work it was great so across across the
green grass fields by seanan maguire
this qualifies
it’s a completely fine story i don’t
really have anything rave review to say
or negative to say about it
it’s a story about a girl who when she
discovers she’s intersex reveals that
information to someone she thought was a
friend and it goes poorly and she finds
her door to a world of creature who
creatures who primarily have hooves
and she finds a family there and finds
real friendship
and my biggest complaint is i wanted to
focus on that friendship and things just
went by really fast
and i didn’t really care about the plot
so i’m like why are we focusing on this
plot why don’t we focus on this
friendship and this family like that
would be fun so that’s how i felt about
it but it was perfectly fine it was
perfectly pleasant thing to listen to i
can see why these are such consumable
reads for people like i could see myself
consuming the rest of the series on
audiobook and i will say someone who’s
not read any other wayward children
series book
i didn’t feel lost whatsoever i didn’t
feel like i missed anything like i do
think the character reagan might be in
another book in this series but i think
in terms of chronological timeline this
is her first book if that makes sense
like if she’s in another book in the
series it’s after she has left her world
this is her going to her world so i feel
like chronologically i’ve met reagan in
the right order
and and she was a fine character and i
mean i think i do wish there would have
been more of an emphasis on leaning on
what does it mean to be a woman like
what’s the right way because that was
like a big thing is that this one friend
that she trusted had this right way of
being a girl
and you know it was i think there was a
lot of new ones to be had there and we
just like left that behind as soon as we
went to the horse world
like i was really interested in part one
and i liked parts two and three but not
nearly as much as part one another one
that was perfectly fine not too deep but
like was met me in my moment of making
pasta and that was a spindled splintered
um this is one that i just had a fun
time listening to that’s it it was very
entertaining very popcorn i’m kind of
surprised it was nominated for a hugo
just because i don’t think it’s
i don’t know like i don’t think it’s
doing anything original both in its
space as an entertaining read or in its
space for the genre if that makes sense
and i feel like you need to do one or
the other be like either extremely
entertaining and cozy or be you know
original and thematically dense or some
combination of the two and i just feel
like it was a book and it was you know
an entertaining book but it’s not a book
i’m going to be thinking about after i
finish filming this video so
it was nice a character has a chronic
disease um very similar to sleeping
beauty and she picks her finger on a
spindle on her 21st birthday which is
like her ticking time bomb to when the
disease is going to
cause her to die
and she helps save a different sleeping
beauty and tries to break her own curse
it was it was fine it was it was a good
time yeah there’s a pleasant
category is fun listens
it was fun to listen to
another one is a reread this is cersei
um i had physically read this my first
time and i reread it from my local book
club i really wasn’t planning on
rereading this anytime soon but i was
really pleasantly surprised because i
put it on and i had a lot of chores to
do and it was just very good company and
it was just a pleasant reread for those
who don’t know circe
is a character in the odyssey she’s
someone that um oh what’s his name
odysseus spends a lot of time with and
this is a reimagining of her story she
gets put into a lot of myths that she’s
not in originally
you kind of see her trying to find her
own agency there’s a lot of for me on my
free read suspension of disbelief
because i truly actually do not
understand how cersei could be the
character she is based off what she’s
surrounded by even including her
otherness um but suspending that
disbelief i really liked watching her
maneuver her isolation maneuver how she
related to others and how she adapted
and grew through the years i think for
me even though technically it’s not
really a plot driven book
it proceeds quickly the plot events come
one after the other and i did like
watching her journey and on a reread it
was still a very enjoyable time
especially with the audiobook this next
one is project hail mary by andy weir
which i listened to because evie got me
the audiobook and i’m trying to read the
novels for the hugo
and i didn’t hate this i don’t think i
expected to hate this i really liked the
martian and i did not finish artemis so
i did not know where i would follow this
and i also haven’t been meeting my
moment of blockbuster sci-fi as i call
and i just think that like andy weir
does a good job of keeping me engaged
and having me have a good time this is a
long audio book that i finished in like
two days because i was engaged i was
like yeah this is fun now i will say the
thing that everyone keeps is like don’t
tell anyone that it spoils the
experience i think that’s a lie because
i knew what it was going to be and i
still had a pleasant time
i think personally
if a book is set in space
you shouldn’t be shocked if an alien
shows up that’s just this is my two
cents okay it’s just my two cents if an
alien shows up in a space book i am
negative surprised okay
that’s just me um but this is a story of
a man who wakes up with amnesia doesn’t
know where he is or why and you kind of
follow him figuring that out and i think
there’s some really like fascinating fun
little silly thought experiments about
physics and biology and we’re in a very
save the day mode and i think it was
just fun i can see this becoming a movie
i think it’s already becoming a movie it
was a fun listen and i did like the
character dynamics between our two
characters i thought they were very
sweet i actually
really wasn’t expecting this to be such
a sweet story i think that was the thing
i wasn’t expecting because the martian
was very isolated
and this one was not as isolated this
was definitely had a partnership that i
wasn’t expecting and i am big on those
type of things so
that was really cool i enjoyed that i
was able to suspend my disbelief on
their ability to communicate with each
other i know that’s the thing that
bothers people a lot
i was able to suspend my disbelief
actually i think like
my music background made me feel in the
gaps of like sure hand wave that that’s
fine like i think the rule of cool
worked for me in this instance
so those are my like vague thoughts
about this book do i think this book
should win the hugo you’ll have to wait
and find out in a future video when i
finally have read all of the hugo
nominees and my last one for this
category is the gollum and the ginny
this is a book that i’ve had on my tbr
for a very very long time and i think
maybe like two years and i primarily
listened to this
because the audiobook narrator was
working for me and i didn’t have a lot
of time to physically read at the end of
the month even though i have a stunning
physical version of this
and i enjoyed it i i think it was
interesting at first i was reading this
and like this feels like short stories
like connected short stories and
originally i think this book was meant
to be more of a historical fiction short
story based off her and her husband’s
families and how they immigrated to
america but it wasn’t working so then
she added in these two characters that
are supernatural the gollum and the
ginny and they arrive in america fish
out of water scenarios and following
them and then there are other little
vignettes and it all comes together and
you can see it coming together like
there’s this mystery of this ginny
doesn’t remember his past but you like
you see the connections you see
what’s coming together how people might
intersect but it’s still fun
like i i enjoyed it it was a lovely time
there were some lovely moments i don’t
think it’s a new favorite for me i know
a lot of people adore this book i
thought it was really well done well
crafted i don’t know if it’ll stick with
and i don’t think i would have picked it
out for myself at a bookstore and i
think i would have been right on that
call like i definitely i think prefer my
historical fictions to be more directly
historical fiction
just because
i didn’t mind the super natural elements
but i just prefer
that i think i don’t know i don’t know
if i’m explaining it correctly
but it was it was cool i thought it was
well done i can see why it is so beloved
and i’m glad that i’m now in the know
about that i do not know if i will read
the hidden palace which is like the
companion sequel if someone has read it
and tells me it is necessary let me know
but i felt very content with where the
first book ended and i kind of like
leaving it like that also the paperbacks
for the new version do not match the
paperbacks for the original and like the
anger in my soul
the anger
and the last book i’ll mention just
briefly is the gates of europe jess
owens and i had our live show for that
in red famine this month so i’ll have
that link down below and that you can
see all of our thoughts there um
too long didn’t watch i think that this
book is a good dense historical text but
i personally would have liked it to be
better at explaining its personal jargon
because i think this is meant for more
of a lay audience and i think is
actually quite challenging
for the lay audience because
the author doesn’t always remind people
the contextual reasoning for mention
xyz’s name place thing and i know
firsthand how complicated that is that
is not an easy task
but in terms of who i think this
audience was for this book and what i
found challenging as a reader for it
that’s like my one critique is like we
get a lot of names and sometimes the
context of a name is more important than
the name itself in terms of getting the
holistic view of the history which was
the goal of the book so i think that’s
my one critique but i’m so glad i read
it so glad i have it on my shelves
and that is this wrap up um let me know
what was your highlight of the month or
your most disappointing read if you just
want to leave an emoji to let me know
you’re here what was the book we talked
about recently
let’s we have a lot of sci-fi books so
let’s do a spaceship because i read a
lot of sci-fi this month i was i was
thriving like not as many as five stars
as i would have liked like i think i
only have one five star but like i still
had a really good time this month and
i’m very excited for a lot of the books
that i’m reading in august i’m already
starting my august tbr and i think right
now i’m potentially reading a five star
read which is like the most exciting
feeling so i need to wrap this up so i
can get back to that book
um but otherwise like if you liked it
subscribe if you want to and i’ll see
you in the next one bye

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