Happy Saturday everyone! Today, I'm featuring my wrap up and mini reviews for the PopCulture Readathon, created and hosted by Whitney @ bookswhitme (with some assistance from Lorryn @ Reading Parental) which lasted the entire month of July. I challenged myself to complete the entire Thrill Ride bingo board (here's my original tbr) and I actually managed to do it! I think I had a pretty great reading month. Without further, check out my mini reviews of the books I completed in the order I read them in:
I've said it before and I'll say it again, but I need more western fantasy novels in my life. I didn't realize quite how much I needed a book like The Curse of Jacob Tracy (Jacob Tracy #1) by Holly Messinger. It is incredibly entertaining and has a great set of characters with just the perfect dash of horror. I wouldn't mind seeing this adapted as a tv series actually. I can't wait to read book two, Curious Weather, which was just released at the end of 2019.
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Shakespeare's Champion (A Lily Bard Mystery #2) by Charlaine Harris is shaping up to be a pretty good mystery series so far. I've read quite a few books by Harris so far, and while this isn't a favorite series yet it's still nice to see what her non fantasy/ paranormal style is like with a real world set mystery. I will say that of this installment that the first half of this book is a solid 4 star read but the second half knocks it down to a 3 unfortunately. The mystery is pretty solid even if it spirals out of control, and I wasn't all that interested in the developments in the romance element at all. I'm still interested in seeing where this goes in book three with Shakespeare's Christmas.
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The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox is a solid historical fiction novel with a dash of magic and a whole lot of atmosphere. I just wish we got to see a little more of the magic, a slightly more fleshed out world, and a less wishy-washy leading character. There's so much potential for this to be great, but it never quite gets there. Still, I will need to try more from Hester Fox in the future.
My review is also on Goodreads
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Scourged (The Iron Druid Chronicles #9) by Kevin Hearne was always going to be tricky. It's the grand finale of one of my all time favorite urban fantasy series after all and there's a lot to wrap up here. While it's a very good ending, it just didn't quite meet my sky high expectations and hit quite the same level of greatness as previous installments. That said, I still loved every second of this finale. I've still got quite a few short stories to explore in this world and I can't wait to try the spin offs. Thanks to Atticus and company for such a fun ride!
I really liked the first part of Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte . The premise sounded really cool with the murder mystery surrounding the queens and the Divergent meets The Giver vibe to the story. I did begin to lose more and more interest as I continued with it though. Plus, there are quite a few elements that just didn't work for me. I expected that the more I continued the more the Queenly Laws would make sense, especially when a queen couldn't go back to the quadrant of the country that she rules once officially begins her reign. However, that never gets a logical explanation. I think that instead of just growing up there they should have a bit more experience with their own country in terms of quadrants and the nation as a whole. Anyway, as for the whole eugenics business in the story (it's not officially named outright) but how did that make the final cut of the novel? Seriously. In the end, I was expecting more out of this novel.
Wow. I really disliked everyone in The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll. I think I was expecting something different out of this. I have to admit though that I do enjoy having the opportunity to read a book where a character has my first name.
My review can also be found on Goodreads.
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Supernova (Renegades #3) by Marissa Meyer is a great wrap up to her fantastic superheroes and supervillains trilogy. I wouldn't say this is on the same level as The Lunar Chronicles by it's still pretty marvelous. I'm a sucker for the genre and she writes it well. She is especially great at creating an ensemble cast that will hanging on the edge of your seat for more and that's definitely the case here. It's a fast-paced, action-packed read full of twists and turns and I'm glad I was there for every second of it. I can't wait to read her next release Instant Karma and see what she does with the YA contemporary romance.
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Ninth House (Alex Stern #1) by Leigh Bardugo is dark, twisted, and dripping with atmosphere and I loved every second of it. Bardugo is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and I'm so happy I decided to try her newest adult novel. I adore her brand and her foray into dark academia. It definitely makes me want to know more about real life secret societies of Yale. I can't wait to see what happens next in this series.
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Princeps' Fury (Codex Alera #5) by Jim Butcher is a brilliant epic fantasy from one of my favorite authors. As far as I'm concerned, this series just keeps getting better as it goes along. It's been quite a journey following Tavi and company all this way. I can't believe there's only one book left before it's all over. I need to know what's going to happen.
Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock #1) by Faith Hunter has been recommended to me so many times by a lot of people and I'm glad I finally took their recommendation. I'm pretty sure that Jane Yellowrock is going to be one of my new favorite characters and that the series is going to become a favorite as well. I don't know why I put this off for so long because it was so cool. I need to read the rest of this series as soon as possible now that I know what I've been missing.
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Sabriel (The Old Kingdom #1) by Garth Nix has been around for 25 years and somehow I've just now gotten around to it. I can't say why I put it off for so long, but I can definitely say that I wish I read this back when I was in high school. It would have been right up my alley then, but either way I'm glad to have finally sunk my teeth into it. Now, I just need to get to the sequel Lirael sooner rather than later.
Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress #1) by Jeaniene Frost is a urban fantasy series opener that I'd been putting off for way too long, but I'm so glad that I finally decided to give it a go. I'm pretty sure this is going to become a new favorite series to tell you the truth. As a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this was a lot of fun. Plus, I'm pretty sure that Bones is actually Spike in disguise. And, that's okay with me.
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Revisionary (Magic Ex Libris #4) by Jim C. Hines is the perfect finale to an all time favorite series. I feel like I don't talk about just how much I love the entire series. The story and its cast are just so geeky and bookish that it's hard to resist. I can't recommend this series enough. I hope we get see more of Isaac some day in the future.
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Harbor by John Ajvide Lindqvist is an intriguing horror mystery that will pull you in right from the opening. I wouldn't quite call it flat out scary, more unsettling and atmospheric than anything for me. Honestly, I'm not sure if any novel from this author will ever top my love of Let the Right One In as it set the bar so incredibly high. Oddly enough, I had the movie The Lighthouse (2019) in the back of my mind while reading this as I had watched the movie earlier this month. So, yeah, it was a bit of a strange reading experience.
AAAHHHHHHH! What an ending! How am I supposed to wait to find out what happens next?! Aurora Burning (Aurora Rising #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is a brilliant sequel. I loved seeing Squad 312 back together again. We get to see more of their universe and we get to meet a few more great characters to flesh everything out. As per usual, Kaufman and Kristoff's world-building and character development skills are absolutely top notch. I can't tell you just how invested I am in the members of Squad 312. It's quite a ride, and a brutal one at that. Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff are a couple of my favorite authors and they really delivered with this sequel. I expected no less of them. I can't wait for the third installment of The Aurora Cycle.
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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games #0) by Suzanne Collins is a difficult book to rate. It's a solid enough prequel to an already completed series that is outstanding, but it is totally unnecessary novel. Sure, it is intriguing seeing Panem during the early days of the Hunger Games. I did enjoy delving further into the world of the series as we begin to see more of how things came to be by the time Katniss has come onto the scene. Then again, this book doesn't need to be 517 pages in length. Totally, it seems like it ought to have been divided in two prequels - the first two thirds and then the final 1/3. The book is President Snow's villainous origin story. Let's just say that in the last 30ish pages that there's no way he can go back to the person he used to be. This time around though I wasn't all that invested in any of the characters here, but I definitely liked seeing Snow's descent. I will say that the further I read, the more certain callbacks and elements were there for us to say hey I recognize that that. Overall, it's definitely worth reading if you're a big fan of the series, but I wouldn't call it required reading.
Congrats for making it this far! Have you read any of these books? Did you take part in this challenging readathon? As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!