July 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries #2)1.Artificial Condition by Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries #2)

Library | Started July 1 + Finished July 5 |Rating: ★★★★☆ | Artificial Condition Full Review

Overall Thoughts: A character-driven continuation to The Murderbot Diaries! Artificial Condition follows Murderbot who is trying to learn more about its past by looking for the now abandoned mining facility, Ganaka Pit (where it went rogue). Similar to All Systems Red, I love how immersive the world is! In this novella, there’s some new characters, and its great that the tech introduced to this world gets expanded on, which in general adds even more to the world building! I did find however, that the crew that Murderbot joins in this novella were a bit forgettable and the pacing was pretty slow! However, this is easily one of my favorite speculative fiction/SFF novellas and I can’t wait to see where book 3 is headed!

Little Witch Academia Vol. 12. Little Witch Academia Vol. 1 by Yoh Yoshinari & Keisuke Sato (Artist)

Owned | Started + Finished July 8 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ |Little Witch Academia Vol. 1 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: A fun, magical adaptation to the Little Witch Academia anime! If you’ve never seen it, I’d recommend watching the 2013 short & then watch the Netflix anime (its amazing!! ) So, Little Witch Academia follows Akko Kagari, who comes from a non-magical family, and attends the Luna Nova Academy (an all-female academy for witches!). The manga basically follows her journey to get to Luna Nova, making new friends (like Lotte & Sucy), and getting into some pretty sticky situations while at Luna Nova! Its a pretty quick read, but the characters, plot and art are just so well done! Little Witch Academia is a fun and immersive read that I highly recommend if your looking for a light manga to get into!

Someday, Somewhere by Lindsay Champion3.Someday, Somewhere by Lindsay Champion

Library | Started July 10 + Finished July 11 |Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ | Someday, Somewhere Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Someday, Somewhere is a deeply moving contemporary that has main characters you’ll fall in love with! Told through a dual POV, this book follows Dominique and Ben and the connection + relationship that forges between the both of them! The eloquent writing is honestly what brings out the heart of each of the main characters! Ben is a musical prodigy and Dom dreams of becoming a dancer! The book starts when she sees Ben preform at Carnegie Hall and his music moves her to tears! Champion does a phenomenal job at building both Dom & Ben, from truly getting to the depths of their hearts and understanding their hopes, dreams, and fears! It was also great to see such diversity in this novel, from Dom who is biracial (1/2 white + Ecuadorian), her father is Ecuadorian, her best friend Cass is gay + black, Someday, Somewhere also explores bipolar disorder, though its subtly weaved into Ben’s POV, it becomes more of a central part of the novel nearing the end! My only minor issue is that ending was a bit rushed, but Someday, Somewhere is definitely a lyrical, moving, and character-driven YA Contemporary I recommend checking out!

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch4. Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

Library | Started July 14 + Finished July 17 |Rating: ★★★☆☆ ¾ | Love & Luck Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Love & Luck was a character-driven and atmospheric YA Contemporary perfect for summer! Following Lina’s friend from Love & Gelato, Addie. She & her brother Ian are forced to stick together by their mother (or risk dropping their school sports) and make their way to Italy (to meet up with Lina), but she quickly gets sucked into a road trip across Ireland alongside Ian & his friend/tour guide Rowan. She takes with her a guide-book (she found in the hotel she was staying at)  to overcome heartbreak & with Ian’s detour through Ireland corresponding with similar stops in the heartbreak guide +sports on the line, Addie knows she has no other choice but to tag along! Welch does such an amazing job at really building her main characters and allowing you to really understand them by the end! I also loved that this book really focuses on family and friendship. However, I did find there were some issues for me from the “guide sections” of the book that really slowed the pacing, side + some ‘main’ characters being pretty forgettable, & a certain plot point that could have been expanded on!

Spectacle Volume 1 by Megan Rose Gedris5. Spectacle Volume 1 by Megan Rose Gedris (Spectacle #1)

Library | Started July 18 + Finished July 18 |Rating: ★★★★★ | Spectacle Full Review

Overall Thoughts: This is a captivating graphic novel! Set in the Samson Brother’s Circus, we follow twin sisters Anna & Kat (Anna is an engineer + part-time fortune teller, while Kat is a knife thrower). The circus is stuck in the desert for some time, so to lift people’s spirits, Jebediah Tetanus, the circus owner, decides to throw a party! Anna enjoys the party as she waits for her sister, but when she returns to her room, she finds her twin sister, Kat stabbed in the back. Suddenly she learns that Kat is a ghost & Anna is the only one able to see/communicate with her. So they team up and begin to find answers over what happened to Kat! The plot, characters, magic system, paranormal elements, mystery, humor etc. are all wonderfully explored + developed! So, even with so many different elements they all fit together and your never left lost or confused, additionally the mystery just continues to build over the course of the story! The art is beautiful and there’s so much diversity from representation to body types, and nearing the end it hints at lesbian rep.! Spectacle Vol. 1 is a magical and mysterious graphic novel that I loved so much and highly recommend!

The Loneliest Girl In The Universe by Lauren James6. The Loneliest Girl In The Universe by Lauren James

Owned | Started July 24 + Finished July 26 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ | The Loneliest Girl In The Universe Full Review

Overall Thoughts: The Loneliest Girl In The Universe is a thought-provoking YA Sci-Fi with so many layers! Romy is the only left aboard the space craft, The Infinity! She plans to continue her ship’s mission to make it to Earth II, but a news of a potential war on earth brings about a  lot of change for Romy on her journey! With communication cut between her & her NASA therapist on earth, she luckily gets word of a ship (The Infinity) that plans to join hers on Earth II. Now Romy is communicating with its pilot, J and the two find themselves a little less lonely as they are still light years apart! This novel isn’t just a sci-fi, with elements of mystery + thriller, as Romy has to face many different challenges throughout this book! The world-building is fantastic, the characters, plot, setting, pacing are all so incredibly done! If your looking for a unique YA Sci-Fi, The Loneliest Girl In The Universe is the book to check out!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes #13

Author Interview With Astrid Scholte {Four Dead Queens}

Sacred Lies Trailer Review

Engagement In Book-Related Content & On Book Blogs {Book Blog Discussion}

Plans For August:

~ Read even more! While for July I was really happy with the quality of books I read more than the quantity, I definitely want to catch up on my TBR before my summer vacation ends! 📚✨

~ I want to try and share another podcast review & I also have a podcast/YA Book-related post I’ve been working on and can’t wait to share! (Keep an eye out on the blog for it this week!) 😍💕🎙📚✨

~ Continue with my summer reading bullet journal! ☀📚📝✨ (I may make a post about it, but I’m not entirely sure yet 😂💕!)

What books did you read this month?? 📚✨

I also recently started a Ko-Fi last month to be able to plan more bookish giveaways (US & INTL)! If you like my content or want to support my blog, it would mean a lot! 💕📚✨

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch Review

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans WelchLove & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: May 8, 2018

Pages: 320

Summary: Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.

So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.

And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.

That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way. 

My Rating: ★★★☆☆ ¾

My Thoughts: Love & Luck is Welch’s spin-off to Love & Gelato, which follows Lina’s friend Addie, as she spends her time in Ireland for her aunt’s wedding. Though a quick detour offers Addie the chance to mend her broken heart and her complex relationship with her brother! Character-driven and filled with adventure, Love & Luck is perfect summer contemporary!

Back in 2016, I read a book called Love & Gelato! I was expecting a light summer YA Contemporary set in Italy, but what I got was so much more!

So, of course when I saw that the author would have another YA Contemporary, I knew I had to pick it up!

Where to start with Love & Luck! Well, I really loved its focus on family and sibling relationships/dynamics!

Addie has 3 older brothers: Ian, Walter, & Archie! They all are really into sports and though tease each other every now & again, are always there for one another.

However at the start of Love & Luck, when Addie & Ian’s argument leads them to go rolling from a cliff, they definitely have some issues to work out.

Their mother has had enough of their arguing and so, as punishment, they are forced to stay together and make their way to Italy and get along!

With Addie’s soccer & Ian’s football on the line, if they don’t get past their arguing, its also a chance for them to overcome their own heartaches and mend their relationship.

The main focus of this book is really Addie & Ian learning to get along again as Ian’s detour through Ireland forces them both to stick together as Addie’s anticipated trip to Italy (to see Lina) comes to a halt!

The sibling dynamics are at the heart of this story and having sisters myself, found the complexity of those dynamics were explored really well!!

Along the way Addie follows a guide book she found in the hotel during her stay for the wedding titled: Ireland For The Heartbroken: An Unconventional Guide to the Emerald Isle!

She follows the guide when she learns that the trip to Italy will take a bit longer than expected and along the way, uses it to overcome her recent break-up with Cubby and the difficulties that came with it!

What made Love & Luck such an immersive read, was how character-driven it was! From Addie, Ian, & their new friend/tour guide Rowan, I felt I really got to know them and understand them fully by the end of this story!

What I find so great about Welch’s books is how invested you become in the characters! She really builds her main cast and as you learn more about them you also get more insight into their strengths, doubts, insecurities, etc.!

There’s also so much more to Ian & Addie’s difficult dynamic ( & argument) that gets revealed as the story progresses!

With much more to Ian & Rowan than Addie first expects, I was just as surprised as she was when I learned more about them.

Another plus of Love & Luck is how atmospheric it was and how Welch really builds the setting and gives it a life of its own through her characters!

I really loved Rowan! He is actually an online friend of Ian’s and as the secrets about their detour to Ireland get revealed, it turns out Ian wants to follow the different memorable sites of his (& Rowan’s) favorite band Titletrack, to in the end see them live at a festival: Electric Picnic!

He also becomes the tour guide of sorts as all 3 of them stop at various spots throughout Ireland!

I really loved his character! While he seems to be just an average guy, there’s so much more to him that gets revealed as he & Addie become closer on their journey through Ireland!

What also made Love & Luck so wonderful was that because it wasn’t really focused on romance, we really get to see the wonderful friendship between Addie & Rowan as they rely on each other to overcome their heartbreak!

+ There’s also a certain cameo I was waiting for, so of course I really loved seeing Lina & Ren again!!

Now as to why I didn’t love this book as much as Love & Gelato:

~Well, because it runs parallel to Love & Gelato, the pacing felt incredibly slow because I knew where the story was headed! (+ the in-between tour guide sections (though I liked them) really slowed the pacing for me too!)

~ Beside’s Addie, Ian, & Rowan, the other characters seemed pretty forgettable

~ There’s also the plot point of the entire reason Addie & Ian are arguing & while things are revealed, I felt that the major history to it was shared way too late in the story! Because of that, it felt that most of their problems could have been fixed with better communication, considering how quickly it was rushed through when more backstory to it is finally mentioned!

& to me what I personally found odd throughout the book, was that if Addie & Ian were being punished and had to get along, why was their mother leaving them alone & expecting them to get to Italy on their own with no problems? (This is just an odd personal gripe I had).

Overall though, what really made this book good was the focus on the main characters, their growth and the emphasis on friendship, overcoming heartache & sibling dynamics!

Love & Luck is a YA Contemporary that is perfect for summer! The story really shines through its characters and the development they undergo!  Its a character-driven, immersive and atmospheric story that focuses on overcoming heartache & the complex bonds of siblings!