I always have great intentions to read when I’m on vacation, but that just didn’t happen this past month.

My goal for July:

“Again, upcoming travel so I’ll stick with 4.”

Eh, not so much.

Actual vs. planned: (Link to my Goodreads 2017 shelf where you can find individual reviews that may or may not differ from what is posted here.)

Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon – 4* – (July 3)

This was a quick, enjoyable YA read. The relationships between Maddy and her small supporting cast (mother, Oliver, and nurse Carla) are completely defined by her illness. Because she’s allergic to everything, every moment of her day is dictated by keeping her safe and unexposed to the outside world.

Meeting Oliver, her cute next-door neighbor, realistically changes her ability to be content with her small world. When she challenges the conventions put in place, the consequences aren’t what I expected.

The book took a turn I half-expected, though it became hard to accept the reasoning of Maddy and her mother in some circumstances. Still, it was thought-provoking.

First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen – Charlie Lovett – 3.5* – (July 23)

I enjoyed this imagining of how Jane Austen wrote her novels and a potential drama about her as a plagiarist.

But Sophie seemed kind of dumb and it all wrapped up so completely and neatly at the end that I can’t rate it higher.

Dark Places – Gillian Flynn – 3.5* – (July 28):

Gillian Flynn certainly has a way with all things dark and creepy. Yikes.

This book, though over 500 pages, was a quick read. Flynn keeps things moving, alternating between questions you just HAVE to know the answer to and action that inspires another dozen questions.

The characters here were complex and well-developed. All the heroes had flaws and (most of) the villains had redeeming qualities as well.

I’d rate it higher except the ending just didn’t work for me. I’m willing to suspend disbelief but it all seemed like too much happening at once on that final day and in the final hours.

Tell Me If You’re Lying – Sarah Sweeney:

I got this book for free at a writing conference I attended earlier this year. I read the first two essays and I didn’t hate it but I also wasn’t very interested in continuing. The two stories didn’t have a real start/conclusion so I was left unsatisfied. I considered continuing because the book has such great reviews here on Goodreads but I can’t bring myself to do it. So no rating and I’m not counting it toward my number read.

I started with three reading goals this year but added a fourth:

  1. Read 40 books: – Currently at 35, which is 12 ahead of schedule according to Goodreads.
  2. Complete the Rhymes with Croatia 2017 Reading Challenge: There are 24 categories, and I’ll count no book for more than 2. I also decided not to count re-reads (unless the category specifies it must be a re-read). Numbers below are new/add’l categories completed.
    1. January – 5 (set somewhere you’ve never been, set in a school, thriller, library, kick-ass woman protag/female author)
    2. February – 4 (teaches something new, recommended by a friend, embarrassed to be seen with in public, takes place during winter)
    3. March – 3 (collection of short stories, one-word title, adapted to tv/movie)
    4. April – 1 (new-to-you classic author)
    5. May – 2 + 1 alternate (coffee table book, one-word title, Bonus: TBR 3+ years)
    6. June – 1 (book with a flower/plant in title)
    7. July – 0 (ouch! 8 left to go)
  3. Decrease my TBR: 
    1. January 1 – 88 physical/29 digital
    2. January – 91/29 (read 2 physical, added 5 – 2 were gifts)
    3. February 28 – 91/30 (read 1 physical, bought a few, donated and otherwise updated my shelf to reflect what’s actually there)
    4. April 6 – 88/31 (no new physical, despite my birthday, bought 2 digital)
    5. May 3 – 89/32 (bought 1 physical, received 1 at a writing conference, bought 3 digital)
    6. June 1 – 86/32 (I only read 1 – the other 2 are being read slowly now)
    7. June 30 – 78/32 (I decided to donate some but mostly read from the library)
    8. July 31 – 82/32 (Some people buy magnets on vacation – I buy books as souvenirs)
  4. Read more political/activism books: I’ve slowed down here. The news is often so overwhelming, I need my books as an escape.

Diversity? One YA, one dirty thriller, and a reimagining of how a classic was written. Almost nothing in common with each other.

Star ratings: I base this on the flat stars Goodreads displays in list-view, not the quarter-star system I assign in my reviews.

  • 5 stars: 4 books
  • 4 stars: 17 books
  • 3 stars: 13 books
  • 2 stars: 1 books
  • 1 star: 0 books
  • 0 stars: 0 books

Pages read:

  • January – 2936
  • February – 1075
  • March – 1380
  • April – 1786
  • May – 1064
  • June – 2272
  • July – 1157

This next month should be much better for reading so I’ll go with 4. If you haven’t joined the Rhymes with Croatia 2017 Reading Challenge yet, consider checking it out!