July Reading Wrap Up 2021

July was a MONTH. I had a lot going on in my personal and work life, meaning that my reading life took a back foot. I barely read anything at all for the majority of the month. However, at the very beginning and the very end of the month I somehow read a lot! And so that’s going to make this wrap up seem pretty full. But just for reference, here’s a picture of my bullet journal page for the month. Look how much space!!

I’m going to start of mentioning what I didn’t manage to get to from my tbr. First up, Pompeii by Mary Beard. I fully expected to not get to this book, it was my tbr jar pick and it’s a very dense book that was picked in a very busy month. It was just never going to happen. So I’m putting it back into the tbr jar and I’ll read it again another month.

Then we have Labyrinth by Kate Mosse which I have managed to read from! I’m 276 pages through this 500+ page book. I ended up having to stop focusing on this book as it was putting me into such a reading slump. Instead I’m now just reading a chapter each day. Weirdly despite the slump etc… I’m enjoying it! It’s a really interesting story and I’m looking forward to continuing reading it through the next month or so!

I also made some decent headway on Prodigy by Marie Lu which I’ve had on a few tbr’s now. I wasn’t exactly wanting it to be on my August tbr given the damn thing is too big as it is but hey ho!

As always, I read my pages of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy which I’m still really enjoying. I’m buddy reading this with Olivia Savannah from Olivia’s Catastrophe and we’re around 80% of the way through which is amazing! We planned for this to take us all year but I really think we could be finished by the end of October!

And continuing on with the Dead Famous Readalong I read 40 pages from Armageddon Outta Here by Derek Landy, which is a collection of short stories. They span across the first season of books so I’m reading the stories in chronological order. As always the ones I read this month were really fun. The Wonderful Adventures of Geoffrey Scrutinous and Just Another Friday Night. I love Geoffrey as a character, he’s so good at what he does…and nothing else! He really isn’t cut out for violence or fighting or anything like that, but sit him down with someone and he can work wonders on them, so I loved reading more about him. Just Another Friday Night was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the silliness as always as well as the new characters that we got to encounter.

Now for the books that I’ve actually finished.

Lady Susan by Jane Austen was my first read of the month, coming in at only 128 pages. This is one of the last works that was published, after Austen’s death, and instead of being written in the traditional novel style it is instead a collection of letters. I wasn’t keen on the ending as it felt quite rushed (although considering her life events that seems fair) but I did enjoy reading about a not-so-pleasant main character from Austen. This was read for me to take part in Jane Austen July, see more later in this post!

Then for the Buzzwordathon the prompt this month was “last”, so I read The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis which is the 7th and final book in the Narnia series. I know this series inside and out so I didn’t need to read the other books first in order to get to this one. It’s only 172 pages and a book I know very well so a nice quick read. Rereading it as an adult definitely brought more issues to light with the book however, and I’m glad that I read these as a child so I can retain my nostalgia, as they don’t hold up today. I’m planning on rereading the whole series for a full review, but essentially, racist, sexist, and portrays religion awfully.

On a more positive note, I read The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown by Vaseem Khan which is the second book in the Baby Ganesh Agency series and 345 pages long. A mystery series (think modern day Christie) set in Mumbai, India where a baby elephant takes centre stage! This series is so much fun and I’ll definitely be continuing!

For some reason I left this book riiiiight to the end of the month, but with 603 pages I finally read Death Bringer by Derek Landy, this months read for the Dead Famous Readalong. These are all rereads for me and I adore the series, so to no ones surprise I loved this!

Then I dove straight in (okay I waited a few hours but still) to The End of the World by Derek Landy, the short story (127 pages) that was released for World Book Day in 2012 and fits in between Death Bringer and Kingdom of the Wicked. This is such a fun short story, it’s so sweet whilst also being a lot of fun and I love the sneak peek chapters at the end that show us what the series could’ve been like.

Checkmate by Malorie Blackman, the 3rd book in the Noughts & Crosses series, coming in at 503 pages was my next read. This book made me cry. Actually cry. Full. On. Tears. I was almost crying in the living room sat next to my dad (who would just laugh at me) and I fully broke down in my room. This series is something else and if you’ve not read it yet you need to.

Finally another Jane Austen July read! (look I wasn’t going all out cause I didn’t want to ruin her books for me), I joined in with the buddy read of Persuasion by Jane Austen where 2/3 chapters were read each day. I had to catch up a little at the start but this was such a fun read. I loved the way that Austen took us to the inevitable ending whilst developing the characters so much further than expected throughout. Not as good as Pride and Prejudice for me, but I did still really enjoy it!

What a reading month! So many highs and lows! How much did you manage to read this month? Did you slump at all like me or was it plain sailing? Let me know!!

Sticking to One Genre?

How often do you read outside of your main genre?

When I was younger, I was deeeep in the fantasy genre, with frequent forays into historical fiction. Then my reading stopped for a little while (thanks school) and when I came back I found booktube, and suddenly I was reading a bit of everything. But as time has gone one (and it has taken me a while, can’t lie) I find myself settling back into my old routine of childhood. Reading mainly fantasy books, with spattering’s of non-fiction, historical, and the occasional older contemporary. I don’t tend to like to read about modern day, which is an interesting thing to ponder, but let’s not psychoanalyse my choices right now.

I used to think, when I started back up reading again, that it was good I was reading every genre. But I was reading quite a lot of books that I gave low ratings too, and it could lead to me struggling to pick up my next book because I wasn’t looking forward to it. Whereas now, when I’m niche-ing down again, well my motivation is almost always there (watch me go into a reading slump straight after this).

I’m not saying either way is better. Whichever you enjoy the most. But I think it’s interesting that for me personally, going back to how I chose to read as a child has been a positive thing for me. I do occasionally dip my toes into other waters. But most of the time I’m happy on good ship Abi.

What about you?

The Miniaturist, a review

I took this book with me on holiday a few years ago, on my old eReader (which has since died, RIP). When my family goes on holiday, we don’t sit by the pool, we’re constantly busy, always experiencing new things, and to be quite honest we need a rest once we get back to the UK! Which doesn’t tend to lend itself to reading, however, I couldn’t put this book down!

The plot didn’t end up being what I had expected. From the title and synopsis, I had assumed that there was going to be a larger focus on the paranormal and weird activities of the miniaturist and her figures. Instead, this is very much focused on Nella’s life after moving to the city of Amsterdam to live with her new husband. As was common in the time period this book is set in (1686), she doesn’t really know her new husband Johannes, and they don’t interact much as he is often out. However, he gives her a wedding present of a dolls house, one which is the size of a cabinet and is an accurate replica of their house.

To fill up the dolls house, Nella goes to a little shop down a side street and gets figurines of those who live in the house. This is where the synopsis seems a little inaccurate. It makes it feel like this book is going to delve into fantasy and magic with these figurines, and there is a little bit of that, but it really isn’t the focus of the book. As mentioned above, this book focuses instead on the trials and tribulations of living in this time period as a woman, and also Johannes troubles.

I do wish that the blurb wasn’t so misleading, as this did disappoint me a little, however, I still did massively enjoy the book and was enraptured from start to finish. Have you read this? Do you agree with my thoughts on the synopsis? Comment and tell me 🙂

Airhead Series Review

I was holding onto this series for a loooong time. I bought them in Summer 2013 (I think?) at a Scholastic bookstore I visited in NYC, and didn’t read them until 2018. That’s 5 long years of not reading those books, and then I read all three of them in one year!

I had been putting it off as they’re contemporary books, “girly”, and to be perfectly honest… I got them cause they were by an author I recognised, were signed, and my mum said she’d pay for them! Bad I know, I know. I was young! (16 in fact! I’m 22 now and yet that holiday feels like only a year or two ago!)

However, I finally got around to reading Airhead as I had randomly taken it to uni (probably because I realised that I needed to read it!) and ended up surprising myself and enjoying it a lot, giving it 4 stars. In fact, I gave all three books in this trilogy 4 stars across the board. They never quite hit the 5-star mark, but for a genre I avoided for a good 8 years that’s a damn good result.

We follow a teenage girl (Em Watts) who is nerdy and unassuming in looks, after an incident, and due to some stuff (isn’t is fun trying to avoid spoilers!) she wakes up in the body of a supermodel. Like seriously. And this book doesn’t just go for the cliche of going and doing loads of “cool” things (although of course that does happen a little), but it also brings up the identity crisis that would happen if this was to occur in real life. It makes it feel much more real with the panic of losing your family, your life, your lifestyle and those you love, whilst having to pretend to be someone you’re not.

The trilogy is a great length to follow a decent proportion of Emmerson’s life within this new body, and Meg Cabot managed to lay out the plot twists and action points really well throughout the series so that each book is engaging and interesting. The only complaint I would have about this series is that the sci-fi twist isn’t more prominent, but that’s purely from my reading preference and it’s actually a great contemporary read. There is a romance that progresses throughout the books, and I feel like the speed of that is done well also. It’s definitely not rushed and feels like it’s pretty natural.

All in all, this was a sweet, interesting and well-done trilogy which has great sciencey features along with an interesting psychological look at how someone would cope with this scenario. It is also a contemporary read, 100%, but maybe this would be a good one to give a go if you’re normally not into the genre? Meg Cabot tackled the subject very well and I personally found it super engaging. It’s made me more open to reading contemporaries in the future, so maybe I’ll have even more books for my tbr!

Have you read the series? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!


Have you read TEOOO yet?! Why not?!

This book really surprised me. I’m not the biggest lover of contemporary books, or novels I used to consider “girly”, however, after hearing Laura talk about this book at the NYALitFest I had to go and pick it up at the library. I sped through this book in no time at all and absolutely adored it! 5*! So, let’s break it down a little and see what about it I loved. And don’t worry, there won’t be any spoilers in here!

To me, I feel like this book should be put into the same category as THUG (The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas), and therefore I think that if you enjoyed THUG you should pick this book up. Both tackle very difficult, but essential, topics in beautifully written and engrossing ways. The main topic of TEOOO (The Exact Opposite of Okay) is revenge porn, the legalities of it in the US and how it can have a life-changing impact on the individual. Although the author is British, revenge porn is illegal here in the UK so she wasn’t able to set her book here. Hopefully, this will soon become the same in the US, however, for now, this is not the case.

Revenge porn can have a devastating effect on the individual, as not only is their privacy violated on one of the largest scales imaginable, but also their trust in a person has been destroyed and this could impact their ability to trust others in the future. Laura tackles this beautifully and really makes the reader think about all these possibilities and how the situation would impact themselves.

There are also aspects of racism tackled within this novel, as Izzy’s best friend, Ajita, is Nepalise-American and is therefore treated differently due to her skin colour. This is clearly not the main aim of the book, but I like that Laura includes it within the narrative as it is a very real part of life for many Americans.

a girl called shameless

Truthfully, this is simply an amazing piece of literature which tackles slut-shaming, inequality, racism and more in a mature and engrossing manner. I cannot think of a single negative of this book as I couldn’t put it down and greatly enjoyed every word. If I can find more contemporary pieces like this then I definitely will be reading more from this genre! I am also ridiculously excited for A Girl Called Shameless (book 2 in the series) which is due out March ’19 and has a beautiful cover!

I don’t think that this review is doing this book justice, but if you are intrigued then please do go and pick it up! And let me know in the comments if you’ve already read it!

Small Steps by Louis Sachar, a review

This is a sequel to a much-loved book, Holes (my review here) by Louis Sachar, and follows Armpit two years after the boys are all back home from the camp (link to the Goodreads page here). X-Ray also features within this story as he interacts with Armpit.

I was a little sad that Stanley wasn’t in this book, but once I was into the story I still enjoyed it and it was nice to see another boys perspective of life. We follow Armpit as he tries to be a good citizen and look after the disabled little girl, Ginny, who lives next door.

You can see where the plot of the book is going to go pretty soon in, however, the resolution is unknown and keeps you hooked into the story. I love that this involved one of the boys trying to be a better person now that he has a second chance and working hard for that even though so many obstacles stand in his way.

Personally, Small Steps wasn’t as good as Holes. The emotional manipulation was on a much smaller scale (and surprisingly I want more of that in a book) and I was just constantly annoyed at X-Ray, but I did still enjoy the book and gave it a very passable 3/5*. It’s a nice little extra to the world of the boys and I would enjoy seeing more stories from them in the future (although God knows if that’d ever happen).

My stupidly large August TBR! Aaand, my last catch up post!

I have definitely set the bar a little toooo high this month! So I’m likely to not manage all of these, but at least I’m aiming high… right? This should also be my last “catch up” post after the hecticness of the readathons and my Gran coming to visit. Fingers crossed I can stay up to date from now on! Also, I’m not going to be including the remainder of my BookTubeAThon tbr (which continued into the beginning of August), if you’d like to see that tbr then click here, and my wrap up for that is here!

Finally, into the tbr!

Of Blood Exhausted by Jemahl Evans

This one doesn’t have any cover art as yet, as I am reading it as a beta reader. I keep putting it off as it feels like a bit of a daunting challenge (and it’s on my laptop which is just awkward). But hopefully, placing it within my tbr will encourage me to actually get to it! It is the 3rd book in the Blandford Candy series (link to book #1 here) which I adore and go on about frequently! I really am so excited to get to it! Just a little daunted!

kingsevenlakesKing of the Seven Lakes by A. B. Endacott (Legends of the Godskissed Continent #2)

I absolutely fell in love with Queendom of the Seven Lakes, book one in the series (link here!), and am so pleased that the series is continuing on (book 3 is already out! I need to read, read, read!). This is an amazing fantasy series, with great character and world development and this should be such a good read!

aaruAaru by David Meredith (The Aaru Cycle #1)

I was sent a copy of this self-published book by the author, and the dystopian synopsis really intrigues me. I’m hoping that I really enjoy this, as there is already a sequel out and I can jump into it!

mysteryofthreequartersThe Mystery of the Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah (New Hercule Poirot Mysteries #3)

I got this book to review from NetGalley, and although I haven’t read much from her, I really love Agatha Christie’s writing so I’m hoping that Sophie Hannah can match it! Many of Christie’s books could be read individually so I’m hoping that I won’t be at too much of a disadvantage having not read the first two books.

shatteredShattered by Teri Terry (Slated #3)

I’m finally getting round to finishing this series!! I started it so many years ago and am so ready to see the conclusion, although I’m 100% not ready for it to end! I’ve loved the first two books in this series so this should be a good one!

universe betweenThe Universe Between Us by Jane C. Esther

A book I acquired through NetGalley that I should’ve read a long time ago. I don’t remember what it’s about, I’m assuming it’s a Sci-Fi. I hope I enjoy it but only time will tell.


orchardThe Orchard by Anne Frasier/Theresa Weir

Another book I got through NetGalley that looked interesting. This is an autobiography of fighting for love and changing her life dramatically. I don’t actually know of the author but she has written fiction so I am expecting it to flow well and be interesting!

throneofglassThrone of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #1)

Does this need an explanation? No, I’ve not read it yet. Yes, this is my first time through it. I really hope that I enjoy this! The hype is intense for this book so fingers crossed!


sabrielSabriel by Garth Nix (Abhorsen #1)

Another well known YA book that many have read, although this one is a little older! I only bought this relatively recently, so it’s not toooo bad… right? Again, hoping I enjoy this one!


knifeofneverlettinggoThe Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking #1)

There seems to be a bit of a theme going on here… another older YA book that so many people have read. I intend to join their numbers!


dark placesDark Places by Gillian Flynn

Booksandlala (in her older videos) goes on about Gillian Flynn so much that I had to pick up a couple of her books! This is the one that has the most intriguing synopsis to me so it’s up first!


empathy problemThe Empathy Problem by Gavin Extence

Look at how pretty this cover is! This was a total cover buy, along with The Universe Versus Alex Woods, but I absolutely loved that book and the synopsis sounds really interesting so I’m expecting to really enjoy this one!

truth sisterTruth Sister by Phil Gilvin

I got this book as an ARC (Advanced Readers Copy – pre-publishing with a few minor tweaks to be made to the finished book) at NYALitFest (see my haul here!) and at the time it wasn’t on Goodreads and there was no date on my copy so I didn’t know when it came out. Fast forward months later and it turns out it was released on the 1st July so I need to get reading! This is a novel that, as far as I can tell from the synopsis, revolves around a matriarchy with a severe class system, knowledge, and corruption. Should be a good one!

time travel handbookThe Time Travel Handbook by Wyllie, Acton and Goldblatt

I already started reading this during the 7in7readathon (vlog here) and I’m really enjoying it. It’s essentially a travel guide to 18 historical events, both very recent history (the fall of the Berlin wall) and ancient history (such as the eruption of Vesuvius) and is written in a really engaging and interesting way. Excited to finish it!

And that’s it! Fourteen books! Like I said I probably won’t get around to all of them but I can try! I’ll be going off to a different University next month to start a Masters so I probably won’t have too much free time, hence the massive reading goal for my last month of freedom for another year! Let’s see how much I manage!

The Universe Versus Alex Woods

I’m going to be honest, I picked this book up purely for the cover. The synopsis was okay but nothing massively intriguing to me at the time, but this cover! I saw this book, and another one by Gavin Extence called The Empathy Problem, in a secondhand bookshop and my friend bought them both for me. I literally couldn’t leave them behind because they were both so beautiful! I have yet to read The Empathy Problem but I’m really looking forward to it now!

So, beautiful cover aside, what is the book actually about? We follow a young boy, Alex Wood, who was hit on the head by a meteorite as a child and is being raised by an eccentric fortune-telling mother. He meets an old man, Mr. Peterson, and they become an unlikely duo and come to care for each other. When Mr. Peterson has an unusual predicament, Alex helps him out and this results in them driving to Europe… If you want to know more you’ll have to read the book! As I think anything else spoils the essence of the plot.

The thing about this book is that the plot isn’t necessarily the main driving force. It’s an interesting and intriguing storyline, however, the main focus of the book is really Alex and his interactions and relationships. The writing is so beautiful, and slips easily into the mind and sticks there, making you think.

This book is so beautiful and one that I wish I heard more people talking about, an amazing coming of age novel which tackles so many different issues and I look forward to re-reading it in the future, along with other novels from Gavin Extence. 100% 5/5*****

Fangirl, a review!

I’ve finally read Fangirl!!! This is the 4th book I got around to during the 7in7readathon and it took me a little bit to get into it, but once I did I absolutely flew through it! I’ve been allowing myself to read more contemporaries lately, I used to think that I didn’t like the genre, that it was too “girly” and I wanted to stay away. However, that’s obviously nonsense and finally, I’ve come around to actually reading these sorts of books and loving them!! So, onto the actual book!

Fangirl follows Cath, a twin, and her and her sister moving to college and slowly entering the adult world. Cath is very shy and nervous and hides away a lot, so I absolutely loved watching her grow and become her own person rather than Wren’s twin sister. There were lots of nerdy pop culture references within this book, not only within the Simon Snow sector (where Harry Potter is referenced a lot, obviously), but also silly references to Twilight and more, definitely fun little additions.

There are some pretty deep plot points within this novel, but I feel like they were handled very well with just the right degree of humour mixed in with the more serious notes. All in all, this was such an enjoyable book, I was sucked fully into the world and I definitely would be up for reading a sequel or a book from another character’s pov!

The little excerpts from Simon Snow and Cath’s fanfic Carry On started out ridiculously cheesy. To the point where I was going to just skip them for the rest of the book. But I’m really glad I didn’t. The cheese lessened as the book carried on and I actually ended up interested in what was going to happen in the story! Definitely wanting to pick up Carry On now and see what “Cath” does with it.

There are so many different aspects about this book, and I feel like I could go on about it for ages, and that would just get boring and spoilery. So overall, I definitely recommend this book. It was engrossing, deep, fun, and just a lovely book!

Because You’ll Never Meet Me

I borrowed this book from my housemate at the time, who had recently finished the book and recommended it to me. I was expecting to struggle a little as I was in a bit of a reading slump and contemporaries aren’t my favourite to read, however, I found it really easy to get through and ended up really enjoying it!

The story is very sweet, as it focuses on a young boy who is allergic (for want of a better word) to electricity. This forces him, and his mother, to live out in the middle of nowhere in the US in order to not be affected every day by the devices the rest of the world are constantly using such as TV’s, microwaves and even electric watches.

The title, “Because You’ll Never Meet Me” refers to the letters that start to be sent between two boys. Ollie, with his electricity induced seizures, and Moritz with an electronic pacemaker due to a heart defect. If they ever met, they would both die as Ollie’s presence would cause the pacemaker to malfunction and Moritz’s pacemaker would give Ollie a seizure. This confirmation that the two can never be in each others presence, means that they feel comfortable sharing with each other what they could never say to anybody else. It is through the medium of letters between these two boys that we find out more about their lives and their struggles.

There is a twist at the end of this book, which I did not see coming. At all. It just makes no sense. I’m not mad at it, because it was really interesting, but at the same time, I really don’t know why it wasn’t made a little clearer throughout the book. Maybe I’m just oblivious! But this twist means that the sequel will be drastically different and when I finally get round to picking it up, I’m curious how the writing style and storyline change because of it.

An interesting little book that will tug at your heartstrings and keep you engaged.