Summertime flies. In our county, we’re just two weeks away from school starting up again. Already, back-to-school gear is everywhere in stores. It’s hard to believe that the summer is almost over. I feel like only a few weeks ago school was ending. But alas.
This past month, I posted a couple of lists– one about underrated books and one about books that made me dream about new hobbies. In fact, one of my reviews (Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet) came from another blogger’s list of underrated books.
As far as reviews, it was a busy month! Here’s a quick note on each book I reviewed.
Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban
A middle grade historical novel about a girl who is forced to move to a Japanese internment camp in California in the 1940s. I thought this was a really moving story, and it walked the balance well between showing reality and preserving the innocence of young readers.
Girl in the Shadows by Gwenda Bond
The follow-up to the popular Girl on a Wire, which I really wish I’d read first. Girl in the Shadows features a female magician who discovers she has real magic, and that a secret group is hunting her for it.
I Wish My Teacher Knew by Kyle Schwartz
This was my nonfiction pick for July. You’ve probably seen some of the #IWishMyTeacherKnew posts on Twitter– this book is by the teacher who posted that first note and why she started doing the exercises with her classes to begin with. It’s a lot about how to build a supportive community environment within the classroom. It’s an excellent read for parents as well. I learned a lot reading it.
That’s Not Hay in My Hair by Juliette Turner
Jules moves from her NYC home to a Texas ranch with her mom, and both ladies are determined to learn how to care for the ranch themselves. This was a lot of fun to read.
Machinations by Hayley Stone
A light sci-fi about a group of humans struggling for survival post-war with machines (which the machines won.) The heroine dies in the opening scene… but her clone rejoins the group. Is she a separate person, or does she get treated as a carbon copy replacement of her original?
The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker
This novel was just honored with the Christy Award. The story is a suspense/dystopian mash-up. A serial killer takes girls from the lowest caste. Guards must find him before he kills again.
There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane
Peace. Love. Order. Dome. Those are the rules Natalia lives under. But soon she learns that her leaders have kept dark secrets. What she uncovers may destroy the dome itself.
Gifted by H. A. Swain
This was one of my favorites this month. In an era in which talent can be bought, a lowly laborer possesses a natural talent that leaders will stop at nothing to destroy. The son of a powerful leader believes controlling talent is wrong will have to risk his life to prove it. Great read. I loved the imagery that related to music.
A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Hedlund
A medieval story with some Robin Hood themes to it. Fans of Melanie Dickerson should check out this series.
The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng
A Chinese-American girl struggles to learn the meaning of friendship through the books she reads when her best school friend abandons her for a new girl. I loved the references to other stories and Anna totally had my heart.
Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg
Author Jeff Wheeler listed this book as one he was really excited about, and later I heard other bloggers talking about it. So I checked it out. And I’m so glad I did! This was more of a new adult story by the character’s ages. Definitely a great read for fans of Melissa Grey’s The Girl at Midnight or Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.
Gemini by Sonya Mukherjee
Conjoined twins wrestle with what it is to be normal, and how to pursue their very different dreams for college and a future. I liked a lot of things about this story. If you liked One by Sarah Crossan, check this one out.
Goldheart by Kenley Davidson
Another of my favorites this month. Kenley Davidson is awesome. I loved the first book in the series, Traitor’s Masque, which is a retelling of Cinderella, and I loved this one, too. Goldheart is a retelling of Rumplestiltskin. I loved the way Davidson pulled the familiar tale into a completely fresh and new story.
Detached by Christina Kilbourne
Ever since her grandparents’ deaths, Anna has felt disconnected from her life and her friends. She becomes more and more focused on ending her life. Aliya notices Anna’s strange behavior and starts to worry, but she doesn’t want to overreact. Surely talented, put-together Anna can’t be thinking of suicide. This is a pretty dark read, but the story also offers hope.
Sneak Peek at August
Pirouette by Kenley Davidson
Dreadlands by Jaimie Engle
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank