JULY WRAP UP

Here’s a compilation of the things I finished in July.

I’ve always liked watching these Wrap Up videos on YouTube. Eventually, I’d like to make videos along with my blog, but for now let’s get on to the blogpost.

BOOKS

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

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I love making playlists, so I made one for this book on Apple Music. Check it out right hurr.

I’ve been a fan of Renee Ahdieh’s work ever since I read The Wrath and the Dawn (oh, how much that book left me in shambles), a retelling of tales from One Thousand and One Nights. I also read the sequel, The Rose and the Dagger, and enjoyed it more than the first. Seeing how much I liked those books, I had high expectations for this book.

And Renee came through. The setting of this book pulled me in immediately. Its setting is similar to Feudal Japan (how cool??) and is complete with samurai, eerie forests, and mystique. Our main character, Hattori Mariko, is a character I don’t see much in YA. She’s witty, intelligent, odd, and crafty. She’s similar to me, and maybe that’s why I connected with her so easily. She’s like every teenager out there, searching for themselves despite facing ridicule and disrespect.

I also liked that Mariko didn’t accept the gender expectations imposed upon her. She clearly wasn’t a fan of the docile, subordinate roles expected of her–all because of her gender. In the beginning, she didn’t act upon her true beliefs, but as the story progressed, the real Mariko shined through as she grew comfortable with the Black Clan members.

The romance in this one was so…refreshing. I don’t know, sometimes I get annoyed with YA romance. It’s either too cutesy or way too much for me. But with Mariko and Okami everything was just so natural and unexpected.

This book is full of surprises, so get ready to be sucked into this magical world.

The Spy by Paulo Coelho

I am so late to the Paulo Coelho party, most of y’all have already left. But now I get why he’s the “most translated living author in the world.”

I didn’t even plan on reading this book. I was actually in search of The Alchemist at the library, but unfortunately couldn’t find it. Instead, I spotted this book cover and was quickly intrigued.

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The first line on the book jacket also sold me. “Her only crime was to be an independent woman.” How could I resist reading this?

This book is told from the final letters of Mata Hari, a Dutch exotic dancer/courtesan who was executed by a firing squad for espionage. Can y’all believe this actually happened? There’s letters and pictures to verify.

While reading this, I forgot Coelho was the author of the book. He naturally brought Mata Hari’s voice to life; it felt like I was sitting in a room listening to her tell her life story.

The Spy brought awareness to how double sided historical events can be. I did some follow up research after reading, and historians have mixed views on what Mata Hari’s actual role was in espionage. Some believe she was a double agent for both France and Germany during WWI. Some think that she was set up by the Germans. Either way, in the end, she was used as a scapegoat and because of her profession, no one vouched for her.

This was an easy read (less than 200 pages) with so many beautiful passages. You won’t be able to put this book down.

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

Wow. Okay, Victoria Schwab. Just go and shatter my whole world with this sequel.

I honestly had a hard time finishing this book. And no, it wasn’t because the book was terrible (far from it). I just never wanted the story to finish. So I would force myself to read only 100 pages a day because if I could’ve, I would’ve finished this book the same day I got it.

This book was so fantastically dark and magical. Victoria does a scary good job at describing the things that go bump in the night. Especially the new monster, formally known as the Chaos Eater, whose shadow solidifies as it feeds on violence and fury.

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The action in this book was A1. It seemed like in every chapter something was going down.

Back to the monsters. Though they contain human qualities, they are n

othing similar to humans. Except one–the Sunai, August.

In the first book, he wanted so bad to be human. Or at least seem like it, but this time around, he’s accepted the fact that he wasn’t meant to be human. This new change in mindset probably came about from the death of Leo, his Sunai “brother,” whose voice he constantly hears (soul is within him). That voice serves as reminder to August–he is Sunai and nothing more.

August is now a completely different character from the one I read in This Savage Song. Though remnants of his old self are present, they are few. And Kate, our other main character, realizes this when she returns to Verity.

Kate has developed too as a character. Though she continues to keep her wall up, she has let people in past her comfort zone. She’s still a smart ass that can do some damage with an iron knife, but you definitely see her open up more.

One thing that bothered me was the author’s description of the characters of color. I see this a lot in YA where authors will describe people as dark skin. It’s a simple description that probably shouldn’t annoy me, but it does. I mean, if an author can spend a few sentences illustrating a character, then they can do the same with characters of color.

On the flip side, I really appreciated that there was a non binary character. They served an important role to the story and they weren’t killed off either! It’s lit!

Hopefully we’ll see more inclusivity in YA as new books are released.

Playlist for Our Dark Duet right hurr.

TV

Jane the Virgin

I’m always on and off with TV. There’s days where I’ll binge watch an entire season, and then I’ll go weeks without watching a single show.

However, I am proud to say that I’m finally caught up on Jane the Virgin, and GIRL. October can’t come any quicker!

Season 3 had so many surprises and shakeups, I wasn’t prepared. I thought I’d watch this show to pass the time, but instead I treated this show like it was an analysis paper. Made sure I remembered every detail because despite its comedic roots, there was so much mystery going on. After all, it is a telenovela, so be ready to gasp nonstop.

Thank you so much for sticking with me through this blogpost! Y’all are the realest, and don’t ever forget it.

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