July Wrap-Up and August TBR Pile - I READ 17 BOOKS

HOLY FLIP, IT'S AUGUST. How did that even happen?! We only have four months left of 2017?? CANNOT COMPUTE.

July was a strange month. It was a month of discovery and growth and new adventures, but it was also a month that brought a lot of tears. The past two weeks have been pretty hard for several (personal) reasons and there were days that I was so anxious and I didn't know how I was going to get through it, but two weeks later and I'm doing okay and I'm growing and learning from that experience. I believe we get given challenges in our lives - sometimes challenges that are our worst nightmares - and we can either choose to run from them or embrace them. Thanks to some amazing church services I've attended this month and the copious amounts of bible reading I've been doing, I've found the strength to embrace them. Learn from them. Grow because of them. Sometimes it takes a knock from life to propel you to great heights, even though it doesn't seem like it at the time.

Last month I started volunteering at the library four times a week which I've really enjoyed and am enjoying! It's so great being able to be in the library so much and it's also so great to see that a lot of kids (and teens!) actually read! I've loved talking to kids about the books that they're reading, recommending books to children and teens and just being able to be surrounded by books 14 hours a week!

I've also made a really nice friend who is studying here from China and I've met some awesome people whilst volunteering. I'm also loving it that I'm speaking to the librarians who work there as I've always seen them around the library but never gotten a chance to talk to them but now I have, which is great! I'll be volunteering until the beginning of September and I'll definitely be sad to see this come to an end but it's been a wonderful experience that I've thoroughly enjoyed! 

July was also a month of self-care but also a month of stepping outside of my comfort zone. There were days that I really allowed myself to relax. If I wanted to not leave my house and just lie in bed and read a book the whole day, I did that. If I really felt like going to charity stores and buying some books, I did that. If I felt like watching hours of booktube instead of reading/blogging/socialising...I did that. It was so nice not having to do anything and not forcing myself to do things that I didn't want to do. It's been an amazing holiday as I've really been trying to destress and for the most part, it's been working.  

However, I've also being stepping outside of my comfort zone. I've been volunteering in the library four times a week which, if you'd told me that four years ago, I would've laughed at you. Why? Because four/five years ago I couldn't leave my house and there wasn't a day that passed where I didn't have a severe panic attack that made me feel like I was going to pass out. Even if you'd told me this last year I would've laughed because I don't go places without someone I know. Ever. I have a fear of not having a friend/family member with me incase I have a super bad panic attack and faint (silly, I know) but I've been going to the library by myself, 3.5 hours, 4 times a week. I'M PROUD, YO. Another thing I'm proud of is that I've actually been speaking to strangers and asking questions and explaining things and not wanting the ground to swallow me up whilst doing so! I'm also very shy and I normally avoid speaking to people at all costs but I've been speaking to adults and children and teens, explaining how the reading challenge works, giving book recommendations, asking questions...WHO EVEN AM I?! 

July has also been a fantastic reading month for me. I participated in the booktubeathon and the summer biannual bibliothon and I managed to read so much during that time! I didn't worry about reviews/TBR piles/blog posts during that time...I just read. It was so freeing and it reminded me just how much I love reading! I also came to the realisation that I'm not actually a slow reader but that I just don't dedicate enough time to reading. I spend way too much time on social media and that, obviously, significantly reduces my reading time. One of my goals this month is to stop using my phone/laptop after 8pm and instead dedicate that time to reading. YAS! 

I managed to read SEVENTEEN books this month. WHAT?! I generally average 6-7 books a month so this is kind of a big deal.

Batman: Detective Comics, Volume 1: Faces of DeathBatman: No Man's Land, Vol. 1DC Comics: Zero YearWonder Woman, Volume 2: Year OneWonder Woman, Volume 3: The TruthThe Isobel JournalThe Screwtape LettersMere ChristianityLying About Last SummerHour of the BeesWonderboyOthergirlThe Girl of Ink and Stars
The Hiding PlaceAnd I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga, #1)Barefoot on the Wind (The Moonlit Lands, #2)A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)

Faces of Death - 💛💛💛.5| No Man's Land💛💛💛💛 | Zero Year💛💛💛💛 | Year One 💛💛💛💛 | The Truth💛💛💛💛 | The Isobel Journal💛💛💛 | The Screwtape Letters💛💛💛💛💛 | Mere Christianity💛💛💛💛💛 | Lying About Last Summer💛💛💛 | Hour of the Bees💛💛💛💛.5 | Wonderboy💛💛💛.5 | Othergirl - 💛💛💛💛 | The Girl of Ink and Stars💛💛💛💛.5 | The Hiding Place💛💛💛💛💛 | And I Darken💛💛💛💛💛 | Barefoot on the Wind💛💛💛💛 | A Darker Shade of Magic💛💛💛💛💛

I read so many great books this month! I loved the Batman and Wonder Woman graphic novels I read - they were so entertaining and thrilling, I highly recommend them! The Isobel Journal was just a collection of drawings with a sentence or so on every page. It was pretty to look at but I didn't feel much whilst reading it hence the 3 star rating! The Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity were excellent theology reads that I'd highly recommend. The former could get quite abstract and it did strain my brain a bit to understand what he was trying to say but once I got it, I was like WOW, THAT'S CLEVER. I APPLAUD YOUR BRAIN. Mere Christianity is a great book to read if you're not sure about what you believe and have questions about Christianity as it lays out the foundations quite nicely and answers some of the tricky questions about God and Christianity. If you're already a Christian, it strengthens your faith, truly. 

Hour of the Bees was so much run to read and I absolutely loved it. I may have teared up in a couple of places as the ending is a little bit sad but I loved the messages conveyed throughout and I LOVEEEDDDD that it reminded me a bit of Bone Gap (which is my favourite book ever, if you were wondering). Lying About Last Summer wasn't what I expected at all and I was severely disappointed with how anticlimactic it was. I did read it in under two hours so it was an addictive read despite the disappointing outcome. Wonderboy and Othergirl were SO MUCH FUN to read! I read both of them in a few hours and I had a blast reading it. It's funny, it touches on some tender subjects (friendship/family/being the nerdy sidekick and not the hero of the story) and it had superheroes in, so what's not to love?

The Girl of Ink and Stars was a beautiful read. I absolutely loved the world it was set in and I adored the author's writing. It was ultimately a friendship adventure story. I was completely sucked into the world and I thoroughly enjoyed it! It's quite a unique read and I highly recommend it! 

The Hiding Place was incredible as well. The circumstances Corrie ten Boom had to endure were appalling yet her faith was unwavering. I love how her and her family showed that if you have faith in God He will get you through it and He will bless you, despite the awful things life throws at you. 

Barefoot on the Wind was a wonderful Beauty and the Beast retelling set in a fantastical Japan. I loved the description and the world and I loved how the author made the retelling so unique! I didn't give it five stars because I didn't feel as if the characters were fully fleshed out nor did I think the romance was fully developed. I still thoroughly enjoyed it despite that though! 

AND I FREAKING DARKEN AND A SHADE OF MAGIC WERE INCREDIBLE. LIKE FIVE STARS, BLEW MY SOCKS OFF, BLEW MY MIND, MADE ME SCREECH LIKE A PTERODACTYL, KIND OF INCREDIBLE. I loved them so much and I NEED the sequels so badly! And I Darken was unlike any book I've read ever. It was a richly-imagined historical fiction novel set during the 1400s in Romania, during the time of the Ottoman Empire reign. The characters were a very dark shade of grey, morally ambiguous and more than a little ruthless but I loved them so much. The plot was layered with so many different things that provided for an in-depth, journey of a book. The writing was utterly gorgeous. Like the dialogue and the description and the general fluidity of the sentences were just genius, basically. I can't recommend it enough, seriously.

A Darker Shade of Magic was so, so good. I was super scared to read it because there was a heck of a lot of hype surrounding this book, like a lot. But it's worth all that hype because it's amazing. The plot, the twists, the writing, the characters, the worldbuilding, the romance...HOW DOES ONE CREATE SUCH PERFECTION?! I will never know. IT'S SO AMAZING. 

HANDS DOWN And I Darken and A Darker Shade of Magic. So good. All the stars. IN LOVE.
It was just so anticlimactic. It had so much potential. Y U DO THIS TO ME, BOOK?! 

LOOK AT MY PRECIOUSES. Will I read all of these this month? I highly doubt it but I shall try! I start school in two weeks time (MY FINAL YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL!) and it's a very important year so I probably won't be reading much at all until next June but if I stick to my schedule and plan my time properly, I'll hopefully still be able to read enough! 

I'm SO EXCITED for Wonder Woman: Warbringer! When I got the review copy I thought I was going to die, I kid you not. I'm first going to read Carve the Mark and then Fahrenheit 451 because they're due back at the library soon but then I'm going to dive right in! I'M LITERALLY SO EXCITED. *heavy breathing*

I'm super excited to marathon the Monsters of Verity duology by V.E. Schwab as I LOVED her other book I read! I'm also super excited marathon the Reckless trilogy and the Steelheart trilogy! I LOVE MARATHONING BOOK SERIES. IT'S THE BESTEST. 

I have a feeling I'm going to LOVE Ink and Bone as well (it's a book about book smuggling and libraries and magic and The Great Library of Alexandria, what's not to love?!). It's my library's book club book of the month so I'm very excited to read it and discuss it afterward! 

How was your July? Did you read any good books, any bad books, any meh books? What books are you reading in August?