July Book Roundup.

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Another month gone, another nine books read. The pool I work at was closed for the two weeks of the school holidays, and seeing as I wasn’t getting paid I tried not to spend too much money. Basically I spent the first half of July watching TV, knitting, and reading a lot. It was bliss!

Also, I’ve pretty much run out of prompts for the books to fall under, so I’m just going to double them up (which I started in the last two months or so), and even make them up.

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Read:

Catching Cameron – Julie Brannagh. Easy. ★★★☆☆

Another book all about romance.

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The third book in Julie Brannagh’s Love and Football series was just as sweet and corny, with moments of seriousness and realistic themes, as the two previous novels. I quite liked how Cameron and Zack interacted, but their background seemed kind of unrealistic. Like, really? They get married in Vegas when they first meet, and both think it was the best thing that ever happened to them. Seems a tad far-fetched. Obviously, it doesn’t turn out so well (otherwise there’d be no book!).

Anyway, it was a nice, quick read, which didn’t make me think too much. It’s the sort of book which, while it makes you wonder how it will happen, makes it obvious they’re going to end up together in the end.

“He had to woo her. The only way he could earn her love was to show her that he’d never forgotten her. He never would, and this time he was all in.”

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Holding Holly – Julie Brannagh. Easy. ★★★☆☆

A novella.

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This novella is actually set after the next book I read, “Covering Kendall”. But it didn’t really make a difference. It was short, incredibly sweet, and nice for extending the Love and Football world. I did have a few problems with Derrick’s characterisation, and how it seemed like Holly was being ‘saved’ by him all the time. I think it could have been dealt with better.

“Derrick Collins had two jobs today: to smile, and to sign the credit card receipts.”

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Covering Kendall – Julie Brannagh. Easy. ★★★☆☆

Another ebook.

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These books are basically light, fluffy fun, which I probably won’t ever reread; particularly considering how many books I own, but haven’t read yet. Now don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy this book (and it’s predecessors). But it didn’t pull me into the world, other than to live vicariously through the fictional romance (which is also their purpose). I didn’t fear that Kendal and Drew wouldn’t get together and work everything out in the end.

I particularly liked Kendall in her career. I liked how she acted and responded to stressful situations, often forced upon her by misogynistic males who believed women shouldn’t be involved in sports (a theme that featured in Catching Cameron also). It was great that other characters, both females and males, were shown to support her in her decisions.

“Home wasn’t a place in which one person worked to meet the needs of her entire family.  It was a place in which everyone worked together to take care of each other.”

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Chasing Jillian – Julie Brannagh. Easy. ★★★☆☆

A book published this year.

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The latest Love and Football book was just as good as its predecessors, though I didn’t feel like I was living quite as vicariously through it. Jillian was quite a realistic, but there were times when I just didn’t feel like she and Seth were connecting. It didn’t feel like they went through as many obstacles in their relationship, compared with the previous novels (not that that is a bad thing, just an observation).

Also it ended really suddenly, unlike the other books which had epilogues. That kinda disappointed me, but other than that it was super sweet.

“He was single. ‘Very single,’ according to one of the most recent fan websites she looked at.”

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The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett. Medium. ★★★★☆

A childhood favourite.

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I read a shorter version of this when I was a kid, and watched the movie numerous times. When I got this copy for my 21st I knew I had to read it soon. I loved it so much; something I was glad for, because there’s nothing more disappointing than rereading a book you loved as a kid, and not enjoying it.

The imagery throughout the story, particularly of the sounds and smells of the moor, really make you feel as though you’re at Misselthwaite Manor with Mary. Mary’s characterisation and development, as well as her relationships with Colin and Dickon, are beautifully done.

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”

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Scarecrow – Matthew Reilly. Medium. ★★★★★

A book which killed your feels.

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So I finally got through the third book in the ‘Scarecrow‘ series. I loved it just as much as the two previous stories. It was an action packed, fast paced adventure, where if you blink you’ll miss everything. It was just as brutal and inventive as I now expect Reilly’s books to be. In fact, this book destroyed me emotionally about two-thirds of the way through (if you’ve read it, then you know why).

If you’re not into books which read like action movies, if you can’t suspend your disbelief for two seconds, if you can’t just enjoy action and heroics without trying to rationalise it; then this book, this series, really isn’t for you.

“He’d always loved anarchy. Love the idea of it, the concept of it: the complete and utter loss of control; society without order.”

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The Burning Bridge – John Flanagan. Easy. ★★★★★

An audiobook.

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The second book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series, I listened to this audio book because I’ve been wanting to reread it for a while. It has a different narrator (Stuart Blinder) to the first audio book (William Zappa). To be honest, I preferred Zappa, but they were both quite entertaining to listen to.

Anyway, the story itself I love. It follows on from “The Ruins of Gorlan“, and leads into the next two books, establishing an overarching storyline which encompasses the whole RA world. It’s also great how it doesn’t just focus on Will (something I loved about the first book too). We continue to follow Horace, Halt, and Will, as they go about their business preparing for and fighting the war against Morgarath. The ending always makes me cry too!

“’I sent Halt to straighten matters out. Thought it might be a good idea to give him something to keep him busy.’ ‘So what’s Digby got to complain about?’ Rodney asked… The Baron gestured for Lady Pauline to explain. ‘Apparently,’ she said, ‘Halt threw him into the moat.’”

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Hell Island – Matthew Reilly. Medium. ★★★★★

A novella which felt like a full-length novel.

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A quick 100-page ‘Scarecrow’ adventure which left me wishing for more. Seriously, I got to the end and thought, ‘is that it?’  I haven’t read the fifth book yet, but I hope the new team mates introduced in this one are in it! They were so promising, and I liked how the story pretty much garnered Scarecrow their respect and trust. I also really liked how it explored how events (the heart destroying ones) in the previous full-length novel, were still effecting Scarecrow.

“I’ve had a gutful of your griping, Sanchez. You doubt the Scarecrow one more time and I’ll perform my own court martial on you right here. That man’s got the coolest head in the game…I’ve seen him think his way out of worse situations that this.”

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The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis. Easy. ★★★★★

A book with illustrations.

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Anthony and I read this during July for our book club, ‘The Book Corner‘ We’d both read it plenty of times before, making it a favourite. We just decided to read it so we could fangirl about it in this month’s video. And also because it’s a pretty easy book to read, and we didn’t want to have a long and difficult book to read. Every. Single. Month. (and also because we can!)

If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you do! It’s about 170 pages long, a seriously easy read, with some incredible themes and lessons. If you only read one classic in your life, then choose this one!

“I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been – if you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you – you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again.”

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The Titan’s Curse – Rick Riordan. Easy. ★★★★☆

A book based on mythology.

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The third in the Percy Jackson series, this story took a bit longer for me to get into than the previous two. Though I did love it! I particularly liked Artemis and the hunters, and how they were immortal maidens. It stuck nicely to the mythology. I’m also enjoying the over arching series storyline, and how it’s progressing throughout each novel.

I’m pretty excited to see how it continues to progress in the next two books!

“Ever had a flying burrito hit you? Well, it’s a deadly projectile, right up there with cannonballs and grenades.”

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Currently Reading:

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Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest – Stephen E. Ambrose.

I’m actually rereading this military biography. Or listening to it, I suppose. I read the book about a year ago, and loved it. Mostly because I love the HBO mini-series which is based off it, Band of Brothers. It’s about 12 hours long, and I’ve got about 10 left!

Croak – Gina Damico.

This  book is about a girl, Lex, whose uncle informs her that he is a Grim, a reaper of souls. This is basically the story of how Lex becomes a Grim, and stops a serial killer. I actually finished it early on the morning of the first of August, but I can’t write about it now! That would be cheating.

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I HAVE READ 45 BOOKS THIS YEAR!!!

Seriously, you guys have no idea how happy I am. I set my goal as 50, and thought that I would struggle to get to it. I suppose not studying any more has given me a lot more time to read for pleasure. I wonder how many I can get through by the end of the year. Even if I slow down a lot, at least I will have completed my challenge!

– Gabi

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