July Reviews

Hello everybody!

Today I`m planning to share my reviews for all of the books I read last month. I was on holiday in Northumberland for most of the month (as you'll probably know if you follow me on Twitter) which meant I got a lot of reading done.

I actually read a bit more than what Im including here, but I sadly didn't really enjoy the others I read enough to recommend them.

Let`s get on with the reviews!

Goodly and Grave in a Bad Case of Kidnap by Justine Windsor (illustrated by Becka Moor)
While this book wasn`t what I had been imagining it to be, as it was infused with more fantastical elements than I had expected, I still really enjoyed it. The magic throughout the book was so interesting, and it ended up being one of my favourite parts of the novel. I`m intrigued by the world, and I`m looking forward to finding out more about the world in the sequel. Another part of the book I liked was Goodly herself. Lucy was the exact sort of heroine I can get behind; Justine Windsor really balanced strengths and weaknesses to create a genuinely likeable, plucky character. A final thing I loved about the book were Becka Moor`s illustrations. I honestly think that Becka is one of the most talented illustrators currently working on children`s books, and her illustrations were actually the reason I picked this book up, so I`d have liked even more. The only thing about the book that I wasn`t keen on was that I guessed most of the twists, but it was an overall fabulous fun read that I`d recommend to fans of middle grade fantasy and mystery. 4/5
Moxie by Jenifer Mathieu



I bought Moxie from WH Smith as it`s currently part of the Zoella Book Club and it sounded the most `me` of all the books. I didn`t expect much when I did, but I then read some reviews from bloggers I really trust giving it huge praise, so I had high expectations when I started reading. Moxie more than exceeded them. The book tells the story of Viv, who lives in a small town in America and is so sick of dealing with the sexism of the town that she starts a feminist zine and inspires her classmates to join her feminist revolution. Viv`s voice instantly engaged me, and I really loved the supporting cast of her friends (my favourite of which had to be Lucy for sure), her love interest Seth and her family. One of the best things about the book was actually the romance as it was sweet and nuanced, and not only did it not detract from the feminism aspect of the novel but added to it. The story moves along at an excellent pace (I got through this in two sittings as I just couldn`t put it down) and I loved how feminist the book was as I found it so empowering and inspiring it left me with a burning desire to take down the patriarchy! This should definitely be required reading for everyone who calls themselves a feminist, and especially everyone who doesn`t yet. A perfect read for fans of Holly Bourne`s Spinster Club trilogy. 5/5

And Then We Ran by Katy Cannon



In her newest novel, Katy Cannon tells the story of Megan and Elliot, two teenagers who aren`t in love but decide to elope to Gretna Green together so that they can move to London and follow their dreams. I really liked both characters, and their friendship/slow burn romance. I did find their narrative voices slightly hard to distinguish between but it wasn`t an issue as it was clearly shown when it was changing and Katy Cannon`s writing style strikes the most amazing balance of being realistically teenage and gorgeous prose. Another thing I completely adored about this book was that mixed media was used to give insight into the relationship of Megan`s friend Becca and Elliot`s brother Sean, which was so unique and a brilliant narrative device. I was slightly disappointed that the road trip wasn`t as huge a feature as I`d been expecting, but I wasn`t too upset as the one I did get was really cute and funny, and I also enjoyed the happy but unexpected ending. 4.5 stars.

The Smoking Hourglass by Jennifer Bell



In the 2nd novel in the Uncommoners series, Jennifer Bell transports us back to the magical underground world of Lundinor for another adventure with Ivy Sparrow and her friends. The characters of this series are great- each and every one just jumps off the page and depending on how the author wants us to view them, makes me love them, hate them or feel awful for them (and sometimes all three at once!). My favourite character has to be Scratch the bell- he`s one of the most adorable companions I`ve ever seen and I honestly don`t understand how you could read these books and not just love him. I did find this instalment much slower paced than the Crooked Sixpence, but when you become immersed in Lundinor and the plot kicks off the book definitely picks up. These are worth reading just for the sublime worldbuilding Bell pulls off, but there are so many other aspects to fall in love with too and I really recommend them if you enjoy fantasy and mystery in your middle grade. The twists in this book toward the end left me really shocked as I`d never have predicted them, and I will undoubtedly be picking up book three as the hints in the closing chapters were super exciting! 4/5
The Amber Pendant by Imogen White



This book tells the story of Rose Muddle, a girl who leaves the workhouse to go into service and soon becomes embroiled in a murky mystery surrounding an amber pendant, which she is now the guardian of. The book is a good mystery with some fantasy elements, and I didn`t guess every outcome. It`s super fast paced, to the point I lost track of what was going on sometimes but it kept me wanting to get through the book and unfold more of the plot. I found the exploration of Rose`s adjustment to life outside the workhouse fascinating. The best part of this book for me though, had to be Rose`s partnership with Rui as they worked so well as a detective duo and I just loved their rapport with one another (and I also loved Bahula, the cheeky monkey companion!). I`m already looking forward to the 2nd book in the series, especially as it`s going to be set in India! 4/5
The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord



I chose this from the Zoella Book Club, and I couldn`t be happier that I took a chance on it. It tells the story of Paige, who lost her boyfriend in a drowning accident around a year before the novel begins, as she tries to get her life back on track by making a list of things she wants to do. Something about Paige was hugely relatable even though I`m nothing like her, and the rest of the characters from Paige`s friends to her parents felt multi-faceted and layered. I loved Paige`s relationships with her friends as it was lovely to see such a strong, supportive friendship, and I loved the explorations of Paige`s grief/guilt over feeling grief and coping with a family member`s dementia. My very favourite thing was the romance between Paige and Max as it was so sweet but never verged into being cheesy or over the top. The ending was also really fun; it was reminiscent of rom coms and I loved it. Finally, I enjoyed the humour of the book as I had went in expecting something quite depressing and ended up laughing out loud multiple times throughout. 5/5

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
I mainly bought this book because I fell in love with the cover, and even though this book wasn`t as enjoyable as The Start of Me and You for me, I don`t regret it. This book is about Lucy, whose mother asks her to work in Camp Daybreak, a summer camp for troubled children and teens, for the summer, and Lucy is forced to agree as she doesn`t want to disappoint her mum, who has got cancer for the 2nd time. My favourite part of this book was most definitely the summer camp setting, which I`m a total sucker for, and I especially liked how positive Camp Daybreak was and how much it helped the campers. Lucy really developed throughout the book, as did her fellow counsellors, and I thought the new friendships Lucy formed were lovely. I also liked how diverse this book was as it not only represented people of different races, but also featured the first supporting transgender character I`ve ever read. The romance wasn`t as prominent as I`d hoped for (I adored Lucy`s love interest Jones), but I did enjoy the exploration of Lucy dealing with her mum`s illness and how that changed their relationship, as well as how it affected Lucy`s faith and belief in religion. I was disappointed by the abrupt ending, and I found the prose slightly `purple` and irritating in a few places, but I`d still recommend this as a slightly deeper summer read. 4.5/5

The Thirteen Secrets by Michelle Harrison



In the last book of the 13 series, Michelle Harrison continues the story of Tanya, Fabian and Red, whose lives are all in some way tangled up with the fairies. The fairies in these books, though, aren`t flowery or sprinkling fairy dust… I don`t generally enjoy darker books, but I do like these a lot. The characters are all fairly likeable and have depth (particularly Red and I do of course have a soft spot for Oberon the dog). Harrison`s world and sinister plot hooked me in and kept me reading, and I`m of the opinion that this is the best of the trilogy by far. It`s a very hard plot to describe without spoilers, but it`s about a secret society linked with the faerie world as their members are being murdered, and Tanya, Fabian and Red need to work out who is responsible. I would never have guessed the culprit, and I enjoyed the action towards the end, as well as the fact that we got to see some characters from the other books like Brunswick the goblin. I`m not sure this is one I`d recommend to the younger end of middle grade readership as I found myself biting my nails a few times, but if you want a sinister read then these will be perfect for you. 4.5/5
Love from Lexie by Cathy Cassidy



I was beyond nervous about reading this book as I`m such a massive fan of Cassidy`s previous series, but I needn`t have been, as it was just perfect. The book is about a group of misfits forming a band called the Lost and the Found, and discovering friendship and themselves whilst using the band to protest against library closures. Lexie, a foster kid whose mum abandoned her, is our narrator for this book, and I found her to be really loveable and I enjoyed seeing things from her hugely positive perspective. Her fellow bandmates were also interesting characters, and I`m already beyond desperate to read their books when they come out, particularly Marley as there were a few things about him that I wouldn`t have expected from a Cathy Cassidy novel but am so thrilled to see her take on (which I won`t mention as it`ll spoil the book for you a bit). I also couldn`t have been happier that Jake from the Chocolate Box Girls is a character in this series too as I just love him (and am ashamed I didn`t catch on to who he was sooner!). The bittersweet ending has just made me even more excited to discover the rest of the Lost and the Found`s stories and I can`t recommend picking this book up enough. 5/5

Thank you so much for reading! Id love to know what you think of these if youve read them, or what ones you`d like to read after these reviews.

See you soon with a new post

Amy xxx

Author: goldenbooksgirl

Middle grade/young adult book blogger

13 thoughts on “July Reviews”

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