Can you believe we are already halfway through the year? My mind is honestly a little blown and feels like it’s still processing February. But despite how quickly – and uneventfully – this year has passed by so far, I do feel like I’ve accomplished a lot.
And that includes five really stellar reads this past month.
What I Read
GRAND TOTAL: 5
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare ★★★★★
Another great installment of a great series. If you’re worried this will have ‘second book syndrome’, don’t. It has everything you loved about the first book and more. It’s rare that a book can make my heart literally hurt, but this one does it – in the best way possible, of course. Also, the historical aspects shine even more in this sequel – it’s impeccably well-researched. I don’t have a ton to say, except you need to add this series to your list.
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare ★★★★★
My mind is once again blown. This book has reminded me why this series is on my list of all time favorites. After finishing, I wish I’d read it slower so that I could spend a little more times with these characters and in this world. If you enjoy fantasy, romance or a great adventure, this is definitely one to add to your list.
Beach Read by Emily Henry ★★★★★
I don’t have a single bad thing to say about this book. In fact I was in love based just off the marketing pitch: “A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.” Not only did it live up to its promise, but it was so perfectly well crafted. The characters could’ve walked off the page – I adored the heroine’s spunky banter and the hero’s faux cynicism – the pacing and tension were on par, and in addition to the light romance I love, there was some real emotion and depth that tugged at my heart. I didn’t want it to end.
A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow ★★★★☆
I am always down for a story about sirens, and after hearing Bethany speak at a conference, I immediately added this one to my list. I immediately fell in love with the characters who had such fresh and distinct voices and a beautiful friendship that I always love to see in YA. And not only did the magical aspects truly shine, the underlying commentary racism and social justice really resonated with me in a powerful way – especially given our current political climate. The story was both uplifting and emotionally raw. I found myself a little confused as to the world building in the beginning, and the ending felt a little abrupt. But I enjoyed it immensely and would definitely recommend.
Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin ★★★★☆
I actually enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would even with its presence on so many recommended lists! The story revolves around rich playgroup of new moms and the young struggling musician who comes to entertain their babies. It felt a little like an adult version of Gossip Girl – affairs, drugs, lies and secrets – with a strange but well-executed layer of maturity and self-reflection. But the threads of mystery were what really set this book over the top. I was able to see a few of the surprises coming, but several other shocked me. Plus, the character development was truly fantastic, and the dark humor had me laughing out loud. It’s a unique read, and the audiobook – which is narrated by the author herself – was very well-done.
What I Wrote
Absolutely nothing. Ha! I took the month of June off while my critique partners read The One (working title for my Bachelorette-inspired romance), and it was lovely. I was able to read a ton, blog, spend time with friends and family, brainstorming and researching my next project, etc. But with the dawning of July 1, I am back in the writing saddle again.
My critique partners and I are participating in Camp NaNoWriMo in July, and I have a big goal: to revise all of my first draft so that I can send it to beta readers by the end of the month. It’s going to be a lot of work, but after another read through, I am feeling really confident and excited about this story. My plan is to either submit it to Pitch Wars or begin querying at the end of September! Fingers crossed!
As far as reads go, I will likely be a little slower this month since so much of my free time will be dedicated to revising, but I am pumped about these books:
- Fearless by Katie Golding
- The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
- You Can’t Catch Me by Catherine McKenzie
Can anyone else believe it’s already July? What are your plans for the second half of the year? Let me know!