Quarterly Reading Wrap-Up: July-September 2017

Posted October 9, 2017 by Madalyn || 14 Comments

Three more months have passed us by, which means it’s time for another of my quarterly reading wrap-up posts! In this post, I’ll discuss all the books I read in July, August, and September, provide some reading statistics, and tell you all about my favorites and least favorites of this quarter. In case you missed them, be sure to go back and check out my quarter one wrap-up and quarter two wrap-up to see what I read in the first half of the year! Now, let’s talk about my past three months in reading!

reading stats

Total number of books read this quarter: 63

As you can see, I read pretty widely across genres this quarter, even though three genres (YA contemporary, historical fiction/fantasy, and graphic novels) comprised a little over half of my reading over the past three months. (*Notes about this genre chart: I had a hard time categorizing a few books that fit squarely in more than one genre– for example, I read a couple graphic novel memoirs this quarter. In these cases, I used my discretion and put them into the genre that made the most sense to me. Also, I’ve combined the genres of Magical Realism and Fabulism in this graph, even though they are two distinct genres with similar elements, because I could only have a certain number of categories.*)

This data was surprising to me! As you can see, almost half of the books I read this quarter received four-star ratings from me. I’m not sure if that means I’m not a discerning enough reviewer, or if I truly did just read mostly good books this quarter (which I think is the case. I’ve gotten pretty good at only picking up books I know I’ll enjoy, and as a result I have fewer low ratings). Although, ratings between DNF and three stars comprised over a quarter of my reading this quarter, which is kinda disappointing.

goal progress

My Goodreads reading goal for the year was set at 52 books, and as of the end of September, I’ve read 132 books in 2017. So, I’ve more than doubled my Goodreads goal for the year! An “unofficial” goal I had for myself was to read 100 books this year (because I haven’t done that since I was in elementary school, probably), and obviously, I surpassed that this quarter, as well!

Let’s check in with some other reading and bookish goals I had for myself this year/this quarter.

  • Attend a bookish event outside my state. PASS. I attended BookNet Fest in Orlando, FL at the beginning of September!
  • Tackle my backlist TBR books. I’ll call this a PASS. Granted, I didn’t really make any progress towards this goal until September (although I did read some of my owned backlist books for the BookTubeAThon back in July), but hey, it’s still progress. I completed a total of 18 of my backlist TBR books this quarter (I only have, like 40 total, so that’s pretty good).

biggest disappointments

Girls Made of Snow & Glass was my only DNF of this quarter. It was so, so incredibly dull and lifeless. I rated Odd & True, Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge, and Wintersong either 2 or 2.5 stars– I wanted so desperately to like all of them, but none delivered on the potential of its premise. Strange the Dreamer was a shocking disappointment from me. I rated it three stars, but I was expecting it to get an instant five stars from me, based on how much I LOVE Laini Taylor’s writing. Her Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy is one of my all-time favorites, but this one had major issues with pacing and plot (though the writing is, as expected, lovely).

the five-star reads

Sex Criminals, Vol. 2 by Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky // What can I say? I love this graphic novel series. This second volume was laugh-out-loud funny. All the details the authors put into the backdrops of the panels are hilarious. This was by far my favorite of the three volumes that are out so far.

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray // I can’t believe how long it took me to get to this sequel to one of my favorite books! It didn’t let me down one bit. Being back with this cast of characters was delightful (I also adored the new characters that were introduced), and we as readers really get a sense that there’s something much bigger than the events of the first book going on in this installment. And, as in all of Libba Bray’s books, the writing and the social commentary are both wonderful. I listened to this on audiobook, and it’s probably my favorite audiobook… ever. The narrator is SO talented.

Echo After Echo by Amy Rose Capetta // This one was soooo close to making my top three reads of this quarter. It’s an absolutely masterful debut. I don’t wanna say too much about the plot, but a few reasons to pick this one up: Broadway theatre setting, murder mystery plot, f/f romance, and some of the most beautiful prose I’ve ever read. I LOVED IT.

Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 by Kate Leth, Megan Levens, & Marissa Louise // This start to a new graphic novel series was tons of fun! It was a road trip story with a diverse cast of characters who are all WITCHES. I mean, yes.

Branches by Rhiannon McGavin // One of my new all-time favorite poetry collections. I have long been a fan of Rhiannon McGavin’s YouTube channel, and this collection of her poetry was incredible. I am just in awe of her skill at crafting poems. (Plus, she wrote all of these as a teenager. WHAT EVEN.)

March, Book Two by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, & Nate Powell // This is the second book in a trilogy of graphic novel memoirs written by Civil Rights hero (and my Congressman!) John Lewis. This series should be required reading in all schools.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson // Another memoir! This one is written in verse, and it chronicles Jacqueline Woodson’s childhood growing up in the South and then in New York City. It was beautifully written, featured wonderful commentary on race and gender, and I found the overall story very engaging.

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo // This one snuck up on me! I expected to like it just fine, but I did not expect to LOVE it. This is a collection of fairytales from around Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse. The writing is lyrical and lovely, and the stories feel familiar yet fresh at the same time. Plus, the artwork is STUNNING, people, stunning. I am, as always, awestruck at Bardugo’s ability to craft a story and to make the characters of each tale feel so three-dimensional in just ~50 pages.

the top three

The moment you’ve all been waiting for! Ha. These are my three favorite reads of the last three months. They’re all genius in different ways, and I need everyone on earth to read all three of them, thanks.

3. Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Full disclosure: I expected to love this, because Nic Stone is one of my favorite humans. And holy cow, did it deliver. Dear Martin is a short book that packs a huge punch on subjects like race and police brutality. Justyce as a character was so easy to root for. He reminded me so so so much of people I knew in high school, and for that reason, this book REALLY hit home for me. Especially since it’s also set in my city. The relationships between characters, the subject matter discussed, and the hopeful note at the end… all of it was masterfully done. This is a must-read fall release. I’ll have a full review up closer to release (that will be more coherent than this, I promise), but for now, GO PREORDER THIS BOOK.

2. My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris

MY HEART. My dear friend Emily has been raving about this masterpiece all year, but I’ll be honest, I was super intimidated by it. It’s a monster (ha) of a graphic novel, clocking in at over 400 large pages. It’s so hard to articulate the many ways this book is a work of absolute genius, but I’ll try. First off, the art. IT’S BEEEEEAAAUUUTIFUL and so different from any other art style I’ve seen (especially considering Emil Ferris had to RELEARN HOW TO DRAW a few years ago after contracting West Nile virus and becoming paralyzed. like, holy shit; she’s amazing.). The characterization, the setting, the dialogue, the intricacy of the plot– all brilliant. The scope of this story is sweeping and messy and human. Our narrator, Karen, really brings it all to life. While reading, you truly feel like you’re inside her head, as the book is basically her journal. The way she characterizes the people she loves as monsters makes me wanna cry (because humans are the actual monsters in this story). IT’S SO SO SO BRILLIANT, GUYS. Please, please pick this up.

1.. The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke

This probably comes as no surprise to anyone who talks about books with me online or IRL: I think The Girl with the Red Balloon is one of the best YA books ever written. This is one of the most emotional, bittersweet, thought-provoking stories I’ve ever read. I do not exaggerate when I tell you I’ve thought about this novel at least once a day since I read it. It follows our protagonist, Ellie, who gets transported back in time to 1988 East Berlin through a rogue magical balloon. You’d think a story involving balloon magic would be whimsical and fun, right? WRONG. This book is heavy. It brings up so many questions of morality. The cast of characters is incredibly diverse: it features #ownvoices Jewish representation in the main character, a Romani love interest, and a secondary character who identifies as a lesbian. The characters are realistic and wonderful, the logic-based magic is fascinating, and the setting jumps off the page. Oh, and the romance. ALL THE SWOONS. The setting is decidedly grim, but the relationships and the characters are what make the story bearable to read instead of just a giant black hole of sadness. It is, ultimately, hopeful. I can’t recommend this book highly enough, but seriously, make sure you have tissues on hand.


That’s all for this wrap-up! What was the best book you read this quarter? Have you read any of the books on my list? Let’s chat in the comments!

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14 responses to “Quarterly Reading Wrap-Up: July-September 2017

  1. You have me convinced to put The Girl with the Red Balloon on my TBR list! Though I am a little worried at how sad it seems. Congrats on passing your Goodreads goal! I also underestimated my goal– I kept increasing it as the year went on 😉

  2. Wow, congratulations on successfully DOUBLING your reading goal for this year, that’s awesome!! I reallyyyy want to read My Favorite Thing Is Monsters (I also heard it hyped up by Emily, haha) but I hate that it’s so freaking expensiveeee 🙁 Oh well, I’ll end up splurging on it soon, it seems like it’s worth it!

    • Thank you so much!! And, ugh, I know– I held off on buying it for the longest time because it is ridiculously expensive. But one day I took the plunge and decided to splurge on a copy (after Emily yelling at me to read it for literally months, haha), and I’m SO glad I did. Definitely worth looking into whether or not your library has a copy, though! And I hope you LOVE it when you do get to read it! <3

  3. Oh no! I’m so bummed to hear you rated Strange the Dreamer lower than expected. You win some, you lose some–right? What a wonderful list of books, though! Congrats on accomplishing as many as you have. I’m so interested in so many of these and I’m so stoked to see the top three you picked are mostly ones I’ve been wanting to get my paws on!

    • Yes, exactly! There are always gonna be some disappointments; I’m really fortunate that I’ve had relatively few of those this year. Thank you! And YAY! I hope you love all of them as much as I did!

  4. Morgan @ The Bookish Beagle

    That’s impressive that you doubled your GR goal! congrats! I think for me when I get a lot of 4 star reads in a row is that I’ve been picking better books for myself. I’m pickier now and know what I like, so in some ways it makes my ratings higher. Ironically your DNF was my most recent 5 star book hahah. So interesting how subjective reading is!

    • Thank you so much! And yes, I totally agree with you. It jus shows that we understand our own reading tastes better now, right? And that is so interesting! It really goes to show that reading is completely a matter of taste.

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