Morgan’s June & July Challenge Updates!

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Morgan’s June & July Challenge Updates!

June snuck by pretty fast and now we’re already at the end of July! July was a slow reading month for me so this is a recap for both, included a couple non challenge books.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli- 5 stars. THIS BOOK WAS DELIGHTFUL. I loved it sooooo much, you guys!  Oh my gosh, this is one of my tops of the year; I read it in a day. Simon is snarky, relatable, adorable, and nerdy. I loved how real the friendships and relationships felt, I loved Simon’s family, and I loved the emails between him and Blue. SHIPPPPP!

I loved watching them fall for each other while discovering who they were (literally and figuratively). So much of this book had universal themes of being a high school kid and discovering yourself, while managing to be cute and funny as hell. It was such a joy to read a diverse but fluffy book, I still like my swoons! Albertalli did a wonderful job of incorporating important themes without being heavy handed. It felt *real*. And the last 30 pages were awesome and magical.

Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally- 4 stars. I reviewed this as part of Bitsy Words! It was really cute and I loved the characters. Great summer book.

Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood- 2 stars. The idea was good but the execution was off. It was confusing, boring, and the characters were flat.

I also DNFed two review books that weren’t working for me:

A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

Spelled by Betsy Schow


As for my challenges…

2015 Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge
Flights of Fantasy
 (6 books)

In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce– 4 stars. I really enjoyed the sequel to Alanna, especially since I knew what to expect of the writing style! The characters continue to ensnare your heart. At this point, I still love Jon best but I also love George. And Faithful! And Alanna is the best of the best. I love watching her grow. The ending was very exciting too.

The Woman Who Rides Like A Man by Tamora Pierce– 5 stars. I was worried about the change in setting but I shouldn’t have worried, I LOVED this book! I loved watching Alanna learn to teach, to continue to embrace her femininity, and of course her warrior prowess. She’s flipping gender roles left and right. Also SHIPS. CAPSIZING. NEW SHIPS BEING BUILT. Lots of ships. Lots of excitement and intrigue and magic.

Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce– 5 stars. Super wonderful. Such an exciting, perfect ending to the series. I loved the new characters (esp Liam!) and loved where all the characters ended up for the most part. There were deaths and I CRIED at one part towards the end. Ahh. And I feel like I was manipulated in the most masterful way over the course of the series, romance wise. Now that I have a feel for the writing style and fast pace, I’d love to go back and read all 4 books back to back. As it is, I read them over two months, which is pretty quick. So happy I finally read this series, I fell in love with Alanna :)

The Hidden Prince by Jodi Meadows– 3 stars. I won this novella from Jenna and Crystal at Bookiemoji, thanks again ladies! It was delightful being back with Tobiah and James. I’m excited for more action going forward, can’t wait for the next novella! :)

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard– 4 stars (also counts for #365DaysofYA)- So addictive!!! I loved the worldbuilding and the royal family. Great villains, great ships! I loved the different Silver abilities and how the arena reminded me simultaneously of Ancient Rome and the Hunger Games. I still don’t get why Cal felt drawn to Mare in the beginning but… *shrugs* it was a super enjoyable read even with some cliches. I can’t wait to see where the story is going!

Uprooted by Naomi Novik– 5 stars (also counts for #fairytaleRC)- CAN I JUST SHOUT AT YOU ABOUT THIS BOOK? YES? GREAT! *ahem* What a marvelous, special, magical book. It was everything I love about fairy tales and fantasy in one satisfying volume. The writing was gorgeous, descriptive, captivating. I shrieked loudly about the Dragon and Agnieszka because that is how you write a SHIP. SHIP SHIP SHIP. GillianJulie, and I are starting a band called Intolerable Lunatic btw. First single “I Hate You, Let’s Kiss” coming soon.

ANYWAY. I adored learning about the Wood, the history of the kingdom, the magic. It was entrancing. The book felt familiar and original all at once. It was frightening, sad, magical, and even romantic. I also loved Kasia and the role she played in the story, bigger than I expected. This would make the most fantastic movie, if I wasn’t scared of them messing it up somehow.


The 2015 Re-Read Challenge
The Re-Read Challenge
 (3 books)

caption: a fanmade video of the opening credits for a (non-existent) Raven Boys tv show. Maggie approved too! It’s spectacular.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater– 5 stars. My third time reading, you can read all of my reviews at the link. I have lots of thoughts!! I really really love it, the intricacies of the language and relationships and story threads. It always feels like a new book, a fresh book, every time I read it. And that’s a special thing. In general, knowing Stiefvater’s writing style right off the bat helps, and I loved seeing the fateful twisting of strands bringing Blue and her raven boys together. It was just so enjoyable. And there were a LOT of details and foreshadowing that I missed the first time around!

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater– 5 stars. Again, nothing to add except how much I love this book. The Kavinsky parts aren’t my total favorite but they’re definitely fascinating and intense. I love *knowing* things so I can see how they work in the story i.e. the dreaming. It’s so cool. And I always forget a detail or two until I read it again. These books are built of such wonderful puzzle pieces and I like seeing them start to fit together. Things that stood out to me this time: The Gray Man. Understanding Cabeswater/Ronan’s dreaming more so I could follow along better, esp the end. Ronan, Ronan, Ronan. Always Ronan. GANSEY AND BLUE. I get sadder and sadder for Gansey the more I think about his fate. I can’t see how it can be escaped but I hope it can. Adam and Persephone and the ley line. Oh and the cave!

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater– 5 stars. My second time reading. I already want to read it again because there is so much to ABSORB in this series. Malory continues to be a delight, as does Jesse Dittley. And I really liked Piper and Colin this time around, as far as their dynamic and interplay goes. My Pynch and Bluesy feels continue to ignite fiery feelings in my heart and I don’t know what I’m going to do when I read The Raven King next year. I love how much a simple touch means, whether it’s between Blue and Gansey, Blue and Ronan, or Ronan and Adam. So much weight. I still find scrying creepy and the end is just WTF. WTF. And SO MUCH TO PONDER. Can I just love everyone and everything? Okay cool.


2015 Fairytale Retelling Reading Challenge
Fairytale Retelling Reading Challenge
 (1 book)

Just Uprooted (see above) but oh my gosh was it a good one!!!! I have lots of fairy tale books on deck.

At the halfway mark of the year I’ve read:

9 books for #fairytaleRC
9 books for #ReRead2015
9 books for #365DaysofYA
20 books for #flightsoffantasy

I’m most surprised at how well I’m doing with the Fantasy challenge! I was going for 20 books for the year! I’ve hit all my challenge marks so far, can’t wait to see where I end up :)

What have you been reading this summer? Any books you would put on an end of the year list? I have a few!


Morgan @ Gone with the Words

18 Responses to “Morgan’s June & July Challenge Updates!”

  1. Avatar


    oh my god “…starting a band called Intolerable Lunatic btw. First single “I Hate You, Let’s Kiss” coming soon.” I CAN’T BREATHE RIGHT NOW BRB DYING

  2. Avatar

    Hannah @ So Obsessed With

    MORGAN! You had such a great reading month, and I loved reading all about it! I know we’ve already kind of discussed ALANNA, but I had to tell you that you’ve made me even more excited to dive in to this series. Gillian’s post about where to start with Tamora Pierce was the first nudge, and now you’ve completely convinced me to make this my next series binge. It sounds WONDERFUL!

    Of course, you already know from my TTT that Uprooted is on my wishlist because of you! You did such a great job at selling me on that book, and I can’t wait until I can discuss it with you. <3

    I'm so happy you re-read Stiefvater's books, too. I've got those on my list to re-read because the final book is released. I need the reminder about everything that happens in this series because Maggie packs SO MUCH into these stories.

    I hope August is just as epic for you!

    • Avatar

      Morgan @ Gone with the Words

      Thanks Hannah!! I hope you enjoy Alanna when you read it :D It’s really great and improves with each book. I need to get back to the other Tamora Pierce series I’m reading! Ahhh I hope you like it! Can’t wait to discuss it <3

      Oh my gosh, she really does. And she has this lovely circular way of writing and phrasing that I adore. I think I might reread again right before The Raven King. Lots to pick up on. August hasn't been super epic reading wise, but that's what September is for, right? :)

  3. Avatar

    Alexa S.

    You’ve seriously done so so well! Way to go, Morgan for kicking butt! I’m so happy you read and loved Song of the Lioness. Tamora Pierce is AWESOME, and I love her heroines :)

  4. Avatar

    Lyn Kaye

    I am reading Uprooted right now! WhooWhoo! Someone posted the Dragon as Benedict Cumberbatch and now that is the guy I keep picturing.

    “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli- 5 stars. THIS BOOK WAS DELIGHTFUL. ”

    This times a thousand. That book is for everyone needing a book that will break you out of a reading slump. I might have to read that one again down the road.

    • Avatar

      Morgan @ Gone with the Words

      Yayyyy!!! Uprooted was so great. Hmmm interesting! I’m not a big fan of his so I will probably try to think of someone else LOL :)

      Oh my gosh, totally agree! I really want to reread when I’m in the need for some happy laughs and fluff.

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    You are doing great with all your challenges and I’m happy to see you loved Uprooted as much as I did. It was definitely one of those books that made me fall in love with the genre all over again :D

  6. Avatar

    Danielle @ Love at First Page

    So many great books on here! Simon is amazing, glad to see you gave it 5 stars! I loved Jesse’s Girl, too, and of course The Raven Cycle. That’s awesome that you had a chance to re-read those. Sad to see about Inherit the Stars. :( I have that from NG.

    • Avatar

      Morgan @ Gone with the Words

      I’ve been trying to make an effort to reread more if I feel like it. It’s made for some enjoyable reading days :) Yeah, I wasn’t impressed :/ Hopefully you’ll like it more than I did if you end up reading it.

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    Wendy @ Book Scents

    I’m so excited to for Uprooted, I’ve seriously heard nothing but amazing things and it just sounds like such a ME book. I am all about ships! I’ve been dropping hints to my husband about it for my bday coming up… otherwise I’ll just buy it for myself! hahah. I really do need to read some tamora pierce too. I mean, I’ve always thought of myself as a fantasy girl and how have I not read any tamora pierce?!

    Btw… I have NOT read the raven boys series yet! I see you talking about it all the time and I know I need to read them sometime!

    • Avatar

      Morgan @ Gone with the Words

      I hope you love it! It was super lovely and such a great read. Omg I felt the same way Wendy! Couldn’t believe I hadn’t read her before. I’m on to her second series and it’s just as good.

      Ahh! The first book (all of them really) are a bit strange and slow, but in a really good way. Very character driven. Very rereadable. And it’s fun because each book is better than the last. Definitely good to have on the tbr :) Thanks for your fun comment!

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