It's pretty hard to believe we're more than halfway done with 2020, over 140 days of working from home and 40 out of 60 books finished on my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal. It took some getting used to but now I'm not sure I can go back to the office after working from the porch on nice days, my backyard if I want to get some sun, and sometimes even from my local beach (sh!) only on really sunny days when there are minimal conference calls, can you blame me?
This month, I tried to read more books that take place outside of the states since I don't have any big travel plans this year (bummer). I have to admit it helped tame the travel bug in me reading about London, Barcelona, and Palestine but I am getting that itch to go farther than the tri-state area as soon as it is safe to do so!
This has also been a nice time to start and finish some household projects. I never had a green thumb but I decided to plant herbs and flowers in my backyard and have been using my mint harvest for infused water and basil leaves for pasta. I never realized how much goes into gardening if you want your plants to actually thrive.
July was also great because my local libraries opened up and I was able to pick up some reads I didn't necessarily want to buy or add to my collection but wanted to 'check out', literally. I also have a lot more time to browse and return books on time because usually after commuting home from work the last thing I want to do is get in the car and drive anywhere, but now it's become my fun outing and less of a chore.
Here is what I read in July, and heads up, it was a disappointing month:
You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat 3/5 Stars: Always a little frustrating when you have big expectations for a highly anticipated book and it takes a turn in the opposite direction. I thought this would be similar to 'A Woman Is No Man' (if you haven't read it yet, just go do it) based on the blurbs but it wasn't at all. I expected a book about a Palestinian-American woman's battle between being who she is and who her mother wants her to be but instead this was a tedious memoir-like book about 'love addiction' and eating disorders.
Barcelona Days by Daniel Riley 3/5 Stars: Was really excited for this release because it was raved about on social media and because well, Barcelona! The premise definitely draws you in as we are introduced to a young engaged couple stranded in Barcelona due to an erupting Icelandic volcano has grounded European flights and their relationship gets tested as a result. I was glad when this was over and just needed Whitney and Will could make a decision and move on. The author could have done a lot more here.
The Dilemma by B.A. Paris 2/5 Stars: A domestic "thriller" more focused on character development than plot which I found to be extremely frustrating. The whole book felt like it was about a husband and a wife not talking to each other. I absolutely loved B.A. Paris's Behind Closed Doors and over the years I kept reading more from this author to see if it will match my love for that book and I end up getting disappointed every time.
All My Mother's Lovers by Ilana Masad 3/5 Stars: Okay, a book with an excellent premise told by an interesting main character but the pace here is way too slow. It took a really long time for things to get heated and the ending was too clean, so to speak, to solve the whole family mess happening in the chapters prior.
The Shadows by Alex North 3/5 Stars: This was my Book of the Month pick for July since I loved The Whisper Man. The idea of "lucid dreaming" is interesting but also ludicrous, there were also so many parallel things going on it was hard to keep track of what was happening. A big twist, reveal or shocker never came so I finished this book feeling totally underwhelmed.