Kaitlyn Luckow


July & August Reading Wrap Up


Somehow time has flown by and it’s already the end of August and I haven’t written my July reading wrap-up. Honestly, August has been a slow reading month for me, so I decided to just combine my two months.

It’s been a super exciting couple of months of discovering new authors, new books coming out later this year, and finding new favorite books.

Here’s everything I read in July and August.

Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi (4.5 stars)

This YA contemporary novel tells the story of two girls, Sana and Rachel who have a long-standing feud over a misunderstanding. Due to some complications, they have to work together on a film project and FEELINGS HAPPEN.

Now, I’m not a fan of YA contemporaries. It’s hard to find one that I don’t find annoying. However, this book is an exception. This book was an absolute joy. Was this book perfect? No. Was it overdramatic and a little unrealistic? Of course it was. But did I love every minute of it? Absolutely.

The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett (3 stars)

*Thank you to Simon Pulse for sending me an ARC of this book. *

A historical adventure, this book travels around Europe as Theodora tries to track down her treasure-hunting father after he goes missing on a search for Vlad the Impaler’s cursed ring. But, Theodora isn’t alone. She’s forced to work with Huck, her old friend and lover who ghosted her.

This was a fun romp. It wasn’t anything earth-shattering, it was predictable, but it was good fun. I especially loved the banter and the characters. It definitely sounds like it’ll be the beginning of a series of adventures. And in that case, I will gladly pick up the next one.

Publication date: September 3

Chase Darkness With Me by Billy Jensen (5 stars)

*Thank you to Sourcebooks for sending me an ARC of this book. *

If you’re a fan of true crime, you probably already want to read this book. And if you don’t? You need to.

Crime journalist, Billy Jensen, has been covering cold cases for over fifteen years and has helped solve many through crowd-sourcing and citizen detectives.

This was absolutely fascinating. Jensen walks you through his own life, the cases he’s helped solve, and the cases he’s still working on. There’s also a call-to-action for others to step in and help as well. It’s so interesting and such a promising revolution in crime. This book is going to be in my top ten of the year. YOU NEED TO READ THIS.

Book out now!

Valuing by Christopher Kondrich (2 stars)

Thank you to the University of Georgia Press for sending me an ARC for this book.

This collection of poetry just didn’t hit home for me. I can recognize the talent in their writing and some of the lines were very well written. However, I just never understood the message they were trying to get across. Perhaps this would translate better as spoken word pieces.
Publication date: September 15

Piper by Jay Asher (3.5 stars)

This short graphic novel is a re-telling of the Pied Piper folklore told from the perspective of a girl who lives in a conservative village where she just isn’t understood—that is until the Pied Piper comes to town. She thinks he may be the answer to all of her wishes, but things aren’t what they seem.

This was such an interesting and unique re-telling of the Pied Piper. I loved the dark take on this story. I wish it was a little longer and more developed, but it was certainly enjoyable.

Moonstruck Vol. 1 by Grace Ellis (2.75 stars)

This is a fast graphic novel, which is the first installment in a series. The world takes place in a magical fairytale land that’s full of mythical creatures. This volume follows Julie, her girlfriend, and friends as they try to undo a spell.

This was very cute. I loved the illustrations and the characters were gems; there was also such great queer representation. I thought the plot was rushed and the magazine clippings were unnecessary.

A Falling Knife Has No Handle by Emily O’Neill (4 stars)

I was really impressed with this collection! It was the first poetry collection I've read in a long time where every piece seemed to fit and matter to the theme of the collection. O'Neill does a great job exploring our relationship with food, human connection, and loneliness. I loved how she played with spacing and form. It really made you stop and think about each word you were reading.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (3.5 stars)

Taking place in a segregated and apocalyptic future, Binti is offered a place at a prestigious university, the only Himba people to ever be accepted. As soon as she gets to the university, however, an alien race that has threatened civilization for a long time actually attacks.

This was unlike anything I've ever read before in the sci-fi genre. The world-building was immaculate and I loved the concept. It was hard for me to connect to the characters, however. I felt like I was just an observer to the story as a reader rather than part of the story. I fully plan on reading more of the series.

Sadie by Courtney Summers (4.5 stars)

Told in two perspectives: a podcast and the point of view of Sadie, this tells the story of a girl gone missing.

I’m so glad that I finally read this. I loved the format in which this story was told, and I was engrossed the entire time. I even loved the ending, which is rare for me and thrillers. I just wish that there was more mystery to it. You kind of knew the whole story the entire time, so there were no crazy plot twists.

Mother Knows Best by Kira Peikoff (4 stars)

*Thank you to Crooked Lane Books for sending me an ARC of this book. *

Desperate to become a mother, Claire Abrams agrees to an illegal scientific experiment that links her child to three parents. After ten years, her daughter slowly starts to piece together a tale of jealousy, loss, and revenge.

I sped through this book. It was highly addictive and was such an original concept. I couldn’t wait to see what happened.

However, I thought the last part of the book was sloppy and the character’s voices were inconsistent. But that didn’t take away too much from the reading experience for me.

Publication date: September 10

The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule (5 stars)

Written by the incomparable crime journalist, Ann Rule, this non-fiction book tells the story of Ted Bundy from the perspective of a friend who believed his innocence until it became undeniable.

I mean, it’s arguably the most famous true-crime book of all time, so it’s no surprise that it’s wildly impressive. I need to read all of Ann Rule’s books now. Which one should I read next?


Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford (4 stars)

* Thank you so much to Inkyard Press for sending me an ARC of this book for review *

Nor and her identical twin sister, Zadie, have been raised with the sole purpose of being deemed the most beautiful girl from their village. That girl is destined to become the next princess. However, when tragedy strikes, Nor devices to disguise herself as her sister and take her place beside the Crown Prince.

I was pleasantly surprised as to how good this book was. The world building wasn’t too complex, but it was still interesting. I loved the sibling relationships throughout this book as well.

I thought that some aspects of the romance were a little troubling and the ending was rushed. But I’m super excited to continue this series.

Publication date: August 27. Pick it up today!