July + August 2020 Wrap-Up || I accidentally took a one (nearly two) month break

Hi friends, and happy Monday!

To be frank, July and August were weird months for me. I couldn’t find any motivation, no matter how hard I tried, and I don’t know that I’ve ever felt more frustrated with myself.

I was strolling into July with nothing but excitement – I was going to get to some tags I had been putting off; I had some post ideas I was really passionate about. But it was as if everything I wanted to share up and left my brain without even saying goodbye. Even as I’m writing this down now, I’m having difficulty putting my thoughts into words. Nothing feels right or even fits.

And with my writing stinted, picking up a book felt even harder. I wanted to return to old worlds and favorite characters with endings that I knew in lieu of exploring new lands and immersing myself in new adventures. I wanted predictability; I wanted easy.

Through the process of trying to reclaim my motivation in hopes to not let 2020 steal anything else, I tried to be graceful with myself: my blog will still be there when I get back and there will always be a plethora of fictional worlds to talk about.

I’m not fully convinced that my motivation has returned, although I will welcome it with open arms if that proves to be true. But, one thing is for certain, no matter how little motivation I may have: I missed blogging and gushing about some of my favorite things, so here we are. And before all of my words fail me again, let’s wrap up July and August (and share all of the amazing posts I’ve been hoarding in my inbox from all of you!).

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan – ★★★☆☆. And I continue my journey in the Riordanverse! For some reason though, The Son of Neptune didn’t entirely wow me. I thought the storyline was interesting, as they always are when they revolve around the chosen one as they have no idea what they’re doing. But something just didn’t stick for me? Still absolutely lovely, just probably my least favorite so far.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson – ★★★★☆. I picked up this title for Alexandra Bracken’s book club. You know, a book club — when you read small sections at a time and then meet with fellow book club members to discuss the small section you all read. Well. I accidentally read the whole book before even our first discussion. AGGGTM was so addicting, in a way I didn’t even expect. Plus, the main character is arguably a morally gray character, which I’m totally here for.

Love, Creekwood by Becky Albertalli – ★★★★☆. Going back to the Simonverse quite literally felt like I was transported back to 2017, when life was so much more simpler. I loved revisiting these characters and catching glimpses of their almost-adult lives as they all attempt to navigate the crazy exciting and terrifying world that is college. It was really very lovely.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – ★★★☆☆. After hearing rave reviews from readers and Book of the Month employees, to say I was stoked about this book is a bit of an understatement. And, although it was a fairly slow-building story, I admit that I was encapsulated by the plot and what was going to happen next. Unfortunately though, what happened next—the ending—was probably one of my least favorite things I’ve ever read, which turned me off the book entirely.

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan – ★★★★☆. Annabeth is not only the main character of the third novel in this series, but she’s also the main character of my heart. I mean, I knew that this girl was strong-willed and quick-witted, but this character development? I’m here for it. Seeing Annabeth grow into herself and into her strength is probably one of my favorite things about this continued series.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle – ★★★★☆. Feeling a reading slump coming on, I reached for an easy go-lucky book, and I genuinely didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. As a self-proclaimed planner, I don’t really like the unknown of the future. And the fact that this story focuses on a fellow planner as her life is turned upside down and she can’t plan for it? Somewhat reassuring, in a strange way?

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio – ★★★★☆. If I got a dollar every single time someone gushed about this book to me, I’d probably be able to (finally) buy another bookshelf and (finally) feel less guilty about buying books I have no place for. In all honesty though, M.L. Rio’s writing style is nothing short of stunning; even though I was essentially reading a book about a bunch of Shakespeare nerds (of which I love all (most) of them), I felt like I was reading Shakespeare himself. So much was said with so little, and my heart hurt every step of the way.

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan – ★★★★☆. I’m still very sad that I’m nearing the end of the Heroes of Olympus series (so much so that I still haven’t read the final book). I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, but I love seeing these already well-known characters growing into themselves and accepting their challenges. I love seeing the new characters find their footing and learn their best skills. And, perhaps most of all, I love Nico endlessly and want to hug him.

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin – ★★★★★. This. Book. Was. Unreal. A famous podcaster visits a town to cover a trial, and in turn ends up investigating another case? Trying to solve two crimes at once, while touching on important topics in today’s world? I’m so here for it. Also, for the record, the ending was almost as mysterious as the whole book. TW: mentions of rape, sexual assault, violence, victim blaming.

The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes by Elissa R. Sloan – ★★★☆☆. Marketed as a similar story to Daisy Jones & The Six, I was more than ready for this read. I was ready to become attached to fictional singers and wish I could play their songs on repeat. However, it never came to that for me. While the story was interesting and touched on important mental health topics, I didn’t find myself relating to any of the characters, which definitely makes it hard to fully throw myself into any story. TW: drug use, eating disorders, body image, suicide, depression.

Currently reading: Loveless by Alice Oseman. I’m only about 50 pages into this book, but I already cannot describe my love for it. Maybe because this is the first book in a little while that has me wanting to pick it up and read it rather than spending an ungodly amount of time on my phone. Maybe it’s because I’m relating to Georgia, the main character. Or maybe, Alice Oseman is simply a magician.

me just 50 pages into Loveless.

folklore. I’ve been gone for so long that I haven’t properly had the time to scream about the masterpiece that is Taylor Swift’s eighth studio album. My heart quite honestly jumped out of my chest when Taylor announced her album, 24 hours before it came out, and I don’t think it’s returned to my chest since. folklore is unlike anything she’s done, but at the same time it’s just like everything she’s ever done—Taylor Swift has always been a natural and talented storyteller. Whether she’s recounting a breakup from her personal life or she’s relaying the story about her home’s previous owners, that girl knows how words work inside and out. The stories she has created throughout this album alone continue to amaze me; it’s as if I notice something new each time I give it a listen (which is basically everyday, because I don’t think I’ve stopped since it dropped).

Down to Earth with Zac Efron. I was very much a High School Musical kid growing up. I had the posters. I owned all the DVDs. I went to see High School Musical: Live (and was low key a little disappointed it was Drew Seely instead of Zac Efron). And, as I grew up, I watched Zac Efron’s other movies. But, I mean it when I say it, his Netflix show is absolutely fascinating. In short, Zac travels the world to different countries to learn about their way of life and what kind of efforts they’re making as far as sustainability is concerned. In one episode, he’s gallivanting around Paris and learning about how they source their clean water and offer every citizen and visitor water as they’re out and about. In other episodes, he’s visiting small communities that have rethought what conventional education looks like and questions if that’s even effective, turning rather to one-classroom learning where homework is never assigned. Seeing all of these different walks of life and how these inspiring people are adapting and changing their every day to help our planet in the long run is captivating; I couldn’t recommend the show enough.

Outer Banks. So. Here we are. I was in the mood to watch a show or movie that didn’t require much brain power. I wanted to watch a story for a story and not have to think about it’s deeper meaning. Again, I wanted easy. And, at that point, what felt like the entirety of the internet was freaking out about a Netflix show called Outer Banks. The trailer being deemed by a friend of mine as a “long Hollister ad,” I knew the show wasn’t for me. Holy. Heck. I am addicted to Outer Banks; I was just after the first episode. Ending each episode with a cliffhanger is a power move if I ever saw one, and I wanted more every single time. I never expected to become so attached or to care about fictional teenagers that spend all of their free time searching for gold or getting into fights, but again, here we are. I’m very, very excited for season two.

Despite the fact that I went MIA for a little while, I saw some amazing posts flutter across my email. And you better believe that I saved each one of them to share with all of you!

Margaret from Weird Zeal shared her all of her Hamilton thoughts as she discussed what Hamilton means to her in 2020. Margaret absolutely hit the nail on the head in saying “It’s been a long time since I’ve felt anything but disgust for my country, and watching a musical that celebrates its origins feels a little strange…” because she couldn’t be more right. I found myself agreeing to every single point she brought up, and I was happy to have read such a fantastic post.

Marie from Drizzle & Hurricane Books shared two posts that I fell in love with; in one, she discusses trigger warnings in books and why they’re so important and not at all spoilery. In the other, she dives deep into book bloggers, what they do, and why that work is important. So much goes into being a book blogger, and Marie captures it all beautifully.

Rhi at Marshmallow Harmonies shared 7 well-loved themes and tropes, and I absolutely agreed with every single thing she mentioned. Not to mention, Rhi suggests some recommendations in each category; you definitely don’t want to miss this post!

Clara from the bookworm of Notre-Dame recommends three musicals to listen to during the summer. And sure, summer is very quickly leaving us, but her recommendations are stellar and it would be a crime to not share them.

Fadwa at Word Wonders discusses her experience as an international blogger, and her post is nothing short of eye opening. As someone based in the United States, I truly loved learning about blogging in different parts of the world and how your location can affect your experiences.

Caitlin from Caitlin Althea provided a guide to stanning book blogs, while offering some pretty helpful ways of how we can all support book bloggers more. This post is one of my favorites, and I loved hearing all of Caitlin’s thoughts about book blogs (and why we’re all so fantastic).

May at Forever and Everly shared five reasons to support book blogs and seven ways to support book bloggers. Again, another incredible post and I’m loving all of the book blogging love!

Clo from Cuppa Clo offers three important blogging lessons she has learned. While each lesson is fantastic in and of itself, I found myself relating to her point about needing some time to step away and take a breath. Blogging is for fun and your blog will always be there for you when you get back.

Lais at Bookish Skies analyzes one of my favorite books and asks the age old question: “is Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe just a sad book?” I truly can’t begin to give justice to Lais’ post by putting it in my own words, but you’re just going to need to trust me and read it.

We’ve done it!

Two months without any words, and somehow I managed to still ramble – even after claiming that my brain is still lacking in the word sector. Nevertheless, I hope you all had a fantastic July and August, and I hope to chat soon.

So, what do you think? How was your July and August? Have you had any music on repeat? Do you have a new favorite book? Let’s chat!

10 thoughts on “July + August 2020 Wrap-Up || I accidentally took a one (nearly two) month break

  1. I totally get it – I felt like I’ve been super unmotivated and have just wanted to escape back into my favorite stories, which has lead to a lot of rereads and not much productivity. Ugh! I want to watch the Zac Efron Netflix show so bad, Ive heard awesome things about it and who doesn’t love Zac Efron!! I chuckled at Outer Banks being described as a “long Holister ad” because oh my gosh, SO true. But it’s so addicting!!! I can’t wait for season 2 either! ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve also been super unmotivated! It’s definitely not a fun experience, even in the slightest. And hey, sometimes rereads are exactly what we need to snap us back into our grove, right? At least that’s what I tell myself 😂

      YOU SHOULD WATCH IT! Like I said, it’s so fascinating to see all of these different places and their ways of life. And you’re totally right – you can’t not love Zac Enron!

      Right?! When my friend described it that way, I couldn’t believe just how spoilt on that was. I’m happy you enjoyed it too!! It definitely occupied my thoughts for a WHILE after I finished it.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and comment, Erin! It means the world to me! 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s so nice to see you in my notifications again, Lauren! I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been feeling so unmotivated lately (can definitely relate, though), but I’m glad that you felt like you were able to take a break to get some of it back.

    That gif of Johnny Rose is pretty much exactly how I feel when I think about Loveless. SO glad you’re loving it, and I can’t wait to hear more of your thoughts! Alice Oseman is a magician, it’s true.

    I’ve also been listening to folklore nonstop since it came out!! It’s easily my favorite taylor swift album now.

    Also, thanks so much for sharing my post! ❤ I hope you’re able to regain some motivation soon, and have a lovely rest of your September!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Margaret, you sweetheart, that’s so kind of you to say; thank you ❤️ And I’m sorry to hear that you’ve also been feeling unmotivated. It’s just such a strange feeling because I knew I wanted to post, but I just couldn’t manage it! Here’s to hoping we’re better here on out.

      I AM FEELING ALL OF THE THINGS. No joke, honestly. I’m about halfway though now (adult jobs and life ruining my reading schedule, which is rude), but I’m so so attached. I also think Sunil is a fantastic human being, and I want to be his best friend. And seriously. I already want to read everything by her now!

      folklore truly is next level, and I’m SO happy to hear that you feel the same way! It’s hard not to listen to it, truly. I feel like I just gravitate to it…definitely my favorite of hers.

      And your posts are always so fantastic; I’ll say it time and time again, simply just because it’s true 💜 Have a great September!


  3. i’m sorry to hear about your slump, lauren! i think in this year of our lord, 2020, it’s even more understanding to go through times of rut like these where you’re not inspired or don’t feel like doing something, even if it seems interesting on paper. i’ve been telling myself this recently, as i fell into a reading slump, that even though i want to read all the books i have on my TBR, it’s okay if my brain is elsewhere now.

    i really want to read if we were villains next month – i don’t know if i’ll be able to just because it’s quite of an intimidating read for me, but i’ll do my best! i am glad you enjoyed it so much! alsoooo i hope you enjoy loveless. i personally really liked it especially the relationships, so i hope you like it just as much!

    AND YES FOR DOWN TO EARTH. we basically had the same feelings about zac efron growing up which you know, not surprised, but this show was actually so good? lol i literally just started watching it because of him, but it was actually fascinating and i loved all the different locations they ended up going to!

    i might give it a chance to outer banks after all! even my sister, who typically hates this kind of show, said it was good, sooooo… hahah. thank you so so soooo much for the shoutout, lauren! it means a lot you enjoyed the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lais—you’re way too sweet! And yes, 2020 certainly has been a challenge in more ways than one, especially when it comes to productivity. Even though reading slumps are kind of the worst, I love that positivity that you’re giving yourself; it’s certainly okay to take a little break whenever you need it! I hope that your reading slump ends whenever you are most ready for it to ❤️

      I hope you enjoy If We Were Villains! It was fairly intimidating for me as well, because of the hype and the fact that it’s a lot of Shakespeare, but I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts! It’s definitely a great October read. And oh my WORD, I LOVED LOVELESS WITH MY WHOLE HEART. The relationships were phenomenal, and I truthfully haven’t stopped thinking about those characters since I finished the book.

      UGH. Zac Efron is the dream. But yes!! Down to Earth is SO fascinating; I’m glad to hear you thought the same! I loved being able to see all of these different places and what they’re doing to help the planet. It was incredible.

      I hope you enjoy Outer Banks if you give it a shot! Like I said, I definitely wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did! And oh my gosh, of course; your posts are always so incredible!

      Thank you again, Lais! 💙

      Liked by 1 person

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