July Wrap-Up | not a ton of reading or motivation in general

Somehow I blinked and the entire month of July blew past?? Not sure how that happened.

So in July, I managed to get done almost none of what I planned (including utterly failing Camp NaNoWriMo) and time just kind of passed most days. I’ve been having difficulty lately even doing things that usually bring me joy, like reading and blogging. And that sucks!

In terms of blogging, this month has been full of extreme highs and lows. On the upside, the Book Blogger Awards nominations have been going on, and I have been so honored to be nominated by some of the bloggers I most admire! A huge thank you to all of you. And I’ve discovered so many new bloggers to follow from these nomination posts, which is always exciting!

(Edit: The voting round for the Book Blogger Awards has begun, and I’m nominated for Best Adult Blogger and Best Recommendations! Thank you AGAIN ❤ If you like my blog, maybe consider voting for me?)

But at the same time, I’ve been feeling a huge lack of motivation when it comes to blogging. Even though I’m proud of the posts I put out, it’s been harder than usual to rub my two braincells together and actually write words. I think I’ve been putting this pressure on myself lately to make every single post the Best Thing I’ve Ever Written, which is not a realistic thing to expect.

For the past two years, I’ve been pretty consistently posting twice a week, but for the time being, I’m going to take a step back and change to posting once a week, or maybe less. I don’t want blogging to feel like an obligation, so hopefully taking some pressure off myself will help bring that joy back.

Anyways…in terms of reading, this month has been…not great either. I read a grand total of six books!


My average rating for the month is 4.25 stars, which actually isn’t bad. But like I said, I had so little motivation to read this month that I sometimes went for days at a time without picking anything up. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Oops.

Well, hopefully in August I’ll get some of my reading magic back. But in the meantime, let’s talk about what I did read in July!


Books I read

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Out Now: Queer We Go Again! edited by Saundra Mitchell ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

This anthology had some standout stories, but for the most part, I wasn’t wowed by many of them. Mini review to come.

The Deep and Dark Blue by Niki Smith ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

This middle grade graphic novel was wonderfully fun and adventurous. I loved the magic in here and I hope the author writes more stories in this world! Mini review to come.

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green (Carls #2) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

The long-awaited sequel to An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is here at last!! Even though this one didn’t blow me away quite as much as the first one, I am still in awe of Hank Green’s genius. Review to come.

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The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5

Of the two Holly Black books I’ve read, this is undoubtedly my favorite. I loved the eerie vibes and all of the characters! Mini review to come.

Love, Creekwood by Becky Albertalli (Simonverse #4) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This novella serves as an epilogue of sorts to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Leah on the Offbeat and it just made me incredibly happy?? I’m way too emotionally invested in these characters, and that will never stop. Mini review to come.

Loveless by Alice Oseman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Full review here. This was my most anticipated release of the year and not only did it live up to my wildest expectations, but it blew them all out of the water. I cannot stress enough how much this book means to me. (The book hangover is real, though.)


Other things



Have you heard of this little musical called Hamilton?? Because that’s a thing that happened this month.

I already wrote an entire post about Hamilton, but since it was one of the best parts of July for me, I have to mention it again. I just!!! love this show!!! It’s the show that revitalized my love for musical theatre back in 2015, and it’s such a joy to be able to see the incredible original cast. I even made cookies to celebrate!

Basically, Hamilton is one of the only good things to come out of 2020 and Eliza Hamilton deserves all of our love and appreciation.

The Old Guard (2020)

Immortal mercenaries in Netflix's 'The Old Guard' | Dhaka Tribune

Charlize Theron. That’s all I have to say.

Just kidding, you’re not going to get me to shut up about this movie that easily, because wow, this one was so good! I’ve never been much of an action movie fan, but this reminded me of everything that can be done right — complex characters, well-choreographed fight scenes, impeccable pacing. I’m obsessed with all of these immortals. I definitely want to read the comic that this is based on, and I can’t wait for the next movie!

My birthday!


I turned 23 this month!

Even though these are certainly not the ideal circumstances in which to enter a new year of my life, I still had a nice, if lowkey, birthday. I made a lemon elderflower cake that might not have been perfect, but it looked pretty and tasted delicious! Mmm, now I want cake again…

In case you missed it, I did a Q&A for my birthday, which was a lot of fun. Thanks again to everyone who asked questions! ❤

folklore by Taylor Swift

Top 10 fan theories about Taylor Swift's new album 'Folklore' - Los Angeles  Times

What a wonderful surprise this was!

Taylor Swift’s latest album is probably my favorite that she’s ever done. In the week or so since it’s come out, I’ve been listening to it pretty much nonstop. The ~vibes~ are so good! I can’t stop! My favorite songs (as of right now):

  • seven | “Please picture me in the trees / I hit my peak at seven”
  • cardigan | “But I knew you’d linger like a tattoo kiss / I knew you’d haunt all of my what-ifs”
  • invisible string | “And isn’t it just so pretty to think / All along there was some invisible string / Tying you to me?”
  • betty | “But if I just showed up at your party / Would you have me? Would you want me?”

Other music that I listened to

  • Hug All Ur Friends by Cavetown | “Life’s too short to worry about things that we got wrong / So hug all your friends and let them know / You’re not letting go”
  • June, After Dark by Elliot Root | “I will wait for you / Until the summer comes / At the park in June after dark”
  • Burning by Maggie Rogers | “But I’ve got a feeling / And keep believing / I’m never gonna give this back”


July blog posts

I wrote some posts this month that weren’t too shabby, if I say so myself…

What does Hamilton mean to me in 2020? 🌺 Writing update 🌺  Birthday Q&A 🌺 Recommendations: books involving Greek mythology 🌺 My nominations for the 2020 Book Blogger Awards 🌺 7 books that would make great musicals 🌺 Review: Loveless by Alice Oseman 🌺 The Jane Austen July Tag

And of course, around the blogosphere, there were so many incredible posts this month! Including…

🌺 Marie @ drizzleandhurricanebooks discussed trigger warnings and why they’re important, which I fully cosign.

🌺 Olivia @ Purely Olivia recommended YA books based on TV shows, and these recommendations are so good!

🌺 May @ Forever and Everly judged people based on their favorite books, and I feel called out by so many of these 😅

🌺 Lauren @ Twenty-Seven Letters wrote about what she learned reading Percy Jackson for the first time this year, which is such a lovely and heartfelt post!

🌺 Emme @ a literary latte talked about why she’ll DNF a book, and as a constant DNF-er, I completely relate to this.

🌺 The Orangutan Librarian gave some, uh, advice for editing a novel, and since I’m currently struggling through that process, this post made me laugh a lot.

🌺 LaRonda @ Flying Paperbacks talks about the five stages of grief when someone doesn’t like a book you recommended, which is REAL 😭

🌺 Maha @ Sunshine N’ Books recommends some of the fluffiest romance novels, which includes some truly amazing books that I also recommend!


August TBR

My local library just reopened for curbside pickup and I went a little overboard with placing holds. 😅 So I have a lot of books to read this month! Let’s hope I can get to all of them.

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  • The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
  • The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
  • The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • Harrow the Ninth by Tamysn Muir
  • Technically, You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson
  • Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger


How has your July been? What books did you love this month? Have you watched Hamilton or listened to folklore yet?

x Margaret

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47 thoughts on “July Wrap-Up | not a ton of reading or motivation in general

  1. Happy late birthday! Your cake looks delicious.

    I wasn’t too interested in Loveless (I barely read contemporary), but after reading your review, I really want to read the book now! I hope I can get ahold of a copy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahh I loved reading your wrap-up!!
    First of all folklore and Hamilton are the best things to come out of lockdown!! I absolutely love folklore and I feel like it’s maybe one of my fave Taylor albums?? It always depends what mood I’m in but at the moment it’s all I’m listening to. Especially betty, the last great american dynasty, illicit affairs and mad woman which have just been on repeat. And cardigan and august are also up there. So many good songs!! Same for Hamilton – one of my all time fave musicals too. I just love Lin-Manuel Miranda and I’m so happy I get the chance to see the show again (anytime I want!) I love picking up on new details each time and the OBC are so great too.
    Love, Creekwood I also finished today and read in two sittings (but mostly one). It was so cute and I adore that cast of characters so much!! I really want more because that last email?? What happens??
    Sorry your motivation wasn’t as great this month and hope August is a good month for you! (That sounds so crazy to say haha)
    & Thanks for sharing my post, glad you liked it! I only DNF’d three books this month so progress?😂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much!! ❤ Yess completely agree about folklore, I've basically been listening to it nonstop since it came out. SO many great songs, it's impossible to choose a favorite 😀 Hooray for Hamilton too! How lucky we are to be alive right now, when we can watch Hamilton anytime we want. Truly amazing!!
      Ahh I'm so glad you enjoyed Love, Creekwood! So adorable, right?? I would always be happy for more Simonverse content.
      Thank you, I hope your August is wonderful as well (truly wild that we're already to August, though). Hope you're able to find lots of amazing books that you don't have to DNF! 😉


  3. Happy belated birthday! I love the eerie vibe of The Darkest Part of the Forest too, it was my first Holly Black book and one that convinced me to read more of her books 🙂 I’ve heard a lot of fantastic things about the Old Guard and I’m really excited to watch it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! ❤ Yess the vibes in Darkest Part of the Forest were so good. I haven't read much Holly Black but I think I'll have to if there are more like that one! Ohh I hope you enjoy The Old Guard too 😀


  4. Well- not much reading. Well, technically I read a lot- but only one book: Anna Karenina, but isn’t done yet. My family got Disney+ so Hamilton was watched- I am in the minority of not being the biggest fan of it.

    Also watched Joseph on Shows Must Go On and the 1957 Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (even though it was way out of sync).

    July just didn’t have huge highlights

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You probably might be impressed by a number of books I have read. I do love the classics.

        1. Les Misérables
        2. Hunchback of Notre Dame
        3. Don Quixote
        4. A Christmas Carol
        5. Oliver Twist
        6. Nicholas Nickleby
        7. David Copperfield
        8. Great Expectations
        9. Tale of Two Cities


  5. ahh, belated happy birthday again! that cake looks amazing 😍😍 and i totally feel you about blogging and reading in July! i just couldn’t get myself to blog or read last month, haha. but i think it’s really important that you do what makes you happy, so even though i’ll miss your posts, i fully support you posting less ❤
    hope you have an amazing August ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Caitlin! ❤ It was a delicious cake…
      Rip to us for reading and blogging in July 😭 Ahh thank you, that's good to hear — I'm hoping that stepping back a bit will bring my excitement about blogging back. I hope your August is wonderful as well ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy Birthday!! Your cake looks delicious, and sounds even more mouthwatering!! You do what you got to do, July was down month for me too. My productivity just plummeted and I only read one book. Just one. Which is so unusual for me! You are not alone and it’s good to take breaks when you need them, otherwise you burn out, and that is never good! I hope August is a better month for you, and TSwift is a girl’s best friend in tough times. Invisible String and Betty are two of my favorites as well! Sending good vibes your way Margaret!!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! ❤ I'm sorry to hear that July wasn't a great month for you either. Hopefully taking a bit of break will improve things for both of us! Miss Swift truly is a great remedy 😀 Thank you, and I hope things start looking up for you in August!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m sorry to hear that July has been tough for you in terms of motivation and plans, I hope August is a lot kinder to you 💗 Happy to hear that you loved so many books this month though! I cannot wait to read Loveless as you’ve increased my excitement for this book so much 🥰 Also happy to see you liked The Darkest Part of the Forest, I definitely want to read more of Holly Black’s backlist books as her Curseworker series was one of my faves last year 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thank you, I certainly hope so too ❤ Ooh you should definitely read Darkest Part of the Forest! This is only the second of Holly Black's books that I've read, but I need to check out more of her backlist, including the Curseworker series 👀 Happy August!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy belated birthday, Margaret! I definitely agree that Hamilton and Folklore were two very incredible things to come out of July. My favorite songs are really similar to yours, I can’t stop listening to Cardigan or Betty.
    Yay for your library being open for curbside pickup again! I hope you find a lot of new books to read. I love Wonder so much, this reminded me that I should do a reread of it soon.
    I’m sorry July hasn’t been the best for you with motivation! I hope August is better and sending all the positive vibes your way. Thank you so much for mentioning my post in this wrap-up as well!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Olivia! 💕 Ahaha it’s truly impossible for me to pick a single favorite from folklore — all of the songs are just so good!
      I’m very excited about my library 😀 And I just read Wonder in like two sittings over the weekend and loved it!!
      Here’s hoping August is better in every possible way 🤞 Thank you again!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I feel you, July was rough. I kept feeling like I was doing nothing, and then would look back and realize I’d done a lot, but just felt like it all happened to someone else? It was weird, and I’d like it to knock the heck off for August. I hope your month is going to be better, too! ❤

    UM, Old Guard is the best thing IN THE WORLD, and I've literally watched it three times in three weeks just so I could make more people witness it with me. UGH, now I want to watch it again, I just cannot. Charlize in all black and short hair with her labrys is going to be the end of me. It also lowkey gave me some Mad Max vibes, and now I might have to watch that again.

    Your birthday cake looks amazing! That little lavender accent is just adorable, I'm so impressed.

    The Last Magician is truly fantastic, and I will perish if we don't get the third book soon, so I hope you love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, exactly!! What was in the air in July?? Here’s hoping August will be better for both of us 🤞

      Old Guard Old Guard Old Guard!! I already want to rewatch it too. It was just *clenches fist* SO GOOD. It definitely gave me Mad Max vibes, so I guess I’ll have to be rewatching that soon too. Cannot complain — any excuse to watch Charlize Theron with short hair being badass is good enough for me.

      Ahh thank you! That cake was delicious 😋 And I’m reading The Last Magician right now and enjoying it so far!!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. i am sorry to hear that july was rough on your motivation & productivity, margaret! it sucks to fall into slumps like this and i hope things pick up soon. last year, i was also posting twice a week and i just quickly realized it would be too demanding, so i highly support your idea of posting less. it has made me more excited to write posts, and i feel like i’m *more* productive now that my schedule is clearer.

    i have seen the old guard all over my tumblr dashboard (yes, i still use tumblr heheh don’t judge me pls) and i’m kind of intrigued even though is not the type of movie i’d watch AT ALL. (granted what shook me the most was the M/M couple, but hey charlize theron is there too hahah).

    seven & august are my favorite songs in folklore, but i was a bit underwhelmed. i think i’ll enjoy this album more in the future.

    wishing you an amazing august & all the luck on your TBR!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Lais! ❤ Ahaha I'm surprised I've been able to keep up with posting twice a week for this long, but it's certainly demanding 😅 It's definitely nice to feel less pressured!

      Yess you should definitely watch The Old Guard!! I don't typically watch many action movies, but this one had the dual combination of a main m/m couple and Charlize Theron, so I was sold.

      I gotta say, I've enjoyed folklore more and more with each listen, so hopefully you will enjoy the album more in the future! Thanks so much, Lais, and wishing you the best august as well ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahhh, so I did watch The Old Guard! I did not expect it to be so graphically violent even though it was an action movie and I was a bit shocked, but it was so much fun! It did took me the entire movie to realize that the villain was Dudley Dursley lol, but it’s fine. The ending completely sold me and I really hope there is a sequel!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m sorry you’ve not been feeling reading/blogging this month! But also, same? I keep just not feeling like posting, and even though I’m reading a book that I’m already calling a new favourite, I’m going through it super slowly – and not in a “I’m savouring it” way, just a not-reading-much way. 😅

    I’ve totally already voted for you in the Book Blogger Awards! You deserve all the love! ❤️

    Those Hamilton cookies are amazing – I literally laughed out loud at the “awesome, wow” one 🤣 And in case I haven’t said it already, Happy (belated) Birthday! 🎉

    So glad to see some love for cavetown on here! Hug All Ur Friends is such a good song for this moment in time (even if you’re not technically allowed to hug all your friends 😅). I don’t know if you listen to more of their music but Lemon Boy is actually part of the inspiration for my blog theme! 🍋

    Good luck with your August TBR, I hope you have a great month! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Argh, that’s frustrating! I’m glad you’re reading a book that you’re loving, but I definitely understand how frustrating it gets when you just don’t have the motivation to read as much as you’d like.

      Ahh thank you so much! 😭❤️ I’m honored!

      Haha glad my Hamilton cookies could bring you a laugh 😀 And thanks for the birthday wishes!

      I’ve been slowly discovering more and more of Cavetown’s music lately and loving it all. That’s SO cool that their song inspired your aesthetic!! Hug All Ur Friends makes me feel some emotions, especially since I can’t actually do that 💔

      Thanks so much, and I hope your August is wonderful as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Happy belated birthday!! ❤ *throws confetti* Congrats on making it into the voting rounds! 🙂 I think it’s healthy to slow down with blogging, so I hope you don’t feel bad about it!! Also, I relate to feeling like every post I write has to be *perfect* and better than anything I’ve ever done before, which is literally impossible. :/ I need to work on this. I’m glad you loved Loveless and The Darkest Part of the Forest – the latter is probably my favorite by Holly Black.

    Hamilton is incredible! I’ve watched it twice and I’ve been listening to my favorite songs from it since it was released on Disney+. Folklore was such a great surprise!! I adore this album so much – my favorites from it are probably this is me trying, my tears ricochet, mad woman, and epiphany. I love all the songs, though – the two I’m the least fond of are hoax and peace, but even those are good. I’m so excited for The Old Guard – I’m watching it today with one of my friends (online, of course) and I’m sure I’ll adore it.

    Hope your August has been going well! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank yoouuu!! ❤ Ahhh yes, it's definitely been nice to put less pressure on myself, since you're absolutely right that it's unreasonable to expect every single post to be the best I've ever done 😬

      Hooray for Loveless and Darkest Part of the Forest! And Hamilton! 😀 Ahaha I think I've watched it three times now?? SO GOOD. Folklore truly was an amazing surprise. Ahh I hope you enjoyed The Old Guard! 😀 Happy August to you too ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m so sorry you’ve had kind of a tough month and haven’t been feeling the motivation to blog as much as before! Take your time with it all, adjust your schedule and blog when you feel like it, always here to support you ❤
    I'm so happy you liked Hank Green's book, I can't WAIT to read it. And very excited for your august TBR! I can't wait to hear your thoughts on technically you started it, this book sounds SO GOOD 🙂
    Happy reading and have a lovely month ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much ❤ It's definitely been helping to put less pressure on myself lately!
      So many good books to read in August! I finished Technically You Started It the other day and it was sooo sweet ❤ I hope the rest of your August is wonderful too!


  14. Hi Margaret!!
    I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed Love, Creekwood and Loveless, both of which I want to read soon!
    I’ve also been in a bit of a blogging slump recently, partly because of lack of motivation and also because of lack of time. I feel like I’m always rushing to put a blog post together and I don’t give as much love and attention to a blog post as it deserves. I usually post twice a week but I might decrease the frequency to once a week too.
    Wishing you a great (rest of) August 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh I hope you enjoy both Loveless and Love, Creekwood 😀
      And yep, I can absolutely understand that feeling of constantly rushing to get out a blog post and not always loving the product. I hope you’re able to take some pressure off yourself too! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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