Try a Chapter Challenge: Sci-Fi July!

It’s time for another post in my “Try a Chapter” Challenge—where I’ll choose ONE book for the month’s TBR!

If you’re not familiar with the Try a Chapter tag, it’s a tag common on booktube (and sometimes blogs) where the participant reads the first chapter of five books and chooses one of those books to read, based on the results!

For this series, I do something a little different:

The five books I choose will be inspired by the month’s “theme”.

I usually base my 5 picks on the Devour Your TBR group theme. July is Sci-Fi July, so I’m going to read the first chapters of 5 of my sci-fi review copies on my TBR!

  1. The Book of the Unnamed Midwife — Meg Elison
  2. Outpost — W. Michael Gear
  3. Salvation Day — Kali Wallace
  4. How We Became Wicked — Alexander Yates
  5. Dahlia Black — Keith Thomas

My thoughts on the first chapter of…


adult dystopia

The prologue was just a few pages, so I opted to go with the prologue and chapter 1. The prologue pulled me in immediately, but chapter 1 sadly lost me just as fast. It’s the kind of thing I might be in the mood for later on, but the writing style right now is absolutely grating on my nerves and I can’t quite place why. 😦 It involves a lot of short, choppy, overly functional sentences with no atmosphere or artistry to them so far, and I guess I’m not feeling it. Another time, maybe!


adult sci-fi

Ooooh, this was a cool first chapter. You’re thrown right into the action, but Gear does a good job of weaving a little bit of world-building in with the suspense as this character is hunting down some sort of alien creature. Even though they’re aliens and not dinos, something about this felt oddly Jurassic Park-esque to me and I’m really interested to see if that vibe continues.



adult sci-fi/thriller

I actually didn’t remember what this was about and didn’t reread the synopsis first, so I was a little lost at first and had to flip back and check the blurb, but once I did, it got pretty interesting! It feels like it would be a quick read and I like that some of the pages seem to be dossiers and interviews — I always really enjoy non-traditional formatting in books, even if it’s just a page here or there.


YA dystopia

What an interesting premise! I don’t read a lot of dystopian YA anymore — to be fair, I guess there’s not much of it being written right now — and this had that really familiar and comforting vibe I was looking for: suspenseful, a little melodramatic, and a quick read with pretty spare, simple prose. If anyone knows what I mean by this, please tell me you can relate and that I don’t sound ridiculous. 😂


adult sci-fi

First of all, if this tells you anything about how I felt about this book, I made it through chapter 6 before remembering I was only supposed to read the first chapter! The writing is so enjoyable and I was immediately 100% sucked in. The fact that it’s a post-alien-apocalypse sort of thing that takes place only a few years from now makes it low-key terrifying and the characters feel so nuanced already.

And the winner is…

Dahlia Black!

This week’s list was a tough group to choose from, because aside from The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, I was immediately sucked into all of these! I actually really hope I can read the 4 books I liked for Sci-Fi July, but Dahlia Black is getting first priority.

Is this something you might want to try out for your own TBR? If it is, please let me know so I can read or watch your post, too! ♥


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Just a 26-year-old children's librarian trying to juggle motherhood, grad school, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

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