September 1st marks the first day of meteorological Autumn meaning the jumpers are out, the rain is pouring and we might finally stop seeing middle-aged men take to the streets topless as soon as they catch a glimpse of some British sunshine. Although to be honest, as someone who is always cold, I live in my cosy clothes all year round. September also means it’s only a few weeks until I’ll be flying off to Madrid for the year, no big deal. Considering I’m restrained to pack my life into just a couple of suitcases, I’ll have a limited space for books. So, I’m currently pacing my way through my bookshelf before I leave them gathering dust for nine months.
August was another month of reading an array of genres: a faerie fantasy, a murder mystery, a sci-fi dystopian, a captivating contemporary, a tear-jerker historical fiction and a spot of Greek mythology. I’m hoping to continue down this path over the following months – there are too many books I’m dying to read to stick to one genre!
I realised when reflecting on my previous wrap-ups that they were rather lengthy. I’m therefore going to try and keep this one slightly shorter. I read another 6 books this month and picked up a couple of new favourites along the way.
The Cruel Prince – Holly Black, 4 Stars
“Because you’re like a story that hasn’t happened yet. Because I want to see what you will do.
I want to be part of the unfolding of the tale.”
This was my first time reading anything by Holly Black, and after seeing everyone rave about this book, my expectations were high. The Cruel Prince started off on the slow side, but the second half of the book took me by surprise with how darkly twisted it was. I wasn’t ready for that ending AT ALL – I love a book which plays with your expectations. Some scenes crept up out of nowhere which were incredibly intense and bloody, leading to a twisted climax which was full of deceit and tied everything together perfectly. I adored the writing style and although I was sometimes left confused as to what characters fit in where, I loved being in this faerie world.
I’m hoping the sequel continues down the dark, twisted path of the second half the novel.
She Lies In Wait – Gytha Lodge, 5 Stars
I was lucky enough to receive ARC from NetGalley for this one and I paced through it. This is a gripping, fast-paced story which doesn’t lack in red herrings or plot twists and lead me towards an unpredictable ending. I can’t wait to sing this story’s praises closer to publication! This mystery comes out January 2019 so be sure to have it on your reading radar. A blog post will be coming for this one closer to release revealing more about the plot and my thoughts!
Scythe – Neal Shusterman, 3 Stars
“My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace or comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside
every time we witness the death of another. For only the pain of empathy will keep us human.
There’s no version of God that can help us if we ever lose that.”
I loved the concept of Scythe and for the first five chapters, I couldn’t put it down. We’re introduced to a post-mortality society and who wouldn’t be intrigued by that? There is no war, poverty, famine, and anyone who dies are revived quickly and painlessly. Reapers by the names of scythes are the only ones who can end life. However, I thought the plot dragged and I started to lose interest. What’s more, I thought Citra and Rowan, the young Scythe apprentices, could have been developed more.
If it weren’t for the corrupt scythe community, unexplained rules and dragged out plot, I would’ve rated this book higher, especially with such an interesting concept!
Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng, 5 Stars
“Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground, and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over. They find a way.”
I’ve already posted a review of this captivating story which you can read here.
This is by far the most engrossing read of 2018. What I loved most was the intricate detail given to each and every character, all having a pertinent part to play in influencing how events unfold. This novel also tackles complex issues such as race and ethnicity, the secret lives of teenagers and in particular, motherhood. It is the questioning of what it means to be a mother which divides the utopian-like town of Shaker Heights and reveals that the town isn’t so perfect after all. Ng paints pictures with her words and I’m definitely going to be reading more of her. Its infectious writing gripped me from the start and I already can’t wait to re-read it. Definitely a new favourite!
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak, 5 Stars
“I am haunted by humans.”
I cried. A lot.
Set during the years of WW2, I knew this was going to end with tears. However, a part of me had hope that everything would be fine. That Liesel would live happily ever after with Rudy Steiner with Hans and Rosa Hubermann right by her side. Nonetheless, the knowledge of what was to come increased my anticipation and the ending packed a punch.
I fell in love with Liesel the same way she falls in love with reading and the freedom it grants. Books act as her escape mechanism, exploring the power of words and language. This is fitting for such a beautifully written story with its vivid landscape.
I cried, I laughed, I gasped and I cried some more. I could have easily paced through this but I wanted to savour every word. This was a history lesson, tear-jerker and an entertaining story all in one.
The Silence of the Girls – Pat Barker, 4 Stars
I’ve been trying to escape not just from the camp but from Achilles’ story
The Silence of the Girls is a retelling of Homer’s The Iliad, told from the perspective of former queen Briseis who is captured and descends to become Achilles’ prize of war. In grand epics, women have no opinion, they have no power, they have no voice. However, Barker fills this vacuum and offers readers a new perspective of the story and its brutal heroes. I was instantly gripped by the lyrical language of this novel as Barker brings the Greek encampment to life. This is a song of grief, anger and survival.
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC for this novel – a full review will be up on the blog soon!
Have you read any of these books? What’s been your favourite read of August?