It is time for my August Wrap Up. I actually didn’t read as much this month as in previous months, but that’s OK. I still managed to read 9 books which is pretty good. I wasn’t in a big reading mood this month so to be honest I’m impressed I read as many books as I did.
Passage to India / E. M. Forster ★★★
This was a bit mixed for me – probably more of a 2.5 star rating. I can appreciate the writing and the message behind it, but I didn’t love it. It was interesting to read about the time period as I don’t have a lot of knowledge of it. I thought the racial tension was done very well and it was interesting to see the differing attitudes. I felt that it was quite slow and really dragged in places. There are some wonderful descriptions of India, though. To be completely honest I don’t have alot to say – it is well written, has some great descriptions of India, an underlying theme of darkness etc. I would still recommend giving this a read, even though it wasn’t completely my thing.
Girl in Pieces / Kathleen Glasgow ★★★
*I was sent a digital copy by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
This is not the type of book I normally pick up but as soon as I heard it was about self harm I was interested. I have been dealing with self harm since I was 13 (I’m 22) so I was interested to read it. I think it is so important to talk about it. For me it is probably more of a 2 star read but I’ve added another star for talking about self harm. Not entirely my thing but I think a lot of people are going to love this – there are a ton of 5 star reviews on Goodreads. I thought the topic of self harm and mental health in general was done very well. However I will say if you are struggling with self harm, then this book may be very triggering for you. The narration style wasn’t really my thing – it is written in diary like fragments, some of which are very short. I also found that it was too ‘romance’ based or too ‘boy’ based. To be honest, this book also makes me think there is such a thing as too depressing as well. I know a lot of bad things happen but to me it just seemed a bit over the top. Overall I think this is a very important book to read and I think a lot of people will love this, but it wasn’t quite my thing. I would still recommend this book as it is so important to talk about these things. A full review will be up on my blog soon.
Flamecaster / Cinda Williams Chima ★★★.5
This was a solid start to this fantasy series, but I have to admit that I did have a few issues with it. It definitely shows a lot of potential for this series, but I wasn’t blown away by it. While the characters had great potential, I found them to be a little flat – especially Ash and Jenna. For me Ash was one big conundrum – I just didn’t understand his decisions. His flight from home made no sense to me. I couldn’t get my head around his character – his self pity was kind of frustrating as well. I would have liked more depth from all of the characters. Something about them just didn’t quite work for me and I question some of their decisions. The insta-love is also really frustrating. Generally the plot is enjoyable, but it is also pretty slow and I did find it dragged in places. I found the random time skips, especially in the beginning, quite jarring. Overall it was good and a solid introduction to this new series but I wasn’t completely blown away. I will continue on with this series though.
The Beauty of Darkness / Mary E. Pearson ★★★.5
I thought this was a good conclusion to a great trilogy, but I definitely had some issues with it. Lia was very mixed for me – I liked that she becomes a leader in her own right. She doesn’t need a man by her side, but I thought her relationship with Rafe just seemed to be argument after argument. And for someone who is supposed to be intelligent and good at strategy/tactics/leadership, she didn’t take into account what was happening with Rafe and his kingdom. I get she was concerned for her kingdom but take a minute and discuss what needs to happen. If there was more communication between everyone it would have been better. All of the characters could have done with more character development – for me they all fell a bit flat. What happens with Kaden and Pauline seemed to me to be more of convenience for the author than anything else, but I wasn’t particularly bothered by it. In my opinion it didn’t need to be this long. It is around 670 pages long and it really didn’t need to be. The pacing could have done with some work and the plot plodded on rather slowly at times. The ending wasn’t entirely satisfactory. Overall it was good but not great. I would still very much recommend this trilogy.
Counterpart / Hayley Stone ★★★★
I thought this was a great sequel – probably somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars. The pacing worked well, although in hindsight I feel like there could have been more in terms of the plot. Although it is fast paced and a lot of stuff happens, something about it felt little flat for me. Don’t get me wrong though I did really enjoy it. While I do love Rhona, she did become a little frustrating in this book – she continues to make the same mistakes and her lack of communication at times is infuriating for me, but I think the development was done well. I don’t think it is necessarily bad when you get frustrated by characters, it is inevitable really – we are all different after all. I thought the plot worked out well and the ending was satisfactory. The romance angst was a bit too much for me in the middle of the book. I found it quite frustrating but it worked out well in the end.. Overall I very much enjoyed it and I am very excited for the third book in the series
The Fox Woman / Kij Johnson ★★★★
Another great book by this author. I think it would have been a five star read if I hadn’t read the short story ‘Fox Magic’ – as this is basically a longer and more in depth version. I believe it is based on a traditional Japanese myth, which is a setting that I really enjoy. The themes of humanity and love were written into the story very well. It is quite slow moving at times but I really enjoy her writing so it was never too much of an issue for me. I would definitely say that Fudoki is still my favourite, but this is very much worth a read. I highly recommend this.
The Night Manager / John le Carre ★★★★
Earlier this year I saw the BBC adaptation and since seeing that I’ve been interested to read the book. Normally I liked to read books before seeing an adaptation but this time it was the other way around. I ended up really enjoying it. It definitely took me a little while to get into it and the amount of detail sometimes bogged down the plot for me, but it was generally engaging throughout. I thought the characters are written very well – they are all complex and really quite interesting character studies. The ending was kind of ambiguous but I actually quite liked that and it was also quite different to the BBC adaptation. I am definitely interested to try out more by this author and I would recommend it.
Murder on the Orient Express / Agatha Christie ★★★★
This was my first experience with Christie and I enjoyed it a lot. The layout of the story was really interesting – it is set out so all the evidence is given and you are able to try and figure it out for yourself. The outcome was somewhat predictable once all the evidence and revelations are given but the journey to the outcome was very enjoyable. The level of detail definitely works very well with this book. I liked that there are characters from quite a few different backgrounds. I had no issues with the writing and found it easy to get into. In my opinion this is a great place to start with this author – it worked for me at least. I will definitely be checking out more of her work.
The Dream Quest of Vellitt Boe / Kij Johnson ★★★★★
This was wonderful. I absolutely loved the world building – it was beautifully realised world and it was also a very interesting one. The characters are well written and interesting. I love how Johnson’s writes – she effortlessly weaves the story with memories from the mind of the main character. The fact that the main character is a middle aged woman was amazing – in the fantasy books I read it’s mainly younger main characters so it’s a nice change. The plot was engaging and enjoyable throughout. Although I love the writing and would have been happy with a longer book, I actually think the short length worked really well. I had high expectation for this book and it didn’t disappoint. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you will have probably seen my love for Fudoki by the same author, so I knew that I was going to love this book as well. I highly recommend it.
Overall it was quite a mixed reading month, in terms of the quality of the books I picked up. I am hoping that I will have an even better reading month in September so I have given myself quite an ambitious TBR. We’ll see how things go :). My classic pick for next month is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, but I would also love to get to The Ladies’ Paradise by Emile Zola and The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas. Realistically this probably won’t happen, but one can hope right? 🙂 In terms of other books, I have quite a few I want to get to. I will definitely be reading Goldenhand by Garth Nix because I can’t wait any longer. I also want to get to The Miller’s Dance by Winston Graham as I didn’t get to it last month. Next I want to read Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb, Authority by Jeff Vandermeer, Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell (on my kindle), Out by Natsuo Kirino and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra. I could go on but I think I will leave it at that for now. If you want to keep up with what I’m reading throughout the month add me on Goodreads or follow me on my Instagram as I keep both pretty up to date in terms of what I’m reading, especially goodreads.