September was a weird month of sort of getting back to ‘normal’ and finding our rhythm again with school and homework and Cubs and Scouts all being a thing again
On the plus side I now know what day it is more often than not!
I had a bit of a mixed bag this month – I DNFd two books, which I haven’t done in a while!
My year total now stands at 58 out of 75 books finished.
What I Read (Books & Audiobooks) – and also what I failed to finish!!
- F.O.X.E.S. by M. A. Bennett: Book three in the S.T.A.G.S. series and it just keeps on being awesome. Creepy and unnerving, delving into the darker side of the upper classes and the chasm that is between them and the people ‘at the bottom’. It is going to be a very long old wait for the next book, I’m already desperate to read it!! 5*
- Words In Deep Blue by Cath Crowley: This was the second book I received as part of my birthday book subscription, and it wasn’t one I had previously heard of. A cathartic YA about love, grief, friendship, hope, and the power of books and written words, this made me sob multiple times but left me feeling better for having read it. A raw, unflinching acknowledgement of grief and how it doesn’t go away, but also doesn’t have to mean the end of everything else. And every ending is also a new beginning of some sort. 4*
- Fizzlesprocket (Everybody Loves Large Chests, Vol 2) by Neven Iliev (Audiobook): Not quite as brilliant as the first book, Fizzlesprocket definitely had some issues – particularly in the first half. The irreverent fun-poking at the common ridiculous sexualisation of female RPG characters went a little far at times and was distinctly more cringey than funny on occasion. That said, it was all relevant character-building of a sort, it could just probably have done with being much briefer. Once the main storyline got going, Boxxy T. Morningwood’s adventures were as hilarious and bewildering as ever and I regularly snorted out loud at his mishaps. The new character, Corny Fizzlesprocket, is brilliant and I am very glad that Boxxy decided not to eat her and that she seems to be staying for the next book. Which I am fully intending on reading, because I am oddly invested in the future of this large, grouchy, Mimic. It is a very tasty thing. 3*
- Welcome To Your Period by Yumi Styles & Dr Melissa Kang: This book is from Little Tiger Books and was given to Tori to review over on my Instagram. It is a book I wish I had to hand when I was her age, and it answered so many of her questions about her body and the prospect of periods. It also gave her the words and confidence she needed to ask me questions about things, and she has marked up several pages with post-it notes for future reference. It is clear and easy to follow, funny but not patronising, contains real-life stories and anecdotes making it more personable, and the illustrations are just brilliant. They are inclusive of different races, physical abilities, appearances and styles – the book very much feels like it is there for EVERYONE who is about to embark on the ‘adventure’ of menstruation. Neither Tori or I have a bad word to say about this book and we very much recommend it! 5*
- Rebel Of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton: This was the first book I got in my birthday subscription, and was one that had been on my wish list forever and ever. This, of course, meant that I was a little bit worried that I was going to be disappointed because of the mental build up I had given it. Luckily, it exceeded my expectations and I loved it! Gunslinging adventures in the desert, with a sassy female lead and a mysterious, charming boy who is both alluring and frustrating , AND cool desert demons and magic. It was right up my street with bells on. 5*
- Garden Spells (Waverly Family #1) by Sarah Addison Allen: This was one of my bookshop books – it has the cutest cover (with glitter, gotta love a glittery book) and the story inside matched it. It was a very easy and relaxing read, with gentle magic swirling through an otherwise normal and recognisable world. The romance was cute, the magic apple tree was brilliant (can a tree be your favourite character? I think it was mine…), and the style was easy to read and engaging. I’m not bursting to go and hunt down the next book in the series, but equally if it fell into my lap, I would pick it up. 3*
- Romanov by Nadine Brandes: Technically I started this one in August, but I finished it in September. Another beautiful cover (gold foil details this time), and a magical storyline. Romanov is a fantasy retelling of the Anastasia story – the first half is quite historically accurate, with the Romanov family being held by the Bolsheviks waiting for news on their exile. Then, after the horrific events of the firing squad in the basement, Anastasia desperately uses an old, unknown magic spell, and she and her younger brother Alexei find themselves alone and desperate to try to find a way to either save their family or else uphold their honour in some way. It is a fast-paced story, full of imagery and heart. I loved the characters and the friendships they forged – they all felt very human, desperate for companionship but also cautious to trust. It was an enthralling adventure playing on the mystery of Anastasia and Alexei’s ‘disappearance’, which did not shy away from the horrific nature of reality at all. 5*
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett: DNF This was another book swap book, and I read about four chapters, but I just couldn’t gel with the writing style at all. I was interested in the story though, so I am going to hunt down the film and watch that instead as a compromise.
- The Rebel Fairy by Deborah Wright: DNF I thought I should read another book swap book after abandoning The Help so I picked this one up off the pile… and honestly I was ready to put the whole thing in the bin after two chapters. Every single character was awful, and I was very close to taking a red pen to the pages and ‘editing’ it because it read so much like the stuff people brought in at uni. The book was 499 pages long, and I am pretty certain it could have been half that length and I would probably have been able to finish it, if some serious editing took place. But yeah, I read two and a bit chapters and Caius got so annoyed by my enraged ranting at it that he took it off me before I threw it at something. Oops.
What I Listened To (Podcasts):
- Earpediea: Animals by Sue Perkins: 13 bitesized episodes, each focusing on a different type of plant, from the familiar (cocoa) to the unfamiliar (Titan Arum – looks like a penis, smells like a bin). The facts are brilliant, interspersed with comic skits, all brilliantly presented. This was perfect for sticking on whilst I was doing odd jobs around the house and wanted something to listen to. I felt both educated and entertained. 4*
Something has begun…
I also started The Definition Of Us by Sarah Harris, which is the September book from my birthday subscription. I’m about 1/3 through now and I am very much enjoying it, which is a relief after the last two books – I was beginning to think it was me.
Never going to get it finished tonight though, so you will have to wait until the October round up to find out what I think overall!
Linking up with Read With Me again this week.