Saturday 2 September 2017

A Wrap Up: August 2017

Hi, and thanks for stopping by.

Today's post is my usual monthly round up. I enjoy writing these, because I get to reflect on all the fun reading I've done, remember the books I read right at the start of the month and might have slightly forgotten the details of and also decide on a final rating for each book, having had some time and space to consider it. If you want to read my mini book reviews as I write them, you can follow my reviews/add me as a friend on Goodreads here. Let's get started!!

Kerry drewery’s cell 7
2 stars

This book sounded like it would be really tense and exciting to read, but it fell very short of that. It is essentially set in a sort of alternate universe/dystopian world where the justice system has been completely removed and instead the general public have to vote on whether or not they believe criminals to be guilty. It's a little more complex than that, but that's the general idea. It was incredibly repetitive, with very little palpable excitement or suspense. I definitely wouldn't read the next in the series. I'll probably end up un-hauling this at some stage in the not-too distant future, honestly.

Shari lapena’s the couple next door 
3.5 stars

I really did deliberate over what rating to give this book. I eventually plumped for 3.5 stars because I thoroughly enjoyed the buildup to the first revelation (which happens just over halfway through, I think) and those that follow. As soon as that first twist was revealed, the book went downhill for me, which I was sort of expecting based on evidence that the detective revealed (all makes sense once you've read the book). The ending was very brave, I thought - still not 100% I think that was right for the story.

Moira fowley-doyle’s spellbook of the lost and found 
4 stars

This book was really fun to read - I'd definitely recommend it for someone looking to read something a bit witchcraft-y for the first time, or maybe somebody who wants to read about witches without it feeling like a full-on fantasy novel. I did find myself getting a bit confused by all the beautiful, flowery names, but eventually I got my head around the characters as individuals. The, shall we say, generational twist was really clever.

Estelle maskame’s dare to fall
3.5 stars

I read and enjoyed the DIMILY trilogy, so I was pretty excited to read Dare to Fall. I did enjoy the reading experience, but it didn't take me any further than that. For me to give a book five or even four stars, I have to feel some emotional investment/connection with at least one character, and I just didn't get that here. I thought the twist with Holden's character was pretty clever, though.

Eric lindstrom’s a tragic kind of wonderful
2.5/3 stars

This book has been on my TBR for such a long time, and I finally got around to buying & reading it this summer. I have huge personal investment in mental health, so I try to read around the topic in its many facets as much as possible: this story is about a protagonist who is bipolar. I found the ways in which the condition were explained to be educational and understandable, so that was cool. Otherwise though, it fell a little flat.

Jessica park’s 180 seconds
5 stars

Quite possibly the best book of the month. I received this via the publishers through NetGalley, so thank you so much! I have a full review coming up for this novel, so I won't say too much here other than this: great representation of mental health, romance, social media and female friendship. LOVED this book.

Jennifer mathieu’s moxie
5 stars

Another super easy five stars and contender for book of the month. This was just the most positive, empowering, feminist dream to read (with plenty of examples of the kind of mind-numbing, fury-inducing everyday sexism girls & women have to suffer through). I really applaud Jennifer for writing this book - I hope to have a full review of this posted soon, too. Reading MOXIE made me so proud to be a girl and so, so proud to be a feminist.

Emily m. danforth’s the miseducation of Cameron post
4 stars

This book was really excellent, with some particularly great lesbian representation. I loved Cameron as a protagonist - she was smart and funny and sympathetic. It definitely read like a story of two halves, but both were incredibly well-written and enjoyable (although, weirdly, I found the first fifty pages so slow and dry). Coley's character made me SO angry; her actions were horrific, and whilst I guess it was realistic that she never explained herself, I really wanted some closure to her storyline.

Lucy clarke’s the blue
5 stars

This was one of my favourite thrillers I've ever read. I've since bought everything I could find from this author!! (You can check those out here). This story was so incredibly atmospheric, the settings were gorgeous and vivid and the sense of paranoia and suspicion on the yacht was completely palpable, flowing off of the page. I can't wait to read more from Lucy Clarke.

Jojo moyes’s paris for one and other stories
4 stars
I enjoyed every single page of this collection. Classic dreamy, funny Jojo Moyes. The short stories in particular were so incredibly well-written, and I wanted to read more about each and every single character she introduced the reader to throughout them. I love this writer so much. Speaking of...

jojo moyes one plus one
4.5 stars

If I'm going to read adult fiction, I tend to go for thrillers, or something a little darker, not just regular contemporary. However, for certain writers, Moyes included, I make exceptions. I loved these characters and laughed throughout the entire story. I couldn't put this down and I didn't want it to end. Beautifully done.

Hannah bucchin’s paintbrush
3 stars

Once again, I received this through NetGalley, which I'm super grateful for. I really wanted to learn more about Paintbrush as a setting, but most of the book felt like it mentioned it in vague passing or was otherwise set elsewhere like at the high school or in spots where Mitchell and Josie went on dates. I did enjoy their romance, and the development of their family issues, but overall it felt a little simplistic. 

Carrie hope fletcher’s on the other side
3 stars

I'm not 100% sure that magical realism is for me, but this book was pretty cute nonetheless. My main issue with it was at times it felt quite melodramatic, and a little bit overwritten/self-conscious, but I suppose with those fairytale elements, perhaps that was the intention. I liked reading about the current living family, rather than hearing the memories of the romance, weirdly.

Jodi picoult’s the pact
4 stars

My first Jodi Picoult novel! I really enjoyed this. My favourite parts were definitely the scenes were Chris was in prison (weird, because prisons terrify me, but I'm oddly fascinated by them) and the courtroom scenes - I'm so glad these were fully detailed and explored properly, not just brushed over, because I found them really interesting. I also like learning about Chris and Emily growing up together. The revelation of what really happened that night fell a little flat for me, but overall I enjoyed the reading experience and can't wait to read more by Jodi Picoult.

Abbie rushton’s unspeakable
2 stars

I think if you're looking for a book with great lesbian representation, don't be fooled by the blurb of this novel. I was expecting Megan's sexuality to be at the forefront of this story, and instead it was sort of vaguely hinted at now and again and then finally sort of rushed unrealistically at the very end. Also, a character like Jasmine, who is heralded/adored by the protagonist, should have been written differently I think, because she really irritated me. It was interesting to have a character suffering from selective mutism, though, because I've only seen this in one or two other stories.

Julie israel’s Juniper lemon’s happiness index
3 stars

I had high hopes for this story, because the premise reminded me of that of Jandy Nelson's The Sky is Everywhere - one of the best YA books I have ever read. However, this wasn't quite what I was hoping it would be. I felt as though the plot was a little bit busy, as though there were a few too many ideas that made the final cut. I enjoyed the friendships, and the positivity Juniper was spreading (through meddling, but still!). 

Orlagh collins’s no filter
2 stars

The instagram theme here was kind of cool, and I liked the vague overall message that online profile's are an illusion and FOMO is toxic, but this book really missed the mark for me. Emerald and Liam both felt so flat and bland, meaning their love story felt difficult to understand and definitely impossible to swoon over. Also, Emerald didn't have as much personal profession as I wanted (and she needed).

So that's it! Those are the books I read this month. As I said/you can tell from ratings, 180 Seconds, MOXIE and The Blue were the best books of the month by far. What did you read this month? What was the best book and the worst? Let me know in the comments section down below! 

Till next time


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