Guest Writer Wrap-Ups

August Wrap Up

Since Allison didn’t read that much this month, I decided to jump on and talk about my reading month. August was a great reading month for me, as I finished a total of 20(!) books. I’m honestly really surprised I was able to read this many books since I thought I would be busier and have less time to read. I’m going to do another “speed” wrap-up since it would take forever to write about 20 books, but since I ended up reading more compared to last month, I will add more categories of books I want to talk about. Here are the highlights of my reading month!

*I’m going to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but I still might reference some events in this book, so proceed with slight caution

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New all-time favorites: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, and Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey Mcquiston

Honestly, I don’t think anyone is surprised I enjoyed these books since they are all really beloved and popular. I loved all 3 of the books for pretty different reasons though. As for The Song of Achilles, I really can’t articulate why I ended up enjoying the book so much. I just loved Patroclus and Achilles, and the childhood story that Madeline Miller created was so interesting. I did know the story in the Iliad prior to reading this novel though personally, I don’t think it will take anyone’s enjoyment away from the book. I loved reading from Patroclus’s perspective and I found the main relationship to be very endearing, especially seeing it develop over the course of many years. The ending was kind of sad but still hopeful, and I just had a great reading experience with this book. 

Dark Matter was actually a bit of a surprise for me. I don’t read a lot of thrillers or sci-fi books, but for some reason, this book just clicked with me. This book is a huge mind f*** and I was kind of confused while reading the book, however the reveals ended up answering my questions. The twist was really unexpected as well. I was thoroughly entertained while reading this book and I seriously binged this in the span of 3 hours right before I went to bed. I’d say the one thing I didn’t love about the book was the writing style as I felt like the author was pushing his themes/message a bit too much and I prefer themes to be more interpretive. This didn’t bother me too much though, but I do warn those who are considering reading this book about this. 

Anyone who knows me is probably not surprised that I loved Red, White & Royal Blue. I love sappy and cute romances, and combined with the sexual tension the 2 characters had, I literally couldn’t have asked for a better book. The relationship was SO FREAKING ADORABLE and I loved that the author included some politics in the story as well. I think this is honestly my perfect book and I have nothing bad to say. 

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Worst book: Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith

*tw for transphobia, outings, self-harm, homophobia, cheating, bullying, etc. 

I have a short Goodreads review that does include some spoilers here, but I’ll discuss some of my spoiler-free thoughts here. I think this book has a great concept, but the execution of it was poorly done. I do like the male main character and the exploration of his trans identity, and I enjoyed his evolving relationship with the main girl, Georgia, as well as other people around him. However, there is a fair amount of transphobia and homophobia in this book that never gets addressed at the end of the book, which is really disappointing since those issues are inexcusable. I do list some more specific examples in my short Goodreads review, but I just think that if you were to include those issues in a book, they would have to be addressed and solved. Otherwise as a reader, I just think the author condones this kind of character behavior. 

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Most surprising: Lovely War by Julie Berry

I don’t often read historical fiction since I’ve read a fair amount for school, and I pretty much hate most of the books I read for school. I heard great things about this book so I figured I should finally give this genre another shot, and I ended up loving this book! I don’t think it’s quite an all-time fave, but it is definitely one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year. The characters and the 2 romances in this book were so freaking cute, but I liked that the characters still dealt with many issues since this book is set during World War I. I loved that some other issues were tackled such as racism, and weren’t completely disregarded by the author. The plot with the gods was really neat as well though I felt it sometimes interjected in awkward places. I still loved this book and hope to read some more good historical fiction books in the future. 

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Most disappointing: Iluminae and Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I would say that my disappointment in these 2 books is in part because I had really high expectations for them, but I just think that they lacked in many ways. I’m not really picky when it comes to sci-fi simply because I haven’t really read a lot to know my taste in the genre very well. However, I do know that I don’t love repetitive stories, and that is exactly my problem with these two books. Illuminae was a decent start to the series. The format is very unique and a bit weird to get used to, but once I did, I blew through the entire book. I do think that the format conveys the story well enough for me to understand what is happening and to enjoy the plot. The format does have its limitations though, especially when it comes to the characters. I found the romances to be poorly done and honestly an annoyance since I was more invested in the plot of the story. I didn’t care for any of the characters involved in the romances in either one of the books. Since these romances were a major part of the story, it really took away some of my enjoyment. I found the characters in both books to be pretty darn similar, and the storylines as well. Again, I want to avoid spoilers, but the plots, involving completely different characters and set in different locations, ended up being pretty similar. The second book just had the plot to be much more drawn out. I will still continue the series to see how it ends, but I just don’t think I quite understand the hype around these books. 

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Best sequel: Shorefall by Robert Jackson Bennett

I didn’t read many sequels in August, but out of the ones I did, I definitely enjoyed Shorefall the most. It takes place 3 years after Foundryside and we follow the 4 characters as they engage in more conflict, but this time, it ends up being with a hierophant. The conflict is now on a larger-scale since it doesn’t just impact Tevanne, but now the entire world. I loved how fast-paced the plot was, and I really enjoyed the villain! He has some interesting motivations that are discussed in this novel. The one aspect of the book I didn’t love was I felt like we just didn’t get a break from the action to enjoy some banter between the main characters. Most of the time, they were just scheming or trying to save each other from dying. However, I really wanted to see some deeper interactions between the characters so we could empathize with them and understand them more. I still think this book is really good regardless, and I would definitely advise you to pick this book up if you are considering it!

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Book I’m most proud of finishing (this book deserves its own shoutout lol): The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

This book took me a week to finish even though I was thoroughly enjoying it, but I have to say that it was worth the long reading time. I ended up liking this book though I was a bit disappointed with how rushed the ending was. Nevertheless, I found the characters to be interesting, and the world building/plot was done really well! I absolutely loved the political tensions between the different nations and its impact on the character relationships. I did buddy read this with Allison but I ended up finishing this a week earlier than she did since I decided to binge the last third of the book in a day (oops). However, we both ended up enjoying the book, and I would definitely advise you to give this book a try if you haven’t yet!

I forgot to include a TBR in my last wrapup, but here is a small graphic of some of the books I hope to get to in September! Unfortunately, I will be quite busy in September with school so I won’t be able to read as much, however I think I can get to these books next month!

What were some of your favorite, or even least favorite books that you read in August? And, what are some of the books you are excited to get to in September? Let me know in the comments, and happy reading!

P.S. if you would like to see my ratings for the other books I read in August, check out my Goodreads 

-Audrey

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