August Wrap Up

Hi everyone! I’m really firing out the blog posts recently! I’ve been feeling really inspired about both reading and blogging recently and I’ve made so many spreadsheets to keep track of everything! This month I read more books than I have any other month this year – I can barely believe it either! I read some really amazing books and some that were, sadly, not so great. I’ve made a wee graphic to give a quick overview of what I’ve been reading, and then I’ll go into the specific books in more detail!

So, in August I read a grand total of 13 books and 3778 pages, among those 3 were DNFs (yikes!), however I did get at least halfway through them before DNF-ing, so I am counting them in the stats! Surprisingly, after months of not being in the right mood to pick up a fantasy novel, my most read genre was fantasy, with romance, contemporary and historical fiction coming in joint second place! Eight of the thirteen books I read were 2020 releases and all were written by women. Disappointingly, only four were written by AOC, so I’m going to make more of an effort in the coming months to read more books by AOC.

I had three five star reads this month, which is the second most amount of five star reads in a month I’ve had (April has won that title so far!). The Secret of You and Me by Melissa Lenhardt was a Netgalley arc that I requested on a whim after seeing some great reviews, and I’m so glad I did! I have a full mini review here, but it is one of the best f/f romance novels I’ve read, with a best friends to lovers romance, rural small town vibes, and difficult family bonds.

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone is one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read. The gorgeous prose reads almost like poetry and the Romeo and Juliette-esque f/f romance that spans over multiple universes and thousands of years is simultaneously utterly heartbreaking and so hopeful. I want nothing more than for this book to intrinsically become a part of me!

Finally, one of my last reads of the month, is Belle RΓ©volte by Linsey Miller. This stand alone fantasy completely took me by surprise with how much I adored it! I have a full review here which details some of my thoughts, but in essence, I loved the two different magic schools, the dark undertones and the character relationships, including a gorgeous f/f romance and an academic-rivals-to-lovers romance. I can’t recommend this book enough!

Out of all the star ratings this month, I had the most four star books! All Men Want to Know by Nina Bouraoui was my first translated fiction of the month and is a beautiful yet heartbreakingly difficult read that is an autobiographical novel of the author’s life growing up as a gay French-Algerian woman. I did a mini review here where you can see my full thoughts and check out the trigger warnings.

Next I read This Coven Won’t Break by Isabel Sterling, the sequel to These Witches Don’t Burn which I read, and loved, last year. This was such a great sequel and end to such a fantastic duology. I love the modern day Salem setting and the cast of LGBT characters, and the book kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through! I wish that Isabel Sterling would write another book in this ‘world’ because I loved it so much! I might do a full duology review on these in the coming months so keep an eye out for that!

The third four star book I read was Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters. I’m going back to the classics of sapphic fiction with this one! I pulled this out my TBR jar after it having sat on my shelf for over four years (yikes!) and after a close friend told me she loved it I finally picked it up! The atmosphere of the Victorian London setting was so vibrant and I loved following Nan from oyster girl, to music hall singer to a Tom, both loved and hated by the ladies. The sex scenes in this were honestly So Good and some caught me by surprise (*cough* the fisting scene *cough)! This had me dying to pick up another Sarah Waters book, and thankfully I have two more sat on my shelf ready and waiting for me!

I also read Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran and the prequel stories and rated both four stars! Queen was my most anticipated book of the year – I have been dying for a princess/spymaster f/f book for the longest time – and it certainly didn’t let me down. There was so much political intrigue in this and I audibly gasped at several plot twists. The romance was so sweet and there were so many queer characters and characters of colour throughout (in fact, Xania, the spymaster is, as far as I’m aware, black!). I absolutely loved this book and I can’t wait to read more from Helen Corcoran in the future!

Finally, my last book of the month was Throwaway Girls by Andrea Contos! I received an ARC for this and it’s released tomorrow, on the first of September, so definitely check it out! It’s a fast-paced thriller where a private school girl is looking for her missing best friend. As a non-thriller-reader I really enjoyed this one and I didn’t want to put it down so that I could go to sleep! Plus, it’s sapphic! I think fans of Sadie by Courtney Summers will really like this one and I’m writing my review for it right now – it should be up tomorrow!

Now, my three stars are a bit of an odd mix – I really enjoyed one of the books and the other two I DNF-ed! The first book, which I loved, was Hopeless Romantic by Georgia Beers. After reading (and sadly DNF-ing as I wasn’t in the mood for it right then) Flavour of the Month a couple of months ago, I was really looking forward to trying another of Georgia Beer’s books. This one was so much better than Flavour of the Month, I loved the whole one-person-doesn’t-believe-in-true-love-but-is-a-wedding-planner paired with the person-who-loves-cheesy-rom-coms-and-is-a-divorce-lawyer dynamic and the book gave me really cosy autumn vibes. I did a whole mini review of this one here, so check it out if you want to know more!

The first DNF of the month was, sadly, The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins. I was so excited for this one – not only is it a visually stunning book, but it’s a historical fiction, almost thriller-esque book with a sapphic romance throughout. However, I got to about halfway through and nothing that was described in the synopsis had happened yet and so much of what was happened was so vague – what were the scientific experiments that Frannie was helping with? What was Frannie and her master’s relationship? Nothing was answered and we just moved swiftly onto the next scene. Other than that, I did give it three stars as the writing style was absolutely gorgeous and so atmospheric, but I was just so disappointed by this one.

The second DNF came as a real surprise to me – Record of a Night Too Brief by Hiromi Kawakami. I love Hiromi Kawakami’s books – I’ve read three so far and two of those are two of my absolute favourite books. This one was slightly different as it was three short stories compared to her usual novels, but I was expecting to love them as her writing has never let me down before. Sadly, I only enjoyed the first story and I DNF-ed the other two halfway through each one. The first is a very surrealist journey through what seem like multiple strange dreams as a woman is looking for her porcelain girlfriend (I was so so excited to finally get a sapphic main character from Hiromi Kawakami!) and I was so interested by each separate ‘chapter’, or ‘dream’. However, the other two stories just felt so meandering with no real substance, and the second story had suggestions of incest. I would recommend this, however, if you do like Haruki Murakami’s stranger works but don’t like how he writes women and sex, as I do think these are quite similar, but definitely check out the trigger warnings.

Thankfully, I only had one two star book this month, which was my third DNF, and it was Love, Creekwood by Becky Albertalli. I really disliked this novella and, honestly, I wish it hadn’t been written. I was so excited to read this to see more of Abby and Leah because I did enjoy them together in Leah on the Offbeat, but they were kinda put on the backburner so that we could see more of Simon and Bram (who are also very cute but at least give them equal page time). I’m also still extremely uncomfortable with Becky Albertalli writing about Simon and Bram having sex and constantly making weird sexual innuendos that no-one would actually say, especially when the same treatment isn’t given to Leah and Abby who seemed to just be doing cutesy things together all the time that no-one would actually do either (playing piano on the nape of someone’s neck???). Unless you’re completely head over heels with this series I wouldn’t recommend reading it and I won’t be reading any more from Becky Albertalli in the future.

Overall, I’d say I had a pretty okay reading month in general! I have some great books lined up for the next few months that I can’t wait to read! Let me know what you thought of these books and anything you read this month that you think I might enjoy! Stay safe and healthy!

3 thoughts on “August Wrap Up

  1. Awesome post, Althea!! I love that you not only summed up your month, included brief reviews, but also compared with past statistics! (Love numbers.)

    I agree with you that the overall enjoyment of Hopeless Romantic is higher than Flavor of the Month! And YIKES for Love, Creekwood. I have that sitting on my audiobook shelf. Maybe I should just… not listen to it. Also, all three of your 5-star reads are on my TBR. I should definitely check them out soon!!

    Happy reading in September!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Hsinju! It’s a shame but I think I might try and go back to Flavor of the Month when I’m more in the mood for it! Yeah Love, Creekwood was a bit of a disappointment but I think if you really liked Love Simon and Leah on the Offbeat you might like it! And yesssss!! All three of them are SO GOOD!!

      I hope September’s a great reading month for you too!

      Liked by 1 person

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