August was the month the NEWTs Readathon took place. If you can remember my TBR post (which I’m sure you can’t), I was planning to read about 12 books. I really thought that was my max… instead I read double of that. Yes, that’s right. I read 23 books, and a total of 6386 pages. Though I read more books last February, I read more pages this month. About 1800 more.
Where I did weakly wrap-ups in February, you are getting all 24 books in one go this month. So, this is going to be a long post. Sorry not sorry. I have tried to write review for most of the reads, so I will try to keep it brief here.
A disappointment came with Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott. I love the cover, and my copy has awesome sprayed edges. It is a beauty, yet the inside just bored me. The premise was good, but it was such a struggle to get through this. A 2* read for me.
There are going to be quite a few Audible Originals in this one. First: The Dead Drink First by Dale Maharidge. This was a beautiful and gripping story about an 18 year long quest to find the remains of a man in a photo, the man whose dead changed Dale’s father. It tells about PTSD, about WWII and a great message. It includes a lot of audiofragments of interviews Dale held during his research. Although this does add to the story, and there are some very touching parts in it that really pull on the heartstrings, the quality isn’t always that good. There are some people with very strong accents in here I just couldn’t understand, while in other instances the volume was completely different from the rest of the book, or there was a lot of static interfering with it. All of this made for quite a disjointed listen and I missed quite a lot of the story because of it. This would have been great as a visual documentary with subtitles, but it doesn’t quite work as an audio. A 3* read.
This cover is gorgeous, but the contents are just okay. I liked Serafina and her peculiarities. But that is where it ended. The plot was slow and meandering without really going anywhere. The side characters were boring. Nothing really stood out for me. I never felt inclined to pick the book back up. It was an easy enough read though, and the setting was quite interesting. A 3* read.
Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell was a groupread for the Newts Readathon, and I can see why so many people enjoy it. But for me it didn’t quite work. I cannot really point out what that was, because it did have a lot of great elements. But I just didn’t really care about it. A 3* read, and here you can find my review.
A Grown-up Guide to Dinosaurs by Ben Garrod is exactly what it says on the tin… an audio about dinosaurs. I knew quite a few things discussed in here already, but also learned quite a few new bits. I was entertained. There are some world-leading researchers telling you about dinosaurs, including the latest studies and findings. An educational and fun read. 4*
Into the Heart of Talis by Antonio Urias is the prequel to Irons in the Fire, a book I read several years ago and loved. This novella serves as a great introduction to the world, and serves as a great teaser for the main book (which I now want to reread). Even though it is short, it is still full of magic, blackmail, smugglers and conman, and different species of faeries. A very enjoyable (free) fantasy. 4* and my full review on it.
Age of Assassins by RJ Barker took me by surprise. This was nothing special, but still a very entertaining read. A likable main character, and intriguing mystery and some complicated politics make for a very fun read, and a series I’ll definitely be continuing. 4* and my review.
The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell is a fun middle-grade story. It is filled to the brim with humour and artwork, and the way the illustrations and text work together is an absolute joy. The plot isn’t anything too special, and the main characters can be a bit annoying at times… but I still had a Lot of fun reading this. 4* and my full thoughts on it.
The Poe Estate by Polly Shulman is a very fun middle-grade novel, with plenty of hints to the classics (in this case gothic classics such as Poe and Lovecraft). It is definitely a middle-grade/teens book and might not work well for an adult audience if that isn’t what you are into. I had a lot of fun reading this, and liked the main character quite a bit. She comes from a poor family, which I also very much appreciated. A 4* read.
Zero G is a middle-grade space adventure by Dan Wells. Though defenitely written for kids, and not having a very original plot, I still very much enjoyed it. It is quite heavy on the science, which I very much appreciated. A 4* read.
Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi is the sequel to Furthermore, and didn’t like it as much. It somewhat lacked in the magical “Wonderland” setting for me. Still it was a great read, in which we follow Laylee who literally works herself to death. She washes the dead and prepares their souls for the afterlife. It stresses the importance to take a break, which I hugely appreciate (though am very bad at myself). A wonderful read with some beautiful writing. 4*
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde was a reread for me. I very much the main character, all the references, and the humour. Although it is not his strongest work, I still very much enjoyed it. Another 4* read.
The Tropic of Serpents and Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan are very solid continuations to a beautiful series. Yes I mainly picked these books up for their covers, but now I have fallen in love with the insides as well. The main character is awesome, and dragons… though these book may not contain as many epic dragon action as I’d have liked, they still made for an intriguing reads. The writing is just beautiful and sucked me into the story. 4* on both, and my full review on them
Although slightly hesitant going into The October Man by Ben Aaronovitch, I ended up enjoying it a whole lot. The setting is great, the new main character is fun and reminiscent enough of Peter to make the whole thing feel familiar. This novella fits very well into the series, and has made me very curious to what is coming. I am definitely hoping for some crossovers. 4* and my full review on it.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern does deserve all the hype. The atmosphere in this book is so so so good. It was just a beautiful read. For me personally there were some things about the romance that annoyed me (but I am very picky when it comes to romance), and the many jumps in time and voice made for a confusing read at times. Still very happy I read this. 4* and my full review on it.
Sherlock Holmes and the Miskatonic Monstrosities by James Lovegrove is the second book in this series that mixes Sherlock Holmes with Lovecraft’s work, and it has been done very well. Lovegrove is excellent at creating new stories for Sherlock and Watson, he really knows his Conan Doyle well and it shows. Next to that he has a good grasp on his Lovecraftian monstrosities, merging the two universes seamlessly. Another 4* read.
Alien III by William Gibson was a great short listen. I very much enjoyed the story, and the audio was superb. I am far from an expert on the franchise though, so I will give you The Husbands review on this. He gave it a 5* rating, I a 4*. Highly recommend it though.
I read The Girl in Red by Christina Henry in a single evening. Although I wasn’t the biggest fan of the main character, and found the ending quite annoying, I still found this a really fun read (including all the Alien references). It is a traditional apocalypse story, but with a Red Riding Hood twist to it. A 4* read.
How could I not adore an audio called Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets? I mean, anyone who has visited this blog more than once know that I love anything set in Victorian England. Also Stephen Fry. And it didn’t disappoint. A vast array of topics is covered, giving us great insights into the time. And yes I learned a great deal. My only complaint, sometimes diary entries are read out or historic events are played out, in which Stephen Fry himself plays an active role. In these cases it is not always clear if this is part of the narration or not (is it set in current times and is he visiting/interviewing a scientist, or is it set in the past?). A 4* read.
I read two Marvel comics, continuing my favourite series (so far). All-New Wolverine Volume 3: Enemy of the State II explores more about Lauren’s backstory, whilst keeping it accessible to all readers. A 4* read. Spider-Woman: Shifting Gears Volume 3: Scare Tactics brings the Hobgoblin into the picture. This series sadly got cancelled after this volume (which does give sufficient closure), which is such a shame because Dennis Hopeless created some of the strongest characters and story lines out there. 5*, and my full review on both of them.
I started this post with a book that disappointed me, I will finish with one that surprised me. I really liked The Binding, even though it is a magical realism romance story. I gave it a 5* rating, and here is my full review.
If you got this far, well done you. By reading those 23 books (and a short story I didn’t mention here because it is part of a collection) I sat 24 exams, getting the following grades in my NEWTs:
Care of Magical Creatures: A, E and O
Charms: A, E and O
Herbology: A, E and O
Astronomy: A, E and O
Defence Against the Dark Arts: A, E and O
Divination: A, E and O
Arithmancy: A and E
Transfiguration: A and E
History of Magic: A
Muggle Studies: A
I (easily) managed to qualify for my wanted magical career (Magizoologist), and as an added bonus my house (Hufflepuff) won the cup by earning 3050 points.
So what does next month bring? Well… I hope you like Jasper Fforde because I am planning to read the whole Thursday Next series. I read the first 3 books, but that was quite a while ago. So I am going to reread those (apart from the first one of course, I read that in August already) and then continue with books 4-7. I will be sticking in some audiobooks as well, though I don’t know which ones yet. Maybe I’ll finish the Riyria Chronicles.
Hoping you are having a wonderful day,