Recent Reads || April to August

It has been an age since I sat down to write about books. I have missed it.

I thought about just wrapping up August, but I’ve missed the opportunity to book talk too much for only August, so here’s everything I’ve read since April.

There’s quite a bit of chit-chat down there, although the quality of my book-thoughts leaves something to be desired, I can’t wait to dive into some book discussions in the comments.

Let’s get going, or we’ll be here all day.

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Hyde (Hyde #1) by Lauren Stewart

Click here to see book synopsis

Mitchell Turner is everything women want most in a man–he’s charismatic, successful, and undeniably gorgeous. But he’s not a man–he’s a monster. By venting his rage 24/7, Mitch keeps people out of the danger zone that surrounds him. But, after the most incredible night of his life, he realizes that might not be possible. Except the woman he wakes up with claims she doesn’t remember any of it. And that kind of thing can make a guy insecure.

Eden Colfax is kind, loyal, honest to a fault, and cavity-inducing sweet. To rid herself of the monsters that haunted her broken childhood, Eden doesn’t lie, doesn’t curse, and definitely never wakes up naked in strangers’ beds…until the day she does. Then the flashbacks start–places she’s never been, people she’s never met, blood she’s never spilled. And the only person with any answers is a man she never wants to see again.

What they don’t know is that someone is manipulating them, determined to find out exactly what they’re capable of. And when the truth leaves them nothing to hold onto, they will be forced into a partnership neither expected. Or wanted.

But in life, who you trust is as important as who you are. And when you can’t even trust yourself, sometimes the only person you can rely on is the last person on earth you should be falling for.

You know when you watch a movie trailer and then go to see the film only to realise that all the best bits were in the trailer? Well, if trailers were Goodreads reviews and the best bits were book quotes, then that was this book in a nutshell.

Another one for the series I’ve lost interest in pile. It wasn’t as much fun as I wanted it to be.

Rating :: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ 

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Click here to see book synopsis

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Did I pick this up because the internet told me it was best thing since that milkshake I had a few weekends back? Yup.

Was it that good? Not quite, but that milkshake did come with a doughnut and popcorn on top so I guess it wasn’t a fair fight.

I liked it, I liked the different formats of text but most of all I liked the fact that I read 600 pages of book in two days because it wasn’t really 600 pages of text. Increasing my reader-ego, that’s an extra star right there.

Overall, not too shabby.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

The Fever Code (The Maze Runner #0.6) by James Dashner

Click here to see book synopsis

Once there was a world’s end.

The forests burned, the lakes and rivers dried up, and the oceans swelled.

Then came a plague, and fever spread across the globe. Families died, violence reigned, and man killed man.

Next came WICKED, who were looking for an answer. And then they found the perfect boy.

The boy’s name was Thomas, and Thomas built a maze.

Now there are secrets.

There are lies.

And there are loyalties history could never have foreseen.

This is the story of that boy, Thomas, and how he built a maze that only he could tear down.

All will be revealed.

Two-stars tells me this was a bit meh and I didn’t really care.

Memory tells me nothing except I wanted to continue boosting my reader-ego and actually finish one of the series that I have started. The Maze Runner series seemed as good a place to start as any.

Apart from that, I don’t think much else happened and I just slogged my way through it for the satisfaction of completing a series.

Rating ::  ★ ☆ ☆ 

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Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Click here to see book synopsis

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

The novelty of the mixed media format had sort of worn off by this point, I would have settled for some good ol’ prose. I still enjoyed the story, it just didn’t have that “oooh, interesting” feeling anymore. It was more of a “OK, but maybe we could have a little more description or something” feeling now.

I will probably still check out the third book though, a part of me is still invested in the storyline so I’d like to see how it all ends.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Click here to see book synopsis

Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat–blindfolded–with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

Me and thrillers don’t mix. It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, it’s that they are never more than just OK to me.

I guess I don’t understand the suspense. Although, I will admit, this book did creep me out a little at the beginning but then I got bored.

That hasn’t stopped me though, I am determined to find a thriller (or similar genre) book that I think is the bees knees. I know when I find that book, it’s going to be great.

By all means, leave me some recommendations in the comments!

Rating ::  ★ ☆ ☆ 

The Physics of the Dead by Luke Smitherd

Click here to see book synopsis

What do the dead do when they can’t leave…and don’t know why?

The afterlife doesn’t come with a manual. In fact, Hart and Bowler (two ordinary, but dead men) have had to work out the rules of their new existence for themselves. It’s that fact-along with being unable to leave the boundaries of their city centre, unable to communicate with the other lost souls, unable to rest in case The Beast should catch up to them, unable to even sleep-that makes getting out of their situation a priority.

But Hart and Bowler don’t know why they’re there in the first place, and if they ever want to leave, they will have to find all the answers in order to understand the physics of the dead: What are the strange, glowing objects that pass across the sky? Who are the living people surrounded by a blue glow? What are their physical limitations in that place, and have they fully explored the possibilities of what they can do?

Time is running out; their afterlife was never supposed to be this way, and if they don’t make it out soon, they’re destined to end up like the others.

Insane, and alone forever…

This book was just a bit to weird for me. I’ve enjoyed all the other Smitherd books that I’ve listened to, but this wasn’t my cup of tea.

I did enjoy listening to it being narrated by the author himself though, that’s my favourite kind of narration for audiobooks.

Rating ::  ★ ☆ ☆ 

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A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Click here to see book synopsis

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

This was no A Court of Mist and Fury, this was quite the disappointment and not worth waiting up until midnight to start reading as soon as it arrived on my Kindle.

Sigh.

Sigh. 

Just sigh.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. Maas

Click here to see book synopsis

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

I shouldn’t have read this book so close to finishing A Court of Wings and Ruin, because had you asked me at the time, I might have suggested they were the same book. Same conversations between characters, same descriptions, same general gist of whats going on. It was weird.

It wasn’t all that memorable either, clearly, because I’m really struggling to remember how it ended a month later. Never mind, I looked up a summary.

I’ll probably still read the next book though. It wasn’t that bad and it seems a shame to give up when you are five books in.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician #1) by Charlie N. Holmberg

Click here to see book synopsis

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic… forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined — animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner — a practitioner of dark, flesh magic — invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

Nope. Sucked. Snore-fest.

Rating :: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

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Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #1) by Jodi Taylor

Click here to see book synopsis

Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary’s, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don’t do ‘time-travel’ – they ‘investigate major historical events in contemporary time’. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power – especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet.

Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History. Their aim is to observe and document – to try and find the answers to many of History’s unanswered questions…and not to die in the process. But one wrong move and History will fight back – to the death. And, as they soon discover – it’s not just History they’re fighting.

Follow the catastrophe curve from 11th-century London to World War I, and from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria. For wherever Historians go, chaos is sure to follow in their wake….

Fun and lighthearted, just what I fancied and what I was delivered.

This has been on my TBR for ages, so I’m looking forward to getting stuck into this series. Although, I might opt for them on audiobook instead, because I enjoyed the prequel short story a whole lot more on audio.

We’ll see. It’s a long old series but I have high hopes, which will probably come crashing down if we are judging my book success by the rest of the year.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Beastly Bones (Jackaby #2) by WIlliam Ritter

Click here to see book synopsis

In 1892, New Fiddleham, New England, things are never quite what they seem, especially when Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, R. F. Jackaby, are called upon to investigate the supernatural. First, members of a particularly vicious species of shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens. A day later, their owner is found murdered, with a single mysterious puncture wound to her neck. Then, in nearby Gad’s Valley, dinosaur bones from a recent dig go missing, and an unidentifiable beast attacks animals and people, leaving their mangled bodies behind. Policeman Charlie Cane, exiled from New Fiddleham to the valley, calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt for a thief, a monster, and a murderer.

More sequel disappointment. Damn, the first book was so good. This wasn’t.

Much disappointment. Much sigh.

Rating ::  ★ ☆ ☆ 

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Click here to see book synopsis

On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and his wife, Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. Ted and his wife were a mismatch from the start—he the rich businessman, she the artistic free spirit—a contrast that once inflamed their passion, but has now become a cliché.

But their game turns a little darker when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.” After all, some people are the kind worth killing, like a lying, stinking, cheating spouse. . . .

Back in Boston, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they begin to plot Miranda’s demise. But there are a few things about Lily’s past that she hasn’t shared with Ted, namely her experience in the art and craft of murder, a journey that began in her very precocious youth.

Suddenly these co-conspirators are embroiled in a chilling game of cat-and-mouse, one they both cannot survive . . . with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.

You recall how I said thrillers and I don’t mix. Well, we still don’t.

Another thriller, another meh. 

It wasn’t too bad, I just wanted more. I don’t know what of, but I know I wanted more of it. I didn’t care about anyone in the book, I was never invested. I want a thriller that gets me invested in all the nitty gritty. That’s what I want.

Rating ::  ★ ☆ ☆ 

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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Not the worst classic I’ve read, but not the best either.

That will have to do.

Rating ::  ★ ☆ ☆ 

Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach

Click here to see book synopsis

“I’ve got some questions for you. Was this story written about me?”

I shrugged.

“Yes or no?”

I shrugged again, finally earning a little scowl, which somehow made the girl even more pretty. It brought a bloom to her pale cheeks and made sharp shelves of her cheekbones.

“It’s very rude not to answer simple questions,” she said.

I gestured for my journal, but she still wouldn’t give it to me. So I took out my pen and wrote I can’t on my palm.

Then, in tiny letters below it, I finished the thought: Now don’t you feel like a jerk?

Parker Santé hasn’t spoken a word in five years. While his classmates plan for bright futures, he skips school to hang out in hotels, killing time by watching the guests. But when he meets a silver-haired girl named Zelda Toth, a girl who claims to be quite a bit older than she looks, he’ll discover there just might be a few things left worth living for.

It’s not you, it’s me.

Maybe it was you a little bit, you were kind of boring. I guess you weren’t up for the challenge of competing with my life-slump. I’ll try another book. Probably not a contemporary though.

Rating ::  ★ ☆ ☆ 

Beastly (Kendra Chronicles #1) by Alex Flinn

Click here to see book synopsis

I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

I usually enjoy a good Beauty and the Beast retelling, or some classic hate-to-love romancing but this wasn’t it. The dude was plain creepy, the story was a little boring and, well, the romance was a bit bleh.

Two stars for the modern setting though, I thought that was fun.

Bummer about the rest of the book.

Rating ::  ★ ☆ ☆ 

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NPCs (Spells, Swords and Stealth #1) by Drew Hayes

Click here to see book synopsis

What happens when the haggling is done and the shops are closed? When the quest has been given, the steeds saddled, and the adventurers are off to their next encounter? They keep the world running, the food cooked, and the horses shoed, yet what adventurer has ever spared a thought or concern for the Non-Player Characters?

In the town of Maplebark, four such NPCs settle in for a night of actively ignoring the adventurers drinking in the tavern when things go quickly and fatally awry. Once the dust settles, these four find themselves faced with an impossible choice: pretend to be adventurers undertaking a task of near-certain death or see their town and loved ones destroyed. Armed only with salvaged equipment, second-hand knowledge, and a secret that could get them killed, it will take all manner of miracles if they hope to pull off their charade.

And even if they succeed, the deadliest part of their journey may well be what awaits them at its end.

What I wanted from this book was a fun, geeky look at those background characters from all the stories and computer games.

What I got, was not that.

What I got was a standard adventure story with a group of characters that turned out to be regular old adventurers. And it wasn’t even that funny.

Rating ::  ★ ☆ ☆ 

Grimm’s Fairy Stories by Jacob Grimm & Wilhelm Grimm

Short and sweet. A nice way to end the day, listening to a creepy fairytale in bed.

Although it did make me wonder whether I should individually rate the stories as I go along, so I can do a little rating-mathematics.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Click here to see book synopsis

“Dead girl walking”, the boys say in the halls.
“Tell us your secret”, the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.

Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.

A little boring, and now that I read the synopsis again, I don’t really feel like it matches the book either. I didn’t go into it with any expectations, I thought I’d give a contemporary ago whilst I was using up my Audible credits.

But yeah, too boring for me, I guess contemporaries are not my kind of book either.

Rating :: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

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Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Click here to see book synopsis

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows, a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

I liked this and I didn’t all at the same time. I enjoyed the mystery but I didn’t really care for the main character.

Still, three stars for a thriller, is pretty good for me. Of all the thrillers or mysteries that I’ve read, this is probably one I’ve enjoyed the most.

Still, I’m looking forward to the day when I give four stars to a thriller or mystery book. One day.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

Click here to see book synopsis

There’s a murderer on the loose—but that doesn’t stop the girls of St. Etheldreda’s from attempting to hide the death of their headmistress in this rollicking farce.

The students of St. Etheldreda’s School for Girls face a bothersome dilemma. Their irascible headmistress, Mrs. Plackett, and her surly brother, Mr. Godding, have been most inconveniently poisoned at Sunday dinner. Now the school will almost certainly be closed and the girls sent home—unless these seven very proper young ladies can hide the murders and convince their neighbors that nothing is wrong.

I feel like there’s a running theme in this wrap up of books that were something, but not quite the something I was looking for.

Case in point, this book was witty and fun, but not quite as witty and fun as I would have liked.

Sigh. Never mind.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children #2) by Seanan McGuire

Click here to see book synopsis

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretence of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

Maybe this is a little controversial but this was such a disappointment. I really enjoyed the first book and was looking forward to more of the same magic and adventure, but there was none of that in this book.

I knew it was more of a companion novel before going into it, but I still hoped it would have some similarities to the first book. But nope.

It was kind of boring and I’m not sure I really care for the rest of the series.

Rating :: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

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The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Click here to see book synopsis

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

I’m filling this into “did I read the same book as everyone else?!” because I don’t get the hype around this one.

I didn’t really care for the characters and I didn’t care for the story either, not that I really thought that was much of a story going on.

Another series for the “series I’ve lost interest in” pile.

Rating :: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

The Queen’s Poisoner (Kingfountain #1) by Jeff Wheeler

Click here to see book synopsis

King Severn Argentine’s fearsome reputation precedes him: usurper of the throne, killer of rightful heirs, ruthless punisher of traitors. Attempting to depose him, the Duke of Kiskaddon gambles…and loses. Now the duke must atone by handing over his young son, Owen, as the king’s hostage. And should his loyalty falter again, the boy will pay with his life.

Seeking allies and eluding Severn’s spies, Owen learns to survive in the court of Kingfountain. But when new evidence of his father’s betrayal threatens to seal his fate, Owen must win the vengeful king’s favor by proving his worth—through extraordinary means. And only one person can aid his desperate cause: a mysterious woman, dwelling in secrecy, who truly wields power over life, death, and destiny.

Finally, a series that I feel like continuing with.

Everything about this was enjoyable. The story, the magic, the characters, the narration of the audiobook, it was just nice. And I can get on board with a just nice series any day.

I’m quite looking forward to how this series plays out.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch

Click here to see book synopsis

An orphan’s life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest.

A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.

Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld’s most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined.

Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi’s most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr’s underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying…

Easily my favourite book of the last few months. I am now totally in the mood for heists and criminal bromances.

Red Seas Under Red Skies here I come.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

Click here to see book synopsis

Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.

Sal seems to appear out of nowhere – a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he’s welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he’s a runaway from a nearby farm town.

When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperature as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestle with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.

I was sure this book was heading for the dreaded meh zone, but by the end of it, I was totally invested in the not-so-perfect lives of all the characters involved.

I admit, if I wasn’t listening to the audiobook, I probably would have DNF-ed it, because I didn’t care at the start. But after about half way, things started to get interesting. Things got intense, things got real, things even got a bit sad.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that has turned itself around quite so much.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

The Queen of Blood (The Queens of Renthia #1) by Sarah Beth Durst

Click here to see book synopsis

An idealistic young student and a banished warrior become allies in a battle to save their realm in this first book of a mesmerizing epic fantasy series, filled with political intrigue, violent magic, malevolent spirits, and thrilling adventure

Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .

But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.

With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.

I quite enjoyed this. It felt like something different, it had an interesting world and despite feeling like a bit of a slog at the end, I’m still invested in seeing where this story goes.

Another good read and if the rest of the year would continue on like the last few books I’ve finished, I should be in for a good time.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Alichino (Volume #1, #2 & #3) by Kouyu Shurei

Click here to see book synopsis

Beautiful creatures called “Alichino” grant any wish to those who find them–but at a price! A young lady searching for an Alichino wants to bring her brother back to life. She meets Tsugiri, a handsome young man who she thinks is an Alichino. While Tsugiri turns out to be a mere mortal, he does have a mysterious connection with these rare creatures–a connection that brings him and those around him grave danger!

My first foray in manga and I was pleasantly surprised.

I picked these books up in a secondhand book sale for €1 each to try them out. I’m all for giving something a go when it’s costing me less than €5 and since I was travelling back to the UK, I thought they would be some nice and light travel reading.

Definitely light. I’ve never read 160 pages so fast in my life. Once I’d got the hand of how to read from right to left that is.

I don’t think it’s something that I’d regularly go for, or even go for again, I don’t think I get the most out of them, since I don’t really stop to enjoy the artwork. Still, I tried, and it was fun to read something completely different to what I am used to.

I think I’ll go for a graphic novel next time, to see what all the fuss is about where they are concerned.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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The False Prince (The Ascendence Trilogy #1) by Jennifer E. Nielsen

Click here to see book synopsis

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point—he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

The books are starting to look up. Finally.

Here’s another series to dig into to. I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook and really enjoyed the story, the characters and the touch of twist at the end. I hope the second book is as good, but I might have to wait until my Audible subscription has been renewed to continue.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

The Death of Death by K. N. Parker

Click here to see book synopsis

Her death was just the beginning! Death guides usually have rather normal names like John, Mary, Harry, and Jessica. And even ones not quite so normal, like Bartholomew or Ambrosia. They also have the most interesting tales behind their deaths. But one particular death guide has a few problems: she cannot remember her name or the details of her demise, and thus has no story of her own. One fateful night, she meets a young girl that may change her death forever. Inspired by the works of Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman, and in the style of children’s tales of old, The Death of Death is a tragic, yet sweet little tale about loss and acceptance.

Does this really count as a book if it was only 30 pages long?

Meh, either way, I don’t care, this was a thoroughly enjoyable half hour of reading whilst I ate my dinner. And I think the book cover is really cool too.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Jessica Jones: Alias Vol. 1

Click here to see book synopsis

Meet Jessica Jones. Once upon a time, she was a costumed super hero — but not a very good one. Her powers were unremarkable compared to the amazing abilities of the costumed icons that populate the Marvel Universe. In a city of Marvels, she never found her niche. The self-destructive would-be Avenger is now the owner and sole employee of Alias Investigations — a small, private-investigative firm specializing in superhuman cases. When she uncovers the potentially explosive secret of one hero’s true identity, Jessica’s life immediately becomes expendable. But her wit, charm and intelligence just may help her survive another day. Thrust into the midst of a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels, has Jessica burned too many bridges to turn to old friends for help?

Whilst I was having some much needed rest and relaxation in the UK last month, I decided to dabble in a free trial of Kindle Unlimited and some graphic novels. Mostly, I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Reason for this choice: I quite enjoyed the Netflix show.

Overall: it wasn’t as interesting as I’d been lead to believe but it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it might be either. Win, win.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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Lumberjanes Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy

Click here to see book synopsis

At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s camp for hard-core lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together… And they’re not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here.

My second foray into graphic novels was a lot more cheery and fun. Not fun enough to want to continue through the next thirty-odd issues, but enough to satisfy my curiosity for some extra light reading.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Jessica Jones: Alias Vol. 2

Click here to see book synopsis

The adventures of private investigator Jessica Jones continue in ALIAS VOLUME II with two new cases: In “Rebecca, Come Home” Jessica travels to upstate New York to investigate the disappearance of a teenage girl rumored to be a mutant in a prejudiced small town. In “It’s Raining Men, ” Jessica goes on a date with. . . Ant-Man?

Reason for continuing with the next volume: still rummaging around Kindle Unlimited and enjoying my lazy reading time.

Better than the first, but still not good enough that I’d consider myself a graphic novel reader. I don’t appreciate the artwork and I think that’s integral to actually enjoying this kind of story format.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Ms. Marvel Vol. 1

Click here to see book synopsis

Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, Jersey!

This is where my graphic novel-ing came to a lacklustre end. After glazing over all the artwork and skimming through the speech, it’s safe to say, I’m not a graphic novel kind of woman. It’s now just another section to skip through when I’m watching videos or reading blogs posts about what others have been reading.

Rating :: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ 

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The Palace Job (Rogues of the Republic #1) by Patrick Weekes

Click here to see book synopsis

The most powerful man in the republic framed her, threw her in prison, and stole a priceless elven manuscript from her family.

With the help of a crack team that includes an illusionist, a unicorn, a death priestess, a talking warhammer, and a lad with a prophetic birthmark, Loch must find a way into the floating fortress of Heaven’s Spire–and get past the magic-hunting golems and infernal sorcerers standing between her and the vault that holds her family’s treasure.

It’d be tricky enough without the military coup and unfolding of an ancient evil prophecy–but now the determined and honourable Justicar Pyvic has been assigned to take her in.

But hey, every plan has a few hitches.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Kindle Unlimited also has audiobooks in its subscription service, albeit a limited amount that are actually free, but this was one such book.

Another book with a chirpy gang, some kind of heist and the promise of chuckle-worthy banter, I was in.

About half way through I sort of lost the story and struggled to keep up with all the different perspectives and debated giving up and reading it another time given that I already own the Kindle version of the book. But I didn’t. I was enjoying the story enough that I didn’t mind the asking myself more than a couple of time “OK, and who are you again?”.

When I eventually continue the series, I’ll be sticking to the Kindle books.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ 

The Gender Game (The Gender Game #1) by Bella Forrest

Click here to see book synopsis

A toxic river divides nineteen-year-old Violet Bates’s world by gender.

Women rule the East. Men rule the West.

Welcome to the lands of Matrus and Patrus. 

Ever since the disappearance of her beloved younger brother, Violet’s life has been consumed by an anger she struggles to control. Already a prisoner to her own nation, now she has been sentenced to death for her crimes.

But one decision could save her life. 

To enter the kingdom of Patrus, where men rule and women submit.

Everything about the patriarchy is dangerous for a rebellious girl like Violet. She cannot break the rules if she wishes to stay alive.

But abiding by rules has never been Violet’s strong suit.

When she’s thrust into more danger than she could have ever predicted, Violet is forced to sacrifice many things in the forbidden kingdom … including forbidden love.

In a world divided by gender, only the strongest survive…

I have dabbled in manga and graphic novels, now I’m dabbling in buddy reads. With the Mother-In-Law of all people because, let’s face it, I lucked out with my immediate In-Laws.

And you know what, I am absolutely in the mood for some cheesy YA dystopia and that’s exactly what I got with this book.

And now begins the buddy read of the whole series. That’s how dedicated I am to my buddies.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

The Gender Secret (The Gender Game #2) by Bella Forrest

Click here to see book synopsis

Gliding over the treacherous Green in a shaky aircraft that she has no idea how to land, Violet Bates is still in shock. The harrowing events of the previous night play over in her mind as she asks herself question after question.

Why did Lee Desmond Bertrand behave the way he did?

What is the truth about the mysterious silver egg stowed beneath her seat?

What happened to Viggo and where is her brother? Is either of them still alive?

When Violet manages to reach the toxic ground alive, she has landed in a world of unimaginable danger. She has barely time to catch her breath before she is sucked into a perilous journey at breakneck speed – to uncover secrets guarded for centuries and find the only two people that matter.

Yep, I’m totally invested in this. If I was reading these books by myself, I wouldn’t be ploughing through the series one after the other, but half the fun I’m having is buddy reading this with the MIL and it seems a shame to bring that fun to a stop.

Two books down another five to go. If they keep going with the fast pace, the banter and the more-ish twists and turns, we’ll be through this series in no time.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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The Gender Lie (The Gender Game #3) by Bella Forrest

Click here to see book synopsis

After discovering the shocking secret buried deep within The Green, Violet has a grave decision to make.
Trust the woman who saved her, or not?
So far, everything about the woman has taken Violet by surprise. Her behavior has been honest and upfront – a refreshing change for Violet. Besides, with one of her loved ones hanging on life support, and the other close to falling completely out of reach, Violet doesn’t exactly have a lot of choice.
Her only way forward is to embark on a dicey excursion. For this, she knows she needs the Liberators’ help – and must be prepared to take whatever risks that comes with.
But what neither she, nor any of her new Liberator comrades can prepare for, is just how deep the lies of their homelands run…

The MIL and I are still going strong with our buddy read.

This book wasn’t quite as exciting as the previous two, but it was still a perfectly good way to while away the housework and walking to the supermarket.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆  

The Last Girl (The Dominion Trilogy #1) by Joe Hart

Click here to see book synopsis

A mysterious worldwide epidemic reduces the birthrate of female infants from 50 percent to less than 1 percent. Medical science and governments around the world scramble in an effort to solve the problem, but twenty-five years later there is no cure, and an entire generation grows up with a population of fewer than An all round good book. a thousand women.

Zoey and some of the surviving young women are housed in a scientific research compound dedicated to determining the cause. For two decades, she’s been isolated from her family, treated as a test subject, and locked away—told only that the virus has wiped out the rest of the world’s population.

Captivity is the only life Zoey has ever known, and escaping her heavily armed captors is no easy task, but she’s determined to leave before she is subjected to the next round of tests…a program that no other woman has ever returned from. Even if she’s successful, Zoey has no idea what she’ll encounter in the strange new world beyond the facility’s walls. Winning her freedom will take brutality she never imagined she possessed, as well as all her strength and cunning—but Zoey is ready for war.

You can find a lot of YA dystopian – and urban fantasy – on Kindle Unlimited and since I’m making the most of my free trial, I picked up another audiobook to continue filling up my August reads with an excessive amount of easy-listening, the-world-has-ended but there’s always room for an angsty romance book.

An all round good listen.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆  

Sherlock: A Study In Pink (Sherlock #1)

Sherlock in manga format? Yes please. Or is it a graphic novel? Who knows. It was jolly good all the same.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Sherlock: The Blind Banker (Sherlock #2)

I’m a sucker for all things Sherlock Holmes. That’s enough to justify this. Totes great. Totes cheesy too but who cares.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

The Gender War (The Gender Game #4) by Bella Forrest

It’s not like me to power through a series of books, but so far, I’m still enjoying myself. Buddy reading this series has me re-thinking how I read book series usually and whether it might be more fun to marathon them instead of spreading them out like I usually do.

I seem to be getting more enjoyment out of the books because I’m so familiar with everything that’s going on, plus there’s also that sense of accomplishment when you complete a series, that’s always nice too.

Anyway, none of that is about this book.

This book: definitely an improvement on the third book, a whole host of action, still full of cheesy YA romance – but who cares, it’s just fun – and a collection of new characters that I’m quite enjoying and so I hope they don’t end up dying in the end. Fingers crossed.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

The Thief’s Daughter (Kingfountain #2) by Jeff Wheeler

Click here to see book synopsis

Owen Kiskaddon first came to the court of the formidable King Severn as a prisoner, winning favor with the stormy monarch by masquerading as a boy truly blessed by the Fountain. Nine years hence, the once-fearful Owen has grown into a confident young man, mentored in battle and politics by Duke Horwath and deeply in love with his childhood friend, the duke’s granddaughter. But the blissful future Owen and Elysabeth Mortimer anticipate seems doomed by the king’s machinations.

A pretender to Severn’s throne has vowed to seize the crown of Kingfountain. But Severn means to combat the threat by using Elysabeth as bait to snare the imposter—and forcing Owen, as a pawn in the dangerous charade, to choose between duty and devotion. With poisoners and spies circling ominously, and war looming on the horizon, Owen must make painful sacrifices to beat back the advancing shadows of death and disaster. Will Owen’s conflicted heart follow the king’s path or risk everything for his love?

With my new outlook on reading series, my next audiobook had to be the second book in the Kingfountain series, and I agree with myself, it is a lot more fun to continue a series when the previous book is fresh in your mind.

I really enjoyed that this book was set a good few years after the first, but it still took me a little while to get reacquainted with the characters and I think that took away from the enjoyment, when I compare it to the ease of continuing The Gender Game series. Maybe it’s the books themselves, but who knows.

It sounds like I’m having some kind of existential crisis about how I read series.

Yes, hello, my name is Kerri and I like to spend my evenings over thinking things and then telling the internet about it. 

Either way, another all round good book. It was just good. Just pleasant. And just fun enough for me to start the next book.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆


Currently Reading

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Still plodding through this beast of a collection. I’m around a third of the way through and I’m in no rush to finish. It’s just there to pick up every now and again in between other books. It’s perfect for passing the time whilst I decide what book to read next.

The Maid’s War (Kingfountain #0.5) by Jeff Wheeler

I have already finished the third book in this series, so now I’m working my way through the prequel. I may have misunderstood the synopsis and thought this book was going to follow one of the characters that I really enjoyed from the first book, but apparently not. Never mind, it’s still good and definitely makes my morning runs a bit more fun.

Not Your Sidekick (Sidekick Squad #1) by C. B. Lee

I’m about 50 pages into this and can’t wait for all the superhero action to kick off. Fingers crossed, it’s going to be a good one.

And that’s it. I’m all caught up with my wrap ups. Thoughts and feels welcome in the comments below. Or leave me the title of the book you are most looking forward to reading in September, because I always need more book options. 

Linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books.

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