2020 · Long post · Wrap ups

August Wrap-Up and Mini-Reviews 2020

well well well *smirk*

I did TomeTopple in the middle of the month and a full Wrap-up can be found here. Apart from that I had no other major plans and nothing special happened just a lot of reading.

Overall, this was a great month for reading! I’m definitely over my July reading slump. I think I treated the reading slump right for who I am. I didn’t push myself to read and waited until I missed reading and wanted to pick up a book before I actually picked one up. And I think that is what has lead me to have such a good August reading wise. I was ready to read.

In total, I managed a whooping 10 books this month with half of them being Tomes !! what!! haha! I impress myself sometimes 🙂 I’m also almost halfway through another tome and I’ve just started another book 🙂

Let’s just dive in 🙂

As a reminder: To me, 5 ivy leaves is an amazing book that stuck with me, surprised me, one I could stop thinking about, I got lost in, etc. 4 ivy leaves is an enjoyable read something I really liked, but that’s it. 3 ivy leaves are either a disappointing read, or the book is just OK.

Seven Devils (#1) by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May

eARC – NetGalley

This first book in a feminist space opera duology follows seven resistance fighters who will free the galaxy from the ruthless Tholosian Empire–or die trying.

When Eris faked her death, she thought she had left her old life as the heir to the galaxy’s most ruthless empire behind. But her recruitment by the Novantaen Resistance, an organization opposed to the empire’s voracious expansion, throws her right back into the fray.

Eris has been assigned a new mission: to infiltrate a spaceship ferrying deadly cargo and return the intelligence gathered to the Resistance. But her partner for the mission, mechanic and hotshot pilot Cloelia, bears an old grudge against Eris, making an already difficult infiltration even more complicated.

When they find the ship, they discover more than they bargained for: three fugitives with firsthand knowledge of the corrupt empire’s inner workings.

Together, these women possess the knowledge and capabilities to bring the empire to its knees. But the clock is ticking: the new heir to the empire plans to disrupt a peace summit with the only remaining alien empire, ensuring the empire’s continued expansion. If they can find a way to stop him, they will save the galaxy. If they can’t, millions may die.

I loved this book! I made a full review here 🙂 This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020 and it didn’t disappoint me at all 🙂 yay! I look forward to the next book to see where this story goes. Bare in mind that this is not a perfect book but there is so much potential!

Who Fears Death? by Nnedi Okorafor

Physical book – Owned

In a post-apocalyptic Africa, the world has changed in many ways, yet in one region genocide between tribes still bloodies the land. A woman who has survived the annihilation of her village and a terrible rape by an enemy general wanders into the desert hoping to die. Instead, she gives birth to an angry baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand. Gripped by the certainty that her daughter is different–special–she names her Onyesonwu, which means “Who fears death?” in an ancient language. It doesn’t take long for Onye to understand that she is physically and socially marked by the circumstances of her violent conception.

She is Ewu – a child of rape who is expected to live a life of violence, a half-breed rejected by both tribes. But Onye is not the average Ewu. Even as a child, she manifests the beginnings of a remarkable and unique magic. As she grows, so do her abilities, and during an inadvertent visit to the spirit realm she learns something terrifying: Someone powerful is trying to kill her.

This took me a while to finish. It’s well written. The world is well built. The characters are well fleshed out. But there is something heavy about this book which made me drag it out. I had been warned that this wasn’t an easy book to read and I took that at heart when I started. I really enjoyed the journey but yeah it wasn’t an easy read. Its not something I can point to and say that is what made this book heavy, there is nothing specific on the page, it between the lines and difficult to put my finger on. Maybe its the underlying threat of violence and death and rape? Maybe its something else. I don’t know. Still it was a really good book! I have zero regrets 🙂

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Physical book/audiobook – Owned/Library

Elusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long.

Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good. Margaret is mesmerized by the author’s tale of gothic strangeness—featuring the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.

Together, Margaret and Vida confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

I didn’t have high hopes for this book. I wanted to make this book as read and unhaul it. There was no other reason for me to read it. I was surprised that it held my interest. But the ending didn’t match the story. the mystery was solved very rapidly and all the pieces fitted together even tho half the puzzle hadn’t been mentioned before.

I did it though. I finished it. Done. To be un-hauled.

Death On The Nile by Agatha Christie

E-book – Owned

This quarter’s book club at work.

The tranquillity of a cruise along the Nile is shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway has been shot through the head. She was young, stylish and beautiful, a girl who had everything – until she lost her life. Hercule Poirot recalls an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: “I’d like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger.” Yet in this exotic setting, nothing is ever quite what it seems… 

This was an OK mystery. I did managed to guess who did it correctly, but I had more potentials too. and I didn’t know how they did it, but still.

I have issues with this books though. I feel they are becoming too old. Especially in relation to certain issues and treatment of certain people. Yes its expected when you pick up n older book that there will be a different way to threat women. Reference to being hysterical and very emotional, etc, just made me annoyed. But there was also the way Egyptians were treated in here too. They were wither erased, or mentioned as black figures with outstretched hands or just black face. It’s yes expected too as the British has always valued their white supremacy in relation tot he Empire, but still! it really annoyed me. Though its partly my own fault as I went into the book looking for white supremacy and challenged myself to see if I could find it… and I did.

Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga

Audiobook – Owned

In Black and British, award-winning historian and broadcaster David Olusoga offers readers a rich and revealing exploration of the extraordinarily long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa. Drawing on new genetic and genealogical research, original records, expert testimony and contemporary interviews, Black and British reaches back to Roman Britain, the medieval imagination and Shakespeare’s Othello.

It reveals that behind the South Sea Bubble was Britain’s global slave-trading empire and that much of the great industrial boom of the nineteenth century was built on American slavery. It shows that Black Britons fought at Trafalgar and in the trenches of the First World War. Black British history can be read in stately homes, street names, statues and memorials across Britain and is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation. 

Wow! I learned a lot for this book!

I wished there would have been more information regarding the roman times, but I guess it all depends on evidence and if there is only a small amount of evidence the story has to be small too.

Yes this book focuses heavily on the slave trade, but tells the story in a different view. I never knew Freetown in Sierra Leona was created through re-settlement of freed slaves. I didn’t know that the slave rebellion in the US was an almost direct result of the court case freeing a black man in the UK. I didn’t know that most of the racism in the UK post world war 1 was based on lack of jobs and stranded people from around the empire. While the post world war 2 racism was based on the influence of the US troops and UK’s lack of willingness to make the US annoyed.

So interesting! Highly recommended!

House of Earth and Fire (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J Maas

Physical book – Borrowed

ryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

I had predictions and they all came true. But I still got surpriced with the twists and turns at the end. SJM never fails!

This is not a perfect books tho. I had some smaller issues with the writing in places. It felt overly long in other places, and then ended with a complete turn of events and an heavy showdown which to me felt a bit out of the blue.

I loved the characters and the city and the situation and I can’t wait to read the next book whenever that comes out 🙂

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Audiobook – Owned

Third and final instalment to the Illuminae series.

Synopsis for the first book Illuminae:

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 a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

What an ending!

So satisfying!

Loved it!

Lethal White (Strike #4) by Robert Galbraith

Physical book – Owned

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.

Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott—once his assistant, now a partner in the agency—set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.

And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been—Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much trickier than that. 

I enjoyed the story of this book but I struggle with the author personal opinion. I think I’ll continue with the series for now but stop talking about it.

Hinch Yourself Happy by Mrs Hinch

Audiobook/physical book – Library/owned

Cleaning (aka “hinching”) doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore — not when Mrs Hinch is here to show you her sparkly ways!

Mrs. Hinch is a housewife who has taken Instagram by storm with her infectiously addictive charm, clever tidying tips, and passionate belief in the healing power of cleaning. In Hinch Yourself Happy, she makes cleaning glamorous and fun, and explains how it’s a brilliant way to taper anxiety and manage your mental health.

Yes I read a book about cleaning….

Was it worth it? Half of it was but the other half is about Mrs Hinch’ life which I had no interest in. I listen to it an audiobook but ended up buying it cause it was cheap and there was a few lists and products mentioned along with habits and to do list stuff which is good to have on paper. I marked most of the book off now and it’s very colour full.

The Freelance Bible by Alison Grade

Audiobook – Library

You want to go freelance. You want to make your career work for you, on your terms and determined by your own definition of success. You want autonomy, flexibility and variety. But where do you start?

In The Freelance Bible, award-winning entrepreneur and freelancer, Alison Grade, guides you through absolutely everything that you need to know to start your successful self-employed life.

Starting from day one, she will help you develop your personal brand, pick up the financial essentials, grow your client base, manage your work – life balance, negotiate deals and value your time as you become more established. The Freelance Bible is your complete guide to turning your talent into a fulfilling and sustainable career.

I learned a lot for this book. I’ve never done anything freelancing and this book had taken every aspect into consideration. I’ll keep it in mind for when I start my own freelancing career 😉

Reading Challenge check:

Let’s hold me accountable.

I have two goals this year which involve acquiring books;

  1. only buy two books a month,
  2. only request two ARCs a month.

Rules: For buying books it only for books I, personally, spend money on including subscription boxes (one per box), but it excludes my audible membership and all free books and gifts. For the ARC’s I’ve focused on my request-button-pressing and not getting the requests approved because you don’t know if it will be approved, nor do you know when it will be approved. Therefore, only two request-clicks per month. I can move the points between the months and if I don’t use them in one month transfer them to the next month.

I will have this on my wrap-ups every month.

Let’s check if I stuck to my goals:

  • Only buy two books a month:
    • Mrs Hinch
    • Wicked as you wish
    • Beyond the black door
    • Down among the sticks and bones

Available credit from last month; 6

Credit transferring over to next month: 4

  • Only request two ARC’s: 
    • Addie LaRue

Available credits from last month; 6

Credit transferring over to next month: 7

TBR Shelf Reads

I also had a goal of reading one book form my physical shelf and one books from my e-book shelf per month. None of these can involve 2020 acquired books. Based on all the books I read this month these are the once from my shelves:

  • Physical shelf
    • The Thirteenth Tale
    • Who Fears Death?
    • Lethal White
  • E-Book shelf
    • Death on the Nile

That’s it!

Have you read any of these?

Of all of them I think either Seven Devils or Crescent City were my favourite. What was your favourite read this month?

Until next time; happy reading!

9 thoughts on “August Wrap-Up and Mini-Reviews 2020

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