2020 · Long post · Wrap ups

September Wrap-Up and Mini-Reviews 2020

well well well *smirk*

I did Becca’s Bookopolathon this month and a full wrap-up will be published soon. I have included them here but my opinion is shorter.

Overall, I did fairly well. Seems 10 books is becoming an average amount for a good month. However, this month I managed 11 books! yay me 🙂 It was a bit of a rush on the last few days to finished the last two books but I managed it. Now I have a clear slate for October, which is my favourite thing.

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.

All the Stars and Teeth (#1) by Adalyn Grace

eARC – NetGalley

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer – the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder – and more peril – than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever. 

I enjoyed this story and I will continue the series. I did a full review here.

A Deadly Education (Scholomancer #1) by Naomi Novik

eARC – NetGalley

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students. 

This was so much fun! I love the main character and her snark. Its a very character driven story which isn’t my favourite but a nice change and I didn’t mind it for this story at all. Full review can be found here.

Restless by William Boyd

Physical book – Owned

“I am Eva Delectorskaya,” Sally Gilmartin announces, and so on a warm summer afternoon in 1976 her daughter, Ruth, learns that everything she ever knew about her mother was a carefully constructed lie. Sally Gilmartin is a respectable English widow living in picturesque Cotswold village; Eva Delectorskaya was a rigorously trained World War II spy, a woman who carried fake passports and retreated to secret safe houses, a woman taught to lie and deceive, and above all, to never trust anyone.

Three decades later the secrets of Sally’s past still haunt her. Someone is trying to kill her and at last she has decided to trust Ruth with her story. Ruth, meanwhile, is struggling to make sense of her own life as a young single mother with an unfinished graduate degree and escalating dependence on alcohol. She is drawn deeper and deeper into the astonishing events of her mother’s past—the mysterious death of Eva’s beloved brother, her work in New York City manipulating the press in order to shift public sentiment toward American involvement in the war, and her dangerous romantic entanglement. Now Sally wants to find the man who recruited her for the secret service, and she needs Ruth’s help.

Becca’s Bookoplathon read.

I’m not a big fan of historical fiction and always struggle to get through them. I though something related to being a spy would add some thriller elements into the story and make it more interesting. I completely forgot that this was a book with 2 female main characters written by 1 male author. I’m happy that the female spies on the WW2 was given a spotlight but I should be more careful. It wasn’t the worst I’ve ever read but there were elements.

Anyway. I finished it. Done. To be un-hauled.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

e-ARC – NetGalley

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

I really liked this book. It was super sweet but also a bit badass. A massive enjoyment but it was a bit slow in the first 30%. Also I loved the ending. Full review to come closer to publication date, 6th October. Also just as a PS, this book is over 500 pages…! lol.

A Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev

Audiobook – Library

Chef Ashna Raje desperately needs a new strategy. How else can she save her beloved restaurant and prove to her estranged, overachieving mother that she isn’t a complete screw up? When she’s asked to join the cast of Cooking with the Stars, the latest hit reality show teaming chefs with celebrities, it seems like just the leap of faith she needs to put her restaurant back on the map. She’s a chef, what’s the worst that could happen? 

Rico Silva, that’s what.  

Being paired with a celebrity who was her first love, the man who ghosted her at the worst possible time in her life, only proves what Ashna has always believed: leaps of faith are a recipe for disaster. 

FIFA winning soccer star Rico Silva isn’t too happy to be paired up with Ashna either. Losing Ashna years ago almost destroyed him. The only silver lining to this bizarre situation is that he can finally prove to Ashna that he’s definitely over her. 

But when their catastrophic first meeting goes viral, social media becomes obsessed with their chemistry. The competition on the show is fierce…and so is the simmering desire between Ashna and Rico.  Every minute they spend together rekindles feelings that pull them toward their disastrous past. Will letting go again be another recipe for heartbreak—or a recipe for persuasion…? 

This book discusses some serious topics like material rape etc, but I still feel it was a worthy retelling of my favourite Jane Austen book Persuasion. Maybe he fell a bit to easily back for her but I enjoyed it none the less 🙂

It was a fun read even with the heavy topics, and quite feministic which I really enjoyed form an American-Indian romance novel 🙂

Neverwhere (London Above #) by Neil Gaiman

E-book – Owned

Under the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.

Becca’s Bookoplathon read.

Such an original idea! As expected from Neil Gaiman. The more I read from this author the more I see patterns. In here there are London Above which is our world and then there is London Below which is where surplus time, places and people fall down once forgotten. The similarities to American Gods is that places in London are actually people; Old Bailey is a person, Earl’s Court is the Earl’s court, etc. And then there are the combinations for two places close by like Angel station in centre of Islington -> The Angel Islington! I love the imagination and ability to take real thing make it new and make it work!

I very much enjoyed this book and will pick up the sequel at some point.

Help Me by Marianne Power

Audiobook – Library

Marianne Power was a self-help junkie. For years she lined her bookshelves with dog-eared copies of definitive guide after definitive guide on how to live your best life. Yet one day she woke up to find that the life she dreamed of and the life she was living were not miles but continents apart. So she set out to make a change. Or, actually, to make every change.

Marianne decided to finally find out if her elusive perfect life—the one without debt, anxiety, hangovers or Netflix marathons, the one where she healthily bounced around town with perfect teeth to meet the cashmere-sweater-wearing man of her dreams—lay in the pages of those books. So for a year she vowed to test a book a month, following its advice to the letter, taking the surest road she knew to a perfect Marianne.

As her year-long plan turned into a demented roller coaster where everything she knew was turned upside down, she found herself confronted with a different question: Self-help can change your life, but is it for the better? 

Very interesting insight to someone trying to live by self-help books. However, I did see several flaws in her approach. She pick one book a month which is fine, but the next month she dropped the previous book as she picked up another book. Which means she did not spend enough time with the first book to create a habit and therefore it all fell down the cracks. I basically learned what not to do haha!

These Rebel Waves (Steam Raiders #1) by Sara Raach

Physical book – Owned

Adeluna is a soldier. Five years ago, she helped the magic-rich island of Grace Loray overthrow its oppressor, Argrid, a country ruled by religion. But adjusting to postwar life has not been easy. When an Argridian delegate vanishes during peace talks with Grace Loray’s new Council, Argrid demands brutal justice—but Lu suspects something more dangerous is at work.

Devereux is a pirate. As one of the outlaws called stream raiders who run rampant on Grace Loray, he pirates the island’s magic plants and sells them on the black market. But after Argrid accuses raiders of the diplomat’s abduction, Vex becomes a target. An expert navigator, he agrees to help Lu find the Argridian—but the truth they uncover could be deadlier than any war.

Benat is a heretic. The crown prince of Argrid, he harbors a secret obsession with Grace Loray’s forbidden magic. When Ben’s father, the king, gives him the shocking task of reversing Argrid’s fear of magic, Ben has to decide if one prince can change a devout country—or if he’s building his own pyre.

As conspiracies arise, Lu, Vex, and Ben will have to decide who they really are . . . and what they are willing to become for peace.

Becca’s Bookoplathon read.

An enjoyable journey with magic, drama, religion and politics. Its a 3 narrative story and I think I prefer Vex’s point of view. There was just something about his attitude I really liked. I will pick up the next book in this series.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

Physical book – Own

Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn’t a lightning strike, it’s the rumbling roll of thunder.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.

From the bestselling author of Beautiful Broken Things comes a love story about the times when a whisper is as good as a shout.

Becca’s Bookoplathon read.

I really like this! Its was super sweet but I also learned a lot about being deaf and being excluded from the world of sounds.

I think I’ll pick up more books by Sara Barnard 🙂

Endsinger (Stormdancer #3) by Jay Kristoff

Audiobook – Own

Synopsis of book #1 Stormdancer:

Arashitoras are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shõgun, they fear that their lives are over – everyone knows what happens to those who fail the Lord of the Shima Isles. But the mission proves less impossible and more deadly than anyone expects. Soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled arashitora for company. Although she can hear his thoughts, and saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her. Yet trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and the beast soon discover a bond that neither of them expected.

Meanwhile, the country around them verges on collapse. A toxic fuel is choking the land, the machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure, and the Shõgun cares for nothing but his own dominion. Authority has always made Yukiko, but her world changes when she meets Kin, a young man with secrets, and the rebel Kagé cabal. She learns the horrifying extent of the Shõgun’s crimes, both against her country and her family.

Returning to the city, Yukiko is determined to make the Shõgun pay – but what can one girl and a flightless arashitora do against the might of an empire? 

Becca’s bookoplathon read.

What an epic ending to a series! As expected it was bloody and there was a lot of death … But a worthy ending to this grim series 🙂

Gods of Jade and Shadow

Physical book – Own

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.

Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.

This was such a fun journey! I loved Casipoea as a main character! I also loved the element of god vs person and Hun-Kame’s struggle between the two. Lastly, I loved the bad cousin. He was not a stereotype but felt really real and I loved that, though I do hate him. Oh and I loved that this was a standalone!! There are so few fantasy standalones out there that are good!

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:
    • Trouble Blood – pre-ordered, forgotten and I now regret this purchase… I think I’ll might read and review it from a trans-supportive perspective.

Available credit from last month; 4

Credit transferring over to next month: 5

  • Only request two ARC’s: 
    • none

Available credits from last month; 7

Credit transferring over to next month: 9

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
    • These Rebel Waves
    • Quiet Kind of Thunder
    • Restless
  • E-Book shelf
    • Nevewhere

That’s it!

Have you read any of these?

Of all of them, I think either Addie LaRue or Deadly Education were my favourites. What was your favourite read this month?

Until next time; happy reading!

7 thoughts on “September Wrap-Up and Mini-Reviews 2020

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