Saturday, 5 September 2015

AUGUST READING WRAP UP



# of books read: 9
Genres: 2 adult contemporary, 1 YA contemporary,  1 YA paranormal, 1 YA Fantasy, 1 non-fiction, 2 graphic novels and 1 children's classic.
Total # pages read: 2704

I'm not going to go with the usual cliché of saying that the month went by so fast because I feel like August really stretched out and as I write this, tucked up in a blanket to fight the sudden September chill, the memory of reading some of these books in the hot sunshine already seems like a lifetime ago.

I'm really pleased with both the amount of books and the mix of genres that I read last month, and I read everything on my TBR except for Harry Potter, which isn't necessarily a priority, so I'm pretty happy with that! I stepped out of my comfort zone slightly by trying New Adult and graphic novels for the first time and overall read some really excellent books. So settle down, grab a cup of tea (it really is freezing isn't it?), and let's dive into my August reads...

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover | ☆☆☆.5
I started off the month by continuing with my planned reads for the TBR Takedown readathon which included my first foray into New Adult, Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover. It follows Tate, a student nurse in her 20s, who moves in with her brother and meets his colleague and neighbour Miles. After a few encounters the two embark on a 'friends with benefits' relationship and the story takes off from there. The narrative is told in alternating chapters from Tate and Miles' points of view, just a warning it does contain some pretty explicit sex scenes so if you're uncomfortable with that then this book might not be for you.

I found this to be a completely compulsive read, I just couldn't put it down and read it in one or two sittings. I did enjoy it in general but I did have a few issues with the romance. I didn't really get along with the 'friends with benefits' arrangement and I wasn't really satisfied with the whole idea that people will change if you just wait long enough. I did enjoy Colleen Hoover's writing style though and it hasn't put me off reading more of her books in the future.

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham | ☆☆☆.5
Not That Kind of Girl is a collection of 'essays' and I use that term loosely because it has connotations of stuffyness and formality, neither of which describes Lena's book. I really really enjoyed this and am already wanting to re-read it and tab all my favourite lines. I won't go into too much detail because I've already done a full review which you can read here.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson | ☆☆
After seeing all the hype about this graphic novel on booktube I was dying to get my hands on it so on a rare trip to Waterstones last month I seized the opportunity and picked it up. This is the first graphic novel I've ever read and I absolutely adored it. It's about a young, kickass, shapeshifting girl who becomes the sidekick to an evil villain trying to take down the establishment, but it's about so much more than that. It's beautiful and hilarious and sad and the art is just so excellent. I want to read it again and again and I probably will.

Touching Darkness by Scott Westerfeld | 
This is the second book in the Midnighters trilogy so I can't really go into too much detail about the plot except to say that it's a YA paranormal series based on the idea of a secret hour which happens at midnight where everyone is frozen except for a few teenagers with interesting powers and the creatures (called 'darklings') who want to kill them. It sounds kind of cheesy but it's really such a great concept and I think it's executed really well. The world-building is brilliant and I really like the complexity of the characters. I'm really enjoying this series and hope to finish it up soon.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell | 
Attachments is an adult contemporary that follows Lincoln, the 'internet security officer' at a newspaper whose job it is to read everyone's emails. The chapters alternate between Lincoln's point of view and a set of emails exchanged between newspaper movie reviewer Beth and her friend and colleague Jennifer. Lincoln slowly finds himself falling for Beth even though he's never met her, he's just read her emails, and things just get more complicated from there. 

Although I found it a little slow going at first, when I really gave myself a chance to just sit down and get into it I found that I couldn't stop. The second half of the novel picked up majorly, it was both hilarious and heartbreaking and I even found myself close to tears by the end (something which never happens to me whilst reading!). It was just brilliant and it gave me ALL THE FEELS, highly recommend.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett | ☆.75
This was my classic pick for the month and it follows spoiled orphan Mary Lennox who moves away from India after her parents death to her distant uncle's mysterious manor house in Yorkshire. She discovers a secret garden that has been shut for ten years and that's not the only mystery the house has to hold. I won't go into too much detail on my thoughts about this one as I'm going to be reviewing it later in the month for the 2015 Classics Challenge. I did enjoy it but I had some issues that I'll go into further in my review.

Remix by Non Pratt | ☆.5
I bought Remix early on in the month and thought that I should probably read it before the summer ends so that I could properly soak up it's summery atmosphere. This is a YA contemporary from the alternating perspectives of two best friends, Ruby and Kaz, as they embark on their first festival together. It's supposed to be a weekend of celebration, epic music and, most importantly, friendship but add in some troublesome exes, new flings and new friends and it doesn't all go quite according to plan. 

I really really REALLY enjoyed this book, it just reminds me how excellent UKYA can be. Non Pratt's writing is so sharp and funny and she perfectly captures the teenage voices of her characters. I loved that although there were issues of boys and romance involved, the story was ultimately about friendship and how important female friendships are at such a formative stage. It was amazing to see hilarious, kind, self-aware, REALISTIC female protagonists dealing with things like sex, jealousy, drinking, messing up and sorting things out in a realistic way, without all the taboos and the melodrama. I did have some minor issues with how horrendously some of the male characters treated the protagonists and felt like that wasn't really addressed enough but it didn't take too much away from the book's brilliance. I don't really know what I'm saying but basically I bloody loved this and you really should read it.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness | 
This book was one of my most anticipated releases for 2015 and it finally came out on August 27th and my pre-ordered signed exclusive Waterstones edition arrived the same day *squeal*. Once I got over the beauty of the textured jacketless cover and the blue sprayed edges I dove right into the book and had it finished in a few sittings. The Rest of Us Just Live Here follows Mikey, who just wants to get through prom and graduation before one of the chosen ones blows up the high school again. 

I've always wanted to read a YA novel from the perspective of one of the ordinary people who isn't trying to save the world and is just trying to live their life whilst all the mayhem goes on around them. The Rest of Us lived up to all my expectations of this concept; it was hilarious, heartfelt and honest, and although the main characters' problems aren't world-ending it doesn't mean that they aren't just as difficult to live with and that the ordinary can't be extraordinary. Every single character was finely drawn and the world-building was so well done, creating an interesting mix of fantasy and contemporary. I also really appreciated Ness' realistic and honest handling of mental health issues, and how well mental health was blended into the narrative without it becoming a full-on 'issue' novel, because that's what it's like in real life. I absolutely loved The Rest of Us and would recommend it to everyone.

The Wicked and The Divine: Volume One by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie 
After reading Nimona earlier in the month I was really in the mood for another graphic novel, so I picked up volume one of The Wicked and The Divine from Wordery. In this series, twelve gods are incarnated as humans every ninety years, they live like celebrities for two years and then they die. I was immediately blown away by the art style, the images are beautifully detailed and full of fine lines and vibrant colours. I spent quite a long time poring over each panel because the art is so absorbing. Although I really enjoyed this volume I did find that the narrative was a little hard to follow at times and I did have to go back and reread parts to try and understand it. I'm hoping that the next volume (which is already out) has more in-depth world building but overall I'd give this a go if you're wanting to get into comics/graphic novels.

Phew! That was a long one! I hope you enjoyed my wrap up and I'll be posting my September TBR on Monday so look out for that.

What did you read in August?


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