Monday, 11 September 2017

August 2017 Reading Wrap Up






2017 has been a strange year, I've felt kind of lost and lacking direction and this has even extended to my reading. After a strange few months where I read barely anything, August was a pretty good month for it. I read four books in total and although I'm definitely not going to meet my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal, I'm fine with that and four books is better than none!

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood | ☆☆☆☆.25
Offred is a handmaid in the republic of Gilead, a class of woman kept by Commanders and their wives purely to provide a child. 

Despite having owned this modern classic for about three years, I only picked it up this summer as part of Girl Gang Books (the official Girl Gang book club! *plug plug*) and I'm so glad I finally got to it. I was slightly concerned that all the hype around it, especially after it was recently made into a tv series, would make for a disappointment but I can safely say it lived up to it's reputation. Several times whilst reading, I got a genuine eerie feeling as I could see how the events of this book could happen in our not-too-distant future. I've seen some reviews that criticise The Handmaid's Tale for being slow and plotless but I found it compelling as a snapshot of a potential (terrifying) future. I felt on edge almost the entire time but that's no bad thing as it heightened my emotions and made me feel empathy and fear every time Offred took any small risk. I wouldn't say I enjoyed this book, as that doesn't feel right, but I definitely appreciated it's brilliance. My one tiny criticism, that I know most won't agree with, is that I almost feel like it could've been longer. I felt like I needed slightly more time in Offred's past. But this book is excellent and I can't recommend it enough.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo | ☆☆☆☆☆
Diana, Princess of the Amazons, longs to prove herself to her warrior sisters but risks everything when she breaks Amazon law and saves the life of a mortal, Alia. But Alia is no ordinary teenager, and in saving her, Diana might have doomed the world.

Receiving this proof was like my birthday and Christmas combined. It was definitely one of my most anticipated 2017 releases and I was beyond excited when I got my hands on it. Surprisingly enough, I haven't seen Wonder Woman at the cinema and I didn't really know much about her or her origins until I'd read this. So if you're unsure about reading Warbringer because you don't know much about the DC Universe, don't worry, because I absolutely loved this despite my lack of knowledge. Leigh Bardugo's writing is superb and the characters in this book, like all of Leigh's characters, were incredibly well developed. I'm going to be posting a full review of this soon, but safe to say I LOVED it and you definitely need to pick it up.

Like Other Girls by Claire Hennessey | ☆☆.75
Lauren is going through a lot; her boyfriend thinks she's crazy, her best friend is going through something she can't understand and she's facing every teenage girl's worst nightmare.

I have such mixed feelings about this book. When I received it I thought it was going to be about the problematic nature of the 'not like other girls' trope, and it kind of was? But it also really wasn't. I loved Like Other Girls exploration of some of the really difficult teenage issues, but I felt that others could have been dealt with better. Lauren is a complicated character, and she's not particularly likeable, but she is kind of relatable. I definitely thought some of the things that she did when I was a teenager but I think very differently now, so my lower rating might be to do with the fact that I'm just out of the age range to be able to accept some of Lauren's questionable behaviour. I would say give this one a try if you find the synopsis interesting, it's definitely worth reading but I'm not sure how much I enjoyed it.

The Good People by Hannah Kent | ☆☆☆☆
Ireland, 1825, Nora's husband has died suddenly and Nora is left to care for her grandson, who can neither speak or walk. When unnatural things start happening in the valley, rumours are spread and Nora seeks the help of local healer Nance, who believes that Micheal is a changeling, a fairy child.

I adored Hannah Kent's Burial Rites and was just as excited to pick up her latest historical fiction The Good People, so when I received it as a proof late last year I couldn't believe my luck. I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to get to it but I'm glad I did. I read this over the long weekend in a house by the sea and I'm glad I read it in such atmospheric surroundings, because it's definitely an atmospheric book. Kent's descriptions of nature are beautiful and I lingered over each one:
'The valley was beautiful. The slow turning towards winter had left stubble on the fields and the wild grasses bronzes, and the scutter of cloud left shadows brooding across the soil. It was its own world.'

Her writing in general is beautiful and poetic and definitely makes up for the slight slowness of the plot. I found the plot of The Good People less compelling than Burial Rites, but only slightly, Kent writes the hell out of a historical fiction with folk tale elements. I find Irish folklore fascinating and The Good People lends an excellent insight into it and would act as a great springboard before delving into more. The Good People is definitely one to snuggle up with by a crackling fire or to take away with you on a windy autumn weekend away.

So those are the books I read in August, here's to another good month of reading (I've already finished two books!) and the start of my favourite season!

What have you been reading lately? Let me know down below, I appreciate every single comment!

Links to books in this post are affiliate links, which just means that if you want to purchase them, I get a little something too - with no extra cost to you! If you want to buy any other books, please consider using my Wordery link - thanks lovelies!


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