It's that time again. Another summer month has come and gone, and that means books were read! Sadly, with school starting up, I'll be focusing more on writing (not that sad, I admit!) and less on reading. Stay tuned for my summer wrap up next week when my kids are gone!
This month, I managed a measly 7.5 books. However, two of them were epic fantasy, and I've been working halftime for the last two weeks. So hey, 7.5 ain't bad!
Here's my reading list this month:
1. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
2. Ink by Amanda Sun
3. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
4. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
5. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
6. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
7. The Ring and the Crown by Melissa De La Cruz
7.5. A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab
So, first up, Me Before You. I kind of knew what I was getting into before I read this. I'd had the book on my shelf since back when the movie was first announced, but I knew it was sad, an ugly cry book, and that it was so good they made a movie of it. My expectations were pretty high.
And this book delivered! I loved Lou, that she was smart but didn't know what she was doing with her life, and she was attractive but not in the classic way. Her humor was fun and I loved watching her interact with Will. The ending was a tad expected, but then again, I was pre-warned going in that it was super sad, so you know, it was spoiled a bit. All in all, I didn't ugly cry, but I'm definitely glad I read this one alone at home... Really well done.
Next was Ink. I bought this based on the cover art and blurb. Both really drew me in, and I was THRILLED to find out it took place in Japan. Some of the other elements left me unsatisfied, such as shallow romance (think Twilighty insta-love), characters making super dumb choices just for the sake of plot, and unnecessary drama (pregnant girlfriend who's not really his girlfriend).
This book had all the makings of a great read but just never got there, which is a shame. I know a lot of readers really loved it, so maybe it was just a personal preference thing. I'd be interested to read more work by Amanda Sun outside this series, because it really had a lot of potential.
Snow Like Ashes was another book I'd had on my shelf since forever. I think it was a Christmas present from my step-mom. I've seen this cover everywhere and figured I'd give it a go. And I really liked it. Meira was a breath of fresh air for a main character. She was strong and smart but also had weaknesses and made understandable but ultimately flawed choices. I found her really relatable and interesting.
Some of the world-building elements bothered me, such as the naming of cities (after months on a calendar, but misspelled). Overall, an enjoyable read and a series I'll likely continue once I purchase the rest of the books.
I've heard all kinds of amazing things about Rebel of the Sands, so I bought a copy and went in blind. And I immediately LOVED it. The Arabian elements were so well blended with the wild-west kind of gunslinging along with fantasy like the Djinni. There was a romantic interest that wasn't gong you over the face predictable and he had a purpose on the story other than to look good and cause strife, and I really appreciated having such multidimensional characters. I cannot say enough good stuff about this book and I recommend it to literally everyone. A stellar, amazing read and I can't wait for the sequel!
Next up was Heir of Fire. Again, this book has been on my TBR forever. I think I was avoiding it because A) it's huge, and B) the end of Crown of Midnight had a big twist I wasn't a super fan of. So after a year of staring at it with shifty eyes, I finally hunkered down and dove in. Initially, I had a lot of confusion because it had been so long and this series has some major world building, but SJM is amazing and made it all better. Her writing is super smooth and I really liked that this book took place in a new location with new characters and new problems, but was still firmly set in the past with the first two books. A really hard and yet glorious balance was achieved here. I immediately dove into book four.
Queen of Shadows was the return of Aelin to Rifthold with all her new friends. It was a really spectacular mixing of folks from the early books plus people from book three and then even new people after that. The planning and plotting and twists were amazing, and the characters are flesh-and-blood real. Manon was surprisingly one of my favorite characters, and I really enjoyed getting to know Aedion even more. Just a really amazing work all together. I couldn't put it down and want to smack myself for waiting so long to read it. This is exactly why SJM is at the top of so many lists, including my fave authors!
And then came The Ring and the Crown. If you read my earlier review, you'll know this one was a tough read for me. There were a lot of characters, which isn't a problem. I write and read multi-POV and when done well, it's amazing. This one wasn't particularly done well, but I've seen worse. My issue with this one was the crazy way the plot twisted without making a lot of sense. Scenarios and relationships that had been built the entire book were swept away without mention or exploration, and everyone just seemed to take everything in stride. A princess who never wanted to rule runs away, and then mid-flee decides she doesn't really love the guy she's running away to marry and goes back to inherit the crown. But, but why? What was the point of this if no one actually accomplished anything? It was a really painful read and one that I was glad to put behind me.
And last but certainly not least is A Gathering of Shadows. This is the sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic. While these books aren't as ABSOLUTELY STUNNING as This Savage Song and Our Dark Duet, they really are fun, interesting, and wonderfully written books. After a doozie with ARatC, I wanted to go back to an author I trusted to deliver a good story with good writing. I haven't finished this one yet, which is why I only gave it .5 instead of a full read, but I'm really enjoying it so far. Kell and Lila are a fun match and it's so interesting to see how they navigate conflicts in different ways.
Unfortunately for my TBR, school is starting and I'll be going back to my usual rotation of a book every week (rather than two or three or five a week!), so expect these posts to be much shorter for the winter months. I'll be focusing on writing The Snow Owl and getting it polished and ready for market, as well as being a full time mom to my three-year-old monster, ahem, beautiful boy.
What should I start with? And what are your September reading goals?