• obsessedwallflower

Recent Reads | August 2020

How on earth August, the longest-lasting month in the whole year, went by like *that* is truly beyond me. So much so that I thought I hadn't read that much this month and found out I actually finished seven whole books, some of them becoming all-time favourites. Here's everything I read in August.


1) The Poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo


This is one of those books that you see everyone talking about but you only understand why once you've read it. This is a story told in verse, about Xiomara Batista, a high school girl who's struggling to come to terms with her mother's religion and the expectations that were set upon herself. The way she finds of coping with this is through writing slam poetry, and pouring her heart out onto her notebook to try and better understand herself and her reality. This was simply breathtaking and it's one of my favourite books I've read this year. I listened to the audiobook, which I recommend immensely considered Elizabeth Acevedo narrates it herself and she's an incredible slam poet, but I'm desperate to get my hands on a physical copy so I can reread it over and over again. I related to Xiomara so much, from the struggles with the religion she was raised in, to wanting to become your true self and show that to the world, and I cannot put into words how much this touched me. You feel likes there's a highlightable quote in every page and this is one I want to go back to constantly. Can't wait to read Acevedo's other books and witness her talent as long as she'll share it with the world. 5/5 ⭐️


2) The Shadows, Alex North


As with other books in this recent reads, I have a full review of this which you can read right here, so I won't go into too much detail about my thoughts. This is a thriller that follows Paul going back to his hometown 25 years after a gruesome murder happened and the killer disappeared. This is a dual perspective story with the lead-up to the unsolved murder all those years ago and the recent timeline, with copycat murderers showing up and trying to replicate what happened before. This involves lucid dreaming and an unreliable narrator, with a great concept. It had twists I absolutely did not see coming, but they didn't surprise me at all, however satisfying they were. This fell a bit flat for me as I was hoping it would spook me some more and I got very confused at times, with the amount of characters we follow. I did enjoy this though and it was a good introduction to a genre I don't read much of. 3/5 ⭐️


3) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin (The Inheritance Trilogy #1)


On the "books that quickly became favourites", we also have the first book of The Inheritance Trilogy and my first N. K. Jemisin book. I plan on making a full spoiler-free review of the entire series (I'll link it here once it's up), simply because, if this first book is anything to go by, I need to gush about it in every way that I can. This is a god-centred fantasy that follows Yeine, a girl from the north who's summoned by the king (her grandfather) after her mother's death, and invited to become one of the potential heirs to the throne. This gave me one of my favourite feelings I get when reading a book, that is simply marvelling at how the author was able to conjure it all up. The writing was impeccable, the characters were fantastic and the twists and turns kept me guessing all the way. This was a brilliant start to this fantasy series, it showed that this world can only grow from now and I have no idea where the other books are going next. 4.5/5 ⭐️


4) The Switch, Beth O'Leary


I also have a full review of this up on my blog, which I'll link right here. This is a charming story about a granddaughter/grandmother relationship that warmed my heart. After things going wrong in both their lives, they decide to switch for a period of eight weeks: Leena will leave her London life behind and go to her grandmother's house in Yorkshire, doing all the work Eileen does in her community, and Eileen will finally pursue her youth dream of living in London. The relationship between these two was loving and incredible, the characters were all charming, the writing was flawless and the narrators were spot on. Absolutely loved it and want to finally read The Flatshare now. 4/5 ⭐️


5) City of Lost Souls, Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #5)


I think I'll need to make a full post about this series once I finish reading the last book, but I'd need to make it spoilery as there's always so much to SAY. I've realised I've never said what this series is about, assuming everyone knows. But in case you don't, in The Mortal Instruments, we follow Clary, a fifteen-year-old who's suddenly thrust into the Shadowhunter universe. She not only finds out that every creature is indeed real, from demons to warlocks, werewolves and vampires, but also that there are shadowhunters, trained fighters that are meant to keep these creatures in check and protect humans. I talked more about this book on my Tome Topple wrap up (sorry to be plugging several different blog posts here) but this was definitely my favourite of the series. My main problem has always been that I couldn't care about Clary and she always annoyed me so much, but in this one, it finally felt to me like she had a point in the plot besides only being the main character. I'm so glad I'm finishing up this series (only one to go) as it's been years in the making, but I'll forever feel like Cassie Clare tried doing too much all at once. 4.5/5 ⭐️


6) All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr


I've had this book on my TBR for so long and I'm so happy I finally read it. I started reading it for the Tome Topple readathon and, although I couldn't finish it in time, I carried on because I was really enjoying it. This is a World War II historical fiction that follows two main characters, with a fantastical twist thrown in. Werner, a young boy being raised in Nazi Germany who wants to become a scientist, and Marie-Laure, a blind young girl living in France during the war. As with any WWII historical fiction, there are a lot of heavy subjects in the story and it makes for a haunting read. I absolutely adored the characters and was fully involved in their stories, from page 200 onwards my heart was wrenching and I was physically worried about what would happen to them, but the ending didn't hit me like I thought it would. That was the only issue I had with this book, I guess I was just waiting for more from its conclusion. The writing was beautiful and I loved the fantasy elements brought into it, they added more to the story than simply a World War II plotline. Trigger warnings for everything related to the War, as well as sexual assault. 4.5/5 ⭐️


7) 4 Years Trapped in my Mind Palace, Johan Twiss


Lastly, we have this book which I also have a full review of, linked here. This follows a 14-year old boy, Aaron, who's been paralysed for two years after a rare case of meningitis and hasn't been able to communicate with anyone, even though he's very much awake, trapped in his own mind. Until he gets a new roommate at the care facility he's at, Solomon, an elderly man with dementia. They communicate not only through Aaron's thoughts but also share great adventures in the connection between Aaron's mind palace and Solomon's dementia dreams, turning this into a fantastical historical fiction that passes throughout Sol's life. I really liked the relationship between the main characters and the writing style, but this didn't touch me like I thought it would. I ended up listening to the audiobook for half of it and really enjoyed it, as it's narrated by the author. 3.5/5 ⭐️


Such a weird mix of books but I adored most of them and can't wait to see what September brings. Also, I'll start naming my monthly wrap ups "recent reads", as I've stopped doing TBRs because this year I fully embraced being a mood reader. What did you read in August? Was there anything that really stood out? Let me know!


Love,

N.


Xx

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