• obsessedwallflower

Recent Reads | September - December 2021

It's been a while, hasn't it? When I tell you the past few months have been a whirlwind, I truly mean it. And although I'd love to jump straight into 2022 content, I still wanted to do a round-up of the books I read at the end of last year but hadn't talked about on the blog yet.

In September, I read several books for my Maeve Wiley blog post, where I read all the books she references throughout seasons one and two of Sex Education. Since I talked about them in a lot of depth and that served as my unofficial September recent reads, I won't be talking about them today. But I still have a few September reads that weren't mentioned, as well as the three books I read between October and December, in the midst of a very cruel reading slump.

The books I read for the Maeve Wiley project were Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft, Lady Susan by Jane Austen, Othello by William Shakespeare, A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf, and Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. As well as As You Like It by William Shakespeare, which I read earlier on in the year. So if you want to know my opinions on any of these books, you can go read that blog post right here. Now let's get on with the other books I read in the last third of the year.

1) Sex and Vanity, Kevin Kwan

A couple of years ago, I read the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy and absolutely loved it. So when I saw that Kevin Kwan was coming out with a new book, that sounded as ridiculous and fancy as his previous works, I immediately wanted to read it. Safe to say I was very disappointed when I didn't like it nearly as much. This book is set in two time periods. We first find ourselves in Capri, following Lucie Churchill's trip for a friend's wedding that's punctuated by a very heated encounter with a young man named George Zao. And then it's five years later, and Lucie's fancy New York life is again turned upside down by him. My main problem was that I found the main character to be incredibly annoying and her character growth felt completely rushed like it was an afterthought instead of a big part of the book. I really enjoyed the parts in Capri, but once we were in New York I couldn't get behind the character's actions and didn't particularly care about most of them, or about the main relationship. I have a full review of this book, if you want more in-depth thoughts, that you can read here.

2) Felix Ever After, Kacen Callender

This book has been on my list for a while, but I only managed to pick it up this year. Felix Ever After follows a young trans boy named Felix, who's going through all the struggles of a typical high schooler: longing for love, applying to college and figuring out who he is. But his life gets much more complicated when someone in school starts sending him transphobic messages and exposing pictures of before he transitioned, along with his deadname. There begins a story of revenge but also friendship, self-discovery, identity and falling in love. I absolutely adored this book and it's one of those stories that, as soon as you read, you want every young person to get a chance to read it as well. A beautiful novel following a young black, transgender and queer boy, with incredible writing and loveable characters. This book was heartwarming and emotional, and I'm glad I finally got a chance to read it.

3) Our Violent Ends, Chloe Gong (These Violent Delights #2)

We then come to the one book (rather, the one duology) I haven't been able to shut up about this year. I read These Violent Delights in August and was lucky enough to get the eARC of the sequel through NetGalley, so I read it as soon as I could. These Violent Delights is a Romeo and Juliet retelling, following the heirs of two rival gangs in 1920's Shanghai. It's full of political intrigue, a fantasy twist that has a monster sweeping and terrorizing the city, and the best enemies-to-lovers I've ever read. Our Violent Ends did an amazing job concluding this series and it made me fall even more in love with this story and the characters. Chloe's writing is absolutely incredible and I can't wait to read everything she publishes next. I also have a full spoiler-free review of this book, and you can read it right here.

4) Bridge of Souls, Victoria Schwab* (Cassidy Blake #3)

I had a huge spooky TBR planned for October but, since that was when I was hit by this truck of a reading slump, I only managed to read Bridge of Souls. The Cassidy Blake series is a middle-grade following Cassidy, a twelve-year-old girl that, after a near-death experience, starts being able to walk in the Veil, the world between the living and the dead. I read the first two books in this series on Halloween 2020 and I loved bingeing them back to back, so I was super excited to read the third book this year. With every instalment, this story gets deeper and darker, which I loved. Schwab's writing is, as always, a favourite that makes me get fully immersed in the plot and truly care about all of the characters. I thought this was a perfect conclusion to the trilogy so far but still managed to end in a way that'll be easy to expand on, if Schwab ever decides to go back to these characters. The perfect Halloween read and I definitely see myself rereading this series if I'm looking for a quick and spooky read.

*Note on the author: Last year, Schwab announced that all of her books, regardless of age range, will now be published under the name V. E. Schwab. I've kept Victoria for this book as that's what it was originally published as, but I'm sure that with new reprints they'll change it to V. E. Schwab.

5) Ace of Spades, Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

This was one of my most anticipated books of 2021, a dark academia novel following Chiamaka and Devon, two students being blackmailed by an anonymous bully that goes by the name of Aces. This felt like a combination of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, two shows I loved in high school. The story, however, wasn't my favourite. I really liked the exploration of race and how that topic was handled, as well as the two main characters. But ultimately, the plot was a bit slow and I felt like there weren't enough twists or intrigue to keep me hooked. I really enjoyed the writing style though and will definitely read more of Faridah's works in the future.

6) Meet me in London, Georgia Toffolo (Meet Me #1)

I'd never heard of this book before picking it up, but I decided to buddy read it with an Instagram friend in an attempt to get out of my slump and get into the Holiday spirit. This is, obviously, set in London during the Holiday's, and it follows Victoria and Oliver after they meet at a bar and Oliver proposes that they should be fake engaged in order to appease his family's interfering in his personal life. This is very lighthearted and cute but still managed to weave in some deeper and heavier topics. I really liked the characters and the main couple. I listened to this on audiobook and I loved that it's narrated by the author. Overall a very heartwarming story and a nice read to conclude the year with.

That's it! As I said, I didn't read much in the last quarter of 2021, but I'm hoping that 2022 will be better. How many books did you read in the last few months of the year, and which one was your favourite? Let me know in the comments!




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