Monday, 5 September 2016

August 2016 - Reading Wrap Up

August has been a fantastic reading month for me as I managed to read seventeen books, which is more than double what I read in July. I am a very happy bunny. Plenty of four star ratings this month and two five star ratings. So lets just move on to the books.

A group of mercenaries, the Rat Queens are a local annoyance. They get given a bogus quest which was really an assassination attempt and the story goes on from there. It wasn't my cup of tea; mostly about killing things, drugs, partying and getting laid. I found it kind of boring and the characters were just lads with boobs. Disappointing and won't be continuing on with the series.

★ - Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan

A lacklustre mystery featuring a girl who is abducted at the beginning of the book. The book then shifts to the main character, Margot. She is an agony aunt for the 'Dear Amy' column in a local magazine when she starts to receive mysterious letters from a girl who was abducted many years beforehand. Does this somehow relate to the girl who has recently gone missing? Margot's POV was insufferable and the twist was boring. Not too impressed.

★ - Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu

The strangest comic I have read in a long time. The art is stunning but the story is convoluted and incredibly hard to follow. It is a dark fantasy set in an alternate world based on Asia with steampunk elements. Arcanics and humans are at war. The main character, Maika is an arcanic out for revenge. I had no idea what was going on because the story is all over the place. I really didn't like the massive info dump pages at the end. Unfortunately, not for me.

★ - The Wolf Road by Beth Revis

Set is a post-apocalyptic world, civilization has been set back hundreds of years giving the tone of the book a western vibe. The story follows Elka who was abandoned by her parents when young and has been brought up by a shady individual known as Trapper. Elka see his face on a wanted poster for murder one day, she panics and flees in the hope of finding her parents. I really liked Elka's voice, her first person perspective was written colloquially. The plot was slow but thrilling and quite dark in places. Its perfect for readers who like slow character driven plots. 

The second book in the Cormoran Strike series. I did not like the mystery in this one as much as the first. It focuses on the politics of the writer and publisher world which I found quite dull at times. There was a lot of repetition about Strike's painful leg, football matches and pubs which felt extremely overdone. Overall though, I really liked the evolving relationship between Strike and Robin and am hoping the third book is better.

An enjoyable read, a pregnant teen takes a road trip in the UK with her great aunt who has dementia. Surprisingly heavier than I expected, there are plenty of hard hitting topics. Funny in places, it was just a pretty average read for me, it was enjoyable but lacked something special.

The second book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. This book focuses on Rhage's budding romance with unremarkable human Mary. I hated the romance in this one but there was enough other things going on that I still really liked this book. The ending just sucked and this is my least favourite book in the series so far.

Nina is 17 and drinks a bit too much, one night she is assaulted in a nightclub but can't remember exactly what happened. The teen binge drinking culture is examined here through Nina's first person narrative. I really enjoyed this book and could not put it down. Trigger warnings for sexual assault, alcohol abuse and abusive relationships. Would make a great book club read.

A really original comic focusing on Tony Chu, a FDA agent and cibopath extraordinaire. A cibopath is somebody that gets psychic flashes from eating things, and Chu often has to use his gift at crime scenes. Really gross in places, its not something to be read whilst eating if you are easily put off your food. I really enjoyed this volume and looking forward to continuing the series.

Nina Parr is 26 and living an underwhelming life in London. Her father died mysteriously abroad when she was just a baby and the story is essentially about Nina discovering her heritage and learning about her father. I instantly related to Nina and I enjoyed discovering her roots with her. There is a dual narrative told in flashback as new characters related to Nina emerge. Butterflies were a central theme to the story and I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

I absolutely loved the fascinating story of Chris McCandless. For those who aren't aware, Chris renounced money, education and his family to live as a tramp on the road in the 90s. He was found deceased in an old bus on an Alaskan trail. Jon Krakauer did a fantastic job presenting a balanced view of Chris McCandless's personality and his motivations in choosing the life he did. Riveting from start to finish, I cannot recommend this enough.

 - The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Told in the fairytale tradition, this is the story of Mabel and Jack - a lonely elderly couple homesteading in the Alaskan wilderness in 1920. After building a child out of snow one winter, they find a real child living alone in the wilderness. Is she an abandoned child or a figment of their imagination? I really enjoyed reading the slowly unfolding story and it would be the perfect read in winter.

 - Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

A beautiful book following privileged ten year old Winnie Foster, as she inadvertently stumbles upon Jesse Tuck on her family's land drinking from a mysterious spring. Jesse panics and whisks away Winnie to spend some time with his immortal family, as they try to convince her to keep the spring a secret. There are so many issues to ponder in this book and to inspire philosophical discussion. A brilliant children's book.

★ - The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

A humorous look at the madness industry through the eyes of journalist, Jon Ronson. Primarily focusing on investigating psychopathy and how people are labelled with a mental disorder, it was a fascinating read from start to finish. The descriptions of Ronson's encounters with psychopaths just chilled me to the core.  A must read for those interested in psychology and psychopathy.

★ - Dark Lover by J. R Ward

The first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. This was a re-read for me and I still enjoyed it as much as I ever did. Its a series about vampire warriors who fight creepy lessers who are out to hunt them all to extinction. Primarily a romance, it is very cringeworthy in parts and isn't particularly well written. I don't care about any of that though as this is a guilty pleasure series for me. 
One of my new favourites, Illuminae exceeded my expectations. Told as a classified file, the story is told through interview transcripts, surveillence reports, full page artwork, journal entries etc. I really loved the unique format and the story was just so captivating. It is basically about a refugee fleet who have escaped an attack on their mining colony. They are being chased by their attackers whilst they are desperately trying to reach the nearest space station. Science-fiction meets thriller, romance and mystery. Absolutely brilliant.

I feel like I am the last person on earth to discover the original Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. What a treat reading this book was. I am very familiar with Holmes due to the many TV and film adaptations but Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock was a little different to what I was expecting. Loved the departure to frontier America to take a look at the FLDS church. It is a really accessible classic to read and the mystery was masterfully done. 

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