September Reading Round Up

I'm not sure about you, but September completely flew by for me! That might be partially because the last week of the month my family and I ended up moving to a new condo. (Long story and another blog post for another time.) But even before then, the whole month rushed by! 

Anyways - time to check in on what I read this month! Compared to others, I didn't read quite as much. I completed four books and I'm currently reading two.

Some notes on how I review:

I rate books on a 5 star scale. One being the lowest, five the highest. Most of the books you see me review will get at least a 3 star rating because I enjoyed it. Usually, if I'm not enjoying a book, I don't finish it, and therefore won't have much of a review. Then, I also have included trigger warnings for those who find those helpful. If there are any I have missed, please let me know. 

These are all of my personal opinions on each book. If you would like plot summaries, click on the title of the book and it will lead you to it's Goodreads page. 

Also, when you see my use of the word "trope," do not take it as a negative comment, particularly with romance books. It is simply a term to express different standards in the genre. (Ex. friends to lovers trope)

Arena by Holly Jennings

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  • Genre: Sci-Fi/Sports
  • Format: Library e-book
  • Rating: 3.5 Stars

I'm not sure what I was expecting with this book, but it definitely wasn't what I read! At first, I almost put the book down after only a few chapters, but I kept going. So, I definitely encourage others to do the same. Arena is an interesting mix where Hunger Games meets sports team story meets video games meet issue novel about drug abuse/recovery meets romance. The first two-thirds of the book I felt focused more on the drug abuse/recovery elements, then the last third focused in on the classic sports team story where you are rooting for them to win the championship game. It also featured a female Chinese-American protagonist and delved into Taoist philosophy, feminism, and racism. 

The thing is - I know nothing about sports, video games, drug abuse, or being Chinese-American. Therefore, I don't have room to comment on any of those topics. If anyone does have knowledge in these areas and has read this book, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

It was good and I'd be willing to read the next one. But, I'm also not rushing to find it either.

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy: sports; video games; Taoist philosophy; futuristic sci-fi; Enders Game or Ready Player One; hate-to-love romance trope
  • Trigger Warnings: Drug abuse/recovery; early in the book there is a scene where characters sleep together while under the influence of drugs and alcohol; sudden death; violence

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

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  • Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Rating: 3.5-.75 Stars

I adored the Wonder Woman movie, so I was excited for this new release! DC Comics commissioned several popular young adult authors to write novels about classic superheroes as teenagers. This is the first in the series, although, I believe each of the novels stands alone. 

This was a fun superhero adventure story. I liked seeing Diana as a teenager in Themiscyra and her relationship/role in Amazon society. It was also fun seeing her wander around modern-day NYC. I loved the positive female friendships and the Greek mythology as well. I've heard some people say there wasn't enough action for a superhero novel, but I didn't mind much since my eyes tend to glaze over when I read action sequences. 

I enjoyed this book, but I didn't love it the way I was hoping I would. I'm not entirely sure why since there wasn't anything particularly bad/wrong with the book or the writing. But I definitely recommend. 

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy: Wonder Woman; superheroes; feminism; diverse casts; Greek mythology
  • Trigger Warnings: mild violence; death

Gunmetal Magic by Illona Andrews

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  • Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
  • Format: Library Mass Market Paperback
  • Rating: 3.75 Stars

Gunmetal Magic is book 5.5 in the Kate Daniels series and is a novel which focuses on Kate's best friend, Andrea. This was another fun read full of shape-shifter courtship shenanigans, snark, magic, and action. The only thing is, it just made me miss reading about Kate and Curran. (Although they do have several appearances and there's a novella about them at the end of the book!) Still, a good read for fans of Kate Daniels.

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy: Kate Daniels; urban fantasy; paranormal romance; snark; action; on again off again couples
  • Trigger Warnings: violence; shaper-shifter courtship rituals/traditions/habits can appear to be more "aggressive" than others, while Andrews does a great job of showing when it's consensual, it can come off as possessive/unhealthy

Magic Rises by Illona Andrews

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  • Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
  • Format: Library Mass Market Paperback
  • Rating: 5 Stars

Then I was able to immediately dive into a full-on Kate Daniels book and it was perfect! This series is top-quality urban fantasy. The characters are interesting and complex, the world building and mythology are always well done and well researched, and the sarcasm is on point. Kate and Curran continue to be one of my OTPs. This book brought us away from Atlanta, so it was fun to see another part of the world and society. More complexities and depth were brought to Kate's family too which I found really interesting! The relationship drama was a bit eye-rolly, but since it was Kate and Curran I'll let it slide. 

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy: Kate Daniels; urban fantasy; romances that focus on a long-term relationship; snark; action; magic 
  • Trigger Warnings: jealousy in a relationship; emotional manipulation; violence

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas

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  • Genre: Young Adult (I'd argue that) Fantasy
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Rating: 5 Stars

I am a HUGE Sarah J Maas fan and the Throne of Glass series is one of my favorites, so this was one of my most highly anticipated books of 2017. 

Originally, this was supposed to be a novella, but then it turned into a full novel. Some people have wondered if they can skip this book. I say don't since there are plot points which will be very important to the final book coming out in 2018. 

That being said, I was also very nervous about it. The focus of this book was on Chaol's recovery from paralysis and Maas doesn't have the best reputation for her representation of marginalized groups. But, I thought this book was her most well-thought out and you can tell she really wanted to do well by the disability community. You can see my full (with spoilers) review on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2114999039?type=review#rating_134110326

Some people thought this book was slow and could have been cut down, which is valid, but I didn't mind. I find Maas' writing style so easy to read, that even her 700 page books fly by! 

Adult Content Warning: Sarah J Maas' books are marketed as young adult. Which, for the first couple books in the Throne of Glass series I'd say is accurate. However, as the books go on and the characters get older (none of them are teenagers by the time we get to book four) the content also becomes more mature. I say at the very latest by the time we get to book five (Empire of Storms) the books are no longer young adult. I would argue her other series, A Court of Thorns and Roses was never YA, even if it was marketed as such. Not that teenagers can't read them, that's up to them and their parents. But, the romance scenes become much more explicit. Although, in this book it's much tamer than in some of her others.

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy: epic fantasy; hate-to-love trope; Sarah J Maas; fae lore
  • Trigger Warnings: paralysis; violence; loss of a sibling; spiders; flashbacks to child abuse

Currently Reading

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

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  • Genre: Dark Fantasy
  • Format: Hardcover

I was a huge fan of the first book in this series, Nevernight, so this was another one of my most anticipated of 2017. It takes place several months after the events of the first book and I'm really enjoying it so far! It's a bit slow, but I remember that I felt Nevernight was as well at first. 

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy: assassins; dark fantasy; gladiators;
  • Trigger Warnings: can I say the whole book is a trigger warning?; graphic violence; graphic sex scenes; slavery; abuse

The Diviners by Libba Bray

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  • Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
  • Format: Audiobook

This book has been on my "to be read" list for literally years. I tried to read it last year but never finished, but a friend told me the audiobook was excellent so I'm trying it that way this time around. Everyone I've talked to has said this book is amazing, even if it's slow at first, and it seems right up my alley. I've enjoyed other books by Libba Bray so I'm excited to finally finish this one and hopefully continue with the other books in the series!

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy: paranormal; ghost stories; 1920s
  • Trigger Warnings: ghosts; overall creepy feel

What did you read this month?

BooksEmily HornburgBooks