August Reading Round-Up

This is just a quick post of the books I read in August, starting with my least favorite and ending with my favorite and what I'm currently reading. Let me know what you read recently and if you've read or are interested in any of these!

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 is a standard category)

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

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  • Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
  • Rating: 3 Stars
  • Format I Read: ebook

The last few months, I had an itch for Shadowhunter books by Cassandra Clare, and decided to give them all a re-read in publication order. I don't keep it a secret that I enjoy The Infernal Devices trilogy more than the original The Mortal Instruments series. City of Lost Souls is the fifth book of the series and... it's okay. My biggest issue is that I just don't enjoy Clary and Jace, who are the main couple we follow in the series. The other side characters such as Magnus, Simon, Alec, and Isabelle? I'm all about them! If I could skip all of the Clary/Jace sections, that would be awesome!

  • You'll like this book/series if you also enjoy:  Lots of romance story lines to follow, angels/demons/magic, the Shadowhunters TV show, M/M relationships (Magnus and Alec FOREVER), adventure, multiple points of view

Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N Holmberg

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  • Genre: Fantasy (could be young adult, but don't quote me on that)
  • Rating: 3 Stars
  • The Format I Read: ebook

I'll be honest, I've been slightly disappointed with Holmberg's stand alone books. I read her Paper Magician trilogy and FELL IN LOVE. (And it's going to be a quartet in 2018!) Naturally, I picked up her other books. Of the two I've read, both have fallen flat for me. I really liked the concept of this book with how she can put magic into her baked goods, the mysterious romance, etc. But, most of the book I was confused and couldn't understand what was going on, and it seemed like the characters felt the same way. The ending left me scratching my head going "huh?"

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy:  books about food, magic, clean romance, new mytholgies
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  • Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
  • Rating: 3.5 Stars
  • The Format I Read: ebook

I binge read this trilogy in two days, and they all kind of run together in my mind as one big story - thus my lumping them all into one. I'd had Just One Day sitting on my iPad for literally years and decided I needed to just get it done. Most of the book was enjoyable, but not remarkable. Then, the ending came and I just HAD TO KNOW what happened next! Then, I quickly learned that the second book is basically the same thing as the first, only from the point of view of the guy and ends in the same place as the first. It was interesting, but not great, and I skimmed most of that book so I could get to the third novella, which gives us what happens next. I'd say, if you can read all three right after one another, it's a fun read. If you have to wait a long period of time between books though, I'd say it's not quite worth the wait. 

  • You'll like this book/trilogy if you also enjoy: The If I Stay book (by the same author) and movie, books about traveling, coming of age, insta-love romance, "bad boys" turned good
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  • Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy/Time Travel
  • Rating: 3.5 Stars
  • The Format I Read: Paperback

I have mixed feelings about this one. I love the writing style, the characters, and the concept. It's time travel without getting too "wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey" so it's easy to follow, and I really loved the dual perspective. Particularly the sections which took place in the past! However, I wasn't a huge fan of the ending. I understood why she went the direction she did, and it made sense. But I was also like "Really? That's the direction you're going with this? Okay..." It wasn't bad, but I think she could have done more to make it more satisfying. I also felt it had a bit of a "white man savior" vibe to it on occasion. 

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy:  time travel, American Civil War history, social justice, love triangles, romance, stories about family, magical realism 
  • Trigger Warnings: Depictions of violence against slaves

Plus One by Brighton Walsh

Does the guy on the cover look like Ted Mosby to anyone else? But don't let that stop you - the description of him in the book is nothing like this. 

Does the guy on the cover look like Ted Mosby to anyone else? But don't let that stop you - the description of him in the book is nothing like this. 

  • Genre: Contemporary Romance
  • Rating: 4 Stars
  • The Format I Read: ebook

This novella was really fun! My biggest complaint is that it wasn't a full novel. I would have loved to see these characters and their story-line fleshed out a bit more, and not crammed into a novella. 

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy:  rom-com movies, sexy times, the "friends to lovers" trope

Caged in Winter by Brighton Walsh

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  • Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
  • Rating: 4 Stars
  • The Format I Read:  ebook

I also had a lot of fun with this book! I thought the characters were great and I loved their love story. The hero was a little too "I need to protect my woman" for my taste, but it didn't ruin my enjoyment of the book. 

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy: sexy times, independent woman trope, guy with tattoos trope, 

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas

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  • Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
  • Rating: 4.5 Stars
  • The Format I Read: Hardcover

I am a very open Sarah J Maas trash fan. I can't get enough of her books! This is a re-read of the fourth book in her Throne of Glass series in preparation for the release of book six, Tower of Dawn which takes place immediately after book four, and during book five. The first time I read Queen of Shadows I was disappointed. Now, this being my third time around with it, I appreciate everything so much more and see the story-line more clearly. 

  • You'll like this book/series if you also enjoy: Epic fantasy, fae lore, girl power, assassins, romance, multiple points of view
  • Trigger Warnings: Violence, and there is a character who is a courtesan. No sexual/physical/emotional abuse is "on screen" but is implied or referred to. 

The Savage Dawn by Melissa Grey

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  • Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
  • Rating: 5 Stars
  • The Format I Read:  Hardcover

This is the final book in the Girl At Midnight trilogy and I am so sad it is over! I truly loved these characters, the story, the world, the magic, EVERYTHING. The final book definitely gave room for more, so I'm hoping Grey writes a spin-off series or at least a novella as an epilogue. There is so much more to be said!

  • You'll like this book/trilogy if you also enjoy:   the Shadowhunter books and TV show, fantasy, dragons, multiple romance story lines, girl power, own voices

Currently Reading:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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  • Genre: Historical Fantasy
  •  The Format I'm Reading:  Audiobook

This is one of my favorite books of all time! I re-read it at least once a year, and each time it's just as wonderful as the last. I've been listening to the audio book narrated by Jim Dayle (he also narrates the Harry Potter books) and he's one of my favorite narrators! If you haven't read this book yet, what are you waiting for?

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy:  Movies such as The Illusionist or The Prestige, historical fantasy, romance, fairy tales, the circus, a "dreamlike" writing style
  • Trigger Warnings: Child abuse in the early chapters

The Castle of Kings by Oliver Potzsch

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  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • The Format I'm Reading: Hardcover

I just started this book earlier this week for some personal research. I'm not very far, but it's good! From the description on the inside cover, this book could also have a hint of fantasy. But I'm not quite sure yet. I'm enjoying the glimpse into Germany in the 1500s, and his writing style is very readable and not as dense as I had imagined it would be, in spite of the book's length. 

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy:  Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet, Elizabeth Chadwick books, history, forbidden romance, animal sidekicks
  • Trigger Warning: there is an attempted rape pretty early on, and an execution scene in the first chapter

Arena by Holly Jennings

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  • Genre: Futuristic Sci-Fi
  • The Format I'm Reading: ebook

I saw this book while browsing Barnes and Noble the other day, and when I needed something quick to read in an e-book format, it was available from my library to download so I did right away! It's a very interesting concept where we have The Hunger Games meets video games meets the world of professional sports with a Chinese American young woman as our lead. Then... it took a problematic turn early on, which I wasn't comfortable with and I almost wanted to put it down. Then, it took another turn which made me more intrigued, and as the book has gone on, I've learned this is actually a book focusing on addiction and recovery. Yes, it's a sci-fi adventure where video games and virtual reality are now as big as the Superbowl. There's action and adventure and romance as promised in the description. But, the real heart of the story (so far) is the addiction and recovery plot line.

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy: The Hunger GamesReady Player One, video games, futuristic settings, hate to love trope, issue books, a diverse cast, Taoist philosophy 
  • Trigger Warnings: In the first few chapters there is a scene where two characters sleep together after being intoxicated, depictions of drug use, violent virtual reality scenes
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