It’s been a while since I’ve done a wrap up post like this one, but I’ve had a particularly rubbish reading month and want to give myself a bit of a kick up the butt. I must admit, that I’m usually much less likely to rocket through my reading lists in the summer months, unless I’m on holiday abroad, as I find that I read much more quickly when I’m snuggled up in a blanket with a hot choccie and a pile of cushions – not really a weather appropriate reading environment. What I Read in August 2020 is absolutely minimal compared to May, June and July, it has to be said, but I’m slowly but surely getting back into my stride and finishing up with some of the books on my reading list.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
I absolutely adore fairytales, particularly Beauty and the Beast. When I heard that there was a Beauty and the Beast retelling written that everyone was raving about, I was naturally skeptical. Surely it can’t be as good as everyone says? How wrong I was.
I was wrong. They were right. A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer was absolutely fantastic and has completely changed my perception of fairytale retellings. The story has a dual perspective – we are introduced to the two main characters, Rhen and Harper. Rhen is the crown Prince of Emberfall, a fairytale world in a different land to the land we ourselves, and our co-protagonist Harper, are used to. However, his life isn’t the fairytale life you would expect – he is cursed and has been for a long, long time – and the curse is about to reset for the last possible time. Harper lives in Washington DC – her brother is doing some seriously shifty things to keep her family afloat and her mother is critically ill with cancer. Whilst out in DC with her brother on a ‘job,’ she witnesses a man attacking a woman, and intercepts. Instead, it is her who is captured and whisked off to Emberfell – taken to try and break the curse on Rhen.
This book is nothing short of wonderful – I loved all of the characters, I loved how the perspectives switched throughout and we’re able to see the story from different perspectives. I flew through the book in a couple of sittings – it wasn’t heavy and dense fantasy, which while not always a good thing was great for a book like this one. I particularly loved Grey and I’m really interested on following his story in the sequel, A Heart So Fierce and Broken. A masterpiece.
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare was definitely one of my favourites when I was in my late teens – it was probably the first ‘full’ fantasy series that I read and, in spite of the issues that there are with the series, I absolutely loved it. I treated myself to a hardcover collection of all of the books – and I got it for an absolute steal, considering how much they’re sold for individually. I read City of Bones in June and finally got a copy of City of Ashes after months of searching to read in August.
I love Cassandra Clare’s books – they’re intriguing, character driven and their plots are just really enthralling. City of Ashes is absolutely no exception – I love how Simon starts to become more of a primary character rather than the secondary character he portrayed in City of Bones and I love the feeling of turmoil that Clary feels concerning the revelation about her and Jace. An absolutely fantastic follow up to a great first book in the series.
Mythos by Stephen Fry
I absolutely love Greek Mythology – there was a time when I was a wee-one, that I did absolutely nothing but read books about the Greek Gods. One of my favourite things to teach when I was a teacher was Greek Mythology and some of the more popular myths – so learning more and more about the stories is always on my to-do list. I received a copy of Mythos by Stephen Fry from Jackie in an act of kindness book exchange and this month, I finally got around to finishing it. I borrowed the book from the library to use alongside the paperback copy of the book and this was definitely an excellent way of reading it.
The book is beautifully written by Stephen Fry, hilarious at times and really does allow you to delve even deeper into the myths. I think it’s important to view the book not as one story, but as a collection of short tales, as there is an absolute abundance of characters and I imagine it would get incredibly confusing if you tried to remember every last detail. It’s a great book to dip in and out of, as well as use as a reference to go back to – there’s a handy glossary at the back, advising when each character is discussed.
I absolutely adored listening to this – I’ve borrowed his other book on Greek Mythology, Heroes, from the audiobook library so I’ll be listening to that one in September as well!
The Wrong Move by Jennifer Savin
It’s been a while since I read a thriller – I tend to read more thrillers and psychological thrillers in the autumn and the winter months, I find they’re definitely more apt and creepy in these seasons. That said, I was on the lookout for an audiobook to listen to whilst I worked and my library had just acquired a copy of The Wrong Move by Jennifer Savin – so I reserved my copy and got stuck straight into it.
The Wrong Move by Jennifer Savin focuses on Jessie, a young girl who has recently escaped an abusive relationship and relocated to Brighton. She signs up to a flatshare after weeks of searching for the perfect place to live, and everything seems hunky dory – one of the girls is absolutely lovely, the other is barely there and the male in the houseshare keeps himself to himself. She’s content with the choice she’s made and really feels as though she can start to relax and enjoy her new livelihood. Then, of course, weird things start to happen. She receives anonymous texts and emails, things start to go missing and then… she’s attacked. She’s sure her ex-boyfriend is to blame for it all, but is there something much more sinister going on?
I enjoyed this book, don’t get me wrong – I just didn’t really get that ‘feeling’ I normally get when I read a thriller that I’m absolutely hooked on. The story itself had serious promise, but the ‘twist’ was quite predictable and I guessed early on what was going to happen. It was a very quick read though and got me through a couple of afternoons of work, at the very least!
Queen Bee by Jane Fallon
I’ve read quite a few Jane Fallon books over the years – I was on the Blog Tour for Tell Me A Secret and I also reviewed My Sweet Revenge a good few years ago too. I love a good revenge contemporary and lets be honest, Jane Fallon is the queen of them! Queen Bee follows on with that theme. Our main character, Laura, is in the processing of getting divorced from her husband, moves to a garage apartment in a complex occupied by the filthy rich. She tries to settle herself into this unusual environment and starts to make friends with the residents – until one day, everything feels a little off. People are avoiding her eye or blanking her completely and she doesn’t understand why. It isn’t long before she discovers that one of the residents, Stella, the Queen Bee, has told her cronies that Laura is after her fiance – and with the wedding of the century only a few months away, Stella has absolutely no qualms with pushing Laura out of the circle. Laura is determined to find out exactly what Al, Stella’s fiance, is hiding – and exactly why she is being used as the scapegoat to cover it up.
I’ll be writing a full review of this one in the next week and sharing it on here – so I’ll leave all of my thoughts for now, but I will say that it was a fantastic read that had laughing and feeling enraged. A definite recommendation if you’re a fan of contemporary and general fiction!
Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King
Another audiobook choice for work! Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King is a very short novel – only 4 hours long – but I must admit it took me a good while to get through it. I’ve never watched Shawshank Redemption but I always like to read the books before I watch film adaptations, so I’m using that as my excuse here.
Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption is a short story – one of four in a novella collection – and is a great tale of redemption and revenge. Enjoyable, but not as good as I expected it to be, considering the massive hype.
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Is there anything better than an enemies to lovers contemporary romance? I’m really beginning to think that there isn’t. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne is one that only came onto my radar recently, which is crazy really because it was published in 2016. The story centres on Lucy, or Lucinda, a young woman who works at a publishing company. She is small, she’s cute and she absolutely hates her co-worker, Joshua Templeman. It’s fair to say that Joshua feels exactly the same way – when they met for the first time, on the day of their company’s merger, he looked her up and down and then simply looked away, out of the window. Not the first impression Lucy had hoped for.
When a position just below the CEO becomes available, Lucy and Joshua are the two most qualified for the role. They make a pact – whoever doesn’t get the role, has to resign. They find themselves forced together time and time again, until it gets to the point where they begin to enjoy one another’s company. Could it be that the emotion they feel isn’t hate, after all?
I absolutely loved this story – it’s easily one of the best books I read in August, and one of my favourites of 2020 so far. I loved the characters and the roles they played, I loved how their relationship slowly unraveled and developed as the story went on and I loved the relationship that blossomed as a result of it. An absolute delight of a story. I’ve heard it’ll be made into a Hulu film at some point and if that’s the case, I am SO ready.
The Cows by Dawn O’Porter
The Cows by Dawn O’Porter is one that a friend of mine from school recommended way too long ago. I noticed that it was a free book on Amazon Prime Books a few weeks back and thought it was about time I downloaded it and gave it a go – it was free, it’d be daft not to, right?
The Cows focuses on three women; one, a global blogging session; two, a young mother who makes a wildly insane public sexual decision and three, a young woman who’s struggling to keep it all together. Cam, Tara and Stella are wildly different women but, weirdly, are all so similar. I’d heard such good things about this book, so much so I was almost determined to enjoy this book. Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t awful. It was quite enjoyable in parts and humorous throughout -it was just lacking somewhat and the ending was a little bit anti-climatic, although it tried to go off with a bang.
What did you read during the month of August? Let me know!