Monthly Wrap-Up: September 2020

Hi everyone! Welcome to my September monthly wrap-up post. I am sure these will evolve over time, but for now I’ll include Book Coven book club, fave books you can buy now, books to look out for and books I want to read soon. September has been an average month of reading. There have been some greats and some misses. I also had a nasty cold for about a week which sucked a lot!

Book Club

Every month the mods of the Book Coven get us to suggest books that make up the book club bracket. We then vote all the way through to a final, and that’s the book we read together over the course of 3 weeks. Then the amazing Paragraphs and Pages asks us some super insightful questions and off we go.

This month we read The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant. This is an action packed story with no less than 3 love interests! Even better, the main character Nina does not care. She’s determined to get her sister back – and punish her enemies for all of their wrongs. The book is described as Les Mis x The Jungle Book, but I can’t comment on how accurate that is having never seen Les Mis. If you’re looking for a dark, action packed YA story then this will be the book for you. You can see my review here.

Next month we will be reading two books because we couldn’t decide between them! Looking forward to reading A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik and re-reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab.

Favourites

On to my favourite books this month that you can pick up in stores right now. There were a few standouts this month – one of them being A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson. It is set in the UK – with the central character Pip completing her final year of A-levels and along with it the EPQ (an extended project that usually forms part of a gifted and talented scheme). Pip is a really determined, bookish character that definitely knows how to stand up for what she thinks is right. This is an excellent YA thriller / murder mystery and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. You can see my review here.

I also finished Robin LaFevers’ His Fair Assassin series by reading the additional duology Courting Darkness and Igniting Darkness. I’m not sure I enjoyed them as much as the original trilogy but they were no doubt 5 star-worthy reads in my mind. This is a story about female assassins who have all had rough childhoods but get their revenge. Robin LaFevers writes such powerful protagonists – you can find my reviews here and here. I read them as part of the #ConquerAChonker challenge and I’m so glad I finished them!

To wrap up this section – another favourite was my read of an eARC of Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. This is honestly such a wonderful YA book that is out in the world right now! It has magic, demons and has a lot of King Arthur mythology. It should be right at the top of your to be read because it has amazing messages and an absolutely wild ending. You can read my review here, but my friend Janel summed up how I felt about it even better over on their blog here.

Books to Look Out For

I had the pleasure of reading many amazing eARCs from NetGalley this month. I’ve already mentioned Legendborn but there have been many more.

One of the best eARCs I read was Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly. It’s released in the UK on 20th October – and it’s absolutely brilliant! Jennifer Donnelly is the queen of feminist fairy-tale retellings. First she wrote Stepsister set in the world of Cinderella, and this time it’s the world of Snow White that she explores. Here is my review, hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.

Another book I enjoyed was Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco. This one releases on October 22nd, and is a super story rooted in a more traditional approach to witchcraft. It is set around a restaurant in Sicily – the food descriptions are divine and this is sure to make you hungry. I wish the romance was a bit more prominent in the story, but I am sure it will come through even more in the next book in the series!

For a short book, The Deep Blue Between by Ayesha Harruna Attah sure does pack in a lot. This one follows two sisters, Hassana and Husseina, who are separated when their home village is raided. The two pursue separate paths in Brazil and on The Gold Coast – but will they ever be re-united? Loved how this book captured the complicated relationship between sisters, it’s a really emotional story that releases October 15th.

Next month?

October is going to be a wild month of reading for me! Book Coven has made a Disney inspired bingo full of awesome prompts – but I’m probably going to skip and do some non-prompt based reading for the time being.

You can see the books of my fall to be read on my Top Ten Tuesday post. October is my Leigh Bardugo month so catch my re-reading Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom, King of Scars and Ninth House, along with The Lives of Saints which is also releasing in October!

New purchases include The Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin, and Dare to Lead by Brene Brown. Can’t wait to read these either!

That’s all from me, hope you enjoyed this book and also had a great month of reading. Looking forward to seeing what everybody has been up to. Have you read any of the books mentioned in this post? What did you think?

Top Ten Tuesday (Books for My Younger Self)

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This is my first Top 10 Tuesday post, and this week the theme is Book for My Younger Self  (These could be books you wish you had read as a child, books younger you could have really learned something from, books that meshed with your hobbies/interests, books that could have helped you go through events/changes in your life, etc.)

1) Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu. This is such a great, feminist book for teens that I wish I had when I was growing up. It’s about a girl called Vivian who is sick of her sexist football loving school who tries to change things. Give this book to angry girls and women. It’s wonderful and profound.

2) Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen. There definitely weren’t many YA books with a comfortable gay protagonist when I was growing up. This one felt particularly real to me with it’s exploration of growing pains and working out who you are and who you want to be, outgrowing people you’ve known your whole lives etc.

3) You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson. Another f/f romance about two girls competing for the same scholarship – I wish this one had been around when I was in high school. Liz Lighty is such a great role model for girls who have big dreams doing everything they can to achieve them. I love it a lot!

4) Loveless by Alice Oseman. This one would have been great to have whilst I was at university. There is such a market gap for books set at British universities and it would have been great to read about someone who struggled with the transition too. Georgia is also asexual which is also great rep that didn’t exist when I was in my teens.

5) Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. Alice making this list again because she really does understand being a teenager. This one came out in 2016 when I was in my final year of university – but I wish it had been out 4 years earlier when I was doing my A-levels and making decisions that would affect the rest of my life. It is a very real portrayal of academic pressure, and I think it would have done me good to have it on my shelves back then.

6) Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez. This is the YA book about girls playing football that I never knew I wanted! It gave me so much nostalgia for when I was really into the sport, watching the Champions League with my Grandad before it moved off regular TV. The main character Camila is an excellent role model, particularly when it came to handling her romance with childhood best friend Diego. You can read my review here.

7) Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. I finished this one recently and it absolutely makes this list. It contains all the YA fantasy tropes that I love but is elevated by the way it handles Black history in America. It slaps in the best of ways and I highly recommend it. You can read my review right here.

8) Kicking Off by Eve Ainsworth. Another relatively recent read, this is a great book for younger audiences – again, about football. I would have a loved a story like this when I was pre-teen, especially because it has great female role models for the main character. Hettie.

9) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This would have been an education for clueless teenage me. When Starr’s friend is shot by a police officer right in front of her after doing nothing wrong, all her worst nightmares happen right before her eyes. This book should be taught in schools to educate on the pain that Black people experience every day. One of the best books of all time, no doubt.

10). I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest. I’ve always been fascinated by dance and this one would have really appealed to me as a teen, as it does now. Chloe’s Mum forbids her to apply to a dance conservatory but she does so anyway. It has some really important lessons about going after your dreams and failure and I highly recommend it.

This was a really interesting Top Ten Tuesday to think about. Have you read any of the books above? Link me your Top Ten post in the comments!

ARC Review: Legendborn

This book gave me so many nostalgic feelings of 2008/9. It takes a familiar premise and elevates to another level – it is unique in it’s representation of fantasy in YA. The magic system is interesting, but it also explores Black history in a way I wasn’t expecting. It is honest, full of characters that quench curiosity and Tracy Deonn absolutely knows how to tell a story. Legendborn is not one to miss, and I see it being an awesome TV series in the future if handled correctly.

Star rating: 5 stars

Bree Matthews loses her mother at only 16 years of age. Right before she dies, they fought over Bree’s acceptance to an Early College program in Carolina. Still grieving, Bree moves into dorms with her best friend Alice, and they begin their life of independence. While Alice settles into her academics, Bree is drawn into a secret magical society that is somehow connected to her mother. Built on legacy, she is an outsider who knows too much to ignore.

The magic system is routed in the legend of King Arthur, with family lines driving the future of the society. Nick and Selwyn are Bree’s main companions throughout the book. Nick is set to be the next leader but he doesn’t want to be. Selwyn is a Kingsmage (a Merlin) set to serve Nick. I don’t want to detail the structure of the society too much because of spoilers, but it makes for a great competition and interesting politics.

What elevates this book is its discussions of African American history and slavery, particularly the way it handles the magic system. I loved the flashbacks, the family dynamics. Bree’s personality also works so well with her story, I honestly couldn’t find out what happens fast enough.

Fast paced with a great balance between action and detail, Legendborn is absolutely a book to look out for in the future. I can’t wait for the sequel, and can’t wait to add the final copy of this book to my shelves. Do you think you will read Legendborn? I have a feeling you won’t be disappointed. Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Children’s UK for the early copy.

WWW Wednesday (2nd September 2020)

Hi friends, it’s time for WWW Wednesday again. So, what’s it about? This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived on Taking on a World of Words. Here are my answers to the three Ws!

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. I am loving the premise, loving the execution. It gives me a strong feeling of nostalgia for YA of the past whilst bringing characters with loads of depth and important messages of colonialism and race. This book is legendary! It builds on King Arthur and makes it contemporary with some cool magic systems and a college setting. Definitely pick it up when it releases in the UK on 1st October. I can’t wait to see how it ends.

What did you recently finish reading?

The last book I finished is The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim. It follows a mother daughter Korean and Korean-American pair through flashbacks and present times in a murder mystery and plot full of family secrets. It’s wonderfully executed and made me feel so much for the characters. I did guess the way things would work out but it didn’t take away from the book at all. Margot learns so much about her mother than she never new and it broke my heart to know that they would never have a close relationship. The flashbacks into Mina’s life are the best bit of the book in my opinion as she struggles with moving to America on her own with the grief of losing a husband and daughter. So good, I cried.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I think next I’m going with Chasing the Stars by Malorie Blackman. It’s a sci-fi that I don’t know much about – but I love Malorie’s Noughts and Crosses series and standalone contemporary Boys Don’t Cry. She’s honestly an amazing children’s and YA author who I read extensively from my school library as a teen. If you haven’t ever read a Malorie book you should absolutely pick one up! Also I love the cover of this one.

What do you think of these choices? I am so excited to make more progress on my to be read.