September Wrap Up, Pt. 1

I’ve entered into a bit of a reading slump, I think, although I suppose that could just be that I was sick for several days. It could also be though that I’ve made myself read books outside of my favorite genres this month, which take me longer and make me less excited to pick up the book. With that said, let’s jump into the books I’ve read so far this month!

1. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

One of my favorite booktubers is BooksandLala and she adores this series and it’s in the works of being adapted into a TV show. This led to her making a video about it where she kept things spoiler free, but warned us that we need to read the books because future installments won’t be spoiler free. This provided me the kick I needed to get my butt in gear and actually open this book that’s been hanging out on my Kindle for a while now and oh boy, am I glad I did!

This series has a sort of odd concept because the synopsis talks about Blue not being able to kiss her true love because when she does, he’ll die, but that’s… Not really at all the plot of the book? Basically, The Raven Boys is about four boys who are close friends and Blue, the daughter of a psychic who amplifies psychic energy. On a particular night that makes it so that the people who are going to die in the next year appear in the graveyard (idk honestly, I was confused at this part), Blue goes to the graveyard and for the first time, she sees someone. That someone is Gansey. The fact that she’s seeing him on THE NIGHT means that Gansey is going to die in the next year. Meanwhile, Gansey is on a quest to find a long-dead Welsh King and when he, Adam, Noah, and Ronan eventually team up with Blue, the hunt is on for real.

I loved this book for a multitude of reasons, basically all of which center around the friendships and relationships between the characters. I love all of them and think that they are all distinct and interact in unique ways, which I appreciate. This includes not only Blue and the boys, but also Blue’s mom, Maura, and the other women of 300 Fox Way. As soon as I finished this book, I immediately downloaded the sequel, beyond anxious to continue.

2. Modern Romance by Aziz Anzari

If you haven’t heard that this book is not a celebrity memoir, allow me to warn you: THIS IS NOT A CELEBRITY MEMOIR. Rather, this is a sociological study told by Aziz in a way that combines comedy and research, making it one of the most interesting non-fiction sociological studies I’ve ever read. If you’re pointing out that I have 12 books in my Goodreads Non-Fiction shelf, I will have you know I’ve read at least five others but haven’t added them to Goodreads. So hah. Clearly I know what I’m talking about.

Seriously though, I enjoyed listening to the audiobook of Modern Romance, but if I had been reading it for real, I’m not sure I would have made it through. I found the subject matter (basically an examination of how relationships form and last today) extremely interesting, but also this book started making me analyze how I text people in a way that my already over analytical self really did not need. Seriously, listening to the psychology behind why playing texting games works has made me start playing games I never have before and I hate it. Make it stop.

So although I enjoyed it, I wasn’t in love with it, and therefore I gave this book a four out of five stars.

3. The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

I already posted a full review of this book, which you should see a link to over on the side, but briefly, this book is a mystery/thriller about a missing girl, who would be eight years old, and the woman trying to find her, Naomi. Naomi was herself a missing child, but she doesn’t remember her past. The writing style feels kind of like reading a fairytale, despite the horrors (or because of?) you’re reading about. I’m kind of hoping that there’s going to be a sequel because I feel like the end, while standing on it’s own, does have a few unanswered questions that I think could be answered well in a second book. I enjoyed this book, but I’m also utterly terrified of thrillers, so ultimately I think I rated this book a four out of five stars.

4. Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

This book took me a while to get fully invested in, kind of like Dumplin’, and then I was fully invested and stayed up past 2 am even though I had to be at the airport at 6. I’ve posted a full review of Ramona Blue, which you should be able to find linked on the side as well. Long story short though, this book is about Ramona Blue, a teenage girl who survived Katrina and lives with her dad, her pregnant sister, and her sister’s boyfriend in a small trailer. Ramona is also a lesbian, only once she reconnects with her childhood friend Freddy, she realizes that maybe she isn’t a lesbian after all. The exploration and evolution of her sexual identity felt respectfully handled, (Julie Murphy is bisexual) but I’m not sure Ramona ever settles on a label for it. This book is mostly about family and friends and the way Ramona feels stuck in this small town in Mississippi, like she’s trapped because (despite being younger) she has to take care of her sister. I really loved this book and for some, inexplicable reason, burst into tears reading the acknowledgements at the end. I believe I would rate this book a 4.25 stars, if only Goodreads let you rate at in between star levels. If you read this book, let me know what you think!

5. Landslide: True Stories by Minna Zallman Proctor

This book releases Tuesday so keep your eye out for a full review of this book then! In my September TBR (also linked to the side), I mentioned that the blurb talked about Proctor’s examination of story and narrative, but indicated I wasn’t sure what that meant. I’m still not positive I can explain this, but in my limited experience with memoirs, the essays in this story do interact with narrative and narrative structure in unique ways. I appreciated how Proctor tended to reflect and discuss how other’s perspective might differ, at least once providing an example of how the same memory from her perspective and that of her mother’s differ significantly. The memoir is, largely, about Proctor’s complicated relationship with her mother, and explores how her relationship with her mom led or contributed to some of the choices she made in her life. I thought it was interesting that despite pointing to her fraught relationship with her mom as a pivotal part of her personality, the collection doesn’t really read like she blames her mom for the mistakes she’s made in her life. I found the book fascinating, but it wasn’t my favorite, so I gave it a four out of five stars.

6. Bossypants by Tina Fey

I listened to this book on audio even though I borrowed the paperback from Jaclyn–I just have a thing about enjoying memoirs read by the author on audiobook going right now so I kept the streak alive.

I have a surprising amount of feelings about this book, some good and some bad. First of all, this book led me to realizing just how quickly our social norms change and also served as a nice reminder of how much I tend to dislike comedy, where the joke is… borderline offensive? Because chances are, I will find it offensive and also inappropriate. I also just don’t consider that necessary. Also, I want to die a little every time I listen to someone talk about Trump from before we knew that he would be our President one day. The chapter I liked best/worst was when Tina Fey talks about SNL and playing Sarah Palin. I don’t remember the 2008 election as well as I maybe should considering my extraordinarily strong opinion based on ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, but listening to skits and the subtle digs as sexism had me on the verge of tears because eight years later, we had learned nothing. So, this book was really not my favorite and I don’t think it aged well, but I didn’t hate it. It was fine.

7. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I really enjoyed this book and am excited to continue on in the series. I felt like I was just waiting for things to happen that were detailed in the flap for the first 200 pages, so that was annoying (seriously, do not read the synopsis). But that also meant that there was a lot of character development and it’s my investment in the characters that has me so excited to continue since this book does not end on a cliffhanger (apparently book two does though?).

I’m going to provide you with a non-spoiler-y synopsis to the best of my ability so here goes. There are four Londons, Red London (also known as Kell’s London), White London (where the scary people live, including Holland), Black London (they are blocked off, assuming there even are people there?), Grey London (also known as Lila’s London). Kell is one of two people who can move through the doors to the London’s (except to Black London because NO ONE GOES THERE) and the other is Holland, who is creepy. Anyway, Kell, despite being sort of a part of the Royal family in Red London likes to break the law by smuggling artifacts from one London to another because he’s dumb. Eventually this gets him in trouble.

Meanwhile, Lila is off being fantastic (aka a wanted thief) and looking out for herself, but manages to get herself into trouble. I love her. Eventually, Lila runs into Kell and a chain of events sets off that is exciting and nerve wrecking. I got attached to these characters SO QUICKLY. So yes, I loved it, I highly recommend.

So there you have it, those are the books I’ve read in the first half of September. I’m in the middle of numerous other books so hopefully I’ll finish those up too. These books include Hungry Heart by Jennifer Weiner (my latest audiobook), The Dream Thieves by Maggie Steifvater (why is this going so slow?), What Happened? by Hillary Rodham Clinton (it’s hard to read this through my tears), And I Darken by Kiersten White (I’ve been reading this for months on my phone), and The Windfall by Diksha Basu (I have no excuse for why this one’s taking so long). If you’re thinking that’s too many books to keep track of, you are absolutely not wrong. Fortunately, they are all very different. However, the truth is that this is exactly what my reading slumps look like and I really should read a romance novel to shake myself out of this, probably.

What have you read in September? What’s been your favorite so far?


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