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Monthly Wrap Up: August 2020

Hope you guys are all doing well! August was a great month in terms of reading, I managed to read complete my reading challenge for the year! My goal for the year was 100 and I completed it on the 11th of August, so I’m pretty happy with that. Last year I read 82 books in total the entire year so I’ve already surpassed that which is cool. I don’t really put too much pressure on myself to reach goals when it comes to the books I read but I have to admit there is something quite satisfying about it. I was also quite busy as I had family staying and so I took an unintentional break from posting and it ended up being just the reprieve I needed.

Here are the books I read in August:

  • Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myths by Natalie Haynes
  • Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao
  • American Panda by Gloria Chao
  • Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
  • Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-joo
  • The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • Before I Saw You by Emily Houghton
  • Dominicana by Angie Cruz
  • Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam
  • The Insomniacs by Marit Weisenberg
  • The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue by V.E. Schwab
  • Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino
  • Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
  • The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso

August reviews & posts:

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

Monthly Wrap Up: July 2020

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha

The Insomniacs by Marit Weisenberg

My top picks:

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman – This was such a brilliant book and a moving portrayal of grief and healing and friendship, and the main character Rumi, is on the ace / aro spectrum. I really enjoyed this one and it left an impression on me.

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi & Yusef Salaam – A lyrical and powerful novel which is written in verse, and explores issues such as race, class, a broken education system and the corrupt ‘justice’ system which disproportionately impacts Black men and women. I feel like this should be essential reading.

The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue – I loved every moment of this beautiful book and I can’t wait for it to be out officially so more people can discover its wonder. Not only is it just a great story, but it has some truly touching moments and lessons.

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin – The Muslim rom-com of my dreams, I enjoyed this book so much. It was a joy to read a book where I felt not only represented but in which the representation felt true to my experience and not stereotypical or pandering. If you’re Muslim and haven’t read this book, go do it!

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso – I wasn’t sure if this book was going to be for me but I ended up enjoying every second and it’s one of my fave new fantasies from the past couple years. I specifically loved how it had so much political intrigue and machinations but also had a very honest and human exploration of trauma and relationships.

ARCs of the month:

Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myths by Natalie Haynes

The Greek myths are one of the most important cultural foundation-stones of the modern world.

Stories of gods and monsters are the mainstay of epic poetry and Greek tragedy, from Homer to Virgil to from Aeschylus to Sophocles and Euripides. And still, today, a wealth of novels, plays and films draw their inspiration from stories first told almost three thousand years ago. But modern tellers of Greek myth have usually been men, and have routinely shown little interest in telling women’s stories.

Now, in Pandora’s Jar, Natalie Haynes – broadcaster, writer and passionate classicist – redresses this imbalance. Taking Greek creation myths as her starting point and then retelling the four great mythic sagas: the Trojan War, the Royal House of Thebes, Jason and the Argonauts, Heracles, she puts the female characters on equal footing with their menfolk. The result is a vivid and powerful account of the deeds – and misdeeds – of Hera, Aphrodite, Athene and Circe. And away from the goddesses of Mount Olympus it is Helen, Clytemnestra, Jocasta, Antigone and Medea who sing from these pages, not Paris, Agamemnon, Orestes or Jason.

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes.

Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

Before I Saw You by Emily Houghton

Alice and Alfie are strangers. But they sleep next to each other every night.

Alfie Mack has been in hospital for months recovering from an accident. A new face on the ward is about as exciting as life gets for him right now, so when someone moves into the bed next to him he’s eager to make friends. But it quickly becomes clear that seeing his neighbour’s face won’t happen any time soon.

Alice Gunnersley has been badly burned and can’t even look at herself yet, let alone allow anyone else to see her. Keeping the curtain around her bed firmly closed, it doesn’t stop Alfie trying to get to know her. And gradually, as he slowly brings Alice out of her shell, might there even be potential for more?

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, he’s seen as disruptive and unmotivated by a biased system. Then one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. “Boys just being boys” turns out to be true only when those boys are white.

Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal’s bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it?

With spellbinding lyricism, award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam tell a moving and deeply profound story about how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth, in a system designed to strip him of both.

The Insomniacs by Marit Weisenberg

When seventeen-year-old competitive diver Ingrid freezes up and sustains a head injury at a routine meet, her orderly life is turned upside down. Now housebound and sedentary on doctor’s orders, Ingrid can’t sleep and is haunted by the question of what triggered her uncharacteristic stage fright.

The only thing she remembers about the moment before the dive is seeing Van, her neighbor, former best friend, and forever crush, on the sidelines. Then one sleepless night, she sees Van outside her window…looking right back at her. They tentatively begin “not sleeping” together every night but still living separate lives by day.

Ingrid tells herself this is just temporary, but soon, she and Van are up every night together, increasingly intertwined in helping each other put pieces of memory together. As Van works through his own reasons for not being able to sleep, both of them are pulled into a mystery that threatens to turn their quiet neighborhood into a darker place than they realized.

The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue by V.E. Schwab

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

Have you read any good books this month? or were there any that didn’t live up to the hype? Let me know in the comments! I’m always happy to talk books ~

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