August 2021 Reading Update

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve told you guys what I am up to reading wise, so that’s what we’re going to do today.

Back in June, I did a post sharing 26 books I planned to read in the summer, and I do plan on doing an update on how that went. Some of those books I read at the start of August, and then everything else I read was kind of random.

So yeah. Let’s get started I guess.

If you can’t tell, I don’t know how to write intros anymore 🤦🏾‍♀️

Ok, before we get into the books, we need to talk about Goodread’s beta version for the book pages (if it doesn’t give you an option to see the beta version, here’s a snip of what it’s like). My initial reaction was total shock and something close to horror (dramatic I know, but for real, I was a little horrified) and an immense desire to go back to the old design. I really like the old layout, and I think if they keep that and then add the new text and buttons and stuff, then it would be okay. Who knows though, this beta version might actually grow on me because each time I look at it, I keep thinking that it’s not soooo bad, it’s just…a huge surprise and very not-normal.

But it’ll eventually become normal.

Anyway, now, for the books:

  • north of happy by adi alsaid – It was really interesting and a good book. The idea of Felix being in Carlos’s head and him trying to encourage Carlos to pursue his dreams and be himself: it was a good message, even though sometimes Felix was really annoying, and he didn’t always give the best advice. The thing is though, I’m guessing this was all just in Carlos’s mind and it’s probably as a result of his grief, but the fact that Carlos just went with it instead of being highly alarmed, I don’t know, that was just a little weird to me. Also, the romance, I didn’t really care for it, like it was okay, but I wasn’t invested in it that much. Emma could have been fleshed out a lot more, and the backstory with both of their parents could also have been done a lot better. But just in general, it was a good read.
  • grave mercy by robin lafevers – I surprisingly ended up liking this. at first I was kind of skeptical, and I didn’t have super high expectations for it, but Ismae did grow on me, and I liked Duval, and all the related politics and drama that they were embroiled in. I especially like the fact that Ismae came to understand her role as an assassin instead of just accepting what she’d been led to believe, especially when she saw the issues with what she’d originally believed. Also, the Duchess is so sweet, I can’t believe she’s only 12 years old, I loved her a lot.
  • city of saints and thieves by natalie c. anderson – Not the best mystery, but I loved the issues it tackled, as well as the very unlikely team of Tina, Michael, and Boyboy. I gave it five stars initially, then it was 4.5 rounded to 5, because I really liked the story itself, the way Tina’s world was upended and she learned the truth about her mother and what it means to have friends, but the mystery wasn’t all that mindblowing. I didn’t really like Michael as a character; he was really naïve sometimes, and I thought he was just…I don’t know, I just didn’t grow to love him. But overall, it was a really good book.
  • a throne for sisters by morgan rice – Y’all. This book was miserable. Completely painful. I actually want to write a review of this just to expound on how amazingly terrible some of the things that happened in this book were. I did not like any of the characters, Sophie and the prince especially, you guys, those two were on a personal mission to torture my soul. It was just really, a very bad first book, and I don’t know if I will be continuing with the series. Actually, I might because I’ve been told that the books do get better, but it’s really hard to believe right now and I want to see it for myself. But then again…it was just too much.
  • tokyo ever after by emiko jean – A really fun and cute read! I really like stories with royalty, and I haven’t read any contemporary ones before (at least that I can remember), so this was a nice one to find. I loved the look into Japanese culture, as well as Izumi’s various friendships (I’m very disappointed with how some turned out though). It was just really a cute, wholesome, and light read.
  • the expats by chris pavone – I love me a good intelligence agency-related story, and this was pretty good. the suspicious nature of Kate’s family moving, her new friends, and all the little shady things that were going on proved to be quite the mystery for Kate to unravel. I love that through it all, she was trying to make sure her family would come out okay. The ending was honestly my favorite part, because everything made so much sense once it was over.
  • children of blood and bone by tomi adeyemi – I started this in May, I believe, but didn’t finish it before it was returned. I then got it again last month and finally finished the last bit, and I did like it. the plot itself is very typical YA fantasy with a quest to return magic to the world, but what I loved the most was the representation! My family is originally from Nigeria, so trust me when I say that seeing my family’s country and culture in a book was so awesome and it made me so happy. Especially the words, I can’t really read Yoruba, but I was still able to recognize some words and it just made me so excited! So yeah, it gets 4 stars for the rep alone. The fantasy would probably be a 2.5-3 just because it’s kind of cliché. I might write a review of this just to talk about everything in a little more depth, since I do have thoughts on the characters.
  • love, lies and spies by cindy anstey – It wasn’t a bad read, it was just okay. It was funny at times, a little boring at others, sometimes unnecessarily dramatic and eye-roll worthy, but overall, a simple not overly complicated story.

I started these books in August, but I’m still reading them:

  • mexican gothic by silvia moreno-garcia (34%) – I really was looking forward to this book. But I’ve had it almost all month now and I’m getting really bored of it. Which is a shame, it’s very atmospheric and creepy, but I don’t really connect to Noemi or the plot. I think my problem is that I just don’t care enough.
  • the gilded ones by namina forna (63%) – I actually started this at the end of July not August, but it got returned before I finished it. So far, it’s good, it’s an interesting take on the boarding school to create special human weapons (though I guess the girls aren’t human…) for the kingdom. Truthfully, I don’t remember my thoughts on the characters that well, but I wasn’t hating it, so we’ll see how I feel once I remember the start of the story and when I finish the ending.
  • the memory book by lara avery (2%) – I just started this like last weekend, and I haven’t gotten anywhere with it yet, but it’s shaping up to be a promising and possibly very funny story.
  • caste: the origins of our discontents by isabel wilkerson (20%) – So, in the very first few pages, Wilkerson condensed down the last four years of America into a couple of pages, highlighting all the major tragedies that passed, and it was so jarring? I know America has had a terrible last few years (*cough* more accurately centuries), that atrocity after atrocity has happened, but seeing it reduced to a few paragraphs, it really hit different? On page 16, where she is comparing the modern world to an old house that’s falling apart and how it’s occupants eventually get used to the dangers that come with the house, she says that

“[eventually] the unacceptable becomes merely inconvenient. Live with it long enough, and the unthinkable becomes normal … we learn to believe that the incomprehensible is the way that life is supposed to be”.

Wilkerson, pg. 16
  • That was just so profound to me, because it’s so true. If another tragedy or atrocity happens, of course it’s shocking, but at the same time, I’m not super surprised? I’m not sure how to explain it, but it’s normal at this point to expect the worst at all times. Anyway, it’s really tackling the things that are fundamentally wrong with this country and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it goes.

Some questions for you:

  • What did you read in August? Any new favorites that you’d like to share?
  • Have you read Caste? What did you think of it?
  • What do you think of GoodReads’ new beta version? Was it initially a huge shock to you?
  • What are you currently reading?

Chat with me in the comments below!

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