August 2021 Wrap-Up
I had a reasonably good reading month with only one book being set aside and a couple of summer romance books that were rated three stars.
I probably always set the judgment bar too high for romance books since I’m a Pride and Prejudice eternal fan and all romance books get unconsciously compared to that masterpiece. All heroines also have difficult times when compared to Elizabeth Bennet and all love interests have it even harder when compared to Mr. Darcy. Even though I unconsciously judge their plots, relationships and characters. Apart from that I don’t like when the heroine suffers too much and when the love interest has no emotional intelligence at all. Mr. Darcy is fine, he was a Victorian man after all and you forget all his snob nonsense because Jane Austen and Colin Firth made him unforgettable, but male love interests these days are so often unlikable.
But now let’s get on with my August Wrap-up and the new Bookopoly rolls for September.
1st Roll: 4, 3rd Yellow space –
Fantasy: The Traitor Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade #1) by Seth Dickinson. This was my August DNF. The themes this book had were very important and well chosen, but I have difficulties when the story is so character driven and slow paced, so I set it aside after giving it a good try. I picked up another fantasy book for this space then:
Shades of Grey (Shades of Grey #1) by Jasper Fforde – 4 stars
This was very original and funny, and this series absolutely has to continue!!!
2nd Roll: 2, 1st Red space – Romance/Retelling:
I chose Retelling this time: War of the Cards (Queen of Hearts Saga #3) by Colleen Oakes. – 3 stars
I finished this series more because I am in a series completion mood this year than because I really enjoyed this third book. I saw the Queen of Hearts as a victim of the way both her fathers acted towards her. She was original in her tragic and wrathful moments and that was my favorite thing in a very predictable plot.
And now my deep considerations (rant) about this book: It is probably a challenge writing Retellings and making it sound fresh and surprising when that has a story which readers already know the end. I get that, but this series first book was a five stars for me and then the plot didn’t fulfill all the ideas it hinted at in the first book, or at least this is how it seemed to me on book two and three.
SPOILER ALERT I think I would have enjoyed more the story if the Queen of Hearts would have gone tragic and bad more due to getting corrupted by the politics and by problems/struggles with the dark story world of Wonderland. In the end the dark side of the story world is pushed in the background and all bad things she did were connected to her love interest being in love with Alice. I think it made the plot more cliché to say that the Queen of Hearts became evil because she was unloved, female villains should not always be portrayed as evil because their hearts were broken. I think this is too simplistic, female villains sometimes became evil due to other reasons, perhaps because they are too greedy for power like male villains? I would gladly read about a female ‘Saruman-like’ villain sometime.
3rd Roll: 2, 2nd Red space – Romance/Retelling: And I picked Romance this time. A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane. – 3 stars
SPOILER ALERT I unfortunately didn’t like the angsty romance plot here. I understand why the story and romance were written this way, but in romances I usually like the main female character to suffer less and the main male character to be more likable and trusting. The romance here takes really long to happen and before that it is mainly the heroine trying to knock some sense in her extremely distrusting and closed up love interest from the beginning (when we get to know all the heroine’s goals so that there isn’t any mystery or heroine’s second thoughts left) to the end.
I liked the fantasy world and story though (even if it had a lot of going-from- point-A-to-point-B type of plot) and therefore this gets an extra star.
4th Roll: 5, 3rd Pink space – Science Fiction
Local Star by Aimee Ogden. – 4 stars
Lots of beautiful sentences in the prose. I also liked the polyamory relationships even if they weren’t as fleshed out as I wished, but then multi-partner relationships is one of the aspects I consider really interesting in Sci-fi and I can’t read enough of it. I also liked the multi-layered and the flawed main and side characters.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
5th Roll: 3, 2nd Purple space – Mystery/Thriller/Horror – A Mystery/Thriller book that has been for years on my TBR:
The Last Policeman (The Last Policeman #1) by Ben H. Winters. – 4 stars. This was well written and with an interesting mystery and original premise. My only problem with it was that I have been really not wanting to read apocalyptic dystopia lately. Eventually I’ll continue this series, when I feel that I can deal with dystopia and impending apocalypse again.
September TBR Rolls
And now my rolls for this month. I will try to read these this month at least but it will probably drag one or two weeks into October due to my ambitious TBR for Space Opera September and Sci-Fi September. I’ll do my best so it’s only around one week though.
Three of these books I will be reading for the Magical Readathon too.
6st Roll: 6, Read a book published the first time between 2000 and 2010
I’ll pick The Love-Artist by Jane Alison, an historical fiction that has been for ages in my TBR. I’ll be also reading this for The Magical Readathon for the prompt: “Read a Standalone.”
7th Roll: 4, 3rd Lavanda space – YA mixed with other genres. I might pick Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake for this since I rarely read YA/Horror and this would fit completely the prompt of the Magical Readathon of a “Book featuring ghosts, a haunted house, or other supernatural elements.”
8tht Roll: 4, Orange Bookshelf – Pick a TBR card. Aaand a big coincidence happened here that I could not believe it myself, I picked up a card and it was Axiom’s End (Noumena #1) by Lindsay Ellis!
I was already planning to read this for two other readathons. This was so crazy! 🙂
I’ll be also reading this for Sci- Fi September for the prompt: “Alien Presence” and for The Magical Readathon for the prompt: “Book on top of your TBR.”
9th Roll: , 2, Read a book published the first time between 2010 and 2020. I’m not sure yet of which book. I might pick Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1) by Ann Leckie since it was published in 2013.
10th Roll: 3 Roll: 4, 2nd Dark Blue space – Paranormal fantasy/romance/mystery or Magical Realism.
I’ll pick another book that has been in my TBR for ages. Incubus (Fairwick Chronicles #1) by Carol Goodman. I expect this to be light reading, let’s see how it turns out.
And how is September’s reading life going for you? Let me know in the comments.