Thursday, September 7, 2023

Monthly Reads ~ August 2023

I hope you all are enjoying all the book reviews, since it's just another hobby of mine, it's not going anywhere! I loved doing the Monthly Wrap-up last year to share mini reviews on all the books I've read each month! 

It could be a big range from 2 to 10 books depending on how much I read, but I figure I can share a little synopsis and quick thoughts on each book. I will still be doing more in depth reviews on books that really capture me! 

A Grandmother Begins the Story was received as a review copy - this post contains affiliate links

So, in August I read 9 books, with a mix of genres from Mystery Thriller to YA Classic. I love most genres, and I really want to keep my reads diversified this year - I think I have been doing a great job of that so far! Also, I've been trying to read a mix of old and new books, so I'm working on that and did really well with that this month! I read 1 physical books and 8 audiobooks. 

Here's a quick look at all the books I read in the past month: 

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman ~ ☆☆☆☆ ½ - 4.5 stars. This is a contemporary fiction that is the second book in the Beartown trilogy. This is a big, nuanced book, but it is so good. This is a multi-pov story that changes frequently, but the writing style makes it easy to follow. This delves further in to town politics (which made the start a little slow to me), but also really focuses on family, friendship and love. It focuses on sexuality and responses to it - it is heartbreaking and uplifting and just so good! 

Stealing Shadows by Kay Hooper ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This an older mystery thriller - I actually read it in my early 20's I believe and I found it in a thrift story and realized it was actually part of a trilogy. It followsa psychic who is used to help find a serial killer in a small town and it dives in to his mind and hers, plus the other small town characters. Surprisingly it stood up pretty will and I enjoyed it, so still a good mystery if you're in to this style.

A Grandmother Begins the Story by Michelle Porter ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a contemporary fiction book written with a really unique style. This was written in short quick chapters (we're talking one to five pages max) in alternating perspectives throughout the book. It followed five generations of women in the same family, all going through a unique difficult time, including some estrangement and trauma. The story unfolds as we watch these women attempt to reconnect and rebuild their family connection, however difficult it may be. We also get a few chapters from buffalo, pets and a car as well to keep the story unique with everyone having a distinct voice. I really enjoyed hearing the family perspective and wanted to hear more from some of the women - Allie and Lucie would have been great to hear more from their point-of-few, so I did find the other story line a little distracting; however, I do know the importance of buffalo to the land and the people and I do think it added to the story overall. Unique, well written read!

In The Weeds by B.K. Borison☆☆☆ ½ - 3.5 stars. This is a romance novel and the second book in the Lovelight Farms companion books. I did quite enjoy this book; I liked the characters perspectives, particularly Evelyn to read from and they were a cute couple overall. However, unlike the first book, I thought this one was lacking a little in the plot department - it felt like most of the book was just the two main characters pining after each other, and while I like a romance, I need a little more storyline to keep me engaged.

Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a young adult classic - a follow up to Anne of Green Gables; I'm not sure I will read the whole series, but love catching up on the first few! This has Anne a little older and teaching at the school, but working her way to going off to college. She is teaching as well as taking in twins and as always, she's such a sweet character to read and is just really cute!

Our Italian Summer by Jennifer Probst☆ - 1 star DNF. This is a contemporary fiction (and apparently a romance, but I will be honest I did not get that far). I personally really tried to get through this, I finished 182 pages and almost quit twice before I did. This was not good at all. The characters were insufferable (perhaps they get better in the end, but nothing likeable the first half at all and no signs of improvement), the descriptions of Italy felt like they were just the most stereotypical descriptions you could find, and the story was repetitive. Sorry this sounds mean.

The Honeymoon Crashers by Christina Lauren ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a romance "novella" follow up to The Unhoneymooners (which I loved), but this was released as an audiobook exclusive. It was cute - our main characters from the Unhoneymooners are getting married and they are going back to Hawaii but to elope. Our sister who was getting married in the first one, is the main character here and she is planning on surprising them with a wedding. She is funny character to hear from as I'm pretty type A, a big list maker and planner, so I thought it was fun. I liked the connection and it was predictable, but cute.

Nic Blake and the Remarkables: The Manifestor Prophecy by Angie Thomas ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a middle grade fantasy - I love Angie Thomas and will read anything she releases! This was a cute, easy to read story with a good storyline and a cute trio of characters. I enjoyed the magic system and thought everything was well explained but also did not shy away from racial issues and ongoing topics in the USA right now. Good read!

Nightbirds by Kate J. Armstrong ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a young adult fantasy and I really liked this! This is a gorgeous book that drew me in with the storyline and cover and I really enjoyed it! Magic is banned in this world, but the rich have access to a few girls with hidden magic - the Nightbirds. Something is starting to happen though and the magic is starting to bubble up and they may not be able to keep it hidden any longer. I thought each girl had a distinct voice and I enjoyed the magic, and this 1920s-esque prohibition era. It was enjoyable and I'm excited to read the follow up!

August was a pretty good reading month - mostly 4 stars, so pretty solid. 

Here's a little refresh of my rating system:

5 Stars: Excellent/Fantastic/Amazing Read 
4.5 Stars: Really Great Read
4 Stars: Great Read 
3.5 Stars: Really Good Book
3 Stars: Good Book 
2.5 Stars: Eh, It was Okay Read
2 Stars: Finished it, but Didn't Enjoy It
1.5 Stars: Not Good at All
1 Star: DNF (Did Not Finish)

What was the best book you read this month?! Mine was probably Us Against You! 

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