September Reading Wrap-up 2018

Sunday, September 30, 2018
I carried on from August my love of reading and my apparent need to read ALL THE BOOKS as I was able to read 12 books this month and six audiobooks, the latter isn't nearly as good as August but I'm still very happy with the audiobooks I've listened to. September was a mix of either very short books (and short audiobooks) or long books, four of which were either over 500 pages or very close. Most books this month were very good and I would recommend almost every single one I read this month! However, I did have one DNF this month which was The Bastard Legion by Gavin Smith which sounded AMAZING but sadly I just didn't click with it.

*The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale (480 pages) ★★★ (3.5)
I've reviewed this book and the next book within their own book blog tours already so you can read those for an in-depth review! I was very kindly sent a gorgeous hardback copy of this book, thanks Penguin! However as I was travelling so much in August I read most of this book as an e-book on my iPad while on holiday but finished it in September.

In The Toymakers we follow Cathy, a runaway who has applied to work at the wonderful Papa Jack's Emporium in London; however all is not what it seems in the Emporium or for Cathy as she has her own not so little secret...What follows is an incredibly magical, endearing and christmas themed read that is tinged with sadness. I utterly adored the descriptions of the Emporium as well as the wonderful toys held within - it would be a perfect read for christmas time as it had quite a few moments of childhood wonderment you feel during that time of the year. It is simultaneously a very heart warming, magical read but it is also very wistful and heartbreaking - I never read emotional books and this one did get to me at times. I'd definitely recommend it for it's utterly magical, christmas themed setting and wonderful writing.

*He Will Find You by Diane Jeffrey (279 pages) ★★★
The second book I already have a review of on my blog is for He Will Find You by Diane Jeffrey which is her latest thriller! I was able join the blog tour for this book and I was very excited to start it as I really liked her debut novel, Those Who Lie. Despite receiving an e-arc of this book I actually listened to it as an audiobook on BookBeat while on holiday so I listened to it on the train and while on German autobahns!

We follow Kaitlyn as she travels across the country to live with her school crush and her one night stand, Alex. Moving away from her friends, her job and distanced from her family as she has had to move to the Lake District, she becomes more dependant on Alex and she discovers that he isn't what he seems. Kaitlyn uncovers dark secrets and an even darker side to her new husband that she didn't know existed.

I liked the narrator of the audiobook and it was a fairly quick and very easy to follow audiobook. I do love thrillers and this one was definitely compelling, interesting and I wanted to find out what would happen to Kaitlyn. I definitely liked the last 30% of the book the most! I only had one negative about this book and that was some of Kaitlyn's decisions and thoughts which were sometimes fully rational and intelligent but most of the time they were ridiculous and I couldn't understand why she was acting or thinking the way she was which did pull me out of the story and made it seem quite unbelievable, if I'm honest (this was mostly the beginning and middle of the book and decreased as the book continued, thankfully). However, I would recommend it as a quick, easy and compelling domestic thriller.

*She is Fierce by Ana Sampson (304 pages) ★★★ (3.5)
I never really liked English as a subject in school and I think that is in part due to being forced to try and understand poetry and Shakespeare at such a young age which has meant that I haven't read any of either since then! However, I was very kindly sent this bold and beautiful poetry collection from Ana Sampson which features various poets and writers including Emily Bronte, Kate Tempest, Margaret Atwood and many more.

I'll admit that I was a little nervous about starting this collection as I haven't read any poetry in so long and I've always thought that poetry was a little too abstract and intelligent for me (although I do have a BSc Hons degree). Aesthetically it would make for a lovely gift for literary lovers in your life and the poetry is equally as beautiful on the whole. For me, I find that I either instantly connect to a poem or not and thankfully with a collection such as this, it means you will find a range of poems and poets that you'll like. Some of my favourite poems from the collection includes: Dead Love, A Birthday, Siren Song, Witch, Thirteen, Timetable, Phenomenal Woman, My Body, Hope Is A Thing With Feathers and Rosa Parks. I loved the mini biographies of each poet at the end of the collection. If you know a poetry lover then this new and beautiful collection would make a perfect christmas gift!

*Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson (129 pages) ★★★ (3.5)
Brandon Sanderson is an author I've wanted to read for a couple of years but his usual fantasy is a little intimidating so when this book arrived in the post, I was very excited to start it as it sounded very unusual and it's also very short! Snapshot is a short hardback novella which is set in Snapshot, a reconstruction of one day in the real world. Within this world we follow two detectives as they are tasked to find where a murder weapon was dropped which will help the police in real life. However, one day they discover a gruesome crime and reveal more about themselves and Snapshot than they'd want to know.

The concept of this book sounds little complicated but he tells it in a way in which you can easily follow and enjoy as well as being quite thought provoking. It was a very quick, entertaining read and now I cannot wait to read more from Brandon Sanderson. If you're looking to try this author or you want a very interesting crime read with almost sci-fi elements then check out Snapshot.

*The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli (367 pages)  ★★★ (3.75)
As with The Toymakers and He Will Find You, this book also will also have it's own blog tour post so this review will be short and sweet. I read this authors previous book and really enjoyed it so I couldn't wait to start the next book in the series although you don't need to read the first before reading this, as far as I know. I adored the setting, magic and the ending was exactly what I wanted! My only negative was that it is a touch too long and there were a few generic YA tropes that I've read again and again. However, if you like YA, fantasy or a combination of the two then you'll love this book.

*A Dance of Water and Air by Antonia Aquilante (287 pages) ★★★
I've read couple of LGBT books this month because my reading was getting a bit narrow and I wanted to read a wider range of books so when this one came up on Netgalley, I had to request it because it sounded like an interesting (although not super original) LGBT fantasy read.

We follow Edmund, heir to the throne of Thalassa as he is betrothed to the heir to the Aither kingdom, Hollis, which it is hoped will strength both kingdoms against their enemies. However, Edmund and Hollis's brother, Arden, strike up a friendship which leads to something more. Amidst this are political problems and Edmund and Arden have to flee.

One of the main points I loved about this book was the complete acceptance in this world of LGBT relationships and I adored the elemental magic (I need to read more books with elemental magic in them). I liked the relationship between the characters of Edmund and Arden as well as Peregrine and his love interest (I can't remember his name!). Overall, it was a very quick, entertaining and light hearted fantasy read with a conclusion I wanted and interesting magic elements; however it was definitely trope filled, nothing new to the genre and a little cheesy at times but if you are looking for a quick, fun read with LGBT elements in a good fantasy setting then check it out.
*Lud In The Mist by Hope Mirrlees (288 pages) ★★★
There are a few books in this wrap-up with very beautiful covers and Lud In The Mist is definitely one of them - just look at it! However, this book has one of my bookish pet peeves...teeny tiny text! Books with tiny text makes me not want to read the book, I don't know why, I just hate it. Rant over, this book is set in prosperous country town, Lud-In-The-Mist, at the confluence of two rivers, the Dawl and the Dapple. In this setting we follow the Chanticleer family, the oldest and most prestigious family in the area; we mainly follow the father, Nathanial, as people start to disappear and the town he loves is changing which might be due to the influx of the restricted fairy fruit.

The start of the book is very richly descriptive (it's almost haunting which I adored), I loved the setting as it was so vivid and almost magical especially with the mentions of 'fairyland' and 'fairy fruit'. It sets up to be a cross between a classic fairytale, a quaint English novel and a mystery. Even though the page number is fairly low at less than 300 pages, due to the tiny font, it did take me so much longer to read than I thought it would.

I loved the mysteries, the setting was wonderful and the writing was very rich; however at times it felt like the reading version of running through treacle, so thick and tiresome sadly. In terms of the page number, a book this size wouldn't take me long at all to read but this one was a little bit of a slog. Although despite the sometimes slow pace and the more than often overly descriptive writing that left me feeling physically bogged down, I did enjoy the world, the magical elements, intriguing fairies and the mysteries that occur along the way - the more I read, the more I enjoyed the book. I think that if it sounds like something you'd enjoy then definitely give it a go but I was a little disappointed by it sadly.

*A Winter's Promise by Christelle Dabos (468 pages) ★★★★ (4.5)
I have a few favourite books this month including the audiobook of Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier, A Gathering Of Ghosts by Karen Maitland, The Price Guide To The Occult and this read, A Winter's Promise, which is definitely my favourite of all of them! A Winter's Promise is an English translation of a best selling French YA fantasy read and after reading it I can see why it is so loved!

A Winter's Promise is set in a world which has been blown apart, quite literally, by an event called 'the rupture' which has resulted in the world being split into small floating 'arcs', each of which is home to their ancestor spirit. We follow Ophelia, an unusual, gifted and quiet teenager who lives on the arc, Anima, where objects have souls which she can read with her magical gift. I actually found myself relating to Ophelia quite a lot and I wish I had her magical ability! She lives a quiet life with her family and eccentric great uncle until she's told that she has to marry Thorn, a member of the dragon clan on the Ark of the Pole. A tale of betrayal, the unknown and political intrigue unfold revealing that all is not what it seems on the Ark of the Pole and with Ophelia's distant husband.

I UTTERLY ADORED the setting and magic within this book, it made it seem very special in a way that I've only really experienced with Roald Dahl and Harry Potter books. The writing is quick and easy to follow but at the same time it is whimsical, magical and allows you to envision this mysterious fantasy world perfectly. I found the concepts, fantasy elements and magic in this book to be enrapturing and I can see why this book is so beloved as it just has something very unique and special about it. It's the first of four books with the second English translation being released next year and I cannot wait. However, the only minor negative I had was that I found the ending a little anticlimactic and left so much undiscovered and unsaid frustratingly.

The Magpie Lord by K.J Charles (222 pages) ★★★ 
I found myself scrolling through Amazon as I wanted a quick, slightly horroresque read that would be a page turner and I found a great one with LGBT characters (definitely a 18+ book) in The Magpie Lord. We follow Lucien Vaudrey, a disgraced heir who has recently returned from exile in China, as he takes over the family estate following the suspicious deaths of his violent, brutal father and brother. He finds a hostile community, a decaying grand house and a desire to leave England as soon as possible but he is unable to leave because of a curse which requires the help of magician Stephen Day.

I loved the setting of the novel, the horror and supernatural elements were great and exactly what I wanted and I actually liked the unlikely romantic relationship between Vaudrey and Day. It felt a little gothic which I adored and I liked the magpie element which reminded me a little of Blackwing/Ravencry. There are some more difficult topics in this book such as rape and abuse so be aware of that but overall, I'd definitely recommend this LGBT supernatural read especially as it was so quick, easy and entertaining.

*Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Pop Classic (40 pages) ★★★ (3.5)
I was very kindly sent this adorable middlegrade read from the ever lovely people at Quirk Books. Buffy is a TV series that is a little nostalgic to me as it was at it's height in the late 90's and I did watch some of it at the time - I need to watch the whole series soon. I thought this book would be an adorable and slightly halloweenesque read and I was right. I adored the illustrations, it's a quick and easy to follow story and I think children between the ages of maybe 6 to 10 would love it.

*A Gathering Of Ghosts by Karen Maitland (544 pages) ★★★ (3.75)
Since reading The Plague Charmer last year and Wicked Children, I've realised that Karen Maitland is one of my new favourite authors, even though I haven't read too many of her books but I knew that I would love her latest release. I was very kindly sent the gorgeous and gigantic paperback from the publisher Headline so thank you! However, I read most of it as an e-arc from Netgalley as I couldn't take the huge paperback travelling with me. I read the vast majority of this book in August while on holiday but finished it in September.

We follow three intertwining storylines with a range of characters which never feels like too much or confusing. It's set during a tumultuous time with poverty and famine a constant in England as well as religious tension and through this time we follow a poverty stricken wise woman and her daughters, an arrogant knight and a crippled young woman, along with the other tinners as they endure backbreaking work for very little.

At first you don't see how the stories intertwine but they do and you feel the hardship, struggles and strife the characters have to go through in their own way. I adored the folklore and magical realism elements within this book as well as the atmosphere, mysterious and bleak setting and the characters of Morwen and Sorrel especially. It is a very bleak, dark and grim read with some very eerie elements and harder to read topics such as rape, miscarriage, abuse, poverty, mental illness, torture and loss. As I mentioned, I love The Plague Charmer and this one had the same rich, atmospheric writing that is compelling and easy to read but I think I prefer The Plague Charmer out of the two; however I did throughly enjoy (...that might not be the right word considering how melancholy, raw and dark both books are) this read. If you are a fan of darker historical fiction with magical, folklore and mysteries featuring spell binding writing and raw, realistic characters then look no further than the wonderful Karen Maitland - I can't wait to pick up another book of hers from my shelves.

*The Price Guide To The Occult by Leslye Walton (288) ★★★ (3.75)
The cover of this book has to be one of the most beautiful I received in September and it turned out of to be one of my favourite books of the month too. Set on an atmospheric, eerie and rugged island we are told the story of the original inhabitants of the island, in particular Rona Blackburn who was spurned by her lover, has cursed the inhabitants but the ramifications led to a curse upon the Blackburn women as well. Each generation is cursed with a magical burden of their own which changes with each generation until we reach the present day and the latest daughter, Nor. We follow Nor and her unusual family, abusive mother and less than idyllic childhood memories as well as her friendships, the discovery of her burden and the destructive path her mother leads which causes devastation of the island, her followers and her unknowingly powerful daughter.

I absolutely adored the setting of the books and the wonderfully rich descriptions of the landscape, weather and nature. I liked the characters on the whole, although Nor did become a little annoying at times! The atmosphere, halloween vibes and the very dark elements were some of my favourite parts of the book along with writing but I didn't care too much about the romance, although thankfully it wasn't the sole focus of the book (yay!). I have to point out that it mentions self harm quite a lot as well as abuse so if that might be triggering for you then maybe give it a miss or approach with caution. It was a fairly quick, easy and entertaining read that has put me into the halloween spirit (it reminded me of old school teen halloween films) so if you like the sound of this book then definitely pick it up!
*Dracula's Guest and Other Stories by Bram Stoker ★★★
I'm coming to the end of my fantastic BookBeat subscription (thanks BookBeat!) so I wanted to listen to some of the books I've been meaning to get around to for a while including this one which is perfect for the upcoming halloween season. It was a quick and easy listen with a range of mildly horror and supernatural related stories, the first of which was my favourite but the others were a little forgettable. I would recommend this audiobook for the halloween season!

*Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier ★★★★
I am a huge fan of gothic literature so I don't know why I've not read this book before but I decided to listen to the audiobook this month and I wasn't disappointed! We follow a naive young new bride who travels to her husbands, Maxim de Winter, family home of Manderley in the English countryside. The new bride, who's name is never mentioned, soon feels out of her depth as the new mistress of Manderley and discovers haunting reminders of her husbands beautiful first wife, Rebecca.

What follows is an exploration into Rebecca's life, her influence on Manderley and the staff, her relationship with Maxim de Winter and how she died which seems more than a little mysterious. I knew that I'd like this book, or audiobook, but I liked it much more than I thought I would. The character of the second wife was a little annoying at times but the others were fantastic, especially the disturbing Mrs Danvers! It reminded me of Agatha Christie novels in parts which you already know I'm a huge fan of. I loved the eerie, mysterious atmosphere and now I need to read more from Daphne de Maurier. If you're looking for a mysterious modern classic that is very easy to follow and perfect for the upcoming autumn and halloween season then definitely pick up Rebecca.

*A Haunted House by Virginia Woolf ★★
I listened to one Virginia Woolf audiobook last month and even though I didn't enjoy it, I did want to listen to something else but sadly, this one was also disappointing. The start of the audiobook follows a woman as she experiences a haunted house but that abruptly stops and a short biography of Woolf begins...It was an incredibly short and unusually structured audiobook that I wouldn't really recommend.

*Weight by Jeanette Winterson ★★★
Next up, I listened to Weight by Jeanette Winterson as I've wanted to buy the book for a while and I love mythology, especially greek and roman mythology! Sadly, it was a little unusual, far more sexual than I ever thought it would be from the blurb and as with the previous audiobook, it had an unusual structure than I wasn't really a fan of. Overall, I'm giving it three stars as I am interested in mythology, I like Jeanette Winterson and it was a very quick audiobook; however I don't know if I would recommend it - I just didn't get on with it sadly.

*The Hound Of Death by Agatha Christie ★★
BookBeat has an amazing range of these very short 'masterpieces in miniature' which are quick Agatha Christie stories, usually under one hour in length so they're perfect audiobooks to listen to in the car or while cooking. I love how quick and easy they are and they're all narrated by the amazing Christopher Lee. It's an unusual audiobook but I did enjoy it to an extent but it isn't very memorable; however, I'd still listen to the others.

*Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol ★★
Lastly, I listened to a Russian classic that is one of the very few on the shorter side. We follow Chichikov as he rises through the ranks and social sphere until an unknown illness causes him to deteriorate and look back on his life and existence in general until his eventual death. I found the life of Chichikov, his business, the focus on taxes and serfs more than a little boring but the end of the audiobook and his thoughts of his life and death were more interesting. If it sounds interesting to you then definitely check out the audiobook.

Have you read any of these books? What have you been reading recently?

18 comments

  1. I am forever in amazement at the amount of books you read. It is incredible. I love it! I want to read again, I miss it!

    Erin || MakeErinOver

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  2. Wow you've got some amazing books here, I've added a few to my to buy list!

    Love, Amie ❤
    The Curvaceous Vegan

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  3. I feel like my reading list is always getting longer and longer!

    Danielle xx
    https://www.fashionbeautyblog.co.uk/

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  4. I managed one whole book which is a bit shameful x

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  5. The Toymakers sounds like the perfect festive read.

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  6. Goodness me I just don't understand how you read so much! I literally got through one book in September but I didn't massively enjoy it, I was also away on holiday and ill for a good portion of September. So I'm hoping October will be a better reading month.

    Jenny
    http://www.jennyinneverland.com

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  7. Firstly I am OBSESSED with these posts, I suck at writing reviews and summarising so this is like reading magic to me you are so good at it, you make me want to read it all! Lud in the Mist sounds like the first one I will get stuck into, the cover is gorgeous and the descriptive writing style sounds right up my alley! Thank you for sharing, hope you have a fantastic week xx

    ALittleKiran | Bloglovin

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  8. I've not even finished the book I started in September!! x

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  9. A winters promise sounds so cool! Have you finished all these booked in September?! That's super impressive if so!

    Katie | katieemmabeauty.com

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  10. I need to find the Buffy one as a gift for my sister.

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  11. Wow, 12 books is seriously impressive!! I haven’t been read one yet and I’ve been on holiday since Friday - oops xo

    Char | www.charslittleblog.co.uk

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  12. A Winters Promise sounds like a book I need to read. X

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  13. Such interesting choices this month!

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  14. I really need to read the last namasara soon!! great reading month!

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  15. I honestly never get over how many books you read a month.

    http://littlemissmelanie.com

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  16. always in awe of your book collection

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Feel free to leave me a comment, I read all of them!

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