September Reading Wrap-Up 2020

Saturday, October 03, 2020
September was a good reading month, due in part to my new wireless earphones from Sudio (which has made listening to audiobooks much easier), shorter reads, my Scribd subscription and I took part in the Beccas Bookoplathon readathon. I managed to listen to three audiobooks and eight ebooks or physical books in September. My favourite books of the month include: A Burning Sea, Red White and Royal Blue, Stiff and Passport Ready. 

Unfortunately I did DNF a couple of books in September including: Hunting Prince Dracula by Kari Maniscalco (the main character was very annoying from the very beginning and I didn't connect to the characters, DNF'd at 15%) and Pretty Powerful by Bobbi Brown (one of the most basic and arguably boring makeup books I've read, DNF'd at 25%). 

Red White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (audiobook, 12 hours) ★★★ 
Moving to the opposite end of the spectrum, a cute, lighthearted and funny audiobook! Red, White and Royal Blue follows the son of America's female president (Alex) and the second in line to the British throne (Prince Henry) as they slowly get to know each other and shift from political enemies to lovers, in the most adorable, cheesy and humorous way. This audiobook is something I definitely needed after all of the macabre and heavy non-fiction reads I've been reading throughout August.

I listened to the audiobook which was just over 12 hours but it felt much shorter as it was such an enjoyable, easy to follow and lighthearted story about the budding relationship between the two famous figures; although there were some trials and tribulations along the way. I have to admit that I love the trope of enemies to lovers and even though it was quite rushed in this book, it was also very adorable and had me smiling constantly while listening to it and editing blog photos! It did become a little more tense and emotional with higher stakes towards the end but it had the ending I'd hoped for. Overall, a funny and light-hearted LGBT contemporary that I can't recommend enough! 

The Book of Extraordinary Deaths by Cecilia Ruiz (80 pages) ★★★
I bought and read one of the most beautifully illustrated books ever in the month of September! Cecilia Ruiz is a Mexican author and illustrator and I think her illustrations are utterly gorgeous. The small but beautifully created book describes the unfortunate or unusual deaths of various individuals throughout history, along with stunning illustrations. If you like beautiful illustrations, macabre books or if you are a fan of Edward Gorey then you'll love this book. 

A Burning Sea by Theodore Brun (475 pages) ★★★ (3.75)
Next up is a book I have already reviewed as part of a book tour earlier in the month so head over to that post for a full and in-depth review. A Burning Sea is the third book in The Wanderer Chronicles by Theodore Brun which follows Hakan, son of the Lord of the Northern Jutes, as he is faced with life changing truths and tragedy which forces him to find his own way in the world and change his identity. The third book is filled with adventure, secrets, battles and a little bit of hope. As with the previous books, I loved the writing style, fast pace, the character of Erlan and the setting. If you're looking for an entertaining historical fantasy, I'd highly recommend this series. 

Gyo by Junji Ito (400 pages) ★★
September was a great month in terms of the number of books as well as the variety of genres I read. I finished non-fiction, historical fantasy, contemporary LGBT+, graphic novels and translated manga in September. The translated Japanese manga I finished was one of the most grotesque, disturbing and ridiculous books I've ever read. We follow Tadashi and his *very* annoying girlfriend as they encounter a few strange creatures which not only look disgusting but smell disgusting too. What follows from that premise is a story of escape, survival, death and experimentation. It is categorised as horror manga and it was definitely scary, sickening and horrifying at times but it paired the horror elements with ridiculousness and utterly absurd explanations. I feel very mixed about this manga as on the one hand it was very creepy and the illustrations were great but on the other hand, it was too absurd, grotesque and abstract for me. I won't be reading any more from this author or the genre of horror manga in the future unfortunately. 

A Winter's Night by Theodore Brun (38 pages) ★★★
After finishing A Burning Sea, I wanted to read this very short story by the same author; it is currently free to read via Amazon/Kindle. We follow an Englishman as he becomes lost during a snowstorm in a remote area of Denmark and comes across a castle, housing a giant mysterious stranger. I like Theodore Brun's writing within this short read and his other books, as he manages to be descriptive and atmospheric with only a few words. I loved the atmosphere within this read as it made the book seem like a classic wintery tale. Unfortunately it was a little rushed and I think it could have been expanded, especially into the mythology/folktale elements of the story. 

Fence by C.S Pacat (106 pages) ★★★
Another short read but this time it's a graphic novel following the lives of aspiring fencing athletes...it is a bizarre and very niche graphic novel. However, I adored the art style as well as the very quick and easy dialogue/story. I did learn a little about fencing (and I think it is something I'd potentially like to try in the future), although it was a little repetitive and the story didn't really progress. I did enjoy it overall but I don't think I'll be carrying on with the rest of the series. 

Warm Up by V.E Schwab (audiobook, 25 minuets) ★★★
I've loved most of what I've read from Victoria or V.E Schwab so when I came across this very short audiobook on Scribd, I had to listen to it. It is book 0.5 in her Villains series and it definitely intrigued me from the start! We follow David who was the sole survivor of an avalanche but he came back as something else. It was equal parts creepy, interesting and intriguing so I think I will try the next book in the series very soon. 

Passport Ready: The Ultimate Guide To Female Solo Travel by Anna Malambo (220 pages) 
★★★★
Moving onto a non-fiction read I was very kindly sent by the author, all about solo travel especially targeted towards women. Within Passport Ready you'll find a host of travel and packaging tips, specific advice for women travelling alone, further reading/links and personal accounts from the author as well as other womens experiences. There are so many fantastic general travel tips (that I hadn't even thought of previously) as well as some interesting, thought provoking and moving personal accounts and experiences. 

I think it is a fantastic book for general travel as well as solo travel as it contained a plethora of useful information for every step of the journey. It's written in a very user friendly and easy way that would be ideal for those planning a solo trip next year (or whenever it is safer to do so). If you or someone you know is planing a trip, this handy book would make a great gift and travelling companion. 

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (audiobook, 3 hours) ★★★
I've wanted to read this book for a while but the size definitely put me off reading it so when I noticed the abridged audiobook from HarperCollins on Scribd, I listened to it right away. We follow Alias Grace as she recounts her experiences of the murders of her employer and his housekeeper. It details her difficult upbringing, employment, friendships and her life after being released. 

The audiobook was very quick and easy to listen to on the whole, although there are undeniably a few creepy and eerie moments (so it might be a great short audiobook for October). However, I think that because the audiobook was so condensed and almost rushed compared to the physical book (the physical copy I have is over 500 pages), I didn't feel connected to the characters or the story. Unfortunately it left me feeling a little underwhelmed but I will be watching the Netflix show soon which will hopefully be more...entertaining? 

Stiff by Mary Roach (304 pages) ★★★★
We all know I love a good macabre book so I don't know why I've had this very popular book on my TBR for so long (it has over 170,000 ratings on GoodReads). Mary Roach is a best selling non-fiction writer and I have many of her books on my current wish list and after reading this one, I need to buy them! Within Stiff, Roach looks at all of the possible circumstances human cadavers can be used for, from anatomy dissections and being used as crash test dummies (in America, we only use specific limbs in the UK) to horrific experimentation in the 18th century, organ donation, cannibalism and more. 

I have read numerous books on the topics of death, biology, medicine and everything in-between but this book managed to shock me and keep me morbidly fascinated throughout; there was so much information I didn't know such as the use of cadavers as crash test dummies in the US! I found the organ donation (beating heart cadavers) section particularly moving and thought provoking, especially the final line of that particular chapter! I think it's important to be aware of the realities of death, what you can do after you die to help others (such as vital organ donation) and to be aware of the invaluable research conducted using cadavers that makes driving a car, military armour, medicine and more, better and safer for the living

All 'Bout Canada: A Compendium of Canadiana by Elizabeth F. Hill (224 pages) ★★★ (3.5)
Another non-fiction read but one that is far less macabre! I would love to visit Canada in the future but it is a country that I know very little about besides the stereotypes and the general places I'd love to visit so this book was a great read that was packed full of information, facts and statistics about Canada. From it's ancient history, nature, wildlife, geography and indigenous communities to the influence of Britain and France, politics, influential figures, Canadian inventions and cultural entertainment, there's no stone left unturned. 

I love the presentation of the information, the layout of the book and all of the gorgeous illustrations throughout it as well as the diagrams, recipes and quizzes. The amount of information included in this book is a little overwhelming so I think I'll have to purchase the book as it was definitely too much information to consume in one read. If you are interested in the history and culture of Canada then I cannot recommend this read enough. 

Have you read any of these books? What have you read in the month of September? 

11 comments

  1. I am going to have to add some of these to my reading list!

    Danielle
    https://www.thereluctantblogger.co.uk/

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  2. Have not even heard of any of these! I am so bad when it comes to reading books.

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  3. How much time do you dedicate to reading daily? You pit me to shame! X

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  4. Oh wow you have read loads! I can’t seem to find the time to read xx

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  5. A Book of Extraordinary Deaths is going straight on my tbr x

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  6. These sound like some great books. I haven't read any of these but I like the sound of passport ready.

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  7. Passport ready sounds great, I haven't read any of these so far x

    Sophie

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  8. I've not read any of these but I definitely need to add some of them to my list xx

    Tiffany x www.foodandotherloves.co.uk

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  9. A great adornment of books. I love to read at this time of year.

    https://littlemissmelanie.com/

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  10. I really loved the Netflix adaptation of Alias Grace - hopefully you have more luck with it!

    Jasmine xx

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  11. I've heard so much about Red, White & Royal Blue - I might have to download xx

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