August 2018 Wrap-Up

I’m pretty proud of myself this month, guys. I more or less stayed on track with my TBR. At least, I read three out of the four books I had planned to read, and then two extra ones on top of that. I would say that’s pretty good, considering I started back to school two-thirds of the way through the month. Technically, I have also read one required school book already this month, but I’ve decided that on my monthly TBRs and wrap-ups, I’m only going to talk about the books I want to/read for fun. Otherwise they would probably be way too long. (Though of course if you guys would like to hear about what I’m reading for school each month, I could maybe talk about them a bit at the beginning or end of my TBRs and/or wrap-ups. Let me know down below.)

Anyway, let’s just get into what I read this month.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

This is the first book I finished this month. It’s set in a world where there were once four different, parallel Londons—Grey London, Red London, White London, and Black London. Now, though, Black London has been destroyed, and travel between worlds has been limited to a select few people. This dying breed are called Antari and there are only two in existence—one of which is our main character, Kell. Kell is from Red London, and acts as a messenger between the Red London royal family and the other two Londons. Secretly, though, he is also a smuggler, bringing things illegally into the different worlds and selling them to people. That smuggling catches up to him in a bad way when he unwittingly carries a dangerous artifact between Londons. Together, he and a young girl from Grey London must save their worlds from exposure and collapse.

This is the first V.E. Schwab book I have ever read, and while it’s definitely not a new favorite, I did think it was very good (4 stars), and I’m excited to read the rest of the series, and also to read some of her other books someday. I’m especially interested in reading Vicious, because it just seems like something up my alley.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

This is a book I have been wanting to read forever, even before I started putting it on every monthly  TBR and then not getting to it. This month, I finally did, and it ended up being my lowest rated book this month, at 3 stars. I still think I would be willing to continue on with the series, though, because the concept really intrigues me. It’s about what happens to kids after they come back from a portal fantasy, set in a school that’s supposed to help kids learn how to reacclimatize themselves to our world after their experiences. We follow a girl named Nancy who has just returned from the Land of the Dead, and her parents have sent her to this school, Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

My main problem with this book wasn’t the story itself, or the characters, or the concept. My problem was mainly with the number of pages. This book is well below 200 pages, clocking in at 169 according to Goodreads, so it’s definitely a quick read. To me, though, that simply wasn’t enough space to fully develop the characters or plot, especially since it’s set in a school, where there are naturally several characters for us to get to know. I’ve noticed that the rest of the books in this series are all pretty short, so I’m nervous that they might suffer from this problem as well. I’m willing to give them a try, though, someday.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

I finally did it, you guys. I have finally started reading Harry Potter. I’m sure I don’t need to give you a description of what Harry Potter is about, so I’ll just say a little bit about what I thought.

Maybe it’s because I have grown up watching the movies (my mom is a huge Harry Potter fan—she’s read all the books and watched all the movies), but I wasn’t instantly enthralled by this book. I liked it, sure, but not with the same passion as most people seem to like Harry Potter. In the end, I gave it 4 stars, and I do plan on reading the rest of the series over the next year or so.

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

This book took me a long time to read because I actually started it back in July, but then a readathon happened and I put it down to read stuff that went with the readathon’s challenges. I didn’t end up picking it back up until halfway into August, but I finished it not long after that. It’s about a girl named Leah who has the ability to sense gold, set during the Gold Rush Era in America. After her mother and father are killed, Leah is faced with a choice: stay at home with an uncle she hates, or go to California, where gold is said to be plentiful and a girl like her wouldn’t stand out as much. She cuts her hair, dresses up like a boy, and sets off across country.

I really liked this book. I liked Leah, I liked reading about her struggles with hiding who she really is. I even liked some of the historical aspects. I just wish we could have seen a little more of her powers in action. This book is supposed to be a historical fantasy, but it was definitely much more historical than fantastical. Considering that the main plot of this book is Leah pretending to be someone she’s not, though, it makes sense, and I’m sure that as the series goes on we get to see her powers a little more.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

The last book I read was actually a reread for me. I wasn’t intending on reading this book (which you know if you saw my August or BustAThon TBRs), but while I was doing the readathon, I started reading Brandon Sanderson’s collection of novellas set in the same worlds as some of his books. After reading the first novella, which is set in same world as Elantris, I realized that I remembered nothing that happened in this book, and so after the readathon was over, I decided to reread it. And I of course loved it, because I love pretty much anything Brandon Sanderson writes.

It’s told in alternating POVs—Raoden, the crown prince of Arelon, who disappeared mysteriously; Sarene, his fiancée and a princess from a nearby kingdom, who became a widow before she ever got married; and Hrathen, a priest who has come to save the kingdom of Arelon before it’s too late. The story centers around the city of Elantris, a place that was once the city of the gods, inhabited by beautiful, powerful beings who used their magic to help others around them. Ten years ago, though, something went wrong. The Elantrians lost their power and their beauty, and even their shimmering city began crumbling around them. In ten years, no one has figured out why, but maybe that’s about to change.

***

There you have it, guys! All the books I read in August. I think it was a pretty decent reading month, all things considered. Let me know down in the comments what you guys read this month. Do you feel good about your reading progress?

I’ll be back tomorrow with my September TBR, so thanks for reading, and I’ll see you then!

-Ariel

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