Better late than never, right?
I am well aware it's now the second week of October but here I am with my September Wrap-Up. This was a pretty decent month for me, with 8 books read and with four 5 star reads, and two 3 and 4 star reads. I'm actually surprised I got through as many books as I did considering I was stuck on one book early on in the month that I kept wanting to DNF but, stupidly, forced my way through (and yes, I still gave it 3 stars. We'll get to it soon enough).
My first September book was incredible and worthy of more than the 5 stars I could award it. Unsurprisingly, this was an Ink Road Books publication - I swear, every book they release is utterly incredible. The Jungle by Pooja Puri is set in a refugee camp and follows one of it's inhabitants. It is so well written and you can tell a lot of research was involved. Given that the Syrian refugee crisis is still very raw, this book is incredibly important and an absolute must read.
Back in March when I went to NYC, I obviously had to visit The Strand bookstore and I managed to restrain myself and pick up just one book, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, which I finally read in September. This was another 5 star book and one of those that I hope schools choose to study over classics. Speak deals with some important issues and just... I can't even tell you much about what the book is about as I feel it really - excuse the pun - speaks for itself.
Here comes the book that I wish I'd never seen in a charity shop and bought along with the other three in the series. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen is such... a... drag... It's sold as a historical fiction YA with mystery as well as romance. But I'm telling you, the only mystery in this damn book is how to keep track of who is with who and who fancies who but is actually with someone else because of some stupid reason. Seriously. I had to put the book down and draw a diagram with arrows pointing to and from people to show how they connected. It got confusing. This book is incredibly drawn out and absolutely did not need to be the length it was. I love a bit of historical fiction and though New York isn't my location of choice for these stories, the time period certainly was. I just felt, as I said, it dragged on unnecessarily and in the end, we all knew exactly what was going to happen and half of the book was a waiting game for it. I honestly anticipated that the big mystery would occur somewhere in the middle and the rest of the book would focus on that. Nope. Weddings and dates and blah. How this drags on for another three books I do not know but I H I G H L Y doubt I will pick up the next book any time soon. This series will probably be what encourages me to do an unhaul!
Having wanted a mystery novel, I figured I'd try Sophie McKenzie for the first time with her newest book SweetFreak. I have a review up for this book here so I won't divulge too much of my thoughts on it but I did give it 4 stars. It would have been five but there is some H O R R I F I C text speak used that still haunts me more than any thriller novel I have read before.
In an attempt to catch up to my reading challenge schedule I read - in about one hour - Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers. This is a very small book and it's written in short notes from mother to daughter and vice versa. Sometimes these are one or two words, others are a little more detailed but it still means less words on the page and thus a very quick read. This was a 4.75 star book but I rounded it to 5 on goodreads as it is one of the few books that has made me cry, real physical tears, not just inside.
The Memory Book by Lara Avery has been on my shelf for quite some time now and I finally got round to it, giving it 3.75 stars. Honestly? I can't remember anything about this book. I know post its are involved and the main character is losing or has lost her memory... that's it. So a quick brief on goodreads has recalled the story to me. Sammie, our main character, has an illness that is causing her memory to go and she decides to write a book for her self to remember things that happen etc. Looking back, I'd probably give this a full 4 stars but I'll leave it as it is for now. For a chunky book, I read this fairly quickly, but as you can tell, it's not the most memorable of tales.
Next up was probably my favourite book of the month and another 5 star read: We Were Liars by E Lockhart. I am very late to the game on this book but oh my days I loved this! I think, in some way, I sort of guessed what had happened but at the same time I felt blindsided by the reveal. This was exactly the mystery I was looking for. I loved the fact that this also felt like a summer contemporary and for the first half the mystery was sort of what the ACTUAL mystery was since it was only clear that something - anything - happened two summers ago but there was no inkling as to what it involved so you were sort of waiting for it - I'm well aware I'm literally describing a mystery as being mystery but it makes sense to me. Anyway. This book was incredible and I need all the books like it right now!
Finally, I read Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon. This is a non-fiction memoir of sorts about a woman with OCD and how she has lived her life with it and so on and so forth. I gave this four stars but in all honesty, I'm not a fan of rating non-fiction as it's very specific to each author and you're sort of rating the person and their life, not what they are telling you. Bryony Gordon is a character. I'll give her that. And the fact she is so willing to share the dark parts of her life and the daft things she has done so as to enlighten other but often to give people a laugh at her expense is admirable. I bought this book as for the entirety of my childhood/teenage year, I suffered with mental health alone. Even now, one day shy of 21, (gotta mention that birthday every chance I get, I know haha) I'm often fobbed off as 'over reacting' or 'making it up' and exaggerating things. So I wanted to see what it was like for someone else. Not only that, but having been told by a doctor 'yeah you probably do have OCD' but never actually being given a proper diagnosis for it (or indeed ever being looked at by anyone other than a GP who will only ever diagnose anxiety and depression because they don't know about other mental health disorders), I wanted to find out more about it, about someone's life with it and to see how it manifested in someone else. I'm glad I read this book, but I can't say I enjoyed it.
So, there we have it. Although this was a mostly 4 and 5 star month, only two of the books I read really stand out to me (The Jungle and We Were Liars). I was hoping for a better month in October but so far I've read two books - one of which I started last month but finished on the first so it counts to this month. I'm continuing my Harry Potter reread but I'm in a strange mood. I've had a crazy few weeks and no time at all for books so I'm just trying to get back into the swing of things now - and that includes blogging. After my previous blog post, Unapologetically Blogging, I have felt a weight lifted and it's motivated me to take blogging more seriously and create good content regularly so watch this space!
See ya soon!