Hey everyone! I haven’t done a wrap up since July, so instead of posting monthly wrap ups to catch up, I’m just going to call it recent reads and just bundle them all together into one post. Let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what your thoughts are! I’ll be doing a separate wrap up for October because I actually ended up reading 6 books, and I don’t want to make this post too terribly long!
Before we get into the books themselves, let’s talk about some stats first. During the months of August and September I managed to read 8 books, 5 in August and 3 in September. That’s a total of 3,678 pages, with an average page count of 460 pages. The longest book was 986 pages and the shortest was 304 pages! My average rating was a 4 star, which is pretty good! One book was a hardcover and then the rest were e-books, so clearly I’m not doing all that well with clearing my physical TBR.
Dragon Mage by M.L. Spencer – ★★★★☆
This was the longest book that I read at 986 pages, and I really enjoyed it! So much so that I immediately preordered the second book in the series and also downloaded another series by this author to try. The writing was very easy to read and the story really flew by, I hardly noticed how long the book was! This had so many popular tropes that I love, including the chosen one, magical schools, training montages, coming of age, and dragons! The characters were definitely my favorite part, I just loved Aram and Marcus so much and the way that they supported each other. Aram goes through so much through this book and somehow he always pulls through. I also loved the fight scenes, especially the ones that take place on dragonback. There was so much detail and care that went into this book, and while it could work as a standalone I’m very happy that it’s a series and I can’t wait to continue! More people should be reading and talking about this book, so if it sounds interesting to you I definitely recommend picking it up!
A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee – ★★★☆☆ .75
I really loved the atmosphere of this book! I found that I was hoping for some more witchy and dark things to happen, but overall I enjoyed it. I liked the inclusion of witches and how it is just so much a part of the school and the girls both past and present, and it was interesting to see how that was interwoven in with Felicity’s thesis on misogyny and the portrayal of women in horror books. There are definitely a ton of trigger warnings for this book though so I highly recommend looking at a list before going into it. I did like the twists and how things ended and the characters were incredibly interesting. If you’re looking for a book with TONS of dark academia vibes this DEFINITELY has that!
Small Favors by Erin A Craig – ★★★★☆
This was so creepy! From the very beginning this had such a eerie vibe and you could tell that something wasn’t quite right with any of the characters and there was something really off, which made this a really fun reading experience. I thought the characters were interesting and the writing was great! The ending with the village was incredible, but I didn’t really like the way things happened with why everything that happened…happened. Obviously I don’t want to spoil anything because the ending is wild and insane, but there were parts of the ending that I liked and parts that I didn’t like. Overall, a really interesting and creepy fall read!
The Endless Skies by Shannon Price – ★★★☆☆ .5
This is actually the only book that I read in these two months that I actually wrote a review for because it was an ARC! I really liked the premise and the idea of winged lion shifters! I also liked the multiple POV’s and the fact that this is a standalone. However, I didn’t really think that the love triangle was needed and it didn’t add anything to the story, and there were some plot points that felt a little rushed or abandoned and I wish that this book was a little bit longer to really flesh out all the different plot points. This also takes place over the course of a few days and there is a LOT that is packed into those few days which also contributed to the fact that I felt like there was some things that didn’t get the attention they deserved. Overall, a great fantasy read especially for people who are either younger or just wanting to get into fantasy as a young reader!
56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard – ★★☆☆☆
This one I picked up mostly because I was really curious about it even though I hadn’t heard many good things, and I didn’t really like it. I wanted to see what a mystery/thriller taking place during the pandemic would play out, and the answer is slowly and very boring. I also thought it was kind of poorly written, the characters felt like they were the same people and it was incredibly repetitive. I didn’t feel like it was a mystery, and it wasn’t very thrilling. What should’ve felt like shocking twists were just bland, and I was just really bored while reading it. I don’t think I would recommend this one, but maybe if you’re new to mystery/thrillers you would enjoy this one!
The Maleficent Seven by Cameron Johnston – ★★★★☆ .5
This was one that I was really looking forward to, and while it took me quite a long time to read, I did really enjoy this one! I loved how dark and twisted it was, and the ending was great. I’m not currently reading a whole lot of grimdark, but I do really love books that are bleak and just…dark. I also really love when we get a group of people who are meant to save the world and for whatever reason, they aren’t the ones you would expect to be the ones to save the world. I also really enjoyed that we got to explore these characters and their abilities, which made the battle scenes so much fun to read! In a lot of ways, it reminded me of Kings of the Wyld mixed with something like suicide squad because of the tropes they use. Overall, a great read!
White Smoke by Tiffany D Jackson – ★★★★★
White Smoke ended up being so much creepier than I was expecting it to be! It’s my first time reading a book from Tiffany D Jackson, and I’ll definitely be checking more out in the future, because while this was creepy, it was highly enjoyable as well! This honestly was such a perfect haunted house story with a lot of current day issues woven in. I liked that there was mental health rep that while it contributed to the eerie feeling, the haunted aspects weren’t all due to the paranoia that the main character felt which I really appreaciated, because I hate when mental health is used as a plot device like that. I definitely recommend this one, but maybe read it with all your lights on.
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins – ★★★★★
My attention was brought to this one because of a youtube video (which I now forget who it was) that was talking about how messed up this book is, and the way it was described made me really intrigued. I ended up LOVING this so much! It was incredibly dark and twisted, and there’s a TON of gore (and some scenes involving dogs that some people won’t like at all) but I really enjoyed it. It was also surprisingly funny at times as well. It’s really difficult to put into words just exactly what this book is, but it’s crazy and weird and bloody and funny.
Have you read any of these? I’d love to know your thoughts!
NINE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY SIX PAGES and I’m sat here complaining about my 600 page current read 😭
LikeLiked by 1 person
😂 honestly it felt like I was reading a 300 page book because of how fast it went!
I’ve not read any of these, but Dragon Mage is definitely on the list to look into … I always read the preview for a book before I get it, to vastly increases the probability that I will know if I won’t like it … or if I will.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I love having a kindle to read the samples before I commit! Dragon Mage was a ton of fun and I’m really looking forward to book 2 in 2022!
LikeLiked by 1 person
I don’t have Kindle… but I can read the samples without having one. Dragon Mage specifically has a lot of things that sound good to me, but it’s also a little heavy on the Epic Fantasy Tropes, which depending on how they’re done, could be a thing I don’t like, or a thing I do and don’t mind at all. I don’t have problems with the tropes; only how they’re sometimes done. I don’t mind Epic either, but I like the Epic is be very grounded in something that I sometimes describe as “Slice of Life,” but focused on the characters and who they are, including who they are in the mundane things, the tiny details, the recurrent struggles or triumphs of everyday life that, in my opinion, are a big part of even the most epic quests or stories!
So I’m waiting until I’m in the mood to really read the preview/sample and feel the story, to make my decision. Also, some in-depth book reviews might help, so I should search for any of those on Dragon Mage. I think there have got to be a coupe as part of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off, in which it was entered.
Pingback: October 2021 Wrap Up – Melting Pages