Hi everyone! These wrap ups just keep getting longer and longer, and I just keep putting them off every time because there’s just so much to talk about! Before we get into the books themselves, lets take a look at some of my stats from my August reads.
In August, I finished 11 full books and one chapter sampler, which is not included in the rest of my stats since it wasn’t a full book. I read a total of 3427 pages and my average rating was 4.0 stars. For genre breakdown, I read 4 fantasy, 3 horrors, 3 thrillers, and 1 non-fiction in August. Format was pretty typical, with 2 audiobooks, 6 ebooks, and 3 physical books, and my ratings were surprisingly low this month: two 5 stars, one 4.5 star, four 4 stars, two 3.5 stars, and two 3 star reads.
Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney – ★★★★☆.5
This was my first Alice Feeney book, and I was pleasantly surprised! I didn’t really know what to expect with this book, but I knew it was getting a lot of attention and so when it was a selection for Book of the Month as one of their early releases, I jumped on it! I really liked the way this story was set up and the poem that foreshadowed the deaths of each person in the family, but it still kept you guessing as to who would go next, and how it would happen. I didn’t at all guess who the murderer was, so that was really fun to discover! I also didn’t see the reveal about Daisy coming, and it was shocking as well as sad. I also loved the setting of this small isolated island during a storm, definitely one of my favorite kinds of settings!
Monsters Born and Made (excerpt) by Tanvi Berwah – ★☆☆☆☆
I only read the excerpt for this book which was just the first 6 chapters, and I was so disappointed. I really thought that the premise of this book sounded cool, like The Scorpio Races meets The Hunger Games but it fell so short. The biggest letdown for me was the writing style, which was FAR too choppy. I included some examples of this in my full review, which you can check out for more details. There was also a lack of explanation for the world and what was going on, and I was just confused overall as to what this world is, how the characters are interacting with each other, and quite honestly, why I should care about these characters.
The Loop by Jeremy Robert Johnson – ★★★★☆
I have been trying so hard to scratch the horror itch that I had after reading Tender is the Flesh, and this one was so fast-paced and crazy! I love horror with conspiracy theories and the idea of science experiments gone wrong, and with a strange outbreak that causes teens to become aggressive murderers, this really hit the mark. I loved all the science behind everything, and it was pretty dark and had quite a bit of gore. I listened to this on audio, and it was an enjoyable read that way. I liked the inclusion of the podcast element, and overall the vibe definitely feels like Stranger Things, which the synopsis does point out.
I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy – ★★★★☆
It seems like either everyone has read or plans to read this book, and with good reason! Jennette is such a funny person, and her humor definitely comes through in her writing. I always feel weird rating memoirs, but I highly enjoyed this one and I felt SO BAD for Jennette after hearing about what she went through. Be warned though, this can definitely be triggering and doesn’t hold back any punches especially when it comes to eating disorders (which is why it was rated a 4 star by me, it was almost too much for me to handle). While I loved Jennette in iCarly as a kid, I completely understand her wish to move away from that show and do her own thing and I wish her all the best and if she decides to write anything else, I’ll definitely give it a shot!
The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd Jones – ★★★★★
Oh man, I LOVED this book! Everything from the world to the magic to the characters themselves (ESPECIALLY Trefor) were fantastic! I loved the twists and turns and the heartbreak that the characters deal with, and the synopsis saying this is part heist novel and part dark fairy tale is a perfect description of this book. I’m super intrigued now by the legend of Cantre’r Gwaelod now, and I want to do some other reading of that legend! And the fact that there is an adorable corgi who may or may not be a spy for the ‘others’ (fae) was just icing on the top. Now that I’ve read and loved tis so much, I’m definitely going to go back and read my copy of The Bone Houses since it’s set in the same world and I loved the writing style! Will Emily Lloyd-Jones become an auto-buy author for me after that? I have a good feeling she will be!
Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak – ★★★☆☆
So I was really enjoying this book – the addition of the drawings was amazing, and the haunted house vibes were fantastic! I couldn’t see what was coming next at all, and the family Mallory worked with seemed like a dream come true! but then the last 20% or so things really went off the rails, and I did not like where it went at all. The parents suddenly had personality changes and their reasoning for their actions was so puzzling because there was nothing previously that led to their choices, especially the father and his actions. And the big reveal about Teddy felt really icky to me, and it was just kind of ridiculous. I think that the author wanted to tackle a ton of social issues that by the end it ended up just being too much. Ultimately, I probably could’ve skipped this book but I did really like the first half and the drawings, but that particular plotline was more sad than scary and this book really isn’t horror.
Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young – ★★★★☆
I was able to read an early copy of this book, and I’m so happy that I did because I really enjoyed this one! I’ve read a few books from this author before, and one of the things I think she’s best at is getting the vibes of the book down perfectly. This is such a perfect fall read – it takes place on an island of witches, where tourists come to pick apples at the local orchard. It gave me the same vibes as the town scenes in Practical Magic, and I loved it! I had fun trying to solve the mystery of Lily’s death, but ultimately, I felt the ending was lackluster and anti-climatic, and it seemed like the easy way out. I still recommend it, if only for the vibes and the characters trying to solve the mystery while keeping all their secrets close. I will definitely be reading more from this author in the future!
Related: Spells for Forgetting Review
Woom by Duncan Ralston – ★★★☆☆.5
I don’t really have anything specific to say about this book, other than I was looking for something that would gross me out and stick with me and I certainly accomplished that goal with this book! DEFINITELY not for the faint of heart, there are TONS of trigger warnings that come with this super short novella, so I recommend looking at those before you decide to read this book. It’s extreme horror for a reason, after all! From the coat hanger scene, to the mannequin and the rebirth scenes, this was so incredibly messed up and yet, I enjoyed it! There were also some pretty funny lines, but I found I did have some issues with the rebirth idea as clearly things don’t work like that in real life.
One Dark Window by Rachel Gillig – ★★★☆☆
This was another ARC that I was approved for that I read in August, and it was okay. I did enjoy parts of this book and the premise sounded really unique and interesting! I did like the magic system using providence cards which are kind of like tarot cards, but it also felt like a very flawed magic system as well and there were a LOT of inconsistencies with the providence cards. This also has enemies to lovers and fake dating, which are tropes that I do tend to enjoy. However, the biggest thing I didn’t like was the characters. I hated how dumb the main character acted all the time, like she never thought anything through or took the time to do some critical thinking, even though the answers were painfully obvious. The only character that I liked was Ravyn, and we don’t really know much about him at all as the side characters weren’t really fleshed out all that much. This said it’s an adult gothic fantasy, but it was more in line with popular YA trends and tropes so there was a lot that felt like I had read it all before.
Related: One Dark Window Review
A Dowry of Blood by S. T. Gibson – ★★★★★
Stunning. This book is ABSOLUTELY stunning, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy so I can read it again and maybe even annotate it! The writing was beautiful and I have so many lines highlighted in my ARC, and the way this book ultimately handled abusive relationships was heartbreaking. This showcased how you can so easily see abuse as a form of love, and how over time you start to see how all those little things really start to take a toll on both yourself and those around you. I adored Constanta, Magdalena and Alexei and the relationship that they had with each other, and even seeing their complex relationship with Dracula. It’s such a difficult yet beautiful book, and honestly, I think everyone should give this book a chance.
Related: A Dowry of Blood Review
This Thing Between Us by Gus Moreno – ★★★★☆
This was another book I listened to on audio, and I think I may need to go back and read it physically. I’m not sure if it was because I was distracted while listening at the end or if maybe it was intended to be this way, but I didn’t really like how the ending was unclear. I liked the idea of the haunted home speaker that ended up becoming so much more than that. The scenes were Thiago is at the cabin with the dog that he found I think was my favorite part of this book. I’m thinking that after a few of the horror books that I’ve read with more open ended, up for discussion type of endings that that just isn’t the type of horror for me, but that’s fine, because I’m learning what I do like when it comes to horror!
Dark Across the Bay by Ania Ahlborn – ★★★☆☆.5
I’ve been watching a lot more BookTok lately on my BookTok account (I don’t post there often, but feel free to come follow me on TikTok!) I started looking up horror recommendations and I came across Baker Reads there and he has done a lot of horror/disturbing book recommendations there! He had a video ranking all the books by Ania Ahlborn, and I thought they all sounded super interesting so I figured I would start reading them! I did enjoy this one and the premise of someone coming to your vacation home and sneaking around with bad intentions made for a tense read! However, I found parts of the ending a little unbelievable (will the caretaker not recognize her niece? I’m also fairly certain the police could find out what happened, too). Bot overall, I found this one enjoyable and I can’t wait to read more of her works! I’m saving Brother for last, because it seems that’s everyone’s favorite.
What books did you read in August? Have you read any of these? I’d love to chat!