Alexis’ August Wrap Up

A kindle sits on top of a paperback copy of Raybearer on a desk. A lit white pumpkin candle sits behind it, next to a cup of pens and office supplies and a pink water bottle.

Alexis:

Well, I read seven books in August! This has definitely been a good reading year for me; I actually surpassed my Goodreads goal of reading 50 books this year in August, too.

I re-read two books this month: A Court of Mist and Fury and Raybearer. Both were still 5-star reads, and I’m happy that I bought copies of both of them to add to my personal library.

I read one 4-star book: The Crown of Gilded Bones. While I haven’t given star ratings to the other books in the Blood and Ash series, I enjoyed the additional worldbuilding and Poppy’s character arc, and it definitely felt like a 4-star read.

I read two 3-star books: Realm Breaker, Tweet Cute, and Last Summer at the Golden Hotel.

Realm Breaker is a high fantasy read. I found the prologue to be confusing, and I had a hard time getting into the beginning of the story. While I loved some of the characters, there were a lot of POVs, the world and worldbuilding felt kind of generic, and I just wasn’t blown away when I finished reading it.

I actually read Tweet Cute on my Kindle while traveling. It’s a YA rom-com, which definitely isn’t my usual genre. This was a fun read, with a LOT of cheese puns. It bounces back and forth between the POVs of Pepper and Jack. I enjoyed reading about Pepper’s love of baking, and I enjoyed reading about an app that Jack created called Weazel. However, the main plotline of this book is a Twitter feud, and I found that it got a little annoying and boring for me. But if you like fluffy reads and drama, then I think you might enjoy it.

I also read Last Summer at the Golden Hotel while traveling. It mentioned Dirty Dancing, one of my favorite movies, so I had to pick it up! Turns out the only similarity is the setting. This book is wholly about family drama. Two different families own the Golden Hotel, and we get to see from a ton of different POVs (which usually isn’t my thing; it keeps me from connecting to the characters, and this was no different). While this book was definitely interesting, I think it dragged on a little too long, and had some melodramatic parts. It also focused a lot on the difference between generations, which I also wasn’t a huge fan of. (Maybe I need to stick to my favorite genre from now on!)

And finally, I read one 2-star book: Ariadne. I already wrote a review on it, so you can check that out here!

Alexis’ Top 10 Books of 2020

Alexis:

Happy New Year, everyone!

I reached my goal of reading 50 books in 2020, and then I actually surpassed it by reading 51.

My top 10 books won’t be a surprise; I’ve reviewed most of them here already. However, I will include a short blurb about each one as a refresher.

Without further ado, here are my top 10 books of 2020, in no particular order!

  1. Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas

Maas is a guilty pleasure of mine. Her books have a way of wholly drawing you into her worlds, and this one was no different. Crescent City is a new adult, brash urban fantasy that follows Bryce, a half-fae. She teams together with Hunt, a fallen angel, to solve the mystery of her best friend’s murder. Craziness and romance ensue. 

  1. Deeplight by Frances Hardinge

Hardinge is one of my favorite writers; she always kills it! Deeplight is a slowburn YA fantasy with deaf representation that centers around toxic friendships. It has a large dose of monstrous sea gods. It’s an imaginative, dark, and wonderfully written book. 

  1. Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

While categorized as YA, I found that this West-African inspired fantasy book leaned more towards adult. I loved the writing, the intricate worldbuilding, and the plot. The plot itself is hard to explain; you’ll have to pick it up!

  1. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

While this historical fantasy starts out slow and a bit confusing, it morphs into a lyrical story about family and belonging. It’s full of other dimensions, and, you guessed it, doors. 

  1. House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

This retelling of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” is dark and gothic. The story focuses on sisterhood and death/murder, with a fun dose of dancing at balls to balance it all out. 

  1. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

This is a coming-of-age story and a retelling of the Greek myth of Achilles and Patroclus. It follows the romantic relationship of the two characters up until the Trojan War. Miller’s writing is fantastic, and she’s a Greek mythology genius.

  1. Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst

Race the Sands follows two women in the desert world of Becar, where you can ride monstrous creatures called kehoks, who are reincarnated from the worst of the worst people in a past life. The story focuses on reincarnation, determination, and carving your own path in the world, and I found it to be a refreshing fantasy read.

  1. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

This is whimsical and heartwarming, a great change of pace for adult fantasy. It follows Linus, a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, who is given an assignment to inspect an island full of magical children classified as dangerous. 

  1. The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

This YA, Welsh inspired historical fantasy follows Ryn, a gravedigger who begins to notice that the dead are rising, and teams together with a boy named Ellis. It’s a classic journey story with great characters and an enjoyable plot. I loved the fresh take on zombies, or “bone houses.” 

  1. The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez 

Finally, a contemporary romance book somehow made it onto my list! I enjoyed this book far more than I anticipated. I loved the funny, snappy dialogue, the characters, and the romance. The focus on music, and the inclusion of the playlist, only added to the story. 

Honorary re-read favorites: The Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo 

I read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom in 2018, and though I immediately classified them as some of my favorite books, I had forgotten a lot of the plot. I absolutely loved re-reading them in 2020! They’re Bardugo’s best works, in my opinion, with an intricate world and plot, and very well-drawn characters that you’ll be rooting for from the beginning (even the morally grey ones).

My 2021 reading goal is to branch out a little more outside of YA fantasy. My classes will help with this, of course (I can’t believe I’ll finish my last semester in 2021!) I also currently have Kindle Unlimited, and I’m excited to dive into some thrillers and historical fiction!