September was a rough month for me, as far as reading goes. I was able to finish 12 books totaling 4699 pages, and 1 audiobook that clocked in at 18h 20m. This seems like a success, and it was, but it was hard. I felt like I couldn’t get sucked into my usual reading zen, and that sitting down to read was a job. Unfortunately, this is not out of the norm for me this time of year. The days are getting colder and darker, and I hate it. It always brings out a slump.
THAT BEING SAID, I am now only 9 books from my 2019 reading goal, which is HUGE! I am hoping this thought gives me the push I need to beat this slump! So let’s take a look at what I accomplished this month, and then look forward to October!
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
429 pages. 5/5 Stars. Reread.
Obviously I needed to reread this before Darkdawn, only I seriously underestimated how long said reread would take me. Usually I can blast through a book this length in a solid day, and I allotted myself 3 days to read NN and GG. Except this book is super detailed, written in teeny font, and needs to be read carefully. So despite the fact that it pushed my Darkdawn read by several days, I don’t regret it for a moment. It’s just so good. PLUS I had forgotten a lot of the finer details, so I am so glad I came back to this.
ALSO, I have to lend my full support for the footnotes. They are amazing and I love them to pieces.
Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff
419 pages. 5/5 Stars. Reread.
This is quite possibly my favorite of the trilogy (I can say that now that I have read Darkdawn). I love the whole gladiator thing, and Mia is just soooo badass. “You can keep your glory; I’m here for the blood”? Um…yes. #stabstabstab. I really like the addition of Eclipse, and how we have more darkin coming out of the woodwork. I can’t decide, even after reading this for the second time, how I feel about Ash. I want to love her, but she did us so dirty in Nevernight and I’m not sure I can forgive that. I will definitely never forget (see what I did there?)
Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff
448 pages. 5/5 Stars.
Oh. My. Gods. This was so fucking brilliant. I went into this knowing Jay would likely rip my heart out, and I wasn’t wrong in that regard. It was so dark, so twisty, and so full of holyshit moments. I have heard a lot of mixed opinions on the ending (which I won’t spoil!!!) but I loved it. I thought it was exactly the ending that was deserved, and it reflected so much of Jay in it. I will definitely do a full review of this (WITH spoilers) soon!
Also, I want to make sure I give massive props to Jay for all of the super meta moments in this book. I couldn’t stop laughing.
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
456 pages. 5/5 Stars.
I loved this book! I needed something good after having my soul destroyed by Darkdawn, and this had been on my TBR for a while. It was just what I needed to help re-calibrate my feels. Elisabeth was such an awesome main character, and I loved her grit and tenacity. Nathaniel was a great counter to her personality, and I super ship them. I also loved the full complement of side characters (especially Silas!!!) and felt that some of the moments involving them were the best parts of the book. I won’t go into super detail since I just wrote a full review on this a few weeks ago, but suffice to say it was awesome. Now go read that review. 😉
Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts
304 pages. 4/5 Stars.
I was still suffering a DD hangover, even after Sorcery of Thorns, and when that happens my cure is always cheesy romance! Nothing kicks a hangover for me faster than some good old fashion tropes! Nora Roberts is my go-to for this sort of thing, and I have had this trilogy on my shelf for a while! It follows her usual pattern of 3 men, 3 women, magic, love, and a curse that needs to be broken. Only this time we get a whole slew of unexpected twists I did not see coming (I won’t spoil them!). This book focuses on the romance between Sasha and Bran. Sasha is a seer and an artist, and is definitely the glue holding the group together. Bran is an Irishman (yum) and a very powerful magician (double yum). They are adorable. We also have the group working to find the Fire Star.
Bay of Sighs by Nora Roberts
319 pages. 4/5 Stars.
The story progresses and we have our second couple pairing off! This book focuses on Sawyer (who I love) and Annika (who is an innocent little bean and I adore her) as they fall in love amidst the craziness around them. I think they are my favorite couple from the series, mostly because he is a sweetheart and she is so upbeat and full of life. This book also has the group trying to find the Water Star, which proves a bit more harrowing a task than the Fire Star. This trilogy is so full of tropes and – in a lot of ways – Mary Sue characters, but that’s exactly why I read them.
Island of Glass by Nora Roberts
315 pages. 4/5 Stars.
We finally get the last couple together – Riley and Doyle. They are the only couple where I felt like the romance was a bit forced. We all know they’re going to get together, but it almost felt like they only were because the author was like “oh crap, I need them to pair off but I forgot to write them in a way that makes them compatible. Oh well”. Despite that, Riley is probs my favorite of the group, so I liked getting more of her POV. We also see the crew working to find the Ice Stone, and to break the curse and defeat the villain. Obviously we get a happy ending (there was no way we weren’t, so this is not a spoiler) and that was just what I needed to help kick the DD hangover.
Iron Gold by Pierce Brown
601 pages. 4/5 Stars. Reread.
Holy moly. This took me almost a month to finish, because I was sooooo burnt out of it. I think it’s because the first 3 Red Rising books are so heavy (and amazing), but this one is just not as interesting. Yeah, I like the new characters we get, and the new POVs, but I really don’t care about the other people – I just want Darrow and the Howlers and all that. I also feel like we didn’t see a lot of story progression here. So much of it was set-up, which makes sense because it’s a new arc and ten years later, but also felt bland because it’s really book 4 of the series and I feel like we are past the need for set-up at this point. I think I will hold off on Dark Age for just a little bit.
Chilling Effect by Valarie Valdes
448 pages. 4/5 Stars.
I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for a review, and I am really glad for it! It’s pretty unlikely that I would have picked this up on my own (it’s not YA and it isn’t mainstream, so I never would have seen it), but I really enjoyed it. I laughed constantly, and loved the cast of characters and the overall plot. It makes me want to check out more from this author, and I was happy to find out it is the first in a series! I will certainly be keeping an eye out for the next installment, because I need to know what happens next! I will stop rambling now, but I wrote a full review, so check that out if you want to hear more about this book!
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
472 Pages. 5/5 Stars.
This was the featured book in the May Owlcrate box, and I am kicking myself for not reading it sooner! I really loved everything about this book. I rarely find myself notating books my first time out (I usually save that for books I have read a few times before), but I found myself reaching for page flags several times just in the first portion of the book! I love Zafira and her fierceness, Nasir is the broken dark boi I love to find in my reads, and the supporting characters were all wonderful. This was so full of twists and turns and I found myself voraciously reading in an attempt to find out what happens next! I cannot wait for the next book!
Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman & Colleen Doran
56 Pages. 4/5 Stars.
I can count on one hand the number of graphic novels I have read, but I could not resist the lure of this one! Not only is it written by Neil Gaiman, but the illustrations are STUNNING, and it’s a dark retelling of Snow White. Win, win, win. I really enjoyed reading this, and it had that awesome creepy crawly vibe I like to read during the fall months (yay Spooky Season). I did take off one star because there were certain parts that I felt weren’t as well written as they could have been. There was also very little in terms of text, and I think the story could have benefited from more of that to go with the gorgeous graphics. The pictures really are what held this book up for me. All in all, I don’t think I’ll suddenly be reading graphic novels all the time, but I definitely appreciated this one!
Frankly in Love by David Yoon
432 Pages. 5/5 Stars.
I have been seeing a lot of hype for this book on Bookstagram, and then I saw that all the first print editions would have blue sprayed pages and so obviously I needed to have it! I am so glad I followed my impulses here, because it was so good! Frank is a great MC and a wonderful narrator for this story. I laughed a lot, I cried a ton, and I basically was a big ball of feels. I cannot wait for David Yoon’s next book, because he just joined Kasie West and Morgan Matson on my contemporary auto-buy-author list.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, Narrated by Steve West
18h 20m. 5/5 Stars. Reread.
Steve West could literally read the phone book and I would listen to all 300 hours of it. He is the perfect narrator for Strange the Dreamer, which is one of my very favorite books, written by one of my very favorite authors. This was the second time I have listened to this audiobook, and somewhere around the fifth time I have read it since it’s release. I love it so much that I was finding myself purposefully taking the longer route on my commute so I could squeeze in more listening time. I definitely shed some serious tears near the end, which is always a little nerve-wracking while also trying to drive a car. I am moving right into Muse of Nightmares now, and I can’t wait.