Monday, September 5, 2016

August Reading Wrap Up

August was a great reading month for me! 
I finished a total of 13 books with the help of a read-a-thon with the girls during our staycation and then my week long Scones and Crackers read-a-thon. 
These are the books I read in the month of August: 

1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

"Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places." (goodreads)

This book/play/script has been getting a lot of mixed reviews. It seems you either love it or hate it. 
I loved it. 
I felt like it was really fun and it made me happy while I was reading it. I felt like I was really transported back into that world that I love. And I met some old characters I love and a few new ones that I love now as well. 
I will do a full write up with all of my thoughts on Scones and Crackers very soon and as soon as it is up I will link it here. 
 5 stars *****

 2. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

"Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are."

This graphic novel was pretty fun. It started out great and it did make me laugh out loud a few times. It was a quick read and definitely entertaining. 
But I didn't love it. 
The ending had me a bit confused and I just wasn't sure where the story was really going at that point. It left me a little disappointed. 
Overall, it was fun but not my favorite graphic novel. It didn't quite live up to the hype for me. 
3 stars ***

3. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Mass

I am not going to post the Goodreads blurb for this one as it would contain spoilers for the first book. 
This is the sequel to the book A Court of Thorns and Roses that I read last month. 
And I actually liked this one even more than the first. 
Again, my only problem with these books are the sex scenes. It is so unnecessary. 
They are grouped into the new category of "New Adult". 
But my problem with that is that they are put in the YA section at the library. 
These are not YA. Not with those sex scenes.
I really wish she would have left them out because I feel like they are the only reason I can't give this series a 5 star rating. They take me out of the story and make it so I can't fully recommend them to everyone. 
But if you can overlook those kinds of things, it is such a great story. 
The characters I love, the writing is really good, and I will definitely continue reading this series. 
4 stars ****

4. Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman

"In Large Family Logistics, Kim outlines practical solutions she has learned to effectively manage a busy household. This how-to manual is filled with step-by-step procedures, easy-to- understand organizational advice, and a myriad of tips and hints for managing a bustling home with greater efficiency in a way that honors God and builds up family relationships."

I heard about this book from a blogger that recommended it for everyone, not just large families. 
I wouldn't have picked it up otherwise since we are hardly a large family with just two kids. 
And she was right- it did have helpful information for everyone. 
There was a lot of good advice and I did enjoy parts of it. 
I went back and forth between lower and higher ratings based on which section I was in and how much it applied to me. 
I think that it would apply the most to large, homeschooling families. 
It is also Christian based so I wouldn't recommend it to you if you are not religious. 
Overall I ended up taking some good advice from it and give it 3 stars. ***

5. The Rook by Daniel O' Malley

"The body you are wearing used to be mine." So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own. "

This was a really interesting book and very well written. 
I have heard this book compared to Ghostbusters + Men in Black+ X Men and I think that is pretty accurate. 
I was intrigued by the main character and liked the premise of the story. 
There were some characters that were really drawn out and fascinating and others who I kind of forgot about as the book went along and then wondered who they were when they were re-introduced. 
There were a few 3 star moments for me but by the end I felt like overall it deserved a 4 star review. I will probably do another write up on Scones and Crackers and I will link that here as well. 
4 stars ****

6. Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis

"Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life is a partial autobiography describing Lewis' conversion to Christianity. The book overall contains less detail concerning specific events than typical autobiographies. This is because his purpose in writing wasn't primarily historical. His aim was to identify & describe the events surrounding his accidental discovery of & consequent search for the phenomenon he labelled "Joy"."

I really enjoyed this book. 
I underlined a lot throughout the book and will share some of my favorite parts in my review on Scones and Crackers. 
I felt like this book was a quick read and very interesting to get Lewis' take on his early life. 
He is a great writer that has the ability to explain things in a way that are the same time beautiful and easy to read. 
4 stars ****

7. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

 "The action is set in Sicily, where Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon, has recently defeated his half-brother, the bastard Don John, in a military engagement. Apparently reconciled, they return to the capital, Messina, as guests of the Governor, Leonato. There Count Claudio, a young nobleman serving in Don Pedro's army, falls in love with Hero, Leonato's daughter, whom Don Pedro woos on his behalf. The play's central plot shows how Don John maliciously deceives Claudio into believing that Hero has taken a lover on the eve of her marriage, causing Claudio to repudiate her publicly, at the altar."

I have wanted to read this since I picked it up in England and I finally got around to it. 
It was so much fun to read. 
I absolutely love this play and it was read with a smile plastered on my face the whole time. 
Full review to come on Scones and Crackers.
4 stars ****

8. Stancliffe's hotel by Charlotte Bronte

I got this for free at Charlotte Bronte's house and was very excited to read this very short book. 
It didn't live up to my own hype.
There were some good things in it and you can definitely tell that she is a good writer from it but it didn't live up to Jane Eyre... of course that would be hard to do. 
I ended up giving it 2.5 stars **.5

9. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

"Northanger Abbey is often referred to as Jane Austen's Gothic parody. Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers give the story an uncanny air, but one with a decidedly satirical twist."

I was anxious to read this Jane Austen book for the first time as I have heard that it is a lot of people's least favorite Austen novel. I actually really enjoyed it!
I will do a full review on Scones and Crackers soon. 
4 stars ****

10. Towers in the Mist by Elizabeth Goudge

"Christ Church, Oxford is the location of this tale of the Leigh family, set in the days of Queen Elizabeth I.

In her notes about the origin of the book Elizabeth Goudge writes: "It is impossible to live in an old city and not ask oneself continually, what was it like in ages gone by? Who were the men, women and children who lived in my home centuries ago, and what were their thoughts and actions as they lived out their lives day by day in the place where I now live mine?"
"Goudge brings to life a number of traditional Oxford legends. The book has that indescribable quality, charm."

This was one of my very favorite reads of the month. It pleasantly surprised me as I had never read anything by this author before. I have a full review on Scones and Crackers that you can read here
5 stars *****

11. Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher

"Sophie May is content with her life in her small English village, working in the local coffee shop and living with her mom. But when famous actor Billy comes to town to play Mr. Darcy in a new film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Sophie's quiet life is quickly turned on its head. Billy is adored by women around the world, but he only wants Sophie on his arm. But being with Billy comes at a price, and Sophie is thrown in the spotlight after years of shying away from attention. Can she handle the constant scrutiny that comes with being with Billy?"

This wasn't my favorite. It wasn't terrible. But reading it right after Towers in the Mist was a bad idea because the difference in writing was so blaring. 
It had its good moments. There were things I liked. 
But it just didn't go over a 3.5 star for me and mostly hovered around 2-3. 
I am giving it an overall rating of about 2.5 stars **.5

 12. The Golden Store, An illustrated selection of poetry by William Wordsworth

This was a really beautiful book of some of Wordsworth's poems. 
I really enjoyed reading them and the illustrations that went along with them. 
I was able to read the entire thing in about an hour so it is a very quick read. 
4 stars ****

13. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, adapted into a Graphic Novel by Nancy Butler

This is a graphic novel version of Sense and Sensibility and it was delightful. 
It gave a really good version of the story and felt like it was very true to the book all the while making it a book you could read in just a few hours. 
I really enjoyed it. I am going to try to find the rest of the Austen graphic novels now. 
4 stars ****

So, that is it!
What did you read in August? 


The Kings said...

Can't believe how many books you read! Awesome! I have read some of them so feel pretty good that I did that! :-)

cheryl said...

I know. It was an amazing reading month. Of course, some of them were very short or it wouldn't have worked out that way. :)