Ok, so I realise this is super late, but I’ve been so busy and had a lot going on the last couple of weeks – here is my August wrap-up!
I had a pretty good reading month in August, especially considering there was about a week in the middle where I barely read at all, but I managed to get through 10 books. Enjoyed them all, but highlights have to be Red Rising and Country of the Blind.
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Grace & Fury by Tracy Banghart
In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi face very different fates: one in the palace, the other on an island prison where women must fight to survive.
Serina has spent her whole life preparing to become a Grace – selected to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining example of the perfect woman.
But her headstrong and rebellious younger sister has a dangerous secret, and one wrong move could cost both sisters everything.
Can Serina fight?
And will Nomi win?
Women had ruled this country. And history had denigrated them. Erased them.
I received this book in the June Fairyloot box, and I’m a little ashamed to admit, but usually when I get a book in a subscription box it goes on my shelf and I don’t ever get round to reading it (the only exception to this so far has been Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody, which was great), and as part of #theunreadshelfproject I’m making a real effort to read the books I already own, instead of constantly buying new ones, and actually reading some of my Fairyloot books has been a part of that.
Sadly, it hasn’t actually stopped me buying copious amounts of new books, but never mind…
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Renegades by Marissa Meyer
“As long as there are superheroes, there will be people who rely on them far too much. I think humanity would be better off if there were no prodigies at all.”
Nova is an Anarchist – a girl on a mission for vengeance after the heroes sworn to protect her family failed her.
Adrian is a Renegade – a boy with extraordinary abilities who believes in justice, and in Nova.
They should be sworn enemies, but Nova finds herself torn between Adrian and the Renegades, and a villain that could destroy them both.
There are many dangerous people in this world, but there are also many good people. Brave people. No matter how bad things get, we have to remember that. So long as there are heroes in this world, there’s hope that tomorrow night might be better.
This had a lot of hype when it was first released, and I avoided it for a while – but I fell in love with the UK paperback cover and picked it up a while ago, then of course I let it sit on my shelves for ages before actually getting round to reading it, but I’m really glad I finally did!
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To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
I have a heart for every year I’ve been alive.
There are seventeen hidden in the sand of my bedroom. Every so often, I claw through the shingle, just to check they’re still there.
Buried deep and bloody.
Princess Lira is siren royalty and revered across the sea until she is cursed into humanity by the ruthless Sea Queen. Now Lira must deliver the heart of the infamous siren killer or remain a human forever.
Prince Elian is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world, and captain to a deadly crew of siren hunters. When he rescues a drowning woman from the ocean, she promises to help him destroy sirenkind for good. But he has no way of knowing whether he can trust her…
Hearts are power, and if there’s one thing my kind craves more than the ocean, it’s power.
I was initially a bit sceptical when I picked this up – I’ve had mixed feelings about retellings and The Little Mermaid was never one of my favourites, but I’d seen enough people rave about To Kill A Kingdom that I decided to give it a try.
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The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon
Even a dreamer can start a revolution.
Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London.
Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds.
For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing…
Knowledge is dangerous. Once you know something, you can’t get rid of it. You have to carry it. Always.
This had been sat on my shelf for well over a year when I finally picked it up after seeing Samantha Shannon twice in two weeks – she is so lovely and I felt a little guilty that I hadn’t actually read the book when she signed it for me…so I jumped straight in on the train home from meeting number 2!
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Quite Ugly One Morning – Christopher Brookmyre
Yeah, yeah, the usual. A crime. A corpse. A killer. Heard it.
Except this stiff happens to be a Ponsonby, scion of a venerable Edinburgh medical clan, and the manner of his death speaks of unspeakable things.
Why is the body displayed like a slice of beef?
How come his hands are digitally challenged?
And if it’s not the corpse, what is that awful smell?
Parlabane found the word ‘pro-active’ enormously useful, as it immediately exposed the speaker as an irredeemable arsehole, whatever previous impression might have been given.
Ok, so I mostly read Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and most of that is YA or NA – but I do also enjoy a good dose of Crime/Thriller every now and again, I find it works almost like a palette cleanser – a good murder to blow away the stories of fae and wizards and magic.
I’ve read several books by Christopher Brookmyre and have always enjoyed them – especially his standalones Bedlam, Pandaemonium, A Tale Etched In Blood And Hard Black Pencil and the Jasmine Sharp series – however I never got around to reading the Jack Parlabane series (despite picking up most of them at charity shops…), but as Parlabane is his most famous character I figured I had to give him a go.
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Red Rising – Pierce Brown
The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it.
The Reds are humanity’s last hope.
Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down at Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.
Until the day Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.
But command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.
I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war.
I’d heard a lot about the Red Rising series on bookstagram, and it had always interested me – I think I picked the book up at Christmas last year, but just never got around to reading it. Then a couple of months ago, I joined a local gym as part of my rehab from a knee injury, and quickly decided that listening to music while working out wasn’t for me – so I decided to give audiobooks a go. This worked very well, as not only did it give me motivation to actually go to the gym so I could continue the story, it also meant I wasn’t concentrating on how long I’d been on the treadmill for (and sometimes I even stayed on longer to finish a chapter!)
Having just finished the Illuminae Files (which were awesome, and I’ll probably do a post about them later) I was a little worried about going back to a ‘traditional’ audiobook – ie with only one narrator – but seeing as I wasn’t any closer to picking up my physical copy of Red Rising I thought I’d try listening to it instead.
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Traitor’s Blade – Sebastien de Castell
The King is dead, the Greatcoats have been disbanded and Falcio Val Mond and fellow magistrates Kest and Brasti have been reduced to working as bodyguards for a nobleman who refuses to pay them. Things could be worse – their employer could be laying dead on the floor while the three of them are forced to watch as the killer plants evidence framing them for the murder. Oh, wait, that’s exactly what’s happening…
A royal conspiracy is about to unfold in the most corrupt city in the world and it could mean the ruin of everything Falcio, Kest and Brasti have fought for. If the trio want to unwind the conspiracy, save the innocents and reunite the Greatcoats, they’ll have to do it with nothing but the tattered coats on their backs and the swords in their hands, because these days every noble is a tyrant, every knight is a thug and the only thing you can really trust is a traitor’s blade.
“That’s what being free means – not the right to do whatever you want, but the right to take a stand and say what you’ll die for.”
I first came across Sebastien de Castell last year, when I picked up another one of his books – Spellslinger – and was immediately drawn to his writing style, which is funny, eloquent and with just the right amount of sass. So when I came across Traitor’s Blade, which is kind of a Three Musketeers retelling, I knew I had to give it a go.
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