Updated: Aug 21
The summer months are coming to a close. If I'm being honest, I'm someone who prefers the autumn season. Here's a little wrap up of all the books I've read and reviewed this August. If you want to follow as I read, I recommend following my Instagram below:
How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie
Mystery | Crime | Humour | Thriller
I saw this book when I was in York and was instantly drawn to the cover. I think my family were a little bit concerned when I took this one home. I assured them that it wasn't an instruction manual;)
I got massive Villanelle (from Killing Eve) vibes from the main protagonist. Grace Bernard was very charming and funny to read. Her insight and perspective on people around her was certainly unique and made the read overall very entertaining. I will be on the lookout for more of Mackie's work in the future.
If I had to be super fussy, I wasn't a fan of the ending - I was gradually losing interest a little bit. However, the overall concept and synopsis of the book were very original so I think this one is worth checking out at your local bookstore! I have attached further information about the book below.
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Contemporary | Sports | Adult Fiction
You can't go wrong with a book by Fredrik Backman. After reading Anxious People and A Man Called Ove, I was excited to finally get to this one.
It's not a lighthearted read and I was immediately engaged from the first few pages. The way Backman writes his characters make it very hard to say goodbye to them in the end. It's really important to be invested in the characters otherwise it becomes a bit pointless reading the story. This book does explore very difficult topics such as rape so please do not pressure yourself to read this book.
As the writing style was simply beautiful, I couldn't fault this book. However, I would still say that A Man Called Ove is my favourite Backman book to date. I am tempted to dedicate a whole other blog post to Backman's work.
The Poppy War by R.F Kuang
Fantasy | Historical Fiction | Magic | War
I don't usually read fantasy or sci-fi books. However, I've seen so many people talk about this series on Bookstagram so I decided that I should give it a go.
I think this was a great introduction to the genre. If I have time, I'll try to get my hands on the sequel. Although, I'm still trying to make time to read more of the Heroes of Olympus series. I might have to prioritise Camp Half-Blood!
I think the book started strong but I was honestly struggling a bit towards the end. I think with fantasy books in general, it can get hard to keep track of all the characters, places and magical terms etc. I do completely understand the hype for this series. I'm not sure when I will get round to reading more of this series - I'm not prioritising it.
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Fiction | Romance | Japanese Literature
I'm probably the last person left who hasn't read a Murakami book! I knew I had to fix that this month. Although I did have certain problems with this one, I do intend to read more of Murakami's work.
The writing was very strong, however, certain characters annoyed me. It got to the point where I was struggling to read the sections where these characters appeared but I just could not stand them. Midori was insufferable. I found her nothing but manipulative and cruel. Furthermore, the main protagonist, Toru Watanabe was very bland. Poor Naoko - she could have done so much better!
The next Murakami book that I intend to read is 1Q84. Hopefully, I'll enjoy that one a lot more!
In The Woods by Tana French
Mystery | Thriller | Crime | Suspense
Given that I love mystery books, I realised that it was strange that I hadn't read any of Tana French's books.
It was a solid read, however, certain things did annoy me a little bit. I had my suspicions about certain characters throughout the book so I wasn't entirely surprised by the ending. I had no problems with the writing style so I'd be happy to try out more of her books. Furthermore, there we developments between certain characters that I didn't think were necessary at all - it didn't bring anything to the story overall.
The Appeal by Janice Hallett
Mystery | Crime | Thriller | Suspense
This mystery was different to what I'd read before. The whole book is broken down into emails and DMs so as the reader, it's up to you to figure out who the victim is and, more importantly, who the culprit is.
This read was very fast-paced and super fun to read. As someone who has a really bad attention span, I need books that are quick to the point. I guess that's probably why Agatha Christie is one of my favourite authors. If you love those classic whodunnits, I would highly recommend adding this one to your TBR pile. I think Janice Hallett did a wonderful job!
It's been announced very recently that Hallett is releasing another book, The Twyford Code, in January 2022! I cannot wait to read this one.
The Unexpected Guest by Agatha Christie
Detective | Mystery | Crime | Thriller
When exploring York, I came across a Christie book that I hadn't read. Of course, I had to buy it there and then. The Unexpected Guest was originally written as a play and then later adapted into the book here. The whole detective fiction genre is always going to be my go-to. I guess what I love about Christie's books is that I can pretty much always expect to be blown away. With this book, I believed that I had successfully solved the mystery. But once again, the Queen of Crime brought in another great twist.
This is a relatively short read (under 200 pages) so if you're in a reading slump, I recommend giving this one a go. Usually, I find shorter books less intimidating when I'm struggling to pick up a book. I'm more than happy to do a post dedicated to great short reads if you are interested.
Tender Is The Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica
Translated by Sarah Moses
Horror | Dystopia | Sci-Fi | Contemporary
You guys might recognise this one from the Women in Translation post. This was such a great pick. However, you may not feel like eating anything for a while after you've read this one. It is very disturbing and graphic so if you have a sensitive stomach, it might be worth to pass on this one. Nevertheless, I think the author did a brilliant job at tapping into the most creepy dystopian society I've read in ages. If the author writes any more horror books, I'm going to have to check them out. Although, I did feel a bit ill after reading the ending.
If an author can make you feel physically unwell with their words, they are a damn good writer. However, given the disturbing topics in this book, please don't pressure yourself to read this one. As the spooky season is approaching, it's worth saving this one for your Halloween TBR!
Earthlings by Sayaka Murata
Translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori
Horror | Japanese Literature | Fantasy
TW: This book does cover distressing topics such as sexual abuse so please don't pressure yourself to read this one.
Another book that I've seen in every bookstore and have finally purchased myself a copy. I loved Murata's other novel, Convenience Store Woman so I did have very high expectations for this one. Thankfully, I wasn't disappointed. This book was original, engaging and extremely well written. However, if I had to choose, I would say that Convenience Store Woman is my favourite of the two. Murata's books are both very short so I recommend trying them out if you are in a reading slump - sometimes shorter books make ending the slump a lot easier. Overall, I found this to be a strong novel worth adding to all of your TBRs. I'm always going to be on the lookout for more of Murata's work!
Winter in Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin
Translated by Aneesa Higgins
Contemporary | Literary Fiction
I may have purchased this book purely because of the cover. It grabbed my attention straight away.
I found the writing of this book simply beautiful. You found yourself very intrigued by the characters in this story, especially the French cartoonist. Also, as I have said many times before since this is a relatively short book, it's good to try out if you're in a reading slump. This story explores many themes such as the struggles of combined identities. I found this one overall to be a very elegantly written story that's worth adding to your TBR. A wonderful debut.
Butterflies in November by Audur Ava Olafsdottir
Translated by Brian FitzGibbon
Contemporary | Travel | Literature
I was very disappointed with this one. This was a title I had to DNF after I got to around halfway through.
The pace was simply too slow...nothing happened. I found all of the characters bland. I tried to be patient with this story but the only thing that happened was that a goose was run over. After that, the story just kept going more downhill for me. I got to a point where I genuinely did not care what happened to any of the characters in this book. This is just my take on the book - it is not something I would highly recommend. However, feel free to check out the synopsis!
Perhaps I'll prefer the author's other books. It's happened before with authors where I loved some of their books and disliked others.