A Successful Reading Month: 2021 August Wrap up | I read 21 Books!

August was the best reading month this year, with 21 books! There were a few new release books on NetGalley too that I was lucky to read, so let’s see them.

Books received from NetGalley:

1. The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino ⭐⭐⭐⭐4/5

This was one of my most anticipated releases, and this was my first Audiobook I received from Netgalley. It did not disappoint!
This was a really interesting, eerie, gothic, and very atmospheric dark academia read with magic and a demon, set in a boarding school. For me, it had a little bit of Addie LaRue vibe, and I was here for it!
I liked the plot, the character development as Tess and Eliot grew and fought together, although the beginning felt a bit slower as the story built up, but then from half of the book went crazy and wild, with lots of gore and exciting happenings, and I really liked the ending!
For me the characters felt older, their personalities, their actions…more like they are in a university than high school, but this was not a problem, I enjoyed even more.
The narrators did a great job with the audio book too, and altogether this was a very good read!

2. Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5/5

Guys, this book…. I still can’t believe I got the arc on Netgalley. I love Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s writing, and this became one of my favorite books this year.❤️
AND I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS COVER SO MUCH. I am so happy she republished it with this amazing cover, hopefully it will sit on my bookshelf one day in physical form.

I don’t even know how to start this review… I loved this book so much!!!
I love to learn about Latin American mythology, stories, folklore, and magic since I was a little girl, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s writing is just so magical for me, I really love to read from her.💖 I would read anything this woman writes.
I love that every one of her books are different genre, but she still manages to build in beautifully the mythology elements in her books, feels so effortlessly educational. And her writing style is so recognizable, so magical and gory and scary, and her characters are so complex and different, that you just starting to like them before you realize.

So this is an adult neo-noir vampire novel. It is a gritty and violent novela negra.
This was such a fresh take on the vampire genre, with Aztec mythology, different species of vampires, dark scenes, a lot of blood/gore, action and with a hint of romance and family. The world building was solid and wonderful, the characters developed beautifully, and I had a guess how this book will end, and it was perfect even if it was a little sad.
Also, Atl’s dog Cualli is a neon tattooed Doberman…. uhm, YES PLEASE! How cool is that?!

I loved that unlike other typical vampire books, in this one the protagonists changed roles. So a younger boy Domingo, who is a naive, romantic character, fell in love with Atl, who is a smart, badass, strong, beautiful and dangerous vampire girl. My hearth was so happy when Atl and Domingo warmed up to each other more and more, even that I think Atl already knew how their story will end, but she risked it, as she said: made a sacrifice, that she never knew before.
Overall, this is one of my favorite books EVER and my favorite book cover.

3. The Keeper of the Little Folk by Carbone, Véronique Barrau, Charline Forns ⭐⭐⭐ 3/5

While Élina’s grandma is in the hospital, she discovers that her grandmother is the Keeper of the Little Folk, protecting fairies, nymphs, and other fantastical creatures. Now her grandmother is ready to pass her responsibilities to her.
This was a cute and wholesome graphic novel targeted for teens with beautiful illustrations. It felt a little bit short for me at the end, i would like to know what happened to the grandma if she could stay in her home, it ended very fast.

4. Major Detours by Zachary Sergi ⭐⭐ ⭐ 3/5

It was a very long time ago when I’ve read an interactive “Choices” book, I forget how much fun it can be! This is about the power of friendship and self-discovery, and choosing your path with the help of Tarot cards. It was an entertaining read.

I read a few Graphic Novels this month too:

5. Sheets by Brenna Thummler ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4.5/5

This is about a 13 year old girl, Marjorie who runs a family laundry business and have to face her rude clients and bullies in school everyday…Until she meets Wendell, the ghost, and then everything changes. 🙂

This was so cute and sad, and wholesome!! The colors are beautiful too, although I’m not a big fan of the human characters faces, but I think the author illustrated this way to feel the grief. Some parts felt unfinished with some characters, the beginning was slow paced and the end felt rushed. But nonetheless, this is a graphic novel that makes you feel ALL the feels… grief, family, friendship, bullying, to stand up for each other. I especially loved Wendell and his story and character. Definitely will continue with the second book!

6. Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan, Niko Henrichon ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5/5

In the spring of 2003, 4 lions escaped from the Baghdad zoo during an American bombing raid. Lost and confused, hungry but finally free, the lions roamed the streets of Baghdad to survive somehow.

This is a heartbreaking, haunting, thought-provoking and devastating read. It was inspired by true events, an original look at life on the streets of Baghdad during the Iraq War. The illustrations are beautiful, and the story is moving.

It raises some questions about the meaning of liberation… it can be given or is it earned? Is it really better to get hurt, to starve, to be without safety in the outside world and die free, than live our life as a captive but with full stomach and safety? Sometimes the decision is hard to make. I felt that his was a really important read.

7. Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooklyn Allen, Maarta Laiho, Aubrey Aiese ⭐⭐⭐3/5

This was a fun read, but I did not really liked the illustrations nor the story. It is about 5 girls in a camp who face scary adventures and solve mysteries. It was a “meh”, I won’t continue with this series.

The rest of the month was with fun YA, Contemporary and Mystery-thriller reads, even one Middle grade and one Dark Academia book:

8. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli ⭐⭐⭐3/5

I saw this book recommendation so many times, I just had to read it. If you don’t know what is about, shame on you. 😛

9. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo ⭐⭐⭐3/5

This was the second book in the Shadow and Bone trilogy. I loved the first one more, we had more Darkling in that, this was a bit more boring for me, but I still enjoyed it!

10. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo ⭐⭐⭐2.5/5

Although I enjoyed the Shadow and Bone Netflix show much more and I like the books, I was not really a fan of this.
So I DNF-ed it at 70%. I can see why a lot of people love this book, I loved the characters as we know them from Shadow and Bone, but this is just not for me. I kept wandering away while I listened to the audio book, I just could not concentrate on the story. I really tried, but I won’t force it more.

11. Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐4.5/5

This was a beautiful Persian fairy tale based on Sleeping Beauty. I really really liked this, it was a breath of fresh air in the YA fantasy genre. The world building is amazing, so atmospheric, the character developments were good except for a few very obvious mistakes they’ve made, and I liked Melissa’s writing, it was easy to imagine the world that the story is about.
I was not familiar with Persian mythology at all and so the beginning of the book was hard to understand with the new persian words, but when i knew what those word meant, the reading went faster and easier. There’s an author’s note at the end of the book with explainings of the Persian folklore, fairytales, myths and meanings that she built in the book wonderfully, and this helped a lot to understand the book.
She bring together the story amazingly from the little details and hints, it got nice and whole at the end.
It was also interesting to read about a “lovers to enemies to lovers to enemies”(??? If that exist, they deceived each other so many times that I can’t keep count. :D), but with also a f/f relationship.

I really think this is such a unique book and it deserves the hype, although sometimes the characters behavior was not the best. Altogether this was a very enjoyable read, i really recommend to pick it up for those who are bored of the typical Sarah J. Maas YA books, I can’t really enjoy them anymore and so this was a delightful read.

12. The Secret History by Donna Tartt ⭐⭐2/5

I had very high expectations for this one. Maybe too high. This book embodies the real Dark Academia genre, that is for sure. The writing is beautiful, but it was just not my thing, I felt it was boring and unnecessarily long.

13. Pines by Blake Crouch ⭐⭐2/5

Finally I read this after years of waiting, and oh boy. I had high expectations here too. 😀 I was sooo close to DNF this but I got through. I did enjoyed the beginning, but then I just lost interest somehow. There was some parts that was interesting, but otherwise I did not care about the story, nor the characters.

14. Cinder Marissa Meyer ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4/5

Wow wow wow, I liked this more than I expected! I heard so much about this series, so I finally gave in and listened to the audio of the first book, Cinder. It surprised me so much, and I really loved it, this was such an interesting story with the original Cinderella elements, but converted to Young Adult Sci-fi. I am very picky with science fiction books, and this surprised me honestly! I liked the world, the characters, and the plot, it was a really enjoyable read.

15. Such a fun age by Kiley Reid ⭐⭐⭐ 3.5/5

It was an interesting and eye opening read about a character, Alix who don’t even realize that she has “white savior” complexes, she wants to help and uplift, but just to make herself look like a good person in the outside world and in her head, like a helper and protector. She means well but like in real life, her overstepping just makes it worse for the black character, the nanny Emira who’s babysitting her daughter. It was also sad and heartbreaking to see that this character had zero attachments to her first born daughter, and so Emira tried to make her happy, to conversate with her, explain things to her, and spend quality time with her, that her mom never wanted to give her.

I liked this book because it deals with the complexity of race and privilege, and it’s always good to see the opinions from the other point of view, and the message of the story is important. But the book had weird pacing, weird and cringey dialogues, and the end lacked of a powerful punch, instead we got a twisted ending that did not make sense, felt like the author just wanted to end the novel with something strong, but it just ruined and changed the meaning of the whole book…

And to be honest, I almost DNF-ed this book around 15%. It started very strong with the grocery store scene then somehow got so boring with a tons of unnecessary details that it was hard to follow the main story. Then around 45% it got interesting, we got to know the characters more and their connection to each other’s lives, their habits, their point of view.

That said, it is a nice debut novel, but I’m curious if in her upcoming books the writing style is gonna be different.

16. Verity by Coleen Hoover ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5/5

This was Mystery-Thriller and woaaaah this was soooo messed up (in a good way!) I did not expect that.
This was my first Colleen Hoover book, and I went in blind, knowing nothing about it. Well if her other books are this good, I’m gonna read them soon!
This is a very clever book, with morally messed up characters and their messed up life, and I would never thought I would enjoy something like this. But she wrote it so good! I wanted to give 4 stars because it made me feel a bit uncomfortable sometimes, but the end made me give 5 stars. Its so smart, you never know what to expect and who is the real bad guy. But man, this book sucked the life out of me… its not a lighthearted read that’s for sure…Prepare yourselves if you gonna read it, because its a wild ride.

17. Front Desk by Kelly Yang ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5/5

I just want to start with this: Everyone should read this. This is based on real life events of the author, and it is about a Chinese family who migrate to the USA for a better future, and their loved ones in China doesn’t even know that they are actually struggling to survive in this new country, while at home everybody seems to get rich and have a better life.
They get a job at a motel and meanwhile Mia’s parents working all day and night to clean the rooms, she runs the reception.

Seriously, this is such an important read about immigration, to survive in another country, family and friends, empathy, and about to never give up your dreams.
This is my favorite middle grade novel this year. Its so heartbreaking and also heartwarming. I fell in love with the characters, and to know that mostly that is in the book, happened to the author in real life…its just heart aching. It’s such a powerful book. The story have so much deeper meaning than sweet cover.
I am looking forward to read the second and the third book in the series and continue Mia’s adventure!

18. Vicious by V.E. Schwab ⭐⭐ 2/5

This is about two boys who develop extraordinary abilities, so it is basically a superhero-superpower book. I usually don’t like superhero books, so I am not surprised that I did not liked this, did not care about the characters or the story, so I had to DNF it around 20%. I gave it a chance hence of the hype, but it’s just not for me.

19. People like her by Ellery Lloyd ⭐⭐ 2/5

This is about an influencer mom who have millions of followers and get free products to post it on her Insta. She gets a dangerously obsessive follower and destroys her and her family’s life. This was a “meh” for me, its supposed to be a psychological thriller, but I did not care for the characters or the plot, so that’s that.

20. The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz ⭐⭐⭐ 3/5

This is about the four agreements of life: to be honest, be forgiving, don’t make assumptions and always do your best. This had some truth in it, but I disagree with some parts too. The problem is that these not sounds like suggestions, the author writes the whole book like you HAVE to do this and have to do that. The other thing is, he started with God in the first chapter… Now, if a self-help book or spiritual book start with God, for somebody who doesn’t believe in it, the whole book can loose it’s authenticity…

I believe in myself and I want to do it myself. I don’t need prayers or to believe in God to know that I can do it. So I take some things and left most of it from this book.

21. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

I would never thought I’m gonna read this one day, yet here we are. 😀 I won’t rate it, because although I appreciate it for what it is, this was really not for me, and I can’t take away a lot from it.