Wrap Up: August 2016

August16wrapup

I’m so, so happy with how my reading month went in August! I’m participating in the #ReadThemAllThon, hosted by Aentee @ Read at Midnight, and I got lots and lots of reading and reviewing done because of it. I’ve now read 133 books this year so I’m definitely on track to complete my Goodreads challenge of 150 books. Without further ado, let’s check out which books I read.

August16

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1. The Boundless Sublime – Lili Wilkinson  2 stars

This is a really gripping story about cults and what it means to be part of one. While I enjoyed the concept of the book, I found the characters very dislikeable and unrelatable. I had to suspend my disbelief for most of the book and it was a bit of a tough read.

2. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne  4 stars

I quite enjoyed this ‘eighth Harry Potter book’. I didn’t have many expectations for it and ended up really liking it and having a lot of fun. It was definitely a nostalgic read and I loved seeing the old characters and meeting the new ones.

3. Shatter Me – Tahereh Mafi  3 stars

I wasn’t that impressed with this first book in the Shatter Me trilogy. There was very little plot and way too much angst and romance. I thought the concept of it was great but it just lacked action.

4. Unravel Me – Tahereh Mafi  35 stars

I enjoyed this sequel a bit more than Shatter Me, but sadly not by much. Again, there was hardly any action and too much angst and introspection.

5. Newt’s Emerald – Garth Nix  4 stars

This was a big surprise to me. I never expected Garth Nix to write a Regency romance but I thought it was brilliantly written. It was fun and lighthearted and had a sprinkle of magic that I thought made the book even better.

6. An Improper Deal – Nadia Lee  3 stars

I wasn’t very impressed with the first two books in this companion series. I had a huge problem with Nadia Lee splitting up her stories into two parts and selling them as two separate books, not only because of the cliffhanger but also because it’s just unnecessary and an obvious money making strategy. Still, I continued on with the series and was quite disappointed to see that An Improper Deal (which is Book 3) is more of the same thing. It ends on an unnecessary cliffhanger and now I’m going to have to wait months for the second half. I did like the story and the characters a little bit better than the first two books though.

7. Ignite Me – Tahereh Mafi  35 stars

Ignite Me was probably my favourite book of the trilogy. There was still a significant lack of action, which was a bit disappointing because I expected a bit more action in this series finale. I guess this trilogy just isn’t about action and plot.

8. The Memory Book – Lara Avery  5 stars

The Memory Book made me bawl my eyes out. I had a massive book hangover the next day but it was so completely worth it. It had just the right amount of everything and I enjoyed the characters very much. If you’re looking for a cryworthy contemporary novel, I recommend this one!

9. Vicious – V.E. Schwab  45 stars

I’ve been meaning to read Vicious for a really long time and I’m glad I finally got around to it this month. I absolutely loved it and I loved all the characters. It’s quite a slow-paced read but I couldn’t put it down. I finished it in one sitting!

10. All the Birds in the Sky – Charlie Jane Anders  4 stars

This was a very interesting book that was unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It mixes magic and science and an apocalyptic setting. This is also quite a slow-paced read but the character relationships were amazing and so was the concept of the novel.

11. Salt to the Sea – Ruta Sepetys  5 stars

This is historical fiction done right! Salt to the Sea gave me a book hangover and I had so many feelings after I finished it that I recommended it to everyone, including my non-bookish friends. If you love WWII fiction or Operation Hannibal, you will absolutely love this. I cannot recommend this highly enough.

12. The Great American Whatever – Tim Federle  4 stars

I thought I’d love this book a little more than I did. But I thought it was still a great coming of age, LGBTQ+ novel and I liked the characters in the novel. It was a short book that was quick to read and I recommend it if you’re looking for a fast-paced and diverse contemporary story.

13. A Gathering of Shadows – V.E. Schwab  45 stars

I’ve had this sequel on my shelf since it came out in February and I finally sat down with it this month. I’d been putting it off because I was worried about being disappointed but there was nothing to worry about. I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed A Darker Shade of Magic and it was great seeing Kell and Lila again.

14. Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell  5 stars

Eleanor & Park is another novel that I’ve had on my shelf for years! It was the first Rainbow Rowell book that I ever bought and started but I just never finished it. I’m pretty mad at myself for not picking it up sooner because it was beautiful and I loved it so much! The characters were great, the romance was great and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Except maybe a sequel!

15. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins  45 stars

Yes, I finally read this. I haven’t read the books or seen the movies so this was my first experience with The Hunger Games. NO SPOILERS PLEASE. This was an interesting reading experience because I felt like I simultaneously knew what it was about and also had absolutely no clue at all. But I enjoyed it and I’ll continue on with the rest of the trilogy soon. And maybe watch the movies too.

16. The Final Empire – Brandon Sanderson  45 stars

I also read my first Sanderson book in August. The Final Empire was nothing like I thought it would be. I was expecting it to be quite fast-paced and intense, and while it was intense and epic, it was actually really, really slow. The book mostly just focused on introducing the magic system and building the world, so it had a little bit less plot than what I had expected from a 650 page book. I’m keen to continue with the series but the books are so big that I probably won’t pick them up for a while.

17. Saga Vol. 1 – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples  5 stars

Okay, I think I understand what everyone is talking about now. This was so insanely good! I think it’s eclipsed Alex + Ada as my favourite comic series. It was action-packed and so, so epic. I’m looking forward to picking up the next volume.

18. Saving Jazz – Kate McCaffrey  4 stars

Saving Jazz is a new Aussie YA novel about cyberbullying and rape culture. The story was compelling and had many important messages in it. This is definitely an important read for young teens and I highly recommend it. I did have a problem with the second half being a bit slow and draggy but overall, I thought it was a wonderful novel.

19. How They Met, and Other Stories – David Levithan  45 stars

How They Met is a collection of short love stories by David Levithan. Most were written when he was younger and have been left unedited. I enjoyed every single one of the short stories in the book and it made me really appreciate his writing style. I thought the entire book was beautiful and couldn’t have asked for a better collection of love stories.

20. Monstress Vol. 1 – Marjorie M. Liu & Sana Takeda  3 stars

I was really excited to pick up this comic series because it has BEAUTIFUL artwork but I was disappointed with the plot and the story. It was extremely confusing and I found it super hard to follow. There were also a lot of different characters and I couldn’t keep track of them all. I probably won’t be picking up the next volume, even though the artwork is spectacular.

21. Words in Deep Blue – Cath Crowley  5 stars

This book is perfect for all booklovers out there. It’s set mostly in a second-hand bookshop that has a Letter Library, a collection of books that are not for sale but for people to leave notes to other readers. This was an extremely realistic story and I connected with all of the characters in this novel. It was heartfelt and emotional and I loved it so, so much! A review will be up on Happy Indulgence tomorrow!

22. One Would Think the Deep – Claire Zorn  2 stars

My first Claire Zorn book was a bit of a disappointment. I found it to be extremely boring and after I finished the book, I felt like nothing had happened. There wasn’t much character development and I’m not sure that I can even call it a coming-of-age story. I just don’t really know what to say about it…

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WRITING HERSTORY PANEL AT KINOKUNIYA

In mid-August, my coblogger at Happy Indulgence, Jeann, moderated a panel at Kinokuniya! The panel was about the modern female’s experience in contemporary YA. There was a great panel of Aussie YA authors and it was an amazing panel! I’m so proud to be part of Happy Indulgence and so proud of Jeann!

I had an awesome time catching up with Jeann as well, though our time together was cut short because I got food poisoning and was practically dying.

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Kirsty Eagar, Gabrielle Tozer, Sarah Ayoub, Tamar Chnorkian, Erin Gough & Jeann

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Sarah Ayoub, me, Erin Gough, Tamar Chnorkian & Kirsty Eagar


MELBOURNE WRITER’S FESTIVAL

I went to Melbourne this past weekend to reunite with Aentee @ Read at Midnight, and to meet Reg @ She Latitude. They were awesome and we spent a lot of time eating. But of course, the highlight of my trip was seeing Rainbow Rowell and David Levithan at Melbourne Writer’s Festival.

They were part of a wonderful ‘YA Superstars’ panel in the morning, where they talked about diversity, their favourite diverse books and of course, answered questions about their own books. They also did two amazing readings together from You Know Me Well and Carry On. David was a wonderful Baz!!! It was an absolutely wonderful panel!

We waited in line for about 1 hour to get our books signed but it was so worth the wait. They were both so lovely to talk to and they even asked us if we wanted photos with them. I’m so happy that I got to be there and I’m so excited that I get to see them again when they have their Sydney event tomorrow!

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In the afternoon, we went to see the exhibition for Oscar Wilde’s The Nightingale and the Rose. I have a collection of Oscar Wilde’s short stories for children and this has always been one of my favourites of his. The short film that they made kind of ruined the story for me a little bit because it was much more brutal than my teenage mind had imagined when I first read it. But the illustrations were absolutely stunning and I wanted to buy the illustrated book that they had. Unfortunately, the book was really, really big and I just couldn’t bring it back with me to Sydney. But I did manage to take some photos during the exhibition.

I also went to David Levithan’s Queen YA panel in the afternoon. It was extremely inspiring and everything he said was just so thoughtful and I came away from the talk with even more admiration for him than I had before.

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I have more exciting events coming up that I’m really really pumped for. I’m attending Allen & Unwin’s #YAFanfest tonight, where I’ll be seeing Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff, Garth Nix, Deborah Biancotti and Margo Lanagan! Tomorrow night, I’ll be seeing Rainbow Rowell and David Levithan again, and hopefully getting the rest of my books signed. So excited!!

How was your reading month?

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34 thoughts on “Wrap Up: August 2016

  1. cw @ readthinkponder says:

    1. GIRL, YOU ARE ON FIRE.
    2. You are seriously reading goals – have I ever told you that? (I have, but I just wanted to remind you.)

    So glad you enjoyed Saga and Vicious! Those are my faves. Saga continues to be enjoyable as the series progresses, so!! YAY!
    And ahhh it sounds like Melbourne’s Writers Festival was fun!! AND YOU ARE SO CUTE, OMG.

    I hope you will have/had fun at YAFanFest! I need to come to Aus one day when that event is on. T_T It’d be so much fun!

    My reading month was… not very good, in terms of reading, that is. I had a burst of extroversion so I went out with my friends a lot, which is GREAT but now I am emotionally drained. September shall be my hermit mode month. XD

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      Melbourne Writer’s Festival was soooo much fun! I ate a lot of great food and the panels were amazing. My heart was just so filled with warmth that day. YAFanFest was also a lot of fun too! I think I was having a rare lucky day that day and I won an ARC of Garth Nix’s upcoming 2017 release in a lucky dip. I was also super close to winning a game, but sadly I came second. It was just a great night in general.

      It’s great that you had a burst of extraversion! I was definitely the opposite and stayed at home a lot to read. But the bookish events did force me to go out, and of course I went to Melbourne for a weekend too. I’m really excited to keep up my reading pace throughout September. I’ll be getting my wisdom teeth out at the end of the month so I’m gonna buckle down and read for a whole week. I’ll definitely pick up the next few volumes of Saga as well. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be my kind of thing but it was really epic and funny, so I’m keen to continue.

      Like

  2. Ashley says:

    Amazing wrap up! You’ve read so many books! I’ve loved seeing your Pokemon book pictures on Twitter. So many of the books you read are books that I really want to read! It looks like you enjoyed almost all of them! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. thebooklander says:

    Jenna! Wow! What a good reading month for you! I wish I could read as much as you do! Aaah I am jealous! Oh an dI am so sorry to hear about your Shatter Me experience. I haven’t read it myself because I’m scared I might be the odd one out – everybody seems to love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      I wish I could read this many books every month too! It was really thanks to the readathon that I managed to read this many books. Yeah… I was quite disappointed with Shatter Me. Everyone raves about it and while I didn’t hate it, I didn’t think it was that great of a trilogy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thebooklander says:

        That’s really sad to hear. I have the first and the second books of the trilogy and will probably be trying it in a couple of month’s time πŸ™‚ I hope it works out teehee.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Brooklyn (@bsippingtea) says:

    Wow, so many awesome books! I just finished rereading Eleanor and Park yesterday afternoon and I constantly forget how good it is. I was pretty bummed out when I found out Rainbow Rowell was in Australia, would’ve loved to go see her so lucky you! Glad you enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jessicasblog45 says:

    I only read five books in August. I’m still waiting on Angels & Demons. Right now I’m reading 23 Minutes in Hell by Bill Wiese. I’m hoping, after Angels & Demons, to read Unravel Me and the third book of ShadowHunters book series.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. bookevin says:

    Girl, take me with you!

    I agree that the Shatter Me books aren’t that action packed as I hoped but you can’t deny that Mafi’s writing is poetic.

    I’m so jealous and happy that you got to meet Rainbow Rowell!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      Come to Sydney!! I’m so happy that I got to meet Rainbow Rowell too. And twice!! I feel so blessed. Definitely my favourite author events I’ve ever attended because both Rainbow and David Levithan were so lovely and funny!

      Tahereh Mafi’s writing is beautiful! It definitely made the Shatter Me trilogy more enjoyable for me because it was so lyrical and nice to read. I just wish the plot had been better.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Alicia O'Carrick says:

    Wow, you read so many! It’s getting hard for me to squeeze as much reading time in thanks to school picking back up. And you got to meet Rainbow Rowell! I’m so jealous πŸ™‚

    Also, this is my first time seeing your face – you’re so pretty! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Valerie says:

    WHAT THE HECK you read so many books! I wish I could read all those books in one month! I’m still on…66 books read out of 100 haha.

    Also I wish I lived in Australia. I want to go these events. Every time I come to this blog you’re meeting up with Jeann or Aentee and I am jealous. But not jealous of the food poisoning. That sounds bad 😦 Hope you were able to recover quickly from it haha

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      You need to come visit us in Australia, Val! We have so much fun and I feel really lucky to be able to meet with Aentee and Jeann as often as I do. We also have really delicious food and a great time talking about books. But I agree, the food poisoning sucked! And I never want to go through it again. It was such bad timing as well because that was the only day I had to spend with Jeann. But I was better pretty much the very next day.

      Like

  9. Reg @ She Latitude says:

    It was SO GOOD to meet you, Jenna! Really hoping we’ll get to meet up again sometime in the near future… hopefully the Sydney’s Writers Festival, depending on the author line-up that they have. 😊

    I’m with you with the Oscar Wilde exhibition. I was entirely unfamiliar with the story but watching that movie made me feel slightly sick in the stomach, haha. It was definitely brutal and depressing and I felt so sad for the nightingale. A part of me is intrigued by how beautiful it is but a part of me is also repelled. It’s hard to describe.

    Hope you had fun today at the Our Chemical Hearts event! I’m looking forward to reading that book.

    PS: Thank you (again!) for that bookmark you made – I’m forever amazed by how professional it looks (and seconding Aentee’s suggestion to open an Etsy store). I used it when I was reading Uprooted over the week and it was the perfect companion! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      Omg the Oscar Wilde exhibition… I thought the narrators were sooo terrible and ruined the beautiful movie that they made. And yeah… it was so brutal that I had to cover my eyes during that one scene. I went home and reread the story and I can’t look at it the same way again. I still love the story and all of Oscar Wilde’s other short stories for children though.

      So… funny thing about the Our Chemical Hearts event… it’s actually next month πŸ˜€ I have no idea why I thought it was last week. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?! But I’m glad that it’s in October though because it gives me a chance to read the book first.

      You should totally come to Sydney Writer’s Festival next year! The TeenCon panel that they have each year is great and the goodie bags are wonderful too πŸ˜€ I’m glad that you liked the bookmark. I am just much too lazy to open a store XD It’s probably just a hobby that I’ll get sick of in a few months time.

      Like

  10. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence says:

    Yessss I’m so glad you loved E&P! It was such a great book, I know some people didn’t like it but I did. YOU FINALLY READ THG?!

    I’m so glad you ended up enjoying Vicious as well Jenna, one of my favourite reads for sure! And yesss, Saga is SO GOOD. I felt so bad when you had food poisoning Jenna, didn’t know what to do but you held it together despite the circumstances. Thank you so much for coming and all the support ❀ You're making me really want that pink Fangirl edition, it's sooo pretty!

    Totally jealous of those amazing events and all of that great reading you got done! You are my reading inspo ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      I FINALLY READ THG!! Now I just need to read the two other books and watch all of the movies. Hopefully I can do that soon so that I can check out the exhibition.

      I’m super happy with all the books I read in August. I loved nearly every single one of them (lol One Would Think the Deep) so I got to read lots of books that I’ve been meaning to read for a really long time, like E&P and Vicious. Hopefully there’ll be another readathon that I can do soon so that I can read some more books that have been on my TBR for a while.

      Awww, you’re my blogging inspo, Jeann!

      Like

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