Recent Reads #3

9/06/2020

I'm way behind on these posts, but life got in the way as always (so rude!). Because of this, expect a part 4 sooner than later. I read some great books in August, despite Midnight Sun taking me weeks. I also took part in a readathon with my husband @ReadingRainbill that consisted of reading tons of children's classics that we never got around to as children. I only included two on this list as they were the ones that I had the most to say about, but be sure to check out my story collection on @BranchingPages to see everything that I read.  

The Voting Booth

by Brandy Colbert

It's a big day for two teens, it's the day of their very first voting experience. Marva has been awaiting this day all year, she is a strong-willed woman who believes that every vote matters. Duke on the other hand is overwhelmed by his mother's nagging about voting - how much it matters.After losing his brother, a guy who always spoke up about politics to Duke, he knows that under no circumstance can he not vote. But at the polling station, he gets turned away for not being registered. Marva, overhearing this, takes it upon herself to make sure that this stranger gets his vote. 

Not only was this a book with such a great message to young adults, but it was bloody adorable! I listened to this via Libro.fm and really enjoyed myself. I'm new to America so am unfamiliar with the voting system, but I think this contemporary did a great job at exploring that while giving a great commentary on the black experience with politics. It was preachy, but in a way that matters. A great YA book that ought to be read by everybody. 


Midnight Sun

by Stephenie Meyer

A broody vampire meets a human girl. How can it ever work?

And here we have the book that took me most of August to read, for no other reason than that I was enjoying myself so much. I remember being around 13-years-old and reading the first chapter of Midnight Sun online and THRIVING. This is the book that teenage me has been waiting for. It was cheesy, but so good. I've always known Meyer has it in her to give us some great writing (I loved The Host), and I think this book really proved that. Is the story problematic? Yes, hell yes. But it was fun, and helped awaken the Twihard inside of me. It was also great fun to get the plot holes in Twilight filled by reading the story from Edward's POV. I also think this novel did a much better job at building up Edward and Bella's relationship. We had so many relationship building scenes, it made my heart soar. 


I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou's Autobiography #1)

by Maya Angelou

This is the memoir of a young black girl growing up in a small Southern town with her grandmother. It's about acceptance, love, and what it's like growing up at a time where it wasn't necessarily okay to be yourself.

I can see why this book is beloved as a memoir. It's got incredible depth and I fully felt like I was reading it with the intention to write an essay about Maya's childhood. However, I found some chapters a tad pointless and as someone who has never really enjoyed the 'childhood' portion of a memoir, it fell a bit flat. I read this as an audiobook so perhaps that was my problem, and I fully intend to reread this physically as I feel as though I'm missing out on the 'wow' factor. I guess I was just a bit disappointed. Some chapters made me cry, while others bored me senseless. How to review something like that? Should you read this? Yes. Maya's voice is one that matters, I just think for me personally, I will prefer her second book 'Gather Together in My Name' that focuses more on her adulthood.


Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters #2)

by Talia Hibbert 

Danika Brown is a workaholic who practices witchy goodness on the side. She wishes for a fuck buddy, and boy, does the goddess delivery. When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But what happens when a viral video leads them to fake dating, and feelings begin to arise for both of them? 

I read Get A Life, Chloe Brown last year because the main character had Fibromyalgia but I was disappointed with the rep of chronic pain in the book, so I stupidly dismissed the next book in the series. But.. the hype forced me to read it. I buddy-read this with my friend Maria (be sure to follow her Bookstagram @m.is.reading) and it was a lot of fun. I really appreciated how Zafir was so supportive of Dani's career, but mostly I was awed by Talia Hibbert's way of writing such a smart, strong-willed woman without ever making her a cold work machine like so many other characters in books with these characteristics. Dani had a life, she had friends, was the perfect amount of snarky, and cared deeply about her family. Yeah, she let work consume her too much, but it never made her less.. human. Zafir was an absolute joy, and I think his struggle with anxiety and panic attacks was one of the more authentic accounts I've read in fiction. All in all, would definitely recommend. 


This Is How You Lose the Time War

by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone 

Red and Blue are two time travelling agents of different teams. They begin to leave letters to each other throughout time, and there starts one of the most sweet romances I've ever read.

This book was wacky, like, I'm still not sure what happened. But it was so beautiful. My favourite sections of the novel were definitely the letters, if anything I think this entire thing could've been a collection of their letters. The "regular" chapters made the book fall short for me, as I was too confused to enjoy it. One thing is for sure though, I'm never going to forget this reading experience. 


The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

by L. Frank Baum

Dorothy and Toto find themselves in a magical world where witches matter, there's a yellow road, and scarecrows, lions, and tin men can talk. Oh, my!

I've watched the movie adaptation of this novel many, many times but never got around to reading the book. The differences between the two versions don't necessarily change the story, but they are jarring for a fan of the movie. Silver shoes!? Yuk. But saying that I really liked the overall message of this book, and enjoyed the banter between characters. The lion is my spirit animal. If this is on your TBR but you've been putting it off in the fear that it may be boring, don't. Pick it up. It's a fast read that feels like a comforting hug. Especially if you've been brought up with the movie. 


The Complete Winnie-The-Pooh

by A. A. Milne

Pooh is a yellow bear who absolutely loves honey. His friends consist of Christopher Robin, Piglet, Owl, Eeyore, Rabbit, Kanga & Roo, and Tigger. This is the complete collection of all his tales. 

This was a truly beautiful, sweet, adorable children's book that I will now forever keep in my collection. The stories were sometimes funny, sometimes sweet, and mostly melancholy which gave me, a 24-year-old, a great sense of nostalgia for something I've never even had. The writing holds up wonderfully. Was I crying at times? Yes, but you'll never prove it.


A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor (The Carls #2)

by Hank Green 

April is back, but how? And where did the Carl's go? It's close to the one-year anniversary since the Carl's appeared, and all of our main characters are struggling in their lives. 

It's hard to write a synopsis to a sequel like this without giving away spoilers, so go and check out the Goodreads page for An Absolutely Unremarkable Thing to get all the "origin" details. I was really anticipating this book as 1) the first book ended on a cliff hanger and 2) I really enjoyed  An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. It was complete surprise to me as I don't usually enjoy sci-fi books. However, it's sequel really fell short. The story was fine, I guess, but felt so, so, so pointless. It ended up being such a preach feast on humanity and being a good person that I wanted to barf. Some aspects of the story didn't make sense, and the parts that did took away the mysteries of the first book. This wasn't needed, and though Hank Green has said that the series has finished, I wouldn't recommend reading this at all. It feels like fluff. Or a fanfiction. Harsh, I know, but true. I gave it a 2 star rating because the writing was still great, the story was just a different.. well, story. 


Heart Bones

by Colleen Hoover

Beyah Grim's mother overdoses, not knowing what else to do, the teenager lies her way into living with her father and his new family that she's never met. She just needs a home for the Summer before going away to university. The more days she spends in their home, the more Beyah starts to care for her 'sister' and, more notably, the boy living next door.

This was my first Colleen Hoover! This author has always been on my radar but I've never known where to start. This was Maria's pick for our next read (again, be sure to follow her on Bookstagram: @m.is.reading), and I enjoyed it. It wasn't my favourite romance book, but it was a good coming-of-age story. I really enjoyed the female friendship in this novel, and the commentary on body comparisons. I wish Beyah had more character development without the help of the love interest, but her growth throughout the novel was beautiful to read. 

So, these and my Net Galley books were everything that I read in August. Is anything on this list that is on your TBR? Have you read any of these? Let me know!

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