My Month in Books: What I Read (or didn’t) in August 2019

What books did you read in August?

When tackling reading this month I had one goal in mind: finish all or most of my unread physical books before I move. Gearing up to move abroad is stressful, especially for an overpacker like me. I knew I didn’t want a bunch of books weighing down my suitcases or taking up valuable space. Thus, I tried to read as much as I could and did not hesitate to DNF (did-not-finish) a book I wasn’t enjoying. Want to know about the books in August I read (or didn’t) this month? Continue reading.

DNF – Did Not Finish

At first I was going to list each book separately that I DNF’d. Then I realized I had several books that I just gave up on and decided to do a more compact list. Yeah, August wasn’t the best reading month.

  • Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar: I was put off of this book when it started with the character waking up, looking in the mirror to describe herself and followed by being very info-dumpy all within the first two pages. This book has amazing reviews and unfortunately I didn’t get the hype. It was all “show” and no “tell.” Due to that and the flat characters I just didn’t feel anything. It felt rushed and devoid of any depth of emotion. I gave up on this book about half way and plan on donating it to my library. Hopefully someone enjoys this more than I did.
  • The Mermaid & Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar: From my Book Outlet haul, this was one of the books I was most excited about. I was quite certain I’d love this one. Imogen Hermes Gowar’s really knows how to set a scene. However, I felt that she dragged certain scenes on too long and the pace of the book was so slow. None of the chapters I read had me excited to turn the page. Each chapter ending felt quite dull and anti-climatic and the plot wasn’t really going anywhere. This may have been less of an issue if I found the characters compelling, but they also fell flat for me. I’ll probably keep this book because it’s so beautiful and maybe one day I’ll pick it up again. However, during the start of the month I was in no mood to finish a book (especially a long one like this) that I just didn’t like in order to add to my word count goal.
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor: Gosh, I wanted to love this. I started the book and loved it. Got quite far into it and didn’t mind it. But I just felt it got slow very quickly and had a lot of unnecessary characters, scenes and dare I say, chapters? Of course, I couldn’t know if these were useless until finishing the book. But it was confusing and slow. I had absolutely no motivation to finish it. This one however I do see myself going back to and finishing.
  • Turtles All the Way Down by John Green: Another book I thought I’d love. People gush how Green discusses anxiety and say it was an emotional read. From what I did read, I do think the author captured the main character’s feelings of anxiety and OCD in a good way. However, the plot itself, or lack thereof, was just boring and nonsensical at the same time. It felt like the other plots happening didn’t fit together and took away from what I felt would be a much more engaging story following a young girl dealing with her mental health. I’d also like to note that I’m not the target demographic for this YA novel nor do I like romance, so those elements didn’t particularly appeal to me.

Life’s too short to waste time on books that aren’t clicking with you!

Time to reset!

After a few too many duds I took a little step back from reading. I’ve felt that I’m the type who needs a break from reading a bunch of books in a row. Sometimes I’ll feel super excited about reading books and will knock out a few back-to-back when I get burnt out. Or I need to switch the kind of books I’m reading, alternating between fiction and non-fiction, as well as different genres. Despite my not-so-stellar start, I did finish and enjoy some books this month.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Finally finished the Hunger Games trilogy. Only took me… how many years? Of course I wasn’t shocked by anything because I’ve seen the movies. Additionally, I wasn’t expecting this to be my favorite book of the series because Mockingjay Part 1 and 2 were my least favorite movies.

This is my least favorite book of the trilogy but it wasn’t horrible. But sorry everyone, I’m either Team Gale or Team Katniss-shouldn’t-have-either. Also, I have an aversion to love triangles and this series exemplified why.

Rating: 3 stars

In this video I discuss exactly why I hate love triangles – in books, TV shows and movies.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Don’t have much to say about this book, but that isn’t from not enjoying it. Actually I thought it was really good and managed to keep my interest for the majority of it. Personally, I listened to the audiobook which was pretty good. Although I did find the Lila’s portrayal by the narrator to make her sound like an annoying, whiny pre-teen.

Nonetheless, I think this book was a solid read and I’m definitely interested in reading (or listening) to the next one.

Rating: 4 stars

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody

This book was a novel-saver. I’ve really been trying to learn more about writing to improve my WIPs and hopefully get closer to my dream of publishing a novel. Structuring a story is an area I felt I needed improvement in and more insight on. Thus, after hearing several people rave about this book I picked it up.

This book did not disappoint. The explanation of the 3 Act structure was clear and concise and used many visuals and graphs to teach the material. It was engaging and I’ve used it to help me restructure my Nanowrimo project that is in desperate need of a rewrite.

Was this one of my favorite books in August I read? I think so!

Rating: 5 stars

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Growing up, I adore Sarah Dessen books. Now that I’m older and read more critically, I have several issues with some of her stories. However, I still think her writing is great for young pre-teens/early teens and I’m glad I had her books when I was younger.

Saint Anything has a slightly darker tone than some of her other novels. I really enjoyed her exploring a more troublesome family dynamic as well the main character’s relationship with this one male figure in the book. Overall, a good one from Sarah Dessen.

Rating: 4 stars

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Let me start off by saying that anyone wondering whether they should listen to the audiobook, do it! Even if you’ve read this book before, I highly recommend listening to the audiobook version because wow, the narrator was amazing! Totally engaging and animated and super lively.

The story was awesome on its own and I likely would have loved it even if I read it physically. But the audiobook was just such a fun read and really added to the experience. This and Save the Cat are the books in August I probably enjoyed the most… also, the next one.

Rating: 5 stars

Room by Emma Donoghue

I’ve seen the movie adaptation of this novel, so again no surprises here. But because I enjoyed the movie I hoped the book would be just as great it not better. It didn’t disappoint. I am really interested in true crime and I’ve heard many cases similar to the one discussed in this book. However, what makes this author’s approach interesting is the focus is about the mother and son’s bond and not about the captor.

Also, I felt that the author captured a child’s voice and thoughts perfectly in this book. Many authors struggle to make their characters not come across as whiny and annoying. This could have been the case here being that we’re in the head of a 5 year old. But hey, kids can be annoying and it worked here. Plus, his questions and being whiny served to highlight how sheltered he was.

Rating: 5 stars

#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso

This book is quite popular in the self-help, feminist business world on social media. I’ve seen photos of this book all over Instagram. Before reading, I wasn’t well aware of the author’s story or the brand. I’d heard of Nastygal, but mainly from seeing influencers wear it.

Overall it was an okay book. Not mind-blowing, not horrible. It was more of an autobiography than a self-help book.

Rating: 3 stars

That’s it…

The books in August weren’t exactly my favorite. I’ve had more misses than hits unfortunately. That added with a stressful and fast-paced month for me put me in a reading slump. Despite the books in August I’ve read (or not) I am hoping to get back into things in September. Take a look at your reading list for this month. What books in August stood out for you? Let me know.

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