I have had such a slumpy month! My slumpiest, worst reading month of the year. Unfortunately my slump fell on N.E.W.T.s readathon month, but I did manage to scrape through and get everything I needed for my exams to complete the Librarian career. I also did still manage to read 8 books despite the slump, though that consisted of 2 audiobooks and 2 graphic novels, so without further complaining I will tell you all about them!
1. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare – No Rating
“Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.
To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?”
This was an audio reread for me just for something easy to listen to in the car on my commute. As always, I am Shadowhunter trash so I loved my time reading this one, but I’m not going to rate it as I think my first impression should stand (I rated it 4 starts when I first read it in 2018).
2. The Last Wish by Andrej Sapkowski – 4 Stars
“Geralt is a witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent. He roams the country seeking assignments, but gradually comes to realise that while some of his quarry are unremittingly vile, vicious grotesques, others are the victims of sin, evil or simple naivety.”
This is the first book in the Witcher series, on which the games and upcoming Netflix show are based. I was really craving some monster hunting goodness and this did not disappoint. I did enjoy my time reading this one a lot, but it is a collection of short stories which I don’t usually love. I think it was a great intro to the series as we met the characters though little adventures rather than info dumping, but I expect that I’ll enjoy the series more once we get stuck into the full books rather than short story collections.
3. The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang – 4 stars
“Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!
Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend?”
This was fun and adorable, I just wish it was longer. I really loved the characters and the story, I just wanted more meat to it. It’s well worth a read if you’re just getting into graphic novels as a place to start.
4. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal – 3 Stars
“Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.
Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.
War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.”
I honestly don’t even know what to say about this. There was so much I liked and so much I didn’t. I will be reviewing it, but I need to discuss this one with my book group first so I can process how I actually felt about it. I really loved the world-building and mythology, but I just really struggled to get into the story and it ended up taking me ages to read, leaving me a bit bored honestly. I can’t tell how much of my disappointment in this book was because of the hype, or if it was all just the book. I’ll discuss this at my book club, and then update this with a link to my fully thought out and processed review.
5. Mythos by Stephen Fry – 4.5 Stars
“The Greek myths are the greatest stories ever told, passed down through millennia and inspiring writers and artists as varied as Shakespeare, Michelangelo, James Joyce and Walt Disney.
They are embedded deeply in the traditions, tales and cultural DNA of the West. In Stephen Fry’s hands the stories of the titans and gods become a brilliantly entertaining account of ribaldry and revelry, warfare and worship, debauchery, love affairs and life lessons, slayings and suicides, triumphs and tragedies.
You’ll fall in love with Zeus, marvel at the birth of Athena, wince at Cronus and Gaia’s revenge on Ouranos, weep with King Midas and hunt with the beautiful and ferocious Artemis.”
GUYS, I READ A NON FICTION BOOK AND A BOOK THAT HAD BEEN ON MY TBR FOR OVER A YEAR! These are two categories I struggle to find the motivation to pick up, by my local library had the audiobook for this, and as I had cancelled my Scribd membership in preparation for how much I knew I’d be listening to Lover this month, my choices were limited. I love Ancient Greece, I studied it at A Level and wrote my uni dissertation on its history, but I didn’t know that many of the myths. So, I picked this up and really enjoyed it! It was so wittily written and breathes new life into such ancient stories. The audiobook was also read by Stephen Fry himself, so it was just so entertaining. My only criticism was that it was a bit long, slightly too much for my brain to consume – but it didn’t want to put it down for a couple of weeks because I knew I’d forget all the context I needed for the stories. I probably would have preferred this in two volumes, but that’s just me being difficult. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for the audio of the companion, Heroes!
6. Heartstopper Volume 2
“Nick and Charlie are best friends. Nick knows Charlie’s gay, and Charlie is sure that Nick isn’t.
But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is discovering all kinds of things about his friends, his family … and himself.
Heartstopper is about friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us.”
This was adorable. I loved it so much and it made me cry. I loved it even more that the first volume, and I’m really enjoying getting to know these characters more and following their journeys. This book really focuses on Nick and his relationship with his sexuality, and self discovery. It was just beautiful and heartwarming – I’ll be eagerly awaiting volume 3!
7. Throne of Glass
“After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.”
I enjoyed this SO MUCH! My favourite of the month by far! In fact, I’m already reading Crown of Midnight because I just can’t wait to tear through this series. It was so fun and addicting and just everything I wanted. I’ve written a whole post on my reactions and thoughts while reading this book that you can find here.
8. The Black Flamingo
“A boy comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen – then at university he finds his wings as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo. A bold story about the power of embracing your uniqueness. Sometimes, we need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers – to show ourselves to the world in bold colour.”
This book was just so powerful and moving. It’s written in verse, which is something that I don’t usually read but it was recommended to me so I thought I’d give it a go. This book focuses on a young man nagivating youth and growing up as gay, mixed race and from a single-parent family. It was so profound and I know it will stay with me for a long time. The verse flows so beautifully and quickly that I finished the whole thing in one afternoon, so it’s a very quick read. Definitely urge you to pick this one up!
There we go! Please let me know what you thought of these and what your favourites of the month were! Follow my instagram @cosybookcorner to chat about these or to keep update with my reading throughout the month!