August 2020 Book Wrap Up!

Hello! It is finally time to chat about books again! Unfortunately this post is a couple weeks late. The fires got pretty scary where I live, but now that things are… no longer getting worse… I’d love to tell you all about my latest joy, which was meeting my August reading goal! I read some real gems, and I cannot wait to revisit them with you.

During the month of August I participated in a very fun and creative readathon which challenged me to read 9 books- and I read 10! I honestly cannot remember the last time I read 10 books in a single month, so if I’m a little dorky in this recap, it’s because I’m a wee bit excited!

As a bit of a side note: The readathon I participated in was Harry Potter themed, and in future iterations it will move forward with new themes. I want to state that I cannot condone any of the harmful things being said by the author. I 100% support the readathon creator’s decision to change the theme. The goal of a Readathon is simply to read, after all, to discover new stories- not to strictly adhere to any one fandom. The Magical Readathon ran its course, and I am so excited to see the level of creativity the readathon creator will bring and share with readers who desire to participate next year! I hope I will see you there!

Finally- here are my 10 August Reads and their prompts! Happy Reading!

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Prompt: Bathsheda Babbling – author name starts with a B

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Vanishing Half was heartbreaking, endearing, passionate, sweet, depressing, despicable, and made me stare into space after closing it. I marked it as 4, but it’s rather close to being a 5 star book for me. It’s a very character-driven story, which can be hit-or-miss for some readers, especially as it ends up following 4 women in this family.

After finishing the book, I ask myself: What is the vanishing half that is referred to in the title?

Is it the sisters losing each other, or is it that and so much more? Every character in this book is losing or has lost a part of themselves, by choice or not. Every character in this book can find love again if they choose to accept it, and some don’t.

This is a character study of what fear can make of you, for better or for worse. Sometimes it turns you into what you hate most. Sometimes it keeps you tied down to what makes you unhappy, but keeps you safe. And sometimes your choice of safety can have adverse effects on those you love most, harming them in its grip, creating a language of secrets and lies.

This is a beautifully written story about two girls who have the privilege of passing for white in a segregated world, the choices they make in their lives, and how their children cope.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Prompt: Read a Classic

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What a delight to finally get to read A Christmas Carol! I am so glad I picked this book up. It is far creepier than I remember from the Mickey Mouse retelling (don’t judge me, I know you watched it, too- or if not, the Muppets one!).

The spook factor was delightful to me, a lover of spooky tales, and while I did tire of the well-known parts, I very much enjoyed reading this for the tongue-in-cheek narrator and forgotten gems, like the hilarious Christmas party Scrooge’s nephew attends, or how the decomposing apparition of Marley’s ghost has to keep his jaw attached to his skull with a line of cloth!

Get a Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Prompt: Love rune: Read a Romance

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Okay, has anyone else read this book? I need someone else to experience it, too! Let’s talk about how sweet, steamy, progressive, and heart-melting this book is! Chloe and Red are my new favorites, and let’s face it- none of it would have happened without Smudge the Cat! A hearty and earnest 5 stars from this starry-eyed reader!

March Book 2 by John Lewis, Andrew Ayton, Nate Powell

Prompt: Precision is key: read a non-fiction

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I finished March: Book 2, and then just stared into space for a bit. I’m very ready to read Book 3. This is such an important and well-depicted true story that is so reflective of current events that it’s almost scary. But we mustn’t forget- we have made progress, things have slowly been changing, but they will- and must– continue to change.

A beautiful, heart-wrenching, and tear-jerking recollection of the Civil Rights movement juxtaposed with the 2008 American Presidential election, March is an absolute must-read.

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Prompt: Book that ends on an uneven number

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Sometimes you gotta view the world through your emerald-colored glasses.

Okay, I’ll say it- the book was better than the movie!

It was very cute and whimsical, and I loved all the extra creatures our group encounters that didn’t make it into the movie, like the tiny people made of china!

The Midnight Hour by Benjamin Read & Laura Trinder

Prompt: Book that’s between 260-299 pages

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What an adorable and utterly delightful book!

We follow Emily, a precocious little girl who will not take no for an answer, and who will go to the ends of the world (and not just the ends of our own world) to save her family. I love the mirrored and magical London, the villains were campy and so much fun, and (here is me reading as an adult) I want to know more about how Emily’s parents got together- they are such a cute couple! Can we get a prequel on that please?

You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson

Prompt: Cheering Charm: Read a humorous book

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I must confess, I have not listed to the author’s podcast, Two Dope Queens. I don’t know how that’s possible, as a lover of podcasts, but clearly I need to get my act together. Phoebe Robinson’s humor and charm came through in this book, but I have to admit- I wish I’d read this via audiobook. I think reading the words on page lost some of their sparkle, and I could be wrong, but it seems to me that her writing is probably best read aloud. She writes like she is talking to you, which is my absolute favorite thing about listening to autobiographical audiobooks. I enjoyed the stories, how topical it is, and now I definitely need to listen to her podcast!

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Prompt: Boggart: read a horror/thriller; and My Local Book Club Pick

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I am that person who falls asleep contentedly while watching Forensic Files or listening to My Favorite Murder. I grew up asking my mom to tell me scary bedtime stories, and my favorite time of the year is Fall. That is just who I am as a person. Somehow, outside of binging all of Mary Higgins Clark’s books in my high school years, I rarely read mystery, thrillers, or horror novels. After starting off 2020 with reading Murder on the Orient Express, I decided- this is my year for scary.

As it turns out, 2020 became scarier than my books. By far. But I digress.

Then She Was Gone was a super fast and engrossing read, with very dire content that matches it’s stark, yet eye-catching cover. I had mixed feelings on this book. Perhaps it was because I am currently enamored with the Queen of Mystery herself, Agatha Christie, or perhaps it was because I guessed what happened by page 50. Either way I flew through this book, would read the author again, but I just wasn’t super excited while reading it.

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

Prompt: Kappas: water demon! Book with demons or water theme

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This beautiful book has been sitting on my TBR shelves a little too long, but I finally read it!

Tova is a Truth tongue without a past, gifted with the ability to interpret the future, and Halvard is the future leader of an opposing clan. Despite being on opposing sides of an impending war, Tova soon learns that their destinies are intertwined and determines she must find a way to survive the will of the gods.

Young’s writing is immersive and beautiful. I liked seeing what happened 10 years after the events in Sky in the Deep, and even though this book is a sequel I think it would also work well as a stand-alone. Tova’s determination and Halvard’s stubbornness felt very true to their characters, and while I wish we had more time to watch the two get to know each other, I felt the book ended on the most perfect, mysterious, and hopeful note!

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

My Local Book Club Pick

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I admit, this book was not high on my TBR list, but there’s nothing like joining a book club to get you to read new things! And let me just say, I ended up loving it! I was able to access the audiobook through the Hoopla app that connects to my local library, and the narrator was delightful.

Britt-Marie is very particular. Everything must be done her way, everything must be clean and then cleaned again, and her world view is very narrow. But after a life-changing event, Britt-Marie decides she is done being a housewife and needs to keep a job, which is how she finds herself in a small, rundown town in charge of the local rec center, complete with a hodge podge youth soccer team. Hijinks ensue, friends are made, and hope is explored in a delightful, self-empowering way.

Imagine Mrs. Bucket (it’s pronounced bouquet) mixed with Sheldon Cooper, and you’ve got Britt-Marie!

Did anyone else watch Keeping Up Appearances?

Just me?

Published by francinewonders

Hi! My name is Francine and I spend a lot of time wandering about while wondering about stuff. I like to talk about cats, books, travel, and all things w@nderful. Follow me on Instagram: @francinewonders

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