September Book Wrap Up!

September is one of my favorite months of the year. Not only is it my birth month, but it’s also the bridge between summer and fall. Leaves start to change colors, a cooler breeze blows through that smells of rain and makes you feel like getting cozy under a blanket, and the sun is still summer-bright. This September, like everything else this year, felt a bit different. Truncated is probably the appropriate word, what with the fires rolling through where I live, smothering the world in smoke for weeks.

I did get a good amount of reading done, and while I have not yet posted any individual reviews of the books I read it is somehow time for a monthly wrap up, so on we go!

Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What a satisfying conclusion to the Blood of the Stars duology! As with book one, the writing is immersive and colorful, the story playful and hopeful, and I loved the evolution and growth of the characters. If you are looking for a dreamy, atmospheric, magical, and hopeful-against-all-odds story about a girl who will stop at nothing to achieve her dreams, save her kingdom, and protect her loved ones then READ THIS SERIES!

Ghostland by Colin Dickey

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Fall is here and you know what that means: ghost stories galore! I am a huge fan of all things Halloween, and ghost stories are my favorite part, so I really enjoyed “Ghostland”, which took some of America’s best known scary stories and dug deep into the history, lore, and meaning behind them. It also delved a bit into the psychology behind the creation of ghost stories and haunted places. A fascinating read where you get to learn some history and reflect on American culture through the lens of its lore.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Did you know that in A Darker Shade of Magic there is not just our (Grey) London, but also a White and a Red and a Black? I learned that with the turning of a coat, travel to other worlds is possible with our heroes Kell and Lila, and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip! The writing was superb and the story beautifully told, and the setup of the world leaves you knowing there’s more to explore. I can’t wait to read the next in the series!

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I’m not sure how I managed to go so long without reading these books, but here I am, Book 1 finally under my belt! Overall I enjoyed it, with just a few drawbacks of pacing and characterization in the first half of the book, I am really excited to read Book 2!

For me, once the gang got together the story really took off, and I can’t wait to see more of them and their adventures. The atmosphere the author built was super engrossing and exciting, and I admit I just LOVED one of the twists in this story. So good!

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I was really looking forward to reading this one. Ruth Ware is a name I hear a lot of in the Thriller genre, and after read and not loving In a Dark, Dark Wood, I really wanted to love The Turn of the Key. I should make a disclaimer here that I have not yet read The Turn of the Screw, the inspiration behind this book, so it is very likely there are allusions that went over my head and that I wasn’t able to fully appreciate. Even though I didn’t enjoy The Turn of the Key very much (for one very specific reason and many smaller ones) I really liked her writing style. My dislikes are a bit of a spoiler so… highlight if you dare:

This book is about girls determined to tear each other down and harm each other simply because of the hurt caused to them by one man. Instead of rejecting this man from being in their lives, they reject each other, and I think that is ridiculous. Aside from the glorious moment where they open the secret door to the attic (thrilling!), the only joy I found from this book was pretending it was the origin story for a serial killer. Now that would be a series I would keep reading!

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

I listened to this story as an audio book, and I am so sorry to say I just could not get into it. I finished it, but I won’t give it a rating because I didn’t even care enough to give it my full attention. There were a few charming moments overshadowed by many boring or silly ones, while whole portions of the narration felt drawn out. I like the idea behind the story, but it wasn’t for me.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It’s been weeks now since I read Mexican Gothic, and this book has really stuck with me! I could write a whole essay on it, the more I dwell on it, it is that poignant and full of allusions.

Suffice it to say, I really really liked it. The only reason I docked a star was because, while I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was an easy book to set down for the first half of the book. But to be honest, I am also glad I took my time reading it because not only was I able to dwell on all the allusions and analogies delicately woven throughout the story, but I also got to enjoy the spooky atmosphere for that much longer!

Based on reviews I’ve seen on the interwebs, I suppose I should say that this book is probably not for everyone. The first half is slow-paced and character-driven, and if you’re not invested in the heroine that could be difficult for you. That wasn’t even a little bit of an issue for me, but hey.

In addition, this is a horror novel. A gothic (somewhat gory but only towards the end) horror that has additional themes woven into it, most prominently the European colonization of the Americas. If you are not interested in that then this book is not for you.

Let me repeat what I just said: this book is a discussion on the European colonization of the Americas in Gothic horror format.

Who. Does. This. They. Are. A. Genius!

I can only say it’s amazing, and that you should take nothing at face value. Everything in this book was written the way it is for a reason, even the stuff you might think is unnecessary- it’s not.

Full of allusions to classic Gothic literature, as well as historical and sociological analogies, Mexican Gothic is the perfect spooky read for those who love a little social commentary in their literature.

After all, truth is often scarier than fiction.

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

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: