I started off strong in August; I read three books in two weeks. Then, somehow, in the middle of the month, I hit a snag in the road. I suddenly became overwhelmed with all the books I had on my TBR at home. So, I decided to take a break to check out books from my local library, which I had not visited in months. That helped me so much.
Reading-wise, I think August was OK. I read six books, so that is something. And, overall, I enjoyed what I read, even though some of these were pretty low on the rating scale.
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
I have a whole spoiler-free review of The Serpent King up on my blog. The book is set in the Bible Belt of Tennessee, where Dill Early, the quiet son of a disgraced Pentecostal minister, and his best friends Lydia and Travis are approaching their senior year of high school.
I enjoyed The Serpent King very much. The writing was beautiful and I found the realistic approach to the Bible Belt to be refreshing—the South has a tendency to be overly idealized in the media. The characters had good development. However, the plot did not really start to get interesting until the end of the middle section and I strongly disliked Lydia. She annoyed me for the majority of the book. She is primarily the reason I did not give The Serpent King a full four stars. I go into full detail in my review. https://jillianthebookishbutterflyblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/04/review-of-the-serpent-king-by-jeff-zentner-spoiler-free/
The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Angel’s Game is the companion novel to The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It is set approximately thirty years before the events of the previous book and follows David Martin, a struggling young novelist living in a dilapidated mansion in Barcelona in the 1920s and 30s. When a mysterious publisher offers him the deal of a lifetime, David uncovers a shocking history behind his home, as well as his benefactor, that sends his entire life into a tailspin.
The first half of The Angel’s Game was great. I flew through it. Then, towards the middle half, I started feeling confused. I was not quite sure what was happening or where the mystery was heading. I almost gave up on it, but I pushed through. I still came out confused. Then again, I wonder if that was intentional, given what we learn about David in The Angel’s Game, as well as later in The Prisoner of Heaven.
The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Prisoner of Heaven is a direct sequel to The Shadow of the Wind, as it features the same characters from that novel and takes place a year or two after. The book is shorter than its predecessors, but it successfully interconnects the two. While I did not love The Prisoner of Heaven the way I did The Shadow of the Wind, I mainly enjoyed it because the whole novel focused on the backstory on a character I love. Fermin Romano de Torres could give Rhysand from the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy by Sarah J. Maas a run for his money with all that sass he has.
The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano (library book)
The Suffering Tree is one of the books I found at the library. The cover drew my eye on the shelves. Unfortunately, the insides were not as intricate as the outside. The story was flat and the big reveal made no sense. The characters were likable but one-dimensional. There was an element of self-harm and how it was portrayed in this novel I had a big problem with. However, the book was very readable. If you want to know more, go read my review. https://jillianthebookishbutterflyblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/review-of-the-suffering-tree-by-elle-cosimano-spoiler-free/
City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson (library book)
City of Saints and Thieves is the book that took me by surprise this month. I knew I would like it, only I was not expecting to love it as much as I did. The book is 401 pages long and I flew through it in two days. The plot was fast-paced and action-packed. Tina is a badass protagonist Aelin from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas would tap her hat to. Most importantly, it realistically and accurately described life as a refugee from Congo and what is happening to innocent civilians, particularly women, there among the political unrest. If you want to know all my thoughts, go check out my review. https://jillianthebookishbutterflyblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/27/review-of-city-of-saints-and-thieves-by-natalie-c-anderson-spoiler-free/
Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor (library book)
I found Definitions of Indefinable Things through an emmmabooks video during the summer. It’s about Reggie, a girl struggling with depression, who meets Snake, a boy her age also suffering from depression and expecting a baby with one of Reggie’s classmates. At first, Snake, who has a tattoo on his neck and an ego too big for his head, annoys her but he soon proves himself to be irritatingly charming. But with her own emotional problems and past tragedies haunting her, Reggie wonders if she is brave enough to let Snake in.
I was looking forward to reading Definitions of Indefinable Things. It did not disappoint too much, but it was not as mind-blowing as I originally thought it might. Reggie is what made me give the book 3 stars instead of a 2.5 stars. She was sarcastic and did not take anyone’s crap. I also liked Carla, Snake’s pregnant ex-girlfriend, who did not fit any stereotype her role entailed. While I personally do not have depression, I have people in my life that do, and I have seen what it can do, so I thought the portrayal to be realistic.
However, it was Snake that kind of killed my enjoyment of this book, in some regards. While I appreciate him for taking responsibility of Carla and the baby, that was the only thing I liked about him. Personally, arrogance turns me off and, if I was in Reggie’s position, I would have kneed him in the balls for some of the things he did, or for coming on too strong. Snake was not a terrible person; I just found him annoying. He is the reason why I did not enjoy Definitions of Indefinable Things as much as I wanted to.
What was your favorite book you read in August?