It’s been a hot minute since I did a monthly TBR. I posted one for the first time this year in May. Some of these books were actually on that particular TBR. The pressure to read was on and I had just started a new job that wore me out mentally.
I set a goal of eight books to read in August, books I know I want to read. A little ambitious, considering the last few months I did not read more than six. But since the job I had was temporary, I have more time on my hands until the next opportunity comes along.
In August, I hope to read:
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
At the time I am writing this, I am on page 92 of The Serpent King and liking it so far. It is a young adult contemporary novel set in the Bible Belt of Tennessee. Dill, the son of a disgraced preacher whose religion is based on handling snakes, and his two best friends, Lydia and Travis, are entering their senior year of high school. While Lydia is dreaming about the possibilities presented to her from her successful fashion blog, and Travis is lost in his fantasy world of the books he loves, Dill fears graduation and what it means for his future, particularly his feelings for Lydia.
Where I am in The Serpent King, I can say for certain I don’t like Lydia. While I admire her confidence, sass, and ambition, she is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, or some variation of one. She thinks she knows what is best for Dill and that she knows what he really wants. Dill is a good kid; just trying to find his way after everything his dad put him through. Travis is a good kid, too, and I think most people can identify with his love for a fandom.
These are only my preliminary thoughts on The Serpent King. They could change by the end of the book.
The Angel’s Game & The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Angel’s Game and The Prisoner of Heaven are the companion and sequel novels, respectively, to The Shadow of the Wind, my all-time favorite book of 2016. They are historical mystery novels set in Barcelona, Spain and centered around a mysterious bookstore called the Cemetery of Forgotten Books.
The Angel’s Game takes place about twenty years prior to the events of The Shadow of the Wind. David Martin is a struggling pulp fiction author living in an old mansion in Barcelona when a publisher offers him the book deal of a lifetime. But as he unravels the mystery behind his home and its connection to his book, he finds himself inside his own story.
The Prisoner of Heaven is a direct sequel to The Shadow of the Wind, and features the same main characters from the novel. A stranger visits Daniel Sempere’s family’s bookshop and threatens to reveal a terrible secret if Daniel and his best friend Fermin do not do as he asks.
The Shadow of the Wind was a beautiful novel. Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a celebrated storyteller, so I already have high expectations before reading these novels.
Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
Set in feudal Japan, Flame in the Mist follows Mariko, the cunning daughter of a respected samurai, who is betrothed to the son of the emperor’s favorite consort. On the way to her wedding, the Black Clan, who have been hired to assassinate Mariko, attacks her convoy. She survives, disguises herself as a boy, and infiltrates the ranks of the Black Clan to find out who wants her dead. But in doing so, Mariko learns the truth behind everything she’s ever been taught and begins to question her role in what is happening.
Two things that let me know I will love this book. 1) I enjoy Renee Ahdieh’s writing and I loved her The Wrath & the Dawn duology. 2) The story of Flame in the Mist screams Mulan. That is all I need.
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
When I was in junior high, I was obsessed with the Tudor dynasty in England. Lady Jane Grey, otherwise known as the Nine Day Queen, is related to the Tudors: her grandmother, Princess Mary, was King Henry VIII’s younger sister. At sixteen, she was an unwitting political pawn by her father and others who sought control over the throne after the death of King Henry’s only son, Edward, and made queen. Her reign was exactly nine days and she was later convicted of high treason by Queen Mary I, and then beheaded.
My Lady Jane is a retelling of Lady Jane Grey’s story, but with a more comedic fantasy twist and the authors promised a happier ending. Sickly Edward arranges for his favorite cousin, Jane, to marry a strange boy named Gifford (“G”), who turns into a horse during the day, to secure the line of succession. But the three of them are soon drawn into a conspiracy to steal Edward’s throne and send all of them to the executioner’s block.
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
I received this beautiful limited-edition exclusive cover of Heartless in my November 2016 Owlcrate box and I have been dying to read it. Not just because the book is stunning, but also because it is a retelling of the origin story of The Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
Catherine is a duchess in Wonderland that has caught the eye of the King of Hearts. Instead of wanting to be queen, though, she wants to focus on baking and open a bakery with her best friend. On the night the king is expected to propose to her, she meets the mysterious Jest, and begins a secret courtship. But how does such a nice girl become the Queen of Hearts? I’m going to find out.
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Denna is a princess with the gift of fire betrothed to the prince of a kingdom where magic is banned. Hiding her magic will be hard enough, yet things get a little more complicated when she falls for her future husband’s sister. I have picked this book up a few times since May with every intention of reading it. The book has gotten good reviews and I want to read more books with LGBTQ main characters. The fact that it is set in a fantasy setting makes it even more exciting to read.
The Valiant by Lesley Livingston
The Valiant is based on an untold story within Ancient Roman history: female gladiators. Fallon is a Celtic princess who witnesses her sister murdered and her kingdom taken over by the Romans. She is then sold to a school training female gladiators, suddenly finding herself at the mercy of Julius Caesar, the man she vowed to destroy. Like I said with virtually every book, I’m excited to read The Valiant. I think this will be a great book to end the summer with.