You all are probably sick of hearing me talk about it by now, but I start graduate school for Library and Information Science in September. Which means I have a month before I go back to being a full-time student after two years outside of a classroom (I’m already having nightmares from anxiety).
Since I am currently in between temp assignments and focusing on part-time work, I will have (hopefully) enough free time to visit my local library until the semester starts. I don’t know how much I will have as a graduate student. That is why all the books on this rather ambitious TBR are library books. It seems only fitting, since I am going back to school to be a librarian. There are others books I already own I hope to get to, but for now the books from the library are ones I am focused on.
The library books I plan to read in August of 2018 are:
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
The Poppy War is one of those books that seemed to come out of nowhere and, suddenly, everyone on BookTube and the blogs are talking about it. Inspired by events of Chinese history, the novel follows a young woman enlisted into an elite military academy in the Empire and discovers her talents could help end a war threatening to tear the kingdom apart.
With all the books I wanted to read, The Poppy War had to take a back seat, at least at first. You all might be surprised to know what drew me to ultimately pick up the novel was certain events happening are inspired by The Rape of Nan King. I actually learned that in my junior year of high school, which was my favorite history class I ever took in school. So I already know how disturbing it is. I am mentally preparing myself the best I can for whatever The Poppy War can dish out at me.
Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West
Besides being an iconic summer author, I checked out two of Kasie West’s books this month because they are cute, fluffy, and breezy reads, good to have to balance out the rest of my TBR.
The first Kasie West book, Listen to Your Heart, follows Kate, who gets reluctantly pulled into a podcast class by her best friend Alana. To her surprise, she gets chosen as a host and finds she has a talent for giving advice on the air. Then, an anonymous guy calls in, seeking help for his unnamed crush. Kate is positive it is her classmate Diego talking about Alana. But when she starts falling for Diego as well, she learns that taking your own advice is harder than giving it away.
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
I read Riley Sager’s debut novel, Final Girls, last year and, unfortunately, didn’t love it as much as I wanted to. But I enjoyed his writing style enough to want to keep picking up his books. I must admit, between The Last Time I Lied and Final Girls, the plot of the former intrigues me more.
In The Last Time I Lied, protagonist Emma is still haunted by the disappearance of her three cabin mates, Vivian, Natalie, and Allison, fifteen years ago from Camp Nightingale. When the founder asks her to return to the newly reopened camp, she jumps at the chance to finally get closure as to what happened to her friends. But the only security camera in the camp is pointed directly at Emma’s cabin, the same one she slept in all those years ago, and clues left behind by Vivian detailing the camp’s mysterious origins start to make her wonder if the truth is better off buried.
People Like Us by Dana Mele
After finishing season 2 of Thirteen Reasons Why on Netflix, I had a craving for more dramatic young adult mysteries. While browsing the new additions shelf in the young adult section of my local library, I saw People Like Us. I knew a little bit about it from YouTube, so this was exactly what I was looking for.
Kay Donovan is the new girl at Bates Academy and has reinvented herself as this star soccer player that rules the school with her other popular friends. Then, the body of Jessica Lane is pulled out of a lake and she has left Kay an email threatening to expose the secret Kay has been hiding from everyone if she does not do what the dead girl says. Following the clues, Kay is soon wrapped up in a murder investigation and no one, including her, is above suspicion.
Labyrinth Lost & Bruja Born by Zoraida Cordova
From my understanding, Labyrinth Lost and Bruja Born are companion novels. The first, Labyrinth Lost, follows Alex, the most powerful bruja (witch) of her generation that ironically hates magic. On her Death Day celebration, she performs a spell to get rid of her powers. But the spell backfires, sending her family to Los Lagos, the in-between, forcing Alex to team up with a boy she does not trust in order to save them.
The second novel, Bruja Born, follows Lula, a bruja with the power to heal, except heal the wound her sister’s gifts inflicted on her. When her boyfriend tragically dies in a bus crash, she uses her healing powers to bring him back, but in doing so unlocks the door to the underworld.
The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis
I read Fiona Davis’s other novel, The Address, back in July and enjoyed it. The Dollhouse is her debut. It follows Darby, who in 1952, comes to New York City for secretarial school and takes up residence in the Barbizon Hotel for Women, where young women of the 1950s lived as they attempted to achieve the success they craved. She befriends Esme, a maid in the hotel, who introduces Darby to the underground world of jazz and heroin.
Then, half a century later, Darby is still living in the Barbizon, now being converted to condos and hiding from the world midst rumors about an incident she was implicated in that ended badly. Her upstairs neighbor, journalist Rose Lewin, is drawn to her mysterious past; mostly as a distraction from her own messed up personal life. But as Rose begins her investigation into Darby’s past, her obsession takes her down a path that will change both women for good.
A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell
After watching the trailer for the movie three times, I discovered that A Simple Favor, which is coming out in theaters this September, is based off a book of the same name. Widow and mommy blogger Stephanie, played by Anna Kendrick, and beautiful, mysterious fashion designer Emily, played by Blake Lively, are brought together by their sons and become best friends themselves. Stephanie is enthralled by Emily’s supposed perfect life, with a handsome British husband and successful career. Only after Emily goes missing does she realize there is more to her supposedly perfect best friend than she thought.
The King’s Witch by Tracy Borman
The Tudor dynasty is one of my favorite periods of England’s history. The King’s Witch is the first in a historical trilogy that is set during the last years of the Tudors and into the Stuarts, a portion I know next to nothing about.
I found The King’s Witch browsing the new arrivals shelf in my library’s lobby. Written by a real historian, the novel follows a Wiccan named Frances, a beloved healer in Queen Elizabeth I’s court until the queen dies in March of 1603. After that, King James of Scotland takes the throne and Frances is more than happy to leave court, knowing James is a Puritan. But her ambitious uncle forces her back to London, where she is made a lady to James’s daughter, Princess Elizabeth, and unwittingly gets herself wrapped up in a deadly conspiracy that leads to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.
The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
I have mentioned my love for historical mysteries, mainly ones that follow dual timelines where one person’s is connected to another’s by a tragedy or crime. The Broken Girls checks off some of those boxes.
The novel centers on a boarding school called Idlewild Hall, a place for girls that society does not want. Twenty years ago, journalist Fiona Sheridan’s older sister was murdered and her body was found outside the then-abandoned Idlewild Hall. Though her sister’s boyfriend was convicted of the crime, something about it never sat right with Fiona. In 2014, an unknown benefactor is reopening Idlewild Hall and she decides to cover the story. But the renovations reveal a clue that links Fiona’s sister’s death to another disappearance of a girl from Idlewild Hall in 1950.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo has been literally everywhere since its release and I have not heard a single negative thing about it. On its own, the plot intrigues me. Monique Grant is a journalist whose entire life is falling apart until she is unexpectedly chosen to write the tell-all autobiography of Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo. As Evelyn details her scandalous life to the journalist, Monique soon realizes she and Evelyn are connected by tragedy and painful truth. That being said, the hype this book has been getting is so enormous it’s more than a little intimidating.
My Name is Venus Black by Heather Lloyd
Five years ago, straight-A student Venus Black commits a heinous crime and won’t say why she did it, other than blame her mother for her actions. To make matters worse, her mentally challenged younger brother has gone missing. Then, years later, Venus is released from prison and her brother is still missing. With a fake identity, she travels to Seattle to build a new life for herself away from her mother. Then, she meets a person that gets close to her heart and a little girl that reminds her of her childhood self, making Venus realize she needs to face the past in order to have a future.
Circe by Madeline Miller
I recently began reading The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan and The Lost Hero mentioned Circe. Having read The Odyssey in high school, all I knew about her was that she was the sorceress that Odysseus outwitted after she turned his sailors into animals and then he bedded her for reasons I forget why. Then, there was the 1997 miniseries where Bernadette Peters played Circe…. In this novel, though, Madeline Miller paints the first witch of Greek mythology in a different light: a strong woman blazing trails in a world run by men and a powerhouse that makes even the Olympians nervous.
The English Wife by Lauren Willig
On the outside, Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil are the picture of perfection in turn-of-the-century New York. She’s an English rose and he the son of an old Knickerbocker family who live in an elegant house on the Hudson with adorable three-year-old twins. Then, Bayard is murdered the night he and his wife are throwing their Twelfth Night Ball and Annabelle presumably drowns. While the media is going crazy with the rumors, Bay’s sister Janie firmly believes her brother did not kill his wife and he was murdered for another reason. But when she teams up with a reporter to get answers, Janie discovers she didn’t know her brother or his wife as well as she thought she did.
Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West
The second Kasie West book on this TBR/library book haul, Love, Life, and the List follows aspiring artist Abby Turner, who is dealing with an unrequited crush on her best friend Cooper and her mother’s growing anxiety issues while her dad serves overseas. After being rejected from an art show because her work lacks heart, she gives herself one month to complete a list of dares to give herself life experiences she hopes will improve her talent. But it’s going to be a lot harder than that.
What is the book you are most looking forward to reading in August?