Hello! Another monthly reading roundup for you. I read 8 books in September, which I’m pretty happy with as there were times when I did not want to read. Not quite a reading slump but I did feel a bit meh at times.
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
You might recoognise the name Jennifer Niven. Her last book was All the Bright Places, something I haven’t read yet (it was out of stock when I last ordered it). But I’ve heard nothing but good things about it, which is why I requested Holding Up the Universe on NetGalley. Libby has had a tough few years. After her mother died, Libby gained a lot of weight, which ended with her having to be lifted out of her house with a crane and be dubbed America's Fattest Teen. After being home schooled for years, Libby has lost some weight and is ready to go back to school. Jack has a condition that makes him 'face blind', meaning that he can never recognise people by just their face, not even his family. Jack gets by with tricks he's picked up over the years and is one of the popular guys in school. Jack won't tell anyone of his problem, believing if people know they'll target his weakness, so he keeps quiet (despite it getting him trouble at times). When a big event happens in school, Jack and Libby get thrown together and they must learn to get on.
I did enjoy this book, it was interesting. I found myself rooting for Libby and Jack as they were both on personal journeys. Libby has had a tough time but she's still strong and is determined to get her life back on track. I wasn't overly gone on the romantic element of the book, I felt like the book didn't really need it. I was just pleased that Libby and Jack could help each other. The book tackles important issues like bullying and how social media can play into this and has a strong message of being able to love and accept yourself. [NetGalley]
Changeless by Gail Carriger
Changeless is book two in the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. I read Soulless in May as an audiobook and I was going to read this book as a physical copy. But for some reason the library wasn’t shipping it out so I requested the audio CD version instead. And I was glad I listened to it again as I enjoy Emily Gray’s narration. We continue on with the life of Alexia Tarabotti, set in a steampunk supernatural Victorian London. I am loving this series and setting, Carriger is so witty and fun and Alexia is a fantastic character.
The Dark Tourist by Dom Joly
I love the idea of the this book, going on holiday to unusual places. In this book Dom Joly goes to places that are unusual (Chernobyl and North Korea for example) as well as doing things that are unusual or a bit dark (such as skiing in Iran and going to assassination sites in USA). The book is accessible to read and interesting (I tried to read book like this before and it was so heavy and serious). Joly probably spent the most time in North Korea so that chapter is chock full of information and is fascinating and slightly depressing too. I enjoyed the American side of things too. Having read Assassination Vacation in January I got to see all the sites of the US Presidental Assassinations bar JFK (because the author felt it was too close in modern history) so it was interesting to see Joly go to Dallas and round out my experience of Assassination Vacation. This book is six years old though, so it felt ever so slightly out of date (but not by any means outdated).
Blameless by Gail Carriger
Book 3 in the Parasol Protectorate series. I won’t say much about it but if you do plan on reading this series DO NOT look up any synopsis for this book!! It will spoil book 2 for you. You’ve been warned. I also listened to this book which I wish I could do for the rest of the series but alas the library doesn’t have them in audio form. These books were what kept me going reading wise for the month, if I didn’t have them I probably would have got stuck in a slump.
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Lo Blacklock has been given the chance of a lifetime at work. She's been asked to cover the press launch of a new luxury boutique cruise ship of the Arctic and Northern Lights. This could be the thing that helps elevate her career to the next level. A few days before she's due to leave, she's the victim of a traumatic break-in that leaves her a wreck and threatens to ruin her relationship. This cruise is just what she needs to make her feel safe and let her relax. On the first night Lo is convinced a murder has happened in the cabin next door but when she informs cabin staff they tell her no one was in that cabin. But Lo knows there was someone in there, she met her and she gave Lo mascara. Lo feels like she's going mad but she's determined to get to the bottom of this issue.
The book did take a while to pick up, I didn't really get into the story until I was about 20% through. I wasn’t that interested in picking it up. But once I did start again I read it on one go! The story did grip me, it was tense and having an unreliable character like Lo as the narrator added to the mystery. She drinks a lot, is on medication for anxiety and is clearly still suffering for the break in at her flat, so we don't know how much she is imagining and how much is actually true. She reminded me a lot of Rachel in The Girl on the Train, in fact the book has that kind of vibe at times. The end seemed a bit rushed and it ended up being a bit muddled. If you liked The Girl on the Train then I think you'll enjoy this book too. [NetGalley]
Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
Eleanor Flood vows today will be better. She's going to be a better version of herself. But today does not start well for her. She's called to her son Timby's school as he's not feeling well and after she's collected him, they go to her husband's workplace. Only to discover that he's not there and his colleagues are surprised to see Eleanor back early. Eleanor must find her husband and all sorts of shenanigans happen. We learn more about Eleanor's past as well with flashback scenes.
I loved Where'd You Go Bernadette so I was looking forward to this book. The fact that it's all set in one day added to my excitement as I enjoy stories like that. The story doesn't really work like that though, there’s a lot of flashbacks to Eleanor's past and when you take all that out, nothing much happens on this 'crazy' day. The madcap element just felt very forced, like craziness for the sake of craziness and I didn't enjoy the humour this time round. The flashbacks also confused me at the beginning, mainly because it goes from Eleanor talking in the present time in the 1st person to the flashback happening in the third person. The book was a fast read but I was just looking forward to getting it finished and over it. There's nothing big wrong with this book, it just wasn't one for me. [NetGalley]
We Were on a Break by Lindsey Kelk
Liv and Adam are on holiday in Mexico and Liv is on the edge of her seat. She knows Adam plans to propose and tonight must be the night as they fly home the next day. But when no ring is produced and Adam causes a big scene on the flight home, Liv is left wondering what has happened to their relationship all the way home. Things take a turn for the worse when Adam drops Liv off at her house and says that he wants to take a break. The book follows the couple over the next few weeks while they try and navigate this new territory and work out what they want from relationship.
The book is told with Liv and Adam both taking turns to be narrators, which I liked. I felt like it gave a fair observation of the relationship and the break. I liked the main characters, though at times I did want to just knock their heads together to stop them from getting their wires crossed!! Liv's friend Cass is married to Adam's brother which I felt added a nice layer of complication to the whole thing, as it can be hard to separate out friends and family when a couple splits and we get to see this a small bit in the story. Add to all this is the usual Kelk humour (I definitely laughed out loud a few times) and you get a light hearted funny romantic comedy. [NetGalley]
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
The Girl with All the Gifts was one of the September picks for the Rick O’Shea Book Club. I had actually bought it last year so it was perfect. I don’t know what to say about this book that doesn’t spoil things. I went into this not knowing that much and I think that’s the best thing for this book. The book starts with Melanie, a 10 year old who sits in her cell on a base waiting to go to class. Before she can leave the cell, she’s strapped into her chair all while Sergeant Parks points a gun at her. Melanie love school, especially when it’s Miss Justineau is teaching. And thinks Dr Caldwell, the scientist, is scary and doesn’t like her, especially because other kids have never come back after seeing Dr Caldwell. An interesting, fast read, I liked Melanie. Dr Caldwell is a good villain. I felt the ending felt a bit flat for me but it didn’t ruin the overall story. It’s not something I’d usually read but I glad I gave it a chance and branched out!
Number of Books Read- 8
Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 7:1
Number of eBooks- 4 (Holding Up the Universe, The Woman in Cabin 10, Today Will Be Different and We Were On a Break)
Number of Books Borrowed from Library- 2 (Changeless and Blameless)
Audiobooks- 2 (Changeless and Blameless)
Book Riot Challenge Completed
Read a Horror Book- The Girl with All the Gifts
And that’s September. I need to step up my non-fiction reads, but I’m not going to force it either. I’m just glad I managed to read just one this month! If you’ve read any of these books or if you’re interested in reading any of these then leave a comment below.