August Reads

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I’m keeping track of every book I read this year, month by month.

Just in case anyone does fancy reading something I’ve mentioned, I’m giving details of the books (no more of a spoiler than you’d read on the blurb) and a rating. My rating system is 1 – 5:

  • 1 Awful, the writer should be banished to a far away land
  • 2 Poor, I didn’t die of boredom but it was a struggle to reach the end
  • 3 Average, fine but I’ll have forgotten about it in a year
  • 4 Good, I enjoyed this
  • 5 Excellent, hot damn this is a great book and the writer should be knighted

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August’s Books

Title(s): The Named  – by Marianne Curley

Category: Fiction: Fantasy/Young Adult [part 1 of Guardians of Time trilogy]

About: Ethan witnesses his sister’s death as a child. As a teen, he is part of the Guard, who protect the world agaist evil forces and the Order of Chaos.

My Rating: 2 Poor

I don’t really know where to start with this. I picked it up in a charity shop when they were selling off books for 20p, so I can’t say I gave a great deal of attention to the blurb on the back.

It’s a frustrating read: the plot is chaotic, the characters are dull stereotypes and the forced historical context is… eesh.

The writing itself isn’t great either, there are some clumsy sentences and I’m sure, more than a couple of grammatical errors.

Needless to say I won’t be seeking out the remaining books.

NB: This has 4/5 on Amazon… I can’t even…

Read this if you like: Other stuff by the same author, because if you got through one…

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Title(s): Life After Life – by Kate Atkinson

Category: Fiction: Time travel

About: We follow Ursula Todd as she repeatedly seems to loop backwards to the start of her life and start again.

My Rating: 5, Excellent

Bit of a weird one this, but I do like a bit of time travel. We live bits of Ursula’s life over again with varying outcomes (some funny, some heartbreaking) until she eventually gets the sense that she’s lived before and starts to make conscious decisions about what to do next.

I liked the characters, the family – the way certain characters seemed destined for the same fate no matter what Ursula changed. It’s very nicely written, and although Ursula’s ultimate aim (to kill Hitler) seems a bit obvious and silly, the book is strong enough to push through that and you just go with it.

Read this if you like: The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

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Title(s): Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower

Category: Fiction: Short Stories

About: A range of stories set in America.

My Rating: 2.5, Not awful, but I didn’t like it

I’m all for a bleak story now and then, but wow. To give you an idea of what to expect from this, some of the stories are: a kid who gets molested in carnival port-a-loo, a stepdad biting his stepson in a fight and a man who finds himself looking after his father, who has dementia.

I get that these stories are supposed to be about the characters and the various metaphors for their lives, but personally, I need light and shade. A dark, bleak story is only effective if you raise the reader’s spirits once in a while, so that you have something to crush. If they’re already rock bottom then there’s a loss of impact.

Read this if you like: Anything by Cormac McCarthy, he’s pretty bleak too

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Title(s): Every Day – by David Leviathan

Category: Fiction:Young Adult/Romance/Fantasy

About: A wakes up every day in a different body and lives his/her life as that person for just one day. A meets Rhiannon and instantly connects.

My Rating: 3, Average

This flowed well enough and I raced through it, but we’ve been there and done that with so many ‘star-crossed lover, will they won’t they’ books that honestly it just felt tired.

I liked the fact that A was sometimes a girl, sometimes a guy, and it didn’t matter; that’s a great lesson for kids and particularly for teenagers who might not be quite sure who they are or what they want yet.

Other than that though, it was a little formulaic, but I enjoyed the possibilities the ending held. NO SPOILERS!

As a side note, you can also read Another Day which is told from the perspective of Rhiannon.

Read this if you like: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher,

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Until next time. See you in October for September’s reads.

You can catch up on July Reads here.

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