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Hello Hello! How are you?

I’m finally back after just over a month and it’s good to be back! Today I’m going to be bringing you my wrap-up post for the month of August, but I’m also going to give you a bit of a life update and explain why I’ve been AWOL the past month!

The last weeks of August were insanely busy for me at work because I’ve been in the process of fixing a lot of errors other people have made, so I’m barely been human by the time I clocked off and got home! And the last week of August, my husband and I headed off for four days in the mountains and it was well-needed and very enjoyable. We didn’t go far from home and it wasn’t very extravagant, but it was just what we needed to recharge our batteries and reconnect with each other and nature.

When we got back from our holiday, I had to have exploratory surgery which has been scheduled for nearly two years. I won’t go into too much detail, but the surgeons were able to remove my endometriosis, which means I’m finally, after 13 years of struggles and pain, endometriosis-free. Since my operation, I’ve been recovering very slowly and I’ve had quite a few complications, which is why I’ve been completely absent on my social media and on my blog. But I’m finally starting to feel better and the pain is slowly starting to ease after 3 weeks of intense pain and fatigue, and I start work again today! Hence, I figured getting some posts scheduled for the coming week would be a good idea, especially since the fatigue is just being very persistent and bothersome!

Anyway, now the life update part of this post has been dealt with, I’m happy to say that I’m back to blogging and will try to keep up with my schedule, even if I might be a bit more tired than usual and might not post as much until I’m completely healed and back into my work schedule/routine.

So, in August I had a GREAT reading month and I was participating in Jenny and Rob’s Trope-ical Readathon! I didn’t manage to finish all the prompts or even get around to reading the team books/prompts, but I did manage to tick off some of the challenges, which I will talk to you about towards the end of this post. I managed to read a total of 20 books in August which is so far my record for the year, and I mostly enjoyed the books I read, so keep on reading to find out which books I read!

FAVOURITE BOOKS OF THE MONTH

Way of the Argosi (#0.5 Spellslinger) by Sebastien de Castell — 5 stars

I buddy read this book with Candyce from The Book Dutchesses since we started this series at the start of the year, and hadn’t gotten around to continuing it yet. I instantly fell in love with this book. Apart from the main books on this series, there are three books centred on Ferius Parfax and this is the first one. I actually preferred this book to the first Spellslinger instalment and fell in love with Ferius so much more. She had an absolutely dreadful and terrifying childhood, and so much badness and violence was done to her throughout the years, to the point that she even forgot her own name and her purpose. I loved when she met Durral Brown because everything changed and she started growing into the Ferius we met in Spellslinger. I’m in love with this character and this world! There were also so many beautiful and meaningful quotes and messages that really made the story mean so much more! Both Candyce and I adored this book and I’m excited to read the next instalment of this series soon. I gave it 5 stars and will try to get a review up on it soon!

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie — 5 stars

My second favourite book of the month was completely different to the first and one I’ve been meaning to read for years. A few years ago, I read Dix by Marine Carteron, which is a French YA retelling of this story so I kind of already knew what was going to happen, but let me tell you, I was surprised and shocked at every single twist and turn and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was so hooked with the story, even more so since I listened to it on audio on my way to and from work. I loved the way this book was narrated and I really enjoyed the way Agatha Christie wrote this book. I think it is definitely now one of my favourite locked room mysteries and I’m so glad I finally got around to reading it! I gave it 5 stars.

MY AUGUST READS 

Tant que le café est encore chaud (#1 Before the Coffee Gets Cold) by Toshikazu Kawaguchi — 3 stars

 

I picked this book up from work in August since I kept hearing so much about this and seeing it all over the book community. I was going to actually buy myself a copy of this in English and maybe would have bought the whole series, which would have been a bit of a mistake, since I didn’t actually enjoy it as much as I thought. I don’t think it was the French translation because the story seemed to flow really well, but I just wish this book had been cut by 100 pages because it felt so slow and repetitive and it just wasn’t the beautiful, whimsical and unique book I was expecting. It was okay, don’t get me wrong, just I think maybe not my kind of book and it fell short for me. I know this series is very popular though, so don’t let my unpopular opinion stop you from reading it. I gave it 3 stars and it was just okay.

Every Heart a Doorway (#1 Wayward Children) by Seanan McGuire — 4.5 stars

This was a reread and one of the books I picked for the Trope-ical readathon. I was able to complete the Found Family Trope with this book. I read it for the first time in 2020 and I enjoyed it but didn’t think it lived up to the massive hype, for me personally. But I’m really glad I reread it because I enjoyed it so much more the second time around. I’ve gotten into much darker books in the past year or so, which is why I think that I enjoyed it more this time, because let’s be honest, it’s really, very dark. I liked the messages in this book as well and while it’s only a short book which can be read in one sitting, it definitely packs and punch and you’ll be thinking about it for long after you’ve finished it. I’ve already got the 2nd instalment on my shelves, so I’m looking forward to continuing this series soon. I gave this book 4.5 stars.

Je suis fier de toi and La vie, après (#4-5 Irena) by Jean-David Morvan — 5 stars

The next two books are the final two instalments in the Irena graphic novel series which I started a few years ago, and I only just got around to finishing. This is an amazing graphic novel series which is based during and after the Second World War, mostly in Poland, but also in Jerusalem and other places. This story follows Irena Sendler and tells her story. She was an incredibly important woman during WWII and managed to save thousands of Jewish children by having them adopted into Christian families, keeping their real names and new names in jars buried in her garden, in order to find them after the war and tell them their story and about their families, in the hopes of reuniting them if all were still alive. I absolutely loved this story and thought it was so well told. It is gory, and it is violent, and sad, but it’s important and meaningful at the same time. I am so glad I got to read this series, and I gave both of these books 5 stars.

Les marguerites de l’hiver (#2 Le château des animaux) by Xavier Dorison and Félix Delep — 4 stars

The next graphic novel on my list is also one from work (basically all the French graphic novels I read are from work, haha!) and the second instalment in a series I started last year. This is a retelling of Animal Farm by George Orwell and let me tell you, wow! I fell in love with the first instalment in this mini series when I first read it and kept thinking about it and wanted to find out what came next. We also just ordered the third and final instalment before I left for my holiday and operation, so hopefully it will be ready when I get back and I’ll be able to read it fairly quickly. This is also one of those stories on the dark and hard side as it’s fairly hard-hitting, but the art style is really beautiful and the whole graphic novel was very well executed, so I thoroughly enjoyed it and gave it 4 stars.

Garden of Serpents (#3 The Demon Queen Trials) by C. N. Crawford — 5 stars

In August, I also managed to finish The Demon Queen Trials series which I had started in July and that I was completely obsessed with. I’m so glad I discovered this series because it honestly kept me so enthralled and captivated and I don’t think I’ve read a series so rapidly in many, many years. This is an adult fantasy paranormal romance on the dark side but oh boy is it fun and so enjoyable. I suppose the name of the series does give it away a bit, but I was honestly hooked and on the edge of my seat during this whole book and I loved the way it ended. It’s very fast-paced, high-stakes, action-packed and full to bursting with plot twists, drama and gasp moments. It also has a great amount of sexual tension and sex scenes, but not for the faint-hearted! I really enjoyed this book and I gave it 5 stars! I definitely recommend this series, it’s so much fun!

Ecoline by Stephen Desberg and Ana Teresa Martinez Alanis — 3.5 stars

The next graphic novel I read from my library was a middle-grade story about a dog named Ecoline who didn’t want to be a guard dog on her family farm, but instead wanted to head to Paris and paint! This was such a cute story! It’s set in Paris during l’Exposition Universelle in 1889 and it was a great treat to read all about this lovely, kind-hearted young dog with so much imagination, creativity and passion for her painting. I think this also has some kind of prequel, so I’ll have to get my hands on it, because I definitely want to read more about this wonderful painting dog! The art style was also stunning and the paintings by Ecoline were truly wonderful. If you love colour, you’ll adore this one! I gave it 3.5 stars.

La bibliothèque interdite (#2 Les sortilèges de Zora) by Judith Peignen and Ariane Delrieu — 3 stars

Again, another French graphic novel but this one is YA and it is definitely 100% fantasy. I read the first instalment of this series a few months ago, and while I wasn’t fully enamoured by the story, since it was about witches I really wanted to read more. It’s not bad, it’s just maybe a tad too young for me to enjoy it as much as I would like, and I also think that I prefer the Grimoire d’Elfie series which is also YA fantasy with a witch, but just a bit different and more enjoyable to me personally. I think we just got the third instalment, so I’ll definitely read it, but it’s not my favourite. I gave this book 3 stars.

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner — 4.5 stars

The next book I picked up for the Trope-ical readathon was to complete the Multiple Timelines Trope and let me tell you, I’m so, so glad I finally got around to reading this book. I have had my eye on it since it released almost 2 years ago, and I have no idea why it took me so long to pick it up. It has everything I love: historical fiction, strong women protagonists, herbalism/natural remedies and a touch of mystery and intrigue. I really liked reading the multiple timelines and the multiple POVs in this book. It was beautifully written and actually quite a fast read, I was hooked! I kept holding my breath from chapter to chapter and timeline to timeline since it was all so edge-of-your-seat and captivating, and I actually adored the ending. This was a thoroughly enjoyable book and I’ll definitely keep my eye out for other books by this author. I have it 4.5 stars and I’ll try to get a full review of it up on my blog soon.

Queen Kong by Hélène Vignal — 3.5 stars

This next book is one that is REALLY out of my comfort zone, but that I read as a request from one of my colleagues at my library. She works in the children’s and young adult section and had heard a lot about this next YA erotica collection and wanted to know if it was worth it. I have to say that I was taken aback by this one. I don’t know why, but I was expecting it to be really crass and just generally quite awkward to read. I like a touch of romance and some sexual tension/sex scenes in the books I read, but more so in fantasy than full-on romance or erotica. But I actually enjoyed this one to some extent and found that I weirdly identified to the main character because of how she spent a lot of her time questioning herself and just generally trying to discover what it was to be a teenager. I gave it 3.5 stars and while it’s not my usual cup of tea and probably won’t read any others from this collection, I did quite enjoy it.

Sadie by Courtney Summers — 4 stars

I read this book to complete the Mixed Media Trope for the Trope-ical readathon, and once again it is one of those books that I’ve been wanting to read for years and have taken such a long time to get around to. I had heard so many great things about this book and I personally really enjoy mixed media in books, especially the podcast style. This book is also told in multiple POVs and multiple timelines while the narrator of the podcast rushes through the United States trying to find Sadie who has gone missing after the murder of her younger sister. This story has so many things such as complicated and tense family relationships, the love between sisters, mystery and violence, lots of secrets, lots of strong feelings that Sadie has to wade through, and a rush against the clock to find her alive. I must say, it didn’t go the way I expected it to, and it offered the reader an open ending, which I don’t usually enjoy that much, but I do think it worked really well here. The whole book was enjoyable and I especially liked the podcast style, so I gave it 4 stars and will review it on the blog soon.

A Court of Thorns and Roses (#1) by Sarah J. Maas — 4 stars

In August, I also reread the first book of one of my all-time favourite book series as a buddy read with Candyce from The Book Dutchesses! I read A Court of Thorns and Roses for the first time about 5 or 6 years ago and fell in love instantly. I hadn’t realised how much I had forgotten about this book and all the little details I discovered again during this reread. If you’ve read this series, you also know there’s kind of a controversial element to the first book in the romance department and it was strange for me to root for the “bad” person again just like the first time, even though I knew what would happen later. I’m squarely back on the right team though, and honestly really enjoyed this reread. I gave it 4 stars and I’m currently rereading the second instalment and also really enjoying it!

Crush and Covet (#2-3 Crave) by Tracy Wolff — 4.5 and 5 stars

In August, I continued the Crave series which I started a few months ago and absolutely fell in love with and I whizzed through these two instalments in a matter of days. These are both chunky books (as are basically all the books in the series), but I read them both really quickly and was on the edge of my seat constantly. This is a YA fantasy paranormal romance series with witches, vampires, dragons, werewolves and lots of other “magical” creatures, set in a school for paranormals and then in other various places, all of them more wonderful and/or scary than the previous one. I’m in love with this series! If you know me, you know I love anything with witches and vampires and it’s basically a more modern and a bit less yucky version of Twilight, but also so much better and so much more unique. I really enjoyed both of these instalments and so many crazy things happen in them. This author also isn’t afraid of killing off well-loved characters so as you can guess, I’ve shed my fair share or tears while reading these books. They were both really fast-paced and action-packed with lots of twists and lots of emotion and some sexual tension, and I am having the best time reading this series. I gave Crush 4.5 stars and Covet 5 stars. I’ll get an overall review of the whole series up on my blog as soon as I’ve read the final 3 books! I also used these books in the Trope-ical readathon to complete the Hand-Picked Crew Trope and the Love Triangle Trope.

Death on the Nile (#18 Hercule Poirot) by Agatha Christie — 5 stars

I was also able to listen to another Agatha Christie audiobook in August and I continued the Hercule Poirot series which I’ve been reading/listening to for the past couple of years. I had started Death on the Nile a while ago but apparently never got around to finishing it, so I started from scratch again and had a great time listening to it during my commute. I saw the new movie last year so I knew what was going to happen, but there are still quite a few differences between the movie and the book which surprised me. I really enjoyed this instalment in the Poirot series and think that it has earned its place in my top 5. Once again, a really twisty, surprising and entertaining story from the Queen of Crime, and I gave it 5 stars. I also used this audiobook to complete the Revenge Trope for the Trope-ical readathon.

Malaventure en pain d’épices (#3 Le grimoire d’Elfie) by Audrey Alwett — 3.5 stars

The last young adult graphic novel I read in August was the third instalment in the Grimoire d’Elfie series and it was sort of a Christmas instalment, so I’m counting it as my first Christmas book of the year! This was a lot of fun and as always, Elfie and her sisters and friends get into lots of trouble and Elfie continues to learn things about her mother, and the witch powers that she left her after her death. I also enjoyed seeing Elfie meet two other witches who taught her a few things, so overall, this was another enjoyable instalment in this series and I’m hoping we get a few more books, because they are really fun and quick reads. I gave this book 3.5 stars.

Les étoiles s’éteignent à l’aube by Richard Wagamese and Vincent Turhan — 2.5 stars

The final adult graphic novel I read last month was actually the book I enjoyed the least of all. I was hoping for great things with this book, but apart from the stunning pastel art style, I just didn’t enjoy this story. It is a historical fiction based in Canada I believe and in which a 16 year old heads to find his estranged father in order to take him to his final resting place. His father was an alcoholic his whole life and has made a lot of mistakes, which he tells him about as they trek the 60km to the resting place of his choice, up in the mountains. This book is also about Native Americans and their culture, but I just felt like a lot of the story was discombobulated and wanted to put a lot of things in the story that just didn’t fit. Also, for supposed Native Americans, the characters were drawn to look very white, which kind of rubbed me up the wrong way and just looked wrong. I gave this book 2.5 stars and it mostly disappointed me.

L’affaire du Zodiac by Fayçal Ziraoui — 4 stars

And the last book I read in August was one from our recent non-fiction purchases and one I have been excited about for a few weeks. It is a true crime narrative about the Zodiac killer who terrorised the United States in the 1970s and who was never found, until a young engineer in France managed to decipher the codes and discover the true culprit of the murders. I was absolutely hooked reading this book, I know that sounds really weird especially since we are talking about actual murders, but I really enjoy reading true crime and especially when it’s trying to unmask criminals. The first part of this book is mostly fictionalised accounts of the murders and stories about other people who were important in the 1970s, which was done to set the tone for the rest of the book. The second part is how this man was able to decipher the codes and even find a code in another document, which no one had ever discovered before. It was a really great book and I’m pretty sure the man responsible actually died 10 years before Ziraoui figured it out and shared his findings with the FBI, but the whole process was intriguing to read about. I gave this book 4 stars!

TROPE-ICAL READATHON RECAP

And here is a recap of all the books I read for the Trope-ical readathon common challenges and the prompts that I was able to complete!

  • Hand-Picked Crew Trope — Crush (#2 Crave) by Tracy Wolff
  • Multiple Timelines Trope — The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
  • Love Triangle Trope — Covet (#3 Crave) by Tracy Wolff
  • Mixed Media Trope — Sadie by Courtney Summers
  • Found Family Trope — Every Heart a Doorway (#1 Wayward Children) by Seanan McGuire
  • Revenge Trope — Death on the Nile (#18 Hercule Poirot) by Agatha Christie
  • Retelling Trope — A Court of Thorns and Roses (#1) by Sarah J. Maas

AUGUST READING STATS

Number of books: 20

Number of pages: 5,082 pages

Star ratings:

2.5 stars: 1 book

3 stars: 2 books

3.5 stars: 3 books

4 stars: 4 books

4.5 stars: 3 books

5 stars: 7 books

Average rating: 4.17⭐

Genres: 1 Japanese contemporary magical realism, 1 YA fantasy, 2 audiobook classic murder mysteries, 1 YA fantasy magical realism, 3 French adult historical fiction graphic novels, 1 French adult fantasy graphic novel, 1 adult fantasy paranormal romance, 1 French middle-grade graphic novel, 2 French YA fantasy graphic novels, 1 adult historical fiction fantasy, 1 French YA erotica, 1 YA mystery, 1 YA fantasy romance, 2 YA fantasy paranormal romance, 1 French true crime. 


That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed reading this post.

See you soon, stay safe,

Ellie xx

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