The Book Review: August 2018

Another month gone by, another set of books read!

I actually managed to read five books this month, which is probably the most I’ve read this year in a month, but still way behind how many books I usually read in August. In fact, August is usually when I get most of my reading done, however it was quite the opposite this year! I don’t know if it’s because I picked big, chunky 500+ page books to read, or if I just spent my time doing other things, but either way, five is the magic number.

I’m hoping getting back to school with give me back my reading routine, however I’m not going to sweat it if it doesn’t. Reading slumps are real, but they pass eventually!

ARE WE ALL LEMMINGS AND SNOWFLAKES BY HOLLY BOURNE | ★★★

You don’t have to stop looking after yourself just to help the world. In fact, sometimes it’s better for the world if you put yourself first. That’s not being selfish, in fact looking after yourself is the greatest act of kindness you can give the world. Loving yourself first is the best way to spread love.

Following the story of Olive, Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes tells the tale of struggling with mental health and how hard it is to come to terms with the fact that your body is the biggest enemy you have. After several severe bouts of depression, Olive finds herself in Camp Reset, a camp dedicated to helping young teens get on top of their mental health. However, while at camp, Olive realises that maybe it’s not her that needs to change, but the rest of the world. Can Olive and her friends spread kindness through the world, fixing everyone’s mental health problems?

love Holly Bourne books – they’re easy reads and are written about topics I can relate to and Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes was no exception. As soon as I started reading Olive’s story, I knew that she had bipolar, something which I have myself, and I usually champion books that discuss this illness, along with mental health in general. However, there was something about the way in which the story was told that, for me, it felt like someone had read about bipolar online and then dumped it into a book. It was too clinical and didn’t feel real. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy reading the book, otherwise I wouldn’t have finished, and I really liked the idea of changing the world around us to make our mental health better, I just know I’ve enjoyed other books more that talk about mental health.

ILLUMINAE BY AIME KAUFMAN AND JAY KRISTOFF | ★★★★

Kady thought that her day was pretty bad, she’d just broken up with her boyfriend. Little did she know, it was going from bad to worse and, that evening, her planet was invaded. Set in the year 2575, Illuminae follows the fall out of two megacorporations that are at war over a planet and what happens on the rescue ships after the invasion. But, Kady’s problems are just getting started. A deadly virus has just broken out on one of the ships and is mutating quickly, at the computer that’s meant to protecting them is working against them, trying to kill them. After hacking the AI, can Kady save the remaining survivors, working with the ex-boyfriend she said she’d never talk to again?

The way Illuminae is told is very unique. Instead of being told as a traditional story usually is, the story is told through an array of reports, including interviews, chat logs and recordings from the onboard computer. I was really worried that I wasn’t going to like reading it told in this style, but I’m happy to report that I really enjoyed it! Although confusing at times (and slightly unrealistic), my poor little brain was able to follow the story well, though I did have to do a little bit of re-reading at times! A top pick for those that love a bit of fantasy YA!

HEARTLESS BY MARISSA MEYER | ★★★★★

“But hoping,” he said, “is how the impossible can be possible after all.”

‘Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.’ Lady Catherine Pinkerton is the most desired woman in Wonderland. The king wants to marry her, a dream her parents share, but Cath can’t think of anything worse. Then, on the night that the king is to announce who he wants to marry, Cath meets Jest, the King’s joker and she instantly feels pulled towards him. Can she get out of marrying the King and live happily ever after with the one she wants to love the most?
This is one of my favourite books of 2018 and I fully intend on giving it a full review later on. As of late, I’ve gone right off romance novels (though don’t mind if there’s a love story within the story) and so I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy this book at all. However, I spent the first half of the book with a massive smile on my face, feeling all warm inside and the second half of the book unable to put it down. Although I didn’t care for Cath at times, I really enjoyed the story and loved Jest, his quirks and all. If you’re a sucker for a romance book that isn’t always straight forward, this one is for you!

REBEL OF THE SANDS BY ALWYN HAMILTON | ★★★★

Amani is a girl who could be anything she wanted to be, if the men weren’t ruling the world. After being forced to live with her uncle after he mum was hung for killing her father, Amani has dreamed every day of leaving Dustwalk and running away to Izman. Armed with her greatest gift, a pistol and a good aim, she thinks she’s finally in reach of her dream but, instead, ends up caught up with Jin, a foreign fugitive. Will Jin be able to show her the world she’s always wanted?

Rebel of the Sands is the first in a trilogy and I am desperate to find out what happens next (probably because I’m a big bit impatient). I actually got this through the post as my Willoughby book club and I wolfed down this first part of the trilogy in two sittings! Through out the whole book, I was really pulled towards all the characters and loved everyone that I met –  Amani with her stubbornness, Jin with his spontaneity – working together to survive desert life. Full of magic, rebellion, passion and a girl who will finally show the man who the boss is, this fantasy YA is perfect for those that love a good team that can stick together.

She moved like a storm someone had given steel to.

WE ARE YOUNG BY CAT CLARKE |★★

On the night of Evan’s mum’s wedding, her new brother in law ends up in a life threatening accident. So life threatening in fact, that he is the only one out of four teenagers that survived. Everyone says it was just a tragic accident, but Evan has other ideas, especially after the media brands Lewis a druggie and blames the crash on him. Armed with the help of Harry, her journalist father, can she find out what really happened on that night?

After reading some of the reviews of this book, as well as some of the other books Clarke has written, I had hopes that were definitely not satisfied. I actually put this book down half way through it to read another book as it just wasn’t holding my attention. To me, it was just a little bit bland and I feel a lot more could have been done with this type of storyline. Don’t get me wrong, I like the way a family managed to rally together at the end, but sadly it just wasn’t enough for me.

What have you read in August?

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