# of Books Read: 13
# of Pages Read: 3,937
Favourite Book(s) of the Month: Ask Again, Yes, City of Girls, Before We Were Yours, Where the Crawdads Sing
Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2) by Martha Wells
Artificial Condition won The Hugo Award for best novella and I am absolutely thrilled. So deserving. I highly recommend listening to the audiobook because the narrator, Kevin R. Free, brings Murderbot to life. The Murderbot Diaries is so entertaining and I actually think that I preferred this installment over the first one, All Systems Red. I fell even more in love with Murderbot, and it was an absolute joy to read his interactions with another AI. I think many of you will be pleased to know that there is just as much television watching in Artificial Condition as there was in All System Red. I can not wait to continue on with the series!
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
The Death of Mrs. Westaway was my first Ruth Ware novel and I will definitely be reading more from her! I have always heard mixed things about her thrillers, but this one seems to be universally loved. So, when my neighbour (Hey Cathy! I know you are reading this!) lent me her copy I was excited to dive in. I was ultimately surprised by just how much I enjoyed it. Ruth Ware is an incredible writer and an expert at building tension. I love atmospheric thrillers, and The Death of Mrs. Westaway certainly fits the bill. There is something about a creepy house that is so intriguing. Ruth Ware’s latest release, The Turn of the Key, is now high on my TBR.
American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century by Maureen Callahan
I have read a lot of true crime this year, and American Predator stands outs as one the better ones- right up there with In Cold Blood. Maureen Callahan’s passion leaps from the pages and it is evident that she put a lot of research in to writing this book. She presents the facts in a way that is entertaining and you never feel bogged down with information. Israel Keyes was unknown to me before I picked up American Predator, and now he haunts my dreams. He is one of the most manipulative serial killers, and reading transcripts of his interrogations and confession gave me chills.
Milton in Purgatory by Edward Vass
Milton in Purgatory was my first Fairlight Moderns short story, and if the rest of the collection is anything like this one I need to get my hands on them! This book is such a gem and it is hard to put in to words exactly why it is so special. I think it is best to go in to it knowing next to nothing and let the magic and description consume you. I have read quite a few novels about purgatory in my lifetime, but none quite like this one. I am in awe of Edward Vass’s imagination.
Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu
The cover of this graphic novel alone will make you want to pick it up! The story inside is just as sweet and charming. A love story between a witch and a non-binary werewolf? Yes, please! The friendship/relationship between the two main characters is a delight, as are the the grandmothers who are a big presents in the story. The artwork is also stunning and perfectly matches the tone. It could be argued that the plot is nothing new or original, but I was absolutely find with that. It was almost like a comfort read for me and it warmed my heart. A must-read this October, in my opinion!
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
Ask Again, Yes was all over bookstagram this summer with rave reviews. My bookstagram friends were absolutely right because this book is incredible. I actually did a buddy read for this novel on Instagram and everyone absolutely adored it. If you are part of a book club this would be a great pick because it makes for an interesting discussion. Ask Again, Yes provides a honest portrayal of family, love, loss, addiction, mental health, and more. If you are like me and love a good family drama, this is a must read. I was completely invested in the outcome and felt as though these characters were my actual neighbours. I will not soon forget this story!
I feel as though I have already talked about my love for City of Girls ever chance that I had, but I just can not help myself- it is that good. This story is dark and seedy, while also having an element of glamour- this is all thanks to Gilbert’s incredible writing and the New York setting. What truly makes this book special is the characters, more specifically our main character, Vivian. She is one of the most unapologetic characters that I have ever read, and I adore her for it! She is someone I wish I knew in real life. She is far from perfect (aren’t we all!) but there is so much that I admire about her. Vivian is one of those characters that you will actually miss once her story ends.
My Friend Anne: The True Story of a Fake Heiress
While I enjoy true crime about serial killers, I have come to the realization that I also appreciate a nonviolent true crime every once in awhile. They can be difficult to find, so I was thrilled when I heard that My Friend Anna was recently published. It is definitely an intriguing case and I remembered that anyone can be duped. I felt for Rachel and can only imagine how stressful this situation would have been for her. She is a talented writer and I appreciated hearing her point of view. That said, I hope that in the future a third party with no emotional investment in the story writes a book about this case. It would be interesting to have had a wider scope of Anna’s manipulation and deceit.
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Before We Were Yours reminded me why historical fiction is my favourite genre. The story is told between two timelines, one starting in 1939 and the other in present day. The reader slowly unravels how the two timelines are connected. It is devastating to know that Before We Were Yours is based on a real Children’s Home and that Georgia Tann was a real person who walked among us. Here is an article that details her crimes and is worth the read. Lisa Wingate has written a nonfiction book called ‘Before and After’ which is being called the real life sequel to Before We Were Yours. I am highly anticipating its October 22nd release!
It was an interesting experience to read Where the Crawdads Sing right after having read Before We Were Yours. There are some similarities between the stories and I think if you liked one you will also like the other. What makes Crawdads so special is both the setting and Kya, the main character. Kya has a unique perspective. She essentially raises herself and, as a result, has a unique perspective on life, love, nature, and humanity. Her story is a sad one, but there is also a lot of hope and resilience. I am confident that readers of any genre will fall in love with Where the Crawdads Sing.
The Girl in Red by Christina Henry
The Girl in Red was my first Christina Henry and I have mixed feelings about it, as I often do with retellings. I thought that it was a unique retelling of The Little Red Riding Hood, but not an original take on the dystopian genre. I appreciate Red as a main character and that she was a bit of a badass who based her decision making on things she had learned from watching slasher movies. I also thought that the disability rep was well done. The Girl in Red was a bit more gory than I was expecting, but I kind of loved that! I think some of the issues I have are a “me” problem. Books where the main characters go on a journey can really be hit or miss for me- I often find them tedious. I also think it is worth mentioning that if you are someone who needs answers in a book like this one, you won’t find them here! I will read more from Christina Henry because I think what she is doing is interesting. I am leaning toward picking up Lost Boy next!
Melmoth by Sarah Perry
I am in awe of Sarah Perry’s writing ability- she is absolutely brilliant! I knew that after having read The Essex Serpent, but Melmoth solidified it for me. It always takes me awhile to get a handle on her writing style but once I do I fall in love with it. I highly recommend checking out sample chapter of Melmoth to get an idea of whether or not you mesh well with it. I adored the Gothic tone of this story and the fact that it is even darker than The Essex Serpent. I also think that it is an interesting look at guilt and how we punish ourselves. Melmoth has one of the best endings I have read in such a long time. It is certainly one that will stick with me.
Diagnosis: Solving the Most Baffling Medical Mysteries by Lisa Sanders, M.D.
I binge-watched the Netflix show by the same title this month and was thrilled to find that Lisa Sanders had published a book. I highly recommend the audiobook as she herself narrates it and she has a great voice. I also think that you will appreciate the book if you watch the Netflix series first. I found the book completely fascinating and now I can not stop talking about all of the disease/illnesses/disorders that she touches on. I am inspired to read more medical-based nonfiction. Any recommendations? The stories of over fifty patients are wonderfully told in little snippets. Fun fact, Lisa Sanders writes a column for The New York Times which inspired the TV show House- which I have raved about before on this blog.
August was such an amazing month in many ways! I have had so much time to relax and to read. I can not believe how many five star books I read this month. I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these books!