August has been a rather intense month, between edit deadlines, house hunting, and preparing for two events I’m co-running that start in September (#UKYASpotlight and Writer In Motion) so I didn’t read as much as I’d have liked. However, most of the books I did read were highly enjoyable, which was great (a bad reding month numbers wise and also book wise is never great!)
Best New Release
ACES WILD, by Amanda DeWitt, is a YA contemporary heist thriller (releasing in September) about a group of asexual teens taking on a rival casino boss. The narrator is the son of another casino boss who has been put behind bars and he’s sure the arch-rival boss is behind it all.
It was simply put, a lot of fun to read. I love heists and I love asexual representation. I loved the tongue-in-check narration that was deliberately telling you things were being held back for later reveals, playing with the entire heist genre.
Best Backlist Read
OK, we can quibble a little bit about whether this counts as backlist or not, but I read almost no backlist this month that was new-to-me, so I need something. TEN THOUSAND STITCHES, by Oliva Atwater, is the second in a companion series that was originally self-published in 2020, and has just been re-released by a publisher this year. Hence the quibbling.
Either way, it was so much fun. The series, Regency Faerie Tales, have this whimsy and inherent niceness without ever being “trivial.” They have real heart and are so comforting and fun and a joy to read.
Most Surprising Read
Having not particularly enjoyed BLOOD QUEEN, I was a little nervous when IRON QUEEN, by Joanna Courtney, a book in the same companion series, was chosen as my book club’s pick for the month. However, I really enjoyed this one.
I listened to this story on long drives, a retelling of the story that probably inspired Shakespeare’s King Lear. It’s an Iron Age set tale that bears little resemblance to the play you know, save for names and that the sisters end up fighting. However, I find the setting and splintering of the family fascinating to listen to.
Best UK-Authored Book
SPARK, by M. G. Leonard, is a companion/sequel to TWITCH, a bird-watcher focused middle grade mystery. And SPARK follows perfectly in its footsteps.
SPARK follows Jack, the best friend of Twitch (the previous main character), as he tries to solve the mystery of hurt pets and feels on the outside of the friendship circle as he’s less interested in birds than the others. And the imminent arrival of a rare bird only makes him feel more abandoned as it consumes the others’ attention. It’s another wonderful read about wildlife and the environment with a great mystery at its heart.
THE CHILDREN OF GODS AND FIGHTING MEN, by Shauna Lawless, is the start of a historical fantasy trilogy that is set in 10th century Ireland. It absolutely blew me away, my favourite book of the month. I really, really want the second book already because it’s given me a book hangover.
It is simply everything I want in historical fantasy. It follows real events and real characters, bringing the Irish mythology to life alongside it as two immortal peoples fight in the shadows. It leans more towards the historical than the fantasy
Most Anticipated September Read
THE FINAL GAMBIT, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, is the finale to THE INHERITANCE GAMES trilogy. This is such a twisty thriller series, full of revelations and puzzles as a girl from nowhere inherits a massive fortune from an eccentric billionaire she has no apparent connection too – and has to survive the wrath of the disposed relatives, including the handsome, infuriating, secretive brothers who are playing games of their own.
After THE HAWTHORNE LECAGY turned the family upside down, I cannot wait to see where it all ends.
How has your August been?