Books I Read in September: Mini Book Reviews

It goes without saying that autumn is my absolute favourite season. The perfect blend of unexpected warm days and the crisp mornings; lots of opportunities to cosy up means lots of opportunities for reading and I think that was certainly reflected in how much I read in September.

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september reading pile

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Part of the DC Icons series, Wonder Woman is a fun and enjoyable take on part of Diana’s story as imagined by Bardugo. Diana, Princess of the Amazons feels like she doesn’t belong. She longs to be taken seriously by her warrior sisters but when she makes the decision to intervene and save the life of mortal, Alia Keralis, she not only breaks Amazon law but also potentially dooms the world. Alia is a Warbringer; a descendent of Helen of Troy and as such it is her fate to bring about conflict and an age of war. Diana and Alia must stand together and face an army of enemies, each with their own agenda for Alia.

I’m not massively familiar with the world of DC and/or Wonder Woman so I don’t know if this affected my enjoyment but I thought it was great. Very readable and a lot of fun.

5/5

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

Nuri and Afra live a comfortable life in the city of Aleppo with their son, until war breaks out and they are forced to leave behind all that they know and love and flee. We follow their journey in two timelines; once they have reached the UK and are trying to look forwards to a new life in a country so different from the one they knew and back to the moment they leave their home and travel across Europe.

This was a timely and informative read (the author draws a lot on the experience of displaced people she has come into contact with through volunteer work) but I felt a real disconnect from our main characters which was a shame. I could appreciate that the things happening to them were horrendous but I wasn’t made to feel anything by the author. Overall though a worthwhile read.

3/5

Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid

When 25 year old, Emira Tucker is accused of ‘kidnapping’ the white toddler she is babysitting, it sets off an explosive chain of events between Emira and her employer: privileged feminist blogger, Alix Chamberlain. Emira is at a juncture in her life, watching her friends move on in their careers and wondering what it is she would like to do with her life and when Alix attempts to get involved, things take a turn.

I highly recommend the audio version of this book as I thought the narrator did a great job of giving the story life. I also adored the way the author depicted the relationship between Emira and Briar; it was one of the most wholesome friendships I have read about in a long while but I was confused by Alix’s arc. I couldn’t ever decide if she was well meaning but misguided or whether she was driven by racial prejudices. However overall I enjoyed this and would recommend it.

4/5

Malice (The Faithful and the Fallen #1) by John Gwynne

I picked this adult fantasy book up because it was recommended to me (on numerous occasions) by James. Set in the Banished Lands, we are following a host of different characters in a layout very reminiscent of Game of Thrones; jumping into different story arcs and locations as the overall plot moves along.

Our ‘main’ character is a young boy called Corban, who dreams of being a warrior. But with political intrigue, warring fallen angels and gods and the rise of magical and mythical creatures such as wyrms once again on the rise, Corban’s life is about to be turned upside down.

This was a pretty slow book as fantasies go and it is filled with a lot of typical tropes but I thought it was enjoyable, with many likeable characters. As the first book in a four part series it could afford to take its time and it definitely does that. The main action doesn’t actually take place until the last 200 pages or so but what.an.ending. When I immediately go and order the next book in a series, you can guarantee I am hooked.

4/5

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

This non-fiction is a letter from the author to his adolescent son. It addresses some of the big questions with regards to American History and how the concept of ‘race’ has allowed people who believe themselves to be white to build their country on the backs of people of colour through slavery, degradation and the exploitation of the bodies of those people. It looks at racism in all settings, from the education system to corruption in the police force and how as a person of colour, you must learn to live within the world.

I listened to the audio version of this which is narrated by the author and I would highly recommend. It isn’t easy to listen to but is certainly worthwhile and gave me a lot to think about. Not all of the history was relevant, as a person from the UK, but it was informative and eye-opening nonetheless.

* I don’t rate non-fiction

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman

This was the Just One More Page Book Club’s choice for September. It is contemporary fiction which begins on a regular weekday morning in London. We meet various characters going about their day until one event changes their lives irrevocably when a gunman enters a cafe, shoots the owner and holds the remaining people hostage. This was pacey and a real page turner. I liked how the author mixed all the stories together as it gave real flow to the plot.

This is an examination of humanity, of hope and love, of dreams and things longed for and things lost. It looks at how the experiences we have can lead us in directions we never would have imagined and the impact that can have on those around us. It touches on some heavy topics such as emotional and physical abuse, addictions and PTSD but the author does this in a compelling and sensitive manner. Loved it.

4/5

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

30 years ago local boy Vincent King was imprisoned following the death of 7 year old Sissy Radley. Newly released from prison, Vincent returns to his hometown but not everyone is pleased at his arrival, including Star Radley; sister to Sissy and Vincent’s ex-girlfriend. When another death occurs within the community it seems as though history is set to repeat itself.

We follow a number of different characters including Police Chief and Vincent’s former childhood friend, Walk and Duchess Day, 13 year old daughter to Star. This is a crime thriller which is a page turner with a good pace. It had a couple of clever twists and a lot happens in rapid fire at the end of the book which wrapped it up well. I did have an issue with lack of connection with the characters again, the author tended to just tell rather than show which lost it stars for me. But if you like quick and enjoyable reads with a good mix of characters and clever twists then this may well be for you.

3.5/5

The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World by Jenn Granneman

Unusual for me to read two non-fictions in a month but this is a book I started quite some time ago and then seemed to stall before I reached the end. Jenn Granneman has created a large online community for Introverts after starting a blog and she uses her knowledge and understanding gained to delve into the way introverts think and operate, looking at a range of topics and scenarios from introverts dating to introverts in the work place.

This book made me feel seen. Although there wasn’t anything necessarily new or mind-blowing for me within the pages, it was great to be able to read and identify with so much of what the book covers. It also has some handy tips for introverts who may be struggling, or for extroverts who may want to read the book in order to gain insight into the minds of any introverts they know.

* I don’t rate non-fiction

And those are the books I read in September. I enjoyed almost everything I read which is fairly unusual. I wouldn’t have said anything blew my socks off, but we got pretty close with a couple.

Until October. Happy reading x

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