Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What I Read in August

Hello everyone,

Today is another update on my reading life. This August has been pretty darn busy, but I've still been able to get five books read and two audio books listened to. It was a pretty good reading month. I've discovered some amazing novels and I''m really excited to be sharing them with you! As always, follow me on my goodreads if you want more regular updates on what I'm reading. 

I don't have full reviews on audio books, because personally I don't really consider them reading. I mean technically, you really aren't reading it. You're just listening to someone else read it. Of course, it's still the same story as if you read that book. This month I listened to The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater and boy were they good. I loved the narration, it was a super fun audio. Most of all, I found the story and characters amazing and I cannot wait to finish this series, then go back and read the physical books. 

1. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson 

 Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it's Amy's responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn't ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip - and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar - especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory - but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way  
My thoughts:
I'm kind of bummed out about this book. Almost every contemporary novel I've read this summer has been a disappointment.  I've always heard such wonderful things about Morgan Matson and Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, but I think this book was a little hyped up and left me looking for more. Don't get me wrong, it was cute and fluffy, but I don't feel like their was any real substance to the book and it didn't leave any lasting impressions. 

My first real issue with this book was our main character. She was so annoying at times! This was all written from her POV, so at times it got a bit tiring. She was immature and unrealistic. I couldn't connect with her and she didn't seem like a very believable character. Every time she talked about what "Amy!" would do, it was so obnoxious. There's only one of you honey, if that's what you think you should do, please do it. 

The Plot was a bit better. I really enjoyed the whole road trip aspect. I've been on quite a few in my life, so it was a lot of fun to read a road trip book, one where I have even visited some of the places talked about. Each character's backstory was also pretty interesting, though I found Roger's reason to go on the road trip a bit unrealistic and a tad creepy. There were also a few things that bugged me throughout this book surrounding the relationships. Matson created situations that either aren't very healthy or just don't happen. 

One thing I did really enjoy with this book was the way it was formatted. I loved all the playlists and scrapbook pages. The writing was a bit odd, though. A lot of the dialogue seemed unnatural and I occasionally felt like things were being dumb downed. 

Overall, I felt like this was a fun, fluffy summer read and I enjoyed some aspects, but I was pretty disappointed after hearing such wonderful things about this book. I do realize this is Matson's first book, and an author's style changes with more experience, so I'm willing to check out another book of her's and see if my opinion changes.

My rating:
3/5 stars

Should you read it?
Meh, it's not a must read. 

Favorite quote:
 “The best discoveries always happened to the people who weren't looking for them.” 

2.  The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Moral allegory and spiritual autobiography, The Little Prince is the most translated book in the French language. With a timeless charm it tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, learning the vagaries of adult behaviour through a series of extraordinary encounters. His personal odyssey culminates in a voyage to Earth and further adventures. 

My thoughts:
Walking around the library surrounded by books, the last section I thought of entering was Children's Picture Books.

"Just read it Liz, you'll love it!" 

"'s a children's book."

Of course, I picked it up, and under the watchful eye of my friend, finished it. I owe her, because this was so darn cute. Not only were the illustrations wonderful and the story line adorable, it was so full of themes aimed for the older humans in this world. I loved what this book portrayed and the story that it shared. It amazed me how Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was able to create such a punch in only 80 pages. 

So if someone bugs you to read this children's book, don't complain or claim you're too old for such stories. Instead, think back to your childhood and enjoy a bittersweet story full of lessons all adults need to hear. 

My rating:
4/5 stars

Should you read it?

Favorite quote:
 “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

3. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde brings his enormous gifts for astute social observation and sparkling prose to The Picture of Dorian Gray, his dreamlike story of a young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty. This dandy, who remains forever unchanged; petulant, hedonistic, vain, and amoral; while a painting of him ages and grows increasingly hideous with the years, has been horrifying, enchanting, obsessing, even corrupting readers for more than a hundred years.

Taking the reader in and out of London drawing rooms, to the heights of aestheticism, and to the depths of decadence, The Picture of Dorian Gray is not only a melodrama about moral corruption. Laced with bon mots and vivid depictions of upper-class refinement, it is also a fascinating look at the milieu of Wilde’s fin-de-siècle world and a manifesto of the creed “Art for Art’s Sake.”

My thoughts:
It's rare for me to pick up a classic in the dead of summer. Not because I do not enjoy classic literature, but because summer is often a busy time and when I think of classics, I think a lot of time and studying. But luckily, I did pick up The Picture of Dorian Gray off of a friend's recommendation, and totally fell in love. 

Is this book full of wonderful, virtuous characters? No. Does it teach you to always do what is right and turn your face from evil? Not really. But does it have an amazing plot, well written characters, beautiful writing, and an epic ending? Oh yes indeed. 

I will admit, this book can be a bit slow brewing. There's a lot of description and dialogue going on, and if you're not paying attention, you may get lost. But for me, I found this book exciting and, on almost every page, full of quotable passages. Oscar Wilde created such natural, yes beautiful to read conversations between the characters and I really enjoyed that. His writing has this grace to it, and he was able to move along the plot of this book so smoothly. So many things surprised me and kept me on the edge of my seat. I was always looking forward to see what was happening next

Speaking of that, can we please talk about the genius that is this book? Writing a novel based on a man who forever stays young and beautiful while his portrait grows more mangled and ugly with his evil deeds, that is gold. If that doesn't intrigue you, I'm not sure what will. What an eerie, great idea. 

And the characters, so well developed! They all had their own distinct voice and as the story went on, changed into their own person. Although there are very few moral characters in this book, it was interesting to take note of their viewpoints and understand the way they thought. Dorian Gray was especially interesting to see grow, as we start off with him as very innocent and young, and we see him grow more and more evil with every page. 

Throw in all the good elements I just spoke of with a perfect ending, and you have a five star book. There is nothing I despise more than a convenient, anticlimactic ending, but this book did not disappoint. I closed my book completely satisfied. So good guys, so very good!

My rating:
5/5 stars

Should you read it?:
Uh, yes you should. 

Favorite quote:
 "Because to influence a person is to give him one's own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins...are borrowed. He becomes an echo of someone else's music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him."

5. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope. 

My thoughts:
You know those books you read that you completely fall in love with? Whenever someone asks you how it was, you sputter out random stuff and then stare off into the distance in awe. It's so absolutely amazing, that you can't find the words to express why. Salt to the Sea is one of those books for me. Why I have not read from Ruta Sepetys till now is beyond me. Her personal connection with all her stories, her eye for detail, and the amazing voice she gives to her characters is just fantastic.

I'm kind of in awe of her ability to create such a story that impacts people so much. Sepetys has a video through Penguin Teen about each of her books she's written, describing her inspirations and the historical backgrounds. For each one, she has this amazing connection which really causes the book to become personal to her and really inspiring to you. The fact that some of her own relatives were in the same situations the characters in this book experienced, is very special. I think that's really cool she wrote a novel based on what people in her family went through. 

Ruta Sepetys writing style is stunning. Blunt, upsetting, but so very beautiful. She doesn't shy away from detail, even when it can be horrifying. She doesn't sugarcoat the awfulness that was World War II, and I think that's really important. She also created such great characters and dialogue between them. Everything seemed so real. The entirety of this book felt that way, like I was really there, experiencing the events alongside everyone else. It takes a very talented writer to do such a thing. 

Speaking of characters, oh my good golly! What fantastic character development. It can be hard for me to read first person narratives, especially with multiple POV's, but Sepetys did not disappoint. Each one was written with such care, and I really loved watching them journey through what was happening to them, and change as a person, even in such a short span of time. Although not every character was likable, I thought that was good. It created a mixture of emotions, and was quite honestly realistic. I also loved the diversity in this book, how each character has a different ethnic background and history. 

Most of all, this book ripped me apart, but in a wonderful way. The fact that this book was based on real life events broke my heart. The suffering, pain, and brutality that was in this book really happened to real people. I won't say what happens in the end of course, but if you know the historical context of this book, then you know what I'm talking about. The fact that we as humans were capable of such brutality and evilness is kind of terrifying, and extremely devastating. I well never be able to unread some of the passages in her book that really took my aback, but for that I'm thankful. 

Overall, I am in love with this novel and I think it's an extremely important read. Before I read this book, I had never heard of the tragedy that is within its pages. I think it's amazing the Ruta Sepetys took a unknown historical event and created such a beautiful story for people all over the world to read, cry over, and learn from. I cannot recommend this book more, it was absolute perfection. 

My rating:
5/5 stars

Should you read it?:
YES, a thousands times yes!!

Favorite quote:
 “What had human beings become? Did war make us evil or just activate an evil already lurking within us?”

5. Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

Twin sisters Moria and Ashyn were marked at birth to become the Keeper and the Seeker of Edgewood, beginning with their sixteenth birthday. Trained in fighting and in the secret rites of the spirits, they lead an annual trip into the Forest of the Dead. There, the veil between the living world and the beyond is thinnest, and the girls pay respect to the spirits who have passed.

But this year, their trip goes dreadfully wrong.

With all the heart-stopping romance and action that have made her a #1 New York Times bestselling author, and set in an unforgettably rich and dangerous world, this first epic book in the Age of Legends trilogy will appeal to Kelley Armstrong's legions of fans around the world and win her many new ones.

My thoughts: 
Summer use to be a time where I basically only read books full of cute romances, road trips, and summer adventures. It's funny how things have changed and I've become such a mood reader. This August, I was in the mood for some fantasy, and Sea of Shadows certainly delivered.

Kelley Armstrong infused a lot of different aspects in this book that I've never seen before and I really enjoyed that! I found the shadow stalkers really creepy and different, and I loved idea and whole background of the Keeper and the Seeker. I also really enjoyed how each girl had a bond-mate animal. Overall, I thought this book had some pretty unique parts to it.

Armstrong's writing was not the most amazing thing I've ever read, but I still thought she did a nice job keeping the story flowing and giving lots of description without being wordy. At times, the dialogue between characters seemed a bit out of place and ridiculous, but there were also some pretty funny lines that I gave a good laugh to. She sure didn't shy away from an action, though. I was always kept on my toes, wondering what might happen next.

For the characters, I had a few I really loved. Moria is such a kick butt, sassy, interesting character and a lot of fun to read from. I loved her interactions with the other characters and she always threw in such an entertaining flare. Although she could be overbearing and headstrong, she actually had her priorities straight. Ashyn on the other hand really annoyed me at times. Her entire town is gone and she's separated from her sister, yet she's worrying about if the guy traveling with her likes her. WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM. Seriously girl, please think logically. I found her POV kind of boring and much preferred reading from Moria's chapters.

Another character I really enjoyed was Gavril. Oh my goodness, he is the greatest. I may or may not have a low key new fictional crush. Yeah sure he's kind of moody and confusing at times, but it is so obvious how much he cares for Moria. I love how sarcastic he is and his determination. I really enjoyed him as a character. Ronan on the other hand kind of annoyed me. He really doesn't seem important to the story and he's always hiding in the shadows. Whatcha up to Ronan? His whole romance (is it even that?) with Ashyn was really weird and I don't really ship them.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I think it's a pretty strong start to the series. Because Ashyn's chapters were a bit boring at times, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I could, but I'm still excited to read on and continue with the series. A lot of stuff went down and I need some explanations.

My rating: 
4/5 stars

Should you read it?: 
Yeah, go for it!

Favorite quote: 
“Night was her time. The Keeper. Bond-mate of the cat. Protector of the night. Daughter of the moon.”

What books have you read this month? Have you read Salt to the Sea yet?? Because if not you must!

With love,



  1. SAAAALLLTTT TTOOOO THEE SEAAAAAA I LOVE THAT BOOK SO MUUUUUCH. XD Also I literally just got on Goodreads this morning so *friends you* Still can't figure out the difference between friending someone and follows their reviews though... XP

  2. Oh oh I really want to read Salt to the Sea! SO BADLY NOW after your epic review! :D I kind of want to read Amy & Roger, but I struggle with contemporaries, eep. I just often find them too fluffy and that doesn't do well for me. hhehe. I like a bit of wild action and adventure! Oh but I'm surprised you don't consider audiobooks reading! That really surprises me.😂

  3. I seriously need to make a Goodreads gosh.

    I NEED TO READ A BUNCH OF THESE! I just requested Salt to the Sea from my library- I've been meaning to read it forever, but I completely forgot. Can't wait to read it!

  4. WOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I LOVE THIS. I mean, I haven't heard of even half of these books, but BOOKS. So you got me screaming. Aha. As for The Little Prince, I saw the movie first just a week or two ago (can't remember -- lolzz) and absolutely ADORED IT. Oh man. I could have cried my eyes out. But then reading the book after seeing the movie made it just 100x better. oh goodness. that is good stuff.

    Salt to the Sea sounds oh so good and man IT'D MAKE ME CRY UNTIL I WAS A SHRIVELED RAISIN SO I'M AFRAID THAT'S OUT.

    oh goodness. loved this. xx cally

  5. Your book pictures are all so cozy! And this is the last nudge I needed to read The Little Prince. :)


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