August 2020 Reading Plans: ARC August, Readathons, & Book Clubs

Happy August everyone! I hope you have lots of exciting things planned for this month as summer comes to an end. Personally, I’ve got a lot going on in my personal life. In addition to receiving some rubbish news this morning (as I’m typing this), Quill and I are still trying to sort out everything we need to do to get on the property ladder eventually. It’s… a process.

BUT! I have some very exciting reading plans for August, and I wanted to share them with you here on the blog in an attempt to bring this baby back to life. I’m not committing to more than book reviews at the moment, but eventually I want to bring back TBR posts and wrap ups and all sorts of other goodness.

Here is my August TBR, in which I’m going to show you just how manic my August reading plans are and I’ll show you all the books I’m planning on reading!

#ARCAUGUST

Most importantly, ARC August is happening again this year. It’s hosted by the lovelies Octavia and Shelly, who have been hosting this readathon challenge for almost a decade now. I really need to improve my Netgalley score (and my relationship with publishers), so I’m taking it VERY seriously this month. Here are some of the books that I’m hoping to get to, among others. I’ve only included the books that I’m most excited for, but trust me, there are many others.

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Book Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Book Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-GarciaMexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 30th June 2020
Publisher: Penguin Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find - her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

Mexican Gothic has proven to be a really tough book to review! I have mixed feelings about the book, but those mixed feelings are, on the whole, positive, if that makes any sense? Basically, there’s nothing I disliked about Mexican Gothic. It’s an atmospheric, eerie gothic story, and I was super invested in it for the most part.

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Book Review: All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban

Book Review: All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana UrbanAll Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 17th March 2020
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, and music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill … or else everyone dies.

Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something. And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?

I thought All Your Twisted Secrets was a tonne of fun! I had a feeling when I requested it that it would be one to watch out for, and I wasn’t surprised to find that it was a hit thriller for me. I’m really impressed with how debut author Diana Urban wove this story, and I now can’t wait to see what she comes out with in the future!

Check back in a few days for my author interview with Diana Urban!

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Book Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Book Review: Truthwitch by Susan DennardTruthwitch by Susan Dennard
Series: The Witchlands #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 5th January 2016
Publisher: Tor
Source: Bought, Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she's a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden - lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult's true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls' heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Do you ever read a book that you’re SO. EXCITED. for and then come out of it wondering what the hell the bookternet is thinking by hyping it up? That’s how I feel about Truthwitch. You can watch my Witchlands vlog below if you’re interested!

I remember when Truthwitch was coming out and there was this whole big campaign alongside Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. I’m pretty sure it was one of the biggest book marketing campaigns I had seen, and it seemed as though everyone was talking about the book. I was sad I’d missed out by not getting in on the hype early on, and since then I’d kept putting off reading Truthwitch because I wasn’t ready to dive into a new and addictive series.

I really shouldn’t have bothered, though, because Truthwitch turned out to be such a disappointment. I don’t think it was soley because I’d hyped it up in my head, as it seems as though this book series has a massive online fanbase. I don’t really understand why.

My main issue with Truthwitch is that I don’t care about any of the characters, and the reason for that is that they’re badly written. We follow the POVs of four characters in the first book, all of which sound exactly the same. I struggled to differentiate between them, and I had kept forgetting whose head I was supposed to be in in the middle of chapters.

I don’t think Truthwitch is very well written. It lands you straight into the world and does a bunch of info-dumping in the first half of the book, not giving you any time to settle in or get to know the characters. And then in the second half of the book you’re expected to care about these characters and empathise with what they’re going through, even though the author spent all her time in the first half info-dumping and distracting you from getting to know them.

It didn’t make much sense to me.

In addition, it was clear to me that the author wanted this to be a fast paced and action packed story. And it was. To such an extent that the characters were all over the place. They were rushing from one scene to the next, from one location to another, and I had absolutely no time to settle down and enjoy the story because there was always another thing going on.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy fast paced plots. Slow plots can bore me. But if a plot is fast paced, the rest of the book has to find some sort of balance. I have to care about the characters who are running around, and I have to understand the world building and why they’re running.

I wasn’t a fan of Truthwitch, and I’m so disappointed that I hyped it up and waited so long to read it. I tried to read the sequel, but I ended up DNF-ing Windwitch and I won’t be continuing with the series, unfortunately.

Book Review: I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi

Book Review: I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz RishiI Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi
Genre: Post Apocalyptic
Release Date: 22nd October 2019
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Seven days. Seven days. The Earth might end in seven days.

When news stations start reporting that Earth has been contacted by a planet named Alma, the world is abuzz with rumors that the alien entity is giving mankind only few days to live before they hit the kill switch on civilization.

For high school truant Jesse Hewitt, though, nothing has ever felt permanent. Not the guys he hooks up with. Not the jobs his underpaid mom works so hard to hold down. Life has dealt him one bad blow after another — so what does it matter if it all ends now? Cate Collins, on the other hand, is desperate to use this time to find the father she’s never met, the man she grew up hearing wild stories about, most of which she didn’t believe. And then there’s Adeem Khan. While coding and computer programming have always come easily to him, forgiveness doesn’t. He can’t seem to forgive his sister for leaving, even though it’s his last chance.

With only seven days to face their truths and right their wrongs, Jesse, Cate, and Adeem’s paths collide even as their worlds are pulled apart.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from I Hope You Get This Message, but it was probably something different to what I got. I think what I wanted from this book was something heart warming that takes place during the end of the world, and instead the characters all leave their families once they learn what is happening.

I Hope You Get This Message jumps around three points of view, and I only really found one of them interesting. I think two of the POVs could have been combined to make the book drag less. It’s a big book, and there wasn’t enough going on to justify that high of a page count.

I really enjoyed the point of view of the third character, who didn’t leave his mother when she needed him. He’s also gay, and went on a couple of dates with another guy, so I appreciated that representation! He was honestly the only interesting part of the whole book, as I feel like his story was the most fleshed out and I actually cared about what he was going through.

I really feel like this book should have either been more action-packed or more heartfelt (or both!) considering it’s covering the run up to the apocalypse and the planet potentially being wiped out. I wouldn’t recommend picking this one up if you’re looking for an interesting sci-fi novel, unfortunately!