August Reviews 2018

Hello everybody! Today, I`m going to be sharing my reviews for all of the books I read in August, which was a pretty great reading month even though it was my worst of the year so far in terms of quantity. Onto the post!

When We Collided by Emery Lord

As you`ll very likely know if you`ve heard me talk about any of her books before, I am a huge fan of Emery Lord, and When We Collided was no exception to that rule. It`s the story of Jonah and Vivi as they meet in a pottery shop and subsequently fall in love over the course of a dramatic and passionate summer spent together. They`re also both dealing with how mental illness is affecting their lives; Vivi has bipolar and Jonah is struggling to find a way to help his mum, who has developed depression following the death of Jonah`s dad prior to the beginning of the book. While I can`t speak to how either of those things are represented, I did really like the messages the book portrays about mental illness. I also loved the characters, and I enjoyed both perspectives equally in the dual narrative, particularly when they were talking about their romance, which was just amazing in true Emery Lord fashion. The big family dynamic of Jonah`s household was another of my favourite things about this book and I also adored how caring he was to all of them, as well as to Vivi, and the way she becomes almost part of their family is beyond lovely too. Another feature of the dual narrative I thought was phenomenal was that it allowed Emery Lord`s stunning writing to shine even more than it usually does. One of my favourite things about it, other than how lyrical it is, has always been the way it adapts slightly to suit whoever the narrator is while retaining its distinctive quality, and that was even noticeable with two POV characters, as I noticed the way things were described fitted the different interests of them both. I`m sad I don`t have any more of Emery Lord`s back catalogue left to discover now, but I`m beyond excited to read whatever she releases in the future. 5/5

The Storm Keeper`s Island by Catherine Doyle

In her first middle grade novel, Catherine Doyle tells the tale of Fionn Boyle as he and his sister Tara spend their summer on the magical Irish island of Arranmore with their grandfather/the Storm Keeper and we follow them as they learn that a new Storm Keeper is soon to be chosen. I thought the magic system of Arranmore was really unique and interesting, particularly the candles, and I loved Fionn`s grandfather, who is in control of most of this magic, as a character an awful lot; he was enigmatic and funny and wise, and though I really enjoyed the fantasy adventure plot, the scenes with him and Fionn were undoubtedly my favourites of the book. They ranged from making me laugh to making me cry, and their relationship was lovely. I also adored Fionn and how brave he was throughout the book even though he couldn`t always see how much courage he had, and his new friend Shelby and sister Tara made for interesting side characters. Morrigan was an excellent villain, and I`m very excited to see more of her in the sequels as some really interesting threads were set up in this book that I can`t wait to see explored further. Finally, I loved the writing style, as it brought the book to life; I felt like I was feeling every emotion and seeing every part of the island along with Fionn. 4.5/5

The Wild Folk by Sylvia V Linsteadt
This is the story of country girl Comfrey and city boy Tin who live in the mystical land of Farallone, as they are brought together to embark on a quest to save the Wild Folk, who are magical human-animal hybrids, with the help of two hares. Comfrey and Tin are both wonderful characters, and I really liked the friendship they eventually form after being initially unsure of each other, but the real stars of the show for me were Myrtle and Mallow the hares, as I loved how wise they were and how much they loved each other, and also because they made me laugh with their sarcastic comments, especially Mallow. Another thing I loved about this was the worldbuilding, which was complex and rich in detail, and something I especially enjoyed in this vein was the origin story about the Elk of Milk and Gold, who was a wonderful character. Finally, I loved how the writing style meant that reading this felt almost like reading a fairytale, but also that it managed to still be exciting. The battle sequence at the end was particularly exhilarating and even though things were resolved well enough to make this a wholly satisfying book on its own, I can`t wait to return to this world and see a full resolution in the sequel. 4.5/5

Tilly and the Bookwanderers by Anna James (received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review)

In her enchanting debut, Anna James introduces us to Tilly Pages, who lives in a bookshop with her grandparents, and we follow her as she learns she has the gift of being able to bookwander- to visit the worlds of books she loves and have favourite characters pay her visits in her world- and is swept up exploring this, as well as investigating Enoch Chalk, who seems to pop up wherever she goes. The concept of bookwandering is every book lover`s dream, and I loved the worldbuilding because there were rules that made everything make sense and seem plausible, but it was still filled with absolute wonder and magic. As well as this, there were some really fun references to other stories (the Harry Potter joke particularly made me smile!) and the book felt like such a celebration of reading that it was impossible not to fall in love with it. The characters were another highlight. Tilly is someone I could definitely relate to, especially her difficulties with friendships, but also her love her books and inquisitiveness. Her friendship with Oskar was lovely, and her relationship with her grandparents was so loving and heart-warming. The mysteries surrounding Enoch Chalk and the disappearance of Tilly`s mum were intriguing, and I wasn`t able to work all of it out before the reveal, so coupled with the gorgeous writing that hooked me in from the first page I found myself turning the pages pretty quickly. I can`t wait to see which worlds Tilly will wander into come the sequel. 5/5

Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? by Holly Bourne (received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review)

This is the story of Olive, described in the synopsis as β€œa girl on the edge”, as she is sent to a summer camp of sorts for teenagers with mental health conditions. There, she meets a group of other people who were all complex and layered characters and starts wondering whether mental illness is caused by how unkind society is, and they set about trying to correct that. Olive`s narrative voice is incredibly engaging and drew me in right away, and though she`s not always very likeable (quite the opposite at some points in the book), I found myself rooting for her to succeed in what she wanted to accomplish with the kindness campaign, as well as in making new friendships and gaining something from her stay at the camp. The main thing that I found really interesting when I was reading this was the idea of algorithms being able to predict mental health fascinating, so much so that I still think about it now (which is a while after reading) and I loved the messages the book sends about being kinder to the people around us. Finally, despite finding it rather abrupt, I thought the hopeful yet realistic ending fit the tone of the book of perfectly. 4.5/5

Secrets of a Sun King by Emma Carroll

If you`ve heard me speaking about Emma Carroll’s work before, you`ll know how much of a fan I am, and her latest release lived up to my stratospherically high expectations. It`s the story of Lil, who lives in 1920s London, and what happens she opens a mysterious package addressed to her grandfather, who is incredibly ill in hospital, and decides she must return the contents- the remains of famous boy pharaoh Tutankhamun- to their rightful resting place in Egypt because the letter that accompanied them revealed that they were cursed. She sets off with new friends Oz and Tulip, and a fabulous adventure follows. Additionally, we see passages from the point of view of Lysandra, a girl in Ancient Egypt who was friends with Tutankhamun, that imagine what the days leading up to his death could have been like. Both settings are really well written and utterly immersive- I truly felt as though I was there in both of them- and while there`s a lot of descriptions the plot still zips along and every time I put the book down I always looked forward to picking it back up because the events in both timelines were so interesting. In terms of the characters, Lil was completely likeable and I loved her bravery and that it was her love for her family that spurred her on. I also liked Tulip and Oz very much, particularly how bold and daring Tulip was, as well as their mum, whose storyline highlights how sexist the time period was.The conclusions for both Lysandra`s friendship group and Lil`s were absolutely perfect and made me cry quite a bit, I`m already desperate to get my hands on whatever Emma Carroll releases next. 5/5

The Missing Barbegazi by H.S Norup (received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review)

In this wintry adventure, we meet Tessa as she learns of the existence of creatures called barbegazis, who live in the snowy mountains of her town, and becomes caught up in the search to save them once she meets Gawion after an accident while out skiing. Though I thought the book was quite slow paced up till the point where they formed an alliance to bring down the person attempting to capture the barbegazis, it really picked up after that point, and it was exciting to watch the plot unfold and take some interesting twists and turns during the climax. The villain, who I won`t spoil the identity of, was one of the most evil I`ve ever read, and I loved Tessa and Gawion as protagonists. It was a lovely surprise when I opened this and realised that it was a dual narrative, as I can`t think of any books with similar concepts that have this, and it let me see the conflicts they have from both sides, and Gawion`s perspective meant that I understood barbegazis a lot better than I likely would have had I only had Tessa`s point of view, and the language he uses added to the worldbuilding further, as do the extracts from the book on barbegzis scattered throughout that provide a lot of information in a fun way. In Tessa`s sections, seeing how much she wanted to help her Oma (who is, like the rest of their family, grieving the loss of her grandfather) and the way she was being treated by the other children made me feel a lot of sympathy for her, and I enjoyed her friendships with Gawion and Felix. This was such a sweet story full of friendship, family and magic, and I`d very much recommend it to anyone looking for a heart-warming read that gets them in the mood for some colder weather. 4/5

Friendship Fails of Emma Nash by Chloe Seager (received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review)

In the sequel to last year`s fantastic Editing Emma, we once again follow the life of Emma Nash as she decides to work on improving her existing friendships and forging new ones, with results just as hilarious as when she attempted to do something similar with her romantic relationships in book one. I was laughing on pretty much every page when I read this as the situations Emma gets herself into are just so awkward and absurd and embarrassing, the witty references to familiar TV shows such as Pretty Little Liars and the Vampire Diaries made me smile each and every time I spotted one and Emma`s narration about everything in her incredibly eventful life is brilliant. Additionally, the dialogue between Emma and her friends/family is always excellent, and her relationships with everyone provides a lot of different opportunities for humour, as well as some touching moments when they show how deeply they care for each other. I`m a particularly big fan of Emma`s best friend Steph and new addition to her life Charlie, as well as her mum, but it was nice getting to know the rest of her friend group better too, particularly Gracie. If you`re looking for a book that shows how wonderful friendship can be as well as all the difficulties, this would be a great choice along with its predecessor. I`m very much hoping this isn`t the last I see of Emma. 4.5/5

The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert-Murdock (received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review)
This is the story of a young goatherd named Boy as a pilgrim called Secundus arrives and takes him on a quest to find seven ancient relics. Before I mention the aspect of the books I wasn`t so keen on, I thought the main strength of the book was its characters, as Boy was so sweet I couldn`t help but root for him to succeed and be comfortable in his own skin, and I also loved his connection to animals and how much they loved him and vice versa. In addition, I found Secundus very mysterious, and subsequently wanted to learn more about him and his past. However, I was less keen on the writing style- which is very old fashioned given that the book is set in the 1300s – and due to this I found it quite hard to get into the book and read more than a few pages at a time. Overall, I think me not getting on well with this was mainly down to my own preferences, and I would recommend this if you enjoy stories set in this period, particularly if you especially like some fantastical elements, which I wasn`t expecting going in. 3/5

What books have you read this month? What were your thoughts on those that I read? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBookGirl!
Amy x


Author: goldenbooksgirl

Disabled book blogger who also writes TV, film, music and other posts from time to time | UKYABA Champion Teen 2018 | Email: | she/her

20 thoughts on “August Reviews 2018”

  1. These are great reviews Amy, it sound like August was a fantastic month for reading! I love the sound of Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? especially as it encourages kindness. Also, When We Collided sounds like an enjoyable read, the cover is so cool as well. Thank you for sharing your thoughts ❀ xx

    Bexa |


  2. I really want to read Are we All snowflakes and lemmings so bad!! And I’ve read Editing Emma too. I wasn’t too sure about the book, but I’m hoping the second one improves my opinion about it!


  3. How fantastic is The Wild Folk? I cannot wait for the second book! Really enjoyed Storm Keeper’s Island and Secrets of a Sun King too. Not read The Missing Barbegazi, but sounds like a good one to add to the winter TBR!


      1. As you know I love The Storm Keeper’s Island and The Wild Folk. I’ve just started Secrets of a Sun King (but already know I’m going to adore it because it’s Emma Carroll!). I’ve also just started Pages and Co. and am in love already! Book of Boy started so well with a really original idea but I felt that it lost it’s way slightly…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. You know you’re falling behind in your reading when you come across a review for a sequel before you’ve even read the first book lol

    Sounds like you’ve read some great books during August!

    Liked by 1 person

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