September Reviews 2019

Hello everybody! Today, I`m going to be talking about the books I read in September- which are a rather varied and rather brilliant bunch. My reading slowed down a fair bit in the second half due to starting uni, which is also the reason that I`m posting these MUCH later than intended, but on the whole I`m really happy with what I read and how much. Onto the post!


Our Life in a Day by Jamie Fewery

This book was completely different to what I expected based on the blurb, but although I`d thought it would be a straight up romance I ended up really enjoying it for what it really is, and not being disappointed at all. It`s extremely hard to explain without giving it all away, so it`s a really interesting contemporary that charts 24 important moments in the relationship of Tom and Esme, which explores mental health. It`s very raw in places, and some sections were heart-breaking. I think it was especially hard-hitting because both Tom and Esme were extremely well fleshed out and felt real to me, so I hated seeing them struggling. My other favourite thing was the structure, because it`s so clever and unique, and doesn`t feel gimmicky at all the way something similar could come over if not done well. I`m so looking forward to more from Fewery, because his debut shows so much promise and his next one sounds really interesting as well. 4.5/5

The Land of Roar by Jenny McLachlan and illustrated by Ben Mantle

If you`ve been around for a while, you`ll know by now that I really like Jenny McLachlan`s teen fiction, so I was delighted when I heard she was turning her hand to some middle grade, and I was so happy when I thoroughly enjoyed her writing for this age group as well! It tells the story of somewhat estranged twins Arthur and Rose, as they discover the seemingly imaginary land they visited as children is real and that its villain has abducted their grandfather, meaning they must return and save him. Something I feel this did really well was its characters, particularly the two leads. Arthur is such a lovely narrator and I loved watching him develop a lot, and Rose was fascinating, both in general and in the way that my feelings towards her completely changed as the book went on as I began to understand why she behaved in certain ways or did certain things. I also loved Win on account of him being utterly precious, and Crowky was a fabulously creepy villain; I can see why Arthur had nightmares for sure! The Land of Roar itself is another huge highlight of this- it`s so full of wonder and magic, and I genuinely can`t wait to explore more of it and meet more of its people in the sequels. 4.5/5

What Magic is This? by Holly Bourne

In her first novella for Barrington Stoke, Holly Bourne tells the story of three girls named Sophia, Alexis and Mia who come together to give witchcraft a go in order to cheer up one of their number, which turns into a night of sharing long held secrets that changes all of their lives forever. I loved all three girls and felt like I really knew them all deeply by the end, even though it`s not that long, and I loved the dynamic between them as friends as well. The book has some great messages about friendship and finding magic in the everyday, which I really appreciated too- it touches on difficult themes but overall it`s such an uplifting book. Also, I really enjoyed how reminiscent of Spinster Club this was- I adore that trilogy and even though this was totally different too, those vibes were definitely there and it made me so happy! 4.5/5

North Child by Edith Pattou (received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

In this absolute tome of an epic fantasy, we follow the rather complex tale of a girl called Rose, as her life is upended after she must go and live with a mysterious white bear in a castle far away from her home and everything she`s ever known. It`s extremely hard to explain this book, but what I can say is that it`s a really interesting story that spins familiar tropes in a new way, and also that it`s perfect for this time of year as I write this- it`s absolutely brilliant to get cosy with under a blanket. I loved Rose as a heroine a lot, because she`s so determined and resourceful, and I defy anyone not to love her white bear by the end. The multiple viewpoint narrative style was so effective in adding to the fairy tale feel and also just really enjoyable in general- all of the voices were so distinctive. I`ll definitely be picking up the sequel at some point, although I did feel like some sections were a little repetitive and therefore could have been cut 4/5

The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson
I loved Sophie Anderson`s debut so much, and I didn`t think she could top it with her second book. I was wrong. This is even more rich and layered and utterly glorious to read than Chicken Legs, and it was so difficult to choose between losing myself in it in one gulp or savouring it. Like her first book, this draws on Slavic folklore and I find it so interesting hearing all these tales that aren`t really that well known in western society, and this was even more true in this book since there are sections where it`s the folk tales themselves and while I`m not usually keen on stories within stories I LOVED these; they fit seamlessly around the main plotline and really added something special to the book. The book itself is the story of a girl named Yanka, who feels like a misfit in her small village already due to her height and strength, as she grows bear legs and vanishes into the forest in order to discover who she really is. I am not particularly strong but I am tall, and when I was younger struggled with that a lot, and I related deeply to her feelings throughout some of this; it made me really emotional in places as a result. The rest of the characters are fabulous too, but the other one who warrants a special shout out is Mousetrap, who is genuinely one of the best sidekicks I`ve ever read. The worldbuilding was just incredible too, and I absolutely cannot wait to read whatever Sophie decides to write next because it`s bound to be amazing. 5/5

Oh My Gods by Alexandra Sheppard

I`ve been meaning to pick this up since it came out at the start of the year, and I`m glad I finally did. It`s about a girl named Helen who just happens to be the mortal daughter of Zeus, as she moves in with that side of the family after her mum dies. It`s different to other books I`ve read with a similar concept in that this is a YA contemporary rather than any kind of fantasy narrative, and it looks at how embarrassing it might be for an otherwise average teenager to have mystical relatives, and the problems that arise from this form the plot. It`s consequently very funny in places, and a lot of fun overall. I liked Helen a lot, and I also liked Alexandra`s take on the Greek deities that Helen has contact with, which is quite a lot of them- I especially enjoyed her Aphrodite, and I liked seeing Eros since I can`t remember him being in any similar stories before. I also enjoyed the reveal at the end, even though I`d worked out that it was probably going to happen! 4/5

Floodworld by Tom Huddleston (received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

In his debut novel, Tom Huddleston introduces the dystopian world of Floodworld, and more specifically the characters Kara and Joe, who are forced to go on the run when a mysterious map falls into their possession. I really liked Kara and her strength as a character was definitely my favourite thing about the book, and I loved the side that her relationship with Joe brought out in her as well. I also found the idea of this world in itself an interesting one to explore. However, I found the specifics of the worldbuilding confusing and I didn`t feel all that invested in the plot as a result. Overall, this really just wasn`t for me but I do think it might appeal to people that enjoy dystopian narratives more than I do! 3/5

Midsummer`s Mayhem by Rajani Larocca
This popped up on my Twitter one day, and immediately I was like “I need this in my life ASAP”. So, I picked it up and I`m really glad I did, because it was so sweet and fun. It`s kind of a Midsummer Night`s Dream retelling, so has some great little Easter eggs and plot points around that, and it`s the story of a girl named Mimi as she competes in a baking contest and tries to work out why things have suddenly become very strange indeed in her town. Mimi is an absolute darling, and her friendship with Vik was lovely, as was the dynamic of her huge family (even though they`re rather in chaos throughout the book!). The baking plotline was a lot of fun, and I really liked the way magic was done in this- it was one of those books where I couldn`t tell at first whether or not it was actually real or not! Overall, this is such an enjoyable read and I`d definitely recommend it to fans of the Love Sugar Magic books. 4.5/5

Wildflower Bay by Rachael Lucas

After reading My Box Shaped Heart in the summer, I really wanted to read some of Rachael Lucas`s adult romance and I enjoyed my first one IMMENSELY. They all sounded brilliant, so I basically picked the one I thought had the prettiest cover, and it`s about a hairdresser called Isla who is fired from her job in a fancy Edinburgh salon and who then moves to the remote island of Auchenmor to look after her aunt`s salon for a few months. Of course, this is a romance, so she meets the very lovely Finn upon arrival and the book sees her adapt to island life, turn the salon`s fortunes around and fall in love. It`s joyful, basically. Isla is such a great character, and I loved the colourful island cast too, particularly as Isla warms to her new home and the people around her- I particularly liked Shannon, which I was quite surprised by given how I felt when we first meet her, and Mrs Mac because she was so lovely. My heart was genuinely in my mouth waiting to see if Isla and Finn got together, and there was one event towards the end that made me cry- I was just totally invested in these characters and I had a super fun time reading this story. 4.5/5

The Little Grey Girl by Celine Kiernan

This is the second book in the Wild Magic trilogy, and the TLDR of this review is that these books are amazing and more people seriously need to read them. The longer version is basically going to be me gushing, so prepare yourself, and also please note that there are spoilers for Begone the Raggedy Witches! This sequel follows Mup after her Mam becomes queen and sees her entire family having to adjust to life in a castle filled with ghosts, both literally and figuratively. I honestly adore every single character in these books, but particular mention does need to go to Crow because I tear up just even thinking about him because I`m so attached to him and so desperately want him not to have to deal with such difficult stuff. His friendship with Mup is just gorgeous, and I love her a lot too of course- she`s such a fantastic heroine. I also continued to think this world was really interesting and I love the way that it`s more folktale-ish than traditional fantasy, if that makes any sense. The concept itself of exploring how things don`t suddenly become perfect once the dictator figure is overthrown is so interesting. 5/5

Sing (Like No One`s Listening) by Vanessa Jones

Rather fittingly, I read this just after starting at uni; it`s about a girl called Nettie beginning a course at performing arts school and trying to navigate her grief of losing her mum, and the issues this causes in terms of her singing. Luckily, my uni is (thus far) nowhere near as brutal a place as Dukes- this book deals with some really tough issues such as disordered eating/body dysmorphia, homophobia, both physical and emotional bullying and parental bereavement/grief- and I would definitely advise being cautious about whether or not you pick this up and when you do it if you find any of those difficult to read about because it`s definitely dark in places, though it also treats these topics with sensitivity and there are lots of lighter moments too that provide balance. Nettie was an absolutely glorious heroine and I loved the way that she wouldn`t let herself get messed about by anyone. Some other real highlights in this vein were her relationships with her best friend Alec because their bantering dialogue was hilarious, and also her budding romantic one with Fletch which made me melt in places. I`m so excited for the sequel to this next year, especially after how immensely intriguing the ending was! 4.5/5

White Eagles by Elizabeth Wein (received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

Like the majority of Elizabeth Wein`s books, this is about a female pilot in wartime- this one focuses on Kristina, a Polish pilot, as World War Two begins and she is forced to flee to safety, unwittingly smuggling a stowaway who was hiding in her plane. My favourite thing about this was definitely her relationship with Julian, because it`s so interesting and rather complex given the novella length, as well as really quite touching in places. I also enjoyed learning a bit more about Poland at this time since it`s not an area you see covered that often in books, Kristina herself as a character and the twists that come up- I feel like I can`t explain what I mean without giving them away but though this is more character-driven there`s some intrigue that kept me hooked too. I really need to give Code Name Verity another chance, because I have a feeling I`d enjoy it a lot more now 4/5


Which books did you read in September, and are there any you`d especially recommend? What are your thoughts on the ones I managed to get through? I`d love to hear in the comments!

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: goldenbooksgirl@gmail.com | she/her

17 thoughts on “September Reviews 2019”

  1. Completely agree with your five star ratings for TGWSB and LGG – can’t wait to read the next books by both these authors. I also loved The Land of Roar – I read it to my class and over half bought it and are reading it for themselves which is great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so lovely! I’m REALLY excited for the Promise Witch and Sophie’s next one too, next year just looks incredible for new releases already! No idea how I’m going to read them all and all the backlist stuff I’ve not got to yet 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know!! It’s in the top of my want to read pile I plan in between Believathon prompts (which I’m terribly behind in as we have visitors) but I have a few have to read books first to squeeze in before everything!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Soooo glad you enjoyed TGWSB and North Child! Lots of these, as you know, are not my cup of tea but it’s feast to know as but lore about them. I do like the sound of White Eagles though, I’ll try and read that at some point!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely recommend White Eagles, though I did prefer last year’s Firebird from the same author! I really need/want to read Code Name Verity as well because I DNF it on my 14th birthday always intending to try again when I could wallow fully when it made me cry, but still haven’t quite a few birthdays later! How are you getting on with North Child? I really liked it, plus it’s tied to a very funny memory in my mind so it always makes me smile when I think of it!! X

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m loving North Child SO much! It’s just ticking all my boxes! Will look at Firebird too. Sure you’ll get to Code Name Verity when the time is right for it!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Sophie’s so brilliant, isn’t she? So excited to see what she writes next. I think you might enjoy Sing from these, and I’m convinced you’d like the Wild Magic books- they’re very witchy and clever 💜

      Like

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