September Reading Wrap Up ’22

How the HELL did I read so many books this month? It’s actually slightly ridiculous, but I suppose it’s a good thing to balance out the birthday books coming next month! w Overall I read nineteen books. 19. How? How?! I really don’t know, but here we are. I had an amazing month. Not complaining! I also managed to actually read my whole tbr within these books too, so overall I’m really pleased.

Now. Let’s dive into these books and their mini reviews

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was my first finished book of the month. This 1122 page behemoth is one I was reading for the MiddleEarthAThon and I was finishing up the final 500ish pages at the start of the month. My full review is incredibly in depth, so I’ll just say that I enjoyed this and I’m glad I’ve finally read all of the Sherlock books!

Leading on from my first read, I picked up The Essential Sherlock Holmes Stories from Running Press Mini. This is essentially just a summary of the Holmes stories and is a cute little shelf decoration.

Fake Law by The Secret Barrister was my “non-fiction of the month” and whilst it was incredibly anger inducing, it was also really insightful. It’s a discussion on how the law operates in England and Wales (as this is where TSB works) and how the media picks up and spins tales around cases to create headlines. A fantastic read and one I highly recommend.

Going for something a little different, a middle grade! The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan is the second book in the Kane Chronicles which is his Ancient Egyptian series. I enjoyed this book a lot more than the first, oddly enough, and it’s definitely invigorated my desire to finish up the series. And maybe even finally picking up Percy Jackson!

Then I finished my audiobook, Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko which is a fantastic YA fantasy that I should have picked up a while ago! I adored the magic system in this book, as well as the character development. I’m super excited to pick up the second book in this duology!

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin was gifted to me by my uncle (who runs a page called On This Gay Day that you totally need to check out) and I truthfully didn’t think I would like it because it’s very much a slice of life style read. But I loved it? I’m so into these peoples lives and I’m 100% carrying on with the series because I need to stay with these characters!

Gothic vibes seemed appropriate as we moved into Autumn, and The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss fits the vibes perfectly. Retelling classic Victorian stories of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Frankenstein, and more. This is a fantastical, gothical, historical, mystery and it’s so much fun. I’m excited to continue with this trilogy!

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jeanette McCurdy is one of the most hyped books right now, and seeing as I loved iCarly when I was a kid and the topic generally interests me? Well this was an obvious pick. It’s a rough read, but a very well written one and I’m glad I picked it up. This is one of my highest rated books of the month!

This month’s Goldsboro GSFF read was Lost in Time by A.G. Riddle, a Sci-Fi time travel read. This one was let down slightly because I was expecting more dinosaurs! There were less than 100 pages! But the mystery/time travel aspect of the book was so utterly fascinating that I can’t even complain that much. This book just needed to be longer!! Give me another 200/300 pages with the dinos in there and I’ll be happy.

Air Awakens by Elise Kova is a book I listened to via audiobook and hooooo boy did I not enjoy this one. It had so much potential in its plot and the magic system that Kova has created. But it’s completely ruined by the pining love story going on that takes centre stage. Very much not my sort of read.

Another audiobook, but a very different vibe, No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference by Greta Thunberg is a collection of her speeches to various organisations, reminding those in power that climate change is reaching irreversible levels and what we will lose. Very short (like 100 pages/1.5 hours) and a little repetitive, because it’s from different speeches. But good!

And then my final audiobook for the month which was Funny You Should Ask by the QI Elves. I love how they added in sound effects for this audiobook, it really added that something extra. A fun non-fiction with lots of random, quite interesting, facts!

Failure to Communicate by Kaia Sønderby is a sci-fi book with great autism representation, and after reading it, I felt like it has such Murderbot vibes! I struggled to put this book down, it’s so so readable and I adored learning about the xeno-liason job our main character holds. I’m definitely grabbing the second one in this series!

Unfortunately, the next book wasn’t such a hit. Raging Star by Moira Young is the final book in the Dustland trilogy (with Blood Red Road as the first book). I… would have DNF’d this if it wasn’t the final book in the trilogy. The concepts in here were fab but Young just absolutely fails at writing and fleshing these out. Such a disappointment.

The first book in a duology, The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco, is just so good. This has fabulous worldbuilding, fascinating characters with fantastic development, and a great plot! I just wish it was made a little clearer which character’s POV we’re reading from when it switches. Super excited to finish this duology!

Then for a book I read all in one day, The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuka Natsukawa is the most fantastical Japanese cat book I’ve read. This one is actually a fantasy read, unlike many of the others I’ve read previously. I really enjoyed it! It’s not my favourite (The Travelling Cat Chronicles has my heart) but I did very much enjoy it. A book for readers as well as cat lovers.

Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi is the prequel to Pet, and whilst I didn’t love this as much as I loved Pet – I still loved it. It gives us so much depth to this world and to Jam’s parents, as well as about some of the adults in Jam’s life! This is, in my opinion, one to definitely read after the book it prequels. You’ll get a lot more depth out of it then.

We’re technically at the last book I finished in September! My Name is Monster by Katie Hale was not what I expected from this book. A lot more about humanity and motherhood than about survival after a sickness. Despite that I did still think it was a good review. Something I think mothers would get a little more out of than I did.

And then I feel like I should mention Babel by R.F. Kaung. This will be short because I technically finished this on 1st October, but damn is this book good. It’s a slow, deep, and beautiful read.

And that’s what I managed to read in September! 6245 pages in total, which is just ridiculous. And I’ve gotten my physical tbr down to 101 books! (ugh if I’d just finished Babel it would’ve been 100!). Just in time for my tbr to jump up massively because of birthday gifts in October! 😅

What’s the best book you read in September? I’m really struggling to pick just one! But I’m Glad My Mom Died definitely has a high spot 💖

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss, a review (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #1)

The Strange Case of the Alchemists Daughter by Theodora Goss is the first book in The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club trilogy, following the unknown products of Victorian era mad scientists as they solve crimes. This was recommended to me by a few people, with the lovely Kari gifting me it (thank you so much!)

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

This is the perfect autumn/spooky season read, with our main character Mary being the daughter of Dr Jekyll, an infamous scientist. There are so many characters from Victorian stories here, with of course The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, as well as Sherlock Holmes, Rappaccini’s Daughter, The Island of Doctor Moreau, and Frankenstein. I’ve not read Rappaccini’s Daughter or The Island of Doctor Moreau yet but they’re firmly on my tbr after having read this book!

Theodora Goss is clearly well versed in these books (or at least, the ones I’ve read) because she manipulates their aspects so well to create this novel. This is not a literary book, don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun YA fantasy mystery novel, but the elements she uses are absolutely fantastic. I also love how Goss integrates more modern thinking into the book. There is both atheism and strong religious faith, a character who was raised by prostitutes and trusts them more than she’ll ever trust a man, talks of votes for women, and a strong feeling that these women are capable and able to stand on their own.

I also love the banter and the way that this book is written, with interjections throughout the narrative from the girls as they disagree or comment on what is being written. It adds another dimension to the storytelling and also adds some extra intrigue to picking up the next book, as they’re clearly discussing this from a future time. The girls are all so different and yet gel together to make a fantastic group.

Additionally, the mystery in this book is fun and done well! We’re given plenty of little clues and puzzle pieces, but both the reader and the girls don’t quite know enough until the end to make the full picture. But not all of the lose ends are tied up, leading nicely into the rest of the series and leaving me impatient for more!

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 9, Atmosphere: 8, Writing: 8, Plot: 8, Intrigue: 8, Logic: 8 and Enjoyment: 8 giving an 8.14 average and a 4.5* rating.

Highlight here for trigger warnings: abandonment, animal cruelty, child abuse, death of parent, confinement, misogyny, murder, mutation of the human body, torture.

This is such a fun book and I’m excited to delve into the rest of the trilogy! Is this something you would pick up? I’ve not read this sort of retelling in a while and it was a lot of fun!

My September TBR!

At this very beginning of September I’ve been finishing off my reads for the MiddleEarthAThon, so that has delayed me starting my actual tbr. It’s also tempting a slump because WOW I read a lot 😂 but that’s why this tbr is a little late.

Ironically, my video version wasn’t late – so if you’d rather see this in video form then check it out!

But now onto the list version of my tbr! I do have one “secret” book on my tbr, that you folks won’t find out about until mid-October at the earliest. I really need to get reading on that one!

Babel by R.F. Kuang is one of the most hyped books of this month and I’m so excited to dive into this diverse dark academia. I’ve not read anything by Kuang yet (The Poppy War is on my tbr still) and so I really hope I enjoy her writing style – I have hope! This one was, of course, from my Illumicrate subscription.

My Goldsboro GSFF subscription brought me Lost in Time by A.G. Riddle and it’s definitely something very different to what I usually pick up! A man is sent back to the time of the dinosaurs as a punishment but he has to get back to the modern day. Sounds wild and I’m here for it.

Then for the Middle Grade Magic readathon which is taking place from the 1st to the 11th September I’m wanting to read two books. One is Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko which I’m wanting to read via audiobook, a YA high fantasy, magical, queer read. Always here for that and I’ve heard wonderful things. The other book is The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan, the second book in his Ancient Egyptian series The Kane Chronicles. This is one of the few middle grades that I have a physical copy of so it was the obvious choice.

And then I have four books on my general tbr, along with a fifth for my tbr jar pick.

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin is a piece of classic LGBTQ+ literature that was gifted to me by my uncle (who runs this amazing page called On This Gay Day) and I’ve been meaning to read for a while!

Then one that I keep hearing amazing things about, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss. Now that I’ve read more gothic literature, I’m excited to dive into this book that utilises both those tropes as well as the famous characters from these books, and I’ve heard the communication style is unique.

It’s been a while since I read a dystopian so I’m finally going to pick up Raging Star by Moira Young and finish the Blood Red Road trilogy. I’ve had this on my tbr for so long now that it’s slightly ridiculous. Time to finally read it!

Failure to Communicate by Kaia Sonderby is my last book before the jar and this is a sci-fi read that has autistic representation that I’ve been told is wonderful. It’s also an indie-published novel which I always love supporting!

And then for the jar. I went through the jar with Caitlyn from Mad Cheshire Rabbit and added and removed some entries – from the newly refreshed jar I picked out……

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco! (which was gifted to me by Kari from Kar-ing for Books) This is a sci-fi fantasy read where the planet has stopped rotating. One half is freezing and the other is boiling – but the two must work together. I’m excited to try out this one.

And that’s my tbr. As always it’s far too big but fingers crossed I can get through all these reads and that I enjoy most of them, we’ll have to wait and see 😉

What are you most excited to read in September? I’m assuming for most of you the answer will be Babel! I’m super excited for that one too!!

Read the classics first?

Recently I was gifted The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss by the lovely Kari from Kari-ng for Books on YouTube and it’s inspired by so many dark Victorian novels! Frankenstein, Sherlock, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and more!

I’ve not read all of the originals yet, especially not the slightly more obscure ones like Rappuccini’s Daughter. And I’m debating on whether I just read the book with the knowledge I have now. Or if I wait until I’ve read the original works!

What do you think? What would your decision be?

Part of me doesn’t want to miss out on the nuances and the in jokes that will be made about these original works, but part of me thinks I’m being silly and to just enjoy the book as it is!

It’s me so it’ll be a while before I get around to any new books, but I’d love to hear your thoughts to help me make my decision!!!