Despite my hopes and wishes for the hot weather remain here forever, things definitely cooled down in September as summer inevitably turned into autumn. Unpopular opinion, but summer is my favourite season and I really enjoyed the hot weather we had in June and July. So I was a little disheartened when the weather cooled down and the leaves started to change colour. But having said that, I do love the colours we get in autumn, and I have some fond memories of being in Osaka and Stockholm during autumn in 2017 and 2016, so hopefully this year will be lots of fun too.
When I started writing this post, I was convinced I’d only read two books in September, but it turns out I read five. I’d planned to read:
Tempests and Slaughter
If Cats Disappeared From the World
Running Upon the Wires
Beneath the Citadel
I actually read four of these seven, and then I hadn’t planned to read The Caged Queen, but I got to be on the blog tour for it, so I picked it up in place of Tempests and Slaughter.
Running Upon the Wires // This was an emotionally raw departure from Tempest’s previous anthologies. It explores the love, romance, and heartbreak of her current and previous relationships with women. Her usual creative metaphors and bold turn of phrase are present, and although I really enjoyed it, for me, it didn’t quite reach the same heights as Hold Your Own (my favourite of her anthologies).
The Academy // Funny and dramatic in equal measures, this is an m/m romance novel about a guy who moves to a new university and accidentally begins to fall for one of the most popular guys there. This book ended up really surprising me, as I was expecting a fun, ‘trashy’ romance, but it was actually very thought-provoking and had none of the usual toxic tropes that can sometimes crop up in the genre. It’s diverse, sex-positive, and involves boys openly talking about their feelings. It deals with grief and stress pretty well, and strongly promotes consent. CWs for domestic abuse, neglectful families, and death of a family member. There’s also one on-page sex scene.
Beneath the Citadel // Although this was a YA fantasy about unusual powers, rebellion, and friendship – all of the usual hallmarks of a book I’ll like – Beneath the Citadel fell strangely flat. The main characters were likable enough and the concept of Rooks who can control memories was imaginative, but there were so many plot holes that the story lost cohesion. The flashback chapters weren’t integrated well either, and the narrative had too much telling and not enough showing. One of the book’s redeeming features was its diversity: there are black and POC characters, a character who’s bisexual, a gay romance, and a character with anxiety who has panic attacks. But despite being wonderfully diverse this book was a real disappointment for me. CWs for panic and anxiety attacks, on-page and not on-page death, torture, memory loss.
The Caged Queen // This is the companion sequel to The Last Namsara and it continues on from where the first book ended, but we follow Roa and Dax, instead of Asha and Torwin. (Some old favourites do make a welcome return though.) The political landscape in The Caged Queen is crisply imagined and wonderfully dense, with allegiances changing almost constantly. The politics and action are the highlights of the novel, but the pacing was inconsistent and there was, sadly, much less of a focus on the dragons in this novel. Although it was a fun read, I definitely think the first book is better. CWs for on-page death, torture, animal abuse.
Almost Human // This is a sweet f/f web comic about two STEM girls who meet and begin to fall in love. It’s more character-driven than plot-driven, but the slower pace is exactly what’s needed to illustrate the progression of their relationship. The art style and pastel colours are gorgeous, and I loved the futuristic setting. Sunati and Austen are an adorable pair and it gave me so much joy to see them get to know each other and understand each other better. Would highly recommend giving this a go.
This month I was on the blog tour for The Caged Queen and I wrote about all the things I enjoyed in Kristen Ciccarelli’s new book. I also talked about books I want to read during autumn and reviewed Love, Hate & Other Filters.
The post I most enjoyed writing in September was a discussion piece about why I like having an unwieldy TBR. I also announced the shortlist for the BBC Young Writers’ Award and posted an extract from one of the finalists which was very exciting.
I think the reason I assumed I’d read fewer books than I actually had this month was because I was out and about quite a lot.
- I went to an Alpaca farm while visiting my bf and friends in Sheffield for the weekend and fed some alpacas. It was lovely until one of them spat at my boyfriend. (I laughed.)
- I visited all my best pals in Newcastle for a long weekend and we we ate so much vegan junk food. It was great. We went to a farm, visited the beach, and had a Strictly Come Dancing watch party.
- The three giveaways I was running over on Twitter ended and I posted the books out to the lucky winners. I really enjoy hosting giveaways and sending people books, as I know how much fun it is to get a new novel that you’ve been excited for.
- VENGEFUL WAS RELEASED. This was my most anticipated read of the year, so I was screaming and running around when my copy turned up a couple of days early. I’ve since read it and all I’ll say is that it’s i n c r e d i b l e. 5 stars from me. No, 6 stars from me. ALL THE STARS.
- My Illumicrate Magic and Mayhem box was arrived and I did a live unboxing over on my Instagram. This box was inspired by V. E. Schwab’s ADSOM series and the Vicious and Vengeful novels. I’ll be publishing a full unboxing post on here shortly, because I adored everything in the box and the variant cover is so beautiful that I feel like everyone to see it. Of course, if you’re still waiting for your box then please don’t look at the post!
- I started a new boxing class. My old boxing class has finished, so I found a new one to start attending and it’s really good. (It may actually be better than my old one?)
- I baked some vegan banana bread for our Macmillan coffee morning at work and it went down really well??? Everyone who tried it said they liked it and I was so pleased. (I think I have the chocolate chips to thank for that.)
What did you read in September? Did you get up to anything exciting?