What I Read In September 2020

What I Read In September 2020

In September we got back into the reading game with a few new releases, some incredible sapphic reads and overall a good reading month. I thought I’d get through even more as I had a week off (finally) but I was actually pretty busy.

Let’s get cracking!

Over the past few months I started playing Dungeons and Dragons, my friends had been playing for a while and I wanted in on the action. I absolutely love it, so when I came across The Adventure Zone and was recommended it by someone in a bookshop I picked it up. It’s a fun DnD story and I laughed out loud so many times! A 4.5 star read for me.

Next up, the sequel to American Royals , Majesty. This follows the start of Beatrice’s reign mixed with social climbers, romances, revenge oh it was so good! I loved this book, I couldn’t put it down and when I got to the end I wanted more…only to find out that it’s a duology! This was also a 4.5 star read for me. For transparency I was sent this for review by the publishers.

American Widow is a novel by Alissa Torres who lost her husband in 9/11, his second day in the towers and while she was 7 months pregnant. This focuses on the aftermath as she tries to make sense of what has happened and access the support that she should have received. This was hard to rate because it is so sad but it was a 3 star read for me.

I was really looking forward to reading The Henna Wars, initially I had problems getting hold of the physical book so I got the audiobook…which had a American narrator for a novel set in Ireland. This month I finally picked up my delayed physical copy and wow! This was a great novel, I read it so quickly because I wanted to know what happened, I cared about the characters and I’m definitely planning to read more by Adiba Jaigirdar. 5 stars from me!

I was sent Lady In Waiting a while ago by the publisher and have just gotten to it. Anne Glenconner has lead an interesting life, as part of it she was one of the Ladies in Waiting to Princess Margaret, sister to the Queen. This was a different kind of read and Lady Glenconner has clearly lived more than most people. It was ok but I don’t think I was the target reader. A 3 star read for me.

I’ve really gotten into novels in verse lately and this was written by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five. Punching The Air is a unique novel, because of the influence that Yusef had on the novel and his experiences of being wrongly convicted and imprisoned. An incredibly well written novel that lets you feel the frustration through the pages. A 4.5 stars from me.

So many people love Kacen Callender’s novel Felix Ever After. I wanted to love this novel but, for me, it didn’t live up to the hype I saw online – it was okay, the blackmail situation felt very much like Simon vs The Homosapiens Agenda. Also there wasn’t really anyone in there I felt like I liked a lot or was connected to. That said, I’m not the target audience – it was 3 stars for me.

Finding Joy is one I came across in my local bookshop on my birthday and I instantly fell in love with the art style. This is a collection of drawings to show life after Gary unexpectedly lost his wife. It’s moving, beautifully drawn and will probably make you tear up at least – a 5 star read.

This year I discovered Nina LaCour so when I found out that she had a new novel coming out this year I was EXCITED. This is different to the other books I’ve read as it has a paranormal aspect. As if the case with Nina LaCour I didn’t always know what was happening and it wasn’t super fast paced but I still adored it – 4 stars!

I bought myself a copy or Orpheus Girl after eyeing it for a while. Wow this is a tough read, short but tough. This covers conversion ‘therapy’ and it’s pretty dark at times so I would advise some caution. This was another 4 star read for me.

I was given e-arcs of both My Name Is Selma and Loud Black Girls in exchange for review.

I read My Name Is Selma very quickly, it’s the story of a young woman who survived Nazi Germany as a resistance fighter and was also able to hide the fact she was Jewish. Selma lead a fascinating life and this was a brilliant read – 4.5 stars from me!

Loud Black Girls was an interesting read, there are some incredible writers in this collection but I did feel a little bored in the second half and put it down a fair bit. Still worth a read but a 3.5 star for me.

There we have it! I’m not sure October will be as successful but there are some excellent books in there. What did you read? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: Majesty – Katharine McGee

Power is intoxicating. Like first love, it can leave you breathless. Princess Beatrice was born with it. Princess Samantha was born with less. Some, like Nina Gonzalez, are pulled into it. And a few will claw their way in. Ahem, we’re looking at you Daphne Deighton.

As America adjusts to the idea of a queen on the throne, Beatrice grapples with everything she lost when she gained the ultimate crown. Samantha is busy living up to her “party princess” persona…and maybe adding a party prince by her side. Nina is trying to avoid the palace–and Prince Jefferson–at all costs. And a dangerous secret threatens to undo all of Daphne’s carefully laid “marry Prince Jefferson” plans.

A new reign has begun….

As a follow up to the first novel American Royals, Majesty is possibly even better than the first. Picking up not long after where we left off as Beatrice not only has her love life to deal with but also the small matter of becoming the first Queen of the United States.

The novel is, again, told in multiple perspectives Beatrice herself, Princess Samantha, her best friend Nina and social climber Daphne as each woman finds her way in this new era for America. Each of them has guy troubles, parental expectations, the public eye and their own feelings to contend with.

I felt this novel grew more than the first. I mentioned in my review of American Royals I felt that it had very close ties to The Crown and following the life of Queen Elizabeth 2nd. At the start of the novel I wondered the same but this picked up and I really enjoyed seeing not only Beatrice grow as a Queen but also Samantha as a person.

One small thing I would say is that I’m not sure how needed Nina was in this novel. It may be that 4 perspectives in a novel of this length is 1 too many for me. It feels as if there is only room for Nina or Daphne – in this case we learn much more about Daphne.

Katharine confirmed on Twitter that American Royals is a 2 book series (for now at least) I’m really, really hoping that she changes her mind about this because there is so much that is left open at the end of the novel. I really feel like there are opportunities to come back and let us know what happens next.

I gave this novel 4 stars because I couldn’t put it down. There’s secrets, romance, scheming. It’s an excellent book for when you want to be absorbed into a novel that you can flow along with – a perfect companion to the first novel.

Thank you to the author, Netgalley and the publisher for this copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Most Anticipated 2020 Reads: Part 2

Seeing as we’ve somehow got to the middle of the year (I know, I know what even is time after the last few months?) it seemed like a good idea to look ahead to some of the books that will be coming out later this year!

The Falling In Love Montage (9th June)

This book will already be out by the time this post goes live but it sounds like its going to be a good one. Saoirse is coping with her Mum’s dementia diagnosis and coming to terms that she may develop it later on – which means she does not have time for love. Or does she?

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavour (7th July)

I had very mixed feelings about Hank Green’s first book in this series An Absolute Remarkable thing but I just remember needing to know what happens next. He writes a damn good cliff hanger.

Loveless (9th July)

Alice has been tweeting about this book and how much it means to her and I’m really looking forward to reading it. It is also has an Ace main character, something I’m really interested in reading because I don’t think I’ve read a book with an Ace main character before.

This Is My America (28th July)

Tracy is already dealing with the fact that her father is an innocent black man on death row with time running out, then her brother is accused of killing a white girl. Dealing with the US prison system and someone being seeing as instantly guilty because of the colour of their skin this one is going to be heavy but super important.

Midnight Sun (4th August)

Yep, I’m doing it. I really loved Twilight when I was a teenager so I’m going to be buying a copy out of curiosity.

The Black Kids (1st September)

Set during the 1992 LA riots after the beating of Rodney King at the hands of 4 LAPD officers, this one couldn’t be more timely. Ashley is from a well off black family but has to consider who she is, where she stands and what this means to her.

Majesty (3rd September)

I read the first in the series American Royals as an ARC last year. The premise is what if America had a royal family. Kind of The Crown mixed with american culture. The first was left on a big cliff hanger and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Every Body Looking (22nd September)

Described as ‘a heavily autobiographical novel of a young woman’s struggle to carve a place for herself–for her black female body–in a world of deeply conflicting messages’ told in verse.

I’ve started to really enjoy novels in verse and think this will be a great addition to my growing collection.

Watch Over Me (15th September)

I’ve only discovered Nina LaCour this year but I’ve fallen in love with her way of writing. This looks different to her other contemporary novels, it’s about a young woman fresh out of the foster system who chooses to take a job on an isolated farm but has to deal with her own demons and the ghosts of those who have been there previously.

More Than A Woman (15th September)

This appears to be a follow up to her bestseller How To Be A Woman. While I know now that it was problematic Caitlin really got me to embrace feminism while at university and I’ve enjoyed her other books so I’m looking forward to a new perspective in this one.

Dear Justyce (29th September)

This is titled on NetGalley as Dear Martin #2. Dear Martin was an incredible book and showed Nic Stone’s talent as an author. The novel follows Quan during his time in a holding cell while he awaits trial after pleading not guilty in the shooting of a police officer. I have a feeling I’m going to cry at this one.

The Invisible Live of Addie LaRue (6th October)

V.E Schwab’s next release and that alone makes me super excited. This is also a book that Victoria has been working on for years. It’s about a young woman who makes a deal to live forever but she’s cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Hijab and Red Lipstick (15th October)

A debut by Yousra Imran who is an absolute gem on Twitter and Instagram. It’s about a young woman with a strict Egyptian father finding herself and her voice.

The Midnight Library (20th October)

The latest novel from Matt Haig whos books I absolutely adore. Firstly its set in a library, which is a instant plus for me. It also talks about the ability to live other lives as you choose, I’m intrigued, especially after I loved How To Stop Time so much.

The Book Of Two Ways (22nd October UK Release)

Jodi Picoult has been one of my favourite authors since I was a teenager. From the information that has been released it’s about the choices we make and you can expect a Picoult twist as is standard and one of the reasons I love her books.

The How & The Why (5th November)

Told across time as a young pregnant woman writes to her unborn baby, 18 years later her daughter is looking for answers to who she is and where she comes from. This sounds like it could be a really beautiful novel and I love the idea of seeing both young women at different points in their lives.

Admission (1st December)

One of the first novels I’ve seen that deals with the college admissions scandal in the US. I’m really intrigued when real life news topics are explored in fiction. I’m interested to see how the author tackles the topic.

What are you looking forward to in the second half of the year? Let me know below!