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Oh Hey! I'm Alice, I'm 22 and I'm from Belfast. Welcome to my corner of the internet!

30 Sep 2020

Books I Read in September 2020

It's September and as a recent graduate, it's the first time in my living memory that it wasn't back to school month! That being said I am working almost full time so my reading time has diminished a little since lockdown. So anyway what did I read this month? I feel like I've been stuck in a bit of a reading slump lately but I'm most definitely out of it now! I only managed to get through one book in the whole first two weeks of the month and then ended up finishing 5 in the space of a week which really spurred me on to get some more books read in the latter half of the month. In total, I ended up reading TEN books this month which I'm super happy with! In case you're new to my reading wrapups I just like to share a little bit about the books without giving you any spoilers and some thoughts on them from your truly. I hope you enjoy and are inspired to pick up some of these reads for yourself!


After Elias

Eddy Boudel Tan

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Dundurn Press for review purposes

After his fiance, Elias dies in a plane crash, Coen's world is shattered as he tries to rebuild the world that was left behind after Elias. But as things about the crash start to become public knowledge, Coen begins to question if everything he thought he knew about Elias was really true.

I honestly adored this book. I'm not really big into my literary fiction so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this. A touching story about loss, grief and touches heavily on mental illness and sexual assault. I loved how the story unfolded and how we only ever saw Elias through the eyes of Coen which added to the mystery. The ending to me was unexpected but I loved it I definitely recommend reading this one!

Lair of Dreams

Libba Bray


Henry Du Bois IV can walk in dreams and when he meets Ling Chan who to his surprise can also walk in dreams they begin to discover a whole new world of possibilities. But with the sleeping sickness spreading its way around New York City are dreams really the safest place to be.

After loving The Diviners last month I knew I wanted to continue with this series and with all four books available from my library through Libby it seemed like the perfect next listen for me. I can't wait to find out what happens next for my beloved divining gang. If you haven't read this series yet GET ON IT. It's the perfect read for this spooky season.


The Little Cafe in Copenhagen

Julie Caplin


After missing out on a promotion to her then-boyfriend, a newly single Kate leads a press trip to Copenhagen as they discover what hygge is all about and what makes Denmark the happiest nation on earth for the launch of a new Danish department store in London. Things start to get complicated though as a rivalry with journalist Benedict Johnston starts to get a little heated, and not in the way that she'd expected.

Okay so you all probably know by now that I'm a tad obsessed with Copenhagen, it's my comfort place. So when I stumbled across this little book I just knew that I needed to read it.  Truly Julie Caplin has just gone into my head and extracted my dream trip and it just made me so happy that I absorbed it in a day. Definitely not the most groundbreaking novel I've ever read but OH BOY is the key to my heart a romance set in Copenhagen... who knew (me, I probably knew that). I absolutely loved escaping back to all my favourite places in Copie even though I couldn't get there physically this summer. I'd definitely love to read more of Julie Caplin's books as they all sound delightful!

Piranesi

Susanna Clarke


Piranesi lives alone in the House. He doesn't know how he came to be in the House but he knows it inside out. This isn't an ordinary house though. There are thousands of rooms and vestibules with water covering the lower floor and everywhere you look there are marble statues and the only other living things are the fish and the birds. But maybe Piranesi doesn't know the House as well as he thinks because things are starting to unravel and secrets will begin to surface.

I'd seen so much hype for this book before it was even released. So much so that I accidentally preordered it on Amazon so felt like I had to read it straight away just to get my money's worth if anything! I'd say the less you know about this book before going into it the better but just know that it is simply MAGNIFICENT. I absorbed it basically in one sitting. I hadn't read Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell also by Susanna Clarke but I'm definitely going to now!


The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


The little prince lives alone on a tiny planet with only a rose for company. One day he decides to leave in search of something else and he meets a whole host of interesting personalities along the way including an old aviator which he befriends and tells his story to.

I've known of The Little Prince for a long time, I know the story, I've seen the Netflix movie (which is positively delightful). but somehow I'd never read the book. I decided to change that. and it is quite honestly one of the most beautiful books I've ever read and if you, like me, have put off reading it because you never did as a child then GET ON IT, you will not be disappointed. Don't just write it off as a children's book because this book is special.


Two Can Keep a Secret

Karen M. McManus


In Echo Ridge throughout the years, two girls have disappeared five years later the murders are still unsolved and the killer appears to be back. Echo Ridge is not a good place to be popular as Ellery who is new to town is about to find out!

After absolutely loving her first book One Of Us Is Lying I picked this one up at my local bookstore about a year ago. I lent it to my sister because she also loved the first one and so I've only now gotten to picking it up. I guess because I loved One Of Us Is Lying so much (I literally failed a test because I read it instead of revising) I had such high expectations for this one and it nearly met them! I didn't get into this book quite as quickly as OOUIL (which we will call it from now on) but once I hit the halfway mark I devoured it. The true joy of OOUIL was the characters and I just wasn't as connected to the characters in this one but the ending... I WAS SHOOK! The last line was truly harrowing. Karen M McManus has such a gift for writing stories that leave you wanting to read on, desperate to find out what happens without giving anything away. This one was definitely darker than OOUIL and if you enjoyed the first one you'll definitely enjoy this one too. I'm not really a mystery reader but I can't get enough of these books and I'll definitely be picking up her third book One Of Us Is Next at some point soon!


Early Departures

Justin A Reynolds


Jamal and Q had a falling out two years ago after being best friends for years because Jamal blames Q for his parents' death. After Q dies,  the opportunity arises to bring Q back, but only for a short period of time and Q won't know he's dead. After losing him once Jamal uses this opportunity to try and patch things up with Q before losing him forever.

This was quite possibly my most anticipated release ever. I absolutely adored Justin A Reynolds first book Opposite of Always so when I heard he was coming out with a new novel I just knew that I needed to get my hands on it. So much so that I actually preordered the hardcover copy from America (which cost me more money than I'd care to admit) because I was too impatient to wait until the UK paperback release date in January. I needed it NOW!

I am in love with Justin A Reynolds' mind, it works the exact same way as my mind, it's like reading my own thoughts on paper and I felt that way about Opposite of Always as well. He just creates characters that you believe in and love. I can't tell you the last time that I read a book and my favourite character was a female and not the angsty boy but Justin A Reynolds really did THAT with Autumn Gregory huh? I love the sci-fi twist to all of his books and he is 100% an auto-buy author for me. I preferred Opposite of Always but I loved this one too. It is sad, it's very sad, but it's also packed with love and hope and joy that you can't help but smile (even though I definitely cried numerous times) There is just so much heart in this book and I will love Justin A Reynolds forever.


Dear Martin

Nic Stone


After he gets apprehended by a police officer for a crime he didn't commit, 17-year-old Justyce McCallister begins a project to be more like Martin Luther King and begins writing a journal to him. Justyce is one of the only black kids at an elite school and is Ivy League-bound but that doesn't stop him from experiencing the same prejudices as those in his former neighbourhood.

This has been on my TBR for a while and I finally decided to pick it up this month since it was short and I wanted another quick read and I don't know why I didn't decide to read this sooner. It's such a beautiful and poignant read and I think it's a must for everybody.


Beach Read

Emily Henry


After a family secret is exposed romance writer January has lost all hope in happily ever afters and a run-in with her new neighbour, cynical literary fiction author Augustus Everett, who just so happened to be her college rival leads to a bet. The first one to get their new book published wins but there's a catch. They have to swap genres, January writing literary fiction and Augustus writing a romance. This story follows the writing journey as Augustus takes January on his literary research excursions while January invites Augustus along on a string of outings for the ultimate guide to romance.

I don't know exactly how I felt about this one. On one hand I did very much enjoy it but it took me a little while to actually get stuck into. I think it suffered a little bit from the just-not-quite-as-good-as-the-last-romance-I-read syndrome. This was steamy though I'll give it that! It also had a lot of depth to it. It wasn't just a romance, it delved into a lot of deeper topics as well which I enjoyed.

The Song of Achilles

Madeline Miller


This retelling of The Iliad follows Patroclus who has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his son Achilles. Achilles and Patroclus grow close throughout his time at the palace. When Helen of Sparta is kidnapped by the Trojans Achilles is called to war and must fulfil his destiny and Patroclus decides to come with him.

It's been so long since I've reread a book since I have so many new releases and new to me books that I still want to read but at the end of last month I tried out a TBR prompt generator to see if it would give me any inspiration for what to read this month (I'm very much a mood reader) and the first three prompts I got were 'a red book', 'a retelling' and 'a reread' and all three of those screamed out IT'S TIME TO REREAD THE SONG OF ACHILLES! So that's what I did. This is one of my favourite books I've ever read and honestly, it was just as wonderful the second time. Having basic knowledge in Greek mythology is helpful but not essential for enjoying this book and I will recommend it until I die.


I'm so so happy with my reading from this month and I can't wait to get stuck into some cosy reads this October! For some cosy autumnal reading recommendations, check out this post. What have you been reading this month and what are your plans for next month?

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