September 2017 Wrap-Up

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Well, another month has come and gone. It’s time to wake up Billy Joel. And it’s time for me to tell you about all the books I finished this month. Overall, I finished seven books, but I read a little more than that. You’ll see the books I didn’t finish this month on next month’s wrap-up (hopefully). Out of the books I read, two of them were graphic novels. But Billy’s rubbing the sleep from his eyes, so let’s get started!

 

The first book I finished this month was It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The 7 Secrets of Awakening the Highly Effective Four-Hour Giant, Today by The Gang.

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Written by the cast of Sunny while in character, this “self-help” book spends more time stroking their egos than actually making a difference. Through not-at-all veiled sarcasm, Mac, Dennis, Charlie, Dee, and Frank each assert why they are the best person to tell you about whatever they are telling you about. For anyone who’s a fan of the show, this hilarious book is a must-read. Though it does get a little tedious after a while, it still makes you wish for that sequel the characters keep teasing. I gave this book four out of five stars.

 

The next book I finished was Poe Dameron, Volume 1: Black Squadron by Charles Soule.

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The first volume in Poe’s graphic novel series, the story follows him as he is sent on a mission to find the one person in the galaxy who may know where Luke Skywalker is. Very early on you realize this series is going to end where we first meet Poe in The Force Awakens. I wasn’t overly crazy about this volume, as the plot seem pretty farfetched. Well, at least the part with the species guarding an egg promising the Space Messiah. It felt out-of-place in Star Wars and didn’t make much sense. Still, it was nice to have more content for Poe and BB-8, so I gave it three out of five stars.

 

I continued on with the series and read Poe Dameron, Volume 2: The Gathering Storm by Charles Soule.

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This one takes a slight departure from Poe’s mission, as he must take C-3PO to a dangerous planet to rescue a spy droid. But things quickly turn upside down as Poe and his squadron are trapped in prison and must compete with a bounty hunter to free a Hutt. Meanwhile, treachery is afoot and Poe must figure out which of his allies is actually a double agent. This story was much better than the first. It kept me on my toes and really gave Poe an environment to shine in. I gave this one four out of five stars.

 

Next I read The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult.

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This novel follows Sage Singer who meets and befriends an elderly man named Josef in her grief support group. But things get messy when he confesses to being a former Nazi and asks her to help him die. Unsure what to do, she reports him to the Department of Justice and together they form a case against him. This story is very heavy and large portions are told by Josef and Sage’s grandmother Minka. Josef tells of his time as an SS soldier and Minka, a Holocaust survivor, tells the story of her imprisonment and the horrors she experienced. The Storyteller deals with themes of forgiveness and the true nature of evil. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I’m a huge Jodi Picoult fan, so it was nice to read one of her books again. It was well-written and well-plotted. You immediately feel endeared to the characters (unless they’re a Nazi, in which case fuck them). I gave this book a well-deserved five out of five stars.

 

Next I finished Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.

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This historical fiction novel tells of events not many people know about. It follows Lina, a young Lithuanian girl, as she and her family are forced out of their homes by the Soviet army and imprisoned in Siberia during World War II. The story takes place over the course of about a year and a half. Lina and her family spend twelve years in a labor camp with their strength tested daily. It’s another difficult, moving story (and the companion to Ruta’s most recent novel, Salt to the Sea). I gave it four out of five stars.

 

After that, I finally finished Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard.

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This book follows Eleanor Fitt, a highborn girl in a world where the Dead come back to life. When her brother goes missing, Eleanor seeks out the Spirit-Hunters, a trio of young adults who fight the Dead. As she begins working with the group, she discovers some shocking secrets. This book was okay for the most part, but the characters and world weren’t very well-developed. The romance was extremely forced as well. Additionally, Eleanor seemed to have a very black-and-white view of things, where someone was either all good or all bad. She will alter which side she believes a person to be on based on the most recent information she has been given. She then disregards whatever she had been told prior. (Not to mention the heavy-handed “Miss Fitt vs. misfit” thing.) Lastly, the ending was just ludicrous. I saw the plot twist coming from basically the beginning and was laughing during the final battle scene. Even though I liked the beginning well enough, the rest brought its total rating down to two out of five.

 

The last book I finished was The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo.

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And I finished this one with four minutes to spare. Literally, it was four minutes to midnight and the start of October. This book is a compilation of original folk tales from some of Leigh’s fictional countries. There is one Zemeni tale, three Ravkan, one Kerch, and one Fjerdan. Though the stories have clear bases in existing fairy tales and stories (The Nutcracker, “The Little Mermaid,” etc.), Leigh puts her own dark twist on them. My favorites are “The Too-Clever Fox” and “When Water Sang Fire.” I gave the whole collection four out of five stars.

 

As I said, I did some more reading during the month. The books I’m farthest into are Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo, An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson, and Warcross by Marie Lu. I hope to have them on my October Wrap-Up.

 

What books did you read this month? Tell me about them in the comments!

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