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  • Writer's picturehaleylynnthomas22

August Reading Wrap-up and Goal Check-in

1. Lobizona by Romina Garber (YA Fantasy) (386 pages) (4 ⭐️)

Manuela 'Manu' is an undocumented immigrant from Argentina. The novel follows her discovery of the secret, magical half of her identity as she is thrust into the world of witches and werewolves. This was personally recommended to me by my bibliologist from Tailored Book Recommendations. It had a lot of things I loved. It was own voices, it had a whimsical magical world, and there was a solid friend group. The only thing holding it back from 5 stars is the plot conveniences.

Read if: You like a) werewolves, b) elemental magic, c) social commentary or d) all of the above.

2. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (Adult Mystery) (340 pages) (3.75 ⭐️)

Lo Blacklock is on the boat Aurora's maiden voyage when she witnesses a woman's body being thrown overboard. Her investigation into the murder leads to her own life being at risk. This novel needs many trigger warnings and you can find all of them in my full review linked below. Ware mastered the novel's atmosphere but flubbed in terms of making characters I actually cared about. The mixed media elements were an unexpected but happy surprise for me.

Read if: You want a psychological thriller or like mysteries with isolated settings.

3. The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person by Frederick Joseph (Nonfiction) (238 pages) (4 ⭐️)

The book is a guide for white people on how to be better allies. Even if, like me, you're not a racist, this is still a book you can take things away from. It isn't only blatant racism that can be harmful to POC but people acting out of ignorance as well. This was definitely a privilege check for me. The book covers a good variety of relevant topics and includes a handy encyclopedia in the back. Joseph also gives other Black and ally voices a chance to give their perspectives via interviews.

Read if: You're a white person wanting to, as the title implies, be better.

4. Ophie's Ghost by Justina Ireland (Middle Grade Fantasy) (325 pages) (4⭐️)

Taking place in Pittsburgh in the early 1920s, the titular Ophie must work in a haunted manor after her father's brutal death. There she discovers she can see ghosts and helps to solve the mystery of one ghost's murder. This book seamlessly mixed historical fiction with fantasy with mystery. The writing was unique and it was an emotional journey that didn't stray from tough topics.

Read if: You like books that play with genre.

5. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (Adult Contemporary) (308 pages) (3 ⭐️)

This novel is about racism and white privileged at its core. It follows a wealth white woman (Alix) and her babysitter (Emira) in the aftermath of an incident of racial profiling at a grocery store. I liked the social commentary but the characters were insufferable and they failed to really develop throughout the story.

Read if: You're interested in books with social commentary.

6. Six Crimson Cranes by Elisabeth Lim (YA Fantasy) (454 pages) (3 ⭐️)

Princess Shiori is rendered mute with a bowl on her head and her brothers are transformed into cranes by her stepmother. Without her name and without resources, Shiori must rely on her own wits, the betrothed she resents, a dragon and a paper bird to break the curse. I've previously loved Lim and given this is based on a Chinese fairy tale I was HYPED. I wish I'd love it more and it would have easily gotten close to 5 stars if not for some questionable world building.

Read if: You like fairy tale retellings.

Full Review: Coming next month.

7. It Came From Beneath the Sink by R. L. Stine (Children's Horror) (112 pages) (5 ⭐️)

Kat's family moves to a new house where she finds a sponge like creature known as a Grool beneath the sink. The Grool feeds on its owner's bad luck. This was one of my favorite Goosebump's books when I was younger and it's one I chose to reread as a form of nostalgic comfort since my mental health has been meh. My rating is obviously biased but even now I admire how Stine was able to transform an ordinary object into something so sinister.

Read if: You want a creative children's horror.

8. Black Canary: Breaking Silence by Alexandra Monir (YA Sci-fi/Dystopian) (293 pages) (3.5 ⭐️)

Dinah Lance lives in Gotham City where women have few rights and have lost the ability to sing. The novel is the origin story of the titular D.C. superhero. I am unfamiliar with the D.C. world and their characters but Monir did a good job of making it so I wasn't left feeling confused. There's lots of good feminist messaging in this so it would be great for young women and men readers alike. The pacing really bogged it down.

Read if: You're craving a traditional dystopian.

9. The Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R. L. Stine (Children's Horror) (123 pages) (5 ⭐️)

Will's family's new house borders Fever Swamp where a hermit dwells and from which an angry howling emanates at night. This is another Goosebumps reread and is actually the first Goosebumps book I ever read and what kick started my love of werewolves. Of all the Goosebumps I read this one was the least scary and is really more of a boy and his dog story than a true horror. There are a few gruesome images involving dead animals, though, so if you're sensitive to that be warned.

Read if: You're a young dog lover.

10. The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware (Adult Thriller) (335 pages) (5 ⭐️)

A woman (Rowan) takes on a nanny job for 3 young girls at an isolated Scottish manor. This combined all the elements I love in thrillers into one; a creepy, unsettling atmosphere, an isolated setting, a unique writing style/mixed media, and an unreliable narrator. It is my favorite adult thriller I've read to date.

Read if: You like haunted house stories.

Full Review: Coming to the blog next month.


1. Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart (DNF'd at page 64)

This YA Jamaican inspired fantasy is about rival witches who band together to bring down a common enemy. It was personally recommended to me by my bibliologist so I was especially disappointed to not enjoy it. I didn't like either protagonist and the world building confused me (and I read a TON of YA fantasy so that was strange). This book sounded promising but it just wasn't for me unfortunately.

TOTAL PAGES READ (AUG): 2,978 pages (avg. book length: 297.8 pages)

TOTAL PAGES READ (YTD): 19,362 (avg. book length: 312.29 pages)

AVERAGE STAR RATING (AUG): 40.25/50 ⭐️ (4.0 avg. rating)

AVERAGE STAR RATING (YTD): 236/280⭐️ (3.81 avg. rating)

1. Read at least 60 books

I read 10 books this month meaning that I have completed 62 books. I have thus made it over my goal for the year which is very thrilling!

2. Have at least one book a month be a reread

I completed 2 rereads this month. This means I completed my goal for the month.

3. Read at least 1-2 adult books a month

I completed 3 adult books this month which means I exceeded my goal for the month.

4. Read at least 10 nonfiction and/or poetry books

I did not read any nonfiction or poetry this month so I'm still at 60% completion.

5. Post a blog every weekend unless ill and/or recovering from surgery

While one blog did go up late on Monday I did get up 4 blogs this month so I'm pretty happy with that.

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