Reads and reviews August 2023 (part 1!)

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Where to begin? August has been absolute chaos! As I shared the first of August, I have joined the Amazing readathon, and AMAZING it was. But wow… I am completely worn out. Haven’t read for a couple of days now. I need to catch up with everything else in life first. As said, IT WAS ABSOLUTE CHAOS!

Let me explain a bit about the Amazing Readathon. All we knew before was that we would be traveling the globe, through ten prompts, and a special Face Off Weekend, in style of the Amazing Race television show. We did not know ANY of the prompts before they dropped, OR when that would be. I do not know the television show, so I also did not know we could expect random tasks inbetween our reading prompts we “had to” complete.

At the beginning of the readathon we received 5000 GRC, our currency to “buy” our travel options. Some of them, like taking a plane, would double our page count for points. Others, like taking a train, a sailboat or the car, would only multiply them by 1,5. Walking would cut your points in half. On top of that we could also earn 50 extra bonus points for reading a book with a cover in your team color, written by a BIPOC author or a translated book. And on top of that reading a host favorite book would earn you 50 GRC.

Each leg you could end up first or last, but you NEVER know where you are. Ending up first gives you a bonus, and ending up last would give you a difficulty. Oh, and there were SABOTAGES!

I chose to be part of Blue Team, because I have a lot of blue covered books and blue covered books are easy to find. Well, apparently I wasn’t the only one thinking like that, because we were by far the biggest team. Something I’ll probably do different next time, as points are AVERAGED over the entire team.

We became last twice during a leg, which first gave us the difficulty of having to read a 400+ page book and the second time that we couldn’t DNF the book we started reading. We also came first once, which earned us extra GRC. For the other seven legs, we did not know how we ranked OR who was first or last. We did however know the Red Team was very active, and most of Blue Team members were convinced it was between them and us during the entire readathon. We sure got competative against each other! 😀

But let’s get back to the books, because what did I read? Well, without counting my DNF’s, I read 19 books which were about 5.423 pages. HELL YEAH! About half of them were 300+ page books, and about half of them were smaller. There even was a huge 500+ chonker among them. I read a lot from the library, because yay, translation bonusses, but also a lot of owned books and ebooks. My overal rating of 3.8 stars was pretty good, I am really content with that.

Because 19 books is a reeeaally long list of reviews to get through, I decided to split up the August reviews and talk about the FaceOff weekend and the sightseeing in a different post. By then we also know how we all did and which team won the Amazing Readathon. For now I’ll just leave you with ten main prompt books I have read this August.

The Night Swim, by Megan Goldin (Dutch, 4 stars)
I wrote a fairly long review about this on theStorygraph but will shorten it here. This is a legal thriller which touches a fairly dark subject, but it was done so well I gave it a solid 4 stars! I really admired how this was written. It was challenging, reflective, and at times tense. People from the town, the internet, they all have an opinion about the rape case. The questions asked make you think about how unfair cases like these are for the victims, about how the public opinions have an impact. The philosophical discussion through the podcast was very interesting, and well done. Overall, this book keeps you going till the end, and very much past your bed time.

The Good People, by Hannah Kent (English, 3.75 stars)
This folkloric Irish tale is one of those books where slow-pacing is the only way to go. Read as long as you can, to slide into a different world, of Irish smalltown folklore during the 1800’s. It’s such a different vibe, that you don’t want to be disturbed too often. I can’t say too much about it without giving away anything of the plot, but just know it’s a good read for autumn!

Men at Arms, by Terry Pratchett (English, 5 stars)
This was a reread for me and I still love it to bits!

Thistlefoot, by GennaRose Nethercott (English, 4.5 stars)
One of the BEST I’ve read this month. This was…. some ride! Very recommendable if you enjoy dark folkloric and adventurous historical mystery. Some parts were sad, some parts were tense. It basically has everything, including some bits of romance. Thistlefoot definitely will become a reread for me, because there are still many layers to untangle during the next read.

The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah (English, 4.5 stars)
Another, one of the BEST I’ve read this month. If I could have, I would have read this in a day. After I started reading, it wouldn’t let me go. It was heavy though. Heavy with fear, with loneliness, with darkness. I needed breaks to be able to continue, and to be soaking in a bath to disguise my tears. Not a story to forget easily.

Orphans of the Tide, by Struan Murray (English, 3 stars)
Not as fun and lighthearted as I would expect from a Middle Grade. The plot unfolds slowly, but even though it is interesting, it isn’t entertaining much. I am not sure if I would like to continue this series. There are probably better middle grades around.

Jar of Hearts, by Jennifer Hillier (Dutch, 4.5 stars)
Very dark, very mysterious. Even though multiple plot lines were guessed before page 100, the story was very captivating and it was hard to put down. I seriously liked this one, and will hunt down other books by this author soon!

The Girl Who Speaks Bear, by Sophie Anderson (Dutch, 3.75 stars)
Surprisingly, the second Baba Yaga/House on Chicken Legs related book I have read this month. But where the first one was dark and folkloric, this is a reflective middle grade. Yanka’s story is inspiring and gives even adult some things to learn. If my niece ever comes over asking for books to read, I’ll give her this.

Dark Fire, by C.J. Sansom (English, 3.5 stars)
I liked it a little bit less than previous title from this series, but I am pretty sure that was about me being ill when I was reading it and not able to keep up with the pacing and plot. I still enjoyed it, and want to continue the series. The main character, Matthew Shardlake, is evolving interestingly and I am glad his new sidekick Barak is one that is staying because he is an interesting character too, but most of all their interactions are. Both of the mystery plots were nice, but clever as these books are, I couldn’t keep up with them, which is truly a miss for this read but sometimes when your head is not clear you just have to focus on the other parts in a story.

Scritch Scratch, by Lindsay Currie (English, 4.5 stars)
This was fun! I almost forgot it was a middle grade, because it was so scary! The beginning was a bit slow and the main character Claire was a bit whiney, which I didn’t like. But when the story picked up I forgot about all of that and totally got sucked in. A good book for the coming spoopy season!

So these are the books I’ve read for the main ten prompts of the Amazing Readathon! Did you participate too? What did you read? Or, if you haven’t, have you read any of these books before? Tell me all about it in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Reads and reviews August 2023 (part 1!)

  1. Charlotte

    Waalwijk, die readathon kl8nkt I tenslotte en leuk! In augustus doe ik wel al mee met de magical readathon, maar ik ben toch nieuwsgierig naar deze!
    En zoveel boeken gelezen! En allemaal hoge scores qua sterren!

    The Nightswim wil ik ook al een tijdje lezen, maar was ik vergeten in mijn giga TBR
    Over Thistlefoot twijfelde ik, maar nu denk ik dat dit toch precies iets klinkt voor oktober…
    En nog een paar boeken die vermeld moet ik zeker eens opzoeken, want je recensie doet ze intrigerend klinken!

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