HomeFeaturesTBRs/Wrap-UpsAugust 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

August 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

August 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

August Snapshot:

  • Agonized and deliberated for weeks regarding what back to school option would work best for our family – realized, in the end, there is no singular “perfect” plan.

  • Bought more, waaaay more books in August than any other month this year, as a means of stress coping.

  • Became obsessed with a new planner system from The Happy Planner.

  • Really, just counted down the days until I could wonderfully, magically flip the calendar over to my beloved September.

4 Stars:

The Jane Austen Society

The Jane Austen Society book coverWritten by Natalie Jenner

Published by St. Martin’s Press


While it is a slowly paced story with a large cast of characters that take a while to sort out and connect, this audiobook was everything I needed during this past month of stress. Slow, steady, calming and ultimately hopeful, these characters are very well drawn for the limited space given, each overcoming their own hardship and painful pasts – connected by their shared love of Jane Austen. Those who are VERY well versed in the works of Jane Austen will get much more out of this story, as the level of detail here is quite extensive. Albeit I am not a huge Austen scholar but I was still able to enjoy the story.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Dark Shores

Dark Shores book coverWritten by Danielle L. Jensen

Published by Tor Teen


This was a really fun YA fantasy that felt both fresh & original – with its inclusivity of colour and sexual orientation – but still harkened back to some “classic” YA of Maas and Bardugo. It was gripping and propelling, clocking along at an excellent pace with true pirate adventures and well developed characters. The ending was quite abrupt and I was left wishing for a more conclusive ending to the characters’ story, but it wasn’t enough to bring down the whole. Definitely a YA that deserves more attention.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Big Summer

Big Summer book coverWritten by Jennifer Weiner

Published by Atria Books

I was really impressed by my first foray into the world of Jennifer Weiner. Excellently drawn, intelligent characters with heart and a snapping plot with twists galore … the enjoyment was brought down slightly by the overemphasis on size & body image and the fact that I had just read a book before this one with the EXACT same plot twist! Still a fantastic read and I will definitely be picking up more by this talented author.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Vanishing Stair

The Vanishing Stair book coverWritten by Maureen Johnson

Published by Katherine Tegen Books

(3.75*) This incredibly fun detective, whodunnit YA series is a blast! While I felt it took The Vanishing Stair a long time to get the plot moving, once it did it delivered a fantastic story with the same propulsive plotting I remembered from book one … immediately went to the bookstore to buy the final in the series!

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Things You Save in a Fire

Things You Save in a Fire book coverWritten by Katherine Center

Published by St. Martin’s Griffin


(3.5*) My love-hate feelings with this story are strong. Because while I definitely adored the intelligent characters, emotional depth, and the nuanced exploration of grief, healing, and forgiveness, I did not enjoy the main character. I was so interested in this setting – a female fireman carving a place of respect amongst her male peers – but unfortunately her “anti-female anything” opinions overwrote most of the character progression. Her stance did make sense in the context of her past and watching her character growth unfold was well done … I just feel the reader was hit over the head too many times by her hatred on all things “traditionally female” that it fell over the border into the offensive, in my opinion.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

3 Stars:

When You Trap a Tiger

When You Trap a Tiger book coverWritten by Tae Keller

Published by Random House Books for Young Readers

This is a peaceful story, calmly told with gentle descriptions and quiet dialogue, written by an own voices author centring around Asian folklore and a middle grader finding her own voice. All the ingredients I adore. However, I didn’t realize this was more of an allegorical magical realism story than a fantasy adventure and by the time I did realize this major shift, I was almost at the end of the story! At which point, I missed the whole metaphor. Basically, I wound up confused and feeling like I missed the plot completely! Likely, this is my fault as the reader having the wrong expectations going in, but I really felt When You Trap a Tiger missed the mark.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Fix Her Up

Fix Her Up book coverWritten by Tessa Bailey

Published by Avon Books

I don’t review romance because I find, more than any other genre, the enjoyment here is very individual and personal. What one romance reader enjoys another hates and it isn’t up to me to cast shade or judgement on that. But for me, the alpha male dominating storyline of Fix Her Up was really unappealing and actually made me quite uncomfortable. However, the story is sharp and Georgie, the main character, is fantastic – funny, smart, and heartfelt. I just don’t really, REALLY, don’t love alpha male sex scenes. Fair warning this is the most sexually explicit romance I’ve read.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

York: The Map of Stars

York The Map of Stars book coverWritten by Laura Ruby

Published by Walden Pond Press

It feels very strange to talk about a middle grade right below a romance novel, but here we are. I cannot believe that the final instalment in our beloved York series is my least favourite book of the month! But, unfortunately, this story was overly burdened with a meandering, glacially paced first 350 pages before launching into a challenging alternative timelines storyline for the remaining 150 pages. Dense, slow, and complex, with an ending that just wasn’t very conclusive … I was definitely hoping for more from this fantastic series that my daughter and I adored.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

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