journal. Wow. The year is halfway over, and I’ve fallen nearly miserably behind on my reading documentation. Needlessly said, I had big plans for Book Faeries this summer, but after a huge project of helping coordinate youth summer camp and a super major life change I’m excited to write about soon, I truly didn’t have the time to invest. I did keep up with GoodReads, and I did read, but this poor website was left lacking. I’ve taken the time this weekend before school starts back up to update all the books I’ve read in my hiatus! Here’s what I read in April, May, June, and July!
BOOKS OF APRIL 2021
The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec
★★☆☆☆ Genre:Adult Fantasy; Rating:PG-13
This one is a retelling of Norse mythology, following Angrboda, whom Wikipedia calls the mate of Loki (although in the book they’re married?). If you ask me, anything with Loki in it is just for me-definitely my fictional boyfriend type, but this book fell flat over time. The beginning was excellent and reminded me of Madeline Miller’s Circe, which I thought was pretty good but wasn’t my favourite. The author makes some questionable changes against the traditional myth that I didn’t think helped the story out and in the end lead to me skimming the last few pages.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
★★★★★ Genre:Classic Lit/Romance/idk the best books of all time?; Rating: PG-13?
UGH! If you know me, you know I love the Brontë’s. It’s like I want a time machine to go back and have them adopt me and teach me their ways of writing gothic moody lit. This one has long been my favourite classic novel, but I still think it has been dethroned by Wuthering Heights. YET, what a wild and fun read. I mentioned it briefly in my Christmas novelette, Sugarplum, but this gothic one follows the tragical tale of Jane Eyre, an orphan and then governess and then…well, you’ll see. Through this roller coaster ride, you never quite know how to feel (especially, as I’ve aged, about Rochester), which I think is just a characteristic of any Brontë novel or poem. Reader (which I’ve stolen from Charlotte, if you didn’t know already), is it not love unless there’s something unusual and unconventional about it?
BOOKS OF MAY 2021
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
★★★★☆ Genre:Historical Fiction/Fantasy, Rating: PG-13
A unique concept, Penner’s Lost Apothecary is told in two parts. The first follows a woman devastated and running away from a cheating husband. She takes a trip to England to think about how to fix her ruined marriage and reflects on her life, all the while investigating a found vial from long ago in the past. The second follows another woman, an owner of a mysterious apothecary where women visit to fix their problems. While the apothecary used to function in means to help other women (concocting tinctures to ease womanly ailments), under the new management, it’s fallen into something much more sinister. The plots intertwine only as the former character discovers exactly what happened all those years ago.
A Fall of Moondust by Arthur C. Clarke
★★★☆☆ Genre:Science Fiction, Rating: PG
This is one of those books I selected randomly from a library shelf. The Darlington County Library had a first addition -and believe me, it smelled like it was from 1960, too- and I couldn’t resist it. By the same author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Fall of Moondust follows the journeys of a tour ship on the surface of the moon, which falls under a spontaneous avalanche of moondust. The story is told in multiple perspectives and follows the rescue mission of the ship. It’s got all that sci-fi charm wrapped up with witty remarks that made my little literary heart happy. The writing was a bit dry though and it took me quite a bit to finish it, hence the low rating. I’m definitely eager to give his other books a shot.
BOOKS OF JUNE 2021
The Alienist by Caleb Carr
★★★★★ Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery, Rating: R
Picked this one up because the author’s name just so happens to also be the name of a friend. The Alienist is a chock full of history at the turn of the century, the plot revolving around a crime solved when Teddy Roosevelt worked for New York’s police force. He puts together a rag-tag group to solve a series of grisly murders in the city. I loved the detailed history interwoven into the plot as well as the in famous alienist the story revolves around, Dr. Laszlo Kreizler. For sure a five-star read of 2021, and definitely one of my favourite historical novels of all time.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
★★★★★ Genre: Fantasy/Christian Fiction, Rating: G
One of my favourite classics of all time, I re-read this Lewis classic for kicks and giggles. I’m sure I’ve raved about it before on this website, but if you haven’t read it, please pick it up! Although written for children, the allegory of the story of Christ within this little book is super powerful, and a quick, easy read at that! Certainly one of my most favourites of all time.
Aspire: Transformed by the Gospel Part One by Matt Rogers
Genre: Christian Study
I debated putting the Aspire books on this list because I don’t think putting them with my fiction reads does them the justice they deserve. My church uses this series as a tool to facilitate discipleship. Aspire delves deep into the grand story of God in the Bible as well as what exactly the gospel is. For anyone curious about the message of Christ and what christians believe, Aspire is a great way to learn the fundamentals. For believers, it’s a useful tool to sharpen understanding of the fundamentals. As a 14-15 week study, it also gives a chance to get to know the person with whom you work through the book.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
★★★★☆ Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Rating: R
A recommendation from a friend, this one was way more than I expected! It was a hit last summer, but this curious little thriller follows a psychologist eager to treat a former artist turned murderer, who’s become too traumatized to speak. Plots intertwine themselves so deeply it takes the last page to pull it all together. Michaelides also utilizes his Greek heritage to add another layer or lens to his work, a tool he uses in all of his work to date. It certainly made me miss PSYC-101 and freshman year of college. Michaelides is certainly a blossoming writer to watch.
BOOKS OF JULY 2021
The Betrayed by Kiera Cass
★★★★☆ Genre: Fantasy/Romance, Rating: PG-13?
Truly, I should have given this one three stars, as it was sort of- average? The sequel to Cass’s newest duology, I was banking on this one following the biblical story of Ruth word for word. I was pleasantly surprised it had a bit of a twist, but followed most of that story. As a sequel, I won’t delve into it too deeply, but it was a cute little story with my favourite “enemies to lovers” trope -which, if you didn’t already know, is the secret to my frail little heart.
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
★★★☆☆ Genre: Science Fiction
This one might just be one of the weirdest books I’ve ever read. Another random library shelf selection, Hawkins’s first novel follows a strange group of societal recluses joined together by the mysterious “father,” a man who’s raised them for nearly almost as long as they can remember and behaves to them like a god. Strange things start happening after Father goes missing, and our protagonist Carolyn takes matters into her own hands. Although common to most sci-fi and fantasy, this one left me confused, but I don’t think I’ve ever been left so confounded by the mysteries of what exactly happened in this book. Definitely felt like a fever dream.
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
★★★★☆ Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Rating: PG-13/R
Another thriller from a friends, this one follows a journalist searching for escape after a traumatizing break in. To take her mind off things, she takes a ritzy trip on a luxury cruise ship, aiming to review it for her magazine. Her plans of relaxation are shattered when she witnesses a woman pushed overboard by a mysterious figure, launching her own investigation of sorts after no one believes her. A quick thriller I devoured in one day, it’s certainly a good change of page to shake up reading too much of one genre!
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
★★★★☆ Genre: Historical Fiction, Rating: PG-13
Another big book of the year, Hannah’s most recent novel follows a broken family trying to made ends meed in the thick of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. It was certainly inspiring and heartbreaking, but despite the hype, I don’t think it lived up to the fuss. It was certainly above average, but I didn’t believe it to be one of the best books of all time as some reviewers are talking.
The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
★★★★☆ Genre: Historical Fiction/Magical Realism/Fantasy, Rating: PG-13
Definitely one of m favourites this summer! This little historical fiction is certainly one I picked up because I thought it looked cute, but it surely proved me that the story was more lovely than the gorgeous cover. A tale about a merchant whose ship returns a mermaid, Gowar crafts such elegant prose that ranks close to Susanna Clarke’s tome, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. Would definitely recommend for those looking for a light fantasy with literary fic-like prose.
Aspire: Transformed by the Gospel Part Two by Matt Rogers
Genre: Christian Study
Yes! There’s not one Aspire book, but two! Here’s the second one -we marathoned it before my facilitator moved away! Have I told you how much I loved these yet?
The Maidens by Alex Michaelides
★★★★☆ Genre: Mystery/ Thriller, Rating: PG-13
Michaelides second thriller! This one follows an aunt desperately trying to find the murderer of her niece’s close friends. In his normal fashion, Michealides delivers on a delightful twist at the end that’s sure to send shivers down your spine. I might have enjoyed this one more than his debut- but don’t tell anyone!
Cover photo: I took this cutie of the chapel at Southern Wesleyan University at Creed Camp this year, my first year as a leader and an administrator since graduating from the camp!