What I Read In August

By andhonestly - Wednesday, August 30, 2017



What I Read In August

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen to work the looms is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. But if controlling what people eat, where they live, and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested. Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and used her hidden talent for a moment. Tonight, they’ll come for her - Goodreads

I really loved the idea of the entire world (and everything in it) being manipulated by threads, woven into looms by the Spinsters and controlled by politicians. It's not so terribly far off from the reality we live in, metaphorically speaking. The Department of Alterations, a prequel I read in July, was well written and I was impatient for Crewel, based on that alone. It all sounded fascinating, until I started reading.

Considering the subject, this is probably one of the most boring books I've ever read. Adelice is not interesting in any way, shape or form, and has the emotional range of a disgruntled puppy. Then we bring in the typical love triangle involving two equally white bread, slightly older teens. Who turn out to hate each other. Isn't that so unique? It had a distinct Uglies/Scott Westerfeld feel to it and I can't quite pinpoint how or why. And whilst the concept of Arras has the potential to be a relevant commentary on society, sexism and dictatorship (and perhaps even religion), Albin reduces it to nothing more than a bad piece of young adult literature.

Rating: 0.5/5


What I Read In August

After a daring escape to Earth from Arras, sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys thought she would finally be in control of her own destiny. But Earth is not abandoned, as she'd always been taught it was. It's inhabited by survivors waging a war against Arras, and Adelice is being called upon to harness her phenomenal power and help win a deadly war. But nothing on Earth is as it seems. Everyone has secrets, and those secrets are driving her away from Jost, the boy she loves, and into the waiting arms of his brother, Erik. Torn between two brothers and two worlds, Adelice must decide what and who she's fighting for, before it's too late - Goodreads

I didn't like Crewel, but I wanted to give the series a second chance as sometimes the second book is the better book. I couldn't even bring myself to finish it. This is awful, whiny drivel about two of the most typically plain white bread boys you'll ever read about. They make those cry babies in Hunger Games look decent. Adelice is just infuriating vapid and nonsensical. This is a non-starter of a book and a complete waste of an hour of my life.

Rating: 0/5


What I Read In August

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home. Yet she spares Cas's life. - Goodreads

What can I say, this book is exactly what I thought it was going to be. Blah. I wanted to like it but, considering the hype, it was a let down. The twist was glaringly obvious and the characters were one-dimensional. Our main character, Cas, is a poor man's Odd Thomas with Jacob Black tendencies. Latching on to people you cannot have (like Twilight vamp babies) and being so charmingly different that people forgive your arrogance. He's snarky, self assured (more specifically, up his own arse) and in his own way, a warrior. Not one that I grew fond of. I couldn't have cared less about his frankly dull relationship with Anna, or anything about him to be honest. His dad's back story was more interesting and yet, you learn nothing about it. Considering its a pivotal plot point.

Ah, the plot. I got to the end of Anna Dressed in Blood and I realised that I hadn't been given any real information to build the world with. Sure there were "spooky evil ghost scenes" and some whining about this terrible burden (think Buffy, season one), but I didn't learn much about anything. I also don't care for books that depict characters making decisions about what food they're going to eat. Unless it's relevant to the story, I couldn't give one solitary fuck.

Rating: 2/5


What I Read In August

They promised Meredith nine years of safety, but only gave her three. Her father was supposed to be locked up until Meredith turned eighteen. She thought she had time to grow up, get out, and start a new life. But Meredith is only fifteen, and today her father is coming home from prison. Today her time has run out - Goodreads

It's not often that I read books about child abuse. They're either horribly graphic to the point of being voyeuristic, or so mild that you can't get a grasp of what the protagonist has actually gone through. This book was definitely middle ground, and laid it bare in a way that made me feel sick. It felt like a dead weight on my chest, with each turn of the page and not specifically for the most obvious reasons. Meredith says it herself, the abuse she can deal with, but the happy memories are much harder. The contrast between the good times with her father and the fleeting paragraphs centering on the abuse left me emotionally drained.

Wiess is a compelling story-teller. Every line of this book serves a purpose, each character interlinks and each story overlaps. Much like real life. I didn't quite get Meredith's relationship with Andy (or why everything hinged on the factors that it did) and as a rational, compassionate human being, her own mother infuriated me. I also read a lot of reviews on Goodreads and so many people found the story incredibly unrealistic and to those people; I'm glad you have such a naive look at the world because most elements of Such A Pretty Girl were spot on. Which is heartbreaking, to say the least. However, one or two aspects were a bit far-fetched and some of it felt disjointed because of this. Perhaps that's because it's a relatively short book (212 pages). Otherwise, I enjoyed it despite the bad taste it left in my mouth.

Rating: 3.5/5


What I Read In August

David Sedaris plays in the snow with his sisters. He goes on vacation with his family. He gets a job selling drinks. He attends his brother's wedding. He mops his sister's floor. He gives directions to a lost traveler. He eats a hamburger. He has his blood sugar tested. It all sounds so normal, doesn't it? In this collection of essays, Sedaris lifts the corner of ordinary life, revealing the absurdity teeming below its surface. His world is alive with obscure desires and hidden motives--a world where forgiveness is automatic and an argument can be the highest form of love - Goodreads

I've read a few of Sedaris' books and loved them all, meaning this is no exception. It's described as a collection of essays on moments in his life, but I like to think of it as a disjointed memoir. We travel from age 6 to 30, then back to 17 and all of it makes sense and everything is perfectly logical. At times, this is sad and profound and at others, laugh out loud hilarious. I love that although its told from his point of view always, you get a sense of his family being 100% sick of his shit. Sedaris is very self-aware - he knows he's a bit of an arsehole. It's all very relatable. I didn't enjoy it as much as Me Talk Pretty One Day as that was a shock to the system, literature wise, and with Dress Your Family, I knew what to expect. Sedaris is a fantastic writer and I have nothing to complain about in that respect (let's face it, I usually do have something to moan about), because this isn't interpretive fiction, these are accounts of his life and who am I to say it could have been embellished or underplayed. If you're searching for an autobiography with a twist, David Sedaris is perfection.

Rating: 4/5


What I Read In August

When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Julliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone. Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly - Goodreads

I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed Uninvited. Davy's world is a cross between Minority Reports and The Scarlett Letter (as other reviews have mentioned) in that once branded a killer, she is ostracised from the world she once belonged to. I liked how it began, with Davy getting to grips with her new self but the way the camp was brought into it didn't seem to be entirely authentic. The camp sections of the book were nothing but sickening. By marking these children as murderers, they have forced them to turn on each other, and ultimately themselves, to fulfill their obligations to the government. In many ways, this story has deep-rooted truths in our society.

However, there was something off-putting about the whole thing and it was that we don't ever get any really information about the world. Sure we have the odd blurb at the beginning of each chapter that outlines something vague that is bad is happening with the country. But do we know why or how any of this came to be? No. We don't actually find out much about the characters either and although it's obviously a set up for the sequel (which I am likely going to read), I felt like Jordan could have at least fed us a bone.

Rating: 3.5/5

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3 comments

  1. The crewel series sounded so good in its summary, it's a shame that they were so disappointing D:

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    Replies
    1. It was actually infuriatingly bad. I haven't read anything so pathetic and ridiculous since Every Shattered Thing by Elora Ramirez (I reviewed it last year).

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    2. yikes, i'll look up that review!

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