September was a busy month for many of us! We have just a few reporting in for this month’s list of what we read, but there are definitely some good things here. Take a look!
The 13th Witch by Mark Hayden
I just started this book at the end of September. It’s about Conrad, a former RAF pilot, who is recruited by Odin (the Odin) to protect England from wild magick by finding a witch. I’ve enjoyed the book so far, I like Mark Hayden’s writing style; it’s familiar, it’s funny, and the main character, Conrad, talks directly to the reader, giving you a bit of a sitcom vibe. I think this one will be 3.5 stars for me.
Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt (Audiobook)
This is one of those books that has been on my list forever, and I finally got to it. Not only is that a super satisfying feeling, but it was also such a great book! I was enchanted.
Any time I tell somebody about this book, and about the octopus narrating parts of it, I feel like I’m not doing it justice. It’s weird that there should be an octopus narrator, but when you’re reading (or listening to) the story, it’s not weird at all. In the audiobook, there was actually another narrator for the octopus parts, and it really added to the story.
Remarkably Bright Creatures was heartfelt, grief-y, hopeful, generational, and uplifting. I loved jumping between the multiple narrators and didn’t have any problems liking one over the other. I rooted for each character and enjoyed their joys and struggles. I highly recommend this book, especially on audiobook. It was a treat.
Cities of Women by Kathleen B. Jones
I wanted so badly to love this book. Parts of it were really wonderful, whereas others just didn’t resonate with me so much.
Cities of Women is a really ambitious historical novel that takes place in medieval times. I haven’t read many books from that era, so I was pretty pumped to give it a go. And, while much of the research that went into this novel paid off big time, it just got to be too much.
There are really beautiful descriptions of art in books, and the story about the women artists are fascinating. However, this story gets really in the weeds with historical detail. It was so immersive that I just had a hard time following and…well, caring.
There is a certain subset of people I think who will really love this book, but for me there were some parts that were pretty difficult to get through.
True Biz by Sara Nović
True Biz was my book club’s pick for September. I had seen it around a lot before in lists of great books, but hadn’t got around to looking into it. Book club is so awesome for stuff like this — helping me get to stuff or try genres I wouldn’t get to otherwise.
I liked True Biz! It really is an immersion into deaf culture, having known basically nothing about it beforehand. Some of the ladies in my book club thought it was a little too on the educational side to be an immersive novel, but I didn’t really have a problem with that. I thought the explanations and interpretations of sign language in between the chapters added to the novel.
I was a little confused by a couple choices made my characters, but otherwise thought this book was great. Deaf culture seems really well represented here and learning about issues I had no idea about previously was really enlightening, the story was entertaining, and I recommend this book.
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
This was the second book in the Locked Tomb series, which I started last month. Muir not only proves herself capable once again of pulling off some crazy plot twists, but also does some really smart things with point of view and voice in this book. It’s not often you get such as satisfying blend of plot, genre elements, and high-quality writing. I’m looking forward to continuing the series.
The Court of Shadows by Victor Dixen and Françoise Bui
This was a super fast-paced YA fantasy in translation. Highly readable, but I don’t enjoy books written fro younger audiences as much as I used to and I had issues with the character development and pacing.
You can read my full review for more details.
Masters of Death by Olivie Blake
Blake’s writing style is notoriously divisive, and I think that I’ve decided it’s not for me. While I thought The Atlas Six was decent, I found this book thoroughly unenjoyable to read. The character development was practically non-existent. This book features a huge cast, about half of whom could be cut out of the novel with little to no impact on the plot.
Speaking of the plot, the book doesn’t really get going until the last 20% or so. That’s a lot of backstory and standing around talking about what’s going to happen before anything actually happens.
I probably would have DNF’d this book under different circumstances, but I’m behind on my 2023 reading goal so I powered through.
The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
I am not a big historical fiction reader, but I love books about books or language so I was interested to read this one. I didn’t know anything about the plot besides the dictionary and collecting words that were excluded, so I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the story.
I really liked Esme as a main character. I found her very relatable and enjoyed watching her grow. I was also very impressed with the author’s research and how she incorporated her fictional characters into the actual historical events that happened. I felt it was seamlessly done and the reading experience was very smooth for me.
The pacing was a bit slow for me, though. This was one of those books that I felt like I was reading all the time but making very little progress through it—I think it ended up taking me about twice as long to finish as I thought it would based on the page count.
That’s our list! What did you read in September?