August Reads and Reviews 2022

Good morning everyone! How are you this week? This day? This moment? I hope you can say you are doing well and there is joy, even if it’s a single moment in a day going wrong. Today is going to be a busy day for me. We start our second semester of homeschool tomorrow so I will be finalizing lesson plans. We are also continuing work on our new entertainment room. Hopefully I’ll have my new desk set up by next week! I’m really looking forward to that.

August was a pretty busy reading month for me, I think. Well, compared to the last few months at least. I did re-read a few books. All of the books I read (apart from my mangas) were on my Kindle and are available via Kindle Unlimited. Which made me really happy because I’m finally getting to finish The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I know you guys aren’t here so I can prattle on about nonsense, so let’s get to the good stuff, shall we?

The Stand-In Boyfriend by Emma Doherty

Livy Chapman has been in love with her best friend Jessie Stephenson for forever, but he has no idea. He only sees her one way, and it’s not romantically. When Chase Mitchell, star of the boys soccer team, steps in and convinces Livy that they can help each other out by pretending to date, she is just crazy enough to agree to it. The plan is so simple, get Jessie to notice Livy and keep Chase’s conniving ex away from him, nothing could go wrong. Right?

Okay, first of all, I am convinced that I’ve reviewed this book before, but I can’t find it so if this turns out to be a repeat review, I’m sorry. But not too sorry because it is a great book.

I have mentioned before with The Upside of Falling that I love pretend dating, friends-to-lovers reads. I just do. Which is why I picked this book up the very first time I read it. I picked it up this time because it deals with soccer. I like soccer, I think I could’ve been a soccer player if I hadn’t had the health issues I did growing up, but I truthfully don’t know the intimate details that go into it. So essentially I read this for my own research purposes, but it was still a great story.

Along with being in love with her best guy friend, Livy also deals with a lot of anxiety. She loves playing on the girls soccer team, and is really good, but she doesn’t like to be the center of attention. Which can be a bit messy since Chase is Mr. Popular and just really nice.
Chase’s family is wealthy, but his parents are absent, though we do meet his sister a few times. He’s tired of the back and forth that comes with being in an on-off relationship with the school’s mean girl.

What I like is that we see Livy grow more confident throughout the book, but it’s not such a drastic change that it sets an unbelievable bar. She remains shy and her anxiety doesn’t simply vanish because someone is finally paying attention to her. In fact, she has a major meltdown at a very critical time in her story.
Chase remains more consistent, the stable one, but he does have a secret. It’s nothing sinister, I promise, but it does make a nice little twist at the end. Is it a twist? I’m not quite sure that’s the correct term for this, but you’ll have to read it and decide for yourself.

Perfectly Accidental by Elizabeth Stevens

Roman Lombardi is the school’s resident underachiever, a title he takes great pride in. Despite all of his efforts, he remains unsuspended and without a proper court sentence, but everyone knows he’s going nowhere fast. Piper Barlow is the antithesis to Roman. She’s popular, has the perfect life, and if the rumors are true, is about to be asked out by the perfect guy. Even Roman would agree with that perception of her. But that Piper wouldn’t be sitting alone in a funk, which is how Roman finds her during a school holiday. Surprisingly, Roman and Piper find themselves spending more and more time together. Turns out, Piper is the one person with whom Roman can just be himself, no questions asked.

If this book looks familiar, that’s because it is. Perfectly Accidental is the sequel to Accidentally Perfect, which I wrote about back in April of 2021. This one is the story from Roman’s point-of-view and I might actually like it better than Piper’s. Maybe the author took more time to develop Roman’s character, or maybe she actually wrote this one first, but there’s a lot more in this story. Well, maybe not more as in plot, but more as in character growth. Whatever it is, I really enjoyed it.

I was a little disappointed that one of my favorite scenes from Accidentally Perfect didn’t get included. I would have loved to read their pre-skate park texting scene from Roman’s POV. Since this is Roman’s version, we get to read about the events that are major in his character arc. The scenes that answer some of Piper’s–and therefore our–questions. Like, what really happened the night he snuck in her window? It isn’t what Piper thought.

Even though a lot of the scenes are the same as Accidentally Perfect, I never felt like I was reading the exact same book. These books are a great example of the power of context and individual thought. As a writer, I hope to achieve this level of mastery. So if you’ve read the first one, I highly recommend reading Perfectly Accidental. Even if you haven’t read the first one, you should go read this one. Actually, just go read them both.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing and no one cares. In her search for her missing grandmother, Michelle Benoit, Scarlet finds out there are many things about her grandmother that Scarlet never knew. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information on her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him. As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel her grandmother’s secrets, their paths will cross with Cinder, the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen intent on killing Cinder and making Emperor Kai her husband and prisoner.

Like Cinder, Scarlet is based on a fairytale, this time being Little Red Riding Hood.

So I’m not sure how I feel about Scarlet. I enjoyed it, definitely, but I think it had been too long between reading Cinder and picking up Scarlet. I became confused at times, though I think most of that confusion was cleared up in later explanations. I also became frustrated with how close Kai was to discovering truth about Cinder but never saw it. I get it, in real life maybe it is hard to see what’s right in front of you, but this guy didn’t even entertain the possibility of the truth. At least that’s how I remember it. At some point I lost temporary interest in the book and moved on to a different one, like I just needed a little break from it. I will say I enjoyed it overall, but there were portions that seemed to drag. Or maybe I just don’t like chapters switching stories.

I did enjoy the addition of Carswell Thorne to the team. He was definitely comedic relief, but a great addition to the team. Cinder doesn’t immediately take to her gift, either. She struggles with using it, both in action and on a moral level. She’s also struggling to put the pieces of her own past together and that’s a journey that has her chasing Scarlet and Michelle.

I do feel Meyer could’ve gone a little more into developing Scarlet and Wolf’s relationship. To me it seemed a bit too instantaneous. I suppose we could have Wolf’s history to blame, but the explanation of his past doesn’t happen until later–at least not an explanation we fully understand. One problem I did have with Scarlet is that she declared she wasn’t willing to sacrifice everyone for what she wanted, and yet her single-mindedness over her grandmother overrides that declaration. I might not go so far as to say she’s a hypocrite, but it was a bit hypocritical.

Maybe I just need to read this book again after I’ve finished the series to see if my opinion changes. Otherwise, it was an adequate bridge book. I’m trying to think if there was any real critical information in it, but the only thing that stands out to me wasn’t really explained as relevant. Maybe it’ll come up again in Winter, but for now it’s just a tidbit of information.

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cinder, Thorne, Scarlet, and Wolf are on the run. Their ultimate plan is to overthrow Queen Levana and her army, but to do that they’ll need some help. Their best hope of success lies in Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite with a proficiency for hacking. When a rescue attempt goes awry, the group is separated. Cress has her freedom, but Scarlet has been captured, Thorne has been severely injured, and Cinder has to set out for Africa with a traitor. Meanwhile, Kai’s desperate to save his people and is forced to agree to Levana’s proposal. With so much on the line, Cinder hatches a plan so crazy it just might work. If she can pull it off.

I definitely enjoyed this book a bit more than Scarlet, which kind of supports my theory that it had been too long between reading the first two books.

Cress is Queen Levana’s best kept secret. As a shell, Cress was taken away from her family as a baby and for years she has been hiding all of Levana’s evil deeds from the people of earth. Keeping Lunar ships from being detected and listening in on the World Leaders’ confidential conferences are just two of Cress’s accomplishments. But all that time spent alone and focused on earth has made her sympathetic to the people below her. It was her warning that sent Cinder to the ball that fateful night and it’s her skills that have kept Cinder and Thorne from being discovered.

As a child, Rapunzel was one of my favorite stories to read. My dad’s mom had a small box of fairytales that included Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin, and Rapunzel. I read the latter two like crazy. Just over and over, so I know the tale pretty well. Which made me excited when the book excerpts actually came from the tale. I love watching Tangled, but it was great being given a closer retelling of the story. If you’ve never read the actual fairytale, just know that Rapunzel and her prince don’t escape, one is banished and the other is thrown from the tower. Let’s just say, there’s a reason Carswell’s last name is Thorne. (Good job, Meyer.)

Anyway. I was still slightly frustrated with the chapter POV changes, but I get that way with any book. I’ve been known to skip certain chapters just to get through certain plot lines because I couldn’t stand it. Cress was a great addition to the series and excellently done. We even get a glimpse of Princess Winter, though her full story is told in the next book. Cress goes a long way in uncovering certain plot lines, I think, and even has a few heart-tugging revelations.

I didn’t know until I read reviews yesterday, but apparently Cress is a lot of peoples favorite book in the series. You’ll have to read it and let me know if you agree with that sentiment.

What books did you read in August?

Were you finishing up your Summer reads or did you move on to other types? Let me know in the comments, as well as any books you would recommend!

Happy Wednesday!

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