September turned out a really good reading month for me, with me managing to finish 11 books, the record (so far) for this year. [December is usually my record reading month when I read like crazy to finish my reading challenge, so its usually something like 20 books that month :)].
So, I kicked off the month finishing Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi, which I really loved. This is the story of a twelve-year-old girl, Alice, who is born milk white from top to toe, in a land where colour determines your worth and your magic. She ends up having to go on an adventure with Oliver, a boy she doesn’t like very much, to rescue her father from the magical land of furthermore. The descriptions and writing were really beautiful, and while the plot was may be not that extraordinary, I still liked it very much. My full review is on this page here.
This month I also read three mysteries (one of my favourite genres).
Death at the Bar by Ngaio Marsh was a read for the Reading the Detectives group on goodreads. This is the ninth in the Roderick Alleyn mystery series by Marsh and sees the Inspector head off to South Devon where at a small village, a London Barrister, on holiday with his cousins, has been killed. This was a routine set up as far as mysteries go, but I didn’t guess whodunit, and the characters were pretty interesting so I enjoyed it a lot. (review here).The second Dissolution, is the first of the Matthew Shardlake books by C.J. Sansom. Set in Tudor England, this one introduces us to Shardlake who has been entrusted by his mentor, Thomas Cromwell, with solving a brutal murder at an abbey in Scarnsea. The background is the unrest in the country at the dissolution of monasteries by Henry VIII after her declares himself head of the Church of England. This was again a really enjoyable read, though having read a later title in the series before, this was may be a little less satisfactory than the later one. (review here). The third was my first Hamish Macbeth mystery, Death of a Snob by M.C. Beaton. This one sees Hamish head off to a health farm to spend Christmas as the owner fears that she is going to be killed, and Hamish can’t head home since an aunt who dislikes him is coming. Great fun. (review here.)
Then I read, or rather reread Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, having acquired the illustrated edition finally. This is in some ways my favourite in the series, as that first introduction to the wizard world has a certain special magic about it. Jim Kay’s illustrations really bring the story to life, and even the pages without actual illustrations are beautiful. A gorgeous gorgeous book.
From NetGalley this month, I read two titles. The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner is a retelling of Christina Rosseti’s Goblin Market but also with elements of Jewish culture and Ukrainian folklore, myth and magic. I enjoyed this one, especially the cultural and folklore elements, and that alternate chapters are in prose and verse. (my full review is here.) Also from NetGalley was James Hartley’s The Invisible Hand, another fantasy-adventure, where a young boy Sam is sen to a boarding school where on certain days, he finds himself transported to Macbeth’s world, where a plot is being hatched to kill the King. I loved the idea of this book, but felt there was too little Macbeth, and too many unexplained things in the story. (review here).
Further fantasy titles. Scythe by Neal Shusterman takes us to a world in the future where humans have solved most of their problems, there is no hunger or politics or government or death, but the population must still be controlled, and here is where the scythes play a part. Two teens Citra and Rowan are taken on as apprentices to a scythe and must face several challenges, some of which test their character to its limits. This was a really exciting read full of plot twists, I can’t wait to read book 2. (review here) Although also a fantasy, Eva Ibbotson’s Dial-A-Ghost, for much younger readers, was a fun read as well. It tells of a little boy Oliver Smith who is the only one standing between his (wicked) uncle Fulton Snodde-Brittle and the family property. Fulton hires some ghosts to go live in the mansion to drive poor Oliver mad, but fate has other plans in store. This one is perfect for the season. (review here.)
Last month, I also read the Dancing Bear by Frances Faviell, which is the author’s memoirs of her time spent in Berlin just after the second world war when her husband was posted there. This is told mostly through her interactions with a family the Altmanns, who she befriends there and the struggles that people in that city had to go through, and the injustices they had to suffer. My review is here.
Finally I read a light teen romance of sorts, Love and Gelato, by Jenna Evans Welch, which is about this girl Lina, who is sent to Florence to live with her father, when she loses her mother to cancer. Reluctant to go there, and eager to escape, things change when she is given her mother’s journal from the time she spent there and begins to discover the city, and her mother’s life there, and some secrets of her own life. This was a light and cute read. My review is here.
So this was my reading this September. For October, I had a theme in mind but decided finally to not choose a TBR list in advance for a change, and pick up whatever I’m in the mood for. Let’s see how that goes.
What books did you read in September? Any you’d like to recommend? And what about October, lots of spooky reads in store or are you planning to read something different? Looking forward to hearing all about them! Happy Reading Month!