August was a bit of a weird reading month for me. Even though I did end up reading five books, I was in a mild reading slump for most of the month. I’m still not entirely sure what caused it, but I think not having a set TBR might have had something to do with it. Also, the first book of the month took me a long time to read, partly because it was slightly disappointing. On the other hand, the last book I read in August ended up being one of my new favourite books of all times! So, it was definitely a month of extremes – let’s get into it!
The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris ★★★☆☆ (3)
This is the sequel to Chocolat by Joanne Harris, and it was a reread for me. I was very excited to read this because I remembered being completely enthralled by it when I read it for the first time about ten years ago. In fact, I think The Lollipop Shoes was one of the first adult books I read in English (I read it before reading Chocolat for some reason). Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my memory of it and it was a bit of a disappointing read. I still enjoyed it, but I didn’t like it as much as the first book. The nuance and whimsy that made Chocolat so good is no longer present in this book. The magic is no longer subtle, the villain is a little too evil, and I think the book could’ve been at least 150 pages shorter as it rather dragged in the middle. Nevertheless, I loved being back with Vianne – it was her perspective I enjoyed most in this novel – and a new chocolaterie, and I am definitely looking forward to (re)reading the last two books in the series.
It Started with a Secret by Jill Mansell ★★★⭑☆ (3.5)
I love a good Jill Mansell and It Started with a Secret definitely delivered! I decided to start reading it alongside The Lollipop Shoes for some lighthearted fun and fluff and it provided just that. The novel is set in a village by the sea (my favourite setting – both in books and in life) and follows Lainey, who moves there to work for a chaotic but fun family together with her best friend Kit. Since the family asked for a couple, though, the two pretend to be together, which works well until Lainey falls for Seth, her employer. It’s all classic Jill Mansell chaos and goodness, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This feel-good novel was exactly what I needed!
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab ★★★★☆ (4)
The Shades of Magic trilogy has been on my TBR for quite some time now, since it’s a fan favourite around the book community and I loved V.E. Schwab’s YA fantasy duology Monsters of Verity. The Shades of Magic series isn’t YA, but it is fantasy, and the setting is what most intrigued me beforehand: the story is set in a world where multiple versions of London exist in parallel worlds. Our main character Kell is one of the last few people who has the ability to travel between these worlds as he possesses a powerful type of magic. A Darker Shade of Magic introduces this world and its characters and has a plot with very high stakes to go along with it. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel: the characters were fun and the plot was engaging, but what I loved most was the worldbuilding and the writing. I didn’t love this one as much as I did the Monsters of Verity duology, but I’m definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
Hallo Witte Mensen by Anousha Nzume ★★★★☆ (4)
The title of this Dutch non-fiction book translates to ‘Hello White People’ and it’s all about white privilege, white innocence and white ignorance in the Netherlands. It was interesting (and important!) to finally read a book about these problems within my own country, because the Netherlands definitely has its own specific issues with racism, colonialism and a misplaced sense of innocence. At the start of the book, I (arrogantly) didn’t think I would learn much from it as it was discussing themes and topics I was already familiar with, but it dived deeper as the book progressed and I definitely learned a lot. Nzume talks about history and psychology, but she also speaks of her own personal experiences, and those of the people around her, and I think those were what educated me most. I’d definitely recommend this to any Dutch person!
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley ★★★★★ (5)
Ah, this book! Earlier this year, I kind of picked this up on a whim in the bookstore, which isn’t something I usually do anymore. Most books I buy are books I’ve heard a lot about, but not this one. It just seemed like a good book and I felt drawn to it. Words in Deep Blue is a YA novel (or maybe New Adult, since the characters are fresh out of high school) set in Australia. It follows Rachel and Henry, who used to be friends but have become estranged after Rachel moved away. Both are dealing with their own problems as they grow closer again when Rachel moves back to town. This is such a beautiful book and it deeply touched me. It’s about books, grief, death, love, the ocean and the overwhelming reality of being alive. I absolutely loved it and I think it might have just become my new favourite book of all time.
And that’s it for the books I read in August! Have you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them? What did you read in August? Let’s chat in the comments!