August 2020 Reading Recap


Summer is coming to an end, I guess. The autumn equinox doesn’t hit until September 22nd, but we can already get pumpkin spice lattes, so I’m saying summer is over. A few more books read this month. No interviews, but I have so much excitement coming in September.

Read Cover-to-Cover in August


The Shadows by Alex North

  • Adult thriller about a murder stemming from kids’ obsession with lucid dreaming and appeasing an entity
  • Jaw-dropping twists
  • Takeaway: How to execute incredible dual timelines


The Dark Tide (#1) by Alicia Jasinska

  • Young adult fantasy about a girl falling in love with the witch cursed to eat a boy every year to appease an evil ocean
  • Atmospheric like a fairy tale
  • F/F enemies to lovers
  • Takeaway: Threading gray morality through the lens of definitions


The Monster Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade #2)
by Seth Dickinson

  • Adult fantasy sequel to Traitor Baru Cormorant
  • Baru is a mess and having a hard time maintaining her cover
  • The side characters are so good in this one (many queers throughout)
  • Takeaway: Another book that takes its time processing the trauma of the previous book


Yellow Jessamine by Caitlin Starling

  • Adult horror novella about a botanist trying to contain and new threat
  • Gothic af
  • F/F pining
  • Takeaway: Gothic atmosphere both in the setting and the interior journey


Drowned Country (The Greenhollow Duology #2) by Emily Tesh

  • Adult fantasy novella in which the boyfriends from Silver in the Wood hunt a vampire and go to fairy land
  • New fun characters and same old disasters gays
  • Takeaway: Atmospheric, fairy tale storytelling


Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones

  • Adult horror novella that reads like a slasher film
  • Maybe it’s paranoia, maybe it is a sentient mannequin
  • Left me squealing in delight
  • Takeaway: Stream of consciousness at its finest


City Under the Stars by Gardner Dozois and Michael Swanwick

  • Adult science fiction dystopia about a guy who commits a murder and goes off to meet god
  • Vivid setting, good aesthetic
  • Takeaway: Characters need to be more than just a vehicle for the plot


The Four Profound Weaves by R.B. Lemberg

  • Adult fantasy novella about trans elders who go to learn a fourth weave to take down a ruler
  • Older main characters going on an adventure
  • Art as magic, names as magic
  • Takeaway: Intertwining identity and themes for a delight of a read



A Certain Hunger by Chelsea G. Summers

  • Adult horror that’s a memoir of a cannibal food critic
  • Eat, Pray, Love but the love is pray
  • Absolutely wild from start to finish
  • Takeaway: How to write a despicable character without flinching


The Boatman’s Daughter by Andy Davidson

  • Adult horror about a bog witch, her found family, gangs, and more
  • I thought this was going to be a cool blend of horror and fairy tale (it wasn’t)
  • Takeaway: Sometimes less is more


Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

    • Adult horror about a pregnant woman and her doctor best friend trying to reach a hospital so she can give birth
    • 28 Days Later meets Bird Box meets the literal year 2020
    • Takeaway: Combining done tropes doesn’t necessarily add anything new


The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of the Donner Party
by Daniel James Brown

  • Adult nonfiction that’s a deep dive into life on the Oregon trail while not avoiding the real tragedy of the Donner and Reed party
  • Horrifying and like a novel
  • Takeaway: Trying to find humanity in mind-bogglingly harrowing circumstances


The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

  • Adult mystery with ghosts and a motel’s mysterious past
  • Dual timelines with beat-for-beat parallels
  • Perfect pacing
  • Takeaway: Satisfying mystery that centers female friendships and support structures


Raybearer (#1) by Jordan Ifueko

  • Young adult fantasy inspired by West Africa about a girl whose mother created her to kill the boy she loves
  • Excellent world-building and layered characters
  • Nuanced look at complicated parental relationships
  • Takeaway: Using a magic system that evolves with the characters and never feels like a deus ex machina

The first half of September is busy on the blog front. Otherwise, the same grind of job hunting, reading, and writing.

Until next time,

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