Monthly Wrap-Up | August '16

august wrap up


So, August’s almost over and school’s starting in six days. I know I say this every single month, but I can’t believe where the time is going. It’s freaking insane. Feels like 2016 started yesterday, and we’re already more than halfway through. Wild.


Personal


August was a decent month for me reading-wise, but a really great month overall. If you follow me on Twitter, you might know this but I landed an internship at Macmillan Publishing. I honestly can’t believe I was even called in for an interview, but I’m so excited to experience the publishing industry from within. My first day is on the 6th, which is when school starts too, so I’m going to be very busy this semester. Hopefully, I’ll keep up with blogging and reading because last academic year, everything was thrown severely off balance.

Speaking of school, I’m all moved in to my new dorm! I think the main reason I go to the university I go to is because of the location; living in the heart of New York City is such a stimulating, vibrant experience. This time I’m living in SoHo, and I love how diverse this neighborhood is! There are two independent bookstores five minutes away from me (my bank account is already weeping), and the Strand Bookstore is walking distance as well. I share my suite with one other girl, and we decided that we’d move one of the beds out from the bedroom into the common area and basically make it a suite of two singles, in a way. I’m going to be residing in the room, and having a single for the entire year is so nice.

Also, this strange thing happened. I lived in a small city in Pakistan from when I was born to when I was five years old, before I moved to a bigger city. One of my friends from when I was literally five years old was visiting New York, and she contacted me on Facebook and wanted to meet up. I saw her after fifteen years. That is crazy, and I couldn’t believe how easy it was to hang out with her. Life can be so strange sometimes.


Reading


I read a total of eight books this month, which is pretty good considering two of the books were freaking massive. Quality-wise, I think this was my best month of the year. I read a few very good books (I gave 4 books 4+ stars, that’s insane). Here’s everything I read:


Reviews


This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) by Victoria Schwab | 3.5 stars

I’ve grown to expect so much from Schwab after having read her A Darker Shade of Magic series, which is why This Savage Song was a bit of a let-down, which is not to say that it wasn’t good. I really liked the characters- I was immediately drawn to them, but I felt that the world-building’s potential wasn’t fully explored. The pacing was the main let-down though. It was very slow-burn but after the 50% mark, it’s non-stop action. Sometimes, breathers can do wonders for development and storytelling!

GOODREADS | AMAZON

Watching Edie (eARC) by Camilla Way | 4 stars

Watching Edie was an extremely enjoyable psychological thriller. I loved how Way revealed information in just the right bursts without giving too much away, and without holding too much back. I loved how the novel was told in dual time frames with dual perspectives. It was an interesting exploration of the values of friendship, of loss, betrayal, judgment and human monstrosity. Trigger warning for (highlight the next words)sexual assault.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

The Graces (ARC) by Laure Eve | 1.5 stars

The Graces came highly anticipated, but it was a severe let-down. It was reminiscent of Twilight in more ways than one, but less enjoyable (I can’t believe I’m saying that). The characters all fell flat, and the protagonist was highly unlikable. I don’t mind unlikable characters as long as they have depth and motive, but River felt empty. The plot dragged, and the only reason this book got the extra .5 star is because the writing was pretty good.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed | 4 stars

This book was my first book with a Pakistani-American protagonist, and I really enjoyed how Saeed incorporated cultural elements with an engaging story. It started off light and vanilla but soon transcended into an intense study of a problem all too common all over the world. I would recommend this book to anyone who’s looking to familiarize themselves with the concept of forced marriages, while gaining authentic, sensitive, poignant insight into another culture. Trigger warning for marital rape and abuse.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

Every Falling Star (eARC) by Sungju Lee | 3 stars

Again, I’ve never read a book set in North Korea, and a YA memoir was a great way to get into the setting. Every Falling Star was a harrowing look into our very own dystopia; told with childlike innocence, it chronicles Sungju’s life and escape from North Korea. Tragic, dreary and absolutely terrifying, this book is a glaring reminder that our problems can hardly be called problems at all in the face of what our fellow human beings are suffering. However, I felt that the writing was a little flat, and there was so much dialogue that all the various characters blended together.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles #3) by Mary E. Pearson | 4.5 stars

The Remnant Chronicles started off alright, but the series improved exponentially as it went along. Although teasing conventional tropes like the love triangle and the Chosen One, it doesn’t fall prey to them and utilizes them brilliantly. Pearson’s writing is wonderful, and the finale was beyond satisfactory. I loved how each and every character evolves and develops, learns from his/her mistakes to come out stronger on the other side. I can’t say too much about this book since it is the conclusion, but I’d urge everyone to pick up this series. And if you’re like me and thought the first book was meh, please do give the second one a chance. It gets better!

GOODREADS | AMAZON

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour | 3.5 stars

This was an incredibly fun read about love, family and friendship. I love contemporaries where the many aspects of life are tied together to form a cohesive, complete story. I loved that Emi’s passion for film and design felt like an entire character in itself, and I thought the writing was wonderful. I did think that some storylines dragged a little, and I might have liked a more polished conclusion to the film aspect of the book, but I very much enjoyed it.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara | 4 stars

This book was a difficult read in more ways than one. It’s incredibly long and incredibly depressing, but it was beautifully written with characters so full of depth that they felt like friends. Despite it being 800 pages long, I was never bored, and I didn’t skim a single page, which is a feat in itself. It explores themes of love, loss, trust, shame, sex, existence, compassion and perseverance so brilliantly. It will evoke extreme emotions from you- trust me, they’re not exaggerating when they say that you need to read this with a wad of tissues nearby. Trigger warning for sexual and physical abuse, self-harm, suicidal ideations, abusive relationships and depression.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

Blogging


August was a fantastic blogging month for me, even though I wish I’d participated a little more. I’m terrible at commenting and replying to comments; I don’t know why. I read and appreciate all your posts and all your comments, but I suck at actually typing my replies out. I’m trying to fix all that- maybe next month will be better.

I think my blogging highlight of this month is definitely the new meme I created. I realized that there’s a lot of discourse surrounding diverse books recently and the push to demand authors to include more diversity in their works. But I also noticed that the existing diverse literature is not paid enough attention. I created my Diversity Spotlight Thursday meme in the hopes that diverse books that are already on the shelves, as well as those releasing soon get the buzz that they deserve. Perhaps it will push more people to pick up diverse books. If you’d like to know more, you can read my announcement post or check out the first ever Diversity Spotlight Thursday.


Nagina’s post aptly describes why we need diversity in literature, and I’d urge anyone reading to definitely give her post a read.


Here is everything I published in the month of August:

Reviews:

Night Film by Marisha Pessl | This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab | Watching Edie by Camilla Way | The Graces by Laure Eve | Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed | Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee | The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson | Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour | A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Discussions:

Let’s talk about trigger warnings in books

Diversity Spotlight Thursday:

Blog Meme Announcement | August 11: #1 | August 18: #2 | August 25: #3

Top Ten Tuesday:

Books I’d buy right now if I had a gift card | Books set in New York City | Books on my TBR since before I started blogging

Miscellaneous:

Wrap Up: July | TBR: ARC August | Author Interview: Tiffany McDaniel | TBR: #ReadThemAllThon


Spotlighting the Non-Bookish


Music:

Young the Giant’s new album titled Home of the Strange has thoroughly impressed me. I’ve been a fan of theirs since the release of “Cough Syrup,” but never really followed their music until I gave this album a full listen. Favorites include “Amerika” and “Repeat.”

Another song I’ve been obsessed with recently is A R I Z O N A’s “I Was Wrong.” Honestly, Spotify’s a God-send. I’ve discovered such amazing music since I’ve joined – music including Hozier, James Bay, RHODES, Kevin Garrett, James Vincent McMorrow- stuff that has become some of my favorite music.


Television

Again, if you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably heard me talk about this show. But the Night Of is an incredible, incredible miniseries that began in mid-July on HBO. It’s basically an amalgamation of crime-drama and murder-mystery. The protagonist is a Pakistan-American, and I think the show does such a brilliant job of authentically portraying Pakistani families, their mannerisms, and it doesn’t fall prey to any stereotypes whatsoever. The little things, the details are what makes this show stand out. It’s slow-burn but completely enchanting. The acting is top-notch, the cinematography stunning.


Well, that’s all I have for this month’s recap. Let me know in the comments below what your favorites of this month were! What book did you like the best? Any new TV or music or movies? I’d love to know! As always, thank you so much for stopping by and happy reading. <3

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Comments

  1. I too went to college in NYC (and did a couple of publishing internships). It was very different from the small town I had grown up in (my graduating class in HS was 95 students); but I loved it. The living arrangements were one of the reasons I decided not to stay. Everyone I knew either shared a tiny walk-up apartment with too many people or lived way out of town. (Whereas I currently live alone in a 2 bedroom apartment.) It sounds like you have a great set-up for the year though.

    Sunday Summary #19

  2. I’m still SO ETERNALLY PROUD AND HAPPY FOR YOU that you got the internship!! I hope you have an INCREDIBLE experience, and I can’t wait to hear about it! AH. So excited. 😍

    (And also, wow, your blog is just so aesthetically pleasing to read. I love it.)

    I haven’t read A Little Life, but I heard it’s incredible. It’s a monster of a book though, so I feel PRETTY daunted tackling it. Maybe if I’m ahead of my reading challenge, I’ll give it a go at the end of the year. Otherwise, I’ll save it for next year when I shall be happily drowning in grad school.

    As for my August, I returned to blogging, so yay! My favourite book was Six of Crows (I feel a little disappointed by this though? I liked it but don’t feel too strongly about it. I kinda wish I read more and found more favourites). As for movies, I FINALLY got around to watching Capt. America Civil War, and now I’m mega-excited for Black Panther. <3

  3. Wow! Congratulations on your internship, that’s truly amazing! I’ve always really wanted to read Everything Leads to You, so your mini review has really reminded me how much I want to read that book!

  4. Congrats on the Macmillan internship! 🙂 Good luck with your new semester of school! Awesome job with reading eight books! I was able to read six books (not counting audiobooks) and I was kind of slumping, so I thought that was amazing. I really want to read A Little Life and This Savage Song. I was able to get The Beauty of Darkness on Amazon for $8, so I can hopefully binge read the series now! I’ve heard a lot of good things about it.

  5. Congratulations on the internship with Macmillan Publishing! What will you be doing there?

    I love your post. I’m excited to fall into This Savage Song, I finally get to hear more real reviews on the book, because I have been seeing rave reviews without giving reasons on why it’s so good. I can’t wait to see more Diversity Spotlight Thursday you have set up. I love that idea.

  6. Congrats on Macmillan Aimal!!!! that’s AMAZING! I wish you all the best in this new chapter. Great idea splitting up the dorm room into 2 bedrooms, gives you each privacy/space for the year. Disappointed to hear The Graces was a let down, I think it may be time to remove it from my TBR since it hasn’t been receiving much positive feedback lately. You had an EPIC reading month with some diverse reads! I’m saving A Little Life for December…I know, sad read in Dec? the mth is always both sad & happy so this will fit in nicely for me lol. Your meme has actually been an eye opener for me, I’ve seriously struggled finding diverse books that I’ve read, to participate but I have a handful. I am currently working on my Diversity Spotlight for tomorrow 😉

    P.S. September awaits & with it the exciting Leigh Bardugo event, will see you there! 🙂

  7. Wow, the internship is amazing!! 👏👏👏
    What. A. Song. ARIZONA – new favorite!! So haunting.
    What a month for you! Meeting an old friend, moving, starting new things!! I congratulate you, darling!!

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