Reading WrapUp: What I Read in September

I started the month in a bit of a reading slump & was jumping from book to book – which I rarely do. I don’t know what it was exactly. I think I can be such a mood reader at times, where I just have to get a taste of a few books before really getting into one. Luckily, there were still a few that really stood out & I was able to read more than I was projecting.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I finally started the TOG series this month & I’m so glad to be reading something else by SJM. This series is rather intimedating to start because the discussion of the reading order can be very confusing. After much deliberation, I decided to start with Throne of Glass instead of starting with the prequel / novella – Assassin’s Blade [ which we will get into later ]. Overall, I think it was a good start into this nine book series. I can already tell I’m going to love the main character, Caleana. The only thing I didn’t care for was how the main character was portrayed. In this story, you are told about how she overcomes being a slave for a few years. She is depicted as rather weak & pitiful [ especially in the beginning ]. But I feel like as the character development progress & the story thickens, I will be so sucked into this story.

Exodus by Kate Stewart

Last month, I read the first book of the Ravenhood series – Flock & found it to be confusing & cryptic. It gives off Fifty Shades of Grey but with more guys & fast cars. The saving grace was the amount of romance & spice which was still evident in the second installment. It took me some time to really get into this book for whatever reason. I think I’ve been so engrossed with fantasy, that I just found this smutty romance to fall flat. It honestly took me until 200 pages in – to be interested. And although, I can finally say I understand the infamous quote, “we love rainy days, don’t we baby?” – it just left me sad. I doubt I will read the final book of this series because overall, I found the plot to be downright ridiculous. I feel like the only reason why people rave about this series is for the smut. This was a big example of, “ booktok made me read it.”

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

If you’ve been catching up with my reading wrap ups for a few months now, you know the Red Rising series has put me in a choke hold. I absolutely love this series & decided to jump into the next installment after the trilogy. Iron Gold takes place 10 years later as Darrow continues to lead the Solar Republic. Without giving too much away, I’d say I really enjoyed the multiple POV’s throughout this book. The first three books took the point of view of just Darrow & having multiple characters and storylines come together really kept me on my toes. I feel like I’m watching a movie when reading these books & highly recommend them to everyone if you are wanting a page turner with tons of twists and turns.

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

I was craving another thriller as we are getting closer to spooky season & I highly recommend with one as I give it a solid 5 stars! It takes a lot for me to give a thriller five stars because I tend to pick up on the twists early. But the way Feeney ends each chapter in a cliff hanger, I was hooked the entire time. Whenever I thought I was figuring out the twist, I kept getting stumped. I definitely want to check out more books by Alice Feeney including her newest release, Daisy Darker.

Assassins Blade by Sarah J. Maas

I don’t usually include books I don’t finish – but I got half way through this novella & decided to pick up on it later. If you are unfamiliar with the Throne of Glass series, Assassins Blade is a prequel of short stories about the main character Caleana. Although this information is good to know at some point, I felt like after reading Throne of Glass – I’d much rather continue with the main story [ or at least Crown of Midnight ]. I even read from some people on Reddit, that they didn’t even read this novella at all. So, since it was putting me in a reading slump, I decided to put it to the side & return to it later. It’s always a good reminder that DNFing a book is normal & sometimes we have to listen to our mood. Reading is supposed to be enjoyable, so if you aren’t feeling a book, you are more than welcome to put it down.

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

I decided to close the month out by listening to Hopeless on audiobook. So, far I’ve read six CoHo books & am striving to get through most of them. This one is about a teenager named Sky who lives a rather secluded lifestyle away from technology & has been homeschooled her entire life. She also has a best friend named Six who teaches her the perks of lust vs. love. It’s her senior year, & she really wants to experience public school. She meets a guy named Dean Holder who has a rather mysterious past. This book went from a cringy insta love trope to very dark & sad. My one pet peeve with CoHo books is how over the top the plots can be. And overall, this is another depressing read from her. This is the first book of the Hopeless series. ( Hopeless, Finding Hope, Finding Cinderella, All Your Perfects & Finding Perfect).

In October, I plan to read quite a few thrillers & possibly more of the Throne of Glass series as well as the latest book from the Red Rising series. Let me know in the comments what you are looking forward to read this season. I’m always looking for more to add to my endless TBR.

-B

22 Books To Read This Fall

With spooky season quickly approaching – I figured it was the perfect time to share a list of thrillers, mysteries & eery page turners for the months ahead. A few I have read & 100 percent recommend, while others on this fall’s TBR. Be sure to check out this reel for a few extra fall reads. Here are books to read this fall season:

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead

Synopsis: Six friends.
One college reunion.
One unsolved murder.

Ten years after graduation, Jessica Miller has planned her triumphant return to her southern, elite Duquette University, down to the envious whispers that are sure to follow in her wake. Everyone is going to see the girl she wants them to see—confident, beautiful, indifferent. Not the girl she was when she left campus, back when Heather Shelby’s murder fractured everything, including the tight bond linking the six friends she’d been closest to since freshman year.
But not everyone is ready to move on. Not everyone left Duquette ten years ago, and not everyone can let Heather’s murder go unsolved. Someone is determined to trap the real killer, to make the guilty pay. When the six friends are reunited, they will be forced to confront what happened that night—and the years’ worth of secrets each of them would do anything to keep hidden.

Verity [ Collector’s Edition ] by Colleen Hoover

Synopsis: Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish. * exclusive new chapter included*

The Kiss Curse by Erin Sterling

Synopsis: Gwyn Jones is perfectly happy with her life in Graves Glen. She, her mom, and her cousin have formed a new and powerful coven; she’s running a successful witchcraft shop, Something Wicked; and she’s started mentoring some of the younger witches in town.

Payback’s A Witch by Lana Harper

Synopsis: Set during October in a witchy Midwestern town, it focuses around three female witches who were all hurt by the same man, also a witch, and who now want to get their revenge by ensuring he doesn’t win the tournament that determines which family gets a magical boost.

Our Crooked Hearts by Melissa Albert

Synopsis: Our Crooked Hearts follows seventeen-year-old Ivy in the present day as encounters a stranger on a road in the middle of the night. This mystery triggers a series of strange events, leading her to question everything around her mother and their relationship.

A Stranger in The House by Shari Lapena

Synopsis: Karen Krupp is left with a bad concussion after crashing her car into a pole while fleeing from an abandoned restaurant in a sketchy neighbourhood in a town in upstate New York. She claims she has no memory of what happened, and her doctors acknowledge that this could happen, but add that she might regain her memory.

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston

Synopsis: When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.

The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Synopsis: Wealthy Washington suburbanites Marissa and Matthew Bishop seem to have it all—until Marissa is unfaithful. Beneath their veneer of perfection is a relationship riven by work and a lack of intimacy. She wants to repair things for the sake of their eight-year-old son and because she loves her husband.

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

Synopsis: It’s a “dark and twisted love story about a man who writes a letter to his wife every year on their anniversary, even after she dies”. (The book is interspersed with letters that written to Adam on their anniversary, but never given to him, inspired by his Rock Paper Scissors screenplay.)

If It Bleeds by Stephen King

Synopsis: If it Bleeds is a collection of four unrelated novellas. The first two, Mr. Harrigan’s Phone and The Life of Chuck, both deal with characters approaching the end of their lives. The third story, the titular If It Bleeds, is basically a mini-sequel to The Outsider with Holly Gibney as the main character. The last one, Rat, is about a writer who strikes a Faustian bargain in order to write a novel.

Love in the Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson

Synopsis:  Turns out that reading nothing but true crime isn’t exactly conducive to modern dating—and one woman is going to have to learn how to give love a chance when she’s used to suspecting the worst. PhD candidate Phoebe Walsh has always been obsessed with true crime.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Synopsis: Alternating between Maggie’s uneasy homecoming and chapters from her father’s book, Home Before Dark is the story of a house with long-buried secrets and a woman’s quest to uncover them—even if the truth is far more terrifying than any haunting.

The House Across The Lake by Riley Sager

Synopsis: When Katherine suddenly vanishes, Casey becomes consumed with finding out what happened to her. In the process, she uncovers eerie, darker truths that turn a tale of voyeurism and suspicion into a story of guilt, obsession and how looks can be very deceiving.

Horrid by Katrina Leno

Synopsis: As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident “bad seed,” struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response.

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

Synopsis: Older women often feel invisible, but sometimes that’s their secret weapon. They’ve spent their lives as the deadliest assassins in a clandestine international organization, but now that they’re sixty years old, four women friends can’t just retire – it’s kill or be killed in this action-packed thriller.

Ghost Story by Peter Straub

Synopsis: In life, not every sin goes unpunished. For four aging men in the terror-stricken town of Milburn, New York, an act inadvertently carried out in their youth has come back to haunt them. Now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past — and get away with murder.

Sign Here by Claudia Lux

Synopsis: A darkly humorous, surprisingly poignant, and utterly gripping debut novel about a guy who works in Hell (literally) and is on the cusp of a big promotion if only he can get one more member of the wealthy Harrison family to sell their soul.

A Flicker in the Dark by Stacey Willingham

Synopsis: When Chloe Davis was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her small Louisiana town. By the end of the summer, her own father had confessed to the crimes and was put away for life, leaving Chloe and the rest of her family to grapple with the truth and try to move forward while dealing with the aftermath.

Haunting Adeline by H.D Carlton

Synopsis: Adeline is a writer who moves into her grandmothers house a year after her passing. It’s a creepy old house that hides the story of her great grandmothers murder. Adeline finds her great grandmother’s diaries and finds out that her great grandmother not only had a stalker but had a sordid affair with him.

Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough

Synopsis: In this twisty, paranoia-inducing tale, a woman anxiously awaits her 40th birthday—but not for the reason you might think. When Emma’s mother turned 40, she lost her mind…and now, as Emma’s own 40th birthday approaches, she begins to fear the very same thing might be happening to her.

Long Live The Pumpkin Queen by Shea Ernshaw

Synopsis: Jack and Sally are “truly meant to be” … or are they? Sally Skellington is the official, newly-minted Pumpkin Queen after a whirlwind courtship with her true love, Jack, who Sally adores with every inch of her fabric seams — if only she could say the same for her new role as Queen of Halloween Town. 

It Starts With Us By Colleen Hoover

An extra book to the list for those who aren’t into spooky season. Coming in October…

Synopsis: Before It Ends with Us, it started with Atlas. Colleen Hoover tells fan favorite Atlas’s side of the story and shares what comes next in this long-anticipated sequel to the “glorious and touching” (USA TODAY) #1 New York Times bestseller It Ends with Us.

Let me know which books you plan to read during the fall season. I’m always looking to add more to my TBR

-B

How To Romanticize The Autumn Season

Happiness to me, means romanticizing your life no matter how extraordinary or mundane it may feel. And as you know, I lean towards enjoying the more simpler moments. Although, grand gestures & affairs may seem wonderful, those too can become old. So, we must look beyond the extravagant & appreciate all aspects of our days – because like the leaves falling off trees, we are forever changing & life doesn’t stop for anything. And whether you usually love or dread the fall season, here are a few ways you can romanticize the autumn season to your liking.

Wear Cozy & Warm Colors

There’s just something so refreshing about the brisk air & more blustery days. I very much enjoy cozying up in chunky knits & boots – or staying in & snugging up with blankets to a crackling fire. Even the tones of autumn that mimic the aesthetic of the falling leaves brings joy to my days. Adding a few burnt oranges or reds to your neutral attire can be a nice change.

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Embrace the Taste of Fall

The flavors of fall go beyond pumpkin spice – although I do love me some warm pumpkin bread as a snack. Crisp apples, pies, ciders & cinnamon anything are just a few of my favorites for the fall season. I’m also a huge fan of soups as soon as the temperatures reach the 60’s. There’s this cozy factor I hold onto with these tasty treats. Slow down & savor each bite as you become more present in such mundane actions.

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Watch Some Fall Classics

With a warm beverage in hand & cozy blankets to hold me tight – I treasure those slower & peaceful evenings on the couch with the fireplace going [ or atmospheric screen saver] or watching a comfort fall favorite tv show / movie. Some cult favorites include Hocus Pocus, Casper, The Nightmare Before Christmas or Harry Potter.

robertdowneys: Bette Midler as Winifred Sanderson... : now i just want  llamas

Play Some ASMR or Screensavers To Add Ambiance

I don’t own a fireplace. Instead I’ll play the fireplace screensaver on YouTube while I get lost in a book. If you are looking for some meditation, ASMR videos are another favorite. Find ones that are Halloween or fall themed to add a bit of magic to the evening. I especially love screensavers of rainy evenings in haunted mansions, falling leaves or even spooky music playlists. If you are looking for some books to add to your TBR, check out this blog post here or here.

Take A Walk in The Leaves

They say the most grounding action is walking through nature. Bonus points if you are barefoot. But I love embracing my childlike roots & trudge through the crunching leaves during my strolls or hikes. Jumping in a pile of leaves could also be super fun & nostalgic. The fresh air & sunshine are what are bodies crave, even when it gets a bit colder. Spend a little bit more time outdoors & bring a book or your laptop to feel just a little bit more productive in the process. A change of scenery is always something that brightens my mood.

How will you be romanizing fall this year? What is your favorite part about this season?

-B