October new releases on my radar

Here are all the books that come out next month that I can’t wait to get my hands on. This is quite an extensive list so I can’t afford to run out and get all of them right away. Some I will be using my library to read and some I will just keep in mind for when I’m bargain book shopping. Ah, the life of a book lover! We all have so many books already to read but yet more amazing ones keep coming out every month.

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Release Date: October 1

We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.

Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with Christopher at her side. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.

Soon Kate and Christopher find themselves in the fight of their lives, caught in the middle of a war playing out between good and evil, with their small town as the battleground.

Christopher is seven years old. Christopher is the new kid in town. Christopher has an imaginary friend. The epic work of literary horror from the #1 bestselling author of THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER.

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*This hasn’t been getting the best reviews but it’s still Christina Lauren so I feel like I want to at least give it a chance

Date Released: October 22

As an adventurous send-off to her childhood, eighteen-year-old Tate Jones travels with her grandmother from their small town in Northern California to London. But the vacation of a lifetime is wonderfully derailed by the appearance of two charming Vermont farmers: grandfather Luther and his handsome grandson Sam.

Sam and Tate fall hard and fast. For two glorious weeks, the couple share their hopes, dreams, and secrets. Sam admits he suspects his grandfather is dying and that this could be the last trip they take together, and Tate reveals that she is the hidden daughter of one of the biggest film stars in the world—a secret she’s never told anyone before.

But when Tate is exposed by a crush of cameras and reporters, she knows she’s been betrayed by the one person she thought she could trust. She is forced to decide whether she will return to her quiet life or embrace being in the public eye. So when Sam reappears in her world more than a decade later, can Tate forgive the past and rekindle the passion they shared on their magical trip abroad? And does she even want to?

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Date Released: October 3

It is twenty years since the events of La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One unfolded and saw the baby Lyra Belacqua begin her life-changing journey.

It is seven years since readers left Lyra and the love of her young life, Will Parry, on a park bench in Oxford’s Botanic Gardens at the end of the ground-breaking, bestselling His Dark Materials sequence.

Now, in The Secret Commonwealth, we meet Lyra Silvertongue. And she is no longer a child . . .

The second volume of Sir Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust sees Lyra, now twenty years old, and her daemon Pantalaimon, forced to navigate their relationship in a way they could never have imagined, and drawn into the complex and dangerous factions of a world that they had no idea existed.

Pulled along on his own journey too is Malcolm; once a boy with a boat and a mission to save a baby from the flood, now a man with a strong sense of duty and a desire to do what is right.

Theirs is a world at once familiar and extraordinary, and they must travel far beyond the edges of Oxford, across Europe and into Asia, in search for what is lost – a city haunted by daemons, a secret at the heart of a desert, and the mystery of the elusive Dust.

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* This one confuses me. I have tried to find out more information about this book and this is all there is. No synopsis, cover or anything. So, is this really coming out? What is with all the secrecy??

Date Released: October 3

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Date Released: October 1

Bestselling Divergent and Carve the Mark author Veronica Roth delivers a stunning collection of novella-length stories set in the future, illustrated with startling black-and-white artwork.

No world is like the other. Within this masterful collection, each setting is more strange and wonderful than the last, brimming with new technologies and beings. And yet, for all the advances in these futuristic lands, the people still must confront deeply human problems.

In these six stories, Veronica Roth reaches into the unknown and draws forth something startlingly familiar and profoundly beautiful.

With tales of friendship and revenge, plus two new stories from the Carve the Mark universe, this collection has something for new and old fans alike. Each story begins with a hope for a better end, but always end with a better understanding of the beginning.

With beautifully intricate black-and-white interior illustrations and a uniquely designed package, this is the perfect gift for book lovers.

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Release Date: October 1

A woman trying to outrun her past is drawn to a quiet coastal town in Maine–and to a string of unsolved murders–in this haunting tale of romantic suspense from New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen.

Ava Collette is punishing herself for an unspeakable tragedy. So she flees Boston and rents an old home named Brodie’s Watch on a remote coastal peninsula of Maine, hoping to work on a cookbook inspired by New England cuisine that she’s been trying to finish for months. She immediately feels at peace in the isolated house–until she starts to hear strange noises.

Rumor has it that a sea captain named Brodie has haunted the house for decades. Then, one night, Ava is awakened to find herself face to face with an apparition who looks–and feels–all too real. Meanwhile, there’s been a series of accidental deaths nearby that don’t add up. And as Ava starts to check into the previous renter’s mysterious disappearance, she starts to realize that there’s a disturbing secret some in town are desperate to keep hidden.

Soon all of Ava’s waking hours are consumed by her investigation, and her nights are ignited by Captain Brodie’s ghostly visits. But even as she questions her own sanity, she knows she must uncover the truth before a killer strikes again.

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Release Date: October 15

Celebrate Christmas with the ultimate Shopaholic! #1 New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella is back with a new laugh-out-loud adventure featuring Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood).

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Release Date: October 10

Some sexual actions have consequences…

We thought we could branch outside of the norm. Explore my sexual fantasies. Dip our toes in a kinky pond just to see how it felt.

But you can’t have sex with your husband’s best friend in front of him without consequences. Ripples in the pond. A subtle shifting of events and feelings and triggers that will eventually affect every core molecule of your marriage. Your friendships. Your life.

Once I knelt down between the two of them, everything changed. And now, I’m faced with wading in deeper or drying off my pink manicured toes and trying to pretend it never happened.

They say that three is a crowd, but what about four?
What about more?
This is the truth of what I started when I confessed my desires and he gave them to me.

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Release Date: October 22

Only in my family could a professional hockey player earning seven million dollars a year be considered a slacker.

I’m at the height of my athletic career. Yet my arrogant brother is always trying to recruit me into the family business: a global security company so secretive that I don’t even know its name.

Pass, thanks. I don’t need a summer job.

But the jerk ambushes me with a damsel in distress. That damsel is Alex, the competitive, sassy girl I knew when we were kids. Now she’s a drop-dead gorgeous woman in deep trouble.

So guess who’s on a flight to Hawaii?

It’s going to be a long week in paradise. My job is keeping Alex safe, while her job is torturing me with her tiny bikinis. Or maybe we’re torturing each other. It’s all snark and flirting until the threat against Alex gets serious. And this jock must become her major league protector.

Moonlighter is a stand-alone novel. No cliffhangers, no prior experience necessary. Contains: hackers, hockey players, and a hotel room with only one bed.

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Release Date: October 1

A shocking murder strikes a sour note during Jazz Fest in the latest New Orleans Scrapbooking Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

It’s Jazz Fest in New Orleans, and the giant puppets from the Beastmaster Puppet Theatre are parading through the French Quarter. Some are very spooky and veiled, others are tall and gangly, like strange aliens.

As the parade proceeds, Carmela Bertrand and her best friend, Ava, follow behind, down Royal Street and past the food booths. Suddenly, they hear a terrible crash from Devon Dowling’s antiques shop. They rush inside to find Devon collapsed with blood streaming down the side of his face. Has he been shot? Stabbed? 911 is hastily called, and the police and EMTs show up. After the police examine Devon’s body, they tell Carmela and Ava that their friend was murdered with an icepick. They’re shocked beyond belief–and now Mimi, Devon’s little pug, is left homeless.

Carmela and Ava are determined to catch the murderer, but the list of suspects is long. How long do they have before they find themselves on the killer’s list?

~Cassie

Well Met by Jen Deluca

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Pages: 319

Publisher: Berkeley

Publication Date: September 3, 2019

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 4.5/5

Emily moved to the small town of Willow Creek, CA for the summer to help out her sister after she was left with a broken leg from a car accident. Part of helping out entails taking her niece to the renaissance faire sign ups and also ends up enrolling herself to help out as well. She ends up signing up to be a tavern wench and immediately gets off on the wrong foot with Simon, who runs the faire.  Once they start working the faire Emily sees a new side to Simon when he is acting as a pirate at the faire and the sparks start flying between them. But are these feelings coming out because they are real or because they are acting out characters in the faire?

I really enjoyed the character of Emily and I loved seeing her character really come into her own and find a place for herself in the world. She really opens herself up and starts making friends and I really enjoyed this aspect of the story as well. I love books set in small towns so this was of course right up my alley. I love the side cast of characters there are in small town books and this one was no exception.

Of course Emily and Simon had such a sweet romance and it was fun seeing them come together. Some of the conflict between them I thought was a little annoying but the way things ended up between them was beyond cute. One of my bookish pet peeves is miscommunication/ a character not speaking up for themselves. There is some of the that in this book which brought down my rating but that is obviously a personal preference type of thing.

The renaissance faire setting for this story was so fun and it made me really want to go to a faire. I actually looked it up online to see if there was one near me and I was so bummed when I saw that one had been in a nearby town a few days before! I can’t believe I just missed it but I told my husband we are for sure going next year. Also, for all my Gilmore Girl lovers out there this book totally reminded me of when Luke helps his sister out for the summer while she travels around with a renaissance faire selling her jewelry. That is one of my favorite seasons of the show because that is the one were Luke and Lorelai finally get together!

~Cassie

Fall Book Tag

Fall is here! Summer is my favorite time of the year but I also enjoy this time of year. Pumpkin patches with my kids are always one of the highlights of the year. I thought what could be a better way to bring fall to my blog than a book tag. I googled book blogger fall book tag and this is the first one that came up. I got the questions and graphics from The Awkward Book Blogger but the original creator of this tag is Bionic Book Worm.  I also decided that I will only use books that I have read this year to answer the questions to make it a little more challenging.

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This was just so cute and diverse and perfect. There should definitely be more diverse heartwarming books like this in the world.

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This book really takes the readers on a journey and I really liked the ending. Everything came full circle and was so well done.

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The romance between Alex and Henry still has me swooning and I read this months ago. I absolutely love the world this book is set in and it definitely gives me the warm and fuzzies.

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I recently read this and I loved it so much. It is the perfect October read (it comes out October 15). I will have a full review of this posted on its book birthday 🙂

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This one starts off with something brutal happening and then continues to build on that. This is one of the darkest books I have ever read and it keeps building up all the way to the end.

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This comes out October 8 and I already have it on hold at my library. I haven’t heard the best reviews but I still really can’t wait to read this. The synopsis reminds me of the movie The Skulls which I always put on when I manage to catch it on tv.

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~Cassie

 

Contemporary-a-thon Round 5 TBR

The fifth round of the contemporary-a-thon starts Monday Sept. 23- Sunday Sept. 29. I am so excited to be participating and I seriously can’t wait to read every single book on my TBR. A lot of the books on my TBR can be used for at least one more challenge but I really wanted to find seven books that fit each challenge. In a perfect world I will be able to read all seven, especially since contemporaries tend to be quicker reads.

  1. Read a 2019 release

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Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Millie can’t believe her luck when she’s accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute.

The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess.

She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can barely stand each other–Flora is both high-class and high-key–but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it?

2. Read a contemporary with yellow on the cover 

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A magic passed down through generations . . .

Georgina Fernweh waits with growing impatience for the tingle of magic in her fingers—magic that has been passed down through every woman in her family. Her twin sister, Mary, already shows an ability to defy gravity. But with their eighteenth birthday looming at the end of this summer, Georgina fears her gift will never come.

An island where strange things happen . . .

No one on the island of By-the-Sea would ever call the Fernwehs what they really are, but if you need the odd bit of help—say, a sleeping aid concocted by moonlight—they are the ones to ask.

No one questions the weather, as moody and erratic as a summer storm.

No one questions the (allegedly) three-hundred-year-old bird who comes to roost on the island every year.

A summer that will become legend . . .

When tragedy strikes, what made the Fernweh women special suddenly casts them in suspicion. Over the course of her last summer on the island—a summer of storms, of love, of salt—Georgina will learn the truth about magic, in all its many forms.

3. Read a diverse contemporary (aim to read something outside of your own experience)

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When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

4. Read a contemporary with an illustrated cover

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Marlee thought she scored the man of her dreams only to be scorched by a bad breakup. But there’s a new player on the horizon, and he’s in a league of his own…

Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She’s definitely had enough practice by dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers he has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. There’s just one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights.

Gavin fights to show Marlee he’s nothing like her ex. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to let her escape her past. The team’s wives, who never led the welcome wagon, are not happy with Marlee’s return. They have only one thing on their minds: taking her down. But when the gossip makes Marlee public enemy number one, she worries about more than just her reputation.

Between their own fumbles and the wicked wives, it will take a Hail Mary for Marlee and Gavin’s relationship to survive the season.

5. Read a dark/hard hitting contemporary 

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“I need Owen to explain this. Because yes, I do know that Owen would never do that, but I also know Hannah would never lie about something like that.”

Mara and Owen are about as close as twins can get. So when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn’t know what to think. Can the brother she loves really be guilty of such a violent crime? Torn between the family she loves and her own sense of right and wrong, Mara is feeling lost, and it doesn’t help that things have been strained with her ex-girlfriend and best friend since childhood, Charlie.

As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie navigate this new terrain, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits in her future. With sensitivity and openness, this timely novel confronts the difficult questions surrounding consent, victim blaming, and sexual assault.

6. Read a contemporary with plants on the cover

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Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

7. Read a contemporary that is beloved by a member of the book community

Basically everyone who has read this has recommended it!

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Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Written with Reid’s signature talent for creating “complex, likable characters” (Real Simple), this is a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it costs—to face the truth.

~Cassie

Cover Reveal: Dreams of 18 by Saffron A. Kent

You guys I’m so excited to share this cover reveal with you today. I first learned about this book on Saffron Kent’s Instagram and I immediately was hyped to read it. You know that I recently read and loved Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas and I am in need of another age gap romance. The blurb sounds amazing and I am hooked after reading the first two chapters! Also, WOW can we talk about this cover?! So hot and definitely would make me want to pick it up and see what it’s all about. Mark your calendars for October 10 so we can all swoon over this forbidden romance!

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COVER REVEAL
Title: Dreams of 18
Author: Saffron A. Kent
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Najla Qamber
Model: Justin Clynes
Release Date: October 10, 2019

BLURB

Violet Moore is in love with a man who hates her.

Well, to be fair, she kinda deserves it.

On her eighteenth birthday, she got drunk and threw herself at him, causing the biggest scandal of their sleepy suburban town.

Now, everyone thinks she’s a slut and he has disappeared. Rumor has it that he’s been living up in the mountains of Colorado, all alone and in isolation.

But Violet is going to make it right.

She’s going to find him and bring him back.

No matter how cruel and mean he is. Or how much he hurts her with his cold-hearted and abrasive ways, she won’t give up.

And neither will she think about his tempting lips or his sculpted muscles or his strong hands. The hands that she wants on her body, touching her, feeling her skin…

The hands that make her want to forget everything and kiss Graham Edwards – Mr. Edwards, actually — again.

Because you don’t go around kissing your best friend’s dad, do you?

Even though that’s all you ever dream about.

GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41830260-dreams-of-18

Read the first two chapters: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/u4pkhek9mt

AUTHOR BIO

Saffron A. Kent is a Top 100 Amazon Bestselling author of Contemporary and New Adult romance. More often than not, her love stories are edgy, forbidden and passionate. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, New York Daily News and USA Today’s Happy Ever After.

She lives in New York City with her nerdy and supportive husband, and a million and one books.

AUTHOR LINKS

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheSaffronKent
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thesaffronkent
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thesaffronkent
Website: http://www.saffronkent.com
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Ybw47r
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/saffron-a-kent
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16192760.Saffron_A_Kent

~Cassie

The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen

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Publisher: Tuxbury Publishing LLC

Publication Date: March 20, 2014

Pages: 274

Genre: New Adult Romance (Sport, Friend to Lover)

Rating: 4/5

The Year We Fell Down is about Corey Callahan who recently had a hockey accident that has left her with no feelings in her legs. So when she starts college she is put into an extra big dorm room which is across from another handicapped room which is where she meets Adam Hartley. Hartley is also a hockey player although he is only temporarily not playing because of a broken leg. Corey and Hartley strike up a friendship that starts to turn into more. The only problem is that Hartley has a girlfriend and Corey is also dealing with learning how to be confident in this new version of herself.

This book has the distinction of being my first hockey romance. I can’t believe I’ve made it this far in my life without reading one but I really enjoyed it. The Year We Fell Down really shines when it comes to the romance and the hockey. I love that Hartley and Corey connected over their love of hockey and how much they connected over the things that had in common. I also really appreciated that Hartley always saw Corey as a strong woman who was capable of doing things. My other favorite aspect of this book was all the side characters. I’m excited that this is the first in a series of companion novels because I can’t wait to learn more about some of the other characters.

One thing I didn’t like in this book was the Hartley’s girlfriend is portrayed. I understand she is the mean girl but it seems like more time was spent on how she is rich, beautiful and into her looks than on people bringing up that she didn’t treat people the right way. Also, she might not have been perfect but she definitely deserved to be treated better by her boyfriend. I actually liked Hartley a whole lot more the second half of the book than I did the first half. It wasn’t until then that he seemed like a real fleshed out character.

Since I liked this book so much I have been actively looking for more sport romances to try. I have already added a bunch to my TBR but if there are any that you really enjoy please let me know!

~Cassie

ARC Review: The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

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The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill

Publication Date: September 17, 2019

Publisher: Oni Press

Pages: 136

Genre: Children’s graphic novel

Rating: 5/5

This is the sequel to The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill and I loved this just as much as I loved the first one. This story primarily follows along with Rinn and Aedhan, who is a real dragon, and their friendship. Rinn has grown up with tea dragons but she has never met a real dragon before until the day she stumbles upon Aedhan who has been sleeping for a long time. Hesekiel and Erik from The Tea Dragon Society are also in this book and I really enjoyed getting to see more of them.

This series is the cutest graphic novel series that I have ever read. I absolutely love all the characters. There is so much diversity and all the characters have such pure good hearts that I can’t help but love them all. There was also different tea dragons introduced into this book and I seriously wish they were a real thing.

The message behind this book was of friendship and really being intentional about helping our friends through their troubles. I can’t say it enough about how loving and sweet all the characters in this book are. Also, the illustrations in this book are simply stunning. The colors, the style, the details, it is all simply so perfect.

I recommend this book to everyone. You absolutely cannot go wrong with this heartwarming graphic novel series.

~Cassie

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

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Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: December 1817

Pages: 236

Genre: Classic, Romance

Rating: 5/5

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Northanger Abby is about Catherine who goes on vacation with her neighbors, the Allen’s, to Bath and while there she meets some new people. One is a family friend of her brother, the Thorpe’s , and the other is the Tilney family. In the Thorpe’s she finds a close friend, Isabella and her aggressive older brother, John. In the Tilney’s she meets Henry and his sister Eleanor. The story follows along with Catherine’s adventures with all four of these new friends. The latter part of the novel is about Catherine traveling with the Tilney’s to have an extended visit at their home, Northanger Abbey.

I went into this book not really knowing what it was about and I was pleasantly surprised to realize that it was a sweet little romance. Catherine and Henry were so cute together and it is always fun to read a classic and be reminded of how different things were then between men and women. But at the same time there are so many things that are similar. The feeling of having a crush and being excited to see them are universal throughout history. Also universal is how frustrating and annoying an aggressive male can be who thinks that there is no way that you won’t like him. Another theme of this book is friendship. It was interesting to see how Catherine’s friendship with Isabella developed through the story especially in comparison to her friendship with Eleanor.

Some people describe Northanger Abbey as being gothic and creepy. There are definitely some veins of that throughout the story (mostly towards the end) but I don’t think there is enough to qualify as such. However, it probably was considered gothic at the time it was written, the late 1700’s. I have previously read two other Jane Austen books before but I think this one has to be my favorite. I plan on reading more of course but I really enjoyed the character of Catherine a lot. I also liked how Austen chose to write this book with a satirical approach. A lot of the commentary she made on social issues and on relationships  still pertain to now.

Austen has given us a coming of age contemporary romance that I think translates very well into our world  today. If you enjoy romance and are hesitant to pick up a classic I highly recommend this book to you. Not only is it short but it is very well written and has all the drama you could need.

~Cassie

Netgalley Review: The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

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The Doll Factory by Elizabeth MacNeal

Pages: 368

Publication Date: August 13, 2019

Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Genre: Gothic, horror, psychological thriller

Rating: 3.5/5

Trigger Warning: animal abuse, animal torture, animal death (One of the main characters is a taxidermist)

The Doll Factory is set in 1850’s London and follows the perspectives of Silas Reed (a taxidermist who runs his own shop), Iris (who works at a doll shop painting dolls and desperately wants to work on her art), and Albie (a young boy who works odd jobs to help take care of him and his sister). Silas is a man with a dark past who has never fit in and when he sees Iris for the first time he is immediately obsessed with her.

When I first started this book I didn’t think I was going to like it because it started off so slow. Over time though I found myself getting so attached to the characters that I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen and where this story was going. Iris went through a lot of character growth in this story and I really liked following her story along. Her interactions with Louis, a painter, was one of my favorite parts of the story.  The character of Albie was so sweet and I loved his relationship with his sister and how much he cared about her. Silas was so interesting to read from because the way he could take a situation and twist it in his head was fascinating. He is a character very out of touch with reality and the way he could justify things to himself was almost impressive. Macneal did an amazing job writing such well fleshed out characters and I am blown away that she is a debut author. I will definitely be reading more from her in the future.

However, there was an event that happened in this book that I really didn’t appreciate at all. In fact, it made me so mad that I wanted to close my kindle and not finish this book. It is a huge spoiler so I am going to be vague but I got so upset because I didn’t think it was necessary to the story or plot at all. It felt almost exploitative in the way it messed with my feelings for no reason other than to be shocking. Upon finishing the book I can see why Macneal made the choice that she did but off the top of my head I can come up with three or four different ways she could have achieved the same result. I looked up reviews for this book when I finished and I can’t find anyone who mentioned what I am talking about so I’m definitely in the minority with my reaction.

This book is listed as psychological thriller and there are definitely aspects of that in this book but to me it read much more like a gothic horror. The Doll Factory also has veins of You by Caroline Kepnes so if you liked that book and have been wanting to try something darker I think this might be what you are looking for.

~Cassie

 

September Book of the Month

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I had a really hard time this month trying to narrow down which books I wanted. I told myself that I was going to get some thrillers that I have had my eye on but I saw two romance books that I have been hearing nothing but amazing things about and I knew I couldn’t pass them up. I also told myself that the thrillers would be better for October anyways. If Book of the Month allowed me to buy more than three books I probably would have bought the thrillers as well. And yes, we have established that I have a book buying “problem”. (Some say problem… I say not really).

My official Book of the Month pick

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Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me by Adrienne Brodeur

A daughter’s tale of living in the thrall of her magnetic, complicated mother, and the chilling consequences of her complicity.

On a hot July night on Cape Cod when Adrienne was fourteen, her mother, Malabar, woke her at midnight with five simple words that would set the course of both of their lives for years to come: Ben Souther just kissed me. 
 
Adrienne instantly became her mother’s confidante and helpmate, blossoming in the sudden light of her attention, and from then on, Malabar came to rely on her daughter to help orchestrate what would become an epic affair with her husband’s closest friend. The affair would have calamitous consequences for everyone involved, impacting Adrienne’s life in profound ways, driving her into a precarious marriage of her own, and then into a deep depression. Only years later will she find the strength to embrace her life—and her mother—on her own terms.  

Wild Game is a brilliant, timeless memoir about how the people close to us can break our hearts simply because they have access to them, and the lies we tell in order to justify the choices we make. It’s a remarkable story of resilience, a reminder that we need not be the parents our parents were to us.

My add on picks

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Well Met by Jen DeLuca

All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

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Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

A stunning debut for author Evie Dunmore and her Oxford Rebels, in which a fiercely independent vicar’s daughter takes on a duke in a fiery love story that threatens to upend the British social order.

England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women’s suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain’s politics at the Queen’s command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can’t deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.

Sebastian is appalled to find a suffragist squad has infiltrated his ducal home, but the real threat is his impossible feelings for green-eyed beauty Annabelle. He is looking for a wife of equal standing to secure the legacy he has worked so hard to rebuild, not an outspoken commoner who could never be his duchess. But he wouldn’t be the greatest strategist of the Kingdom if he couldn’t claim this alluring bluestocking without the promise of a ring…or could he?

Locked in a battle with rising passion and a will matching her own, Annabelle will learn just what it takes to topple a duke….

~Cassie