Despite a few setbacks, I finished reading some fantastic books this month, and I can’t wait to show you what’s on the upcoming roster! Below you’ll find: the books I acquired throughout the course of the month (including a pic of my book haul stack), the books I completed in September, and my anticipated line-up for October.
- Golden Son by Pierce Brown. I’d barely begun the first chapter of Red Rising when I knew I had to read the rest of this trilogy. By the time I’d finished the first book, I knew I needed to buy them, not just borrow them, so I ordered this one (the second book) and:
- Morning Star by Pierce Brown. The reviews for this trilogy just keep getting better as the books go on, and I’m already highly anticipating the spin-off series that’s tentatively set to have its first book released in 2017. I’ll have to find a copy of Red Rising at some point, too, but for now I’m just so excited about these imminent reads.
- Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. I ordered this from Book Depository with the Pierce Brown books because it’s way to easy to find a great add-on to a book order. I skimmed through quite a few options before settling on this exciting thriller I’ve been debating buying for a while, and it was a relatively cheap hardcover on this site, so I figured this was my chance.
- Burnt Paper Sky by Gilly Mcmillan (aka What She Knew). This one was a separate Book Depository buy. I was looking at this one when I placed my first order and then a few days later it was way on sale and I couldn’t pass it up. It has the UK title and cover instead of the US one; I usually care more about the contents than the aesthetic, but I do like the look of this one better, if I had to choose.
- The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee. I shouldn’t buy books that are going to be part of a series when only the first one has been published so far. This one’s a futuristic YA book, and I don’t know much else about it yet, but the few YA books that I’ve read lately have put me in a mood to catch up in that genre and here’s a nice shiny new one to get me back in the game. As far as YA goes, I usually prefer a series to a stand-alone, because if I like them enough to continue on, they’re quick and fun, and if I don’t, I can cross a whole chunk of titles off my potential reads list. As much as I’d like to be caught up with what’s new, though, I also hate having to stop in the middle of a series because the next chapter doesn’t exist yet, so I’m not sure yet when I’ll try to read this one.
- The Perfect Girl by Gilly Mcmillan. This is actually the first book I heard of by this author. I thought I might like Burnt Paper Sky more, which is why I picked up that one first, but then I couldn’t help picking this one up later in the month.
- The Lakotas and the Black Hills by Jeffrey Ostler. I made a quick road trip with a friend this month to see some of the highlights of South Dakota, which included the Black Hills and the legendary birthplace of the Lakota (Native American) tribe, Wind Cave. I picked up this book to learn a little more about the legends of some of the places I visited and some of the things I didn’t have a chance to see yet–so I’ll be ready for next time! This should give me a healthy dose of nonfiction literature and national history.
- Nerve by Jeanne Ryan. I’ve been on the fence about this one for a while, but I finally decided to pick it up. It was cheap, I was in the mood, that’s it for the story with this one.
- The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey. When I first saw this one a couple of years ago I thought it would be perfect for my brother, but I ended up not buying it because he doesn’t really read. Now that more of the series is available and I’ve heard such great things about it, I’m going to give it a chance and then maybe try coaxing him into it. I wasn’t sure it was my type when I first saw it, but the premise has grown on me. I think we’ll hit it off, The 5th Wave and I.
Although I bought some great books recently, I haven’t read any of them yet. I did surpass my goal of reading six books this month though; I finished all six of the books I’d planned to read, plus two extras. Here’s what I read in September:
- Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I didn’t anticipate loving this trilogy as much as I do. I picked this as my first September read thinking it would be quick and easy to get through, a nice break between my last August read (Brave New World, which was a heavier story) and all of the fun end-of-summer books I was really looking forward to delving into later in the month. But Red Rising turned out to be a surprising highlight of September and I can’t wait to continue with the series. You can find my full review of this book here. I gave 5 stars.
- Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs. In hindsight, I should’ve maybe reread this one’s predecessors. I read both of the first books in the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series soon after they were released, and it became quickly apparent to me in Library of Souls that I remembered very little about their plots. Although I’m great at remembering my reactions to books, I’m horrible at recalling plot details. I had to pause in the first chapter to go back and find some spoilers online to refresh my memory, but once I’d done that the third book was quick and entertaining to finish, and I remembered how much I’d enjoyed this series from the beginning. I’d like to buy them as a set and reread them all together someday when I have the time, but for now I’m glad to have reached the conclusion of a fascinating trilogy. I love that this one incorporates real vintage photos into its story, just one of the norm-defying elements to this great YA set. I gave 5 stars.
- All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda. The premise of this one really hooked me–a murder mystery told backward. For the first half I thought the story was really going to disappoint me, but the plot became so convoluted and truly unpredictable toward the end that I couldn’t put it down. I may have to check out some of Megan Miranda’s other books, which are more geared toward YA, but hopefully just as thrilling. You can find my complete review for All the Missing Girls here. I gave 4 stars.
- The Killing Forest by Sara Blaedel. This is the second book published in English from Danish crime writer Blaedel’s series set in Denmark. I read the first book earlier this year (you can find my complete review of The Forgotten Girls here), and thought that the series held promise though the first book fell a little flat for me. This one was a definite improvement. Click here for my complete review. I gave 4 stars.
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. This one was a surprising win for me. I kept putting it off, thinking I wouldn’t understand or like it enough, but I was so impressed by how much tension was crammed into a book about someone playing a video game, and I impressed myself by understanding a lot more game and 80’s references than I expected to. Definitely one of my favorite books of the year, and highly recommended. Click here for my complete review. I gave 5 stars.
- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. I was also surprised by how much I liked this one. I had only a basic idea of the themes in this book before starting, but even as I grew more and more horrified with the subject matter and how far the plot was advancing, I also became more appreciative of the main character, who seemed to be losing his mind for his inappropriate love. This is no slow, stuffy classic; Lolita is delightfully disturbing and will change the way you look at the world, or at least some of the people in it. I gave 5 stars.
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I remember when this book first came out. I was still in high school. I probably would’ve really enjoyed reading it then, but for some reason I’ve been putting it off for years. This YA series, the Lunar Chronicles, features futuristic updates of well-known fairy tales. That was not something that appealed to me in 2012, and I thought it would be too predictable–everyone already knows how the fairy tales end. I’ve seen almost nothing but good reviews for this series, though, and I do plan to read more YA as this year comes to a close, so I thought it was finally time to give this one a try; I was pleased to discover that despite some minor issues, I was surprised at nearly every turn. You can find my complete review here. I gave 4 stars.
- The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane. Somehow I was lucky enough to find a gorgeous copy of this book for less than $3 in July. That bumped this novel way up on my to-read list, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed what was between the covers as much as how they were decorated. The secluded Australian coast setting lent a perfect early fall vibe to this novel–not the biting cold of Midwest US winter, but not the bustling, crowded beaches of Australian summer, either. And this story messes with the mind, which is a great sort of tale this time of year. You can find my complete review here. I gave 5 stars.
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. This one had been on my radar for a few years but I was in no hurry to read it until I’d seen it referred to in conjunction with Red Rising and Ready Player One, both of which I loved earlier this month. I’m usually not a big sci-fi reader, and parts of this book reminded me why, but I did enjoy it and was glad I finally gave it a chance. I’ll probably check out the sequel at some point. You can find my complete review here.
I keep worrying that having a specific TBR is going to backfire for me, but I was continually impressed by how well it was working out for me in September. I assigned myself a lower number of books (6) than in August (10) because while reading 9-10 books a month is not completely unusual for me, it’s not typical. My average is probably closer to 5, but I’ve been so psyched for all of my book picks lately that I’ve been reading like crazy. Not only was I motivated to read everything on my list for September and work ahead a little, but the books I had assigned myself kept exceeding my expectations, leaving me even more excited about the next choices I’d planned. What I thought was a list of good books turned out to be a list of great books, and they’ve made me even more excited about planning my next reads. I’ll be forging my way through this next list starting immediately, and I’ve decided to plan a relatively high number again in case my reading streak continues. Without further ado, here’s my October TBR:
- Golden Son by Pierce Brown. October is a month for fantasy and thrillers–a bit of the otherworldy, and all the creepy vibes. A couple of the characters from the first book of this trilogy struck me as pretty creepy (I’m anxiously awaiting their return in this sequel), and the futuristic Mars setting definitely qualifies it as otherworldly. Also, the cover just looks perfect for fall, dark and gold with a hint of red orange. I’m so excited to read this one, and I think this will be a great time of year for it.
- The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. Speaking of thrillers, how about one where you can’t trust your own neighbors? Perfect just before Halloween. I’ve been highly anticipating this one for about a month, and now is the time to read it.
- The Revenant by Michael Punke. I think this one is going to be a great cold-weather read, and by the middle of October I think I’ll be cold enough. Also, I’m planning to finally see this movie next month, so I want to read it before then. It’s been a little while since my last historical fiction read, so I’m excited to dip my toes in that water again, especially as back-to-school season is well upon us (historical fiction always feels a bit educational to me).
- I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid. This one’s a psychological thriller dealing with a character who can’t stop thinking about ending her relationship, though there seems to be no reason to do so. I believe the couple is stuck somewhere on a trip together, which I think will be unusual and intriguing. October is a month for monsters, and what more frightening monster is there than the darkness in oneself?
- A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Here’s my YA read of the month, a true fantasy novel because I had to have one of those on my October list. I’m actually planning to pick up additional YA books this month if I reach the end of my official TBR, but I’m not sure which ones yet. This one, though, was my top YA pick for October because of the fall-colored cover, the fantasy genre, and the (rather embarrassing) fact that I haven’t ready any Sarah J. Maas yet.
- Morning Star by Pierce Brown. If I were a rational reader, I would drag out this trilogy a little longer, but I barely restrained myself from throwing my September TBR out the window to continue with it in September, and I know after reading Golden Son I won’t be able to put off this third book very long now that it’s in my hands. If I end up getting a little behind schedule this month though, this is the one I’ll try leaving on the back burner until November.
- Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. Here’s an extra YA book I am planning to read this month, though I wasn’t willing to count it is the YA pick of October since it’s a sequel. I want to continue on in the Lunar Chronicles series, but I have so many other books I want to read in October that I don’t think I’ll get farther than this second book within the month. Even so, I think Meyer’s futuristic fairy tale world will be a good fit for this time of year.
- Dracula by Bram Stoker. Last but not least, my most Halloween-ish pick of the month. I bought this a few years ago with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which I read and loved, but I haven’t gotten around to this one yet. Despite all the new books I want to read so badly, it’s important to me to keep up with my classics list, as well, and this one jumped out at me while I was planning this TBR. I think a monster tale would make a perfect read for the end of the month, and if you’re going for vampires, what better choice than the quintessential vampire book? I can hardly wait.
What are you reading in October? Which creepy, otherworldly, or monster stories should I keep in mind for next year, or even early November? I would love to hear your recommendations! I hope you’re as excited for this new month of reading as I am. If you need me, I’ll be turning pages.
The Literary Elephant