October Reads and Reviews
What a great month of reading this was for me! I had so many books that I loved, and absolutely flew through books like I've never done before. In fact- I borrowed 4 books from the library in the week leading up to my vacation and managed to finish them all by the time I left. I'm not typically a fast reader so that was insane for me! I guess there's just something about fall reading that makes it easy to cozy up and fly through some books. Here's what I read this month! (full of mostly treats...not tricks!)
Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
Late October. After midnight. You’re waiting up for your seventeen-year-old son. He’s late. As you watch from the window, he emerges, and you realize he isn’t alone: he’s walking toward a man, and he’s armed.
You can’t believe it when you see him do it: your funny, happy teenage son, he kills a stranger, right there on the street outside your house. You don’t know who. You don’t know why. You only know your son is now in custody. His future shattered.
That night you fall asleep in despair. All is lost. Until you wake... and it is yesterday.
And then you wake again... and it is the day before yesterday.
Every morning you wake up a day earlier, another day before the murder. With another chance to stop it. Somewhere in the past lies an answer. The trigger for this crime—and you don’t have a choice but to find it...
Very interesting premise for a book- I loved how all of the ends tied up by the end and you learned bits and pieces as you went. It was a little too slow moving for me and confusing as you went along (too many names to remember and random small things to keep track of) but the ending made it worth it.
My Rating - 3.5/5
Survive the Night by Riley Sager
Charlie Jordan is being driven across the country by a serial killer. Maybe.
Behind the wheel is Josh Baxter, a stranger Charlie met by the college ride share board, who also has a good reason for leaving university in the middle of term. On the road they share their stories, carefully avoiding the subject dominating the news - the Campus Killer, who's tied up and stabbed three students in the span of a year, has just struck again.
Travelling the lengthy journey between university and their final destination, Charlie begins to notice discrepancies in Josh's story. As she begins to plan her escape from the man she is becoming certain is the killer, she starts to suspect that Josh knows exactly what she's thinking. Meaning that she could very well end up as his next victim.
I really liked this! I found it more cheesy horror than actual scary- everything seemed so over the top and unrealistic that it felt like a campy Halloween movie more than a scary book. Couldn’t put it down and really like how the twists played our, even if most of them were predictable. Good book for the season!
My Rating - 4/5
The It Girl by Ruth Ware
April Coutts-Cliveden was the first person Hannah Jones met at Oxford.
Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. Together, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends—Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily—during their first term. By the end of the second, April was dead.
Now, a decade later, Hannah and Will are expecting their first child, and the man convicted of killing April, former Oxford porter John Neville, has died in prison. Relieved to have finally put the past behind her, Hannah’s world is rocked when a young journalist comes knocking and presents new evidence that Neville may have been innocent. As Hannah reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April’s death, she realizes that the friends she thought she knew all have something to hide… including a murder.
I really liked this book! Anything set in a university is immediately a yes for me (I think we're calling it "dark academia" now), and this one felt perfect for fall. I also love stories that are told in different times, and I found myself gripped with each one almost equally. There's just something about Ruth Ware's books that get me turning pages quicker than ever - I've never been disappointed with any of her books.
My only complaint was that it started to drag once we switched into all of the "after" chapters. I started to just graze the page and wanted to figure out what happened. The ending was great though!
My Rating - 4.5/5
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn't believe in lasting romantic relationships--but her best friend does, and that's what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.
That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor--and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford's reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive's career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding... six-pack abs.
Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.
I loved this! Sure- the premise didn’t seem believable to me and it was very predictable and the cheesy rom-com tropes were all there (I did like how Olive and Anh made fun of them though!) but it was just such a cute story that I didn’t even care. I loved the relationship that formed and the witty conversations, mixed in with the science / academia talk. It was all so good! Plus who doesn’t live for a fake relationship story line…
My Rating - 5/5
Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins
When Lux McAllister and her boyfriend, Nico, are hired to sail two women to a remote island in the South Pacific, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. Stuck in a dead-end job in Hawaii, and longing to travel the world after a family tragedy, Lux is eager to climb on board The Susannah and set out on an adventure. She’s also quick to bond with their passengers, college best friends Brittany and Amma. The two women say they want to travel off the beaten path. But like Lux, they may have other reasons to be seeking an escape.
Shimmering on the horizon after days at sea, Meroe Island is every bit the paradise the foursome expects, despite a mysterious history of shipwrecks, cannibalism, and even rumors of murder. But what they don’t expect is to discover another boat already anchored off Meroe’s sandy beaches. The owners of the Azure Sky, Jake and Eliza, are a true golden couple: gorgeous, laidback, and if their sleek catamaran and well-stocked bar are any indication, rich. Now a party of six, the new friends settle in to experience life on an exotic island, and the serenity of being completely off the grid. Lux hasn’t felt like she truly belonged anywhere in years, yet here on Meroe, with these fellow free spirits, she finally has a sense of peace.
But with the arrival of a skeevy stranger sailing alone in pursuit of a darker kind of good time, the balance of the group is disrupted. Soon, cracks begin to emerge: it seems that Brittany and Amma haven’t been completely honest with Lux about their pasts––and perhaps not even with each other. And though Jake and Eliza seem like the perfect pair, the rocky history of their relationship begins to resurface, and their reasons for sailing to Meroe might not be as innocent as they first appeared.
Very quick and easy read. Not really a thriller until the end, which felt really rushed. Loved the characters and how everything tied together though, although (SPOILER!!) I’m just confused if Amma recognized Eliza or not? That part was a little confusing to me and felt like a bit of a hole in the story.
My Rating - 3/5
Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley
Note - this won Goodread's Best Young Adult Fiction for 2021
As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in—both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. When her family is struck by tragedy, Daunis puts her dreams on hold to care for her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother’s hockey team.
After Daunis witnesses a shocking murder that thrusts her into a criminal investigation, she agrees to go undercover. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home. How far will she go to protect her community if it means tearing apart the only world she’s ever known?
I was debating between 4 and 5 stars for this, but honestly I have never read anything like this and there need to be more stories about Native Americans out there! This was such a beautiful story that was heartbreaking and thrilling, while weaving in stories and traditions along the way. I learned so much during this book and loved the way it was told. Daunis is such a fun and spunky character, and I loved her relationship with the others and how much the community meant in the story. Only complaint is the middle part got a bit repetitive, and it always seems a little strange for such serious matter to be told in a really YA voice. Didn’t seem to match with the actual story. But otherwise LOVE and highly recommend!
My Rating - 5/5
The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia's life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they're more likely to discuss the FBI's recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.
But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club's meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he's a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she--and her book club--are the only people standing between the monster they've invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.
This was very fitting for my book club's pick this month, but unfortunately I wasn't a big fan of it. The story was set in the 90's but with all of the sexism and "good little housewives" being the main plot line it felt like it belonged centuries ago. It seemed to drag on- especially in the middle- and felt like it was the same chapter over and over until the back quarter of the book. This was also way too gory for me with some truly disgusting scenes that I had to skim through. Could have been an interesting story but it wasn't for me.
My Rating - 1.5/5
I think the Firekeeper's Daughter might be one of my favorite books that I've read this year. I had low expectations going in (I think the cover art made me think it was about something it was not about). However, I thought The Love Hypothesis was just plain irresponsible - students and teachers hooking up is not sexy in my world and I just couldn't get over it! LOL. It's clearly a trope for someone else.ReplyDelete
It was amazing!! A little hard for me to get into but once I was, it was such an engrossing read. And I can see what you mean about Love Hypothesis...I had to suspend some disbelief there or tell myself they're all adults since it's a post-grad program...but still felt very icky and like he was taking advantage of his position.Delete