My birthday month was probably the most slumpy I’ve ever felt. If not for audiobooks, I would have read only four books the entire month. I’m not really sure what was going on with me, but reading just wasn’t holding my attention. I started and got fairly far through a ridiculous number of books, but then I would just abandon them. It usually wasn’t even because I’d actually lost interest, I just… couldn’t keep reading them? It was weird. Anyway, September seemed to be a MONTH for a lot of people, so I’m not going to be too hard on myself. I also didn’t do a mid-month wrap up because I would have been talking about only five books. So now we get to talk about eight books instead and I’ll refer you to my ContemporaryAThon Wrap Up for my thoughts on the other eight books I read.
I started the month listening to Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop, which is the final book in The Others series, technically, although The World of the Others series is a seamless continuation. I definitely found the romantic arc of The Others satisfactory, although I would like more so we can see what comes after our potential HEA. For five books of development, we don’t really get to see how things go now that Simon and Meg are going to try a relationship.
I read Lake Silence as well and I have to say the romantic arc in that one is… unclear. My love of the world that Anne Bishop created keeps me from being too upset about it. It’s very important that you set your expectations appropriately before you start Lake Silence, which is the start a series of stand alone novels that explore different areas of the world of Thaysia (sp?). It does not star any of our main characters from the original series, although there are occasional mentions of various characters. You absolutely could start here because it’s all new, but there are world building elements that I think you would miss. It’s about Vicki, a human, who has become the land stewardess of land at Lake Silence. Her ex-husband is an asshole, though, so now there are some humans trying to seize control of her land, which truly belongs to the Terra… the others. (Y’all, I don’t know how to spell a single word from this series thanks to listening to the series on audio.) It’s a very compelling story, in my opinion, but expect exactly no romance because that’s what you get. There are some hints that maybe Vicki and this store owner may like one another, but there’s no resolution. Regardless, I really enjoyed the book.
Interest in Getting Schooled by Christina C. Jones was rampant on my Twitter feed at the end of August-beginning of September and I wanted to see why everyone was raving about the book. It’s a contemporary romance novel featuring two characters who are in a collegiate setting, but are both a little older. Jason is a very attractive and very intelligent, 28 year old Black veteran who was medically discharged from the military and is now enrolled in what I think is a fictional HBCU for mechanical engineering. Reece is a 26 year old Black woman and graduate assistant for the class her mother teaches. She is a complex woman who presents a very strong and kind of aloof front, but she feels things very deeply, though she only seems to truly take her walls down for her best friend (and star of book two in the series). When Reece reads Jason’s first draft of a paper for the class she TA’s, she is immediately attracted to his words, but the two in person cannot seem to stop butting heads. I absolutely adored the story and watching the way Reece and Jason grow closer felt so real. They had an argument that was truly the most relatable thing and I loved seeing that in a book. Anyway, I and most of romance twitter recommend this book if you haven’t picked it up yet! The audio is available on Hoopla and is how I consumed this book. Would recommend.
I then moved on to my reread of Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray and narrated on audio by the indomitable January Lavoy. I truly think Lavoy is one of the most talented narrators in the world. Anyway, this book is really delightful because it shows the team up of different sets of the characters and at the end? A freaking masterpiece. This book also sees the introduction of Ling Chan, a Chinese-Irish daughter of immigrants, who has lost the use of her legs thanks to infant paralysis. She and Henry are both dream walkers who get sucked into trying to figure out what’s up with the Sleeping Sickness sweeping New York. And that’s all I can say about the plot without spoiling some things from The Diviners, so let’s move on to a few other things I want to say. This book starts slower (in my opinion) than The Diviners did and, honestly, stays a little slower than the frenetic pace of The Diviners. That said, I loved getting to know each of the characters and also, even though Evie is a mess, she is the light of my life. I love her. I understand her messy disaster ways and I just want to give her a hug and tell her everything is going to be okay. I’m currently relistening to the third book in the series, Before the Devil Breaks You so you should have my thoughts about it in October!
And then I decided to try out Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning, which I picked up after seeing several people talk about the Fever series over the past like, year. It’s a slightly older series, Darkfever was published in 2006, and follows MacKayla as she journeys to Dublin to try and figure out why the police stopped searching for her sister’s murderer. When she arrives in Dublin, she soon discovers that nothing is as it seems. First of all, she’s seeing things other people aren’t, aka fae. Turns out she’s an sidhe-seer, which means she can see fae unlike most of human kind. Secondly, Dublin has these zones that are creepy af. Third, she finds a bookstore owned by Jericho Barrons and things are kind of off to the races from there. I wouldn’t say I’m loving this series, but it’s enjoyable enough that I actually managed to read Bloodfever and Faefever as ebooks that I borrowed from my library. This really is saying a lot given the slump I’ve been in.
I also listened to Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson before ContemporaryAThon, which is a weird like fantasy but contemporary feeling book about Mila Flores who brings back her best friend from the dead. The catch is that it’s only for seven days and also that she also brought back these two mean girls as well, June and Dayton. The four girls have some fascinating adventures as they try to uncover who murdered Riley, although June and Dayton are adamant they did not hang themselves. This book was… well, interesting. I’m so mad at the way it ended, I can’t even wrap my head around giving you a more fair view of whether the book was good or not. Basically, if you want to read a YA fantasy/romance type story, this is not for you.
And then it was ContemporaryAThon, so I will direct you to that post if you would like my feelings about Level Up by Cathy Yardley (spoiler alert: I loved it), Thirsty by Mia Hopkins (amazing), Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory (aka apparently the first Black romance writer!!! My annoyance…), Pride by Ibi Zoboi (not for me, but could be for you), Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno (loved it, can’t wait for Moreno’s sophomore novel), Stripped by Zoey Castille (I HATED the beginning, but I actually really enjoyed the book), The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende (I should never read literary fiction, let’s be real), and The Write Escape by Charish Reid (why would you denigrate romance in a romance novel??? Je ne comprend pas.). So enjoy my thoughts over on the ContemporaryAThon Wrap Up post if you would like.
My favorite book of the month was Level Up by Cathy Yardley. What was yours? Was your September not that great or was it lovely? All I know is that, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers,” is truly the best quote for how I’m feeling as I write this post. I’m sitting in my local coffee shop with a new scarf wrapped around me and a white chocolate mocha latte beside my laptop. It’s a good month and NC may FINALLY be taking a turn for Fall. Fingers crossed!