So… If we’re being honest, September was the month of this quarter because I found one new favorite in July and August respectively. I do have a number of honorable mentions, but ultimately, there are only six books that I feel like screaming and shouting from the rooftops from the past three months and I hope that my enthusiasm will encourage you to also pick these books up!
Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano
I am so in love with Finlay Donovan, y’all. First of all, I devoured it and kept texting my IRL friend who had already read it while I was reading to basically scream at her in text form. THEN I got to the place where I was meeting some of my aunts, grandma, and one uncle and enthusiastically told them all about it. And THEN I immediately requested the ARC of book two, called my sister and told her how to login to Libby with my card to make her listen to it immediately. And once I had the ARC of book two I read it literally every free second I had. And I was on a road trip. I read it while standing in line to get coffee, I read it while waiting for my dinner at Sheetz, I read it when I was awake first when I was still with my best friend… I mean, truly, I am OBSESSED. If you don’t know what Finlay Donovan is about, the premise is that this romantic suspense author is having a meeting with her agent when someone else at Panera mistakes her for a hitman. I would explain more but I literally don’t want to spoil ANYTHING. Basically, this book combines humor and a sort of mystery element and it’s incredible. Also, for the record, I am Team Nick in this love triangle situation, but please read this and report back what team you’re on.
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Speaking of books I’m obsessed with, The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood is also pretty up there. I kept hugging this book to me while reading it. Like, I love this book. I can recognize some of the perceived flaws and will nod along as someone critiques it, but it is wonderful and I’m obsessed with it. This contemporary romance follows PhD student Olive who in a moment of desperation kisses a badass and aloof professor, who shockingly agrees to go along with her plan of pretending to date her. I love the grumpy sunshine trope here. There’s a lot of secondhand embarrassment if you’re anything like me, but also, for me, it was worth the discomfort because I loved Olive so much. I know a lot of people are more into Adam, which I get, but truly, Olive was great. (I still think you should read Nick’s review if you want coherence and I think I linked that in my September Wrap Up.)
Reel by Kennedy Ryan
Kennedy Ryan is an absolutely phenomenal writer. I mean, truly, phenomenal. Reel is fairly unique in her repertoire thus far and I think it showcased how incredible she is in so many ways. Part of Reel is that Canon, a hotshot director person, is putting together a biopic about a Black singer whose story was really lost to time (and, you know, racism) and Neevah plays her in the movie. The book incorporates some of the Blues singer’s history into the book and it’s really well integrated to the point that at the end, I felt like I did at the end of Daisy Jones and wanted to be able to go watch the movie/listen to her music. Plus, Neevah and Canon feel so real. The illness representation in here was heart wrenching and gorgeous and the family dynamics and friendship? Ugh. This book!!!! So good. Oh, and I really wish I could watch both of the documentaries that sort of bookend this novel. Why aren’t these things real? Anyway, this book is incredible and I definitely encourage everyone to read it.
The Belle and the Beard by Kate Canterbary
This book has sent me down the Kate Canterbary trail as I’ve now read Magnolia’s book (LOVED) and am in the middle of Ash’s (currently adoring) and I am so grateful. Shout out to everyone who hyped this book up because it more than lived up to it for me. I love Caterbary’s writing and can definitely see myself just going down quite the rabbit hole like I did with Laura Florand last year. It’s always incredible when you find another author like that. But truly, I highlighted this book twenty two times. That is practically unheard of for me. It’s definitely got one of the highest amounts of highlights if it doesn’t actually have the most of a fiction book I’ve ever read. I love this book. I could probably write an entire essay dedicated to how much I love Jasper-Anne. And Kate Canterbary seems to write hot mess heroines so perfectly so I’m very at home in her writing and think it may be a while before I emerge.
Last Guard by Nalini Singh
I’m fairly certain that Last Guard is the only book I read for both the first and second time this year. I loved it so much and I wouldn’t really be shocked if I read it again before the end of the year. Payal and Canto are actually everything. I love them so much. I don’t really have anything particularly insightful to say, but I really think this book shuffled my top rankings of the Psy-Changeling books, but I can’t quite decide where it fits. I think I need to do a full re-read again to figure that out. What a shame. Lol
Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews
Honestly, I was not expecting Hugh’s book to wind up being my favorite out of the entire Kate Daniels world, but here we are. This book is everything. I devoured it, y’all. I wasn’t really supposed to get this book read while I was on vacation in August because I was supposed to be reading something else, but, um, there were no other options besides me shutting out all of the other distractions in order to listen to this book. I loved it so, so much. Elara is a badass and I want to be her when I grow up. Like… She’s incredible!!! Do not read this book though if you haven’t read the Kate Daniels books up to book… 11, I think. I’m not going to say anything else because the uncovering of everything is part of the fun. But I definitely love this book and want more Hugh desperately.
Honorable Mentions: Wreckless by Katie Golding, Bombshell by Sarah MacLean, The Shaadi Set-Up by Lillie Vale, A Lot Like Adiós by Alexis Daria, With You Forever by Chloe Liese, Battle Royal by Lucy Parker, Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews, Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey, and Devil in Disguise by Lisa Kleypas
Other highlights of my reading in the last three months was my re-read of the entire Hidden Legacy series that is out so far because that was glorious. I love Nevada and Rogan and the Baylors and Catalina and Alessandro. I cannot wait for Ruby Fever. I also really enjoyed my Lady Sherlock re-reads and the fact that I was still surprised by some of the reveals even though they were RE-READS.
What were your reading highlights of the last quarter?
5 responses to “Favorites of Q3: July – September”
So many good books!! As I said yesterday, I’m thrilled you loved The Love Hypothesis. I thought that one review for it was really unfair with the way it discussed the author’s ability to write sexual assault but lemme be quiet.
You’ve got me so intrigued about Finlay Donovan! And it has a love triangle! I wouldn’t even pick it up but since you are raving about it, I will put it on hold.
Also will be reading the Kate Canterbarry ASAP. I LOVE her writing so much!
Also, yes to everything you said about Iron and Magic. I didn’t anticipate enjoying Hugh’s book because HUGH, but the book surprised me in a really good way. But also stupid me for even having doubts over an Ilona Andrews book!
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I hope you like Finlay as much as me!!!!!!!
I know. I need to always trust in IA. But sometimes I can’t help my skeptical nature.
How did I not know you read and loved Iron and Magic?? I was caught off guard by how much I loved that one, too!! And Last Guard!! How does Nalini do it?! I haven’t heard anything about Finlay Donovan is killing it, but it sounds fun! I’ll have to check it out 🙂
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Omg, Dani, I’m obsessed. With Iron and Magic, but also Finlay Donovan. Lol. And we both know of my never ending love for Nalini!
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