Books I Read in Fall (+ You Should Read Them If…)

Hello! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. It was a quiet holiday for my family so I was able to get some rest and relax throughout the week, which is something I’ve lacked quite a bit in 2018 (rest). It felt so nice to unwind a bit! Part of rest and relaxation for me involves reading, so I decided it was time to share what I read in the fall so that December can stand on its own in book reviews when the month is officially over. Stay tuned for December reads and my favorite books from 2018 in the next week or so!

Until then, this is what I read from September through November. It’s organized by YA, thrillers/horror, and the one non-fiction that I read during this time period.

Here's a list of the books I read and a list to help you decide if it's the right book for you! What have you read? //

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Molly has had a lot of crushes, but they’ve never become anything more. When she sets her sights on her sister’s girlfriend’s sidekick, she thinks she might be able to get closer to her sister again and finally have her first kiss! The only problem… her coworker Reid, who is the last guy she should fall for.

This was a really cute, fun read. Looking back on it now a few months later, I don’t know how much of it I really remember, but I had fun listening to it. (I listened to the audiobook, which was fantastic.) However there is one scene in this that I absolutely loved and remember very clearly. Definitely a worthwhile read, even though this probably seems like a rather lukewarm review. I really enjoyed it when I listened to it, but it wasn’t the most memorable for me and isn’t a fave.

Read This If You:
>> Enjoy rom-com’s with heart

Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon tries to avoid drama. Instead, he emails his secretive friend Blue (who’s true identity he doesn’t know) about his sexuality and spends time with his tight-knit friend group. When someone discovers Simon’s emails, they attempt to blackmail him, and Simon must figure out how to prevent the emails from going public without alienating his friends.

I absolutely loved this book. I also listened to this one on audiobook, which is a great listen. I loved Simon from the start and was invested in his storyline the entire way through. I also loved his friends and was interested in what was happening with them just as much as Simon. And I worked hard to try and figure out who Blue might be, along with Simon.

Read This If You:
>> Enjoy cute rom-com’s with heart
>> Enjoy following a character who’s exploring his identity

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

I honestly don’t remember much about this book. Jude is half-fairy, half-human, but she’s been living with the fae world ever since her parents were murdered and she and her sisters were taken to the fae world by her oldest sister’s dad. Humans are hated, so she hasn’t been officially accepted, so I think she has to win approval to become an official member of the fae court?

I didn’t like this. When I finally realized I wasn’t going to start to enjoy this, I was far enough in that I wanted to finish it. But I don’t remember much about it. I’ve never been too interested in fae stories. That being said, it does get a lot of great reviews, so if the official synopsis sounds good to you, you should definitely read it!

Read This If You…
>> Enjoy YA fantasy
>> Love stories about fae

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

In 60 seconds as Will descends in the elevator he has to decide if he’s going to kill the person who killed his brother in revenge. The elevator stops on each floor and someone connected to his brother gets on to help him make his decision.

I listened to this on audiobook as well and really loved that format. I would like to read it sometime as well, but the novel is told in verse and Jason Reynolds narrates, so it’s totally worth a listen. This is a short read, but incredibly powerful.

Read This If You…
>> Just read it.

Sadie by Courtney Summers

After Sadie’s sister is found dead and the police botch the investigation, Sadie leaves on a mission to get revenge. When radio personality West McCray hears Sadie’s story, he tries to follow in her footsteps and hopes he can find out what happened–and find her–all while documenting his journey on a new podcast, The Girls.

I read part of this, but listened to most of it on audiobook and the audiobook is the way to go. It has a full cast and the podcast is presented as a podcast, which totally adds to the “reading” experience. This isn’t an easy read–books by Courtney Summers never are–but I think it addresses a lot of topics that need to be discussed.

Read This If You…
>> This is another to just read, but look into the trigger warnings if you think it might have some content that will be difficult.

The Mara Dyer Trilogy by Michelle Hodkin

(The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, The Evolution of Mara Dyer, & The Retribution of Mara Dyer)

Mara Dyer woke up in a hospital with no memory of the building collapse that she survived even though the rest of her friends died. Her family moves to put it all behind them, but things keep getting more strange for Mara.

This is a hard book/series to describe, but it’s one of my favorites. I listened to it this time, although I have read all of them. It’s probably one of my most-read series, which just goes to show how much I love it. It’s not a perfect series and people tend to love it or hate it, but I’m always entertained and intrigued. I love how atmospheric it is and the different ideas that Hodkin weaves through the trilogy. Now I’m ready to dive into the companion series!

Read This If You…
>> Like an unreliable narrator
>> Enjoy stories where strange things happen
>> Are looking for a story that will entertain…don’t take the series seriously, just have a good time with it!

Campfire by Shawn Sarles

When Maddie, her friends, and family sit down around a campfire to tell stories their guide warns them that stories told around a campfire come true. No one believes him… until they do.

I bought this book over the summer and it’s been staring at me from my bookshelf ever since… literally staring, since the spine of the book has an eye. I picked this up over Thanksgiving break, looking for a good, campy read reminiscent of the horror movies I watched when I was a teen and I loved this one. I figured out most of the twists (except for one, which did take me by surprise), but I had so much fun with this read.

Read This If You…
>> Enjoy throwback, campy horror
>> Want to be entertained… again, don’t take this book too seriously… read it to be entertained

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

Erin is a documentary filmmaker who’s working on a project that could be a breakthrough in her career. When she and her new husband go to Bora Bora on their honeymoon, they find something in the water during a snorkeling trip and make a decision that could impact their future.

This is an interesting one to try to review. I loved it, but I feel like that’s an unpopular opinion. I also listened to this one and I think that might be the way to go with it. There were times I wondered if the writing would feel awkward if I were reading it, but it didn’t feel that way when I listened to it.

There were two different parts to this story: the interviews Erin is doing for her documentary and the honeymoon, which sets the overall narrative in motion. They work together and you can definitely see how they’re cohesive, however the documentary had so much potential if explored on its own and I wanted that story as well. I actually wanted that story a little bit more than the overall one I got.

I was so frustrated with Erin and her husband throughout most of the novel, but I was also totally invested in their story. It was also so vivid at points that it freaked me out a little… and that doesn’t happen as much as I’d like in a book. I actually listened to this one night when I was working late at the office by myself and I was so freaked out that I eventually had to leave. I even sent a friend a message telling her the book really freaked me out so I was leaving before I walked out the door. 😂So that makes it a good book for me.

Read This If You…
>> Think it sounds interesting and want to see what the story is like…but maybe get it from the library just in case you don’t like it (I did!)

Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto

Yoshimoto tells three different stories about three women who are all bewitched into sleep: one woman who lost a lover starts sleepwalking, a woman who’s in a relationship with a man whose wife is in a coma can’t stay awake, and a third is haunted in her sleep by a woman who was once part of a love triangle she was involved in.

This is the second book I’ve read by Banana Yoshimoto and I’m never sure how I feel about them once I finish. Although, looking back at the stories in this book, I think it started with my favorite and I enjoyed each one a little less than the one before, so if the order had been reversed I would have finished it on a higher note. I enjoyed it, though, and had a hard time putting it down. I read one story each day, so it was quick and easy to get to.

Read This If You…
>> Enjoy stories that examine characters
>> Are a fan of Japanese fiction

The Shining by Stephen King

Jack Torrance takes a job as caretaker at the Overlook Hotel during winter and moves there with his family. But as winter sets in, the hotel becomes more sinister, and a force starts to settle around the hotel… and Jack’s young son Danny, who has a unique gift.

I feel like The Shining will always be a big part of my life. I’ve been fascinated ever since I first watched the movie with a friend at age 10 and was terrified ever since. This is the first novel of King’s that I’ve finished, although I’ve attempted quite a few, and I ended up listening to this one on audiobook. I think that’s the way to go for me with his writing. I can see why people love him, but I can also see why people don’t. Some of his descriptions were … off putting. But I appreciated reading the story that has haunted me since I was young. And I thought the woman in the bathtub couldn’t be more terrifying than she was in the movie… but she is! (Although I didn’t have nightmares about her this time.)

Read This If You…
>> Want to try a Stephen King
>> Are a fan of Stephen King (although if you are, you’ve probably read it!)
>> Want to know the story behind the movie

Annhilation by Jeff Vandermeer

A group of four women go an expedition into Area X: a place that people go into and come out completely different, before dying soon after.

I really wanted to like this one, but it just wasn’t my kind of story so I often lost focus on it. I don’t remember much about it. I do plan to watch the movie, but will skip the rest of the series.

Read This If You…
>> Are a Sci-Fi fan (I’m not)
>> Want a short read

He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker

Maggie visits New York to pack up her best friend Celine’s life after Celine dies in what police rule a suicide. But Maggie doesn’t believe Celine would kill herself, so she starts to investigate on her own in hopes of finding a reason for the police to reopen their investigation.

This is another one that I really wanted to like and I just… didn’t. I didn’t care for Maggie at all. She came off as entitled and someone who has a savior complex. I loved Celine and was really fascinated by her. While some of the story was told from Celine’s POV, I really would have appreciated more. I also didn’t care for the mystery; I thought the reveal was lacking. However, I think it’s an unpopular opinion, so if you’d really like to read it, don’t let me hold you back.

Read This If You…
>> Enjoy “New Adult” Romantic Thrillers
>> Like stories that center around friendship

Odd Birds by Ian Harding

Pretty Little Liars actor reflects on life in Hollywood and his favorite past-time: birdwatching.

I knew this would be either hit or miss and given what I’ve read about Ian Harding over the years, I was hopeful that it would be a hit. And I really enjoyed it! I never knew he was really into bird watching, but I loved how he used that hobby to share his observations about life. I listened to the audiobook since he narrates and was completely swept away by the stories he shared. I’ve even gone back to read some passages since and I’ve shared some of the reflections I’ve had based on the stories he shared.

Read This If You…
>> Are a fan of PLL and/or Ian Harding
>> Want to hear more about birdwatching

And that’s it for me! Don’t worry… my December wrap-up will be much shorter. I didn’t want to add them to this already long list, but I wanted to share these, because there were some that I absolutely loved.

Tell me about some books you’ve read recently!

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