This month I got a lot more read! I read 7 books and 2,778 pages! I've fallen back into the swing of things at school and though I have a huge workload, I tried really hard to make time every day to read. I had some favorites and some flops this month- fair warning, there is a 2/10 book on this list. I slogged through that one because my mother didn't raise a quitter! And there were also multiple 10/10s to make up for that one.
As always, I've linked all of the books to my favorite local independent bookstore- if any of these books speak to you, shop local!
Love, Chai, and Other Four Letter Words, by Annika Sharma - 10/10
The only problem I have with this book is that it isn't longer. I met Annika Sharma at an event at my local independent bookstore over the summer and got my book signed, having no idea of the EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER she was about to take me on. WOW. Love, Chai, and Other Four Letter Words is like if a hug were a book. I adored it. I laughed. I cried. I direct messaged Annika Sharma throughout telling her how much I loved it, and to my delight, she responded every time. I asked her at the book signing if she would talk with me for the blog and she said yes, so stay tuned for that interview- I just know it is going to be incredible.
Without spoiling much, this book is about an Indian girl named Kiran, who falls in love with an American boy named Nash, much to her parents’ dismay. It gets worse before it gets better, and a lot of the words exchanged in this book were upsetting, but I also remind myself that I’m reading this through a white-girl lens. I know there are a lot of cultural nuances that I’ll never understand, but I really intend to try to. The romance in this book was top tier- if you enjoy meet-cutes and cozy evenings on the couch, you’ll fall for this book just as hard as I did. I’m going to have the biggest book hangover now.
Can’t Hide Love, by Cheris Hodges - 2/10
This book, unfortunately, simply wasn’t my cup of tea. I’m going to be brutally honest in my review because I’m not the type to give every book ten stars- in my opinion, this was not good writing. I now have a jumpscare response to the word “quipped” because of how often it was used- those people quipped EVERYTHING. Writers- sometimes it’s okay to just say “said.” The storyline was too cheesy, predictable, and oversexual for me. The amount of truly horrible euphemisms used in the first 100 pages of this book alone was enough for me to consider not finishing it (although some of them did give me a good laugh), but I wanted to give the author the benefit of the doubt. I really wanted to like this story, but I just couldn’t bring myself to care about these characters. The book is about a workaholic named Alexandria who goes on a singles cruise and meets a man named Wes, who seduces her and they spend the entire cruise together having sex and making out in public places. I always want to be honest in my reviews- I didn’t like this book at all and had a really hard time forcing myself to finish it. But that doesn’t make it a universally bad book. It has incredibly good reviews on Goodreads. I know that this author has a really big following, and I also know this is the last book in a series- though you don’t have to read the other books to understand this one. In summary, you might like this book but it wasn’t for me at all.
Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships, by Sarah Grunder-Ruiz - 9.5/10
I read this book in one day. I couldn’t put it down. I actually skipped a class to read this because it was just one of those books that you do that for.
Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships was far more heartbreaking than I expected it to be, but it was adorable and funny and sexy all the same. Sarah Grunder-Ruiz (who I also met at the Bookmarks event) writes about grief and love exceptionally well and I can’t wait to read more from her. I ordered Luck and Last Resorts, her most recent novel, midday because I knew this wasn’t the last thing I’d want to read from her.
Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships is about a young woman named Josephine who’s a stewardess on a yacht and the aunt of two teenagers, Kitty and Mia, whose brother Samson recently died in an accident. The two girls come to Jo’s beach condo for the summer and navigate their grief while also trying to help Jo complete her 30-before-30 bucket list. The new chef on the yacht, Alex, (aka Hot Yacht Chef) along with his thirteen-year-old daughter Greyson, end up being just what Jo needs to survive the summer :)
This was fantastic and I couldn’t get enough. I’m writing this review at 11:30 PM because I just finished the book and wanted to get my thoughts down before I forgot them.
Between The Lines, by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer - 10/10
I fell in love with this book HARD. I read the first 40 pages of this book one day and the other 312 pages the next. As a writer, this is the coolest concept ever. The idea that characters have lives outside of the story they are confined to actually helped me cut some scenes from my own work in progress by thinking that those scenes were just things that happened when readers weren’t looking. This book was incredibly well written and I adored it. This story is about a character in a story that falls in love with his reader and vice versa. Oliver wants to get out of his story and Delilah wants to help him. It was incredible and SO different from anything else that Jodi Picoult has written. She co-authored it with her daughter and I want her to write more YA stuff now! I ordered the sequel to this book and will read it as soon as it arrives!
Luck and Last Resorts, by Sarah Grunder Ruiz - 10/10
I read this one in a day as well. Sarah Grunder Ruiz’s writing has this effect on me where I want to ignore every obligation I have so I can devour her pages. I ordered Luck and Last Resorts when I was in the middle of her other book and I have no regrets- this book was just as incredible as her other book but in a different way. I actually think I loved Nina and Ollie more than Jo and Alex, and that's saying something! There's just something about a second-chance romance. This book had me laughing, crying, and squealing every time Ollie called Nina by a cute pet name. Why can’t I have a hot Irishman vying for my affections and calling me Kitten? It was SUCH a cute story, even if it made me cry multiple times over the course of 12 hours and ugh, it was so funny. Ollie described carrying all the groceries into the house in one go as “looking like a f*cking muppet” and now I’m always going to think about that when I carry all my groceries and takeout into my apartment in one go. This book had everything you want in a romance novel and I can’t wait to read her next book!
Off The Page, by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer - 8/10
I just realized that I’ve read three books in a row (technically four if you count LLFS where Ollie made an appearance) where the main love interest’s name was Oliver. Oliver the prince in Between the Lines, Oliver (Ollie) the hot Irish yacht chef, and Oliver the prince again.
I didn’t love this book as much as Between The Lines, but I did really enjoy it! A lot more happened in this book and it was definitely sad at times, but there was also a lot of comic relief in the form of a fictional character learning how to act like a modern-day high schooler. Oliver was hilarious as he navigated those situations and his pure adoration of Delilah was a joy to read. It was also fun/complicated to get some different perspectives in this novel. We get to hear from Edgar, the son of the author of the book Oliver came from. The ending of Off The Page was sad but so sweet. I just love this premise so much.
The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, by V.E. Schwab - 10/10
When I was in high school, V.E. Schwab visited a creative writing class I was taking and told me to "write brave". I read The Invisible Life Of Addie Larue for the first time about a year ago and I was enchanted by the writing and storyline. This book is incredible and I lose myself in Schwab's pages every time I have the pleasure of reading her work.
This book bounces back and forth from the perspective of a girl who has lived 300 years and has been cursed so that whenever people turn away from her, they won't recognize her when they turn back. Until one day, in 2014, nearly 300 years after she was cursed by a god who answers after dark...a boy remembers her. What follows is a stunning adventure and heartbreak will ensue. I cry every time I read this book- it's just such a well-crafted story.
For a story about a girl cursed to be forgotten, I will remember this story. I will remember her.
And there you have it! I cannot wait to see what October brings! Do you have any spooky season book recommendations for me? If so, leave them in the comments!