Dream On by Angie Hockman

Dream On by Angie Hockman

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Other Possible Prompts: 7. Household object on the cover, 11. A book with less than 2022 Goodreads ratings, 17. A book picked based on its spine, 34. An author’s photo on the back cover, 45. A book with illustrated people on the cover, 52. Published in 2022

This book was unexpectedly adorable! I enjoyed Dream On even more than I thought I would, and I think Angie Hockman has made a fan out of me. This was sweet, cute, easy reading that reminds me of Jen DeLuca and Rachel Lynn Solomon.

After getting in a horrific car accident following the bar exam, Cass wakes up from a coma with memories of a man she’s never met: Devin Bloom. Shocking family an doctors alike, she has three months of memories with this man – who unfortunately for Cass, was never really in her life.

Months after the accident, still haunted by these memories of unknown origin, she sees the real Devin in a Cleveland flower shop. After telling him her story, they begin to explore a real relationship, and try get to the root of why she remembered him to begin with. It seems like fate has brought them together…but the universe has other things in store for Cass.

The basis for the plot in this novel is absolutely wild and so creative. Even though it’s a romance, and follows the typical romance arc, this was a breath of fresh air in its originality. I didn’t know how I would feel about the premise, but I can confirm, it was extremely well done and tons of fun to read.

This novel is of the sticky-sweet variety. I loved Cass and I love her evolution as a character from beginning to end. A lawyer with a creative side, she’s drawn to the world of the flower shop and the whimsy of fate. It was a beautiful backdrop to this story – I love colorful and warm settings like this one. You can almost feel the shift in tone between Cass’ time at the flower shop, and at the large firm where she is a summer associate.

The supporting characters in this book were also top notch. I may not have liked them all, but they were well-rounded and I understood how they fit into the story. I don’t wish to spoil Cass’ romance for you – so, spoilers ahead – but Devin kind of sucked for Cass! And I say this because I think it brings up a whole other element of Hockman’s talent: not only could she show you what her soulmate would look like, she showed us all the ways Devin isn’t it. I think it takes a lot of skill to be aware of all parts of your character in that way, as some writers simply write a romance, and I don’t even think the couple goes together properly. The awareness of her characters’ needs was next level.

Overall, I just really enjoyed this one. It was a quick read, but it pulled me in from the first. I think this showcases a lot of talent and I’m not sure why we’re not talking more about Angie Hockman. It only lost a star in my book for not holding the level of ~steam~ I’ve come to expect from the genre; it’s definitely more on the slow-burn, cutesy side of things. Not at all bad, just not what I’ve come to love and expect from the genre.

Highly recommend! Love, love, loved this and I will definitely be picking up Shipped. This is the first book in a while that I have very few complaints about, and actually liked the vibe of. Have a great week!

The Pallbearers Club by Paul Tremblay

The Pallbearers Club by Paul Tremblay

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Other Possible Prompts: 5. Chapters have titles, 8. Involving the art world, 11. A book with less than 2022 Goodreads ratings, 13. Includes a club, 15. A five syllable title, 23. An author with an X, Y, or Z in their name, 36. Recommended by a favorite author, 40. A book with photographs inside, 46. A job title in the title, 52. Published in 2022

My streak of meh books continues. I really think this is the improvement to Paul Tremblay’s work that I was looking for, but I still had to drag myself to the finish line on this one.

Art Barbara is not his real name, but this is his memoir. Beginning in the late 80s, after being told he needs more clubs and extracurriculars to get into college, Art starts The Pallbearers Club: a group that attends the funerals of the homeless, or older people with no one left. There, he meets Mercy, a girl of undistinguishable age, with a camera and a fascination for Art and his club.

Over the next twenty years, Mercy floats in and out of his life, but Art’s life revolves and progresses around the time he spent with Mercy. She left a permanent – and possibly harmful, supernatural – mark on his life that is nearly inescapable.

I don’t really know how to describe this book and I don’t think Tremblay did either. It’s a very, very weird book, but I think it’s kind of a good weird. It very much reminded me of Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick – my go-to recommendation for something oddly heavy. It feels like digesting a lot, which is why it took me longer than expected to finish these less than 300 pages.

The writing here is EXACTLY what I knew Tremblay was capable of when I read, and did not love, Survivor Song. It wasn’t his story, not in the sense that it wasn’t original but in that it was not his scene, not the setting for his storytelling skills. The Pallbearers Club is his story. This blend of 80s cult classic with 90s hopelessness and confusion is a perfect blend for his style and wordplay. This part of the book, at least, was top notch, and solely convinced me I would read another of his books if it sounded like the right one.

I think the characters and the story were also very distinct and interesting, and I liked all of it. They were extremely well-rounded; the relationships and exploration of them through dialogue and moments spent together were exactly what they should’ve been to relay their toxic friendship and increasing madness. It was an intriguing concept, but something about it feels like it could’ve been done better: I liked this book, but I couldn’t wait to be done with it, if that makes sense. It was dense in all the wrong ways. It felt clunky, yet the prose was so perfect. It’s hard to explain, but something about this was disjointed in a way that affected my enjoyment, but not so much my absorption of the point and the book itself.

I would still recommend this one. This is Tremblay in his element, I’m sure of it. There was a lot of good here to go along with the bad.

Have a great weekend!

On Location by Sarah Echavarre Smith

On Location by Sarah Echavarre Smith

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Other Possible Prompts: 8. Involving the art world, 11. A book with less than 2022 Goodreads ratings, 37. Set in a rural area, 41. Involves a second chance, 45. A book with illustrated people on the cover, 50. A person of color as the main character

I am truly on a bad streak right now. On Location fell so flat for me, I’m at a complete loss as to what to try next!

Alia is overjoyed to find her very first solo television project has been greenlit: a series focusing on the National Parks of Utah, a place with special meaning to her from her childhood. She is less thrilled to discover that her host is a washed-up nineties star with a drug problem, and her new field coordinator is her failed date from the previous week: Drew Irons. Determined to keep things professional, she keeps both her host and her feelings for Drew in check.

But when the host misses hours of shoot time, and Drew is so charismatic on camera, Alia hatches a plan that ultimately pushes her and Drew closer. But in the wake of a traumatic relationship, can Alia trust again, even if all the signs are pushing them together?

I felt so very little for both main characters that the romance was just lost on me. Most scenes flopped or fell flat because I felt neutral toward Alia or nothing at all towards Drew (he really didn’t have a personality…or at least not a consistent, pinpointable one). It’s so difficult to enjoy a romance if you don’t like or relate to either character. I think you can still write a good one as long as one of the characters is good and well-written, but not if neither of them are. Alia had a backstory, and a personality, but both were boring! That might be a little harsh, but I just felt nothing for her, I don’t know.

The backdrop of Utah was kind of fun and unique, but I think that fell flat too. There was so much she could’ve done to bring the setting to life, and there wasn’t much detail or imagery. If this book had been rich in setting details, I think it could’ve been more enjoyable and added to the magic. I’ve never been to Utah myself, but one of my friends just recently came back from there armed with tons of photos…so I knew what Smith was writing about, at least from photos, and I don’t think it even remotely captured how magic it looks. It was a great opportunity to use a unique setting that wasn’t fully taken advantage of.

I still like Smith’s writing, though. I can’t deny it’s easy reading. Though dialogue can be a bit cheesy or clunky at times, overall, I like her books. With a bit more practice, I think she could be up there with more popular authors. I didn’t love this one, no, but I would still read more of her work. Sounds like she has another one coming out. The Boy with the Bookstore… *Adds to tbr*.

I just didn’t really dig this one but there’s so much potential. I wish she would take things just a *little* further, both with character development and romance, so I could rate this a little higher. She’ll get another chance, but this one was a no from me. A copy of On Location was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It released on September 21, 2021.

Have a great week!

Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry

Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Other Possible Prompts: 5. Chapters have titles, 7. A non-fiction bestseller, 10. A book based on a real person, 13. Includes a club, 23. An author with an X, Y, or Z in their name, 24. Addresses a specific topic, 29. Over 500 pages long, 30. Audiobook is narrated by the author, 32. A book that intimidates you, 40. A book with photographs inside

Helter Skelter has been on my tbr longer than almost every other book in my possession, I kid you not – I brought this book on a vacation to NYC in January 2019 and remember distinctly getting stopped by TSA because they couldn’t see through the book on the scanner and oh my god it was a book about a serial killer.

What a day.

I finally just cracked and got the audiobook of Helter Skelter, as read by Vincent Bugliosi! I really enjoyed it in this format, perhaps more than I might have just reading the book, because I can hear it in his voice and it felt a bit more like a true crime podcast.

Obviously, this book is the story of the Manson Family Murders, most famously the Tate and LaBianca homicides in California. If you’re unfamiliar with the murders or the case, they are notable for having ended the 60s as people know it: free love, peace not war, drugs and all that…because the Manson “Family”, led by Charles Manson, collectively killed seven people in senseless murders under the direction of Manson and his cult rule. His tribe of vagabonds was intending to ignite “Helter Skelter”, or a race war, that (according to Manson) would eventually lead to African Americans coming to him for direction and rule. His followers literally believed him to be the second coming of Jesus Christ.

I like true crime, but I don’t think I’ve ever read true crime in its actual format. I really enjoyed The Phantom Prince, but I felt that to be more memoir-style. Helter Skelter as its lead prosecutor tells it is analytical and riddled with the law and facts. I actually liked it, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. This reminded me more of The People Vs. OJ Simpson than of the Bear Brook podcasts (quite literally the only podcast I’ve ever listened to, and well worth it). Lucky for me, I *love* The People Vs. OJ Simpson. My near obsession with that show in high school made my mom convinced I needed to be a lawyer. I just found everything about it so damn fascinating.

This is much the same, but with less mystery and more…creepy stuff. The parts of this book that focus on the family are truly disturbing. Manson is such a bizarre enigma of a man that even Bugliosi plays into it…his watch stops, and Manson smiles right at him…stuff like that. He’s a weirdo, to put it nicely, and a murderer to put it frankly. But what was even more captivating is all of the girls under his spell, and even some of the men: he must have had some charisma, some way about him that sucked in people with no direction – and never let them go. Bugliosi does a wonderful job diving into all of that.

I love hearing about how these cases affect history and the world around them, too. That’s something I think Bugliosi does well. I like to be told what makes all of this so important, because otherwise we are simply rehashing a horrible murder. Manson, however, was a product of the time, a product of the 60s – and of some really fascinating influences from the system, our system, that should cause you to think more critically about them.

This was such a bizarre case. Despite the long length of the book, I never lost interest. It was a lot, a lot of content, but everything was pertinent and interesting. There was so much that I didn’t know about the case, from the fact that Manson still had very dedicated fans even ten years ago, to the fact that the LAPD seriously bungled the evidence and everything about this case, to the very critical role the Beatles played in Manson’s ideology. Very cool stuff. I mean, not murder, but the law and the psychology of it all.

I would recommend this book, but I would specifically recommend listening to it. I believe it is only available from Audible, but it’s worth it. Bugliosi does a great job narrating his work, and it makes it feel more like a true crime podcast. I really liked it!

Have an awesome week, friends!

Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma

Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Other Possible Prompts: 5. Chapters have titles, 6. Household object on the cover, 15. A five-syllable title, 33. A bilingual character, 41. Involves a second chance, 45. A book with illustrated people on the cover, 46. A job title in the title, 50. A person of color as the main character, 52. Published in 2022

Another Book of the Month DOWN!! I am calling this an absolute win.

As for the book itself, I wasn’t *in love* with it, but I think there’s a lot of things it gets right. Let’s jump in!

Newly thirty, single lawyer Kareena feels like she faces a constant barrage from her family, aunties, and uncles about not yet being married. It’s not for lack of wanting to, she just hasn’t found her true love yet. In contrast, Prem doesn’t believe in true love: an arranged or approved marriage creates the most health and happiness in a home, and once he’s done building his health center, that’s how he’ll have it.

After a chance encounter at a bar, and an internet video gone viral, Prem and Kareena hate each other for this exact difference in relationship views. But as Kareena’s father prepares to sell her late-mother’s home, and Prem needs to secure the last of the funds for this health center, they realize they could have a mutually beneficial arrangement: engagement.

This wasn’t exactly what I was expecting from the book but I definitely enjoyed it. I thought the plot was going to be going in a different direction but I actually thoroughly enjoyed the “marriage for love/marriage for obligation” dynamic. It created really interesting tension and an engrossing story. I read this in a day! It’s a pretty fast and enjoyable read.

It’s always fun to be immersed into a different culture while you read, and I liked Dating Dr. Dil for this as well. While I found that the way her family treated Kareena was sad, in a cultural context of being from an Indian immigrant family, I understood why she went along with it even when it was painful. Additionally, the clothes and food interwoven into the story were magical details that helped me immerse myself.

The first couple pages into this book I made the mistake of reading some reviews on Goodreads…and while they’re incredibly entertaining thoughts on the subject, it was a bit of a deterrent. Pretty much everyone had one very, particular problem…by the name of Charlie. I won’t go into detail. I wish I hadn’t even written it here because I think reading it ruined that aspect of my reading experience, but, uh…it’s kind of hilarious. But definitely, definitely a con when we’re talking about the book. I’m not sure why the author chose to include “Charlie” or why his name is Charlie to begin with, but yeah.

Kareena and Prem were both pretty okay, they each had their annoying faults, but overall they were decent characters and I was invested in their happiness. In Kareena’s case, especially, I really felt like her family was working against her. They all pretty much sucked except the Aunties. They treated her pretty badly and it made me wish she would cut them off, but I get the dynamic. Prem was fine. Just…fine. Pretty unremarkable. When I thought he was a big television personality I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, because I don’t typically like the “famous people” romances, but that turned out to be a very small part of the plot, so it was fine. Everything’s fine.

Overall? I would recommend this book. I do plan to read the second one when it gets released, so she couldn’t have warned me off that much. My biggest complaints were just the immaturity of the writing and the whole…Charlie thing.

Have an awesome week!

Shipped by Angie Hockman

Shipped by Angie Hockman

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This was unexpectedly good, even better than Dream On which I thoroughly enjoyed! They describe this book as a cross between The Unhoneymooners and The Hating Game, which isn’t all that far off – though I naturally hesitate to compare anything to Thorne’s masterpiece (and they should, too…don’t set yourself up for failure like that, guys).

The ultimate career woman, Henley Evans is about to land a big promotion in the marketing department at her vacation cruise line job – if she can beat out Graeme Crawford-Collins, her number one nemesis. To prepare for their interviews, their boss sends them on a cruise to the Galapagos to experience the adventure for themselves, and put together the perfect marketing presentation.

Once the two meet in person, however, sparks start flying. Henley is shocked to find Graeme may actually be…nice? But she can’t lose sight of the prize: a promotion, a director position, and the stability to pay her student loans. It’s all she’s ever wanted…she thinks.

I don’t think this measures up to The Hating Game, because the antics are non-existent. If you’re going to make that comparison, I better be laughing my butt off (kind of like You Deserve Each Other). This book really isn’t funny; it’s not like they’re playing jokes or lobbing quips. They just hate each other. It’s enjoyable, but it’s a long way from comedy. The Unhoneymooners *is* a good comparison, though. I liked that one as well, but for different reasons, of course!

Graeme and Henley were super cute. Henley was driven and relatable. Graeme was sweet and sensitive. They made for a good contrast and a good couple, if nothing remarkable. Their romance was sweet and genuine. For some reason, today, I just can’t make this book sound that good – but I swear I really did like it.

The Galapagos also makes a fantastic backdrop. I like the ~transformative atmosphere~ and all the animals. 🙂 However, none of the supporting characters here were good. I didn’t like Henley’s sister, Walsh. Or the guy who fawns over her, Nikolai. Or their coworkers, their bosses, or anyone working or enjoying the cruise. All bad or mediocre at best. Henley and Graeme were the only good characters, which made them all the more likeable when it came down to it.

I’m always bothered when I’m reading a workplace story and we just skate right over men not looking out for their female coworkers being treated poorly. This book includes some of that misogyny, but I think it’s handled well. Instead of just providing a good excuse and moving on, Graeme actively works to do better by Henley in their office after his behavior is pointed out. I appreciated that! Definitely a positive.

I’m sorry for this jumbled mess of a review – it’s not my best work. Shipped, though? May be Hockman’s best work. Give it a try!

Have a great weekend!

Devil House by John Darnielle

Devil House by John Darnielle

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The 52 Book Club 2022 Challenge Prompt: 1. A second-person narrative

Other Possible Prompts: 8. Involving the art world, 30. Audiobook is narrated by the author, 38. Don’t judge a book by its cover!, 52. Published in 2022

My bad book streak continues! Someone end my misery. Welp, by the time you read this, hopefully I will have read something worth giving five stars to again.

So to be completely frank: I have no idea what this book is really about. There are parts of it that I just…completely lost. I truly thought this was going to be a dark and creepy ‘Salem’s Lot-esque novel, maybe some Amityville touches, but this book isn’t so much horror as it is critical fiction. Here’s what I definitely parced plot-wise:

Writer Gage Chandler crafts tales of true crime by getting up close and personal with his stories and their history, and many of his works have even become movies. When his editor stumbles upon a random article from the 1980s about a satanic killing in an old porn shop north of San Francisco, he implores Gage to buy the home, move into it, and tell the real story.

Interwoven with one of his other tales, The White Witch, Gage tells the story of Devil House and all that he can parce truly transpired there…but as he unearths more of the story, he is left thinking about the true meaning and impact of his work as a true crime novelist.

Self loathing mid-life crisis much? I just felt like there was…a lot of author in this book. It feels like a reflection essay disguised as a tale of “horror”. Which, by the way, it wasn’t, really.

I chuckled as I included “Don’t judge a book by its cover” as one of the possible prompts (only the second book I’ve put on that list this year), primarily because I absolutely adore this cover and the content is…not great. I usually look at book covers as “someone enjoyed the book so much that they took the time to make a truly beautiful cover that reflects the art inside”. I love the cover of Devil House and it’s 90% of the reason I bought the book, actually, but the principle of the artist loving it cannot possibly apply here. I get Amityville Horror vibes, or classic cult fiction from the cover – and none of that within its pages. Soooo disappointing.

This book doesn’t touch at all on any supernatural horror, like I was kind of expecting from the cover art, but it does delve into a lot of true crime. Each moment is painstakingly laid out and can be somewhat gruesome. These parts, the actual horror parts, are admittedly written with care and precision that keeps it interesting – like a car accident you can’t tear your eyes from. Those scenes show skill.

When I rated the book on Goodreads and mentioned the full review would follow, I jokingly said “I wasn’t high enough to enjoy this”. But, um, there’s definitely some truth to that. This book feels a bit like a fever dream or a bad trip. Maybe if you were on the same wavelength as when Darnielle wrote it, it would make more sense, but as it was…big chunks of the book were not at all meaningful to me. I zoned out too easily and was jostled by the writing style.

The only reason this book is getting two stars and not one from me is because of *the point*. Large chunks of the book (that actually make sense) tell the tale of what happens when true crime gets written, to those who are left behind. This is why the tale of the “White Witch” is included – though it confounded me at first. It comes full circle when we talk about the story of Devil House. This book could be far more impactful and widespread if an editor had taken more pain to rein it it from the wild ride it currently is. The sad story behind every true crime is kind of an interesting take…and I liked this one part of it.

So, not recommending this, obviously. Don’t let that damn cool cover fool you, friends. You can skip this one. Have an excellent week.

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Other Possible Prompts: 25. A wealthy character, 37. Set in a rural area, 45. A book with illustrated people on the cover, 46. A job title in the title, 52. Published in 2022

I FINALLY finished one of my Book of the Month picks!!! I ordered two in July, including The Bodyguard and You’re Invited. I couldn’t pick between the two, and I had skipped June, so I figured it was only fair!

Hannah Brooks, a very tiny, unassuming young woman, is a bodyguard. After the loss of her mom, Hannah finds herself desperate to escape her home state of Texas – only to be placed instead on a high-profile assignment right there in Houston: protecting movie-star Jack Stapleton.

Jack Stapleton has come out of hiding to be with his mother while she battles cancer, despite family tensions. When she asks him to move out to the ranch for the next few months, he can’t refuse – but he also can’t take a bodyguard with him…so Hannah is forced to play the fake girlfriend. Reeling from several losses, can she remember that none of it is real?

Not really my best synopsis work, lol.

I wasn’t really expecting this to be some heavy-hitting romance that I typically enjoy, but it sounded cute enough, and I’ve never read Katherine Center before. “Cute” pretty much nails it on the head. This book just kind of reads like a romcom movie; you could probably translate the whole thing to a movie script with a few quick tweaks. I’m not sure if this is the uzhe for her, but it I didn’t really mind it. Normally I might find that pretty annoying, but I think Center has some talent.

While I thought the romance scenes were cute (there I am with that word again), I think our main characters could’ve been a little better. They weren’t flat or bad, I just didn’t like them all that much? Hannah is…lacking in self-confidence. That’s the best way to put it. She lacks so much self-confidence that you actually start to buy into the whole mess. Like, I started to think she must be ugly and a bad kisser. I don’t really like that trait on people, where they’re lacking self-worth to the point of being personally destructive, which is where I think Hannah landed. It’s not charming, it’s cringey. Otherwise, she was fine. She wasn’t *actually* bad, she just liked to regularly remind everyone that she was.

Jack was kind of the opposite, which I’m sure was part of the point. Confident to the point of arrogance, nonchalant and easygoing in every scene. I liked him, but he said some kind of unforgivable stuff to Hannah, in my opinion. He played into her lack of self-confidence in a way that suggests toxicity. Not the best communicator, either. I don’t know, I definitely wasn’t falling for him in the pages – he just wasn’t *that* likeable. They were banking too much on a golden retriever personality.

So that’s kind of where it loses points in my book. I went in with really reasonable expectations, and it was easy-reading, but I just didn’t care for Hannah and Jack. Not liking them, though, is a personal preference, and may not end up being your experience. I recommend this book under the guise that you are aware it will not blow your mind, if that makes sense.

Hope you all have the most fabulous weekend!

Say You’re Sorry by Karen Rose

Say You’re Sorry by Karen Rose

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Other Possible Prompts: 5. Chapters have titles, 29. Over 500 pages long

Bleh. I’m on a string of bad books, I guess. Say You’re Sorry was just a true crime junkie writing a romance with an uncomfortable amount of graphic detail, in both senses of the word.

One night on the way to a diner with a friend, Daisy Dawson is attacked by a random man on the street. After fighting off her attacker, she is left holding a bizarre locket that unearths an FBI investigation into a religious cult, catapulting family friend Gideon Reynolds into Daisy’s life. Together, Gideon and Daisy follow a trail of their personal grief left in the wake of a serial killer, and the hidden group Gideon himself escaped at age thirteen.

Sparks and gunshots fly, etc.

I just really wasn’t digging this novel and the strange directions of it. I love horror, and I like a good thriller, too, but this is downright gruesome. This is the kind of shit we talk about when we talk about the effect of grotesque, women-hating crime novels that do more harm than good. I didn’t think the story, and the backstory, were good enough reason to compromise morals that made this story so disturbing. This is one of those novels that nearly qualifies as a rape fantasy, the complete glorification of violence against women. I don’t think they’re implying that what the serial killer does is okay, but they literally give him a backstory to try to explain away his behaviors. It’s kind of unacceptable, vomit-inducing, and terribly surprising coming from a woman. As my friends stated, as I stumbled looking for the name of the genre: it’s “The White Knight Douche Genre”. Pretty accurate description!

And additionally, I couldn’t stand the “romance” between Daisy and Gideon. For some reason I think this might be part of her genre…mystery with a touch of romance, like she’s trying to corner the market on some stereotypical (and nonexistent) female reader. The sex scenes are graphic and unnecessary, totally disjointed and out of place in this story.

And gosh, I really hated Daisy, too. It could be partly the narrator’s fault; he was male and his “husky female” voice for Daisy was disturbing at best and downright creepy at worst. Not to mention the fact that they kept bringing up her deep, husky radio voice. Very odd. I just found Daisy as a character to be ~not your average girl~ fodder, with no actual charm.

Really, the only good characters were the supporting ones. Daisy’s friends and family were wonderful and warm. They were actual human beings instead of…whatever her and Gideon were.

I did not care for this book; there was a lot of cringing involved, and when I look back and think critically I cringe even more. I do not recommend!

Have a fabulous rest of your week friends, and cross your fingers that my reading choices improve.

Book List: Autumn Reads

Book List: Autumn Reads

These may not be the scariest spooky season reads, but there’s no denying these book have captured a certain fall vibe! Check out my favorite autumn reads.

Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella

Taking place at Harvard (obviously), this book expertly captures the fall season as the first semester starts. Many books that make me feel most *autumn* seem to be taking place in schools! Maybe I’m just not far enough away from my school years to shake that feeling. Either way, I love the New England autumn portrayed in Ghosts of Harvard – and while I liked the whole book, I still wasn’t quite sure what to make of it when I finished. You can get a copy of your own here.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

How can you not love this Victorian-esque hidden picture cover? The colors, the vibe? I think it’s just a really pretty book, but it’s a huge plus that I thoroughly enjoyed the story inside. The school-time story brings me tons of fall vibes, in the same way that Ghosts of Harvard did… the incredible mystery is just an added bonus when it comes to my favorite fall novels. Pick up a copy here.

Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper

I made no secret of loving the borderline fantasy novel in Payback’s a Witch – this first installment is an excellent novel of magic and a town of witches, and I devoured it. I read it in January, but I think you will find it oozes the vibes of autumn, just the same way that From Bad to Cursed screamed spring. This one remains my current favorite in the series, and it makes me think Halloween! You can read my full review of Payback’s a Witch here, or get a paperback for yourself here.

The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling

The Ex Hex didn’t completely wow me, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t the perfect fall read. Between fall festivals and witchy vibes and kitschy tourist stores, I just want to crawl into the town of Graves Glen and nap there. I’m even more excited to get to The Kiss Curse, which I think is finally out now! Her cousin’s story sounds far more interesting, given that I much preferred her character. You can read my full review of The Ex Hex here and get one of your own here.

Cackle by Rachel Harrison

Ahhh, Cackle. Nothing says fall like Rachel Harrison (and I heard she’s just released another novel about werewolves…I’m all over it). While The Return is technically my favorite, Cackle just captures the spirit of the season a lot better. The shifting weather matches the shifting vibe of the story, and it leaves you completely unmoored and unsettled. The plot wasn’t my favorite, but Harrison has a gift for the craft of prose and horror that can’t be denied. You can see my full review of Cackle here, and get your very own (now in paperback!) here.

What will you be reading in this autumn season? It’s the final few weeks of books before we buckle down with our tbrs for winter – so I’m excited to check out some new releases. Enjoy the very best time of the year!