Top 5 Wednesdays: The Fall Cozies (Books with Fall Vibes)

Somehow, I got a bit confused about the order of topics and didn’t even realize this was the prompt for the week until I double checked! It’s a good thing I did, since I was struggling a bit to narrow down next week’s topic of books I’d recommend, so now I have some extra time to think. Instead, this week’s focus on fall vibes gives the perfect chance to mention a few more of the books that are on my fall TBR that I couldn’t fit in yesterday! My original plan was to search through my Goodreads list and find books whose covers screamed fall to me, but then I realized I had quite a few books that I already mean to read this fall that I’d been purposely waiting to read seasonally. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, when I think of fall vibes, I tend to think of books that are set in schools for back-to-school season, as well as thrillers or books with supernatural elements since I very strongly associate fall with Halloween. Covers that give me fall vibes tend to be ones with colourful leaves, dead branches, or that are mostly fall colours, especially orange or even red. It was actually a bit tricky to find books that give me fall vibes that I haven’t mentioned often before!

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

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To be fair, I’m not 100% sure if I’ll be reading this one in the fall. I have it down as one of two options for a prompt, and the other is a book by one of my top priority authors. If not, I’m hoping to be able to squeeze this one in somewhere else instead since I still really want to read it. This book is about a woman named Laurel whose daughter Ellie disappeared ten years ago, when she was only 15. When Laurel meets a stranger at a cafe who sweeps her off her feet, she is shocked when she meets his nine-year-old daughter who looks exactly like Ellie. Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter, and meeting this other girl causes it all to come flooding back, leaving Laurel to figure out what really happened to Ellie. I might actually be better off waiting to read this one, since I watched a Youtube video not too long ago that went into some detail about the plot, and I heard some spoilers, although I’m not sure if it revealed everything. It was definitely a mistake to watch that before reading this book, since I love Lisa Jewell’s writing and her twists! I might be better off waiting to read this until I’ve forgotten the video, but I feel like that might take a long time and I still really want to pick this one up!

2) The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

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I have had this book on my shelves for way too long, and it’s about time I finally read it! I was planning to include it on my list yesterday, but thought it might seem a bit too similar to The Shadows, at least in terms of my explanation. This book is about a man named Eddie whose is trying to put his past behind him. Thirty years ago, he and his friends would use chalk stick figures as secret messages for each other, until one day, one of those chalk men leads them to a dismembered body. Now, Eddie thinks this is all behind him until he gets a letter in the mail containing a single chalk figure and soon discovers that his friends got one too. They all assume it was just a prank, until one of them turns up dead, and Eddie realizes he needs to figure out what really happened all those years ago. I’ve owned a copy of this one for years since grabbing it as a library discard, but for some reason I’d never been that motivated to pick it up. I have no idea why, since it sounds like exactly the kind of creepy thriller that I love! It definitely gives me fall vibes because of the orange cover.

3) To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan

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This is another one that I picked as fall vibes mostly because of the colour scheme of the cover, since nothing about the story itself necessarily relates to fall. It is about a woman named Lucy whose husband Dan suddenly goes missing, sparking her memories of thirty years ago when her brother Teddy also vanished. Her brother’s disappearance sparked Lucy’s interest in creating stories, and decades later, she has become a bestselling mystery author who must now work to figure out what happened to both Dan and Teddy, before she becomes a suspect herself. I love thrillers with unreliable narrators and that definitely seems to be the case in this one. I’ve only read one of Gilly Macmillan’s thrillers so far and I really enjoyed, so I’ve been looking forward to trying more. This one especially caught my attention because I tend to love characters who are authors, and I can’t wait to give this one a try.

4) I See You by Clare Mackintosh

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I’m excited to read this one now that I’ve finally found my copy! I mentioned this one much earlier in the year as a book that had been on my TBR for way too long, but that was mostly because I literally couldn’t find it buried in all my stacks. Once I got some more shelves, I found it and made sure to put it somewhere easily accessible (and then proceeded to not read it yet). This book is about a woman named Zoe who sees a photo of herself in the classifieds section of the newspaper, with only an email address and a phone number included. When she shows it to her family, they are convinced it’s someone else who happens to look like her, but Zoe begins to notice that each day the newspaper is showing a different woman, and nearly all of those women end up on the news as victims of horrible crimes. Deciding that she might be the next victim, Zoe enlists the help of a police officer to uncover the purpose of the ad and figure out what’s happening before she ends up in the news herself. I absolutely loved the first book I’ve read by this author and I’ve been really looking forward to trying this one. Now that I’ve found my copy, there’s no excuse not to pick it up soon! I decided it gave me fall vibes because of the leaves scattered on the cover, although I’m pretty sure my version has a different cover.

5) The End of Her by Shari Lapena

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I was originally going to pick Someone We Know by this author, but decided to go for this one instead because the cover seemed a tiny bit more “fall” to me somehow. I’m definitely planning on reading both of these books, and hopefully can read both before the end of the year. This book is her latest release about a couple, Stephanie and Patrick, who are adjusting to their new life with baby twins. When a woman, Erica, from Patrick’s past suddenly shows up and raises questions about Patrick’s late first wife, Stephanie is quick to defend him, despite Erica’s threats to go to the police. However, her belief in her husband begins to waver as the police start digging into her claims, and Stephanie is left to decide what to do and who to trust, especially to keep her daughters safe. I’ve really enjoyed the two other books that I’ve read by this author so far, and I’m looking forward to catching up on the rest soon.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Books on My Fall TBR

I always love making my seasonal TBRs, but I always feel like they come a little late. I know that today is officially the first day of fall, but in my mind, fall starts right at the beginning of September. At least it does when it comes to my reading, since I tend to start reading my “fall” books around the start of the month. This is probably one of the years where I’ve been most strongly attached to seasonal themes, and it’s actually in some ways been more of a hindrance than a help. In the past, the only “seasonal” theme I tend to have is to read creepy books in October in honour of Halloween, and then by the time it’s November, it doesn’t quite feel like fall to me anymore. Through September, I’ve been starting to get into my more fall-themed books, with some books that focus heavily on school and especially dark academia. I’ve also really been starting to pick up more thrillers, or at least planning to read several before the end of the month. When it came to choosing books to be on this fall TBR list, I mostly focused on the books that I was planning to read in October, and especially the ones that I felt like I hadn’t already mentioned as much. I’m really looking forward to reading all of these and hope I can fit them all in before the end of the year, even if it’s not specifically in the fall.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

1) Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

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This book cover just screams fall to me! Rory Power is also one of the authors on my priority list and I haven’t tried either of her books yet, so I’d love to get to this one soon. This book is about a girl named Margot who finds a photograph that points her to a town called Phalene, where she hopes to finally find the answers to her questions about her family’s past. Margot soon learns that her mother left this town for a reason, and now that she is there, she might not be able to leave. I love books about family secrets, and this sounds so good! Even the cover gives me very strong fall vibes because it reminds me of a corn maize, and I’m very curious to see how that fits in. I meant to read Wilder Girls over the summer but haven’t got to that one yet either, and there’s a good chance I’ll actually end up reading Burn Our Bodies Down First. That might actually work in my favour though, since I’m more interested in this one than Wilder Girls, mostly due to the body horror that I heard was in that one. I’m definitely planning to pick this one up very soon, and it will likely be one of the first books that I read in October.

2) His & Hers by Alice Feeney

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I actually had both this book and Burn Our Bodies Down in a post last year about books that have autumn vibes, so it’s no surprise that they are both on my fall TBR now. This book is about a TV presenter named Anna who has been asked to cover a murder that took place in her hometown. She reluctantly goes back there and soon learns that the victim was her childhood friend. DCI Jack Harper is the detective on the case who has decided not to tell anyone that he knew the victim too, until he realizes that he is becoming a suspect in his own investigation. This book alternates between the perspectives of these two characters as the case unfolds, and it sounds so interesting! I tend to love thrillers that involve characters returning to their hometown and uncovering secrets, so this one seems right up my alley. I’ve only read Sometimes I Lie by this author so far and I really enjoyed it, so I’m hoping that I’ll like this one too! I’ve been really looking forward to giving this one a try, especially now that I know that I like the author’s writing style in general.

3) Bring Her Home by David Bell

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I’m including this one on my list as an attempt to hold myself accountable to finally reading something by David Bell! He was one of the main reasons I started making a priority authors list in the first place, since I keep adding his books to my TBR and even buying them from Book Outlet without ever reading them. I chose this one specifically because the cover gave the strongest fall vibes, but I’d be happy to read any of his books this fall. This one specifically is about a father named Bill whose 15-year-old daughter Summer disappeared along with her best friend, Haley. Just a few days later, the girls are found at the park. Haley is dead while Summer has been beaten beyond recognition and barely clings to life. However, the more time Bill spends sitting with her at the hospital, the more he wonders what happens to her and even begins to question whether the injured girl is his daughter at all. I keep adding David Bell’s books to my list because they all sound so good, and this one is no exception! It’s completely ridiculous at this point that I haven’t tried at least one, so I’m hoping by including it on the list it will give me that extra push to finally pick it up.

4) The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

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I was so happy to finally find a hardcover copy of this book recently on Book Outlet! I’d been just about to grab a paperback instead since the hardcover didn’t seem to exist anymore, so it was very lucky that it came up with just a few copies when I happened to be on the site. This is easily one of my most anticipated books to read this year, even though it’s been out for more than a year already. This book is about two women, Viv and her niece Carly, who both work the night shift at a creepy motel 30 years apart. Viv disappeared while working there back in the 1980s, and Carly is determined to find out what happened to her. I absolutely loved The Broken Girls when I read it a couple of years ago and I’ve been really looking forward to trying more books by this author. I loved her writing style and the way it drew me right into the story and especially the way she built such a creepy atmosphere. This seems like the perfect book to read around Halloween or possibly a little earlier in October if I can’t wait that long! I’m so excited to finally have a copy, and I’ve purposely been waiting to read it in the fall.

5) The Shadows by Alex North

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I’m planning to read both of Alex North’s thrillers this fall, but this is the one that I don’t think I have mentioned quite as much. This book is about a man named Paul whose friend was victims to a murderer known as Charlie Crabtree 25 years ago — and the murderer was also one of Paul’s friends. Ever since then, Paul has been trying to put his life back together, but when his elderly and senile mother needs him, he decides he must return home. Not long after he returns, he learns that a copycat killer has struck, and his mother is insisting that there’s something in their house and Paul also notices that someone seems to be following him. Charlie Crabtree was never seen again after the murder, leaving open the possibility that this “copycat” may have been the real thing. This kind of thriller seems so creepy, and I’ve been really looking forward to trying both of this author’s books! I meant to read The Whisper Man last October near Halloween, but somehow didn’t get to it in time. I’m not even sure why I didn’t just pick it up a bit later in the year instead, but at least now this fall I have two of his books to try. Both of them seem like great, spooky fall reads and I’m very excited to try them.

6) Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

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This another book that I was very to find on Book Outlet! I had been holding out for a hardcover copy, and happened to see just 1 available while browsing one day and grabbed it immediately. This book is about a woman named Jules who takes a job as an apartment sitter at a high-profile building in Manhattan. As Jules gets to know the residents and the staff there, she finds herself drawn to another apartment sitter named Ingrid, who reminds her of the sister she lost 8 years ago. When Ingrid tells her that the building is not what it seems and has a dark history, Jules is quick to brush it off as a ghost story until Ingrid suddenly disappears, forcing Jules to start digging deeper into the history of the apartment building and find out what happened to her friend as well as the other sitters who have gone missing before her. I’ve read and loved three of Riley Sager’s books so far, and I’m also hoping to read Survive the Night very soon too! I was so happy to see this one come up on Book Outlet because I’d been waiting so long to find the hardcover version and I can’t wait to read it.

7) The Wicker King by K Ancrum

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I don’t know if there is necessarily anything specifically “fall” about this book, but for some reason it gives me fall vibes anyway. This one is about a boy named August who learns that his best friend Jack is showing signs of a degenerative hallucinatory disorder, and decides that the best way to help him is to accept the hallucinations as reality, even when that means following Jack on a quest to fulfill a dark prophecy. To be honest, it’s only really been within he past year or so that I’ve decided that I wanted to try this book, especially after hearing Kayla on BooksAndLala mentioning the author so often. I’ve had this book on my TBR since 2018 but knew very little about it. The more I looked into it, the more I noticed a ton of rave reviews and it really started to spark my interest. I’m especially intrigued by the way the book’s physical design is meant to mirror the downward spiral in the boys’ mental health. I’m now very interested in trying this one and for some reason, it seemed like fall was the best time. For some reason, I think I had this book mixed up a bit with The Hazel Wood, which is another one I’m hoping to read sometime in the fall. I’m not entirely sure why I got them confused, but either way, I’m really looking forward to giving this one a chance.

8) The Project by Courtney Summers

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Again, this book isn’t necessarily specifically connected to fall, but it gave me fall/October vibes because it seemed so dark. I’m actually surprised I waited this long to read it since it was easily one of my most anticipated books of the year! It is about a teenage girl named Lo whose sister Bea joined a community called The Unity Project after the death of their parents in a car accident, leaving Lo on her own. Lo has spent the past six years trying to reconnect with her sister but has been met with no response, until she finds an opportunity to gain access to The Project. As Lo begins to delve deeper into it, she soon realizes that The Project is a lot more dangerous than it seems, and decides that she will do whatever it takes to save her sister from it. I love books that deal with cults, and this one definitely seems to be a fit for that. I also absolutely loved Sadie by this author, although I was a little less impressed with the other book, All the Rage, that I tried last year. I have seen some fairly mixed reviews for this one, but it’s a book that I’ve been highly anticipating and I’m hoping I’ll love it as much as I loved Sadie.

9) Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

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This book seemed like such a fun one to read around Halloween, and probably a good break from all the darker thrillers. It is about a teenage girl named Mila, whose best friend died under suspicious circumstances along with two of the school’s mean girls. Mila refuses to believe that the girls died in a suicide pact, and decides to resurrect them to find out the truth. Unfortunately, she soon finds out that none of the girls can remember what happened, but all three have unfinished business, with just one week to complete it all before the spell wears off. I was only mildly interested in this one when I first added it to my TBR all the way back in 2018, but the more I think about it, the more fun it seems! It reminds me quite strongly of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode where Xander has to chauffeur around a bunch of dead students from their high school for a night. It also seems to be along similar lines to Cemetery Boys, which is also very high on my list to pick up this fall! The more I’ve seen about this book, the higher it’s jumped up on my list and I’m now very excited to finally give it a try. It sounds like it will be so much fun.

10) The Babysitter’s Coven by Kate Williams

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This is another one that has been on my TBR for a long time, and I’ve finally decided that it’s about time I pick it up. I added this one to my list originally because it reminded me of The Babysitter’s Club, which was a huge childhood favourite of mine! This book is about a 17-year-old girl named Esme who has started a babysitters club to earn some extra money. She soon meets a girl named Cassandra who seems to be willing to do anything to get involved with this club due to a mysterious note from her mother that instructed her to “find the babysitters.” I’m especially intrigued to try this one since two more books have been added to the series and I’ve also seen it compared to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The series seems pretty silly but I think it could be a lot of fun to read and another great break from thrillers and ghost stories this fall. I bought a copy of the first book from Book Outlet quite a while ago, and I’d definitely consider picking up the rest of the series too if I like this one. I’m a little on the fence about whether I’ll really enjoy it, but I’m hoping it’s as fun as I think it will be!

Do I Have That Book? Challenge

This is a tag that I’ve been seeing for quite a while, but I’ve been hesitant to try it because it didn’t seem to translate too well to a written format. Part of the fun of the videos are seeing the creators running around trying to find all the books within the time limit. Even if I were to film myself, I’d probably not be able to find things quickly since most of my books are in stacks on the floor, and these often go 2-3 layers deep before hitting my actual shelf. I was planning to buy bigger bookshelves, but then the pandemic hit and we were uncomfortable letting people into the house to anchor them. In the meantime, I ended up getting several smaller shelves, but it’s still not enough when I keep buying more books! I literally have hundreds of books in my room so I’m hoping to be able to find something to answer each question. I’ve seen this challenge done on Youtube multiple times, but I’m taking the questions from Dani’s Bookshelf since that was the one that came up first when I did a search. The tag was created by Keeping Tabs and the original video can be found here. I am not giving myself a time limit, and I am only answering with books that I personally own, even though my mom also has a ton of books in the house too. I thought about limiting myself to just the books that I had read, but it made more sense to me to maximize my options by including all of my books.

A quick sidenote: Apologies to anyone who has commented on any of my posts lately, and it’s taken me a long time to approve the comment to be visible. For some reason, WordPress does not show me my notifications unless I have to specifically remember to go into the sidebar to check.

1) Do you have a book with deckled edges?

I do! The only reason I know this is because it was a prompt for one of my reading challenges this year, so I had to specifically look for one. The book I picked was The Butterfly Girl by Rene Denfield, which I haven’t read yet. A couple of other options I had in mind were The Child Finder and My Sunshine Away.

2) Do I have a book with three or more people on the cover?

The first book that came to mind was Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds, but I’m not entirely sure that counts since it’s really the same two people copied several times. Instead, I’ll go with Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales which has 7 people on it!

3) Do you have a book based on another fictional story?

It took me a little while to figure out what this means, but I think I get it! I recently bought Over the Woodward Wall by A. Deborah Baker, who is actually Seanan McGuire. This book was a fictional one that was referenced throughout Middlegame, and eventually got published as a separate book. I don’t know if it’s “based” on another story, but it’s definitely mentioned in one.

On the other hand, if this question was meant to refer to retellings, then the answer is still yes. I have the entire Wicked series by Gregory Maguire as well as many of his other retellings which are based on fairy tales such as Cinderella and Snow White, or based on classics such as A Christmas Carol.

4) Do you have a book with a title 10 letters long?

I do! It just so happens that my current read has 10 letters in the title, so I didn’t even have to get up to search for one. I’m currently reading The Maidens by Alex Michaelides which has exactly 10 letters.

5) Do you have a book with a title that starts and ends with the same letter?

The first book that comes to mind is After Anna, but I also have Realm Breaker. I haven’t read either of those yet, but one book that I did read that starts and ends with the same letter is Obsidio.

6) Do you have a mass market paperback book?

Unfortunately, yes. I really hate this format! When I first started buying books they were my favourite because they were so cheap and I liked that they were small so I could bring them with me to school, but I really hate them now because I find them so uncomfortable to hold. I still have several Nicholas Sparks books in this format, including A Bend in the Road, The Guardian and The Rescue. I’d actually like to reread all of those since it’s been forever since I’ve picked them up.

7) Do you have a book written by an author using a pen name?

Yes. I have the entire Dark Artifices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. It took me a while to realize that this wasn’t her real name! I figured it out only a year or two ago when I was searching for authors who use a pseudonym for a challenge prompt. I also have The Whisper Man and The Shadows by Alex North, which I was surprised to learn is a pen name, and Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay which is also a pen name. I also very recently discovered that Riley Sager is a pen name too, and I have all of his books.

8) Do you have a book with a character’s name in the title?

I have all of the Harry Potter books, but those seem like a way too obvious answer. Instead, I’ll go for Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli, although several of her books would count. I also have Dear Martin and Dear Justyce by Nic Stone and The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman, among several others.

9) Do you have a book with two maps in it?

This might take some digging. I don’t really pay attention to maps in books, but I vaguely remember noticing something I read earlier this year had two. It was Darkdawn! I would imagine the rest of the series does too, but this was the book that was most easily accessible on my shelf without having to move too many other things, so at least I know for sure that the third book has a few different maps.

10) Do you have a book that was turned into a TV show?

I feel like I’m cheating a bit because I ended up finally getting my own copies of these after seeing the Netflix adaptation, but I have the entire Shadow & Bone trilogy. I also have the entire A Series of Unfortunate Events set on my shelves and many Babysitter’s Club books still in my basement, both of which were turned into Netflix shows. I think Netflix counts as TV?

11) Do you have a book written by someone who was originally famous for something else? (ie. a celebrity, athlete, politician, TV personality, etc.)

Actually, I do! I have An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green, who is a Youtuber! At one point, I also had Seriously….I’m Kidding and possibly one or two more books by Ellen DeGeneres, but I think I unhauled them. Either that, or they are in a box somewhere so I don’t really count that as “having” them anymore. At least I remembered that Hank Green has a Youtube channel!

12) Do you have a book with a clock on the cover?

I didn’t think I did, but I actually do! I have The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson.

13) Do you have a poetry book?

Technically, no, unless you count novels in verse. I have The Poet X and Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, and also Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salam.

14) Do you have a book with an award stamp on it?

This also took a bit of digging because it’s not something that I really pay attention to, but my copy of The Hate U Give has two. It has a stamp for the Coretta Scott King award and also for the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. It was an Honor Book for both of these awards.

My copy of The Poet X also has three stamps on it. It has the National Book Award, the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature, and the Pura Belpre Award.

15) Do you have a book written by an author with the same initials as you?

I do! I have Flames in the Mist and Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh, as well as the first two books in her The Beautiful series. I remember this prompt coming up for my first ever reading challenge in 2015, and I really struggled to find any authors that fit. At the time, all I could come up with was Watership Down or Mr. Popper’s Penguins, so I’m excited to see that this prompt wouldn’t be so annoying again if it came up in the future.

16) Do you have a book of short stories?

Yes! I actually have more than one: Because You Love to Hate Me, His Hideous Heart, and It’s Kind of a Whole Spiel. I think Blackout might also count as short stories, but I’m not entirely sure since I haven’t read it yet. I also have Violent Ends, which contains 17 stories by different YA authors all about different viewpoints of the same event. I was surprised to see I had so many considering I’m not the biggest fan of anthologies in general, but there are a couple of great ones that I’ve read that I’d love to grab a copy of when I can.

17) Do you have a book that is between 500 and 510 pages long?

I definitely have several, but the first one that I was able to find was Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab, which has exactly 510 pages. I also have King of Scars which technically ends on page 511, but the first page is page 3, so I count that as within the right range.

18) Do you have a book that was turned into a movie?

First one that comes to mind other than Harry Potter and The Hunger Games is The Woman in the Window, but I also have Gone Girl, The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Hate U Give, The Help and I’m sure I have several more. I definitely have a lot of classics that were turned into movies.

19) Do you have a graphic novel?

I only have a few: Nimona, Strong Female Protagonist (Volumes 1 and 2), Bloom and Anya’s Ghost. I might be forgetting one or two that are buried behind other books.

20) Do you have a book written by two or more authors?

I have multiple books by Christina Lauren and Liv Constantine, both of whom are author duos. I also have several thrillers by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. I also have the Illuminae series and the Aurora Cycle series, both of which are by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman.

Top 5 Wednesdays: Books I’d Want to Reread

I struggled with this topic a lot more than I expected, but I think that’s mostly because I’ve already done similar topics twice within the past year, and I think that pretty well covered the books that I’m most interested in rereading. I recently did a Top 10 Tuesday post about books I’d love to read again for the first time, and last December there was another Top 10 Tuesday about rereads. I love to reread in general, and I often find that I get something different out of a book every time I pick it up, even when it’s a book that I’ve read before. I’m not sure that I’m actively planning to reread anything soon aside from This Savage Song, but I have been loosely considering adding a few books that I’ve been wanting to reread as a goal in one of my reading challenges. It’s a tricky one since I also have a ton of new-to-me books that I want to read too! In my past posts on this topic, I tended to focus on books that I wanted to read again because I didn’t necessarily feel that I had given them a fair chance the first time. This time, I decided to shift focus a bit and pick books that I loved but haven’t read in a long time!

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – This book is by far one of my favourite classics, but I have not read it since my first year of university. It wasn’t even for a class, I picked it up because it was a classic that I had always been meaning to read, and I was thoroughly absorbed right from the start. It’s been well over a decade since I last read it and I’ve always vaguely mean to revisit it, but somehow never got around to it.

2) Mercy by Jodi Picoult – I’d actually like to reread all of Jodi Picoult’s books (and finally read her first two, which are the only ones I haven’t read yet!), but I chose this one specifically because it was one of the first that I picked up. I actually can’t remember whether I read this one or My Sister’s Keeper first, but either way, it was definitely one of my earliest experiences with Jodi Picoult’s writing and I’d love to experience it again.

3) The Rosie Project series by Graeme Simsion – These books are one of my all-time favourite series and I was very surprised to see that it’s already been 5 years since I first read it! I also read these books one at a time over a few years, so I might want to try binge-reading the whole series in a row at some point. These books are so much fun to read and definitely something I will be picking up again at some point.

4) The Me Before You series by JoJo Moyes – I know that this is a bit of a controversial pick, but I think I took a very different message away from it than most other people did. This was another series that I read spread out over several years, and another one that I first read 5 years ago. I really enjoyed all three books, although After You was my least favourite, and I’d love to read them all again.

5) Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden – I can’t even remember when I read this one, but it must have been more than 10 years ago at this point. I know that I brought this one with me while on vacation, I just remember being thoroughly absorbed in it and I thought it was so beautifully written. It’s been so long since I read this one and I remember so little of it at this point, so I’d love to pick it up again!

Top 10 Tuesdays: Books With Numbers in the Title

This week’s prompt is one that seems to come up every year or so, and it’s always fun to look at my TBR list and see how much variety I can find in the numbers that are mentioned. There are a lot of books that involve the number one or even two, but beyond that, it can be a little tricky. I decided to make this week’s post a cover post instead of going into detail about each book. In the past, I would always want to describe every book I mentioned in detail with a summary of what they are about and how they fit the prompt, but I think this one is pretty straightforward. As a bit of full disclosure, I’m also trying to branch out a bit with the style of my content and try different approaches. Lately, I’ve been finding that going into detail about each book I mention is very time consuming, and it’s getting a little harder to keep up with posting so often. I’m not at at point yet where I want to take a break or even cut back on the number of posts per week, but I’m experimenting a bit with different approaches to some of the topics. Even though I haven’t yet figured out how to adjust the size of picture galleries on WordPress, I’ve been having a lot of fun making these more visual displays! To find books for this week’s prompt, I searched through my Want to Read list on Goodreads and tried to find books with as many different numbers as possible.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Fall Book Hauls

I shared my last set of book hauls almost exactly a month ago, so I was a little surprised to see that I had already accumulated enough new books to merit yet another haul post! To be fair, I have three more books on their way that will likely get here in the next week or so that probably should have been included, but I guess I’ll just capture those in my next set. I wasn’t really expecting to buy anything else from Book Outlet because I’ve already bought the vast majority of my highest priority books to read, but then I saw quite a few come in that I really wanted! I’m starting to look ahead a bit to next year’s challenges and gather some of the books that I’m likely to include on those lists. In many cases the books I grabbed are ones that I was already strongly considering buying, and I was glad to see them at a lower price. There’s still a handful of books that I’m waiting to see if they will come in again. In the past week alone, there were about 5 more books that came in at low stock, but they ran out before I could grab them. I often find that when that happens, Book Outlet soon restocks with more copies so I’m hoping that will be the case here!

This first set is the books I bought from Indigo, including several that I had preordered. I was also very excited to see a hardcover copy of Everything I Never Told You come in for a very reasonable price. It’s a book that I read and loved a few years ago, and had been waiting to grab a copy ever since!

This second photo is the combination of a couple of Book Outlet orders, which includes several books that I’m actively planning to read next year, as well as a few books that I was interested in trying but wasn’t sure I wanted to pay full price to grab. I was especially excited to find a hardcover copy of The Sun Down Motel, one of my most anticipated books! I was just about to break and buy the softcover, since that was all that seemed to be available. I’m so happy I found the version I preferred before I did that!

If anyone would like to follow along with my reading challenges and see what I’m currently reading in addition to book hauls, please follow me on Instagram here.

Top 5 Wednesdays: Back to School (Dark Academia Books on my TBR)

It’s so strange to me that we’re already in back to school season! This year is just flying by, although that might be because 2020 felt like it took a decade. It was also great timing for this week’s prompt because for this month, I’ve given myself a loose theme of reading books that take place at a school or have a heavy focus on school. Just to name a few, some of the books I’m planning to read are: The Assignment, What You Wish For, and One of Us is Lying. I decided to go one step further with the school theme and focus specifically on dark academia. For those who might not know that term, dark academia are books that put a focus on education, often in elite or exclusive settings, and often includes elements such as secret societies, puzzles, or even murder. The characters in these books often have a true passion for learning and there is generally an emphasis on the classic literature, art, etc. It’s no surprise that this genre appeals to me so strongly. I’ve always been very into school, reading and learning, and I also tend to love gothic elements. It seems that dark academia books have become a huge trend lately, and I’m loving it! For this week’s prompt, I decided to focus on a few of the dark academia books that are on my TBR for this year.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

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Of all the books on this list, this is the one that I’m least sure that I’ll be able to get to, since I don’t have a copy yet and the book is still very expensive! This book is about a girl named El who goes to a school called Scholomance, which is for students who have magic which is also an extremely dangerous place. Failure at this school means death, and the only way out is to either graduate or die. There are monsters lurking everywhere, and El is uniquely prepared to fight them because of a strong power that she possesses, but this comes at the cost of potentially wiping out the rest of the students as well. Even though I love magical school settings, I actually haven’t read too many books that involve them, so I’m really looking forward to trying another one. I have seen quite mixed reviews for this book, including complaints of problematic and potentially racist content. I loved Uprooted by this author and I liked Spinning Silver, although not quite as much as I’d expected, so I’m very interested in giving another book by this author a try. I’m especially interested in this one because the magic seems to be very language-based, which is something I loved in Uprooted, and I also really like the idea of the school itself. I hope I can get a copy of this one soon!

2) Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas

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I added this one to my TBR originally because I kept seeing it come up on social media, especially on Youtube. If I remember correctly, I first saw it on Instagram and was intrigued by the cover, and grew to become really interested in it after seeing it mentioned in a quite a few Youtube videos, including BooksAndLala. This book is set at an exclusive school hidden deep in the woods, where a few students are selected to attend completely for free, however it comes at the cost of spending three years, including summers, at the House completely cut off from the outside world. In return, the school promises that its graduates will go on to an incredible future of power and prestige. The main character Ines is an incoming new student who is hoping to find a place where she can finally feel at home and give up her life of partying, but when her roommate’s obsession with acceptance ends in tragedy, Ines begins to suspect that the school might have a dangerous hidden agenda. This is another one that seems to have quite mixed reviews, although I’m starting to wonder if that’s just a common factor in this genre in general. The biggest complaint that I’ve seen so far is that this book is slow-paced, which can be a problem for me sometimes. Either way, I’m very interested in giving this one a try!

3) The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

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The Silent Patient was one of my favourite books when I read it a couple of years ago, and I’m expecting to love this one just as much! This book is about a woman named Mariana whos is convinced that Edward Fosca, a Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, is a murderer. The professor is very well liked among the staff and students, especially the secret society of young woman known as The Maidens. However, when one member of the Maidens, who also happens to be a friend of Mariana’s niece, is found murdered, Mariana soon suspects that Edward must have been involved. When another body is found, her obsession with proving his guilt grows out of control, but Mariana is determined to stop the killer no matter what it costs. This book sounds absolutely perfect for me! Aside from loving dark adacemia and university settings in general, I love the whole concept of the secret society. I was also intrigued by the fact that the main character is a therapist, and having studied psychology myself, I always tend to love when that is woven into a book. I’m planning to read this one within the next week or two since it is easily one of my highest priority books to get to this year, and this month seems like the perfect time to pick it up.

4) For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing

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This is another book that was right at the top of my priority list for this year, and another one that I’m planning to read very soon. This one is about a teacher named Teddy who works at the esteemed Belmont Academy, where he has been named Teacher of the Year. Teddy just wants the parents and his colleagues to stay out of his way while he pushes his students to reach their full potential, even after a parent dies under circumstances that suggest murder and students begin digging into Teddy’s life. The more I read the synopsis, the more this one gives me You (by Caroline Kepnes) vibes for some reason, probably because there is an emphasis on the character trying to push those around him to fit his idea of what they should be. I’ve already read this author’s previous two books this year, and really enjoyed them both, so I’m really looking forward to this one too. This book alone was enough to make Samantha Downing one of my top priority authors to try this year. The second I saw the synopsis on Goodreads, I knew it was something that I just had to read. It is easily one of the books that I’m most looking forward to picking up this year, and I can’t wait to read it!

5) The Plot by Jean Hannf Korelitz

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Technically, I’m not sure this book quite fits the definition of Dark Academia as closely as the others on this list, but I think it’s close enough. This one is about a promising novelist named Jacob Finch Bonner, who is stuck teaching at a third-rate program and struggling with the fact that he has not written or published anything in years, after the moderate success of his first book. When his most arrogant student Evan announces that he does not need any of Jake’s help because the plot he has is so good, Jacob is prepared to dismiss it until he hears the idea. Jacob prepares himself for the huge success of Evan’s book, but is shocked to learn that Evan died before it could be published. Assuming that Evan had never even completed writing the book before he died, Jacob decides that his idea is a story that must be told, and takes it upon himself to write and publish it, garnering all the praise and fame for it until an email arrives accusing him of being a thief. Determined to hide the truth from his readers and the publisher, Jacob begins to learn more about Evan’s life and what the real story was behind his ideas. This sounds like such a cool premise for a thriller, and it was another book that jumped straight to the top of my list as soon as I saw it. It’s definitely not quite as “dark academia” as the others, but it is still school-themed with some dark elements so I think it still almost fits.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Books Guaranteed to Make You Smile

I always have such a hard time thinking of books that make me smile! It doesn’t really help that this is my second time tackling this topic this year, since it came up as a Top 5 Wednesday topic back in April. When I think of books that make me smile, I tend to default to the same few books, most of which are graphic novels and collections of cartoons. I also tend to to think of children’s books, since those are the ones that I know for sure are guaranteed to make me smile. Generally, I read a lot of hard-hitting contemporaries and thrillers, so even though I love those books, I wouldn’t necessarily say that they’d make me smile. Strangely enough, when I think of books that make me smile, I tend to go the nostalgic route and think of books that I’ve read a long time ago, that I still enjoy reading even now. I think that’s why these lists always end up a little heavy on the children’s books. I do want to clarify that this doesn’t mean that the books I’m reading don’t make me happy — they do, but it’s in a different way. Things like thrillers and hard-hitting books make me happy in the sense that they are interesting or satisfying to read, but to me, that’s very different from making me smile. It was a bit of a challenge to think of books that I hadn’t mentioned before this time!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

1) The Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park – I’m actually shocked that I haven’t mentioned this series any time this topic has come up before! I don’t care how old I am, these books are still so much fun to read. Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus is still my favourite, but all of these books are guaranteed to make me smile because they do such a good job of capturing “little kid logic.” Junie B. Jones is hilarious!

2) The Confessions of Georgia Nicholson series by Louise Rennison – I honestly can’t remember if I ever finished this series, but they were so much fun to read. I do remember getting a little bored if I read too many of them in a row since they can feel a little repetitive, but they were very funny. I’d actually love to reread this series at some point. I only distinctly remember the first three or four, but it’s possible I’ve read them all before.

3) The Addams Family: An Evilution by Charles Addams – I don’t know if anyone else will relate to this one, but this book makes me smile every time! I’m obsessed with The Addams Family and I love every version of them. This book collects all of Charles Addams’ original cartoons, with some additional background about their creation. I always have a great time looking through the comics and I love the dark humour.

4) Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh – This was one of the few books that I wanted to reread as soon as I finished it the first time! I reread it again this year along with the sequel, and was immediately drawn back into it. I love the way this author balances the humour with some of the more serious topics. I find that the chapters about Allie’s dogs especially are guaranteed to make me smile!

5) The Lumberjanes series by Noelle Stevenson (and later Shannon Watters) – These books are just so weird, but that’s also what makes them very fun to read. The strong friendships between the girls and the bizarre adventures that they go on always tend to make me smile. Of course, there are some books in the series that are stronger than others, but this series is a great one!

6) Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel – This is a childhood favourite, and something that I haven’t read in quite a while. These books are always so cute and I especially love the illustrations. Each of the four books contains a few short stories about the characters, and although the stories are quite simple, they are very sweet and I always love to revisit them.

7) Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parrish – This is another childhood favourite, specifically the book Teach Us, Amelia Bedelia! I must have read more of them, but that is the one that I remember most clearly. These books are so fun because of how literally Amelia takes everything, which very quickly gets her into trouble. I think it’s such a fun way to play with language and for children to learn about idioms.

8) Dinosaur Therapy by James Stewart – I’m cheating a bit because I haven’t read this one yet as a book, but I very recently discovered this comic series on Twitter and they always make me smile. I always look out for these while browsing my feed, and they are just so cute! I’ve discovered so many great comic series via social media, and I’m sure this one will be another favourite.

9) George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl – I only owned a handful of books by this author so I tended to read the same ones over and over, but this one was definitely a favourite! It is about a boy named George who creates a bizarre medicine for his grumpy grandma. I love how Roald Dahl uses a bit darker humour in his books than most others for the same age range, since it really made his stories stand out.

10) The Berenstain Bears series by Stan and Jan Berenstain – This is another one that’s included for the nostalgia, but even when I do revisit these books now, I still find them very cute. I definitely didn’t read them all since looking at the Goodreads pages now shows me a whole bunch of more recent titles, but I had so many of these books and read them over and over. I’d actually love to try out some of the newer ones and see if they can still make me smile!

Stacking the Shelves (#46)

I don’t really remember adding a lot of books to my TBR this month, but somehow I ended up with another 72 books added in August! Most of them were thrillers that I found just through my Goodreads news feed, but I also added quite a few YA fantasy books too. Actually, I’d say that the vast majority of the books I added this month were because I recognized the author’s name and wanted to keep track of their next release, even though some aren’t coming for several months! At some point, I should probably go back and total up how many books I added all year. That might be something fun to include in my December Stacking the Shelves this year, if I remember to do it. Aside from bulking up my Goodreads TBR, I’ve had a lot of fun adding books onto my Amazon and Indigo wishlists, especially since my birthday is coming up next month. One of the side effects of the pandemic was losing library access for the past year and a half, so I’ve been buying a ton of books, and need to keep restocking my wishlist with new titles that are coming out! I’ve already started looking ahead to 2022 releases that I might want to preorder, even though it’s much too early for that now. It also helps that we’re getting closer to the time were new reading challenges for next year will come out, and I know I’ll be looking for books to fit specific prompts too. I’m hoping to be able to use the library again next year, but given the way COVID numbers are currently going in my area, it seems unlikely that I’ll have it for a while. In the meantime, at least I’ve added a ton more books to my Goodreads TBR so I can remember to eventually pick them up!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week. It is hosted by TyngaReviewsand ReadingReality.

1) The Good Lie by A.R. Torre

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If I remember correctly, I added this book because it came up as a Goodreads Giveaway and it just looked intriguing! It is about a psychiatrist named Dr. Gwen Moore who has spent a decade treating notorious predators, much like the serial killer whose latest victim escaped and identified their captor as the local high school teacher, Randall Thompson. Defense attorney Robert Kavin, who is himself the father of one of this killer’s victims, is convinced that Thompson is innocent, and steps in to represent him. Robert recruits Gwen to interview the suspect and create a profile of the killer and his victims to help clear his client’s name, but as she dives deeper into the case, she starts to suspect that Robert might be the one hiding something. I’ve always found criminal psychology fascinating, although I’m way too much of a coward to work in that field myself. I’m a little confused about how Robert is able to take on the case since his own son was a victim since that seems like a conflict of interest, but I’m very interested to see how this one plays out. I love thrillers that focus on psychology and this one sounds right up my alley. I didn’t think I’d heard of this author before, but I saw The Girl in 6E on her page on Goodreads. I haven’t read that one either, but I remember strongly considering adding it to my TBR a few years ago and I’m not entirely sure why I never did.

2) Nanny Dearest by Flora Collins

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There seems to be a bit of a trend in the past few years toward thrillers involving nannies, although this one seems to have put a different spin on it. This book is about a woman named Sue who is feeling lost after her father suddenly dies, leaving her orphaned in her mid-twenties. When Sue runs into Annie, the woman who used to be her live-in nanny, she is eager to welcome Annie back into her life and they soon become inseparable again. Soon, Sue begins to discover the truth about Annie’s time at her house and especially her departure, and begins to grow increasingly more worried for the safety of the children who are currently in Annie’s care. This book is not due out until the end of November, but the early reviews have been quite strong so far aside from a few complaints that the book is a bit slow-paced. I’m definitely interested in giving this one a try to see for myself, since it sounds like such a great premise! I’ve read a few books in the past couple of years that focus on creepy nannies or characters who themselves are nannies in homes that seem a bit suspicious. I’m not sure why this has become such a trend, but so far I’ve really enjoyed all of the books I’ve read that fit into it, so I’m hoping to like this one too.

3) The Silent Speak by Val Collins

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This is another book that must have come up just on my Goodreads feed, and the cover caught my attention. It is about a journalist named Aoife (which I’ve just learned is pronounced Ee-fa), who is settling into a new relationship with Detective Conor Moloney and trying to win the trust of his teenage son. When the horrific news comes in that an entire family has been killed in their own home, Aoife is shocked to discover that two of the victims were members of her on-and-off book club, and police believe it was a murder-suicide. When the suspect’s sister Lisa reaches out to Aoife and offers her access to the victims’ extended family for an exclusive news story in exchange for help finding the real killer, Aoife is quick to accept. As she digs further into the secrets of the other members of her book club, she discovers potential suspects everywhere and begins to wonder if the killer is really dead as everyone suspects, or if they might still be somewhere out there. To be honest, I don’t think I looked at the synopsis much at all when I first added this one because I didn’t remember anything about it, but it sounds so good! I love the idea of the main character digging into her own book club to find out if anyone could have been involved. This book has been out since February, so I’m a little surprised I hadn’t heard of it until now. Upon checking what else this author has written, I see two other books that feature Aoife, although they are not marked as a series so I’m not entirely sure if they need to be read in order.

4) The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan

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I could have sworn I found this one via someone’s Youtube channel, but I can’t figure out whose it was! I thought it was BooksAndLala but I don’t seem to see any indication on the Goodreads page that she’s even marked this one as TBR. This book is about a woman named Frida who is struggling with a cheating husband as well as a career that does not seem to live up to all the sacrifices her immigrant parents made for her. Frida lives in a state where mothers can be sent to a government reform program to win back custody of their child if they are reported for any kind of bad parenting. On a particularly rough day, Frida makes the mistake of leaving her toddler alone for a couple of hours, and is reported by her neighbours, causing her to be sent to the reform school to prove that she can learn to be a good mother and get her daughter back. This sounds like one of the most unique premises for a dystopian book that I’ve seen in a long time, and seems especially creepy since as far as I can tell, the world that Frida lives in is otherwise not too different from our own. I really wish I remembered where I first found this one, but at least I added it to my list right away. This book won’t be out until January 2022, and I’m very interested to see what others think of it as more reviews come in.

5) Overturned by Lamar Giles

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I added this one to my TBR because I was in the middle of reading Not So Pure and Simple by this author, and decided to see what else he had written. For some reason, I had assumed that Not So Pure and Simple was his debut, which is especially strange since I remembered seeing this book on Goodreads a few years ago. I guess I never knew the author’s name, and hadn’t even added it to my TBR at the time. This book is about a girl named Nikki whose father is on death row for killing his best friend during a gambling dispute, although he has spent the past five years insisting that he is innocent. Nikki wants no part of the case and has instead been working on playing illegal card games to save up money so she can leave once she graduates. When new evidence comes up that gets her father released from prison, her life becomes a mess since her father is obsessed with finding out who framed him and Nikki soon gets drawn into his hunt for the truth. I’m pretty sure the main reason I didn’t add this book originally is because I saw gambling in the synopsis and that immediately put me off. That’s really something that I’m not interested in reading about, but now that I’ve read and loved another book by this author, I’m a little more willing to give this one a chance.

6) Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

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I’d been seeing this book around quite a bit without really bothering to look into what it was about, until I saw it mentioned by Heather on the Youtube channel Bookables! As soon as I listened to her describe it, I knew it was something that I wanted to try. This book is about a woman named Finlay who is a struggling novelist going through a particularly rough time. When she is overheard discussing the plot of her suspense book with her agent over lunch, someone mistakes her for a contract killer and Finlay inadvertently accepts an offer to dispose of their husband for them. Interested in what would make this woman want to kill her husband, and also intrigued by the prospect of getting so much money, Finlay begins to investigate the man she’s been hired to kill and soon learns that real crimes are much more complicated than writing them in fiction. This book just sounds like so much fun and I’m glad I finally looked a little deeper into what it was about. I was actually a little surprised to see that there is already a sequel due out in February which also sounds very interesting. I may have to add these two into my challenge plans for next year!

7) These Toxic Things by Rachel Howzell Hall

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I added three books by this author to my TBR this month and even bought two of them from Book Outlet, but of the three, this is the one that interests me the most! This book is about a woman named Mickie who creates “digital scrapbooks” for clients to ensure that their souvenirs are not lost or forgotten. When her most recent client, Nadia, dies in an apparent suicide, Mickie decides to honour her last wish and curate her set of 12 items that she collected from flea markets across the country. However, it soon seems that these items mean a lot to someone else too, when Mickie starts to receive threatening messages telling her to leave Nadia’s past alone, and discovering the truth might lead her to cross paths with a killer. I was a little upset to find that the average Goodreads rating for one of the books that I already bought by this author was extremely low (2.9 stars!) immediately after I bought it, but I’m still very intrigued to try out her books. This one in particular just came out in September and although it’s the one that interests me most, I’m a little hesitant to buy it until I’ve at least read one more by this author to make sure that I like her first. I’m hoping I’ll enjoy her writing as much as I expect, and I’d especially love to give this book a try next year!

8) A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

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This one caught my attention because there was a lot of buzz about it on Twitter due to a controversy with its release and early reviews. From what I was able to gather, it seemed that Amazon was not allowing reviewers to post any reviews for this book. I’m not entirely sure what happened or why, since I now can’t seem to find any details about this, but there was a lot of attention to it on Twitter because it was viewed as an attempt to squash hype around a book by a trans author and featuring sapphic characters. If someone knows more about what happened, please let me know! I’m especially confused because I was under the impression that reviews couldn’t’ be posted until a book was already out, so I must have missed something. Victoria Lee posted on Twitter about the issue and the impact a lack of early reviews could potentially have on sales, although luckily, it seems that her sales have still been strong since it is currently listed on a few of the Best Sellers list for Teen & Young Adult books. Either way, this book sounds very interesting. It is about a girl named Felicity who has returned to Dalloway School to finish her senior year after taking some time off after the death of someone close to her, and finds herself living back in the dorm rumoured to be haunted by the spirits of five students that were accused of witchcraft. While at the school, Felicity meets Ellis, a young writing prodigy who asks for her help researching the Dalloway Five for her next book, and quickly agrees to help her only to find history repeating itself. I absolutely love dark academia and books about witchcraft, so this one seems right up my alley!

9) The Aosawa Murders by Riku Onda

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I’m pretty sure I saw this one on Goodreads a few months ago but decided not to add it because I’d assumed it was non-fiction. When it came up again on my feed a couple of weeks ago, I looked into it a bit more and it actually sounds so good! This book begins in the 1960s where 17 people die of cyanide poisoning at a party given by the owners of a prominent clinic. The only remaining links to the case are a cryptic verse thought to be left by the killer, and the physician’s daughter Hisako who is blind and who was the only person spared injury in the attack. When the prime suspect commits suicide a few months later, most assume it’s a sign of his guilt and that the case is over. However, police are convinced that Hisako played a role in the crime and many in the town seem to think the same, including the author of a bestselling book about the murders, who was a childhood friend of Hisako’s and also a witness to the discover of the murders. The truth behind the case is revealed through testimony of a variety of different people involved in the case. This book reminds me a bit of Confessions by Kanae Minato, mostly because of the Japanese setting as well as the structure of having different characters discussing the crime. That book was one of my favourites when I read it a few years back, and I’d love to read more thrillers like it. Given that this one has some similar elements, I suspect it’s something I might enjoy.

10) Book Lovers by Emily Henry

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I was so surprised to see the next Emily Henry book had already been announced! I’ve loved her two adult contemporary romances so far, and I’m really looking forward to reading another one. This book is about a woman named Nora who is convinced that she needs to become more like the heroines in the books she reads. Nora agrees to go on a trip with her sister Libby, where she keeps running into Charlie Lastra, a brooding editor from the city whom she has met several times before, and it has always gone badly. As the two of them keep getting thrown together through a series of coincidences, they discover things that might unravel the stories they’ve crafted for their own lives. At first glance, this does seem quite similar to Beach Read but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing, given how much I loved that book! I also tend to enjoy characters who are readers or work with books, and this one has both. So far, her previous two romances have both been favourite books of the year in 2020 and 2021, and I’m hoping that this one will end up becoming another favourite too. It is not due out until May, but it will be very high on my list to preorder a little closer to the release date.

11) The Island House by Amanda Brittany

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This was one of several thrillers that I added to my list all at once because their covers caught my attention. I’m always so drawn to these covers with houses on them, and I still don’t know why. This book is about a woman named Alice whose father has died in a hit and run accident, and his death stirs up questions about her childhood. Alice especially wants to know who her mother was and why she can’t remember anything of her life before age seven. When she receives an anonymous letter containing a photo of a refurbished guesthouse surrounded by water with an invitation to stay there, old memories begin to resurface. Alice is convinced that she has been to this hotel before, and decides to go back only to find herself cut off when a huge storm comes in. When two other guests are found dead and the hotel owner is missing, Alice must hurry to uncover her past and get off of the island alive. I thought that I hadn’t heard of the author before, but I’ve just noticed another book by her as well as another author on my TBR that I just added in May (which, ironically enough, is another thriller involving a nanny). This book sounds like exactly the kind of thriller I tend to enjoy and although it may not be top priority on my list right now, I’m looking forward to eventually giving it a try.

12) Knot My Type by Evie Mitchell

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To be honest, this book is a little outside of my comfort zone but I was intrigued because of the representation. This book is about a woman named Frankie uses a wheelchair, and she is also the host of the All Access Podcast which aims at breaking down barriers around sex for people with disabilities. When a listener asks for advice about accessible rope play, Frankie realizes she doesn’t know what to tell them and sets out to find a partner to try it with her. She soon meets Jay, a carpenter who is not interested in committing to just one person, but Frankie does not want to be anyone’s second choice. I love that this book involves a main character who has a disability, since that is a kind of representation that I very rarely see in these kinds of romance books. To be fair, I’m still very new to the genre so it’s possible that I just don’t know where to look. The plot of this one reminds me a little bit of The Kiss Quotient, which I really enjoyed. I’m also very intrigued to see how the topic of disability and sexuality is handled since it is something that still seems to be very stigmatized. I came across this book on Goodreads completely by chance, but it seems like a fun addition to my TBR.

Top 5 Wednesdays: Enemies to Lovers Romances

Enemies to lovers is one of my favourite tropes, but it’s also one that is so rarely done particularly well. A big part of my issue with the execution of this trope is that in many cases, the reasons for being enemies just don’t seem plausible. I often find that the characters “hate” each other for very trivial reasons that sometimes don’t even make much sense. In many cases, the “enemies” aspect of the story is mentioned only very briefly, before the characters quickly fall in love. I tend to prefer books where it takes a bit more time for the characters to come around to liking each other, let alone falling in love. In many cases, it seems that the setup for this trope is just an excuse to get some angry banter in the beginning, before very quickly switching over to love without a strong enough reason. I also wonder if it’s worthwhile to make a distinction between “enemies” and “rivals.” I tend to think of enemies as a much stronger word than rivals, often with reasons to hate each other that are probably much harder to overcome. It’s hard for me to buy into a romance where the characters still have some animosity for each other since it seems like it would just stay toxic. Luckily, there have been some great books I’ve read over the past few years that did this trope so well! It’s definitely something that I’d love to read more often, and

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) The Hating Game by Sally Thorne – This probably wasn’t the actual first book that I read containing this trope, but it is definitely the first one that I remember really loving. Although I would say that some of the reasons these characters had for hating each other were a bit trivial, I thought the chemistry between them was strong and I loved their dynamic.

2) The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren – This was one case where I really felt that the “hate” element of the relationship between the two characters felt believable and took a lot longer to overcome than in most similar books. I loved the immediate chemistry and banter between the two characters, and really enjoyed how their reasons for disliking each other could be cleared up in a very plausible way that made the transition to love seem realistic.

3) Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer – I was very impressed by the “enemies-to-lovers” aspect of this book, and loved how the author built the relationship between the two characters over time, with their opinions of each other shifting as they got to know each other better. It was very interesting to see acknowledgement toward the end of some of the things they had disliked about each other, instead of ignoring those points now that they were together.

4) Beach Read by Emily Henry – I’m not actually sure whether I’d really consider Gus and January enemies, but they definitely started out disliking each other and I loved the dynamics between them! I thought their chemistry leapt off the page right from the start, and loved the way that their relationship developed over the course of the book.

5) Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – To be fair, this is a case where I felt the “enemies” part of the story was given up a little too quickly and the reasons may not have been the strongest, but I loved the way the relationship between Alex and Henry evolved beginning with a genuine friendship. I loved the banter that grew between them through their text messages, and ultimately loved the direction their story took.