Hello, Fall! And October TBR

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October is here! And with it comes fallish things and cooler weather! I love this time of year. Skinny jeans, boots, and sweaters combine to make my favorite outfits. Plus, there’s something invigorating about the crisp, cool air.

One of my favorite fall activities is to pick an audiobook or podcast to listen to while taking a long drive away from the city. Something about the drive, the audio, and the beautiful & varied surroundings combine to create a soothing space that inspires me.

Have I mentioned I love this time of year?

I also love reading books (duh). And this season is the beginning of blankets, bonfires, and books. Separately, they’re all amazing things, but put them together and they’re a knockout trio!

And to begin this beautiful time of year, I have a new TBR list. If you’re interested in any of these books, have strong feelings about them, or could recommend other reads, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Here’s to you, friend. Do what you love.


viciousVicious | V.E. Schwab

I’ve halfway finished with this read already and OH MY GOODNESS I CAN’T EVEN. And I don’t evoke that phrase lightly. I absolutely love Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows. I bought Vicious because of the author and because its synopsis sounded amazing. So far it does not disappoint!

SYNOPSIS: A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates―brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find―aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge―but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

Amazon | Audible


uprootedUprooted | Naomi Novik

I ordered this book a month or two ago and it’s been on my list since then! I can’t wait to start it. I’ve read His Majesty’s Dragon, which is also by Novik, and loved it. I bought Uprooted because of the amazing synopsis, the rave reviews, and the author.

SYNOPSIS: “Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Amazon | Audible


chestnut-streetChestnut Street | Maeve Binchy

I absolutely love this author. My goal was to read all her novels (which I own most of) and I’m sadly almost done. The remaining books have been staring at me from my shelf and calling out to me to be read. So I am giving in.

SYNOPSIS: Chestnut Street is a place in Dublin where neighbors come and go. Behind their doors, we encounter very different people with different life circumstances, occupations, sensibilities–and stories.

Maguire, the window cleaner, must do more than he bargained for in order to protect his son. Nessa Byrne’s aunt visits from American every summer, turning Nessa’s house–and world–upside down. Lilian, a generous girl with a big heart, has a finance of whom no one approves. Kelly’s gossipy ways help Madame Magic, a self-styled fortune-teller, get everyone one the right track. And Dolly, an awkward young girl, discovers more about her perfect mother than she ever wanted to know. . . . 

Imagined with the humor and understanding that are hallmarks of Maeve Binchy’s work, this world charms us as we discover its joys and sorrows, get to know the good and the bad, and have our hearts warmed by her storytelling.

Amazon | Audible


dr-jekyll-mr-hydeThe Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde | Robert Louis Stevenson

Since it’s October and since Halloween is near, I decided to add a spookier read into the mix!

SYNOPSIS: Idealistic young scientist Henry Jekyll struggles to unlock the secrets of the soul. Testing chemicals in his lab, he drinks a mixture he hopes will isolate–and eliminate–human evil. Instead it unleashes the dark forces within him, transforming him into the hideous and murderous Mr. Hyde.

Barnes & Noble | Audible


anna-kareninaAnna Karenina | Leo Tolstoy

I’ve been itching to read a longer novel and something classic lately, so I chose to add Anna to this month’s list.

SYNOPSIS: Married to a powerful government minister, Anna Karenina is a beautiful woman who falls deeply in love with a wealthy army officer, the elegant Count Vronsky. Desperate to find truth and meaning in her life, she rashly defies the conventions of Russian society and leaves her husband and son to live with her lover. Condemned and ostracized by her peers and prone to fits of jealousy that alienate Vronsky, Anna finds herself unable to escape an increasingly hopeless situation.

Set against this tragic affair is the story of Konstantin Levin, a melancholy landowner whom Tolstoy based largely on himself. While Anna looks for happiness through love, Levin embarks on his own search for spiritual fulfillment through marriage, family, and hard work. Surrounding these two central plot threads are dozens of characters whom Tolstoy seamlessly weaves together, creating a breathtaking tapestry of nineteenth-century Russian society.

Barnes & Noble | Audible

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September TBR

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September is here! And with a new month, I have a new TBR list, which you can read about below!

If you are interested in any of these books, had strong feelings about any of them, or could recommend other books that I should add to my TBR list, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Here’s to you, friend. Do what you love.


The Family Fang | Kevin Wilson

Amazon | Audible | HarperCollins

Mr. and Mrs. Fang called it art.

Their children called it mischief.

Performance artists Caleb and Camille Fang dedicated themselves to making great art. But when an artist’s work lies in subverting normality, it can be difficult to raise well-adjusted children. Just ask Buster and Annie Fang. For as long as they can remember, they starred (unwillingly) in their parents’ madcap pieces. But now that they are grown up, the chaos of their childhood has made it difficult to cope with life outside the fishbowl of their parents’ strange world.

When the lives they’ve built come crashing down, brother and sister have nowhere to go but home, where they discover that Caleb and Camille are planning one last performance–their magnum opus–whether the kids agree to participate or not. Soon, ambition breeds conflict, bringing the Fangs to face the difficult decision about what’s ultimately more important: their family or their art.

Filled with Kevin Wilson’s endless creativity, vibrant prose, sharp humor, and keen sense of the complex performances that unfold in the relationships of people who love one another, The Family Fang is a masterfully executed tale that is as bizarre as it is touching.


The Book of Speculation | Erika Swyler

Amazon | Audible | Macmillan

Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone in a house that is slowly crumbling toward the Long Island Sound. His parents are long dead. His mother, a circus mermaid who made her living by holding her breath, drowned in the very water his house overlooks. His younger sister, Enola, ran off six years ago and now reads tarot cards for a traveling carnival.

One June day, an old book arrives on Simon’s doorstep, sent by an antiquarian bookseller who purchased it on speculation. Fragile and water damaged, the book is a log from the owner of a traveling carnival in the 1700s, who reports strange and magical things, including the drowning death of a circus mermaid. Since then, generations of “mermaids” in Simon’s family have drowned–always on July 24, which is only weeks away.

As his friend Alice looks on with alarm, Simon becomes increasingly worried about his sister. Could there be a curse on Simon’s family? What does it have to do with the book, and can he get to the heart of the mystery in time to save Enola?

In the tradition of Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, The Book of Speculation–with two-color illustrations by the author–is Erika Swyler’s moving debut novel about the power of books, family, and magic.


The Regional Office is Under Attack! | Manuel Gonzales

Amazon | Audible | Penguin Random House

In a world beset by amassing forces of darkness, one organization—the Regional Office—and its coterie of super-powered female assassins protects the globe from annihilation. At its helm, the mysterious Oyemi and her oracles seek out new recruits and root out evil plots. Then a prophecy suggests that someone from inside might bring about its downfall. And now, the Regional Office is under attack.

Recruited by a defector from within, Rose is a young assassin leading the attack, eager to stretch into her powers and prove herself on her first mission. Defending the Regional Office is Sarah—who may or may not have a mechanical arm—fiercely devoted to the organization that took her in as a young woman in the wake of her mother’s sudden disappearance. On the day that the Regional Office is attacked, Rose’s and Sarah’s stories will overlap, their lives will collide, and the world as they know it just might end.

Weaving in a brilliantly conceived mythology, fantastical magical powers, teenage crushes, and kinetic fight scenes, The Regional Office Is Under Attack! is a seismically entertaining debut novel about revenge and allegiance and love.


A Gathering of Shadows | V.E. Schwab

(Shades of Magic Series, Book 2)

Amazon | Audible | Tor (Excerpt Only)

Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagent international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—and so to keep magic’s balance, another London must fall.


Uprooted | Naomi Novik

Amazon | Audible | Penguin Random House

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.


Vicious | V.E. Schwab

Amazon | Audible | Macmillan

A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.