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September Reads Roundup

September Reads Roundup

This month I'll be switching to individual or weekly book recaps to cut down on the lengthy posts like this one.

The Couple Next Door, Shari Lapena
3.75 stars
Audiobook

I listened to the audiobook, and as always Kirsten Potter was great.
This book had more twists and turns than j was expecting, each of the characters turning out to be more unreliable the next. I enjoyed the way readers get the perspectives and insights from so many different characters over the course of the story. I found the ending to be frustrating, but everything up to that point was a well-crafted thrill.

Am I Normal Yet?, Holly Bourne
4 stars

Too often the phrase "OCD" is bandied about with the kind of casualness that does a huge disservice to those who actually have mental disorders, and it certainly does take into consideration the fact that a teenager, a friend of yours, could be someone living with this disorder. I loved that this book felt informative, while also fun. The introduction of the Spinster's Club was an absolutely brilliant first chapter in exploring feminism, especially within what becomes a longer series.

Empire of Storms, Sarah J Maas
5 stars

Another stunning chapter in the tale of the many characters we've come to know and love over the past five (including the novella collection) books.
I am perpetually amazed by Maas's ability to craft such multi-faceted characters, and at her ability to make me care so damn much. 
This book definitely feels more like the world and ideas of A Court of Mist and Fury more than any of the other TOG books have. I can't help but wonder if the world won't overlap at some point.
As anyone else who has read this books knows, the ending is unbelievably perfect in the culmination of so many previous stories, particularly from the novellas, and it's completely devastating.
Spoiler:

Chaol fans be warned, our dashing captain of the guard does not appear in this book. 

She's Not There, Joy Fielding
3.75 stars
Audiobook

Reading the premise for this book I assumed the story would be more focused on if the girl claiming to be the missing daughter was the daughter or not. But the majority of the book was a study in the reasons why an abduction could happen and the endless fallout that comes as a result. 
What keeps the book from staying an examination of a life spent dancing around the ragged hole left in people's lives by this missing child is the "whodunnit" aspect of the kidnapping that comes to a chilling close.

How Hard Can Love Be?, Holly Bourne
4 stars

The next book in The Spinster Club series has a similar tone to the first book, once again revisiting the three girls from the first book but this time Amber is at the center of the story, and dealing with the long term ramifications of having a recovering alcoholic mother while also trying to find self-confidence in the face of a potential relationship. This series continues to be a good read for girls seeking to navigate feminism and self worth.

What's A Girl Gotta Do?, Holly Bourne
5 stars

Each of Bourne's books is even better than the previous, which is saying something since they were great from the start. 
I loved that this book broke down the ideas and reasons for feminism in a thoughtful way, allowing readers to discover the nuances of the subject along with the characters.
We need books like this that show girls that it's okay to be angry, it's okay to buck the status quo, that it's okay to want more than the tiny boxes we're often thrust into.
Bourne is truly living the quote "be the change you want to see in the world" and I am grateful for it.
Trigger warnings: discussions about rape, disturbing threats against feminist content

I See You, Clare Mackintosh
4.5 stars

Mackintosh has done it again, another stellar thriller I couldn't put down. The concept of the book is deceptively simple but it unfurls in such sharp and taut way that there is some serious plot-scaffolding securing this story. Why are these women being targeted through newspaper ads? The reasoning behind it is so much more disturbing that I was expecting.
Once again the ending made me want to scream out loud in surprised horror.
(Not currently available in the states, click the title for the book depository link)

The Thousandth Floor, Katharine McGee
3 stars

This was a moderately entertaining read but mostly it felt a little thin. I enjoyed exploring the scientific and technological aspects of the world in this book and having lived in NYC for a number of years it was interesting to picture such drastic changes.
Overall I ended up only feeling mildly interested in the wants and needs of these characters. A fun book in some ways and overly dramatic in others. Won't be reading more in the series.

Broken Grace, E.C. Diskin
3.5 stars
Audiobook

It was interesting to follow a main character who can't remember anything. It allows other characters to be more revisionist in their history with Grace, which works well as a plot device. The twists were mildly twisty and the subplots were okay, but felt a little unnecessary. 

Spolier alert:
My biggest complaint is the idea that it would take finding out that your partner killed your sister to finally figure out that engaging in a sexual relationship with a 25 year old as a 15 year old was not okay.

The Female of the Species, Mindy McGinnis
4.5 stars

Rarely do I encounter a book that I have a hard time putting into words how it made me feel, but this book was so unique and complicated that a review feels next to impossible.  Revenge for rape and murder is made clear within the first few pages, but what comes afterward, the exploration of small town lives and trying to understand what makes a person capable of murder is more than the average read. 

The Lost and the Found, Cat Clarke
3.5 stars

I think the problem is reading this book so soon after reading "Good As Gone" and "She's Not There," makes it just another book of a missing girl returning. From the book blurb I assumed correctly what the "twist" would be, and everything else in between was a little less compelling than similar books.

The Summer That Melted Everything, Tiffany McDaniel
3.75 stars

Hooboy, this was a book that caused a lot of different reactions in me. I was blown away by some really beautiful writing; sharp imagery and creative turns of phrase that perfectly capture the feelings of summer in words you wouldn't expect. But sometimes I wasn't sure where this book where was going, and while I mostly happy to be along for the ride there were times when the book felt longer than it really was. Overall, it was an interesting exploration of human nature, or blame and guilt. 

Three Dark Crowns, Kendare Blake
3 stars
Audiobook

Listening to this over reading it was a mistake. There are so many different characters and different locations that listening made it difficult to learn who everyone was, reading might have made it easier.
The story had an interesting premise, and the characters had the potential to be really engaging based on their book blurb descriptions but the plot dragged enough for me to feel like I never became quite invested enough in how things turned out.
The ending was really surprising and interesting enough that I'm tempted to read the next book when it comes out, but I'm not sure that I will.

Once Upon A Book Club Box: September

Once Upon A Book Club Box: September

October Bookstagram Challenge

October Bookstagram Challenge