October Book Haul

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I may or may not have gotten caught up in the sales on Book Outlet during October, which convinced me to pick up more books than I meant to…I’ll try to do better in November!

Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter – I hate to say that I wasn’t in love with Carter’s short story collection The Bloody Chamber; I really liked the first two stories but felt it got repetitive from there. I really wanted to give Angela Carter another shot, though, since she’s such a well-renowned author, and this book about a circus performer who claims to be part-human, part-swan sounds really intriguing. Lots of books about bird people coming up this month, apparently.

The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah – this book about an albino woman imprisoned in Zimbabwe after being convicted of murdering her adopted father sounds fascinating, and I’m assuming it also deals with the unreliability of memory, something I always like in fiction.

The Regional Office is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales – this sounds like a really fun, action-packed book about female assassins, and I’ve heard good things so far.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel – I haven’t been hearing great things about this book in reviews, but I somehow feel that I will like it. Sometimes I like really unpopular books (and vice versa, actually probably more frequently I hate really popular books) so I wanted to give this one a try. It’s about a mysterious (alien?) artifact found by a young girl who grows up to be a physicist studying where the object could have come from. It’s getting comparisons to World War Z, which I’ve never read, but I hope that doesn’t mean there are zombies because I HATE THEM. Vampires, yes. Werewolves, yes. Aliens, yes. Fairies, sure. But zombies? No thanks.

Iluminae and Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amy Kaufman – I enjoyed reading Illuminae so much during Dewey’s 24-hour readathon that I immediately bought its sequel after I finished it. The main characters in Gemina shift to two teenagers living on the space station mentioned in the first book, which I’m okay with–not that I didn’t like the main characters in Illuminae, but they weren’t the reason that I enjoyed the book. I’d ideally like to wait and save Gemina for the next readathon (24 in 48 and Bout of Books are both in January) but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to wait that long.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu – I’ve heard that this YA novel has a really great female antihero as its main character, and that it’s dark fantasy, which I tend to enjoy. I haven’t found a really good YA trilogy in awhile, and since the last book just came out, it seemed like good timing to pick this one up.

Bats of the Republic by Zachary Thomas Dodson – this book sounds SO COOL. It’s a nontraditional format with illustrations and documents as part of the story, and is told through dual narratives, one in 1843 and one in a dystopian future. I honestly don’t even want to know any details so that I can discover them for myself; the book also includes a letter labeled “DO NOT OPEN.” Can’t wait to ignore that and open it.

You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman – I’ve heard really good things about this book, whose characters are named only A, B, and C. I believe it’s sort of a darkly funny look at consumerist culture, but I could be totally wrong on that.

A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain by Adrianne Harun – I’m going to let the Goodreads page take this one: “In isolated British Columbia, girls, mostly native, are vanishing from the sides of a notorious highway. Leo Kreutzer and his four friends are barely touched by these disappearancesβ€”until a series of mysterious and troublesome outsiders come to town. Then it seems as if the devil himself has appeared among them.” Apparently magical realism is also involved. This one doesn’t have many reviews up, but I’m feeling really drawn to the story.

On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee – this dystopian science fiction book set in future America was really highly recommended; I’ve had my eye on it since it came out in 2014 but was waiting for the paperback.

Can’t and Won’t by Lydia Davis – a book of short stories, because apparently I don’t have enough short story collections on my tbr shelves *gives self a disapproving look*

Dewey’s Readathon Wrap-Up!

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That’s a wrap on Dewey’s! I had such a great time reading and engaging in bookish awesomeness yesterday. The readathon came at a really perfect time, and it was so relaxing to abandon adulting for the day and read as much as possible instead. I joined a bit late, which I was prepared for, and ended up reading until about 4 a.m., which I was not anticipating doing. I started off with a graphic novel to kick things off, then got completely immersed in a YA scifi thriller (Illuminae) for the majority of the first half of the readathon. I thought I might get burnt out on reading by the end of the ‘thon, so I took a break to work out, shower, and eat dinner (delicious takeout Thai curry), which actually helped me get a second wind. I then jumped into a longer graphic memoir for awhile and picked up another graphic novel after that. Around 2 a.m. I was considering going to bed, but pushed myself to read one more short book, which turned into doing a little audiobooking as well, which then turned into me picking up my current read, so I ended up finishing strong. Overall, I actually did way better than I thought I would–I don’t set a timer or anything, but I think this readathon was a personal best in terms of both how much time I spent reading and how much I actually read.

In other surprises, I won one of the hourly prizes! Thank you, Dewey’s! I have to say a huge thank-you to the organizers of this event and everyone who made this readathon so wonderful. The bookish community is really fantastic, and I love getting to see everyone’s updates and tips throughout the challenge. The community feel of this readathon is what makes it so great, and I can’t wait to participate again next April πŸ™‚

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

I wouldn’t say any of the hours were daunting, they were all pretty darn fun πŸ™‚

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

Yes! I think that Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff was a great readathon book because it was so fast-paced and told in an unconventional format. I’d also recommend Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire, Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg, Forest of Memory by May Robinette Kowal, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, Confessions by Kanae Minato, Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, and any of Ilona Andrews’s books.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season?

No, I thought it was fantastic.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

Pretty much everything! I liked that Litsy was involved this time; it was fun to get updates on everyone’s reading on there

5. How many books did you read?

I read 5 books for a total of 1167 pages–3 graphic novels, 1 novella, and 1 YA novel. I also listened to about half an hour of my audiobook (The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley) and read about 16 pages of my current book, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers.

6. What were the names of the books you read?

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Alex + Ada, Volume 1 by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn

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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

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Pretty Deadly, Volume 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios

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Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal

7. Which book did you enjoy most?

Illuminae was definitely the highlight of the readathon for me; it was such an action-packed, fast-paced book which worked perfectly to keep me engaged during the readathon. It’s a science fiction novel about the aftermath of an attack on a small planet and how the survivors are attempting to escape and not succumb to about a million different threats and conspiracies on the way.

8. Which did you enjoy least?

Unfortunately, Pretty Deadly really did not work for me. I didn’t like the artwork, and I was not engaged in the story. There were some interesting aspects to it, but not enough to keep me going with this series.

9. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I’ll definitely be participating next time! I love this readathon and highly recommend giving it a try to anyone who’s been hesitant.

 

How was everyone’s readathon??? Feel free to link me to your posts, I would love to hear how you all did!

Dewey’s Readathon: Hour 12 (Halfway!) Updates

It’s hour 12 of Dewey’s, and I’m really surprised at how well I’m doing so far. I was able to join in on the fun earlier than anticipated, and have spent almost the entire day reading!

Mid-Event Survey:

1. What are you reading right now?

I’m sort of in between books right now! I just finished Illuminae and it was awesome, and I’m sort of bewildered as far as where to go from here. I still have a bunch of books in my stack, and I’m thinking I’ll probably go for a graphic novel next–possibly Pretty Deadly, Vol 1. Technically I am in the middle of my audiobook, The Geek Feminist Revolution, but I haven’t listened to very much of it during the readathon so far.
2. How many books have you read so far?

So far I’ve finished 2 books–Alex + Ada, Volume 1 by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn and Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. Both were really great picks for the readathon, and I definitely recommend them.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

Hmmmm…I’m very interested to see what Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal is all about, and it’s a novella so it’s easily finishable by the end of the ‘thon.
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

I’ve done pretty well with not having interruptions so far–I was too caught up in Illuminae to get distracted. I did just take a break to work out and shower, but I think that will help refresh me for the second half of the readathon.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

I’m most surprised by the fact that I won a prize! I was actually one of the Hour 1 prize winners, and it was a really awesome surprise to see my name on there when I was able to join in on the readathon late this morning. I typically have terrible luck with giveaways and never win prizes, so thank you, Dewey’s!!!

 

I hope everyone is having a fantastic readathon so far!

Dewey’s Readathon Game Plan and TBR

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I love October. It’s full of spooky, Halloween-related things and delicious pumpkin everything. October also means it’s time for another Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon, which tend to be the most awesome bookish events of the year. One of my favorite parts about the readathon is actually the anticipation and planning that come before the event; I love creating a TBR pile to sustain me through extended periods of reading, and figuring out how to maximize my reading time when I know I’ll still have to do things like work and sleep.

For me, the Readathon starts at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning. Like last time, unfortunately, I have to work the morning of the Readathon; I’m planning to get as much work as I can done ahead of time so that I can leave work in the early afternoon, hopefully by 1 or 2. I’ve found that listening to my audiobook on the way to and from work helps get me into the Readathon mindset early, even if I can’t fully participate until later.Β  I had to work the morning of the previous Readathon, too, and this really burnt me out (being on call for work all weekend didn’t help, either; once I started reading I kept getting interrupted). At least I’m not on call this time! And I’m planning on picking up Thai food from the delicious place near my office to bring home after work, as well, which is also a good motivator.

Once I finally get home, I’m hoping to hit the Readathon hard. I’ve found that it helps me to start with shorter books so that I can feel like I’m accomplishing something; that way, if I get stalled on my reading later, I’ll still know that I’ve hit a few reading goals.

Goals!

-Read 3 books – pretty doable if I stick to shorter ones

-Read for 12 hours – this will mean I’m basically reading the entire day when I’m not at work, so I’m being a bit ambitious here

-Post updates on Instagram, Litsy, and here

My TBRs for readathons tend to look a lot different from my monthly TBRs. I find that short books, YA, fast-paced reads, and graphic novels tend to work the best for me in a readathon; I need books that can either hold my attention for an extended period of time or that allow me to jump back and forth pretty quickly. I tend to look for “easier” reads and not try to tackle anything too ambitious, as reading an extremely complicated book for a few hours can make me start to look for a reading break rather than feel inspired to keep going all night long (which I never do, by the way. I’m a terrible sleeper to begin with and I can’t afford to give up a whole night’s sleep). I also need a good, absorbing audiobook that I can listen to while driving and doing random things around the house so that I don’t lose out on reading time if I need to get other things done.

So! Here is my TBR for Dewey’s, ranked in order of most to least likely to actually read. To clarify, there is no way that I would actually be able to read all of these books, but I think that these are a good selection for me to choose from:

Forest of MemoryForest of MemoryForest of MemoryForest of Memory

Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal – this is a science fiction novella by the author of Shades of Milk and Honey, which was sort of a Jane Austen retelling with magic that I read a few years ago and liked but didn’t love. This shorter novel is about a woman who loses contact with her A.I. and is unable to connect with the outside world, something that is constant and ubiquitous in the future, and has to deal with some sort of scary situation in the woods. I don’t really want to read too much about the plot since it’s a short work and I don’t want to spoil it, but it sounds sort of Octobery and I’ve been in a science fiction mood lately, so this is currently #1 on my list.

Fun Home: A Family TragicomicFun Home: A Family TragicomicFun Home: A Family TragicomicFun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel – this is a graphic memoir about a daughter finding out that her father was gay after his death. I previously read Evie Wyld’s Everything is Teeth, another graphic memoir, and really enjoyed the format; I think this will be a good graphic novel to go with for the readathon.

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – I was sort of waffling about whether to read this for a really long time, until I sort of did a 180 and decided I needed to own this book immediately. It’s science fiction YA about two teenagers who break up and then get caught up in this huge adventure/conspiracy where their planet is at stake; the reason I think it’ll work well for the readathon is that it’s not written in a straightforward book way but made up of transcipts, emails, interviews, etc. I heard that it’s fast-paced and an easy read, so I think this might be the perfect thing for me.

Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1: The ShrikePretty Deadly, Vol. 1: The ShrikePretty Deadly, Vol. 1: The ShrikePretty Deadly, Vol. 1: The Shrike

Alex + Ada, Vol. 1Alex + Ada, Vol. 1Alex + Ada, Vol. 1Alex + Ada, Vol. 1

Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios and Alex + Ada by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn – I don’t know much about either of these graphic novels but I’ve seen them both recommended around BookTube. I tend to only pick up graphic novels during Readathons, so it’s always sort of fun to jump into a new one to mix up my reading.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – this is my current read, and it’s fantastic. I don’t usually tend to go for what I’m currently reading during Dewey’s, but I like having it as an option.

The Geek Feminist RevolutionThe Geek Feminist RevolutionThe Geek Feminist RevolutionThe Geek Feminist Revolution

The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley – this is my audiobook pick, and while I’m really interested in the content, I’m not loving the audio narrator so far. If it keeps going the way it is I might have to do a last-minute switch!

GutshotGutshotGutshotGutshot

Gutshot by Amelia Gray – this is a dark, supposedly super disturbing short story collection; I’ll pick this up if I’m in the mood for something October-y.

FurthermoreFurthermoreFurthermoreFurthermore

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi – I started this middle-grade novel last month but wasn’t really getting into it; I think I need to give it another try because I’m a huge fan of Tahereh Mafi and the worldbuilding did seem very cool.

 

So that’s the plan for Saturday! Who else is participating? What are you planning on reading? Feel free to link me to your posts, I love to see what everyone else is doing for Dewey’s!

 

WWW Wednesday!

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Taking on a World of Words where you answer the 3 W’s: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?

What did you recently finish reading?

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I recently finished two short, dark, and October-y books: The Vegetarian by Han Kang and The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson. Both were very good, and somewhat disturbing; they left me wanting to look for something a little happier to read next. I’m so glad to have finally read The Vegetarian after hearing all of the hype; I thought the writing was excellent and I loved how it was told in shifting perspectives.

I also recently finished an October-y audiobook, Bird Box by Josh Malerman. I wasn’t a huge fan of this book–the premise sounded interesting (people starting killing themselves mysteriously, and we discover it’s linked to something they see that their brains are unable to handle; the world descends into a post-apocalyptic scenario with people essentially trapped inside their houses and leaving only when blindfolded) but the writing wasn’t great, and the characters were very flat. It definitely scared me, though, which was what I wanted out of a horror audiobook.

What are you currently reading?

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I recently started Helen Phillips’s The Beautiful Bureaucrat to continue the streak of weird, short books in October. This book focuses on a young woman who gets a desk job where all she does is input numbers attached to names into a database, having no idea what the purpose is. Supposedly things start to get super strange from there, although I haven’t gotten that far yet. I do really like the writing. I’m also almost done with my current audiobook, Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, which I’m liking and finding very easy to listen to. It’s a memoir/collection of essays about her life and struggles with mental illness.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m not sure! I’m getting super excited for Dewey’s Readathon on Oct 22, and have already started to put together my TBR stack for that, which I’ll talk about in an upcoming post. For audio, I’m really hoping to start Kameron Hurley’s The Geek Feminist Revolution soon, but I’m waiting it to come in from the library. As far as physical books go, I’d like to read at least one more before Dewey’s starts, but I’m not sure what to go with.

 

What is everyone reading right now? Feel free to link me to your WWW Wednesday posts!

October TBR

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So, in October I’d like to get a lot of Halloween-themed reading done, in the spirit of the RIP reading challenge, but I might get derailed due to new releases. Don’t get me wrong–I think Leigh Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom and Ilona Andrews’s Magic Binds might fit in fairly well with the challenge (I guess you could call them both dark fantasy? Although with Kate Daniels that might be stretching it a bit), but I feel like to fully appreciate the new release of next-in-series books in two of my favorite series, I need to go back and do some re-reading of previous installments, and that could slow me down in terms of devouring new content. In September, I feel like re-reading the majority of N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season really helped me appreciate The Obelisk Gate more; I feel like this is true for a lot of new releases, as it’s hard for me to pick up right where I left off when the previous book was released a full year ago. In particular, I really want to finish my re-read Six of Crows; I’ve actually been meaning to re-read it ever since I finished it last October because I was so in love with the characters and the heist plot, but then I sort of forgot about my re-reading game plan until literally the day of Crooked Kingdom‘s release.Β  I also need to reread the most recent Kate Daniels book, Magic Shifts, to make sure that I’m all caught up before I dive into Magic Binds.

So, yes, that’s lots of re-reading to get done (especially since my progress on Six of Crows is super minimal so far, oops), and I think my re-reading will be battling with my new reads for most of the month. The other thing that could throw off my October TBR is the fact that Dewey’s Readathon comes back on October 22nd! I love participating in the 24-hour readathon and am planning on saving at least one of my new releases to enjoy on that day.

The VegetarianCrooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9)The Daylight Gate

Here’s what I’m planning on reading in October, ranked from most to least likely to read:

The Vegetarian by Han Kang – I’m currently reading and really enjoying this very dark short novel.

The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson – I fell in love with Winterson’s writing when I read The Passion earlier this year, and I’m very excited to check out this short historical fiction novel focused on witches.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – I just need to finish my reread of Six of Crows!

Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews – ditto, except with Magic Shifts! The problem is that Magic Shifts was my least favorite book in the series, by far, so I’m not super psyched for the reread.

Deathless (Leningrad Diptych, #1)Let the Right One InBird BoxForest of Memory

Bird Box by Josh Malerman – I’m currently listening to this on audiobook and doing so very slowly, in part because the book tends to freak me out if I listen to it while driving alone at night and in part because I’m not loving it. It definitely fits the October vibe, though.

Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal – I’m probably going to read this novella during Dewey’s.

Let the Right One In by John Adjvide Lindqvist – I bought this book when I was in New Orleans for a conference last October, and have been planning it for an October read for basically a year. I do love vampires, so I’m hoping this one works for me.

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente – I’m so intrigued by this book and by Valente as an author, but I’m skeptical about my ability to finish all these books in one month. We’ll see!

Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal, #1)In a Dark, Dark Wood

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware – I’m on the wait list for this audiobook, and if I ever finish Bird Box, this will be my next audio pick for October.

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho – this book is on my must-read in 2016 list, but I’m thinking it probably won’t happen in October unless I finish a bunch of Halloweenish reads early on. Most likely, though, it’s going to end up on my November TBR as well.

 

What are you all planning to read this month? Anyone planning on reading some seasonal Halloween-ish books? Let me know in the comments!

 

September Reading Wrap-Up

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So, September wasn’t my best reading month in terms of quantity; work stress definitely got in the way of how much reading I got done. On the positive side, I enjoyed all the books that I read this month, including an elusive 5-star read! I haven’t had one of those in awhile, and 5-star reads are really rare for me, so that definitely helped to turn things around. This month, I ended up reading 4 new-to-me books and finished a re-read of Ilona Andrews’s Magic Breaks, while also starting a re-read of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows in preparation for (hopefully) reading Crooked Kingdom in October. Here’s the breakdown:

Number of books read: 5

#readmyowndamnbooks: 4 πŸ™‚

Audiobooks: 2

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge tasks completed: 0

So here’s what I read in September, ranked from most to least awesome:

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin (5 stars) – it’s hard to review this without spoilers, but holy crap, guys. This trilogy is incredible. Book 2 of the Broken Earth trilogy is just as intense as The Fifth Season, and the stakes somehow keep getting higher while the story remains intensely personal. This is fantasy writing at its best, with incredibly complex worldbuilding and a focus on themes of survival and discrimination. Amazing. A definite five-star read.

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (4 stars) – although this was a solid 4-star read, I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed by it. Reading Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels has been an immersive experience and an intensely personal story of female friendship; I was expecting the final volume to blow me away. Instead, at times I had to make myself read it because the story just wasn’t grabbing me the way I wanted it to, and the ending, for me, was really lacking in resonance.

The Circle by Dave Eggers (3.5 stars) – This book is about a twentysomething who gets a job at the world’s biggest tech company, which is sort of a Google/Twitter/Facebook type hybrid with a sprawling campus, lots of ambitious young employees, and all sorts of crazy amenities including a built-in social life. As she gets more immersed in life at the company, which is called The Circle, all sorts of craziness starts to emerge from the company’s agenda. The first 2/3 of this book seemed like a solid 4-star read, and I was really enjoying the fast pace, near-future setting, and social commentary. Unfortunately, the last third felt too predictable and wasn’t as interesting.

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll (3.25 stars) – My main issue with this book was its pacing. If you haven’t already heard (it’s super popular) it’s about a young woman with a seemingly perfect life–beautiful, great job at a fashion magazine, gorgeous fiance, nice NYC apartment–whose ambitions and life were shaped by trauma she faced in high school. The storyline bounces between present-day and her high school past throughout the book, but unfortunately this leaves long stretches of the book where nothing is really happening, and rather than building tension I found it frustrating. I also thought it was strange that the author seemed to want to work so hard to make the protagonist seem “unlikable;” personally, I didn’t find her unlikable at all, and I’m not sure why this was emphasized so much.

 

The Story of the Lost Child (The Neapolitan Novels, #4)Luckiest Girl AliveThe CircleThe Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

 

What did you guys read in September? Any standouts? Let me know in the comments!