Happy first day of October friends! After having a being in a bit of a reading slump in August, I’m happy to report that September brought great books and they fully pushed me out of my slump. This month I read eight books and really enjoyed almost all of them! I tried to do a mix of new releases and backlist titles that had been on my shelf for a while and it worked out really well! Sometimes I get caught up in reading new, new, new & forget about the equally delightful books that already fill my shelves! Among my favorite books this month were Before We Were Yours & Dominicana. Both books left my thinking about them long after I finished the last page – books like that are the best! If you’re looking for a good thriller to get you into the Halloween spirit this month, be sure to pick up The Whisper Man!
As always, you can see my latest reads on my bookstgram account @enw_reads (I share ALL things books there!) and on my Amazon Shop page! If you have any book recs, send them my way! I would love to hear what you have read recently in the comments.
UGLY LOVE by Colleen Hoover | When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she doesn’t think it’s love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the rules… review: If you’re looking for a page turner that will pull at your heart strings, this book is it! Colleen Hoover is an auto-read author for me – in my opinion she can do no wrong – so I was excited to read this backlist book that had been sitting on my bookshelf for far too long. As always, she reeled me in from the start and both of the main characters, Tate and Miles, had me feeling all the emotions as I flew through this book. I always appreciate that she writes a great contemporary romance with substance. This is definitely a steamy book and you’ll certainly find yourself rooting for the characters as you flip the pages trying to figure out what could have possibly damaged Miles so badly that he swore off love. I laughed, I cried & I was sad when it was over. rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️
BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by Lisa Wingate | Before We Were Yours is based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Tennessee Children’s Home Society, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country. This story alternates between the perspectives of a privileged Senator’s daughter Avery Stafford in the present day, and twelve-year-old Rill Floss in Memphis during the 1930s. As Avery Stafford is dealing with an ailing grandmother, a story emerges linking Avery’s grandmother to Rill and her four siblings, who were stolen from their riverboat home and their parents in the 30s. review: This is another backlist book that I’m upset I let sit on my shelf for so long! This historical fiction novel took me a few chapters to really get into, but once I was through those chapters I couldn’t put it down. This compelling story was exceptionally written and the characters were so well developed. I really loved reading the two different points of view & the dual timelines, I thought it lent to telling the story well and gave a tough subject a heartwarming aspect. This book opened my eyes to the atrocities that occurred within the Tennessee Children’s Home Society and actually made me research it a bit more once I had finished the book. This is a heavy book, but one worth reading. rating: 5 out of 5 ⭐️
WELL MET by Jen DeLuca | Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him? This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek. review: This debut novel by Jen DeLuca was heart-warming with a unique plot line. As someone who isn’t very familiar with Renaissance Faires I enjoyed the descriptive writing that flowed well and made me feel like I was right there in the action. The characters were so well developed that by the end of the book they felt like old friends. The relationship with Emily and Simon was a slow burn and it didn’t start until right at the halfway mark of the book. I wish there had a *bit* more to their relationship, but I also enjoyed Emily’s relationship with her sister, April, and how she adjusted to small town life. Overall it was an enjoyable read and could easily see there being a sequel to this! rating: 3.5 out of 5 ⭐️
THAT’S WHAT FRENEMIES ARE FOR by Sophia Littlefield & Lauren Gershell | Julia Summers seems to have it all: a Fifth Avenue apartment, a successful husband, and two adorable children attending the best private school in the city. She relishes wielding influence over her well-heeled girlfriends . . . but her star appears to be fading. That’s why, when stranded in Manhattan for the summer as the entire Upper East Side flees to the Hamptons, Julia is on the hunt for the next big thing that will put her back on top. But as with all things, if something seems to good to be true, it probably is. And Julia may just have to find that out the hard way and in the process figure out who her real friends are. review: This book was a great escape after reading a few “heavy” books back to back! This characters felt like a mix from Real Housewives and Gossip Girl, complete with all the petty, snark worthy behavior. The writing was really great & easily kept me flipping the pages to see what antics Julia would come up with next. There were times that I felt like the behavior of grown adults was a *little* much and Julia was certainly not always likable, but I enjoyed how the book wrapped up! This book reminded me a lot of When Life Gives You Lululemons. If you’re looking for a quick, witty read be sure to pick up this book! rating: 3.5 out of 5 ⭐️
I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK by Michelle McNamara | For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area. Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she deemed “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was. review: If you enjoy true crime, this is a MUST read! Before Michelle McNamara passed away, I remember seeing interviews and was always fascinated with this case & how determined she was to find the Golden State Killer. The book was compelling, chilling, and informative. There was a lot of information in the book that I didn’t know (even from listening to numerous podcasts on GSK). This was a truly gripping read that kept me up at night, even knowing the Golden State Killer had been caught, in part thanks to her book. A warning that the details in this book are gruesome and very descriptive, so read with caution. rating: 4.5 out of 5 ⭐️
SOMEONE WE KNOW by Shari Lapena | In a quiet, leafy suburb in upstate New York, a teenager has been sneaking into houses–and into the owners’ computers as well–learning their secrets, and maybe sharing some of them, too. Who is he, and what might he have uncovered? After two anonymous letters are received, whispers start to circulate, and suspicion mounts. And when a woman down the street is found murdered, the tension reaches the breaking point. Who killed her? Who knows more than they’re telling? And how far will all these very nice people go to protect their own secrets? In this neighborhood, it’s not just the husbands and wives who play games. Here, everyone in the family has something to hide… review: I found Someone We Know to be a slow-building suspense novel, which is true for many of Shari Lapena’s books. The author does a great job of developing the characters and giving you just enough information about them to question who they really are. Although it was a slow build, I enjoyed putting the pieces together and trying to figure out who was behind the murder. The jumbled web of lies and secrets of all the neighbors kept me guessing until the very end. The ominous ending definitely surprised me and it certainly shook up the neighborhood! rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️
THE WHISPER MAN by Alex North | After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank. But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night. Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man. review: This is a dark, suspenseful thriller that will certainly make you double (and triple) check that your doors are locked at night! The Whisper Man was a highly anticipated fall book for me and it lived up to the hype. This book is well written and the author intricately weaves the story of The Whisper Man into this multi-generational tale. It is compelling from the very first pages and it has so many layers to it that you can’t help but to keep reading, even when you’re sufficiently creeped out. I loved the police-procedural aspect to this book along with the father-son relationships that show up throughout. It gave the perfect storm of mystery and suspense. Each layer has a bit of shock value to it and I personally really enjoyed that! This is a great, eerie book to pick up in October! rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️
DOMINICANA by Angie Cruz | Fifteen-year-old Ana never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn’t matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year’s Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. At the height of political turmoil in Dominican Republic, Juan is called back to deal with the wreckage and protect his family’s assets. With Juan gone, Ana is left with his brother Cesar and can slowly see another future in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family. review: Wow. I absolutely loved this powerful coming-of-age story. Written in Ana’s point of view, this story is heart-breaking but also very thought provoking. The writing is poignant and so descriptive, really allowing you to dive into the culture. I found myself sitting and reflecting on her life and the decisions that were forced upon the protagonist at such a young age. The story of immigration and coming to America was so real and raw, and important to read in the climate we’re in right now. In ways, this story reminded me a lot of A Woman is No Man (a favorite of 2019!), each providing powerful, compelling writing about life in America and the American Dream. rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️
Shop my September reading list below