My October 2019 Reading List (& Reviews)

October proved to be a pretty decent reading month for me, both in terms of the amount of books I read and the quality of books! Some months are better than others and I’m hoping to round out the last two months of the year with some really great books! In October my two favorites were The Grace Year and The Most Fun We Ever Had. The two couldn’t be more different from each other but they were both very engrossing!

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

TWICE IN A BLUE MOON by Christina Lauren | During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in an instant. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world felt shattered for good. Fourteen years later Tate only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break movie, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice. review: I am a huge Christina Lauren fan and usually automatically buy their books without even reading the synopsis. The writing in this book is their trademark and I always love a good second chance love story. However while enjoyable, it felt like it was lacking a bit. I didn’t connect to the characters and I felt like a lot of the book was focused on Tate and her father, Ian, with less focus on Sam. If you’re a Christina Lauren fan, definitely give it a read, but I’m sure you’ll find that this one won’t be a favorite. rating: 3 out of 5 ⭐️

THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS by Lisa Jewell | On her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones can finally open a letter that she has been waiting for most of her life. Her birth parents have left her an inheritance. Upon opening, she finds out that she is the owner of a multi-million dollar home on the banks of the Thames in Chelsea, London. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. For a middle class youth, this is a dream come true – but is it too good to be true? After visiting the home to find it abandoned, and looking into the mystery of her birth family, Libby discovers dark secrets. As a baby, Libby was found abandoned in this same mansion, all alone, except for the three dead bodies found downstairs. What other secrets does the home at Cheyne Walk hold and will she ever figure them out? review: The Family Upstairs is the slow burn suspense novel you have been waiting for this fall! Told in a multigenerational point of view, the story will leave you guessing until the very end. The characters are complex and well developed, while unreliable at times. I always appreciate the multiple points of view in the author’s books, it lends well to giving the reader just enough info but they’re still left guessing! rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️

THE RECKLESS OATH WE MADE by Bryn Greenwood | Zee is nobody’s fairy tale princess. Almost six-foot, with a redhead’s temper, she has a long list of worries: never-ending bills, her beautiful, gullible sister, her five-year-old nephew, her housebound mother, and her drug-dealing boss. Zee may not be a princess, but Gentry is an actual knight, complete with sword, armor, and a code of honor. Two years ago the voices he hears called him to be Zee’s champion. Both shy and autistic, he’s barely spoken to her since, but he has kept watch, ready to come to her aid. When an abduction tears Zee’s family apart, she turns to the last person she ever imagined–Gentry–and sets in motion a chain of events that will not only change both of their lives, but bind them to one another forever. review: After reading and loving Bryn Greenwood’s previous book All the Ugly and Wonderful Things I was excited to pick up this one. The writing in both books is phenomenal and both books tackle some really tough issues, but this book was a struggle for me to finish. I didn’t find myself relating to any of the characters, and in fact, Zee was highly unlikeable. Gentry’s chapters are written in Middle English (he is on the spectrum) and they were extremely hard to get through. I found myself re-reading or trying to analyze his chapters because the dialogue didn’t come naturally to me. The story itself was very compelling and very unique, but I didn’t feel that “pull” to devour it like I did with her previous book. rating: 3 out of 5 ⭐️

THE TURN OF THE KEY by Ruth Ware | When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences and by this picture-perfect family. What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder. After the fact, she struggles to explain the unraveling events that landed her in jail. Although she’s not innocent by any means, she maintains that she’s not guilty either, at least not of murder. review: The Turn of the Key opens with letters from Rowan to her attorney from her prison cell. This immediately hooked me and I was flying through the pages to figure out what happened. Unfortunately, it lost it’s appeal as the events slowly unraveled. It wasn’t until about 70% in that the book provided a few unexpected twists. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the author because she always draws me in but leaves me a bit disappointed. If you’re a Ruth Ware fan, you’ll enjoy this slow burn, creepy novel.  rating: 3.5 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 ⭐️   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! rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️

THE GRACE YEAR by Kim Liggett | No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden. In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive. Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. Their greatest threat may very well be each other. review: This was a highly anticipated book for me and, although slightly out of my wheelhouse, I was really looking forward to this dystopian book. It’s being marketed as a mix between The Hunger Games and The Handmaid’s Tale and I can certainly understand why. The writing was compelling and the story itself was captivating and full of gritty realism. Even though it was a dystopian novel, it did a great job of addressing the complex and twisted friendships between girls and the sacrifices they make as they become women. The story felt unique & I really liked the characters in this one! rating: 4.5 out of 5 ⭐️

THE MOST FUN WE EVER HAD by Clare Lombardo | When Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson fall in love in the 1970s, they are blithely ignorant of all that’s to come. By 2016, their four radically different daughters are each in a state of unrest: Wendy, widowed young, soothes herself with booze and younger men; Violet, a litigator-turned-stay-at-home-mom, battles anxiety and self-doubt when the darkest part of her past resurfaces; Liza, a neurotic and newly tenured professor, finds herself pregnant with a baby she’s not sure she wants by a man she’s not sure she loves; and Grace, the dawdling youngest daughter, begins living a lie that no one in her family even suspects. Above it all, the daughters share the lingering fear that they will never find a love quite like their parents’. As the novel moves through the tumultuous year following the arrival of Jonah Bendt–given up by one of the daughters in a closed adoption fifteen years before–we are shown the rich and varied tapestry of the Sorensons’ past: years marred by adolescence, infidelity, and resentment, but also the transcendent moments of joy that make everything else worthwhile. Spanning nearly half a century, and set against the quintessential American backdrop of Chicago and its prospering suburbs, Lombardo’s debut explores the triumphs and burdens of love, the fraught tethers of parenthood and sisterhood, and the baffling mixture of affection, abhorrence, resistance, and submission we feel for those closest to us. review: I am still in awe that this is the author’s debut novel. This book and this family absolutely captivated me and I loved all 532 pages of this book. Written from several points of view and the timeline ranging from present day to the past, the story is told beautifully as you are taken on the journey that each family member has been through. From the outside the Sorenson family seems to have it all, but they’re all flawed in their own way and I really appreciated the raw, authentic characters. I found myself connecting to many stories within the book and I was upset that I had to leave the Sorenson family behind after the last page. it’s safe to say this will be one of my top books of the year. Definitely give this a read & don’t be intimidated by how large it is, I promise you’ll love it! rating: 4.5 out of 5 ⭐️

shop my November reads below:

Leave a Reply

2 Comments

  1. I’m always looking for new books to buy. It’s one of my favorite hobbies and it’s perfect for long flights. I’d love to buy “The Whisper Man”.

    Posted 11.9.19 Reply
  2. Amanda wrote:

    I love all of this book inspiration! The family upstairs sounds right up my alley

    Posted 11.11.19 Reply

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