Last month, I decided that I wanted to start putting together a very loose TBR and then seeing how close I stuck to it at the end of the month. There were 12 books on my TBR in August, and I managed to read seven of them! The five that I didn’t get to were The Roxy Letters (I tried but couldn’t get into it), Raybearer (I am currently listening to the audiobook and loving it!), Midnight in Chernobyl, A Fatal Grace, and Sex and Vanity. I plan to finish the audiobook of Raybearer in September, and Sex and Vanity is the next book I am picking up! I would also love to get to Midnight in Chernobyl in September, but we will see. There are also quite a few books that I am in the middle of and will hopefully finish.
September 1st is the start of Fall in my mind, so that is when I like to start all my autumnal reads. I am putting a list of autumnal book recommendations, so look out for that post coming soon!
Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin
After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.
To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.
I read the first book in this series, Serpent & Dove, for a buddy read on Instagram last year. It is not a book I would have ever picked up on my own, but I ended up really enjoying it. The same group is getting together again to read the sequel in September, and I am really excited for that. I have seen some mixed reviews, but even if this book disappoints me, reading it with others will make it a fun experience!
Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella
A Harvard freshman becomes obsessed with her schizophrenic brother’s suicide. Then she starts hearing voices.
Cadence Archer arrives on Harvard’s campus desperate to understand why her brother, Eric, a genius who developed paranoid schizophrenia took his own life there the year before. Losing Eric has left a black hole in Cady’s life, and while her decision to follow in her brother’s footsteps threatens to break her family apart, she is haunted by questions of what she might have missed. And there’s only one place to find answers.
As Cady struggles under the enormous pressure at Harvard, she investigates her brother’s final year, armed only with a blue notebook of Eric’s cryptic scribblings. She knew he had been struggling with paranoia, delusions, and illusory enemies—but what tipped him over the edge? With her suspicions mounting, Cady herself begins to hear voices, seemingly belonging to three ghosts who walked the university’s hallowed halls—or huddled in its slave quarters. Among them is a person whose name has been buried for centuries, and another whose name mankind will never forget.
Does she share Eric’s illness, or is she tapping into something else? Cady doesn’t know how or why these ghosts are contacting her, but as she is drawn deeper into their worlds, she believes they’re moving her closer to the truth about Eric, even as keeping them secret isolates her further. Will listening to these voices lead her to the one voice she craves—her brother’s—or will she follow them down a path to her own destruction?
I am reading Ghosts of Harvard for another buddy read on Instagram! This is a book I have been eyeing since it was released, as I am instantly drawn to dark academia. To be honest, I know very little about the actual plot of this one, but my gut is telling me I am going to love it.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . .
From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a novel set in glamorous 1950s Mexico.
After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find – her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.
One last buddy read for September! Mexican Gothic has been receiving so much attention, so I think I would have read it this month whether it was for a buddy read or not. I said it once, and I will say it again, I love my Gothic novels, especially if a creepy house is involved. I know that this is going to be an atmospheric and haunting read- perfect for this time of year!
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
This is a poignant comedy about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.
Viewing an apartment normally doesn’t turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers slowly begin opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths.
As police surround the premises and television channels broadcast the hostage situation live, the tension mounts and even deeper secrets are slowly revealed. Before long, the robber must decide which is the more terrifying prospect: going out to face the police, or staying in the apartment with this group of impossible people.
Anxious People is my most anticipated book of the year, and it comes out in September, so you know I will be reading it as soon as I can get my hands on a copy. The synopsis makes this seem like it is outside of Backman’s usual genre and that just intrigues me all the more. The early reviews have been fantastic, which is no surprise!
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
Gifty is a fifth year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford School of Medicine studying reward seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after a knee injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her.
But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family’s loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith, and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanain immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief–a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written, emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi’s phenomenal debut.
Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel, Homegoing, is one of my favourite books and it made me fall in love with multi-generational family sagas. I have been impatiently waiting for Gyasi’s sophomore novel, and I’m so excited that it is almost here! There are so many incredible books coming out in September, but Transcendent Kingdom is definitely a priority.
Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
Korey Fields is dead.
When Enchanted Jones wakes with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night, no one—the police and Korey’s fans included—has more questions than she does. All she really knows is that this isn’t how things are supposed to be. Korey was Enchanted’s ticket to stardom.
Before there was a dead body, Enchanted was an aspiring singer, struggling with her tight knit family’s recent move to the suburbs while trying to find her place as the lone Black girl in high school. But then legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots her at an audition. And suddenly her dream of being a professional singer takes flight.
Enchanted is dazzled by Korey’s luxurious life but soon her dream turns into a nightmare. Behind Korey’s charm and star power hides a dark side, one that wants to control her every move, with rage and consequences. Except now he’s dead and the police are at the door. Who killed Korey Fields?
All signs point to Enchanted.
I cannot believe my three most anticipated novels (Anxious People, Transcendent Kingdom, and Grown) are all being published in September! I will read absolutely everything that Tiffany D. Jackson writes, and I actually have a countdown on my phone for the release date of Grown. The story is inspired by R. Kelly and the way he would groom young girls, so I know it is going to be a difficult read. This is a topic that I 100% trust in Jackson’s hands.
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Mary B. Addison killed a baby.
Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.
Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.
There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?
Another Tiffany D. Jackson novel, is anyone surprised? I just bought my copy of Allegedly, which is her debut novel. I have heard so many incredible things, and I cannot wait to read it.
This is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone
Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.
Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war.
I often find myself in the mood for SciFi this time of year and there is something about This is How You Lose the Time War that is calling to me. I know that this book gets mixed reviews, but I often enjoy books like that. It is also a short book at just over 200 pages, and I have the audiobook, which I have heard good things about.
Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman
Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Unnamed Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.
When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.
Magic Lessons is a celebration of life and love and a showcase of Alice Hoffman’s masterful storytelling.
I was so incredibly excited to receive an ARC of Magic Lessons from Simon and Schuster Canada. The Rules of Magic, which is also a prequel to Hoffman’s Practical Magic, is my favourite witchy book, and I have a feeling that I will love Magic Lessons all the more. Maria Owens is one of my favourite characters, so I cannot wait to learn more about her and her history.
What are you hoping to read in September?