Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly discussion hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl (and formerly hosted by The Broke and the Bookish), and this week’s topic is “Typographical Covers” but I wanted to revisit the previous week’s topic of ‘Books on Your Fall TBR!’ I’ve not really focused on TBRs in the last year or so, but sometimes setting aside a few books I want to focus on has actually led me to focus on them, so I’m swinging back to trying these out again. Maybe seasonally instead of monthly work better for me as I tend to be a mood reader and a library due date-driven reader!!
Slaying the Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons & Dragons, by Ben Riggs – A history of one of the most popular TTRPG! I don’t know much about the history of it, and this is a perfect-looking length of a general introduction!
Babel: An Arcane History, by R.F. Kuang – Fantasy dark academia is perfect for this time of year, and I can’t wait to dive into this. I’ve heard so many great things about it already!
The Year of the Witching, by Alexis Henderson – I’ve just started reading this after having it on numerous TBRs since it came out, and it’s just what I’ve been needing! I can definitely see this being for someone who enjoyed the movie The VVitch.
Long Live the Pumpkin Queen, by Shea Ernshaw – I’m curious about a YA novel about Sally after she marries Jack, and I couldn’t resist getting a copy of the BN exclusive edition because the cover is so much more appealing to me!!
For the Wolf, by Hannah Whitten – This is another one that has been on several TBRs since I picked it up, and something about the cover and the fall season makes me want to read fairy tale reimaginings.
The Dead Romantics, by Ashley Poston – Everything about this screams spooky season, and I’m interested in seeing how a romance works between a ghostwriter and a ghost.
Dead Astronauts, by Jeff VanderMeer – This is another one that’s been on so many TBRs over the last two years, and I keep staring at it, partially wanting to savor VanderMeer’s stuff forever and partially because sometimes his work intimidates me and I know it’s a whole to-do for me when I do read his work.
The Night Ocean, by Paul La Farge – A book about Lovecraft and his circle that seems perfect for fall (and has also been on so many TBRs). This is the season of knocking out my backlist!!!
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales of Terror , by Robert Louis Stevenson – I read Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde probably about twenty years ago (ack) when I was fourteen/fifteen, and I never revisited it!
Silent in the Grave, by Deanna Raybourn – I’ve enjoyed her Veronica Speedwell series, and I found the first two of the Lady Julia Grey series at a used bookstore a few years back, so I’m curious and excited to read her earlier series!
What is on your fall TBR this year? What types of books do you like to read seasonally?
Yangsze Choo’s stunning debut, The Ghost Bride, is a startlingly original novel infused with Chinese folklore, romantic intrigue, and unexpected supernatural twists, reminiscent of Lisa See’s Peony in Love and Amy Tan’s The Bonesetter’s Daughter.
Li Lan, the daughter of a respectable Chinese family in colonial Malaysia, hopes for a favorable marriage, but her father has lost his fortune, and she has few suitors. Instead, the wealthy Lim family urges her to become a “ghost bride” for their son, who has recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at what price? Night after night, Li Lan is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, where she must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family.
I started my spooky season reads a little early this year, and The Ghost Bride is one of those I’ve had on my shelves for a while that I picked out to round out some personal challenges this year.
I chose The Ghost Bride for my challenges because it has been on my shelves for a while, and it got a little bit of buzz when it was released and around the time Choo’s second novel was released, and I am sometimes one of those people who like to read books by authors in publication order. On top of that, the concept of Li Lan having to solve a murder in Death highly appealed to me, especially as a first read of ‘spooky’ season.
What I loved most was the attention to world detail, especially as a non-Chinese reader unfamiliar with some aspects of Chinese/colonial Malaysia culture, and I felt completely engaged with the worlds of the living and the dead. The story itself was straightforward, and this is something that would be a great bridge from readers of YA to readers of adult fiction, as thematically, I see a lot of the same themes and concepts in YA, but in Choo’s novel, the storytelling, language, and characters are a bit more elevated and complex. The villains are believable and not fully evil, the main character grows and shifts her perspective on ghost brides, marriage, and her role in her life and in her family’s life.
Overall, I enjoyed it! I thought it dragged a bit in the middle with repetitive narrative plots, but the resolution was satisfying and I don’t feel like I was missing anything from the story once it had finished. I’ll also be checking out the series on Netflix as well! I hadn’t realized the series was a thing until I unpacked a book at work with the Netflix sticker on the cover. If you want a bit of non-Western historical fiction with a spooky twist, look into this one!
I took an impromptu hiatus, partially because it got very busy at work and partially because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with the blog. I decided at some point during the summer that my blog needed a refresh. I had previously redone my blog in January 2020, I think? I liked it at the time, but the dark theme just kind of grew to something I didn’t like anymore, and it never seemed to work well when I tried to put it against a lighter background. Flash forward to a couple of weeks ago when I started looking at graphics and other blog designs as well as beginning to tie everything into an overarching personal brand, I found these graphics that I couldn’t stop thinking about!! I definitely think this is more ‘me,’ and it’s mostly done in Canva, which means I can work on it from nearly anywhere. Ease of access and portability makes a whole world of difference sometimes!
I don’t foresee much change happening to the bookish content of the blog aside from more posts, and I’m working on embroidery/stitchy stuff to showcase and eventually sell on Etsy, as well as makeup and movie content that I wanted to lean toward when I initially redid the blog design two and a half years ago! I’ll be adding links to Etsy and other social media places you can find me to the sidebar once they’re also updated and ready to go.
My reading felt chaotic over the summer, but I’m excited for the fall season and all of the fall reads I have on my nightstand!
Sometime during the summer, I picked out titles to fill out the remainder of my ABC challenge and my physical TBR challenge, and The Ghost Bride and Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured were two of the titles I picked out! I’m enjoying both, and The Ghost Bride is a perfect book for spooky season. Jennette McCurdy’s I’m Glad My Mom Died is everywhere, and even though I’m a few chapters in, I’m really enjoying her writing style and her voice.
📚 The Ghost Bride – Yangsze Choo 📚 I’m Glad My Mom Died – Jennette McCurdy 📚 Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured – Kathryn Harrison
To keep the post on the shorter side, I’m not going to go much into detail about the books I read!! I’ll separate each month so it’s not a blob of books. If there are any you’d like to see a review of, please leave a comment and let me know!!
I read nine books in May!, and I think my favorite of the month was the historical horrorby Ally Wilkes, All the White Spaces.
📓 Until We Meet – Camille Di Maio (thank you, Forever Pub!)
📚 A Duke in the Night – Kelly Bowen ⌛️ Happy People Are Annoying – Josh Peck 📓 A Novel Obsession – Caitlin Barasch (thank you, Dutton Books!) 📓 Forging a Nightmare – Patricia A. Jackson (thank you, Angry Robot!) 📚 The Essex Serpent – Sarah Perry 📓 Steal This Book – Abbie Hoffman (thank you, Hachette!)
📓 All the White Spaces – Ally Wilkes (thank you, Atria Books!) ⌛️ A Study in Death – Anna Lee Huber
I read nine books in June! I’m curious about these TikTok popular books, but I knew I wasn’t gonna like The Love Hypothesis, and I didn’t, lol. Ottessa Moshfegh, however, is a new favorite of mine.
⌛️ A Far Wilder Magic – Allison Saft
⌛️ Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
📱 Lapvona – Ottessa Moshfegh (thank you, Penguin Press!)
⌛️ The Love Hypothesis – Ali Hazelwood
⌛️ Disorientation – Elaine Hsieh Chou
📚 Death in Her Hands – Ottessa Moshfegh
📚 People We Meet on Vacation – Emily Henry
📱 Sistersong – Lucy Holland (thank you, Redhook!)
📚 The Duke Heist – Erica Ridley
I read seven books in July! The Postmortal is excellent, and I’m a little sad I had it on my shelf for ten years and only just read it now… and I finally!!! finally!!!! finished The Big Book of Science Fiction. Note to self: don’t start tracking these books until the month you actually finish them because this was a lot.
📚 The Postmortal – Drew Magary
⌛️ Delilah Green Doesn’t Care – Ashley Herring Blake
📚 The Baby-Sitter’s Club #1 Kristy’s Great Idea – Ann M. Martin
📚 My Year of Rest and Relaxation – Ottessa Moshfegh
📚 The Baby-Sitter’s Club #2 Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls – Ann M. Martin
⌛️ The Viscount Who Loved Me – Julia Quinn
📚 The Big Book of Science Fiction – edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
I read seven books in August! This wasn’t my best month for reading, and Persuasion was my favorite read of the month.
📚 The Outlaws of Sherwood – Robin McKinley ⌛️ The Fervor – Alma Katsu
📚 Goosebumps: Monster Blood – R.L. Stine
⌛️ The Bone Orchard– Sara A. Mueller
⌛️ If the Duke Demands – Anna Harrington
📚 Persuasion – Jane Austen
⌛️ Jade Fire Gold – June CL Tan
ON THE HORIZON
I am trying to read more off my shelves instead of requesting more books from publishers and going to the library, so this is what I’ve got on my shelves for the fall season!!
📚 Up All Night With a Good Duke – Amy Rose Bennett
📚 Babel – R.F. Kuang
📚 A Year of the Witching – Alexis Henderson
📚 The Talisman – Stephen King and Peter Straub
📚 Reluctant Immortals – Gwendolyn Kiste
WHAT I ACQUIRED
Too many books, honestly, and more than I can recall to make some kind of feasible list.
I’ll be moving this section to a “Monthly Rewind” of sorts in the coming months!!
I don’t ever expect to have these done on time because of the state of the world and my general ‘idk what to do with this blog’ moods, but here’s my wrap up for March and April of 2022!
I still have not read much of The Big Book of Science Fiction, mostly because if it is something that’s out of sight, it’s out of mind, and I’ve just recently moved it to my nightstand again so I can finally get this done. I’ve been picking at it for so long it’s absurd! Disorientation is getting a lot of good reviews from people I follow, and the concept/premise/cover have drawn me in. Sistersong was an arc I started a bit ago and then let fall to the wayside, but I am enjoying the lyricism in the writing. I have also been meaning to read more ‘contemporary classics,’ so Vonnegut is on the list! I will likely read Slaughterhouse Five after this. I’ve only ever read a few of Vonnegut’s short stories!
📚 The Big Book of Science Fiction – edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer ⌛️ Disorientation – Elaine Hsieh Chou 📱 Sistersong – Lucy Holland (thank you, Redhook!) ⌛️ Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
I read 6 books in March! With unpacking and the stress of having my things delivered, I had very little brainpower to do much of anything. I focused more on horror and romance this month, and I think I’m getting more comfortable with the genre as a whole?? Which is weird to say because I’ve never gravitated toward horror/horror-adjacent books as I have within the last year.
📚 Never Kiss a Duke – Megan Frampton (3.5/5 stars) 📱 Comfort Me With Apples – Catherynne M. Valente (4/5 stars, thank you, tordotcom!) 📚 A Duchess a Day – Charis Michaels (3/5 stars) 📓 Tripping Arcadia – Kit Mayquist (4/5 stars, thank you, Dutton Books!) ⌛️ Revelator – Daryl Gregory (4.5/5 stars) 📚 House of Hollow – Krystal Sutherland (4/5 stars)
I read seven books in April! All of it is so varied, and I read a few ARCs/review copies (physical and digital) to try to actually be on time with things for once, and then read a couple of things of my shelf as well. I’ve also been trying to use my library more to read newer things that I’m interested in rather than straight up buying everything to save money! A Marvellous Light was the library book I read in April, and it was a very warm romantic fantasy.
📚 Star Wars The High Republic: Light of the Jedi – Charles Soule (3/5 stars) 📱 Time is a Mother – Ocean Vuong (3.5/5 stars, thank you, Penguin Press!) ⌛️ A Marvellous Light – Freya Marske (5/5 stars) 📓 The Agathas – Kathleen Glasgow & Liz Lawson (4/5 stars, thank you, Delacorte Press!) 📓 Portrait of a Thief – Grace D. Li (3.75/5 stars, thank you, Tiny Reparations Books!) 📱 Woman, Eating – Claire Kohda (3/5 stars, thank you, Harpervia!) 📚 Brain Rose – Nancy Kress (3/5 stars)
ON THE HORIZON
Darling Girl is a reimagination of the Peter Pan story and looks like something I’ll enjoy! I won Scorpica in a Goodreads giveaway, and a matriarchy in a fantasy setting is always one of my favorite things! Counterfeit sounds like a fun summer novel!! Cherish Farrah has gotten some wildly different receptions from people I follow, and it’s from the library so I should check it out. And Her Majesty’s Royal Coven is a BN Pick of the Month that I’ll be buying soon! The concept and cover is so cool! She Who Became the Sun was one of my most anticipated reads for a long time, and it’s time to actually read it! I’ve also been meaning to read Red, White, and Royal Blue since I bought it when it first got popular on social media (before the weird stepback best seller piece was added!!). Sundial is another library book I need to finish and looks delightfully creepy for a summer read. I’ve just started paging through Lapvona even though I’ve never read another Moshfegh book!! I’m also continuing my ABC Challenge of 2022 with Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured (that has also been on my active TBR for literal years).
📓 Darling Girl – Liz Michalski (thank you, Dutton!)
📓 Scorpica – G.R. Macallister (Goodreads giveaway, thank you, Saga Press!)
📱 Counterfeit – Kirstin Chen (thank you, William Morrow!)
⌛️ Cherish Farrah – Bethany C. Morrow
📚 Her Majesty’s Royal Coven – Juno Dawson
📚 She Who Became the Sun – Shelley Parker-Chan
📚 Red, White, and Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston
⌛️ Sundial – Catriona Ward
📱 Lapvona – Ottessa Moshfegh (thank you, Penguin Press!)
📚 Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured – Kathryn Harrison
WHAT I ACQUIRED
I want more wlw mass market historical romances, and the cover of Erica Ridley’s The Perks of Loving a Wallflower has all of my favorite colors omg. Misrule is my highly anticipated follow up to Malice, a favorite of mine last year! I loved Iron Widow, so naturally I had to see what Xiran Jay Zhao’s middle grade release was all about!! I had requested a copy of Phasers on Stun and I’m pleased to see it encompasses a lot! As soon as I saw House of Hunger, I had to download it to read it even though I know I’ll purchase a physical copy once it releases.
📚 The Perks of Loving a Wallflower – Erica Ridley 📚 Misrule – Heather Walter 📚 Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor – Xiran Jay Zhao 📓 Phasers on Stun – Ryan Britt (thank you, Plume!) 📱 House of Hunger – Alexis Henderson (thank you, Ace Books!)
GAMING: I’ve been playing a lot of World of Warcraft lately, and I’ve really gotten into playing a Demon Hunter!! Now that the next expansion was released, I’m excited to get caught up on a few things and see as much endgame content as possible.
TV: I feel like I’ve watched a lot of TV lately, and I’m really enjoying The Essex Serpent, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and I’m excited for the fourth season of Stranger Things!
MOVIES: Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness was a lot of fun to watch visually, but I wasn’t too fond of the treatment of the Scarlet Witch?? Men was weird, and Everything Everywhere All at Once is a contender for my favorite movie of the year!
A poignant and page-turning story of three women whose lives are forever changed by war.…
New York City, 1943 Can one small act change the course of a life? Margaret’s job at the Navy Yard brings her freedoms she never dared imagine, but she wants to do something more personal to help the war effort. Knitting socks for soldiers is a way to occupy her quiet nights and provide comfort to the boys abroad. But when a note she tucks inside one of her socks sparks a relationship with a long-distance pen pal, she finds herself drawn to a man she’s never even met.
Can a woman hold on to her independence if she gives away her heart? Gladys has been waiting her whole life for the kinds of opportunities available to her now that so many men are fighting overseas. She’s not going to waste a single one. And she’s not going to let her two best friends waste them either. Then she meets someone who values her opinions as much as she likes giving them, and suddenly she is questioning everything she once held dear.
Can an unwed mother survive on her own? Dottie is in a dire situation—she’s pregnant, her fiancé is off fighting the war, and if her parents find out about the baby, they’ll send her away and make her give up her child. Knitting helps take her mind off her uncertain future—until the worst happens and she must lean on her friends like never before.
With their worlds changing in unimaginable ways, Margaret, Gladys, and Dottie will learn that the unbreakable bond of friendship between them is what matters most of all.
Until We Meet is one of my favorite styles of historical women’s fiction/romance incorporating interesting and realistic characters, strong friendships, and a romance developed through letter-writing. Three best friends who live and work and aid the war efforts through working in the naval yard, working on the USS Missouri, and knitting socks for soldiers overseas try to make sense and stability through the difficulties the war has brought to themselves and their families.
One of the things I absolutely loved about the structure of the book is the easy flow between Margaret and the man to whom she is writing. The multiple perspectives bring into focus both the immediacy and the distance war puts between home and the self. And while the book is a well-paced and easy read, it doesn’t shy away from the truths of war and the truths in what happens to the individual during war. The characters and setting are incredibly well-crafted, and I felt all of what the characters felt along with them. The friendships among Margaret, Dottie, and Gladys felt so real with their ups and downs, the efforts they put to help each other through their own personal and professional challenges, and it felt like a true representation of what good, supportive friendship between women is supposed to be. I also loved the developing romance between Margaret and Tom, whose true identity is revealed later, and that they seemed to recognize each other at first sight upon his return. Aside from a connection built through the written word, I absolutely love that at first sight, I knew trope.
Overall, this is a solid historical fiction/romance with a great cast of characters that will have you feeling everything from joy to dispair to hope, and it’s perfect for your summer reading bag!!
Many thanks to BooksForward and Forever for sending a complimentary copy my way! All opinions are my own.