Wow, what a month of reading it was for me! In total, I read 12 books and that is mostly because I read a ton of romance and had a ton of downtime to commit to reading. (Not writing two blog posts a week will do that for you!) I am going to try to keep my comments about the books short and sweet because that’s a whole lot of book reviews to read. I can easily say my favorite book this month was In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero. That book forever altered the way I view immigrants and immigrant reform.
Rescue My Heart by Jill Shalvis (★★★★☆)
Shalvis truly writes the best contemporary romances… stories that provide such a comfort to me. This is the third book in her Animal Magnetism series and both Adam and Holly have been a small part of the previous two books. I was excited to read their story, even though Holly didn’t come off too favorably in those other books. Thankfully, Holly’s character was redeemed and the romance was so perfectly written.
Dog Crazy by Meg Donohue (★★★★☆)
This was a quick, charming novel about Maggie, a pet bereavement counselor who is dealing with her own set of demons that has caused her to lose a bit of confidence in her work. Then, she gets a new client: a young woman who is forced into counseling by her brother who wants her to accept that her dog is dead. (She just believes he was stolen.) This new client, who asks for Maggie’s help in finding her dog, is the catalyst for Maggie to make change in her life. The novel could get heavy at times (I hate thinking about dogs dying!), but it was a beautiful novel about the impact that pets have on our lives.
I thought this book could have been a bit shorter, and there was a lot of time devoted to developing the back stories of the characters, when what I really wanted was more action in the present day. Even with those faults, it was still a great read. It is the continuation of Higgins’s Blue Heron series about a small town in New York. In this novel, we learn more about Colleen, who has played a small role in the other two books, when her first love Lucas comes back to town due to a family emergency. It’s a delightful novel and perfect for contemporary romance lovers who want more story and less sexytimes.
Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn (★★★☆☆)
This is the first novel in a Regency romance series about a family quartet that is phenomenally awful at playing music, which is just an insanely unique idea and Julia Quinn gets all my accolades for that! It was a fun read, an easy read, but nothing particularly stood out for me. Good, not great.
If you read any book off this list, let it be this one. I implore you to read it. Diane Guerrero has such an important message, and this book forever altered the way I view immigrants and immigrant reform. In this memoir, Guerrero details her life, from childhood all the way to now. She talks so openly about the pain and tragedy of her parents being deported when she was just 14, leaving her alone in America, and the effect that had on her and how she lived her life. To be honest, the book isn’t very well-written, but it didn’t really matter. The point wasn’t the writing, the point was the story. And the story is one everyone needs to read.
There was something lacking in this novel, something that kept me from fully understanding the characters and their motives, and thus, it was hard to feel invested in the romance. It kept my attention, but was also really easy to put down.
Into the Dark by Cindy Gerard (★★★★★)
Very few people can write romantic suspense like Cindy Gerard. She’s one of my favorites! This novel finishes up her Bodyguards series and this is the third time I’ve read through the series. If you love a good thriller novel that’s less about crazy twists and turns and more about a fast-moving plot, I highly recommend this author!
Be My Love by Lucy Kevin (★☆☆☆☆)
There’s not much to say about this novel – underdeveloped characters, silly plot, unrealistic romance. Blah.
We read this for book club this month and we all loved it! This novel follows the story of Lavinia, whose parents passed away on the ship coming to America from Ireland. She’s young, alone, and totally scared. She is taken in as an indentured servant at a plantation in Virginia where she works in the kitchen house and develops close relationships with the slaves working there. But as much as she feels that she’s the same as them, she really isn’t: she’s white and therefore has more rights than them. It was a difficult novel to read at times, but the writing and the characters pulled me in and about halfway through, I could barely put it down.
My second Higgins novel of the month! Obviously, I was in the mood to read fiction that was light hearted and romantic. This book ticked all of my boxes, and I was so happy to get Jack’s story after three books of him as a secondary character. He was delightful, as was Emmaline. It was just a sweet story, and I think I finished the last 150 pages on my couch, not moving an inch until I finished it.
One Sweet Ride by Jaci Burton (★★★★☆)
This was such a fun novel! It followed the romance between a successful NASCAR driver and a woman who is working on his estranged father’s campaign for Vice President. The woman, Evelyn, is tasked at getting Gray to help out on the campaign and garner votes from his fan base. Obviously, we all know what happens here: they fall in love and spend the novel fighting their growing feelings for one another. Easy story that I devoured in a matter of days.
This book is the perfect example that sometimes, you read a novel at the wrong time. I tried reading this book way back in 2009 and eventually abandoned it. Seven years and a whole lot of life experiences later, I came to this novel with an entirely different perspective on life and relationships and found the novel utterly enjoyable. It was a well-paced novel with an interesting moral dilemma. Even though there were times when the main character frustrated me because I wanted her to be more proactive about her life, I still enjoyed her and could understand and relate to her. Not my favorite novel of hers, but not my least favorite either.
SEPTEMBER BOOK STATS
- Number of books read: 12 (4,083 pages)
- Format breakdown: e-books (10), physical books (2)
- Genre breakdown: romance (8), fiction (3), nonfiction (1)
- Number of diverse reads: 3 out of 12 (25%)
- Where I got my books from: Overdrive (8), library (2), Amazon (2)
- Money spent on reading this month: $1.99
What was the best book you read in September?