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Fall Book Haul

A round up look at what caught my eye (and my wallet) this fall! Ratings and mini reviews are given where applicable … 

The Whalebone Theatre

Written by Joanna Quinn

Published by Knopf Publishing Group

The Read With Jenna book pick for October – I typically always buy Jenna’s picks, but was especially tempted by this month’s historical fiction about a young group of characters who, as children, formed a theatre group in the dried out skeleton of a long dead beached whale? Intriguing. Fast forward a few years, we follow Cristabel as she and another member of the theatre group become British secret agents in WWII.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Foul Lady Fortune

Written by Chloe Gong

Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books

I really enjoyed Chloe’s Our Violent Delights – a YA that really stands above the rest in world building, political maneuverings and plot. So this story, which takes place in the same world as OVD, but takes on a more espionage plot, has me intrigued.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Our Missing Hearts

Written by Celeste Ng

Published by Penguin Press

I think this may have been an impulse buzz buy and will be reviewing it for my buzzy book feature. Reese’s Book Club pick for October, I liked, didn’t l-o-v-e Celeste’s Little Fires Everywhere, but Our Missing Hearts feels very timely with its discussions on book banning and, what should be but isn’t far off, dystopian government practices.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Mad Honey – 2.75*

Written by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

Published by Ballantine Books

Two families, each torn apart by a tragedy when Asher, the son of Olivia, is arrested for the murder of his girlfriend Lily. Another book club influenced buy, I really wished I’d waited for a library copy. While the court room aspects of this story are engaging and the beginning started out so promising, the whole “gotcha” reveal is pretty widely spoiled by this point and I feel wasn’t necessary to be revealed in such a way. I think the story could have been stronger had the novelists chosen to write the story … up front (being vague here in case you don’t know said spoiler). Beyond that the plot just slugged and slagged and dragged in a book that could easily have shed 100 pages. Further, the mending of the two authors just … didn’t. Each chapter, written from the differing perspective of Olivia or Lily, felt like a different book entirely – much like a game of tennis with the story being volleyed side to side. Never unifying. But it was the cringey, truly icky skin-crawling lines during the teenage sex scenes that really tested my patience… I just couldn’t enjoy this one despite how much I wanted to be its champion.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Night Ship

Written by Jess Kidd

Published by Atria Books

When a favourite author releases a new book it is a no brainer purchase, but especially so when it is part of the new Aardvark Book Club subscription. Jess Kidd’s new historical fiction takes on a real life event – a shipwreck in 1629 – and connects two characters, three centuries apart.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The House in the Orchard

Written by Elizabeth Brooks

Published by Tin House Books

Another Aardvark book pick, I wouldn’t have known of this gothic fiction if not for them! I’m always tempted by creepy estates/manor/mansions … blame it on my Daphne du Maurier loving heart! This story follows two timelines – orphan Maude in 1876 as she comes to live at Orchard House and in 1942 the widow of Maude’s nephew inherits Orchard House upon Maude’s death. Full of secrets, mystery, intrigue and maybe a bit of spookiness? I’m excited to find out!

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Witches of Moonshyne Manor – 3.25*

Written by Bianca Marais

Published by Mira Books

Perfectly fine, another story that started strong but became repetitive and unnecessarily drawn out – why it took almost 200 pages of a 330 page book to get to the point was a baffling decision to me. The premise greatly promising – a group of Octogenarian witches live in a grande manor, running a brewery, and have their home threatened by “the partriarchy” when they can’t pay their back mortgage payments. The women were delightful, but I did take issue to the handling of the transgender character being a “shape shifter.” While I don’t believe harm wasn’t intended here, it didn’t sit right to have the transgender character’s magic be – shape shifting? Felt pretty tone deaf in a story that was trying very hard to be woke to all issues.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Matchmaker’s Gift – 3*

Written by Lynda Cohen Loigman

Published by St. Martin’s Press

Another story that just didn’t wow me. A fine, 3-star read, that suffered from a repetitive plot that took awhile to get going. This story followed two women: Sara in 1910 a Jewish matchmaker struggling to be accepted in a world of men in her own right and her granddaughter Abby, a NYC divorce lawyer in the 1990s who inconveniently might have inherited her grandmother’s gift … not necessarily a great asset for a divorce lawyer. Or is it?

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Spells for Forgetting

Written by Adrienne Young

Published by Delacorte Press

This is up next in my TBR stack, I’ve read the first couple chapters and have great hope this magical realism, mystery story that is centred on a chilly island entering the cold fall months will wrap me, *ahem*, in its spell. See what I did there?

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches – 4*

Written by Sangu Mandanna

Published by Berkley Books

I did a buzzy book review for this one, so click on over to that if you want more details. Simply, this is a charming and cozy fall story that I’m not surprised is taking over bookstagram. It’s comforting and solidly entertaining.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org


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