September 2019 Reads

September was my biggest reading month yet! I was not expecting to be able to read so much once the school year got rolling, but it turns out I love listening to an audiobook while I work in my classroom alone each morning. And since I get to school 2 hours before work technically starts, that’s quite a bit of time to get through some books. Leave me a comment down below if you’ve read any of these books!

september 2019 reads honeybeejoyous

Stats

Number of books read: 10 📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘

Print books: 4 📚📚📚📚

Audiobooks: 6 🎧🎧🎧🎧🎧🎧

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 star books: 2

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 star books: 4

⭐⭐⭐ 3 star books: 4

⭐⭐ 2 star books: 0

1 star books: 0

😍 Favorite book: Leaving Time

☹️ Least favorite book: Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

leaving time by jodi picoult cover honeybeejoyous

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Read from August 23, 2019 – September 1, 2019.

Leaving Time is a story of love, loss, and mystery, featuring a 13-year-old girl, a disgraced psychic, an alcoholic former detective, and a whole lot of elephants.

This is the first book I’ve read by Jodi Picoult and I can see why she is such a popular author. This book truly left me speechless, mainly for reasons I can’t say without spoilers. The ending was a bit overly sappy and sentimental, but the character development and the way the plot unfolded was incredible. I’m a sucker for a good story narrated from multiple perspectives, and this one was incredible. I learned a lot about elephants and I thought a lot about what it means to love someone and what it means to lose someone. Leaving Time was a well-woven tapestry and I’d highly recommend it.

**read as an audiobook**

Find my review on Goodreads here.

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

the last house guest by megan miranda cover honeybeejoyous

3.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐💫

Read from September 1, 2019 – September 2, 2019.

Littleport is a small vacation town with a sharp divide between the rich renters who come every summer and the locals who keep the town running year round. Avery Greer is a local who, after years of tragedy and hardship (some because of bad luck and some of her own doing) has managed to make a life for herself running the rental properties of the Lomans, one of the wealthiest families who makes the coastal town their summer home. This new, better life is largely thanks to the unexpectedly deep friendship she has with Sadie Loman and her family’s generosity to Avery. But, everything comes crashing down when Sadie is found dead and it’s ruled a suicide, even though Avery can’t shake the feeling that something bigger is at play. The Last House Guest is the story of Avery’s quest for the truth about her friend’s death and coming to terms with her own past.

The plotline of this book shouldn’t be all that suspenseful, but Megan Miranda seems to be an expert at building suspense by keeping the reader in the dark, allowing the narrator to reveal information when she sees fit. Miranda hints, teases, and needles at the truth until the reader feels like they need to know, then finally reveals little details that allow the story to fall into place. This is my second book by Miranda, so it seems like it’s part of her writing style. It worked to keep me on edge and constantly make me second guess the pieces I was putting together, since all the characters knew more about the situation than I did. Some chapters are set the night Sadie was found dead and others are set a year later, but they both feature flashbacks to earlier times in Avery’s life. Even though the timeline jumped around quite a bit, it was not too difficult to keep track of, and it served to keep the characters a few steps ahead of the reader. This is a really impressive aspect of Miranda’s writing style, but I also think it’s essential to keeping my interest in the book. Without the manufactured suspense of the author keeping the details hidden, I don’t think the story is all that special or unique.

The other book I’ve read by Megan Miranda is All the Missing Girls and something I wrote in my review of that book was that I felt there were too many breaks in the action for philosophical musing. I still detect a bit of that in this book (Avery did a lot of thinking and reflecting about her life, what it means to be from a small town, and socioeconomic disparities in her town even as she was trying to solve a mystery about her best friend’s death), but it felt less obvious and less bothersome in this novel. This also might be because I read The Last House Guest as a physical book and I listened to All the Missing Girls as an audiobook, so I could skim over those mildly irritating little bits rather than having to listen to every word.

Maybe I’ve just read too many thrillers lately, but the characters weren’t very unique, the story was nothing unusual, and the twist (while I didn’t guess it) was nothing shocking. However, The Last House Guest was a well written book that kept me turning the pages and invested in the outcome.

Find my review on Goodreads here.

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord

in the year of the boar and jackie robinson by bette bao lord cover honeybeejoyous

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Read from September 2, 2019 – September 3, 2019.

When I first read In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, I was in fifth grade, just like Shirley Temple Wong. I remember being entranced by her story of trying to acclimate to America after living in China all her life, loving the insight into the Chinese culture and the fresh lens I got to see my own culture through. I picked up this middle grade classic again because my younger sister and I recently had a discussion about how this book stuck with us, even so many years after the first reading. I decided to read it again and I’m so glad I did.

This novel is a classic, beautifully written story of the American Dream, told through the eyes of a curious, ambitious, clever young girl. It’s a rosy story and definitely does not represent the experiences of all immigrants, but it’s a feel good story that I believe is at least partially autobiographical of Bette Bao Lord. I would recommend it to anyone who loves baseball, who likes spunky elementary schooler main characters, or who wants to read an uplifting story of an immigrant family taking risks and finding their way in a new country.

**read as an audiobook**

Find my review on Goodreads here.

Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg

can't wait to get to heaven by fannie flagg cover honeybeejoyous

3 stars ⭐⭐⭐

Read from September 4, 2019 – September 6, 2019.

This past week was incredibly stressful and busy, so when I was picking a book, I wanted something that would be calming, funny, and easy to listen to. That’s exactly what I got with Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven. I’m not Fannie Flagg’s target audience (I’m probably about 40 years too young and a few states too far north), but her writing style is warm, comforting, and very calm. I love that she narrates her own audiobooks because she has the perfect voice for it.

Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven is a heartwarming story about living life to the fullest, living without regrets, and the huge impacts that small actions can have. This book won’t make any of my favorites lists, but it was just what I was looking for this week.

**read as an audiobook**

P.S.: This book uses the word “retarded” quite a few times to describe one of the minor side characters. It’s used in the outdated medical context, not as an insult, but it’s not a word I like to hear and certainly not a word I use, so I wanted to make sure to note this in case it affects your choice to read.

Find my review on Goodreads here.

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan cover honeybeejoyous

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Read from September 8, 2019 – September 12, 2019.

I picked this audiobook based on the premise alone, but once I found out it was a Newbery Honor historical fiction novel, I was even more excited to read it. Echo is the story of three children whose lives are intertwined through music and a magical harmonica. Friedrich Schmidt lives in 1930s Germany, working in a harmonica factory and trying to take care of his family in a world that is becoming increasingly cruel. Mike Flannery lives in Great Depression Philadelphia with his younger brother, trying to find their way out of an orphanage and into a loving home. Ivy Maria Lopez lives in 1940s California, where her family has been hired to care for a farm owned by Japanese Americans who were sent to internment camps.

Pam Muñoz Ryan tackles a wide breadth of historical moments, social issues, and human stories in Echo. It is a story about the power of music, family, and love. Her writing is incredible. Each story is beautiful and the way they intertwine is masterful. I highly recommend listening to the audiobook because of the importance of music in each story. Actually being able to hear the songs makes the story even more powerful.

I have nothing bad to say about this book. The 2016 Newbery nominees must have all been amazing that this book only received the Honor and not the Award itself.

**read as an audiobook**

Find my review on Goodreads here.

Defunctland Guide to the Magic Kingdom by Kevin Perjurer

defunctland guide to the magic kingdom by kevin perjurer cover honeybeejoyous

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Read from September 15, 2019 – September 16, 2019.

I absolutely love the Defunctland YouTube channel and so does my boyfriend. Naturally, I had to pick up Kevin Perjurer’s book for Brendan’s birthday, and then I had to steal it so I could read it myself. The Defunctland Guide to the Magic Kingdom was a great, quick, funny read and even as a Disney Parks superfan, I learned some new things. Some of the humor bits were taken too over the top for my taste (the last section is what I’m thinking of here) but overall I really enjoyed this book. I’d recommend it to Disney Parks superfans and to fans of the Defunctland YouTube channel!

Find my review on Goodreads here.

Doll Bones by Holly Black

doll bones by holly black cover honeybeejoyous

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Read from September 15, 2019 – September 18, 2019.

This was a creepy, creepy middle grade novel. Zach, Alice, and Poppy are middle schoolers still hanging onto their childhood games of imagination and whimsy. That is, until Zach’s father forces Zach to give up on The Game and focus on things he views as more appropriate for his son who is beginning to grow into a man. Zach quits The Game, but when Poppy says she’s been having dreams of the ghost of a bone china doll they aren’t allowed to play with, Zach and Alice join her on a quest to put the dreams (and the doll) to rest.

Doll Bones is creepy, whimsical, and a great story. The author, Holly Black, also created the middle grade spooky series The Spiderwick Chronicles and her penchant for chilling stories is well-used in this novel. It was a quick read that I’d recommend to fans of Coraline and other unsettling tales or anybody looking for a Halloween-season read that will give you the creeps without totally scaring the pants off of you.

**read as an audiobook**

Find my review on Goodreads here.

The Six: Kristy by Samantha March

the six: kristy by samantha march cover honeybeejoyous

3.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐💫

Read on September 20, 2019.

I picked up The Six: Kristy, the first book in Samantha March’s series The Six for two reasons. The first is that this past week of work was hard and I needed an easy, breezy, fun read for my train ride out of town. The second is that I love watching Samantha March’s YouTube videos, so I wanted to check out her books as well. If you pay attention to what I read, you probably know I don’t read a lot of what’s classified as “chick lit,” so this was a bit different for me, but it was a refreshing and ultimately good choice.

Kristy is an elementary school counselor settling into her first full time job. Some of the story revolves around her job and the stresses that come from it, but most of the novel is about Kristy’s personal life. She’s in her mid twenties and is starting to get tired of all the bad first dates and one night stands. She makes a bet with one of her friends that she will go without sleeping with anyone for six months. If she succeeds, she will earn herself an all-expense paid trip to Paris. This seems easy until she meets a dreamy stranger who sweeps her off her feet. Readers are also introduced to Kristy’s close-knit group of friends (“The Six”) and the various personalities and problems they have.

This book was nothing groundbreaking, revolutionary, or very exciting. But, it was exactly what I was looking for. It was a good story with likeable characters that was easy and fun to read. I read the whole book in one sitting on my three-hour train ride. I also snagged a copy of the other book Samantha March has released in this series, The Six: Scarlett, centering on one of the other women in The Six and I’m excited to read that sometime soon.

Find my review on Goodreads here.

The Whisper Man by Alex North

the whisper man by alex north cover honeybeejoyous

4.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫

Read from September 22, 2019 – September 23, 2019.

The small town of Featherbank was once haunted by a serial killer who would whisper outside little boys’ windows and lure them to a brutal murder. Twenty years later, when the man supposedly responsible for these crimes is in jail, another young boy goes missing. Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake have moved to Featherbank for a fresh start and find themselves connected to the mystery of the Whisper Man, and to the detectives on the case, in unsettling ways.

The Whisper Man gave me the heebie-jeebies for sure. Things are revealed slowly and creepily in a way that kept me looking over my shoulder while I read. Finishing this book after sunset was a mistake, but I had a hard time putting it down. Alex North’s storytelling was powerful and I found myself caring quite deeply about the characters and the outcome of the story. I loved getting to experience the story from a variety of perspectives. It kept me ever so slightly off balance and made me keep turning the pages. Criminal Minds is probably my favorite TV show of all time and this book not only felt like an episode of the show, but it felt like an excellent episode. I was able to guess most of the twists, but I wasn’t mad about it. They didn’t feel obvious to me. Either my B.A. in English makes me good at clueing in on motifs or I’m just a massive Criminal Minds fan. Either way, I’d definitely recommend this book if you’re interested in a creepy serial killer story.

Find my review on Goodreads here.

A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff

a vintage affair by isabel wolff cover honeybeejoyous

3 stars ⭐⭐⭐

Read from September 23, 2019 – September 26, 2019.

The moral of A Vintage Affair can be summed up in the same way as the movie Meet the Robinsons: “Keep moving forward.” It’s a story all about learning from the past, but not letting your past choices define you. Isabel Wolff has written a story that takes a lot of moving pieces, but they are woven together seamlessly. It features love triangles, malaria, vintage gowns, classic movies, and concentration camps. Somehow all of these disparate elements work together quite well to create a cozy story about living life without being bogged down by the past.

If you enjoyed The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion (which I did), then you will probably enjoy this book as well! I think A Vintage Affair would make a great Hallmark movie, which I would totally watch! It didn’t blow me out of the water, make me think super hard, or make my jaw drop to the floor, but this was a good read.

**read as an audiobook**

Find my review on Goodreads here.

I’m proud of how much I read in September, especially considering how busy this month was, both in my work and personal life. Have you read any of these books? What did you read in September? Leave me a comment down below and tell me all about it!

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