September 2022 Reading Wrap-Up – Cara Carroll

Well September was a truly banner month for me in terms of book picks. So many great reads this month! I unintentionally picked quite a few debut novels which was a fun surprise. And while the month didn’t start off super promising, it definitely ended with a bang. Click on the links below for the standalone reviews of each title.

The book that was worth all the hype and then some this month is most definitely I’m Glad My Mom Died, by Jennette McCurdy. Raw and honest and so well written. I knew almost nothing about the author before downloading her memoir (other than that she was an actress on Nickelodeon’s iCarly) and I walked away unable to stop thinking about her. I highly recommend listening to the audiobook as she narrates her own story (and I always think memoirs are so much more powerful when you hear them told from the person who experienced it). I had to pick my jaw up off the floor after listening to her recount the co-dependent relationship with her mom and related so much to her struggle with body image. This one comes with ALLLLL the trigger warnings, so be sure to check those out before reading. I HIGHLY recommend this one and think it would make an excellent choice for a book club pick, too. While I always feel weird rating a memoir (hello, somone’s life experience!), I very enthusiastically give this one a 5 out of 5 stars.

My favorite book this month was The Measure, by Nikki Erlich. It’s been a few weeks since I turned the last page and I’m STILL thinking about this one. Hard to believe this was a debut novel. I’d classify this one as a sci-fi, but more along the lines of Black Mirror, not Star Wars. If you woke up to find a box on your doorstep that contained a string representing the measure of your life (the years left you have to live), would you open it?! That’s the gist of this story and it’s so well executed in my opinion. I felt like this was also written as a social commentary…so many parallels between this story and our post Covid world. Thought provoking and poignant. This one will stay with me for a long time! HIGHLY recommend!!! And another excellent pick for book club…it will give you SO much to discuss. 5 out of 5 glowing stars.

The most charming, endearing story I read this month was The Dead Romantics, by Ashley Poston. Oh how I LOVED this. A big, warm hug. And a perfect addition to your fall/spooky season TBR. I didn’t expect to love this one the way I did, but let me tell you…I’m simply smitten. The characters. The setting. The dialogue. The…well…EVERYTHING. An eccentric family who owns a funeral home in a small town. The absent daughter who doesn’t believe in love. A father and daughter who see dead people. A persistent, very handsome, ghost. I mean, what’s not to love?! Don’t let the paranormal aspect keep you from reaching for this book…I can’t imagine it being executed any differently. It all just worked so well!!! I laughed. I cried. It was *chef’s kiss* amazing. If you’re looking for a heartwarming, hope-filled story filled with humor and a little romance, let this be the one. 4.8 out of 5 hauntingly charming stars.

The most disturbing book I read this month was The Perfect Child, by Lucinda Berry. If you’re thinking of having kids, I beg you to leave this one on the shelf. This book is birth control in written form. This one features an evil child trope (which always fascinates me) and lots of trigger warnings (child abuse, animal abuse, domestic drama). A seemingly happy couple adopts an abandoned and abused 6-year-old girl and their life goes from great to absolutely awful overnight. This one reminds me of Baby Teeth and if I had to choose between the two, I prefer this one overall. My only complaint is the ending which left me wondering if someone ripped out the last chapter. Super dissatisfying, but a fast paced, engrossing read overall. Because of the ending (or lack thereof), I give this one a 3.8 out of 5 disturbing stars.

The most unexpected, delightful read this month was The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches, by Sangu Mandanna. I was NOT expecting to love this one the way I did. I’ve never been one for witchy reads, but this one was adorable in all the best ways. Unconventional and far fetched, yes, but so charming! A perfect read for fall/spooky season. This one was giving Practical Magic vibes and sort of read as a YA novel (right up until the spicy romance scene), but definitely filled with lots of colorful language so if that’s something you don’t love in your books, this one might not be for you. Lots of magic, tons of heart…this one cast a spell on me 🙂 4 out of 5 magical stars.

The book I read this month that’s most likely to be adapted into a Netflix movie is Lease on Love, by Falon Ballard. Well if this wasn’t the most adorable read. Loved the premise. Adored the characters (yes, even the very selfish and foul mouthed Sadie). This one made me laugh out loud…I absolutely loved the dialogue. Sophomoric, yes, but pretty realistic in my opinion. A slow burn romance with a little spice. Super easy to read, fast paced, and so entertaining. If this isn’t adapted into a streaming movie, I’m going to be incredibly disappointed. 4.5 out of 5 cute meet stars.

The most uniquely written, compulsive read this month was Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister. If you like a time travel trope with a mystery element, you’ll definitely enjoy this one! A mom witnesses her teenage son murder a stranger and then die in their front yard and life changes in an instant. When she wakes up to deal with the nightmare the next day, it’s really the day before the murder. And every day she wakes up after that is a day further back in time before the murder. This one hooked me right from the start and it was next to impossible to put down until I was finished. I absolutely loved the storytelling in this one and the way the mystery unfolded. Gah! SO good!!! This one was son entertaining…a few twists and just the right amount of suspense. Definite Butterfly Effect vibes, too. 4.5 out of 5 time traveling stars.

My least favorite book this month was Black Cake, by Charmaine Wilkerson. Let me just preface this by saying that I know this book gets incredible ratings and reviews. I know people LOVE this book. This one had been on my TBR for a few months before I finally picked it up so there’s no one more disappointed than me that I didn’t love this the way I hoped. I’m a mood reader and maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for something like this one. But overall I just found it to be clumsy and confusing (so many names and POV’s and not consistently told in chronological order). I was finding it hard to stay interested and engaged and parts just kind of dragged on. Loved the concept and premise and genuinely thought it was beautifully written, I just didn’t connect with this one the way I hoped. Don’t let my review deter you…again, so many people rave about this one! This was just my personal experience with this book. 3 out of 5 stars.

Can’t wait to see what October has in store for me. Bring on the books!

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