September 2021 Reads

September was an excellent reading month for me! I finished the Throne of Glass series and read lots of other fun stuff. I’ve read more than a hundred books this year, and I’m finally catching up to my reading goal for the year (although I’m still a few books behind where I should be)

Empire of Storms Sarah J. Maas ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5


Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5


I read these two books (book #5 & #6 in the TOG series) as a tandem read because that’s what Tik Tok told me to do. The books take place during the same period but follow different characters. I read the books digitally and highlighted the chapter headings of the places I needed to switch between books, and also used a list in my notes app. I enjoyed this reading experience, but I know that the author didn’t intend for them to be read this way.

Empire of Storms follows Aelin and the crew as they prepare to take back the Terrasen throne. We also get more from Dorian, Mannon, and Elide. We start to see the stories from Assassin’s Blade fold into the larger narrative. Mannon’s storyline was my favorite in this book. She’s the coolest, and I love her! Lysandra is a queen! Can we talk about her and the sea dragon? The ending is heartbreaking and a massive cliffhanger.

Tower of Dawn follows Chaol and Nesryn as they head to the Southern Continent in an attempt to heal Chaol’s injuries from the last book and get some allies for the upcoming battle. And who do we meet, but Yrene, the healer that Celaena helped in Assassin’s Blade. I cried when I figured out this connection and the note Yrene has kept in her pocket all these years and how she’s teaching all the young women at the Torre self-defense. She starts to have a romance with Chaol. Meanwhile, Nesryn is off with one of the princes flying around on what I assume are hippogriffs from Harry Potter. TBH, I didn’t really care much about her. People dislike Chaol, but I adore him. He’s a gem. Is he a bit of a dummy sometimes? Yeah, but he’s out here trying.

Survive the Night by Riley Sager ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5


Although I have beef Riley Sager (it’s a long story), I tend to enjoy his thrillers. My mom loved this one, and it was fast-paced and easy to read. It follows this girl, Charlie, sharing a ride back home from college after her roommate is murdered. She gets really bad vibes from the guy who’s driving her and begins to worry it’s the same guy who murdered her roommate.

Charlie is dumb as heck and is 100% the character in the horror movie you spend the whole time yelling at through the screen. Every few pages, I wanted to slap her. She had no survival instinct at all. She’s like this feels weird and like I might be killed soon, oh well. I enjoyed the read but could have done without the epilogue bit.

Ace of Spades by Faridah Abike-Iyimide ⭐️⭐️✨/5

I read this for my book club and had super mixed feelings. This book is a YA thriller that follows Devon and Chiamaka, two black teens at an elite high school. Strange stuff starts happening at school, and they are being targeted by malicious rumors (think A from Pretty Little Liars). As the only black students at the school, they wonder if the incidents are racially motivated and how to stop them.

The premise is fantastic, and I enjoyed the reveal of who Aces was. However, I wanted more. It felt like there were a lot of plot holes once we got the reveal, and it didn’t seem like a plausible answer. So much happened in this book and to these characters that I didn’t feel like I had time to form an emotional attachment. I almost wished it had focused on one or the other, so we had the opportunity to get to know them.

Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Now by Jason Lanier ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨/5

This book is super short and does precisely what the title says it does. Was it compelling? Absolutely. Did I delete my social media accounts? Nope.

To Hate Adam Connor by Ella Maise ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5


This book is the sequel to To Love Jason Thorn, and I liked this one even more than the first. Lucy (Olive’s BFF from the first book) moves in with Olive and Jason after breaking up with her boyfriend. Then Lucy starts spying on their new neighbor, actor, and recently divorced dad, Adam Connor, by climbing a ladder and peering over the fence. One day when she’s spying, she watches Adam’s son fall into the pool. She jumps over the fence to save him, drama ensues. It was cheesy. It was cute. And apparently, I’m learning that I have a real fondness for romances where one of the characters has a kid. I had a good time.

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5


The final book in the Throne of Glass series, and I’m devasted that it’s over. I can now say this is my favorite series of all time (apologies to Discovery of Witches, you’ve been bumped). In this final book, we get the big battle between good and evil (duh). My only complaint about the book was there were a lot of battles, which just aren’t my things, but they were necessary.

I cried a lot, but at no time did I cry harder than when (BIG SPOILER, highlight to read) the Thirteen sacrificed themselves and told Mannon to live. Also cried when Yrene met Aelin for the first time. Aelin will save them not because she’s powerful or an assassin or fae, but because she cares deeply about other people and does the right thing. When the bros (Dorian and Chaol) were reunited. And Elide and Lorcan. And Lysandra all day, every day. And Evangeline getting Aelin’s kingdom back for her. It was everything. 10 out of 10. My thoughts are incoherent but chef’s kiss.

Twisted Love by Ana Huang ⭐️✨/5


Ummmm… This book follows Ava and Alex as they fall in love. Alex is Ana’s brother’s best friend and also a wealthy businessman with a dark past. Ana’s brother leaves the country and asks Alex to keep an eye on Ava. Unfortunately, despite a plethora of plot twists and drama, this book was kind of boring. I didn’t buy the romance, so I didn’t care about any of the other stuff.

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨/5

I had high hopes for this book, and it was just average. The premise is excellent, a therapy group for women who are “final girls,” aka the girl who, to end a murder spree, kills the murderer. One of their members goes missing, and it seems like they may be after the other woman in the group. We follow Lynette, who copes with her final girl status by being highly paranoid and focused on security. She tries to save the other woman and track down the killer.

While I loved the plot, it felt like it lacked emotion. There is a more extensive discussion undercutting this book about gender and violence and the ways we consume violence as a culture. I have recently been really fascinated by the prevalence of true crime, especially for middle-class, white women. There is a complex conversation about why women love this kind of content, and I think Grady Hendrix’s take is a little reductive.

A Different Dawn by Isabella Maldonado ⭐️⭐️✨/5

This book is the sequel to The Cipher and follows the same FBI agent, Nina, on a new case. There is a serial killer who only kills on leap day. He makes it look like the mother killed her husband and her new baby (always only a few weeks old) before killing herself. In The Cipher, Nina has a really compelling connection to the case. They try to emulate a similar personal connection in this book, but it falls a bit flat.

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5


I tried this book in audio first and completely hated it, so I’m thrilled I gave it a shot in the physical book. This book is a Hallmark movie in book form with a lot more spice. It follows Piper, a rich socialite, who is sent to a small fishing town as a punishment for partying a little too much. There she meets Brendan, a widowed fisherman. They fall in love (obvi), and it’s adorable. Brendan is obsessed with Piper in the best ways, and it’s so cute.

The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle Jensen ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨/5


The Traitor Queen by Danielle Jensen ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨/5


I read both of these books in a single night. I wish these books had been five stars. I think they had the potential to be five stars, but they just weren’t quite there. The story starts with this princess named Lara, who has trained her whole life to marry the king of this rival land and take over his kingdom from the inside. The story opens with a bang, and soon Lara is off to get married. But the bridge kingdom doesn’t seem like the evil place she was taught, and Aren, the king, and her new husband is actually pretty nice. The characters are outstanding, the world was fascinating, but everything just went too fast! I think if the series had taken the same events but stretched them out over more books, it would have been easily five stars. We just didn’t get enough time to entirely fall in love with the side characters and delve into the world’s complexities.

Vicious by L.J. Shen ⭐️⭐️/5


This book was essentially Twisted Love in a different font. It follows Emilia and Vicious (yes, that is his name). Vicious is really rich, and Emilia’s parents are his housekeeper and gardener, so they live in his guesthouse. Vicious is really mean to Emilia when they are in high school. Now ten years later, they run into each other in New York. Emilia is struggling with money, and Vicious offers her a high-paying job because he wants to use her to manipulate his own family and also wants to sleep with her. I liked this one nominally better than Twisted Love, mainly because I felt like the chemistry was there, but still not really my cup of tea.

Emoji Key

😢 = I shed a tear

😭 = I ugly cried

🍆 = Steamy

💎 = A gem

💖 = Warmed my heart

👻 = Scary!

🤢= Gross

😍= Swoon-worthy love-story

🚩= Red Flag!