Updated: Jan 20
I read 230 amazing books in 2019! I write a book review every so often on the blog (scroll down to find links to some of them!). But because I read more than one book a week, I can’t review every gem I find! These last few months were The Fall of the Reading Slump, but I was eventually able to pull it together and find a few novels I really loved. While I didn’t have enough time to write full-length book reviews for each one, I wrote a snappy paragraph or two. In a reading slump? Here are ten great books I read this fall to give you inspiration for months.
1. The Pact by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 5/5
Emily and Christopher could almost have been siblings they were so close growing up. Their parents, also best friends, joked about Emily and Chris marrying when they grew up. Their parents’ prediction came true and after nearly four years, the pair were bonded for life. Which is why no one understands why Emily died and why Chris was there.
When Emily is proclaimed dead and Chris is taken to the emergency room, the question arises: attempted double suicide, murder, or something else? In this heart-thumping book, Jodi Picoult, with her typical mastery, dives into the love, depression, and mystery surrounding Emily’s death.
Disclaimer: This book is not completely clean. There are some cursing and inappropriate situations. All other books are clean unless specified.
My rating: 5/5
Belinda has been sitting at home since The Incident occurred and she’s finally ready to go back to school. If she’s learned anything from Elizabeth’s pluck in her favorite movie, Pride and Prejudice, it’s that you have to get up and try again.
Emily and Lucas both witnessed The Incident…and neither did anything about it. Both guilty, they complete their community service hours at a center for people with disabilities like Belinda. It only makes them feel worse, however, so they decide to put on a play. One that stars Belinda.
This YA novel sends important messages about disabilities, abuse, and every bystander, all the while wrapping it up in an irresistible package complete with Jane Austen and plenty of suspense.
3. The Whole Thing Together
My Rating: 5/5
For fans of: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, 3 Willows, We Were Liars
Sasha and Ray have shared everything for forever. They've slept in the same bed, spoke to the same sisters, and read the same books. But their families have kept them from ever meeting.
Sasha's dad and Ray's mom had an idyllic marriage with a summer house on the beach and three beautiful daughters: Emma, Mattie, and Quinn. When the couple bitterly divorced, the world on the beach split down the middle.
Products of their parents' remarriages, Sasha and Ray start questioning the way things are. Why can't their parents be civil? Why haven't they ever met? In the process, they uncover things they might wish they'd never known.
This book is addictive! I loved all the characters: perfectionist Emma and her sweet boyfriend, Mattie trying to find her place, steady Ray, curious Sasha, and the wise Quinn. Ann Brashares has crafted an intricate plot that sweeps you along and leaves you begging for more!
My rating: 5/5
What’s childhood without the proper dosage of Pollyanna? This blonde, GLAD heroine stole all of our hearts in the first book and properly steals them forever in the second. In the first one, we see Pollyanna as a twelve-year-old with straw-colored braids and a penchant for changing everyone she meets. In the first part of the second book, we still see Pollyanna as a little girl, now taking the city by storm. It’s touching and sweet, but the second half steals the show. We get a glimpse of Pollyanna as a “grown girl,” trying to console her widowed aunt and back from their long years abroad. She’s still bursting with cheerfulness and ideas but now is a young woman and dabbling in romance. It’s even more heart-warming to see her blundering through life as a young adult and delights older and wiser reads.
5. Save the Date
My rating: 5/5
For fans of: The Boy Next Door, Since You've Been Gone, The Way You Make Me Feel
Charlie's older sister Linnie is getting married and Charlie's thrilled to see her four siblings. Even before her mother's comic strip based on them became famous, the Grant family clan has always been tight.
Weddings can bring out the best or worst in people and Charlie's not exactly sure if it's going to be the former or the latter. She has her share of romantic troubles and deciding about college. But that's nothing compared to family members who aren't speaking and several crazy wedding mishaps. Morgan Matson captures family candidly with chaos, capture-the-flag, hilarity, and love. By the end, you'll be wishing your last name was Grant!
Warning: There's one semi-inappropriate at the start of this book. Unfortunately, that's the way it is with a lot of YA books! :( But I did love this book and I think it's worth a read.
6. The Rithmatist
My rating: 4/5
For fans of: Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, The Trials of Morrigan Crow
Joel isn't exactly a star at Armedius Academy. In fact, he's painfully ordinary. Son of a chalk maker, he desperately wants to be a Rithamist, someone who possesses the power to make chalk drawings come to life.
When he spots the opportunity to work with an old professor, he jumps at the chance, thinking that with the professor's training, he might be able to become a Rithmatist.
But Joel's wishes quickly escalate beyond childhood fantasies when someone begins kidnapping Rithmatist children from their beds, leaving trails of blood behind.
Accompanied by newly befriended and slightly aggravating Rithmatist Melody, Joel sets out to catch the person behind the Rithmatists' absences. The terrifying secrets they uncover will change Rithmatist history - and Joel - forever.
7. Dutch Girl
My rating: 5/5
For fans of: Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn, Number the Stars, Night
Anyone who knows me knows I adore Audrey Hepburn! She's my favorite actress of all time: talented, classy, and compassionate to all. My fascination with her has lead me to read a few different biographies on her, but this is by far the best.
Robert Matzen dives deep into something that most biographers only gloss over: Audrey's childhood. Private, Audrey rarely spoke of her growing-up years to reporters and, as her son Luca says, only slightly more frequently to her family. What happened to Audrey as war slowly took over her different hometowns that created such a beloved girl? How did she overcome her absent father, her war-taken brothers, cold mother, crushed dreams, and battle-torn home to become one of the most loved actresses ever?
Matzen tells the thrilling and sorrowful story of power, war, and dreams that accompanied the icon's younger years. While some biographies are dull, this one reads as a daring novel that reveals much of Hepburn's quiet years.
8. Smart Girls Get What They Want
My rating: 4/5 For fans of: Fangirl, Love and Gelato, The Boy Next Door
Gigi and her two best friends are Ivy League-bound, with no questions asked. They've got their studying routines down to a T and they can't wait to go to college and begin, well, their lives.
Then an incident shows the girls that they don't have to wait for college to start living. Bound by a pact and motivated by some sugar, the three friends set out to live their lives to the max.
With student government, public speaking, and one cute guy on her mind, Gigi is determined to show the world that smart girls get whatever they want, not the ones covered in ivy.
Ilona Ciller, author of new unique adventure story Triangles of Black, is hosting a giveaway! This fantasy novel, called "an epic journey of self-discovery in a world full of magic and secrets." You can read the blurb here:
"They walk amongst us and we let them destroy our lives without even a second thought. But what if you had to face them knowing they could dispose of you at will? Could you survive when their sights were finally fixed on you? It was an accident, it wasn’t meant to happen, Troy just wanted to find work and a lover. He didn’t know that he could become caught up in a Black Triangle riddled in collateral damage and mystical revelations. Troy has no idea of the magic that surrounds him or the darkness that follows close behind as he finds his soul mate but soon discovers she is the reason they want to kill him. When he realizes that his life and the lives of those close to him are trapped, the magic they have yet to learn becomes their only hope. And for hope they will travel through treacherous places for which no maps have been written. Time is against them as agents and spies close in on them. Troy wants to stop the darkness from spreading, but before he can save his world he first has to save himself."
This giveaway is free and easy to enter! Just add Triangles of Black as want-to-read on Goodreads and you'll be automatically entered into the giveaway. The winner will be announced on February 14th. Good luck! Ciao, Zoe.
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