Friday, September 25, 2015

Best Books of September

It's the last Friday of the month, which means it's time to share all of the great books I read this month.



September brought my 45th birthday, a conference, a group book signing, and my first school visits. (Two in two days!). Before and after all that chaos, I was able to work in some major reading. Here are the great books I read in September.


The first book is one I'm very excited to tell you about. I did all of the above-mentioned book events with Gail Nall earlier this month and I loved that I'd just finished her book when I got to hang out with her! Exit Stage Left is Gail's first young adult release and it's a fun one.



Full disclosure: I was a drama geek in high school. Reading this book was like being thrust back into those days of eagerly awaiting the cast list being posted, only to be (in my case) perpetually disappointed in being cast as an extra. Gail expertly captures the ups and downs of preparing for a big performance, while also covering the anxiety of teen friendships and relationships. There isn't a single dull moment in this well-written book!

My next book was actually three! The Anna Banana books are so short, they were easy to read in a few treadmill walks. This series is from my publisher, so this was my favorite type of work: reading research!


    

A fourth book in this series, Anna, Banana, and the Puppy Parade comes out in January. (The 4th book in my chapter book series is puppy-focused, as well!) The Anna Banana books center on a third-grade girl named Anna who has an adorable little dog named Banana. Can I just say how much I LOVE the relationship between Anna and her dog? Mostly, however, the book is about friendship and the tricky navigation that comes with having two best friends at that age. I love this series and I can't wait to read book #4! 

I also was able to work in some more grown-up reading this month, including this fantabulous book by my very own blogging buddy Ashelyn Drake!



Our Little Secret centers around the love story between Becca and Toby, who have been friends for years. The only problem is Toby's twin sister is Becca's best friend, Tori. Tori has a strict "no dating my friends" policy for her brother, and Becca knows if Tori finds out, she'll lose her as a friend forever. Ashelyn does an amazing job of setting up the conflict here, as well as making us really care about Becca and Toby. Toby is actually one of the best male characters I've read in a YA romance. He's sweet and funny and perfect! I highly recommend this one for your next YA fix.

Another awesome blogger-writer is C.D. Gallant-King. He's currently participating in an Inkshares crowdfunding campaign, but in the meantime, you can read his first book, Ten Thousand Days:



From the first page, I knew I was going to like this book. C.D. has one of those writing voices that pulls you in and carries you along. On the surface, this is a heartbreaking journey of a man who loses everything and must fight to get it back. But underneath, the story is much more than that...it's a little sci-fi and a little adventure--with the message that we shouldn't waste a minute of precious time.

My audiobook this month was a very unique read. I read Nova Ren Suma's book Dani Noir (soon to be released in paperback as Fade Out) back in 2009 or 2010. I loved her writing so much, I emailed her to tell her and she replied to thank me. It stuck with me and when her latest book showed up on Audible, I knew it would be a good choice for my monthly credit.



Imaginary Girls is one of those books you can't quite describe. You have to experience it. However, while you're reading it, you'll want to share the experience with others. I found myself checking reviews--which I never do while reading a book--just to see how others were reacting. It's that powerful. That unique, lyrical writing style that pulled me in with Nova's first book is here in full force, but the mystery is what gets you most. There's a supernatural element to the story, but at its heart the book is about the strong bond between two sisters. Even though this book has both extremely good and extremely bad reviews, one thing is certain: everyone who read the book was strongly affected by it. I think that's the mark of some incredibly powerful writing.

Now it's your turn--what was the best book you read in September?

63 comments:

  1. Hope it was a good birthday!
    I read Heather Gardner's Already Home and am working on Donna Weaver's Torn Canvas. Trying to read at least one book by every blogger buddy. (Which is a really cool way to read outside one's genre.)

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    1. Me, too! And I'm going to read one of yours...starting with CassaStar--I think that was first, right? I've been scared of the space stuff...not in a "horror movie" sort of way, but in a, "Will I be able to figure out what's going on?" way!

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  2. My daughter's seventeen and reads very little so I'm always on the lookout for books which may get her reading. Exit Stage Left sounds like something she might enjoy as she's in a drama group and I'm sure she'd be able to relate to the story. The best book I've read this month is I Let You Go, a psychological thriller by Clare Mackintosh. It's probably the best book I've read all year actually. I can't say too much about it as it's got lots of twists and turns and it would give the game away, but I can highly recommend it.

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    1. She'd LOVE Exit Stage Left! It took me right back to high school. Even though I had zero talent when it came to acting, I loved being part of the theater program. There are few things more exciting than opening night!

      Oh wow...I love psychological thrillers! I'm going to have to check that out. I'm listening to the "Missing Maura Murray" podcast right now and it's fascinating. Not a book...but it will be a documentary when they finish.

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  3. Happy belated birthday! I can see it was a busy month, but I hope it was a fun one, too. :)

    Those Anna Banana books sound so cute! Would they be good for a first grader? My niece is a good reader, and I know most kids read "up."

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    1. They would be perfect for a first grader who is a good reader, for sure! I know the age that they progress from picture books to early chapter books to more advanced chapter books can vary from person to person, but it sounds like she can handle a book with 128 pages? Watch out--the book might have her asking for a puppy if she doesn't have one! It made me wish I'd had a dog growing up.

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  4. these all sound great! Plan on reading Gail's and Kelly's! Best books I've read this month: Emery Lord's The Start of Me and You (SO GOOD) and Kasie West's The Fill In Boyfriend. I just started The Art of Falling by Jenny Kaczorowsky last night and I'm loving it so far!

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    1. I love this--I'm looking for good YAs to read and you guys are giving some awesome options! Especially The Fill-In Boyfriend. I love that title! I wrote a book called "The Temporary Fiance" when I wrote romance...I always loved the concept of pretending to be a couple.

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  5. Wow, a lot going on and a lot of reading too, awesome.

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    1. I know...I'm still recovering. I've worked 12 hours every day this week and I STILL have clients asking, "What is the status on ___?" Yesterday I had a moment of, "Seriously...I'm HUMAN, people!" But I'm over it and now just trying to hit all the deadlines I'm about to miss. I can't take four days off without working 80-hour weeks both before and after.

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  6. Great selection, it looks like September was a great month.

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  7. Thanks for sharing, you are an avid reader.

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    1. I try. I got a Fitbit Flex for my birthday and my goal is 10,000 steps a day. So that's about an hour and 15 minutes on the treadmill unless I have a day of lots of regular walking. I read on the treadmill, so I may be able to crack even more books next month!

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  8. Anna Banana sounds sooo cute!!

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  9. Happy birthday! I am always interested in what others are reading, especially when they are out of my genre.

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    1. Thank you! I do try to read from a variety of genres. Often I spend so much time reading as research for what I'm writing, I have to do audiobooks to get in that out-of-genre stuff, though.

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  10. Thanks for the shout-out, and I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the book!

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    1. It was great! Can't wait to read more of your work.

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  11. Seems like September was a great month for you! Happy belated birthday! Lots of good books you featured here; some I'll be adding to be ever growing TBR list.

    I read two good books this month:

    The Language of Sparrows by Rachel Phifer and The Things That Keep us Here by Carla Buckle. Very interesting plots :)

    I know I say this every month; can't believe its that time to review books; the months fly by!

    betty

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    1. I'm going to have to look those two up. I know!!! I always get halfway through the month and think I'm going to have read five books WAY before the day for posting is here, but then I think about it and realize the last Friday of the month is coming up!

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  12. Happy Birthday, Stephanie!!!

    I'm reading lots of interesting books here. There's so many good books, and not enough time....

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    1. I agree. It's a rainy day right now and I just want to read...but I have work to do, unfortunately.

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  13. Happy Birthday. We had a lot of birthdays in September.
    These all sound like great stories. Exit Stage Left I hadn't heard about but want to read it now. Our Little Secret is on my list. Will check on the others.
    Have a nice weekend.

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    1. Thank you! September is a big month for birthdays, for sure. You'll love both of those books.

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  14. For a busy lady, it sounds like you got likes of reading in!! I've been trying to read the mocking bird prequel for 2 months now. I'm only 3 chapters in. Sigh

    Happy belated birthday! ! Xo

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    1. I've done that before! Now I read while on the treadmill but if not for that, I'd never get any reading in.

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  15. Happy belated birthday to you, Stephanie. You are an avid reader. I used to read alot but nowadays I have slowed down. Lately have not been reading much.

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    1. Thank you! Reading is an escape for me...plus it's research, so the books are tax deductible. Yay!

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  16. Hope your birthday was wonderful! Would that I had more time to read, sigh. Every book you've mentioned sounds terrific and a couple are already on my TBR list :-)
    Hope you have a relaxing weekend :-)

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    1. Me, too. There's never enough time to read. I do audiobooks, which helps, but I can only read one or two of those a month.

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  17. They all look fabulous. I would like to just take a week and do nothing but read. Wouldn't that be nice. Just read.

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    1. That would be awesome! Forget the stay-cation...we need a book-cation!

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  18. September brought my 64th birthday. Happy belated Birthday.

    You've read a lot of books this month. A couple sound very intriguing.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ☺

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    1. Happy belated birthday to you, too. September is the best month for birthdays!

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  19. I just picked up The Rosie Project from the library. Has gotten a lot of press, so I'm giving it a try.

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    1. I haven't read that one yet. I need to squeeze it into my calendar.

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  20. I like the sounds of the Imaginary Girls and 10 thousand days... very intriguing xox

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  21. IMAGINARY GIRLS looks stunning, I just wish they didn't put the lettering there ruining the balance of the cover :(
    I'm finishing translating LET IT SNOW and then I'm off to Aveyard's GLASS SWORD and then two books in THE YOUNG ELITES saga and then first thing next year SHATTER ME books from Tahereh!

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  22. You have been a busy reader and I want to read C.D. Gallant-King's book also

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  23. Love hearing what others have been reading. Though my weak-willed self gives in to temptation often. Too often.

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  24. Fun titles! The Anna Banana series seems like something I would take on my next vacation. :D

    Thanks for sharing these!

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  25. You're young. The Anna Banana books sound adorable.

    Love,
    Janie

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  26. I will definitely take your advice and read Imaginary Girls. I read one of your recommendations from a few months ago, (Harlan Coben) and I loved it.

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  27. Happy belated birthday!!! And yay for school visits. I love them.

    Your review of Our Little Secret totally made my day, and it's been an awful day so I needed that. I'm so glad you enjoyed Becca and Toby's story. :)

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  28. A load of new books to add to my to-read list, especially Imaginary Girls and Ten Thousand Days - those both sound really good! I love a little bit of mystery! - Tasha

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  29. I haven't been doing a lot of reading this month. Sounds like you found some gems.

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  30. I've been reading some, but not a lot. Love your reviews.

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  31. Great recommendations. Thanks. I was a drama geek too. :)

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  32. Wonderful recommendations, thank you so much for sharing! I love the covers on the Anna Banana books, they are very colourful and attractive. :)

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  33. I loved Imaginary Girls and I have a copy of Our Little Secret.

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  34. Happy belated birthday, Stephanie. I bet it's so much fun visiting schools. That's the one thing I miss most since leaving my job as school principal - the kids. I used to love walking through the classrooms and seeing their excited faces each day. I even liked it when they didn't behave as they should (I could see my small self in them) :) Have a lovely weekend.

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  35. Hope your birthday was a good one.

    What a nice variety in your September reads. The high school drama one sounds very appealing.

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  36. Hmmm...Best book? I would say that the most was actually Tales of Beedle the Bard. I had never actually read it before and, while it was a quick and simple read, it was very enjoyable.

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  37. Those last two sound interesting. ^_^ I don't read as much or as quickly as I'd like to, but I'm in the middle of rereading Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series, fantasy based on ancient Rome in a world where humans are able to bond with elemental spirits. Really good stuff; I hadn't read the books in years and had forgotten how much I enjoyed them.

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  38. You managed to get quite a bit of reading done. Secret is on my TBR list.

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  39. Happy Birthday, Stephanie

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  40. Hope you had an awesome birthday! And I'm totally jealous of all the great books--several of these are on my list too :)

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  41. You wear your birthday well:)

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  42. I was thinking the other day that I need to put my phone down and pick my books up more. I used to get a lot of reading done while waiting - now I go to my phone. I need to go back! You read so much good stuff!

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  43. I would say my sister-in-law's book, All the Difference (as it came out this month), but I actually read it before September. The joy of knowing an author!

    Of the books I actually read this month, I thoroughly enjoyed "The Martian" - yes, the one with the upcoming movie. I'm not usually big on science fiction, but it really didn't read like science fiction at all, just like a good book (and really, shouldn't any good book just be good without being categorized?).

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  44. Thanks for the recommendations! The best book I read in September was Little Girls by Ronald Malfi. White Knuckle by Eric Red was quite good as well. I think you'd enjoy both. Little Girls is a haunted house story with a twist, and White Knuckle is a serial killer thriller.

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