Everything I Read in October 2019.

The Shape of the Night

This was a light but still pretty good month of reading. I am going to go ahead and blame all the travel, + Succession and Modern Love being on TV. I got sucked in. There are months where I’ll barely turn on my TV and months where I’m glued to it and this was definitely more of a TV month than reading month. Still, the books on this list are great (can’t recommend Get a Life Chloe Brown enough, it’s so cute – both heartwarming and steamy!

Also just a quick thing about the timing of these posts. I got some comments yesterday on both the blog + via DM asking where the reading list was. There’s no set day for my reading list. It will usually be posted during the first calendar week of the month… so if it’s not up by the 10th, feel free to ask! But otherwise, rest assured… it’s coming! I’m really really happy this post is so popular but I’m also one person, managing a lot of other things (and frankly, needed the weekend to finish reading as this list is a bit light).

I’m always looking for great recommendations… tell me what you’ve been reading in the comments! I love, love, love reading through your suggestions!

IF YOU’RE NEW HERE AND ARE LOOKING FOR A BOOK, DON’T FORGET THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS CHECK OUT MY BOOK CLUB PAGE.

Every month I update it with everything I read – it includes every.single.book I’ve read in the past few years. The best part is that you can filter + search by genre (memoir, light read, historical fiction, thriller, etc!) to find exactly what you’re looking for. I always add whatever it is that I’m currently reading in real-time to my Amazon Shop. If you’re feeling like you need even more book recs, check out last month’s list.

Cheesy Meets Spooky but not to be discounted?

The Shape of the NightThe Shape of the Night by Tess Gerritsen

I am going to be really honest, there were a few times where I was reading this book and was like “Okay this is really cheesy and kind of stupid, I should probably put it down, why am I rotting my brain.” But know what? I was kind of enjoying it. And so I  kept on reading. I read it in a couple of nights, and it was fun. And also spooky. But yes, also cheesy!

Ava Collette goes through a horrible tragedy in Boston and fleas to Maine, where she moves into a beautiful old house called Brodie’s Watch. It seems however, that the house is haunted and that the ghost (who also happens to be very sexy – think Christian Grey meets a puritanical sea captain?) and her have a bit of a spark. Everything is going fine and she has this weird little romance with the ghost until she finds out that every woman who has ever lived in that house has died. So yes. This is cheesy, it’s a thriller but it’s quite fun! I enjoyed it!

  • Overall Score: B

I’ll never turn down a Summer Camp thriller!

I’ll never tellThe Shape of the Night and more books, by Catherine McKenzie

Okay I was pretty medium on this book for the first half. But I LOVE this author (I still think about The Good Liar, which I reviewed in March 2018) and I love anything that’s set at a camp (The Last Time I Lied, anyone??). But right off the bat I had a hard time getting into this one. There are so many characters (five siblings and the groundskeeper) and none of them are particularly likable. I was tempted to stop reading, but I’m glad I did because it got really good toward the end.

Here’s the premise. The MacAllister family owns a summer camp outside of Montreal. The parents tragically die, leaving the camp to the 5 siblings… but it’s conditional. They have to figure out what happened twenty years ago, when a horrible crime was committed. Amanda Holmes (which is the name of my high school best friend, so that was creepy!) was found bludgeoned at camp 20 years ago. But no one knows what happened. All 5 siblings suspect each other, and so they retrace the events of the evening to figure out what happened! Once I got into it, I was really into it. It’s a fun read that keeps you guessing!

  • Overall Score: B

The schmaltzy romance that’s much more than that!

The Shape of the Night and more booksGet a Life Chloe Brown, by Talia Hibbert

I got to review this one for Book of the Month (it’s one of the November books!) and was utterly charmed by it. If you’re one to judge a book by its cover it looks like it’s going to be YA or a cheesy romance. And while it is a very sweet romance, it’s so much more than that! It’s a complex romance and WHOAH there are some very steamy sex scenes. Definitely not YA!

Chloe Brown is chronically ill – after getting pneumonia years ago she has fibromyalgia and is always tired and sick. She’s close with her family but was abandoned by her boyfriend + friends when she got sick. But she has a plan and an utterly adorable to-do list…  to help her literally, “get a life.” Things like “do something bad,” and “have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.”  Redford “Red” Morgan is Chloe’s superintendent, but also an artist with some pretty heavy emotional baggage. The two initially hate each other (think The Hating Game) but ultimately fall for each other. It’s very sweet and a fun romance that you’ll be able to devour in a rain afternoon. Highly recommend. Also, it looks like it is going to be a series – YAY!

  • Overall Score: A

A More Literary Big Little Lies?

The Gifted School, by Bruce HolsingerThe Gifted School, by Bruce Holsinger

This is a personal problem, but I’ve found that I don’t love books where there are too many points of view. I get too confused. Two, maybe even 3 perspectives? Great. More than that? Mmmm. This one was told by (I think) 5 different characters so it got a little confusing; but I still really enjoyed it. It’s really beautifully written and if you liked Big Little Lies you will probably love this.

A new (and very) school for gifted children is opening in an upscale town in Colorado, and the pressure + competition caused by the application process causes four different families to go a little bit crazy.. doing things they never thought they’d do. It’s beautifully written and the character development is insanely good. I also appreciate that the author was able to write believably from the perspective of not only just the men and women, but also the children!

  • Overall Score: A-

You can probably skip this thriller.

The Poison Garden, by A.J. BannerThe Poison Garden, by A.J. Banner

I hate leaving really bad reviews (and I’m really curious if any of you’ve read this book as I haven’t heard much about it) but this one was just not very good. I was surprised, as it got blurbed by several of my favorite thriller authors (Cristina Alger, Catherine McKenzie!) It’s a psychological thriller in which a woman walks in on her husband cheating on her and she begins to question everything.In a matter of days, her whole world unravels. Her neighbor is involved, her ex husband comes into play.

I think it could have been better if it were maybe a little bit longer (it’s only 194 pages long)and there was better character development? I don’t know – the whole thing was just so outlandish to me!!!! There were so many holes and so many things that happened that just didn’t feel real. I want to tell you more about why I didn’t like it, but I also don’t want to give spoilers. It’s a great idea, and the twist is very fun (I didn’t see it coming), but I think maybe the story just wasn’t developed quite as well as it could have been. It felt like the author wrote it in a hurry. I read it in under 24 hours because I wanted to know what happened, but was left underwhelmed.

  • Overall Score: C

photography by Hannah Lozano.

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Comments

  1. Lynn Clarke says 11.6.19

    The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – really original read, I couldn’t put it down!!

  2. Allison says 11.6.19

    Did you ever read the most fun we ever had by Claire Lombardo? So so good!! And more recently I loved the secrets we kept by Lara Prescott…. a book about a book 🙂

    • grace at the stripe says 11.6.19

      I have not read either! Adding to list!

      • Alisande says 11.6.19

        I second this recommendation! Reading Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane right now- it’s really good and kind of similar. Also not sure if you read it already but American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson.

        • Alisande says 11.6.19

          Ha! Just remembered I heard about American Spy from you! Thanks for the rec. I have My Sister the Serial Killer on deck.

        • grace at the stripe says 11.6.19

          Haha yes!!! American Spy was so good. If you haven’t, definitely check out our podcast episodes with the author.

          I have Ask Again Yes in my TBR pile; so many people have recommended it!

  3. Maureen says 11.6.19

    The Poison Garden was truly awful! I hope no one wastes their time on it.

  4. Love the range of books you reviewed! Get a Life, Chloe Brown sounds like a good read – need to get my hands on a copy! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  5. Ellie says 11.6.19

    I’m glad you liked The Gifted School – I thought it was a bit long and I agree with the excessive POVs. Sorry for annoying you asking when this post is going to be up yesterday… I know you’re doing your best! xo

    • grace at the stripe says 11.6.19

      I agree – it was a little long, but I still enjoyed it!

      And no worries. I worked really hard on yesterday’s sponsored post (and I’m sure you know this, but i could not run this site and manaage all of the unsponsored things I do like this post without sponsored content!) so it was a little frustrating to have two people ask where the reading list was! It will always be up during the first calendar week – if it’s not up by the 10th of the month, feel free to jump on me!!

      • Ellie says 11.6.19

        Understandable! Didn’t mean to glance over your hard work to chat about books!

  6. Molly says 11.6.19

    After reading Waiting for Tom Hanks and Tweet Cute in October, I’ve been craving all the fun romcoms; I’ll have to check out Get a Life Chloe Brown!

    • grace at the stripe says 11.6.19

      This was one of the best romcom’s I’ve read! You should also check out Jasmine Guillory’s books!!

  7. Lynn-Holly says 11.6.19

    I always enjoy this post! I don’t think we have the exact same taste in books… as I am a total baby when it comes to thrillers. I’ve really enjoyed the few Tana French books I’ve read though. Have you read her already? I feel like In the Woods was kind of psychological thriller. Also, if you’re looking for a delightful, light romance, Penny Reid’s Knitting in the City is fun. The first is called Neanderthal Seeking Human.
    Happy reading! xx

  8. Angela says 11.6.19

    These posts are my #1 favorite! I am reading Verity now and it is great! My favorite book of 2019 was the Idea of You.

    Thank you for keeping us in the “know” of all the great books!

  9. Katie says 11.6.19

    Another good rom com -The Right Swipe, by Alisha Rai. I’m only half way through so far but really enjoying it!

    • grace at the stripe says 11.6.19

      Yes!!! I started that and put it down; I need to pick it up again. I love that author!

  10. Mary says 11.6.19

    Great suggestions. I’ve heard Chanel Miller’s Know My Name is great and I’d also like to read Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill.

  11. Jen says 11.6.19

    I have no recs since you are way ahead of me on reading. But I want to thank you for providing honest reviews and not just posting books you love. I see so many other blogs that “love” everything they read. I love the letter grades too. Such a great resource! Thanks

  12. Lauren Syrowik says 11.6.19

    A guilty pleasure young adult novel… You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn. Think Nashville meets a Star is Born.

    The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living is so heartwarming, with a great cast of characters.

  13. Molly says 11.6.19

    Grace, have you read, The Guest Book, by Sarah Blake? SO good, in my top 5 of the year along with, “The Most Fun We Ever Had” by Claire Lombardo- which someone here has already recommended. Also, “The Winemaker’s Wife” by Kristen Harmel and “Lost Roses” by Martha Kelley. All a bit heavy and period based but man-oh-man were they great reads!
    Always look forward to your book recommendations and your podcast, thanks for doing what you do!

  14. Lucy says 11.6.19

    I’m waiting for you and Becca to read “Maybe Your Should Talk to Someone” and discuss on BOP. No pressure 🙂

  15. Katie says 11.6.19

    I was one of the people who asked where the book post was, and I didn’t mean to offend! I think if you go back almost all are posted on the first Tuesday, so I just assumed that was the scheduled day. Now I know!

    • grace at the stripe says 11.7.19

      Weird, that’s purely coincidental! I try to get it up as early in the month as possible so that would make sense since Mondays are always my outfit diary. 🙂

  16. Jane says 11.6.19

    The world that we knew by Alice Hoffman was very good. Also The Giver of Stars by Jo Jo Moyes was excellent.

    • grace at the stripe says 11.7.19

      Thank you so much for the suggestions! I love Jo Jo Moyes but had heard mixed things on the new one!

  17. Kristen says 11.6.19

    Station Eleven is my all time favorite book and I recently LOVED A Place For Us!

  18. Kayla says 11.8.19

    Def want to read “Get a Life, Chloe Brown” now. I always look forward to your monthly round-up

  19. Maire says 11.12.19

    If you enjoyed this Talia Hibbert book (I am in the process of reading it and enjoying it so far!)- I really love her Ravenswood small town series. Highly recommend. Also, the new Sarina Bowen was out this month- Moonlighter. It features one of her Brooklyn Bruisers characters, but she is using it to launch a new series.