My 10 Must-Reads for Fall 2017

With constant political news in my face and a very slow computer, I'm struggling to find my happy place from where I usually gather motivation to read and write. I've been in a major reading slump and literally haven't finished a book since I vacationed in late early August. I've picked up several, but nothing is grabbing me. I know it's 10% me grabbing the wrong book and 90% me being in a literary funk. 

But rather than dwell, I'm a firm believer in positive, uplifting exercises (I am a therapist, after all). So for the sake of hardcore distraction from the onslaught of ick today, I'm making a list of the 10 books I want to read before the end of 2017!! This should pair nicely with my Goodreads reading challenge...

(Click the titles to see my review and rating!)

10. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

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I have it on good authority that Sarah Dessen is great at new romance and heart-wrenching stories. I've been missing some relationship development in my own works in progress, so I wanted to try out a new author and get some inspiration!

A long, hot summer...

That's what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy's father.

But sometimes, unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister's project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl's world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to question her sheltered life. 

Is it really always better to be safe than sorry? 

9. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

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Judging from the cover alone, this promises a quick, entertaining read! I need more of these in my life. Don't get me wrong, there is a place in my heart for O'Connor and Steinbeck, but sometimes, a girl just needs to be able to read 150 pages in a single sitting. 

Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?

8. Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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I may be a little behind on the Caraval train, but better late than never! I've heard great things about this book from fellow writers and lovers of YA fantasy and wonderfully dark tales of magic.

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

7. And I Darken by Kiersten White

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Okay, I've tried REALLY hard to get into this and I'm determined to finish it because I hate leaving things unfinished. Also, I've heard it's an amazing, intense story so sign me up! But the first 100 pages of this drags for me, and I feel like it's all one big prologue of our protagonist growing up. I'm not sure what the stakes are and only minimally aware of any goals, motivation, and conflict. Hoping it turns around because the premise sounds AMAZING.

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

6. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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Another book I started this year and am dying to finish. The black-lined pages is enough to spark intrigue for me! I love it when publishers are so extra. Seriously, this is worth the hardback copy because it's gorgeous. Can you tell I love period-piece dramas??

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he'll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court (a military stronghold that has never been breached). Retrieve a hostage (who could unleash magical havoc on the world). Survive long enough to collect his reward (and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done - and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable - if they don't kill each other first.

5. Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

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A classic. Yet another treasure I snagged from the library and failed to finish. I'm SO guilty of watching the movie before I finished the book, but now I feel even more inspired to add this to the "Read" list for 2017. Quite possibly one of my favorite opening lines of all time!

Independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community. The first of his works set in Wessex, Hardy's novel of swift passion and slow courtship is imbued with his evocative descriptions of rural life and landscapes, and with unflinching honesty about sexual relationships.

4. This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

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Jeez, can I EVER finish a book?? I'm sensing a theme here. This glorious Frankenstein retelling is at about 40% on my Kindle and I just keep getting distracted. I blame Netflix and trash TV. Anywho, this is obviously high on my list because Frankenstein. And Mackenzi Lee is a freakin' genius.

In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits. His brother, Oliver—dead. His sweetheart, Mary—gone. His chance to break free of Geneva—lost.

Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead. But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.

Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…
 

3. Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco (Stalking Jack The Ripper #2)

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I. love. period-pieces. Throw in supernatural folklore and investigative work... It's like CSI meets Vampire Diaries. I'M IN! 

Following the horrifying revelation of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth flees her home in Victorian London to enroll as the only female student in Europe’s most prestigious forensics school. But it’s impossible to find peace in the dark, unsettling Romanian castle that houses the school—and was also once home to the depraved Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Prince Dracula.

When a series of troubling deaths brings whispers of Vlad’s bloodthirsty return from the grave, Audrey Rose and her sharp-witted companion, Thomas Cresswell, must unravel the cryptic clues that will lead them to the shadowlike killer—living or dead.

2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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Oh my heart eyes. This may be the first book I finish in a long time, but it's going on the to-read list because who doesn't drool over a sweet, coming-of-age meets first-love story?? It's a little heavy (I'm therapist, so I see lots of these teen/young adult issues--and the fallout--every day at work. It can be a little much). BUT I really needed something different from my typical fantasy/supernatural dramas.

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.


Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.  

1. Stalking jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

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Aaannnd we're back to dark and twisty. I mean, it's literally about a serial killer. I read the first page, and I kinda felt bad about liking it. It's that good at being grotesque. I'm picking this up from the library today and cannot wait to see what Kerri Maniscalco has in store :) 

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

 

For a gal who apparently only finishes half the books she starts, this list of 10 must-reads is a lofty goal. But I'm ready! Look for some reviews to start popping up on the blog soon!