September Wrap-Up Post

So it’s a little late, but here’s my September reading wrap-up. I felt like September was a bit of a slow reading month, but I was able to fit in 15 books in the month! Here’s what I was able to get to in September:

Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Summary: Lulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish. Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.

Thoughts: I listened to this one on audio and I just couldn’t get into it- I don’t know if it was because of the reader, or because of the content. This book had a lot of positive things (kick butt female main character, female friendship, diverse backgrounds and experiences, consent culture, etc), but to be honest most of the book (in my opinion) was rambling and aimless, which made it hard to enjoy. I’m definitely going to pick up Aminah Mae Safi’s next book because I think she does have potential and to see if maybe it was just this book for me.

Readalikes: The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera, Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali, Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell

Rating: 5/5 stars

Summary: Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends. Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1. But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years…what if their last shift was an adventure?

Thoughts: I love Rainbow Rowell and I love Faith Erin Hicks so this book… *chef’s kiss* This is such a gorgeous book and though the story only takes place over a night, I couldn’t help but wish it could have gone on forever. I hope this title encourages Rainbow Rowell to do more standalone YA romance graphic novels (and hopefully with Faith!).

Readalikes: Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan, Bloom by Kevin Panetta, Check, Please! Book One: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu

Chase Darkness with Me by Billy Jensen

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Summary: Journalist Billy Jensen spent fifteen years investigating unsolved murders, fighting for the families of victims. Every story he wrote had one thing in common―they didn’t have an ending. The killer was still out there.

But after the sudden death of a friend, crime writer and author of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, Michelle McNamara, Billy became fed up. Following a dark night, he came up with a plan. A plan to investigate past the point when the cops had given up. A plan to solve the murders himself.

You’ll ride shotgun as Billy identifies the Halloween Mask Murderer, finds a missing girl in the California Redwoods, and investigates the only other murder in New York City on 9/11. You’ll hear intimate details of the hunts for two of the most terrifying serial killers in history: his friend Michelle McNamara’s pursuit of the Golden State Killer and his own quest to find the murderer of the Allenstown Four. And Billy gives you the tools―and the rules―to help solve murders yourself.

Thoughts: I have a not-so-secret crush on Billy Jensen- he is a true crime reporter who supports my soccer team-like how could I not?! I really liked this book and seeing Billy’s progress not only as a crime reporter, but also seeing his process of trying to solve the previously unsolvable (with some successes and failures). I enjoy true crime memoirs where the writers include their process and their personal journeys along with the progression of an investigation, so this is a great choice for those who enjoyed Michelle McNamara’s book.

Readalikes: True Crime Addict by James Renner, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara, Crane: Sex, Celebrity, and My Father’s Unsolved Murder by Robert David Crane

Color Me In by Natasha Díaz

Rating: 5/5 stars

Summary: Growing up in an affluent suburb of New York City, sixteen-year-old Nevaeh Levitz never thought much about her biracial roots. When her Black mom and Jewish dad split up, she relocates to her mom’s family home in Harlem and is forced to confront her identity for the first time. Nevaeh wants to get to know her extended family, but one of her cousins can’t stand that Nevaeh, who inadvertently passes as white, is too privileged, pampered, and selfish to relate to the injustices they face on a daily basis as African Americans. In the midst of attempting to blend their families, Nevaeh’s dad decides that she should have a belated bat mitzvah instead of a sweet sixteen, which guarantees social humiliation at her posh private school. Even with the push and pull of her two cultures, Nevaeh does what she’s always done when life gets complicated: she stays silent.

It’s only when Nevaeh stumbles upon a secret from her mom’s past, finds herself falling in love, and sees firsthand the prejudice her family faces that she begins to realize she has a voice. And she has choices. Will she continue to let circumstances dictate her path? Or will she find power in herself and decide once and for all who and where she is meant to be?

Thoughts: I could NOT put this book down! Neveah is a compelling and relatable character, yet she is also flawed, and I couldn’t help but root for her throughout the book. I loved getting to know her family and background through her eyes, and this really was an eye-opening read. I can’t wait for this debut author’s next work!

Readalikes: For my readalikes, check out my August BOTM YA readalikes post here!

Happy Marriage?! Vols. 2 & 3 by Maki Enjōji

Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary: In order to help her father, Chiwa Takanashi agrees to an arranged marriage with the company president, Hokuto Mamiya—a man she doesn’t know—at the request of Hokuto’s grandfather. Maki Chiwa believes the arrangement isn’t binding, but her new partner seems to think otherwise. Can two strangers living together find their way to a happy marriage?!

Thoughts: I continued this series from last month, and I’m finding that I enjoy it! I love fake dating/marriage almost as much as enemies to lovers, so this one kind of gives me a little taste of both. I’m excited to see where it goes, especially after loving Everyone’s Getting Married!

Readalikes: Everyone’s Getting Married by Izumi Miyazono, Takane & Hana by Yuki Shiwasu, Last Game by Shinobu Amano

Mr. and Mrs. X, Vols. 1 & 2 by Kelly Thompson

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Summary: To the surprise of everyone, the Marvel Universe’s hottest couple has tied the knot! But there’s no time to enjoy wedded bliss when Rogue and Gambit find themselves tasked with protecting a mysterious package that just about everyone in the galaxy is trying to steal. What secrets does this package hold that everyone from the Imperial Guard and the Starjammers to Technet and Deathbird (with an entire Shi’ar rebellion in tow!) will risk everything for?! Perhaps more importantly, is there anything worse than Deadpool crashing your honeymoon?

Thoughts: Rogue and Gambit are one of my favorite ships, so I jumped on the chance to read a series about just them! This was fun to read, though I feel like it’s not a good entry read for new comics readers- I felt pretty confused to past storylines that were referenced. All in all though, this title warmed my little shipper heart!

Readalikes: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan, Black Bolt by Saladin Ahmed, DC Comics Bombshells by Marguerite Bennett

Abbott by Saladin Ahmed

Rating: 5/5 stars

Summary: While investigating police brutality and corruption in 1970s Detroit, journalist Elena Abbott uncovers supernatural forces being controlled by a secret society of the city’s elite. In the uncertain social and political climate of 1972 Detroit, hard-nosed, chain-smoking tabloid reporter Elena Abbott investigates a series of grisly crimes that the police have ignored. Crimes she knows to be the work of dark occult forces. Forces that took her husband from her. Forces she has sworn to destroy.

Thoughts: I loved this noir fantasy title! Elena is a badass strong female that you can’t help but root for (and want to join in the fight), and the fantastical elements really pull the reader in. The art is incredible, and I hope somehow that this series continues.

Readalikes: Fatale by Ed Brubaker, Kingsway West by Greg Pak, Blackbird by Sam Humphries

Fake Date by Monica Murphy

Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary: Working at Bliss Lingerie, Sarah Harrison deals with all sorts of—interesting clientele. Yet no one sparks her interest more than Jared Gaines, the ultra-rich, ultra-sexy businessman who frequents her shop, buying delicate little “gifts” for the women in his life. But one day, Jared sends her a gift from Bliss. Then another—and another. So when Sarah walks into his office demanding to know why he can’t stop sending her gifts, he makes her an offer she somehow can’t refuse: be his fake girlfriend for the weekend while attending his brother’s engagement party.

Next thing Sarah knows, she’s in San Francisco, pretending to be in love with Jared. Not that it’s a hardship. Once you get the man away from the office, he’s much more relaxed. Sweet. Funny. Even…thoughtful? Oh, and sexier than ever, of course. Their pretend relationship feels very real, very quickly. Soon Sarah’s in over her head. Could what she and Jared share turn into something real? Or is it all actually…fake?

Thoughts: For my thoughts on this book, check out my blog post as part of the release blitz for Fake Date here!

Readalikes: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory, The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren, Crashing the A-List by Summer Heacock

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Rating: 5/5 stars

Summary: It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back? Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the unexpected help of Frank Porter, to check things off Sloane’s list. Who knows what she’ll find?

Thoughts: This is an absolutely perfect summer read- Morgan Matson transported me to those summers of teenagedom, where possibilities were endless! The portrayal of female friendship in this book was so endearing and heartwarming, and the romance was just…too good! I am definitely going to look into Morgan’s other books after reading this!

Readalikes: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard, Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Frankly in Love by David Yoon

Rating: 3/5 stars

Summary: High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo–his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance–“Date Korean”–which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful–and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love–or himself–at all.

Thoughts: I did….not love this one. While it’s gotten wide acclaim from review publications and major hype, I just didn’t see it or feel it. To me, it felt the author was trying to include too many topics and issues in one book, so none were addressed well or given the proper attention they needed. How this is going to be made into a series I don’t know, but this one just wasn’t for me.

Readalikes: For my readalikes, check out my September BOTM YA readalikes post here!

Crowded, Vol. 1 by Christopher Sebela

Rating: 5/5 stars

Summary: Ten minutes in the future, the world runs on an economy of job shares and apps, while crowdfunding has evolved into Reapr: a platform for assassination that’s trickled down from celebrities to everyday life. A world where anyone with enough backers and the money they contribute can kill anyone else. Like Charlie, who up until now has lead a quiet, normal life, until she wakes up to find herself a target with a million dollars on her head. Hunted by all of LA, Charlie hires Vita, the lowest rated bodyguard on the Dfend app. As the campaign picks up and Vita takes out incompetent civilians and assassins on their tail, she and Charlie will have to figure out who wants Charlie dead and why before the campaign’s 30 days or their lives are over.

Thoughts: I absolutely loved this volume! From the art to the characters to the story, this is definitely one of my favorite graphic novels I’ve read this year. Now I have to wait for the next volume 😥

Readalikes: The New World by Ales Kot, The Weatherman by Jody LeHeup, Invisible Kingdom by G. Willow Wilson

Takane & Hana, Vol. 9 by Yuki Shiwasu

Rating: 2/5 stars

Summary: After her older sister refuses to go to an arranged marriage meeting with Takane Saibara, the heir to a vast business fortune, high schooler Hana Nonomura agrees to be her stand-in to save face for the family. But when these two utter opposites pair up, get ready for some sparks to fly!

Hana’s father makes the deal of a lifetime and moves the Nonomura family into a huge mansion… But what the Nonomuras didn’t plan on was Takane moving in with them! Just how are Takane and Hana going to adjust to living together?

Thoughts: So I’ve been working through this series and I didn’t love this particular volume- it felt like a filler in the plotline and it really didn’t add or move the story along at all. I’m definitely going to continue reading but I was disappointed with this volume.

Readalikes: Nisekoi: False Love by Naoshi Komi, Happy Marriage?! by Maki Enjōji, Last Game by Shinobu Amano

The Avant-Guards, Vol. 1 by Carly Usdin

Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary: As a transfer student to the Georgia O’Keeffe College for Arts and Subtle Dramatics, former sports star Charlie is struggling to find her classes, her dorm, and her place amongst a student body full of artists who seem to know exactly where they’re going. When the school’s barely-a-basketball-team unexpectedly attempts to recruit her, Charlie’s adamant that she’s left that life behind…until she’s won over by the charming team captain, Liv, and the ragtag crew she’s managed to assemble. And while Charlie may have left cut-throat competition in in the dust, sinking these hoops may be exactly what she needs to see the person she truly wants to be.

Thoughts: As someone who played basketball for 12 years, I had to pick this one up when I saw it! The art was gorgeous, and this fun band of characters was impossible not to love! It wasn’t perfect, but I can’t wait til the next volume comes out!

Readalikes: Check, Please! Book One: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu, America by Gabby Rivera, Dodge City by Josh Trujillo

Well of the 14 books I set to read this month in my September TBR Stack, I read 3….not a great percentage, but I’m trying here! What did you read and love in September? Put it in the comments below- I’m always looking for new recommendations!

Until next time…

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