It’s hard to believe it’s already October! The days of reading by the beach or on the dock are over, and now it’s time to cuddle up with a blanket and turn on the fireplace. When I started @DowntoGettheFictionOn on Instagram, I found so many great books in different genres of which I would have previously rolled my eyes. I would have never imagined I would enjoy fantasy or speculative fiction, but I’ve found I will read anything as long as it’s well written, has a good plot and strong characters. My recommendations this month are from a wide variety of genres, so if at first glance a genre makes you pause or think it’s not for you, give it a second look before you pass it up. Some of these books may scare you; some may give you hope; while others may leave you with a call to action, but each book I have read and recommend! Grab your blanket, break out the apple crisp, buffalo chicken dip and grab one of these six book recommendations. If you would like to see more recommendations, please check out my account on Instagram. Also, check out @CityLifeStyle on Instagram as I will be recommending a new book early each month.
ADULT FICTION/FANTASY – THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA – Linus Baker is a strait-laced, no nonsense case worker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. Linus is content making his reports and going home to his cat, Calliope. That is until Extremely Upper Management forces him to take on a highly classified case to travel to an orphanage filled with the most mystical creatures managed by an equally mysterious Arthur Parnassus. Linus begins to find his edges soften as he learns more about this orphanage and all of those who inhabit it. This book is a masterpiece of whimsy and humor while simultaneously dealing with deeper topics like love and the equality of others. While I am not a fantasy reader, I fell in love with this vivid, imaginative and heartwarming book. Don’t let the fantasy element scare you, this book is perfection from page 1!
YOUNG ADULT – THIS IS MY AMERICA – Seven years ago, the Beaumont family was torn to pieces when James, the patriarch, was put on death row for a crime they are certain he did not commit. Every week since his conviction, Tracy Beaumont, a 17-year-old high school student, sends a letter to the Innocence X Project pleading with them to take on her father’s case. All these years later, she’s still yet to receive a response. When the police show up to arrest her track star brother, Jamal, for another crime, she is determined to not let the system fail them twice. This is My America is a deep story about the injustices in America. Part social justice story and part mystery romance, I recommend readers of all ages take the time to meet the Beaumonts.
THRILLER/SUSPENSE – DON’T LOOK FOR ME – Molly Clark’s life is messy. Her family is falling apart; her kids don’t want her around; her husband could be having an affair, and there is a cloud of blame floating over her from five years ago. One night during a storm her car breaks down, and she is left having to walk for help. Alone with her thoughts, she feels the pull to just walk away from the ones she loves who all seem to be miserable in her company. When Molly doesn’t come home, that one night could forever haunt the Clark family. This suspenseful thriller is a fast-paced page turner. I was never quite sure who to root for and what was going to happen next. Told in alternating points of view, the story is filled with twists and turns that will make it hard to stop reading!
CONTEMPORARY FICTION – The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett – Eudora Honeysett is in her twilight years and after 85 years of a hard life, she’s ready to call it a wrap. She likes to keep to herself and is used to a life of routine and independence. That is until Rose, a rambunctious and unique 9-year-old, moves in next door. If you love a curmudgeon and precocious children, this is the one for you! The story alternates between present day and Eudora’s past which gives it a fresh spin on a familiar genre. Filled with humor and heart, the characters are ones you’re sure to fall in love with. In a time when so many people are feeling isolated, this book was a great reminder to stay connected and the importance of cultivating and maintaining relationships.
CULTURAL FICTION – NO HEAVEN FOR GOOD BOYS (on sale 10/13)– Set in Senegal, Ibrahimah is a 6-year old boy who loves his close-knit family. He and his mother are heartbroken when he’s sent to Dakar to live with Marabout Ahmed, a well-known religious teacher. There he finds himself sleeping on a cardboard mat with his older cousin and the other boys while spending their days roaming the city streets as they beg for money for his teacher. This powerful story taught me about a culture and part of the world I didn’t know much about. One thing I love about reading is it can transport you to places you’d likely never be able to visit. While at times brutally heartbreaking, the story is filled with hope and love. I thought about Ibrahimah and his friends when I wasn’t reading, and this book will stick with me long after I finished.
SPECULATIVE FICTION – THE YEAR OF THE WITCHING – In puritanical Bethel, the Prophet is sacred and his word is the law. Outside the strict lands of Bethel, is the Darkwood, a forbidden forest haunted by the death of four witches. Immanuelle Moore has always lived her life according to the prophet but in the shadow of her mother who broke vows and brought shame upon her family before her death. While there have always been rumors that her mother was a witch, Immanuelle finds herself drawn into the Darkwoods and begins to uncover more truths about her mother, the church and the witches. Is there a better month to read a story about witches than October? This is dark and atmospheric story is a mix of fantasy, horror and historical fiction. If you’re a fan of The Handmaids Tale, I would recommend you grab this book!