I (Lindsey) have always loved to read. I read every chance I get – while relaxing in the bath; at almost every bathroom break throughout the day; and nearly every night before bed. Every. Chance. I. Get. I love escaping into books. And because I spend the majority of my day on the computer, I refuse to buy an eReader. I’m also horrible at remembering to return things, so libraries and I don’t exactly get along. Which means a good chunk of my disposable income is spent on buying physical books, of which there are many stacked up in almost every room of our house. Kristen loves it SO much that she’s agreed to help me build a library in our next house – though she says it would only be to “get rid of the clutter” from my book piles.
While I read a mixture of genres, I stick mostly to fiction, with women’s fiction, romance and young adult being my most-read. I average about one book a week until I hit the holiday season. Being a small business owner focused on retail, I typically find myself with a tad less free time once October hits. So, to cut myself a little slack during the final quarter, I set my yearly reading goal at 48 books. However, I already finished 45 of the 48 by Oct. 1 this year, so fingers crossed I hit that elusive 52 in 2021. You can follow my progress and connect with my reading list via my Goodreads page.
With October being National Book Month, I’ve compiled a list of seven books by women authors that I’ve LOVED so far this year (12 if you count sequels and full series). I highly recommend you add ALL of them to your TBR (To Be Read) pile.
by Ali Hazelwood
FROM THE COVER: When a fake relationship between scientists meets the irresistible force of attraction, it throws one woman’s carefully calculated theories on love into chaos.
In "The Love Hypothesis," Olive Smith is a third-year Ph.D. candidate who does NOT believe in long-term romantic relationships. To convince her best friend she’s moved on from a recent inconsequential ex, Olive finds herself in a fake dating arrangement with a hot-shot professor who has the reputation of being kind of an ass. Fake dating, really hot chemistry AND an ambitious main character? Yes, please. While I devoured this one quickly, the characters stayed with me after the last page. It’s my favorite book I’ve read this year.
by Leigh Bardugo
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
FROM THE COVER: Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist.
I first read author Leigh Bardugo because I saw a trailer for Netflix’s Shadow and Bone, based on her Grishaverse novels (a collection of seven novels). I simply cannot watch a movie or show based on a book without first reading the book – it just feels wrong. While I really enjoyed the first three books of the collection, the "Shadow and Bone" trilogy, I absolutely FELL IN LOVE with the characters in Six of Crows" – and its sequel, "Crooked Kingdom." (Though it’s not entirely necessary, I’d recommend starting with Bardugo’s "Shadow and Bone" trilogy before starting this duology, as "Six of Crows" picks up two years after the first trilogy ends.)
In "Six of Crows," criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is trying to prove his worth on the streets of Ketterdam, a city full of rival gangs that serves as a hub for international trade. With his small crew of thieves and misfits, he embarks on an impossible heist that has the potential to change everything. This book boasts impressive world-building, a team of outcasts, a touch of magic and one dangerous heist. Think Ocean’s 11 – but make it fantasy.
by Ashley C. Ford
FROM THE COVER: The story of a childhood defined by the looming absence of her incarcerated father.
I don’t read a lot of memoirs or nonfiction. However, in spring of 2019, I got to hear Ashley C. Ford speak at the Adobe 99U Conference in New York City. While I know I enjoyed the full conference, Ford’s talk is the only one I vividly remember. I even still have this quote from her talk saved to my phone, “I think the thing that ails us – as a society, as a country, as a global community – most of all, is a lack of imagination.” She spoke candidly about how imagination was a creative superpower, while the lack of imagination could easily hold a person back from reaching his or her potential. Her talk was imaginative, engaging, funny, honest and has stayed with me since that day in 2019. When I saw she was writing a memoir, I could not wait to devour more of her words. In her powerful and brilliant memoir, she shares stories from her complicated and complex childhood, while exploring the impact of finally learning the truth about her father’s incarceration. Self-discovery, family, growth and forgiveness … I closed this book wanting more.
by Casey McQuiston
FROM THE COVER: Sometimes love stops you in your tracks.
"One Last Stop" follows 23-year-old August, who just moved to New York City. She doesn’t believe that love stories exist, until she sees a gorgeous girl on the subway during her daily commute. The catch? That gorgeous girl, Jane, is sort of displaced in time … from the 1970s. This sweet story is an epic and big-hearted LGBTQ+ romance, mixed with found family and a little bit of magical time travel.
by Brit Bennett
GENRE: Literary Fiction
FROM THE COVER: It begins with a secret.
Set in a Black community in Southern California, "The Mothers" opens with 17-year-old Nadia Turner mourning her mother’s recent suicide. Feeling rebellious, she starts seeing the local pastor’s son, Luke Sheppard, who is 21 years old. When she becomes pregnant, she hides the secret from everyone else but him. With teen romance, friendship, a love-triangle and heartbreak, this coming-of-age story explores how the choices we make in our youth can shape our adult lives.
by Rainbow Rowell
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
FROM THE COVER: Simon, Baz, Penelope and Agatha have to decide how to move forward. Rainbow Rowell’s epic fantasy, the Simon Snow trilogy, concludes.
I will read anything Rainbow Rowell writes. Literally anything. And I admit, this is sort of three additional books rather than one, because in order to read "Any Way the Wind Blows," you have to read the first two books in the Simon Snow trilogy: "Carry On" and "Wayward Son." Rainbow Rowell’s books are always fun, emotional and absolutely epic. If you like vampires, magicians, monsters, paranormal romance and stories about a Chosen One, I promise you’ll love this series. Plus, all three books are out now, so you don’t have to suffer the long wait between books like I did. Happy binging!
by Talia Hibbert
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
FROM THE COVER: Their relationship is all for show … right?
"Take a Hint, Dani Brown" is technically the second of a three-book series about the Brown sisters. But while the books are loosely connected, you don’t have to read them in order to enjoy them – I didn’t! I loved all three of them, but "Take a Hint, Dani Brown" was my favorite.
Career-driven Ph.D. student Dani Brown finds romantic partners to be a distraction. She’s looking for more of a friend-with-benefits situation. Enter campus security guard Zafir Ansari. After a clip goes viral of Zafir rescuing Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, Dani agrees to fake a public relationship with him to help him garner publicity for his kids sports charity. Fake dating, seduction, amazing chemistry and Hibbert’s reliable funny prose makes for a delicious, quick read. I flew through it in just a day. And if you love Hibbert’s writing as much as I do and are looking for more, catch the other two books featuring the Brown Sisters: "Get a Life, Chloe Brown" (#1) and "Act Your Age, Eve Brown" (#3).
Have you read any of these books on my list? Have any favorites that I should read RIGHT NOW? Let me know in the comments!
With thanks and every good wish,
READING NOTE: I discover a lot of the books I read via Book of the Month (BOTM), a monthly book subscription. With BOTM, you can purchase three, six or 12-month subscriptions. Each month, they release five different books (sometimes early releases), you pick one to include in your “box” that month, and they ship the beautiful hardcover book to you! They also allow you to use some of your additional monthly credits to add-on up to two extra books in your monthly box, or skip a month and save your credit if you’re not feeling the books that month. If you’re wanting an easy and affordable-ish way to discover great new authors or explore different genres, I highly recommend BOTM! I ask for BOTM subscriptions for every birthday, holiday or special occasion where gifts are involved (so, basically, I never have to pay for it). It’s the way to my heart.