Autumnal Books For Cozy Reading

Yay! It’s finally autumn! I’ve really been looking forward to cooler weather and the leaves changing color and just the general turning inwards that the end of the year brings. Colder nights, longer nights, more time to curl up cozy with a good book. When I started to write this list I was trying to find books that are set in autumn, you know, like summer books, but I don’t know any apparently! So here’s just is a list of books that either remind me of autumn, or just feel autumn-y to me for some reason or another. Enjoy!

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
LOTR will always feel like fall to me, maybe because the beginning is set in September. Bilbo’s party is in September, and Frodo leaves the Shire in September. Anyway, to me it’s a perfect book to curl up with and disappear into such an intricately written fantasy world (and fairly slow-paced, for some peace of mind). I also grew up with Tolkien’s work, so it’s also just very comforting to me personally.

Dark Tales by Shirley JacksonIMG_20200905_120317_221.jpg This is a collection of creepy and twisted stories that are just perfect for fall and its longer nights. Also for the coming Halloween month! They’re not really spooky creepy, but more psychological thriller creepy, and sometimes just weird creepy. They’re so well-written en amazingly crafted and such a thrill to read.

Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
This story might actually take place in the summer, but I have a love for faerie stories when the weather starts turning and the fields get misty after sunset. I don’t think it’s Stiefvater’s best book, but it’s really entertaining and pretty enchanting and full of music and faeries and other wordly creatures.

War For the Oaks by Emma Bull
A long time favorite (and a book that might also actually take place in summer, I’m not sure), a wonderful book full of music and more faeries and a dark war and a band and a motorcycle and a really cool human/fay romance. It’s so well-written and exciting and, in my eyes, perfect for fall.

the hazel wood melissa albertThe Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
I don’t know why, and it’s been a while since I last read this book, but it felt autumnal in my mind. There’s woods and fairies and more fantastical things, a kind of Alice in Wonderland but way more interesting. Fast-paced and full of interesting world-building it’ll sweep you away from the comfort of a comfortable chair. Read my full review here.

Cold Tom by Sally Prue
Still not sure if this one (or any of these books) takes place in autumn, BUT FAERIES! And, as I’ve established, autumn is for reading about faeries. So here’s a very short book, barely 200 pages, about a half-elfin called Tom who is cast out by his elfin tribe, he has to take shelter in the human world – who they call ‘demons’. It’s a really interesting book from perspective of a faerie, telling his story.

 

That’s it for now! Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What are your favorite autumn reads to curl up with? Let me know in the comments!

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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Dark Tales by Shirley JacksonIMG_20200905_120317_221.jpg This is a collection of creepy and twisted stories that are just perfect for fall and its longer nights. Also for the coming Halloween month! They’re not really spooky creepy, but more psychological thriller creepy, and sometimes just weird creepy. They’re so well-written en amazingly crafted and such a thrill to read.

Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

Book Review | Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz

“I’m sick,” I say. “And I don’t wish that I wasn’t. And I don’t really care how uncomfortable that makes you anymore.”

 

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Isabel has one rule: no dating. It’s easier, safer, better- for the other person. She’s got secrets, issues, and rheumatoid arthritis. She tries to seems as healthy as possible, she’s fine, she doesn’t want to talk about it. But then she meets another sick kid. Sasha knows what it’s like to be sick. He really understands her. And is amazing enough to make her consider breaking her one rule..

(Don’t worry, they don’t die in this one) IMG_20200620_180522_155.jpg

Moskowitz gently guides us into Isabel’s world. Even though, yes, the book opens in a literal hospital as Isabel is getting treatment, we don’t really feel the seriousness of her illness till much later. We experience her own suppression of her emotions with her, and gradually more and more is revealed to us. Like in the beginning she talks about how many steps something is, how far away a specific thing is, long before we know in how much pain she is. We’re shown the frustrations of having to deal with a world that expects you to be healthy.

But also other parts of her life, like her parents and her past, are only gradually shown to us, at the same pace that she realizes her own emotions. It’s so interestingly done, and you can really experience with her what it’s like to be sick and have to deal with a healthy world, what’s it’s like to have absent parents, what it’s like to be Isabel.

While I have never been chronically ill, and definitely never ill to the extent these characters are, I have always struggled with my health and there are many things in this book I relate to (although I experience them in a much lesser degree than they do). Like when Isabel describes that feeling when you have to cancel on your friends when you’re ill. “and every time I cancel, I feel like I’m taking a step backward on some kind of friendship-plank, and at some point soon I’m just going to run out of chances and plunge into the water and off the ship. The friend-ship. Ha.” (p. 55-56). And I felt that. That fear that’s not true but you still feel.

Moskowitz describes more of these things in such a relatable and funny way, really exposing the characters’ inner workings without them directly telling us. There’s this bit of dialogue that just expresses so much about Isabel that she won’t even admit to herself, but Sasha just sees right through her emotional armor.

“You get stiff when you first stand up, huh?”
“Don’t… takes notes on me.”
“Yes, God forbid I keep track of what you need,” he says.
“I don’t need anything.”
“Mmmhmm.”
“I’m invincible.”
“Yep.”
“I’m a stereo that just plays the high notes.”
“Oh, so you’re broken?”
“Yeah.”
‘That adds up,” he says.

It’s the exact right mix of genuine fear and emotion and the humor that’s used to cover that vulnerability right up, while still admitting it’s there. It’s just so good. I love the way Moskowitz writes. She writes amazing dialogue that both feels very realistic and true, but is also just very funny. She manages to let the characters express heartfelt moment by letting them ramble, but she also has a comedic timing that is just a joy to read. I laughed out loud several times.

Moskowitz also has a very interesting pacing. Often she will have big parts of the book that are just short pieces of the most interesting parts, kind of like a montage. It’s such a good story device that I haven’t seen often before, it lets the story go a lot of places without hurting the pace. And we get to see meaningful moments in quick succession, so we’re able to compare and connect them, making a kind of meta narrative in our head about the characters’ development.

Because Isabel works for the school paper and has a column where she asks people questions, between every chapter there’s a bit with questions and answers from people from the book-world. And also a dead girl. This is a really interesting story device, because it gives a little more extra insight in Isabel’s deepest emotions and insecurities.

I also love how the story isn’t necessarily about two people getting together, but about them growing together. About them growing individually, and challenging each other to face up to their fears and coping mechanisms and emotional masks. And eventually growing up to be better and more honest versions of themselves. It is such a good example of how you do relationships well, by communicating and being honest, by showing up, by being honest with yourself, by setting your own boundaries. It also shows that you need to learn all that, and nothing is perfect right at the start. A lot of people can learn a lot from this.

A very sweet, wise and very nuanced story about two chronically ill kids, trying to overcome their fear and become better people.

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Book Review | The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

“There’s always a person for every book. And a book for every person.”

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Swedish Sara embarks on a journey to Broken Wheel, Iowa, to visit her long-time pen pal Amy. Only, when she arrives, she learns Amy’s funeral was two days ago. Luckily, the townspeople have decided they will look after their bewildered tourist – even if they don’t really understand her. In return, Sara starts a bookstore and tries to awaken a love for reading in this dying, little town. Soon, the town has decided they want to keep her, and will do almost anything for her to be able to stay.

katarina bivald the readers of broken wheel recommend
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is one of my absolute favorite books. And it’s definitely my favorite adult contemporary novel. Since I’ve bought it, I’ve read it three times, and it just gets better with every re-read. It’s my favorite book for when I’m feeling low and need a sweet and funny, clever and deep kind of distraction. The book is lighthearted, but it’s not mellow or boring, or shying away from the shittier things in life. But it’s full of promise that things get better. That it’s never too late to change your life, never too late to be who you’ve always been on the inside.

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Book Review | Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley

“I’m real, too. I just don’t know, real what.”

 

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The King and Queen finally have a child, a little Princess. But when evil fairy Pernicia curses Briar-Rose, she is spirited away, and taken in by good fairies in a small village at the edge of the country, where she is kept safe. Here she is Rosie the fairy’s niece. But for how long can she pretend? How long before she herself realizes she isn’t who she thinks she is? How long before Pernicia finally finds her?

I had this Sleeping Beauty retelling on my TBR list for a long time, mostly because of the interesting title and because of the book cover, not gonna lie, it’s a beautiful cover, the kind you don’t really see anymore. But it was the beginning paragraph that really pulled me in, talking about that country and its magic, and how it affected the tea kettles in every household. Tea kettles! I was sold. IMG_20200217_173236_822.jpg

This kind of world building was kept up throughout the whole novel, more and more was revealed about how the magic worked, how it was seen and used culturally, how the animals were basically sentient if only you knew how to talk to them. How every type of animal had its own culture. The title refers to an actual object, something that was invented after the Princess was cursed and the sharp needles on spinning wheels were banned. It became something to carve intricately, something beautiful. It’s such a good way to make the plot part of the fictional world’s culture, and it shows a good grasp on how humans work. It felt like the world kept growing and growing, with every chapter there was more to discover.

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Mid Year Freakout Book Tag

Yeah, yeah, I am a little late for this tag, it’s already the end of July, but time is meaningless and I wanted to do this tag so :’D here we are. I wasn’t tagged by anyone but it seemed fun so I’m just going to do it, and I’m tagging anyone who sees this and things it’s fun too 🙂

 

Best Book you’ve read so far in 2020?

Definitely The Priory of the Orange Tree. It took me a while to finish it because it’s long but also because it’s just so good that I wanted to savor it! It’s a complex epic fantasy with this whole ancient lore and interesting cultures and amazing characters and just beautiful writing. It’s one of the best fantasy’s I’ve ever read and definitely my favorite book of the year.

Best Sequel you’ve read so far in 2020?IMG_20200606_134733_574.jpg

Actually, the only sequel I’ve read this year is Catching Fire! It was part of by THG reread and it was just as good as I remembered it (I wrote a whole post about it, which you can find here).

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to?

To be honest, I don’t have an answer for this question! I currently don’t have any books I want to read but haven’t yet that were published in the past 6 months.

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Some Summery Reads

So my summer definitely looks different than usual, and very different than I thought it would be. And not just because of the not so summery weather we’ve been having where I live.. I think most people can relate to that. Life is very weird right now everywhere, and summer doesn’t feel summery, so I thought I would make a list of summery books so we can at least read about summer vacation and road trips and adventures. So here’s the list of some of my favorite summery books!

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Book Review | The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

“Well, you know what they say. The show’s not over until the mockingjay sings.”

 

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Eighteen year old Coriolanus Snow has struggled all his life to live up to the family name, and to keep their poverty a secret. Now he has been assigned the female tribute of District Twelve to mentor during the 10th Hunger Games. This is his chance to prove his worth and to score the prize of a full scholarship to the University. But this seems to be a greater challenge then he had expected..IMG_20200620_180539_365.jpg

First of all, this book is not like The Hunger Games. Don’t expect it to be so because you will end up disappointed. It’s slower, more thoughtful, more a study of the inner workings of fear and power and privilege. It’s not really a villain origin story, because it doesn’t show a specific moment in time when Coriolanus decided to become a terrible dictator, but rather how this society, his upbringing/trauma but also his own personality/own moral compass lead to that. It’s a very interesting to look at how a dictator grows, without justifying his actions in any way.

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