Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Books I've Read in 2014 {November & December}

This is my last roundup for 2014 and I can't believe the year is already over! I've read so many great books this year and feel that I've even widened my scope a bit. Keep an eye out for a Top Ten post coming next week for more details on my favorite books from this year. From November and December, I can tell you that my favorite was The Glass Magician, which is no surprise if you read my review of the first book in the series. I also really enjoyed re-reading the first three books in A Series of Unfortunate Events and look forward to continuing with that series into the new year. 

The Beasts of Clawstone Castle by Eva Ibbotson
5 Stars
First Impressions by Charlie Lovett
5 Stars
Stoker's Manuscript by Royce Prouty
3 Stars
The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
5 Stars
City of Lost Dreams by Magnus Flyte
4 Stars
Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
5 Stars
The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory
4 Stars
The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
5 Stars
The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket
5 Stars
The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket
5 Stars

Friday, December 26, 2014

Review: The Kingmaker's Daughter

{on Goodreads}
The Kingmaker's Daughter is the fourth book in the Cousin's War series by Philippa Gregory. It tells the story of the family of the Earl of Warwick, who was known as "The Kingmaker." The story focuses on his two daughters, Isabel and Anne, and their lifelong struggle to fulfill their father's wish--to have one of his daughters as Queen of England. Because their father had no male heirs, he used his two daughters as pawns in shaping the political sphere of England. The story is told through the perspective of Anne, who is just a child when the story begins. As her family's power is tested and her future called into question, Anne learns to navigate the dangerous court of the monarchy and begins to extend her own hand in achieving her father's ultimate goal. Though she is initially dazzled by the idea of holding the throne, Anne witnesses tragedy, betrayal, and death and finds herself more and more disenchanted with life at court. At a time when women were secretly wielding the power of their husbands, Anne had more to fear than just her husband's enemies-- she had her own enemies as well.

Philippa Gregory is the writer for historical fiction in this time period, but despite my love for the genre, this is the first book I've read by her. I picked it up on sale at Barnes & Noble, without realizing that it was the fourth in a series. This can be read independently of the series, but I do hope to find the rest of the series for a steal as well, as I think it's fascinating that this time period was so wrought with familial betrayal and opposition. Though women were not considered as powerful as men during this time, the women in this book were wielding the same-- if not more-- power than their husbands, and this is what made their characters the most intriguing throughout the story. I was especially interested in the story because I had recently read a news article about this archeological find, which had me even more interested in Anne's family history. I'd recommend this for any fans of the time period, as well as those who enjoy historical fiction works by similar authors such as Michelle Moran. I will say that although I enjoyed reading the story, it was one of those books where I was interested while reading but not hooked enough to make it a priority. I also wasn't a huge fan of the ending-- I prefer a happily ever after, though I recognize that that wish doesn't line up with the historical truth.

Bottom Line Rating: 4/5

Title: The Kingmaker's Daughter
Author: Philippa Gregory
Publisher: Touchstone, 2012
Price: $18.89 on Amazon (I found for much cheaper in the bargain section at B&N)
ISBN: 978-1451626070
Format: Hardcover
Source: Barnes & Noble
Book # 52 of 2014

Sunday, December 21, 2014


image via
I know that this is a literary blog, and therefore podcasts aren't really in my range of things to write about, but in a sense this series is similar to an audiobook, and I can't recommend it enough.

Let me back up for a second...

If you haven't already heard of Serial, it's a podcast series featured on This American Life. Its narrator, Sarah Koenig, has been following a murder case from 1999 for the past year. Over the course of the season, she's presented the evidence, spoken with witnesses, poured over documents and testimonies, visited the crime scene, reenacted the crime...everything that you think would tell her who actually committed the murder of a high school girl in Baltimore on a January afternoon in 1999. 

As she's recorded and released each episode of the podcast, new evidence has come to light-- even Koenig didn't know how the story would end when it was first released to the public. The result is a scintillating 12 episodes, the twelfth and final one having been released this past Thursday. You can listen to episodes on your phone (with a podcast application), on your tablet, or even on the website, where you can also view pictures and documents from the case.

I first heard about Serial from a fellow blogger, but as soon as I knew what it was, I began to see it everywhere. It's become somewhat of a phenomenon, and I now I am one of those people who has to tell everyone I know that they I put off listening to the first episode until after finals were over because I knew if I got hooked it would be bad news for my final essays. I am so glad that I waited, because (and this is somewhat embarrassing), I got so hooked that I listened to the first eleven episodes in one day. Oops? But really, it's that good.

I will warn, if you're the type of person who needs the ends of your mysteries to be tied up into a nice big bow, this might not be the story for you. I don't want to say much more, but if you're into mysteries and like true crime stories, this is one of the best, most baffling mysteries that I've ever heard.

Oh, and it would make a great conversation piece for your family gatherings over the holidays! I can't stop trading theories with fellow listeners...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Author Spotlight: Eva Ibbotson

Today I'm introducing a new series here on Top Shelf Text, and I think it's going to become a favorite of mine. I'm the type of reader who follows not just series, but also authors. Though I love being able to follow characters as they develop and face new challenges, I also love reading individual works by an author. As part of my Author Spotlight, I'll be highlighting some favorite authors- both children's and adult- and the works that I've enjoyed from them so far. 

Eva Ibbotson was one of my favorite authors when I was younger. I loved her writing, and when I first decided to start collecting children's literature in anticipation of becoming a teacher, she was one of the first authors that I put on my list. Since then, I've been keeping an eye out for books by her at library sales and secondhand bookstores. Ibbotson's stories are exactly what I want my future students to read; she had this incredible talent to write tales that are whimsical but that concern serious themes, so in a discussion about one of her books you might jump from describing your favorite character- a witch, a ghost, a mermaid- to issues that occur in family relationships. She was able to get ideas across that are easy for her readers to understand and then connect to real-world contexts.

A little about Eva Ibbotson, from her Goodreads author profile:

"Eva Ibbotson (born Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner, 1925, Vienna, Austria) was a British novelist specializing in romance and children's fantasy. Eva Ibbotson was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1925. When Hitler came into power, Ibbotson's family moved to England. She attended Bedford College, graduating in 1945; Cambridge University from 1946-47; and the University of Durham, from which she graduated with a diploma in education in 1965. Ibbotson had intended to be a physiologist, but was put off by the amount of animal testing that she would have to do. Instead, she married and raised a family, returning to school to become a teacher in the 1960's. Ibbotson was widowed with three sons and a daughter.
She won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize for Journey to the River Sea, and has been a runner up for many of major awards for British children's literature. The books are imaginative and humorous, and most of them feature magical creatures and places, despite the fact that she disliked thinking about the supernatural, and created the characters because she wanted to decrease her readers' fear of such things. Some of the books, particularly Journey to the River Sea, also reflect Ibbotson's love of nature. Ibbotson wrote this book in honor of her husband (who had died just before she wrote it), a former naturalist. The book had been in her head for years before she actually wrote it. Ibbotson said she dislikes "financial greed and a lust for power" and often creates antagonists in her books who have these characteristics." 
I'm definitely biased, but I love when children's authors have experience with teaching. Here are a few books of hers that are recommended for readers in the 8-12 age range:

Which Witch?
The Secret of Platform 13
Island of the Aunts
The Great Ghost Rescue
The Beasts of Clawstone Castle
These six are ones that I've read and enjoyed. Visit her author profile to find even more books for this age range!

And, a bonus! If you're interested in young adult literature or have a teenager at home, Eva Ibbotson is a talented writer for more than just young readers:

A Song for Summer
This is one that I loved and have kept in storage with my favorite books from childhood. I haven't read any of her other YA books, but I'm sure they're in keeping with her excellent writing and worth checking out. 

P.S. Have a favorite author that you think other readers would love? Send me an email at!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Must Read: Under the Banner of Heaven

Do you ever have one of those moments where you just can't find the right book to read? I've been in a reading rut the past two weeks, skipping from book to book and never feeling like I can settle into just one story. These moments tend to happen for me at the end of the semester, and I usually attribute it to having too much on my mind. The other part of it is that I'm one of those people who gets so wrapped up in a book that I'll sacrifice everything else to get to that last page, and that's not something that I can afford to do as we finish up the last week of classes and head into the final exams period.

My solution so far has been to take three or four books with me when I get into bed and skip around until I figure out which one fits my mood best. I've also been indulging in more magazines and news stories- particularly from Time and BBC. (This article is one of my favorites that I've read this week.)

I was feeling kind of blah about my reading choices until I decided to pick up an old favorite, and found that it was the perfect choice for this week.

{on Goodreads}
When I was still in high school, Krakauer's most famous book was Into the Wild, which I didn't find particularly captivating, but out of all the books I've read by him, Under the Banner of Heaven is the best. It's on the top five favorites list for not only myself, but also my father and brother, and though they usually have similar tastes in nonfiction, it's rare for the three of us to come to such a strong agreement on a single book or author.

The story begins with a murder of a woman and her infant daughter at the hands of her fundamentalist (and deranged) mormon brother-in-law. The murder is the thread that weaves the whole book together, but Krakauer really brings front the history of the Mormon religion. I've been interested in reading about Mormonism since I first did a lengthy report on the founding of it back in eighth grade. What's fascinating to me is that despite its infant state, it's one of the fastest growing religions in the world, and is considered by some as the "American religion" not only because of its vast following here but also because it states that the Garden of Eden was actually right here in North America. The mainstream Mormon religion is harmless- orderly to the point of perfection, actually- but it's the various fundamentalist sects that it has sprouted that are of interest to Krakauer in this account. Learning about their different ideas on faith and about their radical actions to achieve a spot in the Celestial Kingdom is like reading a tale from another world, but it's all true and it's happening right here in the United States. 

My favorite part about reading this book is that it gives me great conversational pieces. Just last night, my roommate and I chatted about one particularly intriguing sect over dinner, which was a nice break from our recent stream of discussions about grades, graduate school, and other things that are frying our brains. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to just about any reader, but for non-fiction lovers it's a must-read. If you're looking for a last minute gift this season, wrap it up in a bow and say that it comes highly recommended. And if you have a nonfiction book that you can't stop talking about, I'd love to hear any recommendations for my own must-read list!

{P.S. I'll be taking a break from the blog until after my final papers have been submitted, so check back mid-month to find more content here on Top Shelf Text! If you don't want to miss it when the blog comes back, just enter your email on the right-hand column to subscribe!}

Friday, November 21, 2014

Biographical Picture Books

I write about a variety of genres here on Top Shelf Text, but one thing that's fairly consistent is my choice of fiction over nonfiction when it comes to my bedtime reading material. The same goes for children's literature- I'll pick up anything that resembles a fairytale before I'm drawn to a nonfiction book. I've been changing that tendency bit by bit this year as I learn more about teaching and about development, so I'm making an effort to track down children's books that cover a wider range of topics. Today, I'm jumpstarting that effort with three biographical picture books that recently caught my attention. Not only are these all recently published (so it'll be easy to track them down in bookstores), but they're also about three men who got out what they put in- each one of them had to fight to make their specific dream a reality, and years later we get to learn from their example and be inspired by their dedication!

With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built a School by Suzanne Slade // Booker T. Washington had an incredibly determined spirit and ambitions to match. He was one of the last generations born into slavery, and though he was freed before age ten, he had to work extremely hard to secure an education for himself. Washington fell in love with learning and went on to build the Tuskegee Institute. This is a great biography for introducing children to a leader in education and in the African American community. Washington could also serve as a role model for working hard to achieve big dreams. 

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant // I had never given a thought to the origin of the most famous thesaurus (though I use one often) but stumbled upon this book shortly after its publication and decided to find out more. Not only is the story interesting- Roget organized his thesaurus not in alphabetical order but by meaning- but the illustrations are unlike any other picture book I've read this year. It's an eccentrically illustrated book for sure, but so creative and one that I can see becoming a quick favorite for young fans of reading. It also confirms the fact that biographies need not be boring. Definitely a must-have for your children's bookshelf.

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel by Kathryn Gibbs Davis // This is my favorite of the bunch, simply because I found the story to be so enchanting. When I was little, I always wanted to visit Chicago because it was home to the magical (and at the time, only) American Girl Doll Store. I visited the city for the first time last winter (to see my bestie Allie) and absolutely loved it. It's a unique place and has history around every corner, but the history feels different from the kind that we're used to here in Boston. This book tells the story of one particularly important tidbit from the city's history- the invention of the Ferris Wheel. I had no knowledge whatsoever of the origin of this landmark from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, but it's a remarkable story of perseverance and creativity, and one that would be great to share with young aspiring inventors. 

I'm on the hunt for more books that can introduce children to nonfiction stories and serve as sources of inspiration! Do you or your child have a favorite famous figure that you think would inspire others too?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Currently Coveting {November}

November is my favorite month of the year, hands down. Not only is it my birthday today (yay!), but in two weeks I'll be home stuffing my face enjoying a Thanksgiving feast, and I can finally see the light at the end of the hardest-semester-ever-tunnel. For this month's currently coveting, I picked only two books that have been on my mind for the past week straight. I tend to stick to a very predictable model of personal style, decor, etc. but my reading selection is never predictable and my bookshelf is the most varied collection of things that I own, as evidenced by the two picks below. Now I'm off to indulge in birthday treats and maybe sing a certain relevant Taylor Swift song...enjoy!

Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf // This book looks so fascinating, though it's definitely not for everyone. As a psychology major, I love learning about the ways in which the mind works. People are often surprised that a large part of my psychology education has been dedicated to learning about the technical aspects behind cognition, and that there is a heavy emphasis in my university's psychology program on neuroscience. In fact, following a neuroscience track into graduate school was one path that I seriously considered this past year. The brain is fascinating- we know barely anything about it- and I would love to be part of that movement to really dissect the workings of the body's most important organ. One of the biggest pushes in the neuroscience community right now is for neuroscientists, developmental psychologists, cognitive psychologists, and educators to work together in researching how development of the brain affects learning at an early age. In working to become an educator, an integral part of my professional knowledge (in my opinion) has to do with the workings of the brain. This book brings together two things that fascinate me: neuroscience and reading. It explores the neural processes behind reading, examines the history of the human ability to read, and pays special attention to the subject of dyslexia. I'll be adding this to my growing stack of reads for professional purposes, but from a personal perspective this looks like the perfect storm of my interests and I can't wait to get my hands on it. 

Yes Please by Amy Poehler // On the opposite end of the reading spectrum is this. As soon as I saw the announcement for this book, I knew I had to have it. Not only is Amy Poehler a force to be reckoned with in the pool of role model-worthy women, she's also beyond hilarious. Tina Fey, her real-life BFF, wrote my favorite memoir to date (I've listened to the audiobook three times and own both a hardcover and paperback copy), and I'm expecting this one to be just as good. Perfect for holiday gifts to your girlfriends and a sure way to make people judge you when you belly laugh while reading it in public. 

What are you looking forward to reading this month?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Classics Challenge Update

As I mentioned last week, I managed to wrap up my classics challenge in October and I am one happy camper. I started my first book fort the challenge in June, and today I'm doing a little roundup and reflection of the four that made it onto my list.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen // By far my favorite of the challenge, which was completely unexpected for me. I can't even tell you how many times I have picked up this book and put it back down before even reaching the tenth page. Something was different this time around, and I was in it 'til the end. I never understood all the hype about Mr. Darcy before, but my goodness he is as dashing as they say, and Elizabeth Bennet is such a strong female character for her time period-- I loved her outspoken attitude. I can't be the only one wishing there was a sequel. More Austen novels are on my reading list for winter break, but I can't decide which one to read next. Any suggestions?

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald // Okay, I know last year I mentioned that this was one book that I wish I liked more, and this year I decided to bring it to school and give it another shot. I like reading short novels during the peak of the semester because they move along quickly and I spend less time making up excuses for why I need to read instead of do my homework. This time around, I paid less attention to the characters themselves and more to the language. My oh my, it's beautiful. Before, I let it all be clouded with my annoyance for Daisy's foolishness and Tom's bad choices, but this time I really got what Fitzgerald was trying to say. I can now see this being on my reading list every year. It just goes to show you that reading is largely about context, and if you're not in the right place at the right time, you might miss the best parts.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë // Now this was one that I wish I liked more. I had banked on Jane Eyre being my favorite of the bunch because I love reading books that are based on the plot, but I ended up really having to work my way through it. My favorite books are ones that feel effortless to read, and sadly this wasn't one of them. I learned my lesson from Mr. Fitzgerald though, and I'll put it on my list of try-again books.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett // This book has inspired me to put together a different kind of classics challenge next year, one with equal parts children's and adult's classics. I loved this story, and I also loved how different the language is from the children's books that we have today. I plan on reading at least one more children's classic this winter, and am brainstorming ideas for next year's list. Any favorites that I should add?

Overall, I realized that though there are always dozens of new books that I stumble upon and want to read each month, classics such as these are ones worth spending time on. I've never been a classics junkie before, but I fully intend to approach this genre with a more open mind in the future, and plan on adding many more favorites to my repertoire. 

P.S. Remember this book that I fell in love with back in September? The second book in the trilogy is out today, so if you loved it too I suggest ordering it now (and it's also available in paperback, so it won't break the bank)! I preordered the Kindle version after reading the first and I am super excited to read it this weekend. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Update: Books I've Read {September & October}

I've come to really enjoy this round up series, as it gives me the chance to look back every couple of months and see how my reading tastes have fluctuated over the course of this year. I've been lucky to pick up some really great reads since the start of September, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend any of these books. This week marks the completion of my classics challenge and I'll be chatting more about that next week, but I'll add that I am super proud of myself for even finishing it. I honestly would be hard pressed to pick a favorite from these past two months, as I was pretty close to adding all of them to my best books of the year list, but The Ghost Bride, The Paper Magician, and Pride and Prejudice all really stood out to me. This list brings my grand total to 45 books for the year so far, and 75% finished with my yearlong goal. I'm going to be hard pressed to fit 15 books in the next two months, but I can't wait to see what my list looks like at the end of the year!

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
4 Stars
Read my review here.
A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé
5 Stars
The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew #1) by Carolyn Keene
4 Stars

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
5 Stars
Read my review here.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
5 Stars
Curse of the Dream Witch by Allan Stratton
3 Stars
The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
5 Stars
Read my review here.
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
5 Stars
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
4 Stars
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
5 Stars

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Review: The Ghost Bride

{on Goodreads}
Yangsze Choo's The Ghost Bride is a captivating story, set in colonial Malaya, where new British traditions clash with old Chinese customs and where Li Lan's family is experiencing a steady decline into poverty. Unfortunately for Li Lan, her family's bankruptcy and father's addiction to Opium have left her little opportunities to socialize; she approaching marriageable age without any prospects, until she receives an unusual proposition from the town's wealthiest family. The prestigious Lim family's heir, a pompous and unpleasant boy, died of a fever before his time. In accordance with old superstitions, the Lim matriarch wishes for a bride to placate her son's restless spirit. Li Lan is taken by their opulent lifestyle, and must weigh the comfort that wealth brings with the consequences of marriage to a spirit if she were to accept the proposal. Soon she finds her dreams haunted by her spirit suitor, and at the same time feels drawn to his very real cousin, the newly crowned heir. It comes to light that her suitor's death may not have been due to illness, and as Li Lan investigates she comes to find out secrets about the Lim family- as well as her own- that hold consequences for all involved.

This book was an unusual pick for me, as I normally gravitate towards historical fiction that falls into the subcategories of Victorian mysteries or WWII adventures, but it just goes to show that you shouldn't always stick with the same type of book because this book was amazing. It has a twist that elevates it to a whole different setting, and it was one of those books where the descriptions made everything come to life so vividly in my head that I had no trouble getting lost in it. I especially loved learning about the old Chinese traditions and the ways in which British influence were creeping into the stubborn Chinese culture in Malaya. I want to say more, but the twist is too good and I wouldn't forgive myself if I spoiled that moment of surprise for another reader. This is Choo's debut, and I'll definitely be looking out for more of her work and similar work in future trips to the library. 

Bottom Line Rating: 5/5

Title: The Ghost Bride
Author: Yangsze Choo
Publisher: William Morrow, 2013
Price: Only $1.99 on Kindle!
ISBN: 9780062227324
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Book #42 of 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Quieting the Storm

It's been quiet around here lately, and I promise things will pick up again soon. We're in the thrall of midterms, and as I write this I am staring at a stack of research articles approximately three hundred pages deep and wondering how I will manage to turn it into an essay...that's due on Friday. Who knew senior year could be so much fun??

When things get stressful during the semester, I always make sure to turn to a few matters of routine to create order within the chaos. Besides cooking healthy meals and making sure I make it to the gym (even if watching Bones while I'm on the elliptical is my biggest motivator), I always make sure to keep the same bedtime, and most importantly, to spend at least a half hour with a good book before I fall asleep. Reading is a source of comfort to me, especially during the weeks when simply looking at my planner can induce a stress headache. Free time is a rare commodity during this period in the semester, and as in real life, what you choose to do with the pockets of freedom can have a big impact on the way you face the challenges ahead. Reading helps me to refocus, reset, recharge even, and puts me right again. The task is to choose a story that you can get lost in - one that has you gasping, laughing, and feeling like you are in another world entirely. This week, it's Pride and Prejudice that I have finally fallen in love with, and every night as I go to bed I'm grateful for writers like Jane Austen who put captivating stories out into the world.

Until the storm of midterm blows over, I'll leave you with this fun little quiz that popped up in my inbox this morning. I took the quiz while waiting in line for a coffee and got "The Lionizer," and let me tell you that result was spot on. The profile was a perfect description of me and made me laugh when it predicted my love of children's lit. Take the quiz and tell me which "reading personality" you got in the comments section below!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Recommended by The Little Prince Project

I wish I could claim that I'm a history buff. The truth is, history is a tough genre for me because often I find my attention wandering while reading. As a part of my Reading Resolutions for 2014, I challenged myself to find a history book that could peak and keep my interest. I haven't delved into any so far, mostly because the two I had picked out are best described as tomes (a.k.a. large, heavy, scholarly books that are not suited for carrying around campus) and I've felt intimidated just looking at them. However, part of being a good reader is knowing when to branch out, and thankfully I've got a bestie who is smitten with American history and inspires me daily to put a little more effort in being an informed citizen, not just with current events but with our country's history as well. Enter my Reading Resolution solution:

The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers by Thomas Fleming

You can read all about this book on Allie's blog, The Little Prince Project, and see for yourself why I went straight to my favorite online bookseller and promptly added it to my ever-expanding shopping cart. It's about time that I got a little more educated about our history, and I can't wait for midterms to be over so I can dive headfirst into a stack of new reads. In the meantime, if you're a lover of history and have any good recommendations for books related to American history, Allie and I would love to hear them!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

10 Great October Reads

I think we can all agree that October is one of the best months of the year. It's that time when the leaves have changed and are starting to fall but the sun still shines and the air is just the perfect temperature. As I write this, it's raining outside and all I want is to curl up with a good book and a warm drink (but first, homework...). I'm one to embrace gloomy days, and I can't help but feel that October is the perfect time to really appreciate life in New England. I think by now I've mentioned once or twice (okay, three times) how much I love Halloween, but really what I love about this time of year is that it inspires me to write. A good book can give you goosebumps, have you gasping in surprise, and even make you wonder if there really are monsters under the bed, and this is the perfect time of year to find one of those books. Now, I know that not everyone appreciates a scary story, so I've rounded up a list of books that, scary or not, have that perfect October vibe.


The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo // You may recognize this from last month's currently coveting. I picked it up at the library recently and let me good. Keep an eye out for a review soon, but for now, just know that it gave me the creepy-crawlies and had me totally intrigued from start to finish.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield // I cannot recommend this enough. It's on my list to re-read this month, and has Setterfield is just brilliant.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness // I love this trilogy. You can read more about my obsession with it here.

The Quick by Lauren Owen // This was one of my summer reads this year, but it's certainly more suited for an October to-read list, considering it's a Victorian England novel with a rather macabre twist. You can read my review of it here.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova // One year in high school we had a choice of books for a summer reading assignment and I picked this one, along with maybe seven other students. It certainly wasn't the most popular book that year (I have a feeling it's because of its 700 pages) but it's one that I would highly recommend for your to-read list this month. 

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield // Another one by Diane Setterfield because, why not? Read my review of this book here.

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg // I love a good book about magic at anytime during the year, and I know I recently raved about this one in a review but I just can't stop. Love, love, loved it. And for those who aren't into scary stories, this is the one for you. 

The Truth of All Things by Kieran Shields // This is a relatively new series that I started reading last year. It follows a detective in the late 1800s as he investigates a gruesome murder, the mystery behind which is wrapped up in magic rituals and the Salem Witch Trials. Definitely has that Halloween feel to it. 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern // This book was a big deal when it came out in 2011, and when I read it last year I absolutely loved it. And, I mean, look at that cover art. Swoon.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn // Perfect timing to read this, especially with the movie coming out this month. But please, don't go see the movie before you've read it! I'm not usually such a stickler for the book-before-movie rule, but this has to be one that you read first. Also, it will make you question your own sanity and the sanity of everyone around you. So there's that. 


Do you have a favorite thriller, mystery, or fantasy book?