October was a great month for me when it comes to reading—I read so many great books! And, I was grateful to have more time for reading than I did back in September. October was also the month my Kindle Unlimited free, three-month trial ended. If you’ve been reading here for a little bit, you know I tested it out when I got a longer trial from a Prime Day deal. I ended up reading two books off of Kindle Unlimited, but since I like to keep lists of “to read” books, and most of the books I want to read weren’t on Kindle Unlimited, requesting books through my local library and/or buying books outright is a much better system for me.
As is custom on these posts, I wanted to call out that I’m part of a program where Random House will send me some of their new titles each month. I’m under no obligation to post about any titles I receive, so I really can tell you my own opinion (good or bad!) about them. I’ve starred the books Random House sent me for free below. I’m so lucky to be sent books and that’s not lost on me!
I’d love to know what you’re reading—drop me a note in the comments below! x
BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY // RUTA SEPETYS
Lina is a teenage girl living with her family in Lithuania—her mother, father, and brother. In 1941, Soviet soldiers barge into her home and force her mother, her brother, and her to pack their belongings and become their captives; Lina soon learns her father disappeared weeks ago. Under Stalins orders, the family, along with many of their neighbors, are forced onto a dirty train car and soon realize they are headed to Siberia. Forced to work in Labor Camps, many of Stalins victims weren’t freed until long after World War II—including Lina and her family.
Would I recommend it? 100%—I could not put this one down and it made me want to learn more about my ancestral homeland, Lithuania.
WHAT HAPPENS IN PARADISE // ELIN HILDERBRAND
So, LOL, y’all—Elin Hilderbrand has a new Paradise trilogy set on St. John, and this is actually the second book in the series. I mistakenly read them out of order! You should start with Winter in Paradise—and I plan to go back and read it. Both books (and the forthcoming one!) tell the story of Irene, an Iowa City woman with two grown children, who’s husband is often away on business. She learns that he was killed in a helicopter crash on St. John, and along with her adult sons, realize that her husband had been living a secret life. She begins to befriend the locals to uncover his secrets and discover a whole new paradise.
Would I recommend it? If you’re looking for an easy beach read, pick this one up—but be sure to read them in order ;].
MORE THAN ENOUGH // ELAINE WELTEROTH
Elaine Welteroth is the former EIC of Teen Vogue, and she was the youngest to ever helm a title and the first woman of color to do so at Conde Nast. Born to a black mother and a white father, Elaine explores her race, identity, family, career trajectory, and more in this memoir. Admittedly, I didn’t know much about Elaine before I picked this one up—but I so enjoyed it, and unlike some memoirs by similar people, didn’t lean too much into light self help or career advice; this one had real depth.
Would I recommend it? I highly, highly recommend this one to all working women, especially if you’re in the PR/comms/marketing space! This memoir also made me think about my white privilege in a different way than any other book.
THE GREAT ALONE // KRISTIN HANNAH
Ernt is a POW who returns home after the Vietnam War with a severe case of undiagnosed PTSD. He discovers that his comrade in war left him a homestead in Alaska and makes the impulsive decision to move his wife and teenage daughter, Leni, to “The Great Alone.” At first, Alaska seems to be a great reprieve as they bond with an independent community and work to live off the land. But then winter sets in, and Ernt’s behavior deteriorate—and Leni and her mom begin to realize, over the course of years, in the wild, no one can save you but yourself.
Would I recommend it? This one was sad, but so good—I do think I liked The Nightingale more.
LET IT SNOW // NANCY THAYER*
Christina owns a small toy shop on Nantucket, where she lives year-round. A few weeks before Christmas, she catches a young girl, Wink, shoplifting from her store. That wasn’t the last she saw of Wink, and she quickly realizes that Wink’s grandfather, Oscar, is her scrooge landlord who just raised her rent. But Christina’s about to become intertwined even further with Oscar’s family when she meets his bachelor son.
Would I recommend it? Meh—I really like Nancy Thayer, but there wasn’t a ton of depth here. I enjoyed Surfside Sisters so much more.
RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE // CASEY McQUISTON
Alex’s mother is President, and as First Son, the media, naturally, is interested in him. But, he has beef with the Prince of England, and when the two of them accidentally crash into a cake after a heated debate at a party, their teams recommends a rehab tour where they stage a friendship for the benefit of the press. Only, overtime, that fake friendship turns into something real, and then real romantic.
Would I recommend it? If you’re into royal fan fiction, this book is for you!
PRAIRIE FIRES // CAROLINE FRASER
This is an amazing biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder that looks at her life beyond the myth she created in her Little House series—a series I absolutely loved and devoured as a kid. The author explains not only Laura’s life in a new light, as studied from her letters, writings, and memoir, but also the context in which she lived and what was going on in the United States at the time she details in her Little House series. For instance, I never realized that locust plagued the prairies for years and years, traveling in swarms of trillions of bugs and eating everything in sight—including the Ingalls’ crops. I love this look at the American West and the way we fulfilled our Manifest Destiny.
Would I recommend it? YES! Especially if you were also a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan growing up.