Summer is still holding on here in Ottawa, despite the rapidly shortening days and the return to school. It’s supposed to hit 28 degrees almost every day this week, and I don’t remember an October this hot before, ever. On the one hand, that’s kind of scary. On the other hand, I’m still getting beans and lettuce from my garden, which has been great!
And now, with everything settling down after the spring and summer of chaos that I had, I’ve been able to get back to my regular reading recaps. (Or, perhaps, this is just my way of procrastinating when I should be working on the latest book!)
In any case, I read some really great books this month, so without further ado, here are my September reads:
City Spies (James Ponti) – This was such a fun read! A middle grade hacker joins a team of spies, who all happen to be children lead by an undercover M16 operative. There was lots of exciting spycraft stuff and a race against the clock to stop a dastardly plot from unfolding at a science competition. There’s also a bigger mystery at play that I’m assuming will unfold as the series progresses. Will definitely be adding the rest of the series to my TBR list.
One Jar of Magic (Corey Ann Haydu) – This one was lovely. And beautifully written. But I think it should have had trigger warnings at the beginning for child abuse. There’s nothing overly graphic, but it does a really good job of showing the kind of walking-on-eggshells that happens in a home environment where kids always have to be careful not to set a volatile parent off. And I do think that could be traumatic for some people. Also, it does show how kids in such situations still love and want to win the approval of an abusive parent and how they may not even realize that what they’re dealing with is, in fact, abuse. Certainly a good one for teachers and librarians (and anyone else who works with kids) to try and understand what living with something like that is like for a child.
Gnome is Where Your Heart Is (Casey Lyall) – This one was a really fun sci-fi romp. The protagonist, Lemon, has been working with her grandfather (who met an alien once, long ago, but no one believes him) on a secret project to prove aliens exist. But after Grandpa Walt is moved into a care facility after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, Lemon is determined to finish the project and reunite Grandpa with his alien friend. She recruits some friends to help her along the way, and hijinks with space gnomes and an intergalactic smuggling ring ensue. Recommended read.
The Pearl Hunter (Miya T. Beck) – I was not sure what to expect going into this one, but I ended up really enjoying it. I loved all the Japanese mythology and folk tales woven into the story, and I was really rooting for Kai throughout her quest. The ending did throw me for a bit of loop–I was not expecting things to end like that! But overall, this was a really good read, and definitely worth checking out.
The Curious League of Detectives and Thieves: Egypt’s Fire (Tom Phillips) – This was a fun little adventure with a good mystery. There was a lot more suspension of disbelief in some of the big action scenes than I particularly like (they are written like cartoon action sequences that defy basic physics) and that threw me out of the moment somewhat. But, overall, this was a really good book with an engaging set of characters. I can see this one really appealing to reluctant readers, especially with a narrator who provides a definition of every single word that might be unfamiliar (though older and more advanced readers might find that a bit annoying). I’ll be looking for the next one in the series.
Every Heart A Doorway (Seanan McGuire) – This was a YA pick for the month, and I still haven’t decided how I feel about this one. I was not expecting a horror novel, and the cover doesn’t fit that genre at all, so that was a bit of a surprise. Also, it was kind of gory, which is really not my cup of tea. The other worlds premise in this one was really interesting with its Alice in Wonderland vibes, though, so it’s worth checking out for this aspect–if you don’t mind death via dismemberment and bleeding out. I won’t be picking up the other ones in the series, however, as I’m not a fan of this type of horror.
Have you read any of these? Leave a comment below and let me know what you thought of them. 😊