While I have read 47 books so far this year, I really slowed down in September and October. I still have a book left to read from each month. While the number of books slowed down, I really enjoyed the books I read this month, including some that will make me favorites list! My favorites included Killers of a Certain Age and The Silent Patient from September and The Book of Cold Cases from October.
Here is everything I have read so far in 2022 and a look at what I’m reading this month. If you would like to see my reviews, check out what I read in January & February, March & April, May & June and July & August.
What I Read in September and October
What I Read in September
The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray
- I thoroughly enjoy historical fiction and this was a great read. The story is about Belle da Costa Greene, who in her twenties, is hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture in New York City society and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world. She’s known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps create a world-class collection. But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener. He’s the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. Belle’s complexion isn’t dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white. Her complexion is dark because she is African American.The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths she must go to–for the protection of her family and her legacy.
The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh
- This book celebrates a family of estranged Vietnamese women who experiences mishaps and unexpected joy after a psychic makes a startling prediction about their lives.Everyone in Orange County’s Little Saigon knew that the Duong sisters were cursed. It started with their ancestor, Oanh, who dared to leave her marriage for true love–so a fearsome Vietnamese witch cursed Oanh and her descendants so that they would never find love or happiness, and the Duong women would give birth to daughters, never sons. Desperate for guidance, one of the Duong women consults Auntie Hua, her trusted psychic in Hawaii, who delivers an unexpected prediction: this year, her family will witness a marriage, a funeral, and the birth of a son. This prophecy will reunite estranged mothers, daughters, aunts, and cousins–for better or for worse.A multi-narrative novel brimming with levity and candor, The Fortunes of Jaded Women is about mourning, meddling, celebrating, and healing together as a family. It shows how Vietnamese women emerge victorious, even if the world is against them. This was a fun, feel good read and I enjoyed the various perspectives of the larger story.
Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn
- This book was described to me as the Golden Girls meets James Bond and that was a spot-on description. This was absolutely one of my favorite books this year! Older women often feel invisible, but sometimes that’s their secret weapon. They’ve spent their lives as the deadliest assassins in a clandestine international organization, but now that they’re sixty years old, four women friends can’t just retire – it’s kill or be killed in this action-packed thriller by New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-nominated author Deanna Raybourn. Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie have worked for the Museum, an elite network of assassins, for forty years. Now their talents are considered old-school and no one appreciates what they have to offer in an age that relies more on technology than people skills. When the foursome is sent on an all-expenses paid vacation to mark their retirement, they are targeted by one of their own. Only the Board, the top-level members of the Museum, can order the termination of field agents, and the women realize they’ve been marked for death. Now to get out alive they have to turn against their own organization, relying on experience and each other to get the job done, knowing that working together is the secret to their survival. They’re about to teach the Board what it really means to be a woman–and a killer–of a certain age.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
- I read The Maidens by Alex Michaelides last year and really enjoyed the book. This book came highly recommended since I enjoyed his other book. Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word. Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London. Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations–a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….
Unbound by Tarana Burke
- Non-fiction usually takes me a bit longer to read because I tend to go and research information surrounding the topic. That’s definitely the case for me here!
- rating coming soon!
What I Read in October
The Family Game by Catherine Steadman
- This was one of my Book of the Month picks for the month of October and I couldn’t put it down! It’s quite the thriller! Harriet Reed, a novelist on the brink of literary stardom, is newly engaged to Edward Holbeck, the heir of an extremely powerful family. And even though Edward has long tried to severe ties with them, news of the couple’s marital bliss has the Holbecks inching back into their lives. As Harriet is drawn into their lavish world, the family seems perfectly welcoming. So when Edward’s father, Robert, hands Harriet a tape of a book he’s been working on, she is desperate to listen. But as she presses play, it’s clear that this isn’t just a novel. It’s a confession. A confession to a grisly crime. A murder. And, suddenly, the game is in motion. Feeling isolated and confused, Harriet must work out if this is part of a plan to test her loyalty. Or something far darker. What is it that Robert sees in her? Why give her the power to destroy everything? This might be a game to the Holbeck family–but losing might still prove deadly.
When We Were Bright and Beautiful by Jillian Medoff
- This is book was quite a read. I have struggled with how to describe it because the content is heavy. The author did a great job writing about such difficult subject matter. You can have everything, and still not have enough. Cassie Quinn may only be twenty-three, but she knows a few things. One: money can’t buy happiness, but it’s certainly better to have it. Two: family matters most. Three: her younger brother Billy is not a rapist. When Billy, a junior at Princeton, is arrested for assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Cassie races home to Manhattan to join forces with her big brother Nate and their parents, Lawrence and Eleanor. The Quinns scramble to hire the best legal minds money can buy. But Billy fits the all-too-familiar sex-offender profile–white, athletic, and privileged–that makes headlines and sways juries. Meanwhile, Cassie struggles to understand why Billy’s ex Diana would go this far. Even if the breakup was painful. And she knows how the end of first love can destroy someone: Her own years-long affair with a powerful, charismatic man left her shattered, and she’s only recently regained her footing. As reporters converge outside their Upper East Side landmark building, the Quinns gird themselves for a media-saturated trial, and Cassie vows she’ll do whatever it takes to save Billy. But what if that means exposing her own darkest secrets to the world? Lightning-paced and psychologically astute as it rockets toward an explosive ending. When We Were Bright and Beautiful is a dazzling novel that asks: who will pay the price when the truth is revealed? TW: Sexual assault
Jacqueline in Paris by Ann Mah
- This book started out slow for me before picking up and becoming enjoyable! It was an interesting take on Jackie’s time in Paris following World War II. In September 1949 Jacqueline Bouvier arrives in postwar Paris to begin her junior year abroad. She’s twenty years old, socially poised but financially precarious. She’s all too aware of her mother’s expectations that she make a brilliant match. Before relenting to family pressure, she has one year to herself far away from sleepy Vassar College and the rigid social circles of New York. She has a year to explore and absorb the luminous beauty of the City of Light. Jacqueline is immediately catapulted into an intoxicating new world. A world that’s full of champagne and châteaux, art and avant-garde theater, cafés and jazz clubs. She strikes up a romance with a talented young writer who shares her love of literature and passion for culture. This happens even though her mother would think him most unsuitable.
But beneath the glitter and rush, France is a fragile place still haunted by the Occupation.
Jacqueline lives in a rambling apartment with a widowed countess and her daughters. All of whom suffered as part of the French Resistance just a few years before. In the aftermath of World War II, Paris has become a nest of spies, and suspicion, deception, and betrayal lurk around every corner. Jacqueline is stunned to watch the rise of communism – anathema in America, but an active movement in France – never guessing she is witnessing the beginning of the political environment that will shape the rest of her life–and that of her future husband.
Evocative, sensitive, and rich in historic detail, Jacqueline in Paris portrays the origin story of an American icon. Ann Mah brilliantly imagines the intellectual and aesthetic awakening of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. It illuminates how France would prove to be her one true love, and one of the greatest influences on her life.
American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin
- If you enjoyed Downton Abbey and Bridgerton, then this is the book for you! This story is based on American heiress, Cora Cash, whose character is loosely based on Consuelo Vanderbilt, a real life American Heiress who married the 10th Duke of Marlborough in 1895. For daughters of the new American billionaires of the 19th century, it was the ultimate deal: marriage to a cash-strapped British Aristocrat in return for a title and social status. But money didn’t always buy them happiness. While it took a little bit for me to get into, I ended up flying through it and quite enjoyed it!
The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James
- This has been my favorite from October! I couldn’t put it down as it is an absurdly good thriller! A true crime blogger gets more than she bargained for while interviewing the woman acquitted of two cold case slayings in this chilling new novel. In 1977, Claire Lake, Oregon, was shaken by the Lady Killer Murders: Two men, seemingly randomly, were murdered with the same gun, with strange notes left behind. Beth Greer was the perfect suspect–a rich, eccentric twenty-three-year-old woman, seen fleeing one of the crimes. But she was acquitted, and she retreated to the isolation of her mansion. Oregon, 2017. Shea Collins is a receptionist, but by night, she runs a true crime website, the Book of Cold Cases. A passion fueled by the attempted abduction she escaped as a child. When she meets Beth by chance, Shea asks her for an interview. To Shea’s surprise, Beth says yes. They meet regularly at Beth’s mansion, though Shea is never comfortable there. Items move when she’s not looking, and she could swear she’s seen a girl outside the window. The allure of learning the truth about the case from the smart, charming Beth is too much to resist, but even as they grow closer, Shea senses something isn’t right. Is she making friends with a manipulative murderer, or are there other dangers lurking in the darkness of the Greer house?