Happy Coffee Time Tuesday, dear readers! I’m writing to you from Romania, where I landed yesterday morning to spend a couple of weeks with my family.
And while the weather is very much still summery here, I can’t help but be excited that in two days, it will be autumn. Autumn is my favourite season and I’m glowing with anticipation for the cosy evenings in my reading blanket, with an equally cosy book, or audiobook and knitting project. I’m itching for light sweaters, trenchcoats, and berets, for chilly mornings, spiced lattes, and pumpkin pies.
I’ll let you in on a fun(ny) fact about me: I’m awful at reading seasonal books. Every year, I try my best to pick my TBR in accordance with the season, and every year, without fail, I end up with a coastal romance in October, and a Christmas mystery in February.
This year might be different, though. Because it’s been a summer full of new beginnings and incredible positive change, and I’m determined to have the sound of dry leaves, the smell of cinnamon, and the chill of autumn air dominate my last few months of this year’s reading challenge.
So join me today, as I look back on what books I finished in August and try to close a sunny chapter of my reading in 2022. Stick with me, as I have an enticing new release at the end.
My August Wrap-Up
It’s no secret I love me some queer romance, especially in the summer. Because here’s the deal: you know how most readers get all excited and giddy about summer because it’s prime time to make a dent in your TBR?
Well, that’s not me. Summer is all about my comfort genres and feel-good books. For some reason, it’s peak slump season for me, and nothing else will get me out of it.
I read four books in August. Two 4-star ratings, one 3-star rating, and one 5-star rating.
I kicked the month off with Shooting Martha, by David Thewlis, a solid 4-star exploration of grief and family trauma. This book was thrilling, weird, heartbreaking, and kind of entertaining at the same time. A famous film director whose wife, Martha, has recently died by suicide, hires an actress who looks exactly like his dead wife to — wait for this — play his dead wife while he shoots his latest film. For inspiration.
How does anyone come up with a premise like that? As Betty, the actress in question, settles into her (admittedly creepy) role, she starts to uncover the carefully buried family drama that unfolded before Martha took her own life. It was the perfect character-study-meets-thriller and it was beautifully handled. Trigger warning for some pretty graphic descriptions of corpses.
Then, since I needed something a little lighter, I picked up Out of Character by Annabeth Albert, who’s great at writing geeky queer romance. This was a very sweet enemies-to-lovers rom-com, with a D&D type of game at its core, bringing the characters together through cosplay and hunting of rare cards. If you’re a gamer or a geek of any kind, you’ll appreciate this book.
Husband Material by Alexis Hall, one of my two most anticipated sequels of 2022, soon followed. This is my 5-star read of the month. We revisit the sweet and incredibly flawed Luc and Oliver from Boyfriend Material two years into their relationship, trying to navigate the next logical step in their life as a couple.
As everyone around them seems to be getting married, Luc, being Luc (and if you know Luc, you know what I mean) panic-proposes to Oliver and the two are thrown into the whirlwind of organising a wedding as a gay couple with very different preferences for expressing their identity.
All of Alexis Hall’s books are a joy to read. They’re exactly feel-good books in every sense of the phrase. The characters are well-rounded and relatable, but very funny and engaging, the stories are peak cuteness and swoon, and the conflicts are well-chosen and handled carefully. I loved it.
My summer ended with Emery Lee’s Cafe con Lychee, which was my 3-star read of the month. It’s a sweet, enemies-to-lovers (I swear I don’t seek this trope out), YA queer romance where two teens come together to try to save their parents’ respective cafes from a new competitor. It was a bit of a slow burn for me, but an overall nice story. Trigger warning for homophobia.
Hot New Release
I wonder, when the weather will be a lot colder, if I should stop calling these ‘hot’ new releases.
Anyway, today’s pick is Belladonna by Adalyn Grace, described by Stephanie Garber as “a deliciously deadly Gothic romance”. And all those words combined, as we head into autumn? Yes, please!
Our main character, Signa, is an orphan who was raised by different guardians interested mainly in her wealth, all of whom died untimely and strange deaths.
Ok, I can’t resist. Basically the romance is between Signa and Death. Yes, Death. As in, the shadow-demon thingy that takes us to the other side. Yes, the one with the scythe and the hood.
Do you really need to know more than that?
There’s also a murder investigation and some tense family dynamics, if romance with literal Death wasn’t enough to convince you.
Belladonna comes out today, August 30.
And that’s it for today’s Coffee Time Tuesday, the last one of the summer. What are your thoughts on seasonal reading and do you have an autumn TBR? Let me know in the comments!