Read in September 2022

In September I read a total of 10 books, good for 3507 pages. The average September book is about 351 pages/book.

As far as my ratings go, it was definitely a month of lots and lots of highs (a whopping 3 books of 5 stars and 2 of 4 stars) and a few minor lows (1 single book of 2 stars). This puts the September average book at 3.7 stars.

In terms of target audience, I varied between 4 Young Adults and 6 adult books.

As always, I also varied in reading format, with 2 ebooks, 2 audiobooks and 6 physically owned books.

For the genres I switched between 4 genres, namely sci-fi (1), romance (2), mystery (2) and fantasy (5).

For the language I stuck to English again and I didn’t read a single book in my native tongue of Flemish/Dutch.

Below is the list of the books I read in September and my star rating.
Click the link to jump to the blurb and my review! As always, be aware that both blurb and review may contain spoilers, especially when it comes to sequels in a series!

  1. Wells, H.G. – The Time Machine ★★★
  2. Horowitz, Anthony – The Twist of a Knife (Hawthorne and Horowitz Mystery #4) 🎧 ★★★★
  3. Saint, Jennifer – Ariadne ★★★★
  4. Lim, Elizabeth – Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) ★★★
  5. Bailey, Tessa – My Killer Vacation ★★★
  6. Taylor, Laini – Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) ★★★★★
  7. Barnes, Jennifer Lynn – The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games #1) 🎧 ★★★
  8. Sanderson, Brandon – Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn, Era 2 – Wax & Wayne #3,5) ★★★★★
  9. Coldbreath, Alice – Wed by Proxy (Brides of Karadok #1) ★★
  10. Taylor, Laini – Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2) ★★★★★

Wells, H.G. – The Time Machine ★★★

Genre: Sci-Fi (Classic)

The Time Machine tells the story of the Time Traveler, an inventor living in Victorian England. Traveling into the distant future using his time machine he encounters the descendants of humans and witnesses the end of life on earth. Wells’ first published book, The Time Machine, popularized the concept of human time travel and has influenced countless works of fiction.

Even though the language was somewhat archaic and required some getting used to, this was still a very engrossing and compelling read, with very vivid descriptions.

The night came like the turning out of a lamp, and in another moment came to-morrow. The laboratory grew faint and hazy, then fainter and ever fainter. To-morrow night came black, then day again, night again, day again, faster and faster still. An eddying murmur filled my ears, and a strange, dumb confusedness descended on my mind.

The story flowed relatively well. At times it was noticeable that this was written in episodes, but nothing too jarring.
My favourite part of the story remains the first exposition and the first arrival in the future. The following narrative of the dystopian society was less to my liking. A bit drawn out and not really all that exciting.

While I wasn’t entirely sure which side of the message the author was supporting, and though it was a bit too fantastical to be even remotely plausible, it still presents an interesting thought process which is unfortunately still relevant today.

Man had not remained one species, but had differentiated into two distinct animals: that my graceful children of the Upper-world were not the sole descendants of our generation, but that this bleached, obscene, nocturnal Thing, which had flashed before me, was also heir to all the ages.

Overall, a fun story that withstood the test of time. Brilliantly conceived and impressive how these now so common concepts were mostly unexplored at the time of writing.

🎧 Horowitz, Anthony – The Twist of a Knife (Hawthorne and Horowitz Mystery #4) ★★★★

Genre: Mystery

‘Our deal is over.’

That’s what reluctant author Anthony Horowitz tells ex-detective Daniel Hawthorne in an awkward meeting. The truth is that Anthony has other things on his mind.

His new play, Mindgame, is about to open in London’s Vaudeville theatre. Not surprisingly Hawthorne declines a ticket.

On opening night, Sunday Times critic Harriet Throsby gives the play a savage review, focusing particularly on the writing. The next morning she is found dead, stabbed in the heart with an ornamental dagger which, it turns out, belongs to Anthony and which has his finger prints all over it.

Anthony is arrested, charged with Throsby’s murder, thrown into prison and interrogated.

Alone and increasingly desperate, he realises only one man can help him.

But will Hawthorne take his call?

This series keeps delivering!
I love how self-aware and meta this book (and this whole series) is. The little side tangent on “cancel culture” and “culture appropriation” excellently and pointedly described my exact feelings on this.

At the end of the day, if I listened to you, I’d only write about myself! A book full of middle-aged white writers describing middle-aged white writers being murdered by middle-aged white writers!

A great cozy mystery, fast-paced, entertaining and funny, well written with layered characters and a satisfying conclusion! Bring me more! (May I hope at least 3 more are to follow???)

Saint, Jennifer – Ariadne ★★★★

Genre: Fantasy

As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?

ARIADNE gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths, and speaks to their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods. Beautifully written and completely immersive, this is an exceptional debut novel.

I knew a little about Ariadne’s story, especially relating to the myth of the Minotaur. So when I heard about this retelling, it immediately went on my wish list and when I knew I would be spending my September last minute holiday in Crete, this book moved up to the very top of my reading list.

If you had anything that made you proud, that elevated you above your mortal fellows, it seemed to me that the gods would find delight in smashing it to smithereens.

As a whole, this book was very reminiscent of Circe by Madeline Miller. The story not only partly echoes Circe’s story, but also the way in which the masculine gaze of the well-known myths is completely turned upside down once told from the women’s perspective. Although, I have to admit that I’ve always found Theseus a bit of a dick for his actions towards Ariadne. Still, I had never really explored how her story continued after that, so I found that part of the narrative extra fascinating.

I only knew Medusa as a monster. I had not thought she had ever been anything else. The stories of Perseus did not allow for a Medusa with a story of her own.

The writing style is extremely beautiful and elegant. It drew me in completely making me race through the story in no time.
The only thing that was disappointing was the ending. It completely fizzled out, just at the precipice of an explosion, just when I thought that Ariadne would finally seize her moment. I guess the author could only do so much with the source material, without completely abandoning it.

I turned my face to the twilight sky and sought out the constellations that the gods had etched across its great bowl, the shapes of mortals they had toyed with, picked out in pretty lights.

But even despite the lackluster ending, this was an absolutely stunning book and can’t wait to read this author’s next retelling.

Lim, Elizabeth – Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) ★★★

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

A gifted tailor in disguise.
Three legendary dresses.
The competition if a lifetime.

On the fringes if the Great Spice Road, Maia Tamarin works as a seamstress in the shop of her father, once a tailor of renown. She dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well.

When a royal messenger summons her ailing father to court, Maia poses as his son and travels to the Summer Palace in his place. She know her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to save her family from ruin and achieve her dream of becoming the imperial tailor. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

The competition is cutthroat, and Maia’s job is further complicated by the unwelcome attention of the court enchanter, Edan, who seems to see straight through her disguise. But nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three gowns so dangerously beautiful, it will take a quest to the ends of the earth to complete them…

This story started off very strong, introducing an interesting world, fascinating magic system and an intriguing plot. After a while, however, the blossoming romance takes on a more prominent place, which I feel came at the expense of the plot’s elaboration. Not that the romance didn’t read well, but I did think it was a shame that it became the main driver of all the aspirations and actions of the characters, while the premise of the story showed that it could have been so much more. For example, I wish it had delved deeper into the mythology, how the magic works, and how the empire came to be.
That said, it was still a fun fairy tale and, given the somewhat cliffhanger ending, I’ll definitely read the sequel, which does kind of promise to become a little darker and hopefully more plot heavy.

Bailey, Tessa – My Killer Vacation ★★★

Genre: Romance (contemporary)

It was supposed to be a relaxing vacation in sweet, sunny Cape Cod—just me and my beloved brother—but discovering a corpse in our rental house really throws a wrench into our tanning schedule. Now a rude, crude bounty hunter has arrived on the back of his motorcycle to catch the killer and refuses to believe I can be helpful, despite countless hours of true crime podcast listening. Not to mention a fulfilling teaching career of wrangling second graders.

A brash bounty hunter and an energetic elementary schoolteacher: the murder-solving team no one asked for, but thanks to these pesky attempts on my life, we’re stuck together, come hell or high tide.

I’m just here to do a job, not babysit an amateur sleuth. Although… it is becoming less and less of a hardship to have her around. Sure, she’s stubborn, distracting and can’t stay out of harm’s way. She’s also brave and beautiful and reminds me of the home I left behind three years ago. In other words, the painful hunger and protectiveness she is waking up in me is a threat to my peace of mind. Before I sink any deeper into this dangerous attraction, I need to solve this murder and get back on the road. But will fate take her from me before I realize the road has been leading to her all along?

The romance part was fun, although it wasn’t really deep or without problematic elements. But it was just entertaining to read, especially on vacation, which was exactly when I read this. A book that doesn’t require too much attention span and that you can just put aside at any moment.
Also very nice to see that an author tries something new, with the murder mystery part, but unfortunately this was not really worked out.
All in all, just a fun and light-hearted holiday book that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Taylor, Laini – Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) ★★★★★

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around – and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries – including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

On the second Sabbat of Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky.

Oh, this was simply amazing.
This story was so incredibly fascinating with such an original premise. The worldbuilding is top notch and wonderfully strange, with gods, ghosts, magic and a city lost to myths.

As for fairy tales, he understood that they were reflections of the people who had spun them, and were flecked with little truths – intrusions of reality into fantasy, like toast crumbs on a wizard’s beard.

From the first words I became addicted to the incredibly beautiful writing style. So magical and lyrical.

Sometimes a moment is so remarkable that it carves out a space in time and spins there, while the world rushes on around it.

The characters are also very well developed. The way this author manages to make you feel empathy for each individual main character, even though you hated them a few pages before, is truly amazing.
My only criticism would be the insta-love, but due to the beautiful way it was written, it could be easily forgiven.

You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable. Something beautiful and full of monsters.

It’s strange to say, but I’m so glad I didn’t read this when it originally came out, because that ending was really heartbreaking and I absolutely need to know how the story continues. Luckily now I don’t have to wait to be able to read the sequel!

🎧 Barnes, Jennifer Lynn – The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games #1) ★★★

Genre: Young Adult Mystery

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why — or even who Tobias Hawthorne is.

To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch — and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes. Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a conwoman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

This was absolutely ridiculous and so outside the realm of the possible that it’s way in another galaxy, but it has puzzles – a house full of them – and drama – so much ludicrous, tele-novella style drama – and mysteries upon mysteries. So yeah, I enjoyed this and will be reading the sequel(s).

Sanderson, Brandon – Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn, Era 2 – Wax & Wayne #3,5) ★★★★★

Genre: Fantasy (epic)

Mistborn: Secret History is a companion story to the original Mistborn trilogy. As such, it contains HUGE SPOILERS for the books Mistborn (The Final Empire), The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages. It also contains very minor spoilers for the book The Bands of Mourning. Mistborn: Secret History builds upon the characterization, events, and worldbuilding of the original trilogy. Reading it without that background will be a confusing process at best. In short, this isn’t the place to start your journey into Mistborn. (Though if you have read the trilogy—but it has been a while—you should be just fine, so long as you remember the characters and the general plot of the books.) Saying anything more here risks revealing too much. Even knowledge of this story’s existence is, in a way, a spoiler. There’s always another secret.

How all those puzzle pieces start to click together and how the misty veil that hangs over the Cosmere starts to dissolve bit by bit is simply genius!

Coldbreath, Alice – Wed by Proxy (Brides of Karadok #1) ★★

Genre: Romance (historical)

Thrice wedded, but never bedded, Mathilde Martindale has long lived in the shadow of her indomitable mother, and meekly done as she was told. Until one day she decides to become mistress of her own destiny and leave the royal court to find her own path.

Married by proxy, Lord Martindale has never even met his bride of three years. Wed as part of a peace treaty, he bitterly resents the mercenary wife who cares only for wealth and prestige. And then he meets her…

Meh, goes around in circles and is quite repetitive.
The entire plot was drawn out far too long, while very little emotional depth was created.
The interactions between the two main characters were not believable at all and their behaviour is anything but consistent.
All in all entertaining and well written, but the characters were just frustrating. The concept of the story was good, but the execution was flawed.

Taylor, Laini – Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2) ★★★★★

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy


In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice–save the woman he loves, or everyone else?–while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of.

As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?

Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this gorgeous sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Strange the Dreamer.

This was an absolutely stunning and mind blowing sequel to Strange the Dreamer.

I loved how we got to learn more about the world and I was absolutely in awe to realise that it was so much bigger and more mysterious than I had anticipated. I feel like the author could tell thousands more stories about this world and I feel kind of bereft to discover she has not.

This book again swept me away with its dazzling and magical writing style.
It maybe got a bit too flowery when it came to the lovey-dovey stuff, but that’s only a minor criticism.

I absolutely loved this duology of which this book was a fantastic conclusion.
I found out that this series apparently ties-in to this author’s other series “Daughter of Smoke and Bone”, so this is going on my TBR now!

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