Book List, Staff Post

A Mood Reader’s Guide to Fall

I have always been a mood reader. I could make lists of books I plan to read, in any order I pleased, but the minute I completed that list it felt more like a reading assignment than a hobby. I could promise someone that I would read the book they recommended next only to realize about 20 pages in that it didn’t fit my mood, and if I continued to read, it wouldn’t be an enjoyable experience. My mood is swayed by a number of things: the entertainment I consumed previously (either I’ll want to read something exactly like it or the complete opposite), my location, and the season. Seasons play a big role in the activities we do, the movies we watch, the music we listen to, and for me at least, the books I read. I could definitely read a book that takes place at the beach during the summer during winter, but I wouldn’t feel the same as I would have if I read it during the summer at the beach. 

I spent my four years of university in Florida with no seasons. It was wildly disorienting. I didn’t realize until I left for school how much the seasons affected how I viewed holidays. Halloween didn’t feel like Halloween without orange and red leaves. Christmas didn’t feel like Christmas when I was at the beach and it was 80 degrees out. Last year was the first time I experienced fall in five years and I was leaning into it heavily. I’m talking pumpkin patches, apple picking, corn mazes, cider, everything. This included lots of mood reading. 

Now I’m going to backtrack a little on what I said before. I still am terrible at following reading lists I make for myself, however, some books I look at and they remind me of a season. Or at least for some reason a little voice in my head says “this would be perfect for -”. So, for all the other mood readers out there (and I am sure there are many of you) I wanted to share the books that I’ve read that give me “fall vibes” along with a few books I plan on reading this fall. I find that placing a book in a season is a lot less restrictive than a reading list and adds to the overall experience. You’ll probably notice a common theme with these books: supernatural creatures, magic, or just something strange. For me, all of these elements simply scream fall.

Each book is followed by my blurb and the publisher’s description and each book cover links to the book’s page on our website for purchase!

Books I Have Read

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I read this book in the Fall 2014 and the world blew me away. The magic was amazing, the circus was enchanting, and the imagery was memorable. I enjoyed it enough to even dress as a character for a Halloween party (even though no one knew what I was dressed as). This black and white circus with hints of red reminds me so much of nature at this time of year: the changing leaves, the longer nights, and the slow oncoming of the grey skies that linger throughout the winter.

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

This book (and the rest of the series) are filled with magic and adventure, spanning over 4 different Londons. Between Kell’s red hair and Grey London’s dingy streets, I found that this book seemed to capture the spirit of Fall perfectly. It helps that I read this book last October as well. 

A Darker Shade of Magic, from #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last Antarimagicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in ArnesRed Londonand officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

This book is strange. Like, very strange. I love Maggie Stiefvater’s books and they are at least a little odd, but this one takes it to a new level. I’ll be honest, I don’t want to explain this book too much because I find it’s best to go in a little blind, but if you want something supremely strange, this book is perfect. It took me until over 75% of the way through to decide if it was strange in a fun way or strange in a bad way. It was strange in a good way.

Here is a thing everyone wants: A miracle.Here is a thing everyone fears:What it takes to get one.Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado, is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars. At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo. They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.

Books I Plan to Read

Vicious by V. E. Schwab

As I write this, I am currently 25% into this book and I was definitely right about the fall vibes. The academic setting, the experiments surrounding near death experiences, and the opening scene in a cemetery all scream fall to me. Even the cover honestly, the pile of bones on a red background? I can’t think of a better season this book would fit into. 

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

Vampires always remind me of fall. Maybe it’s because I read Twilight for the first time in fall or because the main time vampire movies are on TV is during October. Either way, When I saw The Beautiful for the first time I could only picture myself reading it around Halloween. The third book in this series comes out this December as well, so this fall is a great time to catch up in time for the next installment. 

Now in paperback, the first book–an instant bestseller–in the sumptuous, sultry, and romantic YA vampire series from New York Times bestselling author Renee Ahdieh.

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans is a safe haven after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent, Celine is quickly enraptured by the vibrant city becoming embroiled in the glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s enigmatic leader, Sébastien Saint Germain.

When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in Sébastien’s own lair–the second dead girl to turn up in recent weeks–Celine must battle her attraction to Sébastien and suspicions about his guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

This book has a dark academia setting with a sinister background. Trails of unsolved homicides, secret societies, and magic fill the pages of Leigh Bardugo’s first adult book. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little scared to read this book. Mainly because I am easily frightened with an overactive imagination, but I’ve heard so many amazing things that all of that is just an afterthought. I planned on reading this book last year but got caught up in the Shades of Magic series instead, so I waited until this year to read it and I am insanely excited. And yes, I am that committed to the fall vibes that I waited a whole year to read this book.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo comes a mesmerizing tale of power, privilege, and dark magic set among the Ivy League elite.

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most prestigious universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. Their eight windowless “tombs” are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street’s biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.

Ninth House is the long-awaited adult debut by the beloved author of Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows. Leigh Bardugo will take her place alongside Lev Grossman and Deborah Harkness as one of the finest practitioners of literary fantasy writing today.

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