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Finally Fall Book Tag

I saw this tag on BookTube as usual, but this time can't seem to track down the original. I wasn't tagged, of course, but as it's the first day of my favorite season and this is a tag all about that season, I just had to.

1. In fall the air is crisp and clear: name a book with a vivid setting!

Even though the characters go to a bunch of different places in this book, the one that sticks out the most to me was Confection. A whole entire world made of candies and cakes and other, well, confections. I've never read anything quite like it.

2. Nature is beautiful… but also dying: name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.

This is written in verse, so I know it's not for everyone, but I thought it was breathtaking. It tells the story of conjoined twins, Grace and Tippi, and their daily life and their struggle with whether or not to undergo the surgery to separate. 

3. Fall is back to school season: share a non-fiction book that taught you something new. 

 I don't read a ton of nonfiction, so I had to dig back a few years to find this one. I learned a lot about the process of death in our society and in other cultures as well. And it made me think a lot about what I want after I pass, which is morbid, but there you go.

4. In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with the people we love: name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be a part of. 

 Who wouldn't want to be a knight/best friends with Alanna? Or a street urchin/thief with George?

5. The colorful leaves are piling up on the ground: show us a pile of fall-colored spines! 
This was a Struggle! I haven't actually read a single one of these, oops.

6. Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireside: share a book wherein somebody is telling a story.

 This is the first book that popped into my head and honestly, I couldn't find a better one if I tried. This is a story within a story within a story. If you want intricate layers and mind-blowing reveals, plus the friendships of an absolute lifetime, read this book!

7. The nights are getting darker: share a dark, creepy read.

 I don't read a ton of graphic novels but this one sticks out as dark and creepy! Especially the scene where the main character has to explore the hospital. The second installment came out recently and I can't wait to see wtf is going on.
8. The days are getting colder: name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day.

 Okay, I swear I don't read many graphic novels even though I just shared a good handful. But this is the ultimate heartwarming read. It is just lovely and adorable and made me cry happy, happy tears at the end.

9. Fall (luckily, it’s my favorite season) returns every year: name an old favorite that you’d like to return to soon.

It's been sooo long since I was in the world of The Lunar Chronicles and that needs to change! I can't believe I still haven't read Winter, Stars Above, or the graphic novels. I love this series so much so it's time to act like an actual fan.
10. Fall is the perfect time for cozy reading nights: share your favorite cozy reading “accessories”!
So I'm pretty much a creature of habit and my reading routines don't change depending on the seasons. Instead, my bookshelf does! I absolutely love decorating for the holidays and we are working on a collection of garlands for every one. So far we just have fall/Halloween, Christmas, and a gold one that works for New Year's. For fall we also put up our glitter skull, glitter pumpkin, and twinkling black and orange candles. These bookshelves take an entire wall and are definitely the focal point of our living room.

Top Ten Tuesday: Our Fall TBRs

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl
Today we're sharing our Fall TBRs

Bekka's Picks
So, I have a large and spooky fall to-be-read pile, books that I'll definitely be talking about over the next six weeks or so. I didn't want to get repetitive, so I decided to share the top 5 not-so-spooky books I plan to read over the next three months.
1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik. I am very much a mood reader, and I just haven't been in the specific mood for a book like this. Yes, it's been years, and yes, I have waited that long to finally pick it up. It's a fairy tale retelling of Beauty and the Beast, mixed with some Russian folklore. Exactly what I'm craving right about now.

2. His Fair Assassin series by Robin LaFevers. I've been talking about a reread for so long now, and dammit, I am dying to get to it. I need to set aside time and stop caring about ARCs or what my blog readers think. Reading should be for pleasure, and this is an all-time favorite series of mine that I need to revisit.

3. I Am Still Alive by Kate Marshall. Not my typical read for sure, but I think you can sense a theme going on in this TBR: historical and/or cold. This is a survival story that looks like it's set during the winter months, and it seems to have a hint of a revenge plot, too. I have this out from the library and I'm very excited to read it.

4. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. I'm actually reading this one right now. I'm writing this post ahead of time, so hopefully I will have finished this book by the time this list goes live. And I hope to love it. I can tell you right now that the opening chapters are exquisite. 

5. The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner. More Jewish and Russian folklore with a smattering of winter weather and a GLORIOUS cover. I've been dying for this for months now and it's almost here! I hope it lives up to what I believe it will be because it sounds absolutely amazing.

Alexia's Picks
Holy moly, I cannot believe it's already fall time! YAAAAAY! Anyway, 5 of these are review books and 5 of them are books I own. So it's following the usual seasonal TBR post format.
1. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton. No this book isn't spooky or creepy at all, it's one that I started MONTHS ago and am very excited to go back to. I might read this one first so I can dive into the others right after.

2. The Fade by Demitria Lunetta.
I was obsessed with Lunetta's zombie duology, In the After several years ago. Although she has put out more books since then, I haven't gotten to read them. As luck would have it, I now have a review copy of her upcoming release.

3. The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook.
I've enjoyed Cook's previous books, and for some reason just haven't gotten to this one yet. I would say October would be the perfect month for it.

4. The Hollow Girl by Hilary Monahan.
I don't think I've read any of Monahan's work before, but this book has been on my TBR for quite awhile. The cover still gives me the creeps, so I'd say it's perfect for October.

5. Nightingale by Amy Lukavics.
Lukavics won me over with The Women in the Walls, and ever since, I've been dying to read all of her books. I was thrilled to recently get a review copy of her upcoming release, and just looking at that cover gives me the creeps. I hope I'll be impressed with this book like I was with The Women in the Walls.
6. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. I actually started this book 2 years ago (I think) and only recently have I wanted to pick it back up again. I remember it starting off really interesting, so I'm excited to return to it and hopefully finish it.

7. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco.
I bought this book and book 2 a couple of months ago, specifically for the month of October. I had been super curious about this series for awhile and I look forward to diving into it soon.

8. Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco.
I needed to buy the 2nd book in case I loved the first book, so I could binge-read the beginning of the series. Super stoked to dive into the series and hopefully love the first two books.

9. Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick.
I had totally forgotten about this book until I saw it on Bekka's recent Top Ten Tuesday list, and I think it was Bekka herself who had actually bought me a copy of this book. That gave me the jump-start I needed to put this book on my list for fall.

10. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.
I have not read any of Blake's books, though I have on several occasions started Three Dark Crowns. I honestly don't know much about this book, but I am very eager to start it.

What books are on your Fall TBR?

Book Review: After the Fire by Will Hill

Book Title & Author: After the Fire by Will Hill
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire on October 2nd, 2018
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 464
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
A teenager’s world is shattered in a devastating confrontation between the cult she grew up in and the forces of the U.S. government. 

Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming.

Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She's starting to see the lies behind Father John's words. Then a fire engulfs life as she knew it, and Moonbeam is forced outside The Fence into a world she does not recognize.

Alternating between Moonbeam's life before the fire, and her time spent in a government-sanctioned facility afterward, After the Fire is a fascinating look at life inside a cult and its harrowing affects on survivors.

Religious cults are one of the most fascinating concepts to me. I cannot imagine having complete & total belief & trust in one person when that one person is claiming to be a messenger of God. Leaders of these cults are said to be charming & charismatic. They have this ability to make people believe that they are telling the truth, even when that seems crazy. So, when I saw this book up for request on Netgalley, I didn't even stop to consider my ginormous review pile. I hit "request" immediately, and was thrilled to get approved not long after.

I was out of practice with reading really long books, so I wasn't sure how long it would take me to read After the Fire. What I wasn't counting on, was how engrossing I would find the book. How much I didn't want to put it down and how much I wanted to know all the answers to all of my questions. I wasn't expecting to be pulled in, right away. I love when books manage to pull the reader in right away. That is always a good sign. I was expecting a little more build-up, but I was thrown right into the chaos.

My heart hurt for Moonbeam. She was sure that she was the reason so many people were dead and it takes her a long time to understand & accept that she is not the reason so many of her Brothers and Sisters are gone. Everything she did on the night the fire erupted, was for her own good and the good of the younger children that could still have a shot at a normal life away from the compound.

It was fascinating to see where she had lost her faith. Not her faith in God, mind you, but her faith in Father John. It was captivating to see Moonbeam's journey from believing everything Father John said, to questioning all of it, silently of course. It was interesting to see how her interactions with certain people changed as her beliefs changed. What was most fascinating to me was the reasoning behind Moonbeam being promised to Father John as his Future Wife and how that had come to be.

There were several truly atrocious people in this book, namely Father John, but also Luke and Father John's inner circle: The Centurians, the four of them basically followed Father John's orders without question. Even when they seemed insane like locking someone in a metal box for days at a time. Like Moonbeam is told, withholding food from a child for days would be a case of child abuse in "normal" cases.

I wasn't expecting to like Agent Carlyle or Dr. Hernandez as much as I did, but I really felt like they both brought something extra to the book. Agent Carlyle in particular seemed more like a father figure, which was something Moonbeam desperately needed. Especially given the fact that her mom hadn't been a part of her life in 3 years. Dr. Hernandez was gentler with her, but I don't know if that was totally necessary. Moonbeam was incredibly tough and I got the feeling she could handle just about anything that was thrown at her.

I did enjoy the ending, but it seemed really rushed. There was one thing I was waiting for, that did happen, but I wanted more from it. I felt like the author didn't think this one thing was all that important, so he hastily stuck it in there at the end, without much thought.

Final thoughts: If you want a captivating book about a religious cult and the people that made and then wrecked it, then you need to pick up this book.