A September Book Haul // the month I behaved

(Last Updated On: October 15, 2020)

Another month has come and gone, and it’s time for another book haul to see what I added to my bookshelves in September! Thanks to money being tight these days, I have reigned in my book spending quite a bit. Most of the books I got in September were pre-orders that I paid for months ago. PLUS the special treat of absolute joy and perfection that was the September Owlcrate box (seriously, did they make it for me?!).

As always, I want to reiterate that you do not need to buy and own a lot of books in order to be considered a book blogger or lover. I am quite frugal with everything else so that I can buy books because I love them, but I do not ever want to make you feel bad if you cannot afford to buy books or have poor access where you live.


Physical Book Haul



As the Shadow Rises (Age of Darkness #2) by Katy Rose Pool

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co | Release Date: September 1, 2020 | Pages: 496
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

cover for As the Shadow RisesThe Last Prophet has been found, yet he sees destruction ahead.

In this sequel to the critically-acclaimed There Will Come a Darkness, kingdoms have begun to fall to a doomsday cult, the magical Graced are being persecuted, and an ancient power threatens to break free. But with the world hurtling toward its prophesized end, Anton’s haunting vision reveals the dangerous beginnings of a plan to stop the Age of Darkness.

As Jude, Keeper of the Order of the Last Light, returns home in disgrace, his quest to aid the Prophet is complicated by his growing feelings for Anton. Meanwhile, the assassin known as the Pale Hand will stop at nothing to find her undead sister before she dies for good, even if it means letting the world burn. And in Nazirah, Hassan, the kingdom-less Prince, forms a risky pact to try to regain his throne. When the forces of light and darkness collide in the City of Mercy, old wounds are reopened, new alliances are tested, and the end of the world begins.

Six of Crows meets Graceling with a dash of Winter is Coming in this second installment of the action-packed and swoon-worthy Age of Darkness series!

There Will Come a Darkness ARC Review

I absolutely adored Katy’s debut There Will Come a Darkness and am so excited to read the second book in this series!


Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Publisher: Balzer + Bray | Release Date: September 18, 2018 | Pages: 304
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Retelling

cover for Pride remixPride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic, starring all characters of color, from Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award finalist and author of American Street.

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

In a timely update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.

🗣️ Did you hear that Pride is being adapted by HBO?

My friend Amber gifted me an Owlcrate edition and I’m super excited because I’ve been wanting to read this since it came out but never got around to it.


Queen of Volts (The Shadow Game #2) by Amanda Foody

Publisher: Inkyard Press | Release Date: September 1, 2020 | Pages: 416
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQIAP+

ARC Review to Come

cover for Queen of VoltsReturn to the City of Sin, where the final game is about to begin…and winning will demand the ultimate sacrifice.

Only days after a corrupt election and brutal street war, one last bloodthirsty game has begun. The players? The twenty-two most powerful, notorious people in New Reynes.

After realizing they have no choice but to play, Enne Scordata and Levi Glaisyer are desperate to forge new alliances and bargain for their safety. But while Levi offers false smiles and an even falser peace to the city’s politicians, Enne must face a world where her true Mizer identity has been revealed…and any misstep could turn deadly.

Meanwhile, a far more dangerous opponent has appeared on the board, one plucked right from the most gruesome legends of New Reynes. As the game takes its final, vicious turn, Levi and Enne must decide once and for all whether to be partners or enemies.

Because in a game for survival, there are only losers…

And monsters.

Ace of Shades Review  King of Fools ARC Review

I am so excited and sad that my beloved trilogy is coming to a close! I’ve been slowly re-reading King of Fools and just… I’m savoring it knowing that the end is coming. Plus my heart is just not ready for the Thing I know is coming at the end of book 2…


A Deadly Education (The Schoolomance #1) by Naomi Novik

Publisher: DelRey Books | Release Date: September 29, 2020 | Pages: 336
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

I actually forgot that I pre-ordered the Owlcrate edition of this book until it arrived… on the day that the critique was making its rounds on Twitter and Goodreads. Which, lovely timing, universe. After reading reviews – many of which noticed info dumps and horrible pacing in addition to the racism – I don’t think I will be reading or keeping this gorgeous book.


None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney

Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR | Release Date: September 1, 2020 | Pages: 400
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller

Read my Review

US cover for None Shall SleepThe Silence of the Lambs meets Sadie in this riveting psychological thriller about two teenagers teaming up with the FBI to track down juvenile serial killers.

In 1982, two teenagers—serial killer survivor Emma Lewis and US Marshal candidate Travis Bell—are recruited by the FBI to interview convicted juvenile killers and provide insight and advice on cold cases. From the start, Emma and Travis develop a quick friendship, gaining information from juvenile murderers that even the FBI can’t crack. But when the team is called in to give advice on an active case—a serial killer who exclusively hunts teenagers—things begin to unravel. Working against the clock, they must turn to one of the country’s most notorious incarcerated murderers for help: teenage sociopath Simon Gutmunsson. Despite Travis’s objections, Emma becomes the conduit between Simon and the FBI team. But while Simon seems to be giving them the information they need to save lives, he’s an expert manipulator playing a very long game…and he has his sights set on Emma.

Captivating, harrowing, and chilling, None Shall Sleep is an all-too-timely exploration of not only the monsters that live among us, but also the monsters that live inside us.

When I saw this book on one of Taylor’s TTT posts, I just knew I needed it. And I was right.


eBook and Audiobook Haul


The Traitor’s Crown: A Feverwake novella (#0.5) by Victoria Lee

Included as part of The Electric Heir preorder campaign, this novella is about Calix and Adalwolf Lehrer circa the catastrophe. Originally an alternating timeline in The Fever King, this was cut during Pitch Wars 2017. So it’s extra-canon.

The Fever King Review  The Electric Heir Review

I received this as part of The Electric Heir’s preorder campaign, but when I saw Victoria mention they were released as eBooks on Amazon and free for a limited time, I decided to snap it up!


The Stars and Everything in Between: A Feverwake novella (#2.5) by Victoria Lee

Included as part of The Electric Heir preorder campaign, this story is set after the events of TEH and follows Noam and Dara as they establish their relationship in the wake of Everything and try to heal together.

The Fever King Review  The Electric Heir Review

I received this as part of The Electric Heir’s preorder campaign, but when I saw Victoria mention they were released as eBooks on Amazon and free for a limited time, I decided to snap it up!


Skyhunter (Skyhunter #1) by Marie Lu

Publisher: Roaring Book Press | Release Date: September 29, 2020 | Pages: 384
Genre: Young Adult, Science fiction

cover for SkyhunterA broken world.
An overwhelming evil.
A team of warriors ready to strike back.

Talin is a Striker, a member of an elite fighting force that stands as the last defense for the only free nation in the world: Mara.

A refugee, Talin knows firsthand the horrors of the Federation, a world-dominating war machine responsible for destroying nation after nation with its terrifying army of mutant beasts known only as Ghosts.

But when a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front to Mara’s capital, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? What secrets is he hiding?

Only one thing is clear: Talin is ready to fight to the death alongside her fellow Strikers for the only homeland she has left… with or without the boy who might just be the weapon to save—or destroy—them all.

Loyalty is life.

I received this audiobook copy from the LibroFM Influencer ALC program and am excited to read it in November for Sci-fi Month!


Channel Kindness: Stories of Kindness and Community by Born This Way Foundation Reporters, Lady Gaga

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s | Release Date: September 22, 2020 | Pages: 304
Genre: Nonfiction, Short Stories, LGBTQIAP+

cover for Channel KindnessFor Lady Gaga, kindness is the driving force behind everything she says and does.

The quiet power of kindness can change the way we view one another, our communities, and even ourselves. She embodies this mission, and through her work, brings more kindness into our world every single day.

Lady Gaga has always believed in the importance of being yourself, being kind to yourself, and being kind to others, no matter who they are or where they come from. With that sentiment in mind, she and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, founded Born This Way Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world a kinder and braver place. Through the years, they’ve collected stories of kindness, bravery and resilience from young people all over the world, proving that kindness truly is the universal language. And now, we invite you to read these stories and follow along as each and every young author finds their voice just as Lady Gaga has found hers.

Within these pages, you’ll meet young changemakers who found their inner strength, who prevailed in the face of bullies, who started their own social movements, who decided to break through the mental health stigma and share how they felt, who created safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth, and who have embraced kindness with every fiber of their being by helping others without the expectation of anything in return.

In one story, you’ll read about a young person with an autoimmune disease, who after being bullied at school, learned how to practice self-love and started an organization with the mission of educating others about the importance of self-love, too; and in another story, you’ll meet a young person who decided to start a movement to help eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health and encouraged others to talk about their feelings openly and honestly, a reminder that kindness and mental wellness go hand in hand.

Not only were we moved by these individual acts of kindness, but we were also touched by the many stories of organizations, neighborhoods, and entire communities that fully dedicated themselves to helping those in need and found new, innovative ways to make our world a kinder and braver place.

Individually and collectively, these stories prove that kindness not only saves lives but builds community. Kindness is inclusion, it is pride, it is empathy, it is compassion, it is self-respect and it is the guiding light to love. Kindness is always transformational, and its never-ending ripples result in even more kind acts that can change our lives, our communities, and our world.

With the world being a dumpster fire, I gravitated towards this audiobook when looking at my September LibroFM Influencer ALCs. I also love the hell outta Gaga.


September Owlcrate: “A Glorious Haunting”

Friends, when I saw the theme and fandoms for this box I knew it was made for me. I was too lazy to do a low-effort video while I unboxed it… and that was a mistake because I literally screamed in joy when I saw the blanket at the top!

Owlcrate items & book for September 2020

“The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe blanket designed by Michelle Gray
Oujia-inspired Enamel bookmark by Lapels and Spells
Sleepy Hallow lip balm by Fiction Bath Co
Skull Coffee Spoons inspired by The Bone Houses
The Black Flame candle by Novelly Yours (Inspired by Hocus Pocus)
Enamel Pin designer: The Pickey Witch

I am not remotely kidding when I say that I want like fifty of these blankets with “The Raven” printed on it. It’s so soft, and so aesthetically pleasing. My Poe Hoe self is eternally happy! Honestly, I love everything in the box barring the lame Sleepy Hollow chapstick… can we just not?

While I love this cover edition for Horrid, I don’t know if I’ll be reading this one. This is a personal preference, but I’m wary with spooky paranormal books that hinge on “is it supernatural or mental illness?” (Maybe I will write an essay about this.) I’ll wait to see what my friends think first.

Horrid by Katrina Leno

Owlcrate cover for HorridFollowing her father’s death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor’s doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone…and more tormented.

As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident “bad seed,” struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane’s mom also seems to be spiralling with the return of her childhood home, but she won’t reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the “storage room” her mom has kept locked isn’t for storage at all — it’s a little girl’s bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears….

Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more… horrid?


Electronic ARC Approvals

The silver lining of my being so behind on ARCs right now is that I’m not really requesting anything. But I broke my little ARC Ban twice and got approved twice.

The Project by Courtney Summers

Publisher: Wednesday Books | Release Date: February 2, 2021 | Pages: 352
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller

cover for The ProjectThe next pulls-no-punches thriller from New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author Courtney Summers, about an aspiring young journalist determined to save her sister from a cult.

“The Unity Project saved my life.”

Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo’s sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there’s more to the group than meets the eye. She’s spent the last six years of her life trying–and failing–to prove it.

“The Unity Project murdered my son.”

When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its charismatic and mysterious leader, Lev Warren, he proposes a deal: if she can prove the worst of her suspicions about The Unity Project, she may expose them. If she can’t, she must finally leave them alone.

But as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members, and spends more time with Lev, it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her–to the point she can no longer tell what’s real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn’t know if she can afford not to.

Welcome to The Unity Project.

Believe me when I say that I nearly fainted when my Wednesday Books contact sent me a Netgalley widget for this one! I’ve been itching to read this ever since I received it, and will probably do so before October ends.


The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark | Release Date: October 6, 2020 | Pages: 448
Genre: Adult, Historical fiction, Mystery

The Devil and the Dark Water coverA murder on the high seas. A detective duo. A demon who may or may not exist.

It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Travelling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent.

But no sooner are they out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A twice-dead leper stalks the decks. Strange symbols appear on the sails. Livestock is slaughtered.

And then three passengers are marked for death, including Samuel.

Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes?

With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent can solve a mystery that connects every passenger onboard. A mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board.

The breathtaking new novel from Stuart Turton, author of the The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, winner of the Costa Best First Novel Award.

I’m not having a good time reading this book, friends. On top of confusion, the book is colonialist and sexist, and reading it is like pulling teeth. I will suffer through to write a full review because it’s important to have the full picture before discussing its faults, but ughhhh.


Curse of the Divine (Ink in the Blood #2) by Kim Smjekal

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers | Release Date: February 9, 2021 | Pages: 448
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

cover for Curse of the DivineReturn to the world of inklings, tattoo magic, and evil deities as Celia uncovers the secrets of the ink in order to stop Diavala once and for all. This eagerly anticipated sequel to Ink in the Blood is perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Wicked Saints.

Celia Sand faced Diavala and won, using ink magic to destroy the corrupt religion of Profeta that tormented her for a decade. But winning came with a cost. Now Celia is plagued with guilt over her role in the death of her best friend. When she discovers that Diavala is still very much alive and threatening Griffin, the now-infamous plague doctor, Celia is desperate not to lose another person she loves to the deity’s wrath.

The key to destroying Diavala may lie with Halycon Ronnea, the only other person to have faced Diavala and survived. But Halcyon is dangerous and has secrets of his own, ones that involve the ink that Celia has come to hate. Forced to choose between the ink and Diavala, Celia will do whatever it takes to save Griffin—even if it means making a deal with the devil himself.

Ink in the Blood ARC Review

I am SO EXCITED to read this sequel! I really enjoyed Ink in the Blood and the world is incredible.


Do we have any books in common? What books should I read first? Let’s talk book acquisitions in the comments, friends!

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!


  1. Caro @ bookcheshirecat

    October 16, 2020 at 10:23 AM

    So many amazing books you hauled! 😊 I haven’t yet finished King of Fools, but I have to get Queen of Volts, so I can read it right afterward 💕 I’ve also been eyeing There Will Come a Darkness , so I’m happy to hear that you liked it so much!

    1. Kal

      October 28, 2020 at 10:53 AM

      So many books, too little time — especially with pandemic slumps! I am STILL not ready for Queen of Volts, and I feel SO BAD. I am currently budding re-reading through the Empirium trilogy and will tackle QoV next so my heart just is constantly broken for the rest of 2020. This is fine.

  2. Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy

    October 16, 2020 at 7:07 PM

    I’ve been waiting for a NetGalley approval for The Project and so far no luck. It sounds amazing, congrats on getting a copy!

    1. Kal

      October 28, 2020 at 10:56 AM

      Aww that stinks! I wound up emailing the publicist as I have a working relationship with her, and she sent me a widget.

  3. Laura @ Daydreaming Dragons

    October 17, 2020 at 12:01 PM

    I hope you enjoy these books! I’m hoping to read As The Shadow Rises soon myself, as I really enjoyed There Will Come A Darkness.

    1. Kal

      October 28, 2020 at 10:59 AM

      I enjoyed TWCAD as well, and I hope you enjoyed the sequel!

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