September Reading Wrap Up

What a month! A mild summer here in NYC doesn't mean that the fall is any less welcome. It's my favorite time of year. The cool, crisp weather makes me want to curl up with a cup of tea and take a deep dive into a great book. With that in mind, here are a few of the things I've enjoyed this past September:

Devil in Winter (Wallflowers #3)

by Lisa Kleypas


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Excuse me for a moment while I drop the professional author guise and go all fangirl for a moment. OH MY GOD, THIS BOOK. I'm not sure what prompted me to pick it up -- perhaps it was all of the people telling me over the years that I would love Kleypas' historicals. I should listen to those people more often.

This is a marriage of convenience story (which just happens to be one of my favorite tropes). Sebastian, Viscount St. Vincent, is the perfect alpha hero. His alphaness is director more towards protecting the heroine, Evie, than being a bossy asshole. Even better, although Evie is quieter than her husband, she has serious backbone. The chemistry between them is electric, and it's wonderful watching their marriage of convenience turn into love.

Unlocked (Turner #1.5)

by Courtney Milan


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Courtney Milan is pretty much an instabuy for me at this point. I found this novella in the Seven Wicked Nights boxed set featuring a lot of my favorite historical authors. It tells the story of a heroine who has been bullied for years and the man who has to humble himself to win her heart. Since it's a Milan, there's no surprise that there's a good dose of science in the storyline as well.

Upside Down (Off the Map #1)

by Lia Riley


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I'm not a very prolific New Adult reader. Usually the high drama and angst turns me off, but I found that this book has just the right mix of humor and drama. Upside Down also fills my recent cravings for romances in unusual settings as the action takes place in Melbourne where Talia is studying abroad. I'm lucky enough to have gotten an early read of book 2, Sideswiped, and I've got an author interview with Lia Riley coming up in a few days so keep an eye out!

A Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert, and the Death that Changed the British Monarchy

by Helen Rappaport


Amazon | B&N | iBooks

If you're feeling like some history, this might be a good place to start. Rappaport is a highly accessible writer who focuses in on a specific period of Queen Victoria's reign. The book focuses primarily on the death of Albert and Victoria's decade-long period of high mourning for him. It touches on the Victorian obsession with death and the various social and political issues caused by the queen's refusal to assume her public duties. If you're at all interested in the Victorian era, this is a good way to dive a little deeper into a fascinating subject.

Just a quick heads up. First Draught is coming up on October 7th. We'll be talking about revising that book you started but shoved in a drawer (or the deepest, darkest depths of your hardrive). RSVP here to make sure you don't miss out on the discussion!

A Sunday Break

Golden afternoon light streams through my windows when I look up from my computer. It's time to take a break. I lose myself when I'm editing and often forget about the larger world outside my apartment walls. Determined to catch the last of the light before the early fall sunset, I pull on my boots and a down vest, and clip-clop down four flights of stairs into the street.

I live on the far eastern side of Manhattan. My walk to Central Park takes me past the frat boy sports bars of Second Avenue, through the generic shops of Third and Lexington, and into the Old New York opulence that marks the true Upper East Side. Then, just when I'm beginning to feel as though I don't belong in my Sunday uniform of boots and jeans, I see green.

Trees tower over a low wall that draws the boundaries of the park. There is a little entrance at 79th Street. That is the one I take. A paved path leads me deep into the heart of the park. Cyclists and weekend athletes race past me in. They are working harder than I am, but I am on a break I tell myself.

My path curves to the Great Lawn, and I spot Belvedere Castle across Turtle Pond. It's a strange building - impressive and incongruous. A castle in the middle of the great concrete jungle. It has been nearly a year since I stood on its battlements. I put my head down and begin the climb up wide, gentle steps.

On top of the castle the view is breathtaking. Clouds reflect in the deep blue, undisturbed water of the pond. On the sloping lawn, children play at games only they understand the rules to. Trees just beginning to change colors in the fall chill frame the scene. Unashamed of being a tourist in my own city, I snap a photo and then tuck my phone away so I can watch those around me marvel at this beauty.

Revived I walk down another set of steps and through the park. I examine the plaques on green wooded benches. I stop on a bridge leading to the Reservoir to watch the runners huff and puff, fighting against the burn of ever-cooling air. There is calm here. The mere act of walking through the park washes the rest of New York away. I feel clean and new.

The sun is setting when I finally clear the park walls. On Fifth Avenue I feel the city begin to encroach upon the peace I've found. I push past tourists eager to make their way to the Met before the museum closes.

The walk back to my apartment is quick. Keys rattle in my pocket the entire way. An hour after I decide to take my walk, I'm back in front of my computer. I'm ready to work again.