• S.M. Ryan

September Book Haul

Is it still book shopping if some of them collected dust on my shelf for a while?

Since getting out of my reading rut back in August thanks to a couple of end of summer releases, I've been back on my reading game. While part of me wanted to just order a shit ton of books and dive in, there was also a section of my bookshelf demanding my attention.

My To Be Read pile tends to consist of books I intend to read and books I've left unfinished for whatever reason. Now, there are a ton of books sitting in my cart but they're mostly out of stock and will be for a while before I can join the fun of the most popular reads. While I wait for the "back in stock!"" emails, I've opted to order some new (to me) authors, pick up a book for me and my boyfriend to enjoy together, and relieve my TBR pile of some of its weight.

As is typical of me, there isn't much on my list that is "popular" or well-known but I don't care because I'm interested in the lesser known and I'm excited to dive into (what I hope to be) different handlings of my favorite fantasy things.

Because it felt so good to be back on the wagon with reading in August , I've grabbed nine books between my book cart and my bookshelf and gave myself a little line up I'm looking forward to.


Coffee Will Make You Black by April Sinclair

"Set on Chicago's Southside in the mid-to-late 60s, Coffee Will Make You Black is the moving and entertaining tale of Jean "Stevie" Stevenson, a young black woman growing up through the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. The novel opens at a time when, for black families, seeing a black person on television was an event; when expressions like "I don't want nothing black but a Cadillac" and "Coffee will make you black" were handed down from one generation to the next without comment. Stevie is a bookworm, yet she longs to fit in with the cool crowd. Fighting her mother every step of the way, she begins to experiment with talkin' trash, "kicking butt," and boys. With the assassination of Dr. King she gains a new political awareness, which makes her decide to wear her hair in a 'fro instead of straightened, to refuse to use skin bleach, and to confront the prejudice she observes in blacks as well as whites. April Sinclair writes frankly about a young black woman's sexuality, and about the confusion Stevie faces when she realizes she's more attracted to the school nurse -- who is white -- than her teenage boyfriend. As readers follow Stevie's at times harrowing, at times hilarious story, they will learn what it was like to be black before black was beautiful."


This has been on my bookshelf for a while, if only because the title and cover grabbed me, forcing me to grab it from a family members book shelf and no I don't intend on returning it. I generally feel like I'm over the coming of age phase so I don't normally care to read about it but it's a award winning book by a black woman and I'm going to enjoy not having to distance myself from the main character in order to relate to her coming of age story.


Dune by Frank Herbert

"Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides -- who would become known as Muad'Dib -- and of a great family's ambition to bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream. "

Dune is not a book I normally would have gravitated to -- I'm more for watching epic fantasies instead of reading them -- but when teasers of this coming to theaters first started surfacing, my boyfriend showed me a trailer and some YouTube videos of fans discussing the story and I immediately wanted to read the book before watching the movie.

This is book one of six in the whole series and while I definitely won't be getting through the whole series before the movie release, I am excited to get deeper into this world and then judge the hell out of the movie.


This Time by Azaaa Davis

"Legendary demon hunter Nadira Holden paid the ultimate price to end the war between demons and hunters.


Resurrected in present-day New York, many years have passed, everyone moved on without her, and the demons she once battled have made peace with humans. Nadira no longer has purpose here. Dying again might be her ticket back to that "next life" she experienced.


Except humans are disappearing, and Nadira's father is one of the missing. Feeling a strong obligation to find him before sorting out her own fate, she begins investigating.


She won't rest in peace unless she can prove the demons are behind the disappearances. But Nadira is running out of time. The darkness within her is causing her to lose her humanity while the rest mankind is on the verge of enslavement to the demons they now worship. "


This Time is the first in an urban fantasy series I discovered through book twitter and with as many times as it was mentioned, I couldn't really help but pick it up. I'm really looking forward to what happens after she crawls out of her own grave.

Now, let me be honest and say the real reason I'm excited about my reading list is for this series. I love a good Vampire story and I love even more when we're hunting the Vampires. After reading the blurb to book one, I was hooked and got to tossing the first three into whatever cart I could get them in.

Because the series is a little dated, I've been shopping around for the best place for each copy but regardless, I'm really looking forward to the story and what the ten other books are about to have in store for me.

admittedly, I'll be reading this one along side Dune because I refuse to pick one over the other to start.

Minion A Vampire Huntress Legend By L.A. Banks

"All Damali Richards ever wanted to do was create music and bring it to the people. Now she is a Spoken Word artist and the top act for Warriors of Light Records. But come nightfall, she hunts vampires and demons -- predators that people tend to dismiss as myth or fantasy. But Damali and her Guardian team cannot afford such delusions, especially now, when a group of rouge vampires have been killing the artist of Warriors of Light and their rival, Blood Music. Strange attacks have erupted within the club drug-trafficking's network and drawn the attention of the police. But these killings are a bit out of the ordinary, even for vampires. No neat puncture marks in the neck to show where the life's blood has been drained from the body. Instead these bodies have been mutilated beyond recognition, indicating a blood lust and thirst for destruction that surpasses any Damali has encountered before. Damali soon discovers that behind these brutal murders is the most powerful vampire she has ever met, and this seductive beast is coming for her next. But his unholy intentions have also drawn the attention of other hellish dark force. Soon Damali finds herself being pulled deeper into the vast and horrifying vampire world."



The Awakening A Vampire Huntress Legend By L.A. Banks

"A battle is brewing in the underworld, and at the center of it all is Damali Richards, spoken word artist and vampire huntress. but she is not just any huntress; she is the millennium Neteru, a woman so powerful that the vampire world is about to start a war -- one that threatens to spread onto her streets -- in order to possess her. Fallon Nuit, a rouge vampire who is one of the most powerful Damali has ever encountered, has allied himself with the deadly Amanthra demons in order to claim her. But the Vampire Council has plans for her as well. And now an unlikely variable has entered the equation: an ex-lover turned vampire with an agenda of his own. Damali must risk trusting him once more is they are to survive."


The Hunted a Vampire Huntress Legend By L.A. Banks

"A Neteru -- a hunter or huntress -- is born every thousand years to lead the Warriors of Light as they fight against the Dark Realms. Damali Richards is the millennium Neteru, the one who will play a pivotal role in the Final War. The Warriors of Light have been waiting for her and the Dark Realms will do anything to possess or destroy her. What they do not take into account is the man who will love her.

Damali has been to Hell and back -- literally -- and she is not eager to repeat the trip. A Vampire civil war has been averted, but there were casualties, and she believes that Carlos Rivera, her former lover turned master vampire, is one of them. His death has not only shaken her emotions, but has weakened her powers as well. Then Damali gets word of horrific killings in Brazil. the vampire civil war left a small door to Hell open, and new dangerous foes have risen from the Dark Realms. The leader, a deadly female, is set on a path of destruction, but her blood lust hides her nefarious plan, and the resurrected Carlos Rivera is at the heart of it. However, Damali is not about to lose her man a second time, so she plans to send this old girl right back to the hell she came from -- no matter who stands in her way."



Okay, here's where you notice that a bulk of these have been sitting on my bookshelves for a while waiting to be read. I'll also confess to having started each one of these and setting them right back down with no solid reasoning outside of "right book, wrong time."


I can't promise it's the right season for me to get through these this time but I am hoping that using them as my palette cleanser between all of the fantasy will help me get into them more.


No Mud, No Lotus By Thich Nhat Hanh

"We all want to be happy. There are countless book and teachers in the world that try to help people be happier. Yet we all continue to suffer.


In No Mud, No Lotus, Thich Nhat Hanh offers practices and inspiration for transforming suffering into true joy. He shares how the practices of stopping, mindful breathing, and deep concentration can generate the energy of mindfulness within our daily lives. With that energy, we can embrace emotional and physical pain and calm it down, instantly bringing relief, freedom, and clarity.


No Mud, No Lotus introduces ways to be in touch with suffering without being overwhelmed by it. "When we know hot to suffer," Nhat Hanh says, "we suffer much, much less." With his signature lucidity and sense of humor, Thich Nhat Hanh helps us recognize the wonders inside us and around us that we take for granted and teaches us how to be truly happy."


This one was a no brainer for me. I picked it up because it was frequently recommended to me after I read The Book Of Awakening by Mark Nepo and it feels like the right book to hit number three on the list of what I'm reading next.


The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller by John Truby

"John Truby is one of the most respected and sought-after story consultants in the film industry, and his students have gone on to pen some of Hollywood's most successful films, including Sleepless in Seattle, Scream, and Shrek. Based on lessons in his award -winning class, Great Screenwriting, The Anatomy of Story reveals his secrets for writing a compelling script. The book draws on a broad range of concepts and archetypes from philosophy and mythology, offering fresh techniques and insightful anecdotes alongside Truby's own unique approach to building an effective, multifaceted narrative. The foundations of story that he lays out are so fundamental that they are applicable -- and essential -- to all writers, from novelist and short-story writers to journalist, memoirists, and those interested in narrative nonfiction."

This is another recommendation that has sat on my shelf for a while because I don't feel like I'm going to gain much new that I haven't learned through other books and media BUT, I'll read through it anyway and see if it's as helpful as some writers make it seem.

Delta of Venus: Erotica by Anais Nin

"In Delta of Venus, Anais Nin pens a lush, magical world where the characters of her imagination possess the most universal of desires and exceptional of talents. Among these provocative stories, a Hungarian adventurer seduces wealthy women then vanishes with their money; a veiled woman selects strangers from a chic restaurant for private trysts; and a Parisian hatmaker named Mathilde leaves her husband for the opium dens of Peru."


This is a book I'm pretty sure I grabbed from one of those community free book situations a few years ago and as is typical with me, it's just collected some dust on my shelf calling my name.


Because I know myself I know that I enjoy a good palette cleansing between books and I don't have enough to aid me between fantasy reads, I'm look forward to finally getting into these short stories and using them as studies in erotic storytelling.

IF you've made it this far, please let me know what you think about my reading list and let me know in the comments below what you're reading or looking forward to reading in the coming weeks. I'm always looking for more books to add to my never ending TBR pile.




Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links which allows me to make a small percentage of money for purchases done through these links at no additional cost to you.

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