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I DID it, dear reader! I reached my Goodreads goal of 50 books for the year when I finished reading Harvest Home. I am ecstatic! This is the first time I have ever reached my reading goal before 31 December. In addition, I was able to complete five books and three short stories in the month of September.

Nonfiction Selection

My nonfiction read for September was by Mel Robbins called The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage. The 5 second rule is a simple strategy that yields huge results. Robbins uses her own personal stories and testimonials through emails and social media posts she received from people from all walks of life to demonstate the effectiveness of this strategy. Personally, I am reaping the benefits from using the strategy in my everyday life, especially with taking risks in improv and stopping my EGO from managing me. Additionally, it has motivated me to exercise, to step out my comfort zone, and to complete tasks that have lingered a bit too long on my to-do list.

Basically, you count backwards from 5 and take action. According to Robbins, “When you start to count 5-4-3-2-1, it is the beginning of a chain reaction that not only awakens the prefrontal cortex, but also gets you ready to make that physical “initial huge push” that’s required to change” (106). This was an enjoyable 4-star read for me.

#Read21in21 Challenge

I read three middle-grade books in September. Ghost Beach was actually on my August TBR, but I ran out of time, so I carried it over. Juniper Berry has been on my bookcase for quite sometime and has autumn vibes, so I thought September was a marvelous month to finally read it. Since I am participating this fall in the #moremontgomerychallenge, I chose Anne of Avonlea for the “read an Anne book” spot on the bingo card. I had bought it right after reading Anne of Green Gables, so it worked out wonderfully to read it in September for the start of this challenge.

Ghost Beach by R.L. Stine is creepy, and I must admit, the scariest of the Goosebumps books I have read to date. Siblings, Jerry and Terri, are visiting a distant cousin and his wife in New England for the last month of the summer. The children’s excitement is short-lived when they discover a cave by the beach is haunted by a ghost. It is suspenseful with a twist I did not see coming. A haunting 4 stars for this spooky selection!

Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky is a terrific middle-grade tale of terror and temptation. Despite living in a beautiful mansion with her famous parents and her trusty sidekick Kitty, Juniper Berry is lonely as heck. She misses the life she once had with her parents, who were loving, kind, and always there for her. Now, they are miserable in spite of their fame and fortune and act as if Juniper does not exist. One stormy night, Juniper follows them into the woods and discovers the cause of their unhappy transformation. 4 stars for this entertaining and suspenseful story.

Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery is the next charming chapter in Anne Shirley’s life. Anne postpones attending Redmond College, so she can remain with Marilla on the farm and help her raise orphaned twins. Anne also takes a teaching position at the local school. We are introduced to new and interesting characters in the Avonlea community and amused by more of Anne’s adventures. This second installment was a delightful read and worthy of all 5 stars.

Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club

Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon is the perfect autumn read. It has all the fall feels with full fields of corn and festive autumn traditions set in a quaint New England town that harbors a sinister secret.

This beautifully written psychological horror novel takes its sweet time telling the story of Ned Constantine and his family’s move to the village of Cornwall Coombe. On the surface, the small farming town seem idyllic with its simple lifestyle, friendly faces, and a matriarch that welcomes the family wholeheartedly.

Once the family gets settled, Ned stumbles upon a mystery that had been buried, and no one in the town seems too interested in talking to him about it. Unfortunately, Ned’s curiousity is persistent, and he continues digging up the past. Unsettling moments are sprinkled throughout this slow burn, building up to an off-putting conclusion that has stuck with me since I completed it. I gave this horror gem 5 stars.

Year of King

Kelsi and I switched gears for this month and read three short stories from Stephen King’s Night Shift collection. All three stories have something to do with manual labor which was perfect for September with the celebration of Labor Day.

“Graveyard Shift” takes place at a textile factory in the small town of Gate Falls, Maine. John Hall, an aloof drifter, works the graveyard shift at the mill, running the picker machine. Warwick, his cruel foreman, decides that after 12 years, the rat-infested basement needs to be cleaned out.

So, he recruits a few of his workers, including John Hall, to complete the terrible task that leads to a disturbing discovery. This horror story was a 3-star read for me. Even though I enjoyed the creepy atmosphere, the rapacious rodents, and the men’s scary situation, I wanted more.

“The Mangler” takes place at an industrial laundry in a small American town. John Hunton, a local police officer, receives the call to investigate a gruesome accident involving a Hadley-Watson Model-6 Speed Ironer and Folder, also known as the mangler, at the Blue Ribbon Laundry. Unfortunately for Hunton and the employees of the laundry, more grisly deaths unfold surrounding the menacing machine. I gave this horror story 4 stars for being chilling, suspenseful, and macabre.

“The Lawnmower Man” takes place at the home of Harold Parkette. Harold takes pride in his manicured lawn until an unfortunate accident occurs while his neighbor’s son is cutting it. After almost a year of not cutting his grass, receiving lame lawn jokes from his neighbor, and spotting a woodchuck sitting happily in his backyard, he finally decides to hire someone to take care of his overgrown yard. That someone is the unusual lawnmower man from Pastoral Greenery and Outdoor Services. This horror story has mythological elements, humor, gore, and a bizarre twist which I loved, so I gave it 4 stars.

I wish I could tell you, dear reader, that the screen adaptations were as good as the short stories. I knew at some point our luck would run out because not all of Stephen King’s work translates well on the big screen. Although, Kelsi’s opinion of the films differs greatly from mine. She and I had a lively conversation about all three stories on September 25th, discussing the stories and their film adaptations. Dear reader, you can check out the recording on Kelsi’s YouTube channel (see below).

It’s October, which happens to be my favorite month of the year. I have chosen some spine-tingling selections to read in celebration of this spooky month. I am currently reading The Witches by Roald Dahl for #Read21in21. My book club selection for October is Kill Creek by Scott Thomas. Kelsi and I will be reading Needful Things for our Year of King project. We will have a live discussion about the novel and movie on Sunday, 06 November at 2:00 PM CT. Last but not least, my nonfiction selection this month is Fear Itself: The Early Works of Stephen King edited by Tim Underwood & Chuck Miller. 

My sister Rachel and I are still buddy reading A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. This Wednesday evening we will be discussing Chapter 7, “Finding Who You Truly Are.” What an important and impactful chapter!

As usual, I am looking forward to everything I have planned to read in October. To see my current book reviews or books I have read in the past, follow me on Goodreads at Katherine Loyacano. Happiness!

“The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin

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