Spell the Month in Books is a linkup hosted here on Reviews From the Stacks on the second Saturday of each month. The goal, inspired by a hashtag I first encountered on Instagram, is to spell the current month with the first letter of book titles, excluding articles such as ‘the’ and ‘a’ as needed. That’s all there is to it! Some months there are theme challenges, such as “books with an orange cover” or books of a particular genre, but for the most part, any book you want to use is fair game! To participate, simply make a post, comment, or picture of the books you choose. They can be books you physically own or simply titles you have come across. Most of the time I create a virtual bookstack from titles on my Goodreads shelves. If you make a list, please share a link to your post in the comments so that I and other participants can see! There is also a Spell the Month in Books button which you can use in your posts. To use it, copy the code from the box below my list and paste it into your blog editor in HTML mode (for WordPress users, insert a “Custom HTML” block and paste the code there).
This theme was originally chosen to commemorate the launch of NASA’s Artemis I on September 3, which did not end up taking place. You can read more about the Artemis mission here.
S – Summer Constellations by Alisha Sevigny
Young Adult Contemporary Fiction; Published 2018
Julia Ducharme is ready for a fresh start. Her little brother has finally recovered from a serious illness, and now she just wants to enjoy peak season at the campground her family owns. Maybe this will be the year her annual summer fling with Dan Schaeffer becomes something more?
But her summer dreams are quickly shattered. First, Dan arrives for vacation with a new girlfriend in tow, and then Julia discovers this may be her last summer in the only home she’s ever known. Crushing medical bills have brought her single mom to the brink of bankruptcy, and a wealthy developer is sniffing around the campground. He sees what Julia sees: lush woods, a pristine lake, miles of trails for adventure. Unlike Julia, he thinks this is the perfect spot for a casino resort.
Heartbroken and afraid, Julia looks to the stars for some perspective. Taking her telescope down to the dock one night, she has a chance encounter with a guitar-playing boy who offers some helpful advice. Too bad this handsome stranger is the developer’s son, Nick Constantine.
As plans for a resort move forward, Julia is desperate to find a solution that doesn’t mean leaving the lake. Nick, in turn, is desperate to separate himself from his father’s aggressive business tactics. He promises that, together, they can thwart the sale. But can Julia trust him to conspire against his own father? And could she ever she trust him with her heart?
E – Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga #1) by Orson Scott Card
Science Fiction; Published 1985
Andrew “Ender” Wiggin thinks he is playing computer simulated war games; he is, in fact, engaged in something far more desperate. The result of genetic experimentation, Ender may be the military genius Earth desperately needs in a war against an alien enemy seeking to destroy all human life. The only way to find out is to throw Ender into ever harsher training, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when it begins. He will grow up fast.
But Ender is not the only result of the experiment. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. While Peter was too uncontrollably violent, Valentine very nearly lacks the capability for violence altogether. Neither was found suitable for the military’s purpose. But they are driven by their jealousy of Ender, and by their inbred drive for power. Peter seeks to control the political process, to become a ruler. Valentine’s abilities turn more toward the subtle control of the beliefs of commoner and elite alike, through powerfully convincing essays. Hiding their youth and identities behind the anonymity of the computer networks, these two begin working together to shape the destiny of Earth-an Earth that has no future at all if their brother Ender fails.
P – Painting the Moon (Chilton Crosse #1) by Traci Borum
Contemporary Fiction, light Mystery and Romance
When Noelle Cooke inherits a quaint English cottage and an art gallery from her famous Aunt Joy, she welcomes a departure from her San Diego routine. But the lure of the Cotswolds, combined with a locked cottage room and a revealing journal, entice her to stay and discover more, including a way to save the gallery from financial ruin. And that means remaining in England.
When her childhood sweetheart, Adam Spencer, begins work on a restoration project in Noelle’s village, their friendship blossoms. But as her feelings for Adam deepen, she struggles with memories of what might have been and yearns for a future once thought lost. Faced with a life-altering revelation Aunt Joy took to her grave and a wrenching choice regarding the man she loves, Noelle could lose far more than her heart.
T – Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird #2) by Claudia Gray
Young Adult Science Fiction; Published 2015
Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents’ invention, to cross into alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurting the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked and his consciousness scattered across multiple dimensions.
Marguerite has no choice but to search for each splinter of Paul’s soul. The hunt sends her racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each world brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with each trial she faces, she begins to question the destiny she thought they shared.
E – Extras (Uglies #4) by Scott Westerfeld
Young Adult Science Fiction (Post-Apocalyptic); Published 2006
A few years after rebel Tally Youngblood takes down the Specials regime, a cultural renaissance sweeps the world. “Tech-heads” flaunt their latest gadgets, “kickers” spread gossip and trends, and “surge monkeys” are hooked on extreme plastic surgery. Popularity rules, and everyone craves fame.
Fifteen-year-old Aya Fuse is no exception. But Aya’s face rank is so low, she’s a total nobody. An extra. Her only chance at stardom is to kick a wild and unexpected story. Then she stumbles upon a big secret. Aya knows she is on the cusp of celebrity. But the information she is about to disclose will change both her fate…and that of the brave new world
M – Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed
Picture Book Biography; Published 2018
When Little Mae was a child, she dreamed of dancing in space. She imagined herself surrounded by billions of stars, floating, gliding, and discovering.
She wanted to be an astronaut.
Her mom told her, “If you believe it, and work hard for it, anything is possible.”
Little Mae’s curiosity, intelligence, and determination, matched with her parents’ encouraging words, paved the way for her success at NASA as the first African American woman to travel in space.
B – Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Science Fiction; Published 1932
The astonishing novel Brave New World, originally published in 1932, presents Aldous Huxley’s vision of the future–of a world utterly transformed. Through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering, people are genetically designed to be passive and therefore consistently useful to the ruling class. This powerful work of speculative fiction sheds a blazing critical light on the present and is considered to be Aldous Huxley’s most enduring masterpiece.
The nonficton work Brave New World Revisited, published in 1958, is a fascinating work in which Huxley uses his tremendous knowledge of human relations to compare the modern-day world with his prophetic fatasy envisioned in Brave New World, including the threats to humanity, such as over-population, propaganda, and chemical persuasion.
E – Eclipse the Moon (Starlight’s Shadow #2) by Jesse Mihalik
Science Fiction; Published 2022
Kee Ildez has been many things: hacker, soldier, bounty hunter. She never expected to be a hero, but when a shadowy group of traitors starts trying to goad the galaxy’s two superpowers into instigating an interstellar war, Kee throws herself into the search to find out who is responsible—and stop them.
Digging up hidden information is her job, so hunting traitors should be a piece of cake, but the primary suspect spent years in the military, and someone powerful is still covering his tracks. Disrupting their plans will require the help of her entire team, including Varro Runkow, a Valovian weapons expert who makes her pulse race.
Cut off from the rest of their team, they must figure out how to work together—and fast—because a single misstep will cost thousands of lives.
R – Rocket Men by Robert Kurson
Nonfiction; Published 2018
In early 1968, the Apollo program was on shaky footing. President Kennedy’s end-of-decade deadline to put a man on the Moon was in jeopardy, and the Soviets were threatening to pull ahead in the space race. By August 1968, with its back against the wall, NASA decided to scrap its usual methodical approach and shoot for the heavens. With just four months to prepare–a fraction of the normal time–the agency would send the first men in history to the Moon. In a year of historic violence and discord–the Tet offensive, the assassinations of MLK and RFK, the Chicago DNC riots–the Apollo 8 mission was the boldest test of what America could do. With a focus on astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders, and their wives and children, this is a vivid, gripping, you-are-there narrative that shows anew the epic danger involved, and the singular bravery it took, for man to leave Earth for the first time–and to arrive at a new world.
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Upcoming Theme Challenges:
October 8: Celebrating Reformation Day; books that changed or solidified how you thought about something (anything) or that reflect your theology. Or, books about second chances, rebuilding, reconciliation, anything of that nature.
November: Nonfiction; books that are true
December: Books about Christmas, winter, or general coziness
When I set the challenge for this month’s booklist, I was not entirely sure that I could achieve it. I’m a little impressed that I was able to meet it! Only five of the books are ones I have read, including Extras by Scott Westerfeld. If you haven’t read that book; you might wonder how it fits with the theme; I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who has yet to read it, so please just believe me that it definitely does!
Have you read any of these books? And, can you spell September with book titles? Please leave a comment with a link to your post if you participate so we can see the books you use!
Until the next chapter,