Thursday 5 November 2020

October 2020 Reading Wrap Up

I had such a great time in October and I even found some new favourites which was amazing. I'm very picky with my five star ratings and this month I had 3! I loved reading all the spooky/autumnal books and I enjoyed pretty much all of what I did read. I managed to read 15 books in October which I think equals the amount of books I've ever read in a single month. I did read quite a few books under 300 pages though so I don't think my page count is as high or maybe just equals last month. I only managed to not read two books from my October TBR which was Shadowsea by Peter Bunzl so that will be rolled over into November. I technically started Bird Box by Josh Malerman but I only managed to read the first chapter before I ran out of time. I was only reading this because it was one of the team books for the Spooktober Readathon so, at the time of writing this, I'm not sure if I'm going to finish it off yet or not.      


Milkshakes for the Almost Dead by Lulu Wood

I technically started this in November and then finished it on the 2nd October purely because I was trying to squeeze in an extra book before my Kindle Unlimited ran out. I heard about this book from megwithbooks on youtube and then spotted it available on Kindle Unlimited and I thought i'd check it out. For some reason, and I have no idea why, but I though this book was about zombies...? Yeah, it isn't about zombies. This is a YA mystery set in a seaside town in England and a girl staying with her aunt for the summer gets tangled up in a series of murders. I had a few problems with this book; I didn't like the wishy washy writing, the characters bored me and and the plot took forever to get going. You can read my full review here.  

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

I initally gave this book four stars after reading it but after sitting on it for a while I decided to take off half a star. Don't get me wrong it's incredibly atmospheric and a really interesting take on a haunted house story but at times I was ever so slightly bored. I think I just expected more from it and I genuinely thought I'd be scared but I wasn't. I'm glad I read it before I watched the Netflix adapatation though because the tv series was phenomenal and my rating might have been even lower if I had. If you want to check out my thoughts on the tv adaptation you can read my post of what I watched in October here.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland     

This was one of the group books for Team Horror for the Spooktober Readathon and might have been a book I wouldn't have picked up otherwise. I'm so glad I did though because I really enjoyed this alternate history zombie book. We follow Jane as she battles zombies in the post civil war era and attempts to return home to her mother. Jane was such a badass and this was a really fun, action-packed read. I loved the way the story was told, the southern setting and how Jane and Katherine's relationship is developed. I'll definitely be picking up the sequel soon.    

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker 

This was such an adorable graphic novel, honestly no other book made feel as autumnal as this one did. The art style was fantastic and the romance is super cute, Nova and Tam are so adorable! It's also childhood friends to lovers! There's also diversity in here with both characters being Chinese/American and Nova is deaf and wears hearing aids whilst Tam identifies as nonbinary. If you want soft witchy vibes, beautiful artwork and and a wholesome cast of characters, I'd definitely recommend you pick this up.

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater   

I think this was Maggie Stiefvaters first major series and I think it kind of shows. I really liked The Raven Boys and All the Crooked Saints but reading this it just felt so average in terms of the writing, the plot and the characters. I wasn't invested in what was happening but maybe it's my fault as paranormal romances revolving around werewolves and vampires and such just aren't my thing generally. I do own the other books in the series so I am going to carry on but after that they'll probably be unhauled.

Joyland by Stephen King    

I've only read a handful of King books previously but I think this has been my favourite so far. I think I liked that it wasn't full on horror, rather it was part ghost story, part murder mystery with a coming of age element thrown in there. This book follows Devin when he begins working at an amusement park during the summer of 1973 and finds himself drawn to a murder that occured there previously. I've always been obsessed with fun fairs and theme parks so I was already loving the setting with all the descriptions of the rides and attractions. The mystery was entertaining, I loved the reveal and overall it was a fun and fairly quick read. I wasn't even alive in 73 but somehow King made me feel so nostalgic whilst reading this book so props to him!

One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus  

This is the third Karen M. McManus book I've read and whilst it's my favourite, it did only just scrape a four star rating. This is the sequel to One of Us is Lying but this time we follow a new group of students as they are pulled into a deadly game of truth or dare. McManus's writing is definitely improving and I really enjoyed the concept for this book. The twist was a bit predictable but overall her books are always really fun YA thrillers. You can read my full review here.         

The Message in the Haunted Mansion (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #122) by Carolyn Keene

I can remember reading Nancy Drew books when I was younger but for the life of me I couldn't remember which ones I actually read! I picked this up for the #spooksandtea readathon, to reread a spooky old favourite. Honestly, the mystery aspect is always just good fun. They're never believable but it's fun to play along and put the clues together whilst figuring out the culprit. It's predictable and these books probably haven't aged very well but I am going to pick up more of them because there are a lot on scribd! Side note, this book was set at Christmas which I didn't realise until about a third of the way in! So much for putting me in a spooky mood!

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill   

This is already a classic ghost story that I see a lot of people talking about as Halloween rolls around. We follow a young solicitor as he is sent to a house on the marshes to sort documents and there he discovers a village's fear of a woman in black. I did enjoy this book, it was extremely short and very atmospheric. The descriptions of the marshes and the house were very vivid, Hill is a great story teller. However, I wasn't scared like I hoped I would be. This could be because I've seen the film so I knew what to expect though. I would still definitely recommend you read this at Halloween for extra creepiness.

These Witches Don't Burn by Isabel Sterling   

I'll start off by saying that I loved the sound of this book from the get go, I'm already a sucker for witchy books but throw in a blood witch hunting them down and I'm totally in. These Witches Don't Burn follows Hannah, an elemental witch, as she grapples with evading someone hunting her down, developing a crush on the new girl in town and attempting to move on from her toxic ex. I really loved the relationship elements here, Hannah and Morgan's developing relationship is so cute and it paces along nicely. Hannah and her best friend Gemma also have a terrific bond that is evident from the start and I loved reading about how devoted they are to each other. 
I think I just wanted a little more magic, I didn't feel like we got enough explanation about their powers. I also guessed the big reveal really early on in the book, I just felt it was so obvious but that's probably just me. I will be picking up the sequel though as I'm interested to see where the story goes from here.    

Relic by Gretchen McNeil

I was really enjoying this slasher-esque book up until maybe the last third before it kind of lost me. This book is about Annie and her friends as they explore an abandoned mine as a last hurrah before leaving for college, but are plagued by an old legend upon their return home. The characters were fine if a tad annoying at times but the plot was what kept me reading which is why I felt very disappointed by it's ending. It felt anti-climactic mostly because it literally just ends without any kind of closure. The pacing is good, the writing decent but the big reveal of who is killing all of these teenagers just didn't really work for me.

Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween by Lisa Morton     

This was a great non-fiction book that explores how Halloween first began and how it's developed into the holiday we know today. Lisa Morton packs so much detail in and still managed to make every page interesting. There's also images that show different depictions of Halloween and how it's represented in art and illustrations. I also really liked the different sections included as we have chapters on how particular countries celebrate as well as the impact Halloween has had on pop culture and the 21st century world. I had a great time reading this and would absolutely recommend if you want to dive deeper into Halloween.

A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison     

I adored this magical, middle grade so so much. We follow the three Widdershins sisters; Betty, Fliss and Charlie, as they attempt to break an ancient family curse that keeps them on their small island. If they try to leave, they will die by the next sunset. I had a feeling I was going to love this and I absolutely did. Michelle Harrison has a terrific hold on language, she describes everything so vividly and I loved exploring Crowstones and it's surrounding isles. The characters have such a strong presence, they each have their place in the story but I think Charlie was my favourite because although she's the youngest she definitely made the most impact. I can't wait to pick up the sequel soon. I should be posting a full review of this book in the coming week so keep an eye out!

Daja's Book (Circle of Magic #3) by Tamora Pierce       

I am really enjoying this series but for some reason it keeps taking me almost the entire month to finish the audiobooks. This book mainly follows Daja (although we do get glimpses of the other three and their POV's as well) as she interacts with the people who cast her out on a journey to Gold Ridge as well as the four mages discovering that their magic has begun to overlap and to interact with each others abilities. Another solid entry in the series, I really like how strong Daja's character is and I liked getting more insight into what she can do with metal and fire. I'll be finishing off the series in November with Briar's book and i'm looking forward to actually completing a fantasy series!

I just loved this book! I had a feeling because I've been babbling about it for months but it's just such a me book. I loved the 80's references (it's my favourite decade) and particularly how each chapter was an 80's song title. It's little things like that that I love in books. Honestly, the best way I can describe this book is that I felt like I was watching an 80's teen horror movie whilst reading which was great. I could picture everything so clearly. The characters are great, the way the story moved along was great and even the ending was perfectly wrapped up. A solid horror book that has become a new favourite. I'll be posting a full review soon!
What did you read in October? Have you read any of these books? What were your opinions? Leave a comment below and happy reading!   

1 comment

  1. I’m glad you had a good reading month! Congrats on reading 15 books. I might have to read that Trick or Treat book. I love nonfiction and Halloween. Happy November!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!


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