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Recent Reads | October 2020

October was a curious reading month for me. I went into it with huge reading plans but fell into a reading slump after the first week and really struggled with finding the motivation to read again. Thankfully I was halfway through a book I was really enjoying when I fell into this reading slump, so was able to get through it fairly quickly. And although I still didn't read as much as I had planned, I'm pretty happy with how this month turned out, all things considered. So here's every spooky thing I read in October (because even if I couldn't keep up with the volume, I managed to stay in the theme).

1) Coraline, Neil Gaiman

I decided to read this while creating a Halloweeny watch list. As I have never watched Coraline, and I've heard that the book and the film are really similar, I decided to read this before and was not disappointed. Not only was this my introduction to Neil Gaiman, but I also listened to the audiobook which is beautifully narrated by himself, and had a blast doing so. This is a creepy story about Coraline, a girl who unlocks a door in her house that leads to a second dimension, with twisted versions of her parents and neighbours. Coraline then has to rescue the other lost children, her parents and herself from the monsters that live on the other side of the door. This was amazing. A perfectly creepy, short read, delightful story. I would've LOVED this as a child and will definitely read more from Neil Gaiman as I adored his prose. 4.5/5 ⭐️

2) The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, V. E. Schwab

I have a full review of this up on my blog which you can read right here, but it's more of a love letter than anything else. This is a story about Addie LaRue, a girl who makes a deal with the darkness to live forever, but she's bound to be forgotten by everyone she meets. Until one day, 300 years after her bargain, she meets Henry, a boy who remembers. I loved this book so much, because of its writing, and seeing myself reflected in the characters (especially Henry), and I believe I'll think about it for years (and want to reread it asap), but I don't know if it is for everyone. The focus of this book is definitely not the plot, but the characters and how they'll make the reader feel, and that really worked for me. The writing is lyrical and magical and highlights everything I love about V. E. Schwab. I did mention in my review that the ending had my least favourite trope and that dimmed my love for this book just a bit, even if it fit the story and was well done. There are content warnings for depression and anxiety, as well as a suicide attempt, and after reading this book, some issues regarding the whiteness of it have been brought to my attention (all really valid and real, unfortunately), in case any of those are things that could keep you from reading it. 4.75/5 ⭐️

3) The Diviners, Libba Bray

This for me is the ultimate October book. I've been wanting to read it for years, back when only book one was out and I completely thought it was a standalone (in case you don't know, this is a four-book series). This is a fantastical historical fiction set in 1920s New York, with a mystery plot throughout. We follow several different perspectives but the main one is Evie O'Neil, a girl who's sent to New York to live with her uncle, the curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition and the Occult. And when murders linked to the occult start happening in the city, Evie and her uncle are asked to join the investigation. This has people with powers (called the Diviners), ghosts, creepy murders and the underlining sense that the characters are running out of time and the stakes are getting higher and higher. Although I found some of the perspectives didn't really have a place besides setting up the rest of this series, I adored this book and can't wait to read the rest of the series. 4/5 ⭐️

4) The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I'm so happy I'm back to reading the Sherlock Holmes stories but I was SO confused when reading this one. Basically, earlier this year I read The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Arden (and you can read my review right here), which is a fantastical Sherlock Holmes retelling/fanfiction. The whole book has some of the Sherlock stories woven throughout the main plot, and a huge one is The Hound of the Baskervilles. Because I had not read the original one back then, I couldn't see how similar they were but, oh are they similar. Throughout listening to the original one all I could feel was this sense of déjà-vu and thankfully the retelling had a supernatural resolution, otherwise, it would've been like rereading it. Because of this, I felt it quite hard to rate this one seen as I basically knew everything that was going to happen, but I did really enjoy it and think it's one of my favourite Sherlock stories. 4/5 ⭐️

5) City of Heavenly Fire, Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments 6)

Can I get an amen, please?? I can't even believe I finally finished this series, it's been such a long and complicated road, so much so that I now want to make a full book talk about the whole thing, so stay tuned for that. After the fiasco that was book two, I feel like my expectations for each book have been so low that I'm always pleasantly surprised by how entertained I am. I still believe that every book and this whole series is longer than it should've been, but I enjoyed reading them, even if they will not stay with me forever. Every book is quite predictable but I thought this was a great conclusion to this series, I LOVED seeing my beloved Infernal Devices characters and, honestly, Alec and Magnus made this whole series for me (Magnus is one of my all-time favourite characters). I loved that Alec finally became the badass he's always been supposed to be. I actually really liked this and am fully converted into the Shadowhunter world (after nine books, who wouldn't?). 3.5/5 ⭐️

6) The Night and the Land, Matt Spencer (The Deschembine Trilogy 1)

Okay, this book was a struggle and a half. I have a full review of this up on my blog that you can read right here, but let's just say I left this thinking I should've DNFed it which is NEVER a good feeling to have when you finish a book. This had a lot of potential, being a sci-fi about a forbidden romance between two people from enemy races who're supposed to kill one another, but it just didn't work for me. The plot felt scattered, more like a set up to a series than a book in and of itself, there were too many characters without rhyme or reason and this was not the book for me and I was so glad when I finished it. And content warnings for sexual assault and a lot of general violence. 2/5 ⭐️

7) Cemetery Boys, Aiden Thomas

This is my favourite book I've read this year and it brought me SO MUCH JOY. Cemetery Boys is about a Latinx trans boy who wants to prove himself and his gender to his family, by showing that he is indeed a brujo, men that help spirits pass through to the other side. To do that he tries to summon the ghost of his cousin but ends up summoning the school's bad boy instead, who refuses to leave. This is a wholesome loving beautiful story about acceptance and love. It is everything I wanted it to be and one of the few 5-star reads of this year that I didn't start second-guessing my rating afterwards. The writing is incredible, there was a mystery that I did not expect throughout the story that I loved and was incredibly well done and the romance is to cry for. This left me emotional, bursting with joy, and it gave me the stupidest grin in the world. I'm so happy that younger people get to grow up with this book and read it and see a trans, gay and Latinx boy who is so much more than just his gender and his sexuality, all while celebrating his culture. Love love love. Content warnings for the death of a loved one, talk of the loss of a parent, misgendering, mention of parental abuse, mention of transphobic parents and deportation. 5/5 ⭐️

8) City of Ghosts, Victoria Schwab (Cassidy Blake 1)

For Halloween day I decided to do a little 24-hour readathon of the Cassidy Blake books and it was great. This is a middle-grade series that follows a young girl who, after a near-death experience, can now see ghosts and walk beyond the veil that separates the living from the dead. Until her parents start hosting a TV-show about the most hunted places in the world, taking Cass along and putting her in more danger than anyone realises. I really really enjoyed this. I obviously loved the writing because it's Victoria, but I thought the story was really great and I loved the friendship between Cassidy and her ghost-best friend, Jacob. The exploration of Edinburgh was very touristy but that's expected considering they are there exploring tourist attractions that are supposedly hunted and Cass had never been to the city before. The amount of Harry Potter references did unsettle me because, even though I grew up with the story, it's something I no longer feel comfortable advertising or seeing people advertise, so let's just say this aged poorly. A very fun read with great characters. Content or warnings for drowning. 3.5/5 ⭐️

9) Tunnel of Bones, Victoria Schwab (Cassidy Blake 2)

As I said, I jumped into this one straight after finishing the first book and I enjoyed it much more. This time the characters are in Paris, but the stakes were much higher and the spooky element was much bigger. I think this series is great and I can't wait for the third book to come out early next year. This expanded on the characters and Jacob and Cass's friendship a lot and introduced very fun elements to Cassidy's abilities. 4.25/5 ⭐️

10) The Return of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Now that I'm getting near the end of the Sherlock stories I know that I enjoy the longer one a lot more than the collections, simply because the mysteries are much more fleshed out and less predictable. That said, this had some of the most interesting cases and I loved it. I'm sad there aren't that many stories left because I've been loving making my way through them. I'd also like to say again that I LOVE listening to them on audiobook and the narrator, Kyle Hayes, does a FANTASTIC job, I can't picture any other voice narrating these stories. 4/5 ⭐️

I was really pleased with most of what I read in October and I can't wait to see what the next month brings. It'll be a month of reading review copies but I'm pretty chill when it comes to the rest of my reading. What was your favourite book you read in October?




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