Hey everyone! Happy Thursday! I have definitely been falling behind again on blogging The end of October and the beginning of this month has been really busy. I sadly haven’t had enough time to even think about blogging most days. I apologize for being kinda M.I.A in general and while the holidays are coming up, I’m gonna keep trying to stay on track.
So for October, I had quite the TBR to handle for not only my ARC pile but also the creepy books I desperately wanted to read. All in all, I read a decent amount of things this month. The Avatar comics have been helping me a bit lately with having shorter things to read, but I also finally tackled a couple TBR picks as well. I will also start inserting a “TBR check-in” segments to my wrap ups, since I thought it would be a fun comparison. Let’s jump right in!
October TBR Check-in
TBR Books Completed (No DNFs): 4/12
TBR Books Started, Not Finished: 4/12
TBR Books I Didn’t get to: 3/12
DNFs from TBR: 2/12
So I dealt with a LOT of my TBR this month! Whether I did complete it, started or DNF’d any, I’m glad that I dealt with a lot of these either way! I managed to get through a few of my ARCs and I’m proud of what I did. Plus, only having 2 DNFs in this pile is very good coming from me. I didn’t get far into Serpent & Dove and The Bridge Kingdom before I focused on either things, but they will be on future TBRs.
October Wrap Up
Total Books Completed: 7
Library Books/Audio Books: 5
Started, Not Finished: 4
Read from September 30th-October 5th
Physical ARC via publisher
Rating: 4 stars
This was a highly anticipated release for me, since I loved Salt to the Sea and highly respect Between Shades of Gray by her. This new book follows Daniel, a Texas boy and Anna, a girl who works at the Hotel Castellano in 1957 Madrid. During this time in Spain, Francisco Franco still ruled Spain with a dictator’s fist and you truly see the silence people carry with them, as well as the terror of doing one thing out of line. Daniel comes here, since his father has the chance to drill for oil in Spain and he also wants to capture photos of the country where his mother is from. He loves photography more than following in his dad’s footsteps and he meets Anna. Anna’s family has suffered greatly under Franco’s rule, so while she wants to connect with Daniel, she is also afraid of drawing attention. You feel the tension, the sadness, silence and longing for connection from these characters. But my favorite character was Fuga, a mysterious boy who wants to become a famous matador; his story will stay with me for a long time. While I did love Salt to the Sea more, this was a great book and I can’t recommend this enough to those who love historical fiction.
Read on October 12th & 17th
Overall rating: 4.5 stars
This is the next story arc in the Avatar comics, following the Promise story line. This story arc answers a major question from the TV series, but I won’t say that due to spoilers if you haven’t watched the show. But this was another incredible comic story and they feel just like TV episodes! You can really see how Zuko grows from this and even feel a shred of pity for Azula. I can’t recommend these enough if you loved the show. There is a Wikipedia page that shows the order of all the comics 🙂
Listened from October 9th-16th
Library Audio Book
Rating: 2 stars
Man this book was rough and complicated! I will say that Adrienne Young is a good writer and I do want to give her another couple chances with other books she writes and I also loved both narrators. But sadly this book was: way too short, not enough action, repetitive inner monologues, completely undeveloped romance and also an unclear reason for the clans hating each other. We follow Tova, a Truthtongue who can see the future and lives among a clan that isn’t her own. Then we also follow Halvard, a young man due to become the future chief of the rival clan. This book really needed more length and some major editing to make the characters more fleshed out and relatable and length for the plot. Things were resolved way too quickly and we never saw the complicated feelings between the clans. This is set in the same world as Sky in the Deep and I will say that you can read this separately and still follow this story fine. But I don’t recommend starting with this book.
Listened from October 16th-24th
Library Audio Book
Rating: 3.75 stars
This is the conclusion to the Give the Dark My Love duology and for the most part, it was good but not better than the first one. I did like seeing the political consequences from the events of the previous book. I also liked the few moments where Nedra really struggled to choose the darkness completely. While this did expand the world and its lore and there was one huge revelation that was expertly handled, the very ending was a little too happy. I wanted more punch from the epilogue, since this series really puts you through the ringer anyway. But I still recommend this series, since I think it’s a step above many popular series. Check out my review for the content warnings in case you need them!
Read from October 16th-27th
Digital ARC from NetGalley
Rating: 3.75 stars
As I’ve said, I’ve been on the street team for this book to help boost and promote Kelly’s debut novel! I also LOVE this cover so much. I was wondering how I was going to react to this book, but I will say that I liked it. This is an ancient Sumeria world, which is pretty cool. We follow Kammani, a girl who is a healer and her sister Nanaea is chosen as one of the three Sacred Maidens who will escort the dying king to the afterlife. But Kammani doesn’t see this as a privilege and she tries to do whatever to make sure her sister doesn’t die. Overall, this was a fun book that was an easy read. The last half was better than the first half; I think the first half needed a bit of editing to make it speed up a little more and I wish the ending left on a darker moment that happened in the last quarter. While this isn’t a new favorite, I’m glad that I liked it and I’ll wait for the sequel.
Started, But Didn’t Finish
- Fireborne #1 (Audio Book): Got to 55% in October
- Eight Will Fall (Digital ARC): Got to 40% by end of October
- The Athena Protocol (Library audio book): Got to about 45% before it expired in October
- The Starless Sea (Digital ARC): Only read about 25% in October
- Beyond the Black Door (DNF at 55%): I really tried guys, but this wasn’t working for me. I loved the idea of the whole soul walking thing and the character being on the asexual spectrum. I liked the almost Gothic type setting and the discussions of who Kammai didn’t feel right, since she didn’t really have any sexual feelings towards anyone. But the plot was SO boring! Some of the synopsis that talks about a dark threat doesn’t get approached by the 55% mark which wasn’t good. Kammai also was a flat character for me and I just didn’t care about her. Even the villain love interest read very cheesy. So I didn’t click with it…
- The Light at the Bottom of the World #1 (DNF at 22%): I wanted to love this book so much!! Who doesn’t love the idea of London being underwater and the book taking place underwater? The synopsis sounded epic on paper and I liked the opening chapter well enough. But as I kept reading, I really didn’t like the writing style. This is in first person POV, which is a tricky POV for me to even like and the writing was very rough. I felt like I was being told everything instead of shown, so I never felt involved in the story. Leyla’s voice also read very flat and devoid of any emotion for me personally; nothing felt like a huge deal with how she saw things. There was even a race in the beginning chunk that I read, but it never felt fun or interesting. The writing made the race come off as a dry commentary on the race and that was it, so since I’m very writing style oriented, I gave up. I’m bummed that I didn’t finish either of these, but that’s life sometimes.
So besides the few items I didn’t finish in October (The Athena Protocol and Eight Will Fall), these are the main books/audio books I want to complete in November. I did start the audio book for Archenemies at the beginning of this month, since the finale to this trilogy is now out. Then I have the following ARCs I still need to get to: Steel Crow Saga (very late), The Liars of Mariposa Island (also very late), Refraction (it’ll be kinda late), Reverie (I hope to get this on time) and Eight Will Fall (should finish this weekend, I hope). I also have immediate plans to listen to Starsight once I get it from Audible. This is the sequel to the AMAZING book Skyward, which was my favorite book last year. Anything else I get to this month will be extra, but I’m holding myself accountable to getting through these main books. Wish me luck!
Personal Stuff in October
I’m still playing the new Dragon Quest game on the Nintendo Switch and it’s so fun! This is another JRPG type game and you’re the Hero ( guy wearing purple) and you’re the prophesied Luminary and you meet a ton of people to help you defeat the Dark One. This is a really cute game with some great voice acting and some surprising plot twists. I definitely recommend this if you like games like Zelda or Final Fantasy. This game is about 85 hours, but I’ll surpass that much time with the extra side quests. I’m about 83 hours in and while it’s not a long RPG, it’s a hidden gem to check out for Switch.
I also saw the musical Phantom this month! You all know of the Andrew Lloyd Webber version, but this version is the American version! We have Erik, who still has a disfigured face and lives beneath the Paris Opera house. But the plot is very different from the Lloyd Webber version. This American version never made it to Broadway when it came out in the early 90’s and most people don’t know about it. The songs aren’t quite as good as the other version, but if you’re a fan of the Phantom story in general, go check out the music on YouTube. The guy in the original cast recording is Richard White, who does the singing voice for Gaston in the animated Beauty and the Beast. The production itself was really fun and I’m glad to have seen it on stage. The guy who played Erik wasn’t my favorite but he did a good enough acting job. The girl who played Christine was pretty good as well.
And then, MEET PURRSEPHONIE! My friend was fostering her since she was both sick and needed a foster home before getting fixed and being adopted. My friend had her for about 3 weeks and I got to play with her a lot. She’s a very vocal kitten that will always tell you what’s on her mind lo. She was very small but very hyper and just zipping around her house. She now has a home and I’ll be making excuses to go see her, as well as my friend who helped foster her. She’s a lot of fun and has one of those perfect personalities.
Then for Halloween, we traveled to see some family and stayed past Halloween. Luckily it was much warmer with where we were and trick or treating was so refreshing! It was a nice vacation and now it’s back to the regular routine lol.
How was your month in October? Did you read any of these books? If so, what did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!