Monthly Wrap-Up: October 2020

Hi everyone! Welcome to my October monthly wrap-up post. I am sure these will evolve over time, but for now I’ll include Book Coven book club, fave books you can buy now, books to look out for and books I want to read soon. I didn’t read a lot in October, partly because I read some amazing books that I wanted to read slowly to absorb every moment.

Book Club

Every month the mods of the Book Coven get us to suggest books that make up the book club bracket. We then vote all the way through to a final, and that’s the book we read together over the course of 3 weeks. Then the amazing Paragraphs and Pages asks us some super insightful questions and off we go.

This month we read two books, A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. Both of these books were on my 2020 most anticipated list and did not disappoint.

There’s been a lot of controversy about A Deadly Education which we discussed thoroughly. Whilst some elements of the book are problematic, some are very context dependent. I’d advise reading a variety of reviews and trying the book yourself. For me, the main character El is super driven by her morals and has some really heart-warming character growth. You can read more in my review here.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue also has it’s critcisms, but for me it told the story it wished to tell. I first read this book an ARC and just finished my second read of it. I don’t I’ve ever related to a book so much in my life, and discussing it with my friends who felt the same way during Book Club was honestly so validating. You can read my thoughts in my review here.

Next month we’ll be reading…The Once and Future Witches by Alix. E. Harrow. I think I’ll be skipping this one because I didn’t vibe with Ten Thousand Doors of January.

Favourites

So in addition to the Book Club picks, the other books I read really slowly were Jade City and Jade War by Fonda Lee. I read Jade City a year or two ago, so knew it was good, but I think this time it really hit me just how good it is? The plot is clever and intricate, the characters are all really likable despite the fact they do bad things. This book series is the definition of morally grey and I love it.

Check out my reviews:

Jade City | Jade War

I also re-read Ninth House, again a book that I read slowly to absorb all of the world-building. I think I liked it even more on the second read which is a big surprise. Alex Stern is one of my favourite characters of all time and I think the book contains one of my favourite quotes ever. You can see my review here.

I also read Vita Nostra as it was described as similar to A Deadly Education. It has a similar dark fantasy vibe but for me that’s where the comparison ends. I think I enjoyed it even more than Deadly because there was less info dumping. It was also really quite philosophical, asking what does it mean to exist? I can’t say I’ve read translated novels often, and I really enjoyed the different idioms. You can read my review to find out more about this unique magic school story.

Books to Look Out For

I took a little break from reading ARCs this month – though I did read The Ravens by Kass Morgan and Danielle Page. I was really disappointed with this book – it was very cliché, and for what could have been a book about strong female friendships their was a lot of betrayals.

November is the month you’ve all been waiting for though! It’s finally time for The Burning God to be released into the wild. You are in for a wild ride with this final book in The Poppy War series! I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book, you can see my review here.

Next month?

I think I should read The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin in November. I would also like to get around to Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko and The Switch by Beth O’Leary.

I also have some ARCs to catch up on – for November I have to read The Awakening by Nora Roberts and The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley.

That’s all from me, hope you enjoyed this book and also had a great month of reading. Looking forward to seeing what everybody has been up to. Have you read any of the books mentioned in this post? What did you think?

Six for Sunday (Scary Stories / Characters)

Hi everyone! This week I’m participating in Six for Sunday, a meme hosted by Steph at A Little But a Lot. This month, the focus is on pumpkin spice goodness, and this week’s topic is: Scary Stories / Characters

1) Mexican Gothic – one of the only horror books I’ve ever picked up is so creepy I can’t even begin to explain. The villains are absolutely vile.

2) Ninth House – another book with elements of horror that is really scary at times. Creepy setting, opens with some horrible scenes, litters them throughout. Excellent world-building.

3) Jade City – this book is fresh in my mind and has some really scary characters in it. Even the protagonists are scary! I feel like Fonda Lee has made me scared to finish this series because she is not afraid to write absolutely anything.

4) Parable of the Talents – the sequel to Parable of the Sower is even more harrowing, scarily relevant to present day and absolutely terrifying in its truths.

5) One Second After – this one isn’t usually my kind of read but my boyfriend got me to read it. It’s awful. Terrifying. Shows all the flaws of humanity. It is real, punched me in the gut a few times, gives you hope only to tear it away.

6) Vox – I must say this was a disappointing read but the premise is terrifying for women everywhere. I hope nobody ever limits our words.

I’m not really a big fan of scary books so this was difficult. Have you read any of these? Looking forward to seeing all of your choices.

Hope everyone is doing well, feel free to share your posts below.

WWW Wednesday (14th October 2020)

Hi friends, it’s time for WWW Wednesday again. So, what’s it about? This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived on Taking on a World of Words. Here are my answers to the three Ws!

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab….again! But this time, I have a gorgeous hardback instead of the eARC. I’m reading it really slowly, really noticing and absorbing all the messages. I have even put sticky tabs in for my favourite quotes! This book is heart-breaking and comforting all at the same time and I love it with everything I have.

What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo for the second time. This time, I read it really slowly like I’m doing with Addie and honestly enjoyed it even more. Leigh’s show not tell world-building is exemplary. Galaxy Stern is one of my favourite characters and I really can’t wait to see where her story takes her in the next book. Do check out the trigger warnings – this one has a lot. You can check out my review if you want to.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I think I’m going to read From Blood and Ash, but that may change. I also really want to read The Broken Earth Trilogy and do a Jade City re-read since I just purchased Jade War. We will see where my mood takes me!

What do you think of these choices? I am so excited to make more progress on my to be read.

In other news, I do not have COVID, so I’m back at work loving life. Hope everyone is doing well.

Book Review: Ninth House

A year ago, after reading Ninth House for the first time, I met Leigh Bardugo and asked her about the British weather. Today, I finish my re-read after a week of slow reading. Reading this book slowly, taking it all in, I enjoyed it even more than the first time. The magic is unique, elements are horrifying, and the characters draw you into this wild story completely. I recommend you read it slowly, absorb the detail, the atmosphere. This is a masterpiece. It should be noted that it is adult horror, and you should absolutely check out the long list of trigger warnings.

Star rating: 5 stars

Ninth House is and adult fantasy – horror that follows Galaxy ‘Alex’ Stern and Daniel ‘Darlington’ Arlington in a story that mixes present day and flashbacks. Alex is the central protagonist – she had a rough life growing up, partly due to the fact she can see Grays – also known as ghosts. When Lethe House of Yale University gets wind of this, she’s recruited to be Darlington’s successor. They have one year to train Alex, but things at Yale are not what they seem.

What makes this book is that the reader discovers the world-building just as Alex does. There are no info dumps, the reader is thrown in to pick up the details along the way. Alex is a protagonist you can really get on side with – she’s gritty, street smart and the way she still has hope, that she makes the reader hope for her, after all that she been through is just heart-breaking.

Darlington is the opposite of Alex – he grew up in a mansion, had access to the best education, and was always destined for success. But his back story reveals more, and he becomes another character I empathised with greatly. The flashback chapters with Alex and Darlington together are excellent.

At the centre of the plot is Alex unravelling a series of mysteries – a murder, several Yale societies involved, nobody she can trust. She does this with the help of Detective Turner who is one of my favourite side characters. Alex’s roommates Mercy and Lauren are also great – I really liked that despite Alex’s crazy life there are flashes of normality as she develops friendships with ordinary girls (I love how Alex defends them).

Overall this is one of my favourite books, Leigh Bardugo has grown so much as a writer since Shadow and Bone. I’m eagerly anticipating the sequel.

WWW Wednesday (7th October 2020)

Hi friends, it’s time for WWW Wednesday again. So, what’s it about? This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived on Taking on a World of Words. Here are my answers to the three Ws!

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I absolutely love this book, and on this re-read I’m going slowly in order to take it all in. I’m a big fan of the protagonist, Alex Stern. She’s had such a rough life but is really doing the most. It is a. ADULT horror though, so don’t go into it without reading the trigger warnings as there’s plenty of graphic descriptions.

What did you recently finish reading?

Welcome to another of my favourite books of the year. It didn’t start too strongly for me but by the end it left me eagerly anticipating what happens next. The protagonist, El Higgins, is so easy to get behind. She’s got walls up for good reason, and she had really heart-warming character development during a tense, deadly plot. You can read my thoughts in my review, which has actually turned into one of my more popular reviews!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Okay, so I don’t often re-read books with this small of a gap in between, but I can’t help it with this one. Now I have a physical copy I am so excited to be absorbed in Addie and Henry’s world again. It’s also a Book Coven book club pick along with A Deadly Education so looking forward to discussing both of them with my friends.

What do you think of these choices? I am so excited to make more progress on my to be read.

In other news, I do not have COVID, so I’m back at work loving life. Hope everyone is doing well.

Top Ten Tuesday (Covers with fall vibes)

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This is my first Top 10 Tuesday post, and this week the theme is Book Covers with Fall Colors/Vibes (or spring if you live in the southern hemisphere)

1) The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. I reread this book recently (review here) and the cover has such autumn vibes with it’s reds, oranges and greens. Definitely gorgeous.

2) Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I’m not sure why this one gives my fall vibes, I think it’s because it has that lovely brown snake and a horror / Halloween feel? Anyway, it’s a great book that I’m reading right now as I write this.

3) The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. Again it’s definitely the orange that gives me all the autumn feels. I also tend to read this book in autumn. I met Samantha and got my book signed in October last year.

4) Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco. This is another book for spooky system with a great cover! I read an ARC recently and it was a really good fit for Halloween his year!

5) Uprooted by Naomi Novik. It’s probably the mushrooms giving me a fall feeling! Also I love forests in autumn.

6) With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. This one has gorgeous autumnal colours! It’s also a really amazing book that you should absolutely check out sometime.

7. The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty. The conclusion to an amazing trilogy that I’m still not really over. Please read so we can cry together.

8) The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco. Spooky witchy vibes? Yes please. I love this cover, it’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s a beautifully written book too.

9) The Familiars by Stacey Halls. This is a really heart-breaking book that an old friend recommended to me. I really loved it, I think I’ll re-read it soon. Look at all those leaves. And the cute fox. Such beautiful cover art!

10) The Betrayals by Bridget Collins. More autumn colours. I rated this ARC 5 stars but I’m still debating whether I liked one of the plot twists or not! Anyway, we have to agree the cover is gorgeous – and my Waterstones special edition pre-order has sprayed edges. There’s still time to pre-order!

There we have it, some autumnal covers. It was harder to do this than I thought it would be! I’ve gone for some Halloween vibes, some autumn leaves vibes, some colour vibes. What do you think? Feel free to link your posts below!