In October, I had a pretty ambitious TBR, because I wanted to participate in two readathons and also read spooky books. I did all this in the first half of the month and then I just ended up reading whatever I wanted, especially because a few things happened in my personal life and I needed comfort reads.
I ended up reading 33 books and overall, I had a really successful reading month!
My plan for November is to participate in IndigAThon, a readathon aimed at reading Indigenous authors, and my TBR for that will hopefully be up soon.
In this post, I’ll share my Goodreads reviews of my 4 and 5 star reads of October. Want to keep track of my reading in more detail? Feel free to add me on Goodreads!
M.L. Rio – If We Were Villains
I finally read this, and let me tell you, my expectations were through the roof when I started it, because I’ve seen so many people absolutely become obsessed with it. And at first, I thought it wasn’t going to live up to my expectations. The first part of the book felt introductory and didn’t really draw me in. But then the murder happened, and I was really drawn in, and I could absolutely not put it down. I actually expected this to be a rather slow read, but I ended up reading it in one evening because I wanted to find out what had happened.
I will say my expectations were probably still too high and even though I absolutely loved what this book did, it also left me craving more. I especially wanted to get to know the characters better, even though I understand the book worked best this way. They were just so interesting and I would have liked to see more of them.
This book gets compared to The Secret History a lot, but I would say it’s definitely the better book. This book was everything I wanted when I read The Secret History some 10 years ago, so yeah.
Sarah Rees Brennan – Fence: Striking Distance
Hi, yes, okay, this was delightful! But also, any kind of Fence content always leaves me craving MORE, and while there definitely was progress to the romantic aspect of the story (finally!!), it was still such a slow burn and PLEASE, get me out of my misery!
On a more serious note, I really liked how this novel delved more into the characters’ lives outside of fencing, and I feel like it was a good opportunity to get to know them better.
You might be wondering if you can read this novel without having read the graphic novels, and while I do think you can, I also think a lot of the novel’s entertainment value hinges about you already caring about these characters, and I think you’ll appreciate it most if you’ve read the graphic novels (up until the most recent one – volume 4).
Marieke Nijkamp – Even If We Break
I started this book last night, then stayed up to finish it, because I absolutely needed to know how it would end. And admittedly, it was pretty scary at times, although I’ll be the first to admit I’m easily spooked. It was a very fun thriller, especially because I loved the characters, and I loved the RPG aspect and how it was weaved into the story. I will say I figured out who did it immediately, which was a bit of a shame to me, but I still had a really good time reading this.
Most importantly though, it was pretty amazing how out of 5 main characters, I got to see myself in 3 of them: there’s a trans guy, a non-binary person and an autistic person. That’s a MAJORITY of the characters, I can hardly believe it! And it’s also great for those looking for rep of physical disability, because both the trans guy and the autistic girl are disabled/have chronic pain.
I also absolutely adore how the romance in this book was between the trans guy and the non-binary character. This feels pretty revolutionary to me, and I’m not sure I’ve read this before, or at least not very often. I love how they found each other even though both of them felt like they didn’t deserve to be loved because of who they were.
Sara Lövestam – Als vuur
I read and reviewed this Dutch translation of a Swedish sapphic summer romance on my bookstagram!
Caleb Roehrig – The Fell of Dark
I didn’t review this book, but I really enjoyed it! Would highly recommend if you like vampire books.
Alyssa Cole – When No One Is Watching
Thanks to Libro.fm for the Audio Listening Copy in exchange for my honest review!
This is really such a creepy, well constructed and well written thriller. It was my second Alyssa Cole book and it seems like she can just write anything amazingly. I listened to the audiobook in a few sittings and it kept me on the edge of my seat. The build-up of suspense and the mystery unravelling was so well done.
While I’m normally not a huge fan of thrillers, this one worked amazingly for me, for a couple of reasons. Most importantly, the story is just so incredibly relevant and I’ve never read anything like this before. It’s frighteningly easy to imagine this all being real. Secondly, the characters really drew me in, where they’re normally quite flat in a thriller, which kept me engaged and raised the stakes for me.
N.R. Walker – Upside Down
This will be a new comfort read for me, I can already tell. It was such a validating, warm hug. And when Hennessy told Jordan “you’re just as asexual as you need to be” I cried so hard I had to put the book down.
Ashley Poston – Bookish and the Beast
I’d seen some mixed reviews for this, and because of that, my expectations were kinda low. But I needn’t have worried, because this was just as delightful as the rest of the series. I loved the use of tropes and Vance really stole my heart.
Christina Lauren – The Unhoneymooners
I didn’t review this book but it was an absolutely delightful romcom, and I really want to read more Christina Lauren books now.
TJ Klune – Brothersong
This is probably the most negative 5 star review I'm ever going to write. I feel really underwhelmed by this book.
I’m still giving it 5 stars because I love these characters so much and I’m sentimental like that. But honestly, I was expecting so much more from this book. Hundreds and hundreds of pages, but truly not a lot happens. Not plotwise, but also not in terms of romance or character development. After Heartsong being such a trip, this feels very anticlimactic to me.
I also had two issues. One is that there’s an aromantic character who’s in a QPR. WHICH IS AMAZING. But. The other characters talk about this like it’s really weird, and one of them literally says, in reference to the QPR: “Straight people are weird.” Like… sure, they are, but this character you’re talking about is not straight??? Aromantic people are LGBTQ+. CAN WE NOT DO THIS WTF.
My other issue was that throughout the entire book, Carter would call Gavin “dude” and Gavin would say not to call him that. This is just really not cool. It’s not clear why Gavin doesn’t want this – it could be for gender reasons but also for entirely different reasons – but it also doesn’t matter. If someone sets a clear boundary like that, you respect it. It’s not cute or quirky to keep crossing that boundary.
I know this makes it sound like I somehow really disliked this book, but I swear, I did love most of it. I guess it just doesn’t live up to the rest of the series for me, and I probably overhyped it for myself.
A.J. Sass – Ana on the Edge
I keep repeating myself but there’s truly nothing more validating than seeing yourself in a middlegrade novel. I will never not find this so special. It will never not leave me as an emotional mess.
I’ve been looking forward to this book for so long and it was exactly what I hoped for. I really saw myself in the way Ana experiences social dysphoria, I felt the portrayal of it in my bones, and I cried multiple times toward the ending. I hope this book will be all this and more for non-binary kids.
Nita Tyndall – Who I Was With Her
I cried my way through this. Literally. I have a headache now from crying so much. But it was just so damn good.
I expected the book to be mainly focused on the theme of grief, and it was, and it was very sad. But it also dealt a lot with the pressure to come out, and how terrifying it is to come out, and not being sure if you even want to. This resonated with me a lot.
Roan Parrish – Better Than People
This was so wholesome and fluffy, istg. I finished it like an hour ago and I still feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It was just what I wanted from a comfort read, it was just such a cosy romance.
I’m a huge homebody myself and I also have anxiety, and while the anxiety rep was… a lot, sometimes, I did end up loving it, and especially how it was handled in terms of the expectations from a new relationship. I just loved the characters, and the pets, and I can definitely see myself revisiting this if I’m in need of comfort.
Rebecca Burgess – How to Be Ace
I’m aromantic and asexual myself, and I’m very excited to be able to review this book during this year’s Asexual Awareness Week!
Honestly, the chapter titles already hit me HARD. Like… that in itself already almost made me cry. Then of course I was full on crying from how relatable it was from the very first few pages. I have to admit I teared up a couple of times, because Rebecca’s life experience was so incredibly similar to mine.
Because of that, this was such an incredibly relatable and validating experience that made me feel really seen. I think it would be a great resource for people who want to learn more about asexuality out of interest or because they’re questioning if they’re on the asexual spectrum.
One small thing I didn’t love was how aromanticism was presented as an identity under the asexual umbrella. Allosexual (non-asexual) aromantic people exist, and aromanticism is its own identity/umbrella.
Rep: asexual, wlw, OCD
CWs: bullying, OCD, aphobia, mlm fetishization
Casey McQuiston – One Last Stop
Yes, I actually got to read this already. I still can’t really believe it. My review will be up very soon!!
Stephan Lee – K-Pop Confidential
I had so much fun reading this! It was a WILD ride, and I had the best soundtrack (it’s in the back of the book!). This was such an insightful look of what goes on behind the scenes of K-pop, and our main character Candace had a super fresh voice. I only started listening to K-pop a few months ago and I’m very much a casual fan – I love the music but other than that I don’t really know a lot about it – and this was super educational. I think this’ll be a great read both for die hard K-pop stans and people who don’t know anything about it but want to know more!
My one downside is that I would have liked the ending to be fleshed out more. I was so engaged throughout the entire book, and then the ending just felt really rushed and I think it had the potential to do more. But then again, this could maybe be taken on in a sequel???
Jessica Jung – Shine
My review will be up soon!
Jordan Ifueke – Raybearer
“Do you love me now, Tarisai of Swana?”
The award for most precious side character goes to Dayo for sure. He stole my heart immediately and I would gladly give my life for him.
On a more serious note, this book is a MASTERPIECE. I feel like I’ve read a book series with 5 installments with how much happened in the book, yet I never got confused or overwhelmed but it was always just as engaging and interesting. So many twists and turns, such masterful storytelling, I’m honestly blown away.
From the very first page up until the very last, I felt absolutely transported into this story. I loved everything about it – the strong cast of characters, the amazing world building, the intrigue and the many twists and turns. I could never do it justice in a review, but I hope it’s clear that I’d HIGHLY recommend this.
If you’re going to read this book, the audiobook is an absolute must. It’s so SO good. I personally listened to the audio while reading along in my physical copy and it was so immersive.
How many books did you end up reading this month? What was your favourite read of the month?