Hello everyone! So, here I am. Back from my accidental two-week hiatus. Life has been a little more busy for me than usual because of my new kitten and because I wanted to focus more on reading as many creepy and cozy books as possible, which I think I accomplished. Since I didn’t get to update too much this month, here are updates and mini reviews of all 16 books I read in October.
1. Bruja Born by Katherine Arden: I was just as annoyed with the characters in this book as I was with the first one…probably even more. I don’t like reading about people willingly and continuously making stupid decisions and this is a perfect example of that. I appreciate the representation, I just don’t think this kind of story is for me. (Audiobook) ★★★☆☆
2. Small Spaces by Katherine Arden: This was an overall good, creepy middle grade read. It had such great atmosphere, it reminded me of when I was a kid reading Goosebump books. (Audiobook) ★★★★☆
3. Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert: I received an ARC for this book on NetGalley (still can’t believe it!) and loved it. The characters were so cute and the story was a lot of fun. I have yet to write a full review, but look out for it soon. As always, Talia Hibbert delivered on the romance! (eBook) ★★★★☆
4. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón: I wrote a
rant review about this book, which you can check out here. Basically, I enjoyed the atmosphere and did not enjoy the way the women in the book were written. Disappointing. (Physical Owned) ★★☆☆☆
5. Me by Elton John: I am a huge fan of Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s music, so naturally, I enjoyed listening to this on audio. I can’t really judge this book since it’s an autobiography, but if you are a fan like I am, then you will probably appreciate learning more about Elton’s life. It truly felt like I was hearing a friend tell me about his crazy life. (Audiobook) ★★★★☆
6. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson: Yikes. I read this for a buddy read with my best friend and we both didn’t end up enjoying it at all. The main character was annoying and the period of the story could have been any era even though it was supposed to be a regency. Truly forgettable. (Physical Owned) ★★☆☆☆
7. Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford: Speculative fiction is one of my favorite genres because the stories are so weird and wide open to interpretation. This book fell right into that genre as it was completely odd and subtly menacing. I am glad I read it, I just didn’t love it. (Library Physical) ★★★☆☆
8. The Bakeshop at Pumpkin and Spice by Donna Kauffman, Kate Angell, Allyson Charles: I’ve gotta say, I clowned myself by reading this book. It’s a collection of three short stories that got increasingly boring as I read on. I read it because I loved the cover and ended up kind of hating it. (Audiobook) ★☆☆☆☆
9. Borage by Gill McKnight: I was pleasantly surprised by this book, which I bought because of the cute cover. I was under the impression that it was a romance, but it was pretty light on the romance. It was more of a quirky, cozy fantasy/mystery with fun characters and a side of sapphic romance. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series! (Physical Owned) ★★★★☆
10. Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enríquez, Translated by Megan McDowell: This was such a heavy book that tackled so many difficult issues through the lense of gothic horror. Some of the stories were lost on me, but many of them really freaked me out and left an impression, particularly the first and last stories. I also learned a few things that I didn’t previously know about the history of Argentina. So dark and disturbing. (Physical Library) ★★★★☆
11. The Passengers by John Marrs: This was a bit disappointing when compared with John Marrs’ other book The One, but it was interesting nonetheless. I loved the The One easter eggs more than anything. It was still a fun read and I can’t wait to read more of Marrs’ other thrillers. (Audiobook) ★★★1/2☆
12. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: This book was such a mess. The characters’ reactions to everything that was happening to them were confusing, there were too many many weak plot lines running through the whole book, and the endless details were exhausting. The show, which I watched after reading truly made the story make any semblance of sense. The book could have done with more editing. I can’t believe that I slogged through this 24 hour audiobook and that I am still interested in reading the next book to see what happens next. It’s the atmosphere…it’s the atmosphere. (Audiobook) ★1/2☆☆☆
13. Coraline by Neil Gaiman: This is a story that completely consumed me when I first read it as a kid. Of course it didn’t have the same effect on me as it did then and it isn’t as amazing as the film in my opinion, but it still gave me very weird nightmares. It gets four stars for that alone. (Audiobook) ★★★★☆
14. Vita Nostra by Marina Dyachenko Sergey Dyachenko, translated Julia Meitov Hersey: I don’t even know where it start with this book. It was so weird, so creepy, so menacing…right up my alley with all of its abstract oddness. This is not a book for everyone, but the dark academia, Kafka vibes were just right for me. I have never read anything that is so true to the dread and anxiety of higher education. Maybe something to read after you are finished with your university career if you are currently attending school. I think this would make me dread school even more if I read it while in university. I absolutely loved it. Please book gods, please! Give us the rest of the translated series!!! (Physical Library) ★★★★★
15. Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones: I love Stephen Graham Jones’ horror stories (The Only Good Indians). This is a short horror, slasher novella that kept me eagerly flipping the pages. Definitely gorey, definitely creepy. A perfect book for when I read it on Halloween. (eBook) ★★★★☆
16. The Seep by Chana Porter: Another speculative fiction! This story got under my skin with all of its alieness. The title of the first part, “The Softest Invasion”, is such a great quick explanation of the story. I loved the LGBTQ+ representation and the world that Chana Porter builds in only 200 pages. (Library Physical) ★★★★☆
Movies & TV
Even though I wasn’t a big fan of the execution of A Discovery of Witches as a book, I ended up loving the show (thank you to free trials!). It is everything I wanted the book to be and I am so upset that I have to wait until January for the next season…that’s honestly the only reason I’m considering reading the next book in the series.
I feel like I’m very late to the Great British Bake Off party, but I’m glad I finally got around to watching. I’m slowly going through the past seasons as new episodes come out and I’m loving how wholesome it is! It also makes me hungry for all the sweets.
The Haunting of Hill House is probably one of my all time favorite shows, so when this came out I needed to watch it. My mom and I watched 90% of the series in one night. We just couldn’t stop. It wasn’t as perfect or as scary as Hill House, but it kept us completely enthralled despite how slow it was. *Mild Spoiler Alert* I called the point of the show immediately. The love story was everything to me…oh simple sapphic domesticity in media how I love you so.
Song of the Month
My playlist for the month was completely dictated by the bands and music mentioned by Elton John in his autobiography. This is one of the songs that I’ve played the most this October. I saw him live three times and I wish I could go back in time to see him again. I’m getting major concert withdrawal at this point in the pandemic (I used to go to at least one concert a month for a while). *Sigh*
My life is currently ruled by my three month old kitten, Chiqui. I named her both because it’s short for Chiquita, which means small girl in spanish, and because of the iconic song, Chiquitita, by forever iconic Abba. I’ve been wanting to adopt a cat ever since I moved to a new apartment and she came right into the picture at the perfect time! She’s basically my perfect companion (and a great traveler for when I drive home to visit my family in California).
Phew, that was a lot! Do you have any cozy and/or holiday movies/shows to recommend? I want all the warm cozy things to enjoy, I feel like it’s going to be quite the next few months for all of us around the world. I hope you have a lovely month of November though, until next time!