October Reading Round Up

Happy Halloween, friends! If you want a quick, spooky, read check out my post from Friday where I try some Flash Fiction!

For October, I decided to focus my reading on thrillers, horror, and urban fantasy. Or just books which featured Halloween type creatures. Which made this month really fun and a little creepy. What more do you need at Halloween? 

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Some notes on how I review:

I rate books on a 5 star scale. One being the lowest, five the highest. Most of the books you see me review will get at least a 3 star rating because I enjoyed it. Usually, if I'm not enjoying a book, I don't finish it, and therefore won't have much of a review. Then, I also have included trigger warnings for those who find those helpful. If there are any I have missed, please let me know. 

These are all of my personal opinions on each book. If you would like plot summaries, click on the title of the book and it will lead you to it's Goodreads page. 

Also, when you see my use of the word "trope," do not take it as a negative comment, particularly with romance books. It is simply a term to express different standards in the genre. (Ex. friends to lovers trope)

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

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  • Genre: Dark Fantasy
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Rating: 4 Stars

I started this book in September and finished it at the beginning of October. The only thing with this book is that I personally wasn't able to focus on it as much as I would have liked. I'm not sure what it was, but I don't think I was in the right mindset for it. I may need to go back and do some re-reading at some point. 

But, I will say my favorite part of this book was Mia's emotional arc. It was fascinating to watch her see what she was becoming and having to deal with that and the choices she makes in light of it. It's intense, dark, graphic, and the end was great! If you liked the first book, you'll like this one too. 

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy: The first book Nevernight, you like the idea of the Throne of Glass series but want something more intense and dark, assassins, gladiators
  • Trigger Warnings: graphic violence, graphic sexual scenes, slavery, abuse, injury, sickness... basically the whole book is one big trigger warning. It's pretty dark. 

The Diviners by Libba Bray

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  • Genre: Young Adult Historical Paranormal
  • Format: Audiobook
  • Rating: 5 stars

This was my favorite book this month. It was SO SO GOOD. I've been meaning to read it for years and everyone who's read it has told me I'd love it and they were right! 

Evie was such a delightful protagonist being a fun, party-girl, flapper living up life in the 1920s but showing everyone around her she's more than what she appears. But I loved all of the other characters too. It switches between several points of view and towards the end they start to come together, and I can't wait to start the second book to see how they all connect. The 1920s setting was fun, the paranormal mystery was soooooo creepy, and there are some budding romances I'm excited to see develop. This was also perfect for Halloween because it was creepy enough where I had that Halloween feel and got chills, but wasn't so creepy where I had nightmares. 

I listened to the audiobook for this and I highly recommend it. The narrator is amazing and I'll for sure be listening to the remainder of the series. 

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy: other books by Libba Bray, the 1920s, ghost stories, ensemble casts
  • Trigger Warnings: mild violence, nightmares, murders (relatively "off screen"), sexism, using religion for violence and hate, hate crimes, ghosts and occult, racism 

Magic Breaks by Illona Andrews

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  • Genre: Urban Fantasy
  • Format: Library Paperback
  • Rating: 4.5 Stars

I just can't get enough of the Kate Daniels series! It's so perfect and wonderful and there aren't enough words to express how awesome it is! 

I wish I could give more details about this one, but since it's the 7th in the series, I can't share a whole lot without giving away spoilers. The book starts with an intro from the authors saying how it has the feel of a finale, but it's not a finale. It wraps up one story arc, and the next book will continue with another one. It did have that feel a bit, but I definitely could tell the story was still going to go on. The only reason I bumped it down to 4.5 stars is that the first half I had a hard time focusing and getting into it. Which, that's pretty typical for me and these books. But it was worse than usual. 

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy: the other Kate Daniels books, urban fantasy, epic battles, love stories
  • Trigger Warnings: graphic violence, torture, starvation

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K Hamilton

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  • Genre: Urban Fantasy
  • Format: ebook
  • Rating: 3 stars

I've been meaning to try the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter books for a long time now. It's one of the staples of the urban fantasy and helped bring the genre into the spotlight. Halloween was the perfect time to give it a shot.

This book was... okay. The world was interesting and the villain was fantastic. But compared to other urban fantasies, I felt it didn't really live up. If I had read this book as my introduction to urban fantasy as so many other people did, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more. At the same time, I also know that when I start a new urban fantasy series it takes me a couple of books to really get into it. So, that being said, I'll still try the next one or two to see if my opinion changes. 

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy: Vampires, zombies, urban fantasy, books with creepy children antagonists
  • Trigger Warnings: violence, sexual abuse, scars

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

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  • Genre: Young Adult Slasher/Horror/Thriller
  • Format: ebook
  • Rating: 3.5 Stars

This was... interesting. I literally never read slasher/horror/thriller books. Or at least it's pretty rare when I do. Back in Jr. High and High School I read some Lois Duncan books (she wrote I Know What You Did Last Summer) but since then... not so much. Therefore, I don't have any reference as to what to compare this book to. 

Stephanie Perkins is popular for her adorable contemporary romances, and I'm a HUGE fan of her books. But, she's a big fan of horror and slasher movies, so she gave writing this book a try. There was definitely the cute teen romance Perkins excels at, and I liked them a lot. (Although, not as much as her others.) The mystery was... fine. There were a couple moments I got creeped out, but not as much as I would have hoped from a book of this genre. But, it was entertaining and a good quick Halloween read.

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy: Lois Duncan Books, Slasher Movies, Contemporary Teen Romance, bad-boy-loner trope
  • Trigger Warnings: Blood, gore, violent murders, hazing

I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells

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  • Genre: Horror/Thriller
  • Format: ebook
  • Rating: 5 Stars

This book was the surprise of the month. I read it in practically one sitting and it was incredible. Dan Wells is one of the hosts for my favorite writing podcast, Writing Excuses, and I've been wanting to read one of his books for a while. This one I had found on sale for Kindle a while back and it became a movie so I figured it was a good place to start. I knew I'd probably enjoy it, but not as much as I did. 

I loved that John Cleaver grew up in a morgue because I grew up in a funeral home, so that was really fun for me! And I learned more about body preparation in the first four chapters than I did in the 18 years I lived in a funeral home! 

This book is more of a character study than anything else, and it was fascinating. It was like being in the mind of a serial killer, but the character isn't ACTUALLY a serial killer. Then seeing his spiral downward and the paranormal twist... SO GOOD. This book was incredible and I can't wait to read the next one and watch the movie. 

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy: horror, character studies, psychology, paranormal, unique home settings
  • Trigger Warnings: dead bodies, brutal murder, sociopathic tendencies 

The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu

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  • Genre: Urban Fantasy
  • Format: Paperback
  • Rating: 3.5 Stars

This book's concept is super fascinating! She's a demon hunter (the last demon hunter) but has these tattoos covering her body which are also demons who protect her. The tattoos are passed down from mother to daughter with each generation. The world was dark and gritty, and I really liked how the focus of the book was more on the bond between mother-daughter-grandmother vs. the romance. There is a romantic interest(who is a Pied-Piper former priest who has to walk with a cane and is AMAZING), but they're already in a committed relationship and it's not the main focus. Which, that is unusual in books in general but particularly for this genre. 

The big thing that made it not a full 4 or 5 star book is that it was hard to follow sometimes. Part of it was also my fault because I was reading it as part of a read-a-thon at the end of October, so I did a lot more speed reading than I normally would have. But, I definitely want to continue with this series. 

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy: urban fantasy, own voices, demons, magic, family-focused stories
  • Trigger Warnings: abuse, torture

The Witches of Echo Park by Amber Benson (aka: Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

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  • Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
  • Format: Paperback
  • Rating: 3.5 Stars

Surprisingly, I did not read this book because the actress who plays Tara from Buffy wrote it. I found it on the Barnes and Noble website for like $2 and when I realized who the author was it was just an added bonus. 

I really liked how the focus of this book was on the bond of the blood sisters. It's definitely a female-squad-goals type of a book which I really like. You get the different perspectives of each of the sisters and you see flashbacks of what happened in the past which I really enjoyed. Benson has a beautiful writing style as well. It felt a little cramped though. She wanted to put so much into it that things felt rushed. There also were some moments which dealt with sexual abuse and a drugged sex fantasy scene which made me feel a bit uncomfortable. But, I would be open to reading other books in the series.

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy: Movies like Practical Magic and The Craft, witches, magic, squad goals
  • Trigger Warnings: sexual and physical abuse

Currently Reading:

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

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  • Genre: Mystery
  • Format: Audiobook

With the movie coming out in November, I decided it was high time I read the book. I read And Then There Were None back in Jr. High but nothing else by Agatha Christie. I know, it's a crime.

It's good so far, I'm about halfway through. I'm listening to the audiobook narrated by Dan Stevens (Matthew from Downton Abbey and the beast from Beauty and the Beast ) and OH GOODNESS HE'S AMAZING. All of his voices are perfect! I will definitely listen to other books he's narrated after this. 

 

So, what have you been reading this month? Do you do anything particular to get into the Halloween spirit?