October Wrap Up

I love October, and October was a pretty good reading month, all things considered.

I went to my first librarian conference and finished a short story…and had two things accepted for publication! One is a kickstarter campaign that launched last month and the other was a novella that had been published earlier this year until the publisher went out of business. So it’s ironic that my second chance novella got a second chance!

Anywho, I read 11 books this month, five book, four audiobooks and two graphic novels for a total of 4206 pages (counting audiobooks), and about 42 hours of audiobooks (I listen at 1.25 or 1.5 speed).

For my 2019 reading challenge I’m at 170 for the year, which I’m pretty happy about because I’ve never read this many books in a year before! I usually average 145-150. This June I had set a super secret reading goal of 200, but new job, new house and wife coming back from deployment meant less reading time for me. So I’m settling with whatever I end up at instead of pushing myself and stressing out about reading for numbers instead of reading for pleasure.

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This kinda feels like it’s cheating, since both The Prince and the Dressmaker and Squire are rereads, and Squire is one of my top 10 favorite books of all time. But I was feeling kinda slumpy mid-October (seriouly I feel like all of the past couple months has been slumpy) and was wanting to read something that would rekindle my joy of reading again. And like a charm, these did the trick. If you haven’t read any Tamora Pierce and want to read old school young adult fantasy, I highly recommend either The Lioness Quartet or The Protector of the Small Quartet (Squire is book 3 in the latter series), which are part of her overarching Tortall series. On a more serious note, The Color of Law was eye-opening (well, to me, middle aged—yes I die a little inside every time I say that—white lady, and probably not those who have been subjected to systematic racism their entire lives), brilliant and something that should be required reading for all white people, “woke” or not.

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Lots of awesome four star reads this month! Verity was a whatthefuckjusthappened read, and I was not prepared…and neither was my wife when I started giving her a scene by scene breakdown of everything (she was like, “uh this is exactly like a Lifetime movie” and I very emphatically said “no it’s NOT!”). Since I was having no support in the spousal quadrant, I turned to my friend and promptly shoved the audiobook onto her phone because something like this had to be shared. So now I share it with you all…again. Seriously, join me in this what-the-fuckery.

On the tamer side of things, the rest of the four stars were solid and enjoyable but not omg-what. How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse was my perfect coffee-sipping space opera fairy tale retelling. A little draggy in the middle but overall lots of fun. I also love comedy of manners books and this was exactly that. Pumpkinheads was a graphic novel that hit the sweet spot of queer adorability and peak nostalgic autumnness (totally a word), with a soft male lead and a bouncy queer woman of color lead. Ancestral Night was just fantastic and one of those thinky science fiction books that peruse what makes someone human and what makes a society function ethically or morally or just function at all. What even is government? What is sentience? And it’s all wrapped up in an intergalactic chase complete with space pirates, space cats and huge space whale thingies. And the audiobook is fantastic. Wrapping up my four star reads was Ninth House, which was…honestly probably more in the 3.5 star range than solid 4 stars? I have a feeling that I gave it four stars because how dare you give Leigh Bardugo anything less, but seriously it was…not what I expected. Not based on the blurb, not based on her previous writing, and so I’m not sure if I was underwhelmed because of my high expectations or what. I have a feeling that if it wasn’t a Bardugo book, I probably would have DNF’d it. I am happy I finished it though, because the last 100 pages made up for the previous 300 of sloggedly slog.

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And now to my three stars, which were all enjoyable and good but not amazing.

Do You Dream of Terra-Two was solid, but I feel like it suffered from some editing and pacing issues, as the middle two hundred pages dragged on forever, and the finale was very, very rushed. It’s a very solid read of life on a long-term space voyage with all of its psychological impacts and the very real danger of living in space. It had so much potential, but just didn’t grab me like I wanted it to.

The Babysitters Coven was a neat mash-up of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Babysitters Club, but I wanted more spookiness? And more actual Scooby-Squad nature to the group? Instead it was just a couple of girls who coincidentally were babysitters and drifted in and out of each other’s orbits and found they could say some words and do cool tricks. It was…okay. I think younger teens will enjoy it and feel like they’re reading something for older teens since Esme is 17.

Twice in a Blue Moon was…meh. I loved the previous two Christina Lauren books I read this year, and they were pee-my-pants hilarious, but this one was radically different in tone, pacing and plot. I was bored out of my mind during the younger romance, particularly since I did not care for Sam Brandis at all. I did, however, love Sloan. I really enjoyed her thoughts and feelings during both timelines, and I was on board with everything in the book up until the 92% mark and then I just..wasn’t. Second chance romances are very, um, hit or miss with me, because there’s generally a reason things didn’t work out the first time. Call me a cynic, I don’t care.

And that’s it!

What did you read that you loved? Have you read the books I read this month? What are your thoughts?

4 thoughts on “October Wrap Up

  1. I’m so glad you liked Ancestral Night! It’s been months and I still think about it, for the way it talked about democracy/society in general – it had so many things to say and yet it never became a “message book” and I loved that about it, so much.
    And that’s somewhat encouraging about Ninth House. I’ve been putting it off because everyone keeps saying it’s slow, but I can do slow if the ending is worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

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