October was a strange reading month for me. I’ve been extremely busy, so my reading has been more on-and-off this month than usual, and since I haven’t been able to make the trip to the library as often as I’ve grown accustomed to, on my last trip I picked up more than I was expecting to which further affected my plan for the month because it altered what I’d planned to read and also encouraged me to buy more books than strictly necessary. Below are my lists of newly acquired books, books I’ve completed in October, and my to-be-read list for November. Here’s how it turned out:
- The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. I actually heard of Burton’s newer book, The Muse, first, but since both books sounded interesting, I decided to read them in publication order, and therefore picked up this one when it became available. I know it has a historic setting, and features a tiny replica of a house that a Miniaturist is furnishing in ways that reveal hidden truths about reality in the home. I’m excited to see what else it has in store for me.
- Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten. I saw this one randomly on a store shelf a month or so ago and thought it sounded like the typical sort of psychological thriller I enjoy, except in YA form, which I’ve also been trying to read more of lately. I ended up picking up a different book that day instead, but I came back to this one. I considered reading it right away in October, but I just didn’t get around to it.
- Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. This is an author I’m interested in checking out, though I know very few specifics about her books. I want to just dive in. I’ve heard good things, and that’s enough for me in some cases. If Ransom Riggs approves, she’s worth looking into.
- Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi. This is the sequel to Shatter Me. I’ve been buying so many first-in-a-series books that when I came across this cheap sequel, I decided to just go ahead and add it to my collection. I’ll still have to find the third one, and it always feels like a gamble to buy more than one book in a series I haven’t tried yet, especially when I don’t have a clear idea of what the series is about, but I have this other dilemma: I don’t like reading a series when only the first book is available because I want to be able to continue immediately if I feel so inclined. Ideally, the best way for my book-buying system to work would be to buy the next book while I’m in the middle of the first, but that rarely works out. You have to get what’s available when it’s available.
- The Mistborn Trilogy boxed set by Brandon Sanderson (includes Mistborn, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages). Again, I know little about this series but it was cheaper to buy them as a set, and I have an odd inclination toward boxed sets. I’m fond of the sets I already own, and it’s nice to have all matching editions for once, which doesn’t always happen for me as I buy pieces of series rather erratically. Owning non-matching books in a series doesn’t particularly bother me, but why make it complicated if it doesn’t need to be? So I came across this set, and I know it’s a fantasy series with some great reviews, and I want to read more fantasy books, so it seemed like a good choice.
- Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. I had first seen this book a few months ago and was mildly attracted to the blue cover, the title, and the synopsis. Then this month I saw it was blurbed by Pierce Brown and Blake Crouch, one of whose books I love and the other of whom I haven’t read yet but predict I will enjoy immensely when I get around to reading him. I saw those blurbs, and I read the sci-fi/fantasy synopsis again, I learned that this was going to be a series, and I couldn’t resist. At $8 or so on Book Outlet I think this was my most expensive buy of the month, but I had to.
- The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johanson. Again, I’ve been meaning to read more YA, and more fantasy, and I thought this one sounded promising. I think the sequel to this book was recently released, which tells me this is a good time to start reading. I have so little patience with waiting for books that haven’t been published yet. I don’t like missing out on current book trends, but I feel a lot better having the entirety of a series available to me when I begin the first book. This is one I don’t want to miss out on, though.
- Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. This is another series (The Grisha series) that I’m interested in because of the author. I’ve heard such good things about both this series and the Six of Crows duology that I decided I had to pick up something written by Leigh Bardugo immediately. This is another fantasy YA novel, and I suspect I’ll be buying the next two books in this trilogy soon after I dive into this volume.
- Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. Another YA fantasy first-in-a-series book. (Definitely a trend here.) This one has an intriguing synopsis about a young runaway bride, her stilted betrothed, and her would-be assassin, I believe. That sounds promising, and I’ve heard great things about the narration, as well.
- The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey. I bought this one to balance out all of my first-in-a-series purchases. I haven’t actually read the first book in this series, The 5th Wave yet, but I’m planning to get to it before the end of the year.
- Jackaby by William Ritter. I found this one on Book Outlet during the site’s Booktoberfest Sale. I was initially drawn to the blue silhouette cover, but the historical setting of the book, along with the murder mystery synopsis, really piqued my interest. This one was definitely an impulse buy, but sometimes those are the best, and I was confident enough about it to also buy
- Beastly Bones by William Ritter. This is Jackaby‘s sequel, as beautiful and intriguing as the first book looked to me. I’m excited to check out a new series by an author I hadn’t heard of, and I managed to find these two cheap hardcover editions of the first books in the trilogy. I’m curious to try them and seek out a matching third book to complete the series.
- The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig. I love books that bend time and/or reality, and this YA novel seems to have a bit of both. The main character of this one is a passenger on a boat that can travel anywhere–to different times and worlds. I’m very drawn to that sort of possibility, and I hope the plot and narration will live up to my excitement for the layout of settings.
- The Beginning of Everything by Robin Schnieder. This is as close to YA contemporary as I want to be right now. I mostly exhausted my interest in that sort of book by the time I was fourteen, and other than a few favorite authors I may still consider revisiting, I don’t have much desire to carry on with them. But the main character of this one seems to have interesting views on tragedy, which I’m morbidly fascinated with, and after reading the synopsis I decided I wanted to see how that turned out for him.
- The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige. This is a sequel in a series I haven’t started yet (the Dorothy Must Die series), but I can just tell I’ll be interested enough to keep reading once I start. I’ve been tempted several times to pick up copies of later books in this series just so I’m ready to read them when I get there, so I saw this copy even cheaper on Book Outlet than I’d seen it anywhere else and decided it was the perfect excuse to give in and pick it up. If I can’t resist, I might as well save a few dollars on the inevitable purchase, right? I’m hoping to get started with this series in the next couple of weeks, so I think I picked a good time to buy.
- The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. I hate book covers with people on them. Abstract views are sometimes fine, but generally I don’t like having any sort of idea of what the characters should look like forced upon me. And yet, I’ve heard such good things about this series, which is complete now, that I couldn’t restrain myself from checking it out. I’ll just try to refrain from looking at its cover. This is another YA fantasy, which I think I have almost enough of now to pick a new fascination and move on…
- The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. Another YA fantasy. But this one had been on my list longer than most, and I didn’t think I’d ever find it cheaper than it was on the Booktoberfest Sale, so I caved. This is another one that deals with potential forced marriage, and it’s also a retelling of a classic story. Not one I’m very familiar with in this case, but I’ve been interested in retellings lately, and they open doors to other literary avenues.
- Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson. This is another first-in-a-series book with a little fantasy, a little romance, a little historical fiction, and apparently a little of everything. The cover is gorgeous (which I see as a bonus rather than a selling point, but a notable bonus at that), and the plot sounds intriguing. The sequel has been released recently, so I’m excited to start this one and see where it’ll lead.
As you can see, I bought a lot of books. In my defense, they were all cheap and you can never have too many books. Part of the reason I let myself go crazy on Book Outlet this month was because my October TBR wasn’t going as planned, I had less library access, and once my reading plan started slipping away it just kept going, taking my buying resistance with it. This is the first month since I started planning TBRs that my reading schedule really didn’t work out well for me. I ended up neglecting some books I’d hoped to read, adding others, struggling through a small reading slump, and just reading what I felt like when I felt like it to deal with everything. Here’s what I did manage to read in October:
- Golden Son by Pierce Brown. 5 out of 5 stars. This trilogy will rip your heart out, stomp on it, and make you love every second of it. No one is safe, nothing is sacred, and Brown is not afraid of taking his plot to extremes. I absolutely love this series, and I go back and forth between wanting to finish it immediately because I love it, and wanting to drag it out because I never want it to end. You can find my complete review here.
- The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. 3 out of 5 stars. This was my 52nd read of the year–the final book I needed to reach my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal for the year. I didn’t give any extra thought to which book was going to be my final challenge book, this just happened to be the next choice on my list. And I’m certainly not stopping here–I’m eager to see how far I can surpass my goal in the next two months, and I think I’ll post at the end of the year about how well the challenge ended up working for me in 2016. Anyway, I had mixed feelings about this book, and you can read all about them in my complete review, here.
- I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid. 4 out of 4 stars. This book was absolutely perfect for October. It was so completely strange and unexpected, easy to read but completely engaging. This is a great book to read in the dark. You can find my complete review here.
- A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. 4 out of 4 stars. I picked this one up because I’d heard such great things about the second book in this series. I didn’t love this first one, but it was good enough that I’m excited to continue on and see what the second volume has in store for me. A few of the characters were particularly compelling, and the end of the first book certainly leaves room for expansion as the series continues. Exciting stuff in YA these days, guys. You can find my complete review here.
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. 5 out of 5 stars. This is one I picked up somewhat unexpectedly and ended up loving to read at this time of year. There’s a mythical, magical quest, some supernatural details, great characters, and truly superb writing that makes this YA book a great read for all ages. I can’t wait to carry on with this series next month. You can find my complete review here.
- Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. 3 out of 5 stars. I was intrigued if not absolutely thrilled with Cinder, the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series, and so was excited to see where these books would take me next. I felt much the same about this sequel as I had in the first book, but I’m growing more and more excited for the culmination of all the threads weaving through these novels. I didn’t love this one, but I liked it enough that I’m still interested in continuing the series, which isn’t a bad reaction for books this long. You can find my complete review here.
- The Black Prism by Brent Weeks. 3 out of 5 stars. This is one I hadn’t planned on reading in October at all, and it was long enough that it really was the culprit in throwing off my TBR this month. I’ve been interested in reading more fantasy books, both YA and adult, and since I obviously had no trouble finding YA fantasies to choose from, the few adult fantasy series that caught my eye seemed that much more interesting for being harder to discover. I’m pickier about adult high fantasy. Or at least, I’m more cautious about delving into it, because it’s a bigger time commitment and it takes more thought. I think I wasn’t quite ready for it when I started this one, and that made it harder for me to really get into the story than it might have been at some other time. But once I’d started I was determined to push through, and I did. I had a lot of thoughts about this book and my experience with it, and my full review will be posted soon.
Although November will be another busy month for me, I want to get back on track with my reading. Life is good when the books are good, and I have so many good books to read that I won’t let one confused month ruin the next one. November is also a month to be thankful, and I’m so thankful to have new books on my shelves that I want to show them some appreciation by actually reading them, so for once I have more books that I own on my list than books that I plan to borrow from the library. This is what my November TBR looks like:
- The Revenant by Michael Punke. I’ve actually already started this one, because I thought I could still finish it in October and I wish I would’ve gotten to it sooner. It’s a historical fiction book about survival and revenge, and I really want to read the book so I can finally watch the movie, and I think this is a good time of year for it.
- It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. This one’s the last of my October library books, but I didn’t have it yet at the time I planned my October TBR so it fell through the cracks and ended up here at the beginning of November instead. This one’s Hoover’s newest adult romance novel, which I think will be a nice change of pace from all the YA and fantasy I spent October reading. If this one goes well, I also want to check out another Hoover book, Ugly Love, soon.
- Morning Star by Pierce Brown. With as much as I love the Red Rising series, I can’t believe I’ve managed to drag it out this long. It’s a big book and I’ve been too busy to just sit down and consume it like I want to, but I can’t put it off any longer. I have to find out what happens to Darrow in this final installment of the trilogy, and I’m beyond excited to see what’s between the covers of this volume. It’s going to be emotional torture, I can already tell. I can’t wait.
- The Girl Before by Rena Olsen. This is a psychological thriller I bought a couple of months ago and I wish I’d been able to read it in October, but I’m ready for it now instead. Psychological thrillers are usually quick and immersive for me, which will be a nice palate cleanser to keep me going after Morning Star rips me apart, and also by this time it’ll have been about a month since my last psychological thriller, so it’ll be nice to get back into the mindset of suspense and suspicion.
- Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige. This is the first book in a YA series that re-imagines the Wizard of Oz story. I’m a fan of Oz, and I’ve been interested in retellings for a while now, so this is my YA pick of the month. Also, I now own the second book in this series, so it seems like a good time to start.
- The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. I bought this one in June and it’s been nagging me that I haven’t read it yet. It’s an adult fantasy novel about a powerful library and its godlike possessors. That was enough to hook me, especially after I found it in a place of honor at my favorite bookstore. I suspect this one has truly great things in store for me.
- Cress by Marissa Meyer. I’ve been enjoying The Lunar Chronicles, and I want to keep going while they’re fresh in my mind. I think I can finish the series this year, although I believe there are two more books I’ll have to read in December to keep on track with that. Still, it sounds like a productive and manageable reading goal, and I do want to find out how it’ll all end.
- The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. I really did love the first book in this series, and it left me hanging. I’m looking forward to finding out what’ll happen next, and this is another series that I think I may be able to finish relatively soon, which sounds nice considering I have so many new ones I want to be starting. I have such a terrible memory for plot (which makes rereading more fun) that I really can’t put a series on the back burner for too long without forgetting key details. But I also like mixing other books in between volumes in a series (which I’ve been doing more of lately than usual) because that helps combat reading slumps for me. So one or two books of a series per month seems to be a good balance for me these days, and this is one I’m particularly excited about getting back into in the coming month.
What are you reading? Let me know! Any recommendations?
The Literary Elephant