Happy Halloween! 🎃 I can’t believe November is already upon us and we’re now approaching the end of the year. October was a pretty decent reading month; I read quite a few books that I really enjoyed! I leave for my two week vacation next week and I cannot wait. I have so many books that I plan to read. Speaking of which, I have a poll at the end of this post for you guys to vote on! Help me decide which long-overdue trilogy I should read while I’m on vacation!
THE DARK DESCENT OF ELIZABETH FRANKENSTEIN: This was the perfect read for October. It’s a spectacular retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, told from the point of view of Elizabeth. Kiersten White has reimagined a classic with a unique perspective, while maintaining the story’s dark, twisted, gothic tone. The way in which the author wrote this book is brilliant. She manages to both keep true to the original, and yet elaborate on some parts to create a new tale. Elizabeth Lavenza was an absolutely fascinating character to read about. She is transformed from a secondary character, into a strong, manipulative, intelligent protagonist. [review] ★★★★
THIS MORTAL COIL: I’m so mad at myself for sleeping on this book for a year, especially with all the rave reviews I had seen for it. It had everything I love in a Dystopian novel, and reminded me why that genre used to dominate my bookshelves. The entire concept is extremely intriguing. I’m the first person to admit that anything involving coding and hacking goes way over my head, but even with all the science terminology and technical jargon, I never found myself overly confused and could (for the most part) follow along with what the characters were talking about. A spectacular debut perfect for fans of science-fiction, dystopian settings, and compelling characters. [review] ★★★★½
THIS CRUEL DESIGN: I started this immediately after finishing This Mortal Coil, and finished it within a day, so that should tell you all you need to know about my feelings about this book. It picks up right where the first leaves off, and was just as fast-paced, well-written, and absolutely addicting as its predecessor. Readers have no cause to worry as there’s no second book syndrome here! I could hardly put it down and there are plenty more plot twists and reveals that kept me hooked. As with the previous book, the science and technology elements continue to be really intriguing and unique. I had no problem following along with all of the terminology and jargon. I was under the impression that this was a duology (it’s not), so the last couple of chapters really had me nervous! The ending is a total cliff-hanger and I have so many questions! ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. [review] ★★★★
GRIM LOVELIES: I think expected to enjoy this a lot more than I did. I loved the concept and the basic plot, but I wasn’t a fan of the execution and I think it ended up lacking a lot of things that I was looking for. I don’t know. I wasn’t that into it but I’m still really curious about the sequel, so I may or may not continue with the series. ★★½
THE BONELESS MERCIES: I loved (almost) everything about this book. What I liked: the amazing characters and sisterhood/friendships between the girls, the really neat retelling of Beowulf, and the awesome setting based on Norse mythology. What I didn’t like: the romance seriously confused the crap out of me. It’s hardly present, but the entire book continually hinted towards feelings between Frey and another character, and then by the end it seemed to abruptly go in another direction. I felt very annoyed; like I was being led on only to be given something else entirely at the end. ★★★★
THE DEVIL’S THIEF: Have you seen this book? It’s massive. But it was 700 pages of pure fun, action, and magic. It picked up right where The Last Magician ended and I was instantly pulled back into this world and ready to be with these characters. It did drag a bit in the middle, but I think that was mostly due to my belief that this was only a duology and wanting Esta and Harte to get on with their quest already. The angst between those two went up a few notches and it was both the best thing and the worst. I’m really excited this was extended into a trilogy (I don’t believe it was originally) because there is so much more left to this story and I can’t wait to continue, especially after that cliffhanger! ★★★★
THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL: If I’m being completely honest, I ended up enjoying this tremendously more than I had anticipated I would. This was a gothic, historical novel that enchanted me from the beginning. There was a lot to enjoy about this book, but my favorite thing was its atmospheric setting. It reads like a Jane Austen book with some witchcraft and eerie paranormal activity mixed in. The period drama aspects were so charming! The romance that develops between two characters was really cute and I couldn’t get enough of it. Hester Fox does a fantastic job of blending the drama with suspense. Although the story is more of a gothic romance, there are still some spooky encounters and mysterious elements that make this a wonderful read for October. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. [review] ★★★★
THE CAGED QUEEN: After I finished this, all I felt was overwhelmingly conflicted. I was initially disappointed that I wouldn’t be following more of Asha and her story, but since I found Roa’s backstory and relationship with Dax to be intriguing, I attempted to go into this book with an open mind. Unfortunately, it still didn’t stand up to my enjoyment of The Last Namsara. I really love the world that Kristen Ciccarelli has created here, and even though I appreciated being back with these characters, I spent a majority of this book extremely frustrated. Probably 99% of the issues and conflicts that happen could have been solved if Dax and Roa had simply talked. The lack of communication between them caused so many unnecessary understandings and after a while I began to get both annoyed at Roa and at the plot. [review] ★★★
A FEAST FOR CROWS: I FINALLY FINISHED THIS. Seriously though, it took me a little over six months to read this damn book. While appreciate that GRRM split the book so that we wouldn’t be reading 2,000 pages, there was so little going on in this one that I got bored so easily. The only chapters that I really cared for were Alayne’s (obviously; she’s my favorite character), Cersei’s (she’s batshit crazy and I love reading from her mind), and the conflict in the Iron Islands. I’m really looking forward to A Dance With Dragons and being back with my boy, Jon. ★★★★
EAST: East of the Sun and West of the Moon has always been one of my favorite fairytales, and yet I don’t have an answer as to why it has taken me so long to read this book. The pacing and flow of the story is so well-crafted. Even with all the different POVs present, each character had a distinct voice and every chapter added to the plot. The writing was whimsical and helped maintain the fairytale aspects of the original tale the story draws from. I absolutely adored Rose. I loved her intellect, her perseverance, her kind nature, and her strength. This was a beautiful, fast-paced, magical story. I’m sad that it took the sequel’s release for me to finally pick this up, but I’m so glad that I did. [review] ★★★★
WEST: If East is a whimsical, magical fairytale, then this is it’s darker, more mature sister novel about what happens after the happily ever after, and how things don’t always remain that way. All the fairytale-esque elements that were present in the first book are also present here, but the book also has some grimmer aspects and our beloved characters go through some really tough times – and they don’t always end well. And even though this wasn’t as whimsical and light-hearted as East, I still absolutely loved it. ARC provided by the publisher. ★★★★½
EMPIRE OF SAND: This was a really unique southeast Asian adult fantasy with elements inspired by the Mughal empire. The writing was wonderful and really pulled you into the story. I also really liked the protagonist, Mehr, and enjoyed following her on her journey and rooting for her throughout the story. The only small complaint I had was that some of the magical aspects were a bit confusing, and to be honest, I didn’t fully understand everything that was going on. ARC provided by the publisher. ★★★½
THE SISTERS OF THE WINTER WOOD: If you like books such as Spinning Silver and The Bear and the Nightingale, then this is definitely a book for you! I love stories that are rich with fairytale elements and yet blend seamlessly with historical aspects. I also really liked how both Liba and Laya were given distinct voices; Liba’s chapters were told narratively and Laya’s were in verse. This was a very magical, atmospheric story and I adored everything about it! ★★★★
Top Ten Tuesday: Spooky Shows to Watch on Netflix this Halloween | Blog Tour + Giveaway: This Cruel Design | Halloween Creatures Tag | Blog Tour: The Witch of Willow Hall | #ARCstravaganza: The Gilded Wolves | Five Spooky Podcasts to Listen to this October | Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Villains | #SixforSunday: Favorite Debuts of the Years | Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I’d Love to Meet | Sunshine Blogger Award
And now I need your help! Vote below and help me choose which books to read when I leave for vacation next week!