Saturday, November 4, 2023

Monthly Reads ~ October 2023

I hope you all are enjoying all the book reviews, since it's just another hobby of mine, it's not going anywhere! I loved doing the Monthly Wrap-up last year to share mini reviews on all the books I've read each month! 

It could be a big range from 2 to 10 books depending on how much I read, but I figure I can share a little synopsis and quick thoughts on each book. I will still be doing more in depth reviews on books that really capture me! 

I purchased everything in this post

So, in October I read 12 books, with a mix of genres from Adult Memoir to Middle Grade Horroi. I love most genres, and I really want to keep my reads diversified this year - I think I have been doing a great job of that so far! Also, I've been trying to read a mix of old and new books, so I'm working on that and did well with that this month! I read 3 physical books, 1 ebook and 8 audiobooks! (Some of these books were smaller so 12 is pretty high for me!)

Here's a quick look at all the books I read in the past month: 

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. I think this somewhat falls under the young adult fantasy/horror genre, but feels like a Halloween classic too. I've only read a little Ray Bradbury, and I thought this was a good place to get in - this is a classic Halloween tale and I really enjoyed it! It was this holiday's version of "The Christmas Carol" somewhat to remember what the holiday is about with a group of boys trying to save their friend and the group was so fun-ly described. Loved the characters and how they tied in to each story!

The Nightmare Before Christmas by Megan Shepard ~ ☆☆☆ ½ - 3.5 stars. This is considered a middle grade/young adult fantasy novel - it's a retelling of the movie and I was excited for this! This released this year for the 30th Anniversary of the movie, and it was pretty exact to the movie. So it was good, but I think I wanted a little more detail or characters, and this was just a little surface for me. When a movie is made from a book, typically the book has a lot more detail, but not the case when it's written based on the book. But, if you like the movie, this was good!

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson ~ ☆☆☆ ½ - 3.5 stars. This is a classic horror novel and I haven't actually read any Shirley Jackson before! This is such a fun, weird protagonist girl story. I love the maybe-murder-family with a creepy house vibes. It was a good, strange little story! 

Camp Sylvania by Julie Murphy ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a middle grade horror novel, but also fun Summer camp vibes and it was so cute! Julie always has amazing themes of self-love and body positivity so this is about a young girl going to "fat camp" over the Summer, but it may be run my vampires?! I loved the characters and thought this was a cute, spooky read! 

Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins by Emma Donoghue ~ ☆☆ ½ - 2.5 stars. This was a set of fairy tale retellings short stories. This was just okay for me, sadly. I've really been hoping to connect with some of Emma Donoghue's books since Room, and I haven't quite been able to get on board with. It was supposed to be a bunch of fairytales "retold" and I love that idea. Some of the stories were okay, but they were flipped which was unique; but, I didn't love how they were told to another person as I did not think they actually fully connected with the back story of the characters, which is how they were going. 

The Witch Haven by Sasha Peyton Smith ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a young adult fantasy novel. I really enjoyed this witchy school - a girl is whisked off to a magical school after a serious incident and is thrown in to the world of magic. But, the girl's school isn't showing them how to use their power, more how not to get caught and control themselves back in the real world in 1911 New York. A few girls start to dive in to darker magic and the world opens up for them, but not always in a good way. Our main character is also looking to solve her brother's murder and this was so intriguing - it really hooked me. Of course, our main character didn't always make great choices, but it was an enjoyable read!

The Woman in Me by Britney Spears ~ ☆☆☆☆☆ - 5 stars. This is a non-fiction memoir, of course highly anticipated from Miss Britney. I will have a full review of this one coming soon! Her story has been dictated by everyone but her up to this point and so it was perfect to hear her side of the story and understand what was going on. What her family did to her (as well as the media, the paparazzi, everyone in her life basically) is so difficult - she had paid off all their debt and still had to take more. Forcing her to work, while simultaneously claiming she was incapable of caring for herself is so wild - if someone is that incapacitated, should they have been forced on to world tours and in recording studios just to line her father's pockets (who made more during that time than she did?!) I'm glad she could finally share her side of the story! 

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss ~ ☆☆ ½ - 2.5 stars. This is a weird little historical fiction novella - it's about a family and a school group that re-creates the Iron Age, but the males are terrible and just treat the women terribly and then it gets weird so the women need to stand up and support each other. I liked the premise but found the book hard to figure out why it was all happening in the first place!

Hocus Pocus: The Illustrated Novelization by A.W. Jantha and Gris Grimly (Illustrations) ~ ☆☆☆ ½ - 3.5 stars. The book was a retelling of the movie, and this is the illustrated version. When I saw the book, I thought the movie was based on it, but this is a re-telling of the movie, which is fine. But often the book has more detail if it was written first, but this is the second retelling I've read this month and it just doesn't offer more detail like I'm looking for. The illustrations were great and I like Hocus Pocus, so this was fine for me!

A Fire Endless by Rebecca Ross ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a young adult fantasy novel and it's a follow up to A River Enchanted, which I read a few months ago. It's a sort of scottish-island feeling fantasy. I found the first one a little slow to get in to, but this one took off right away! It was cohesive and I liked the characters and the storyline of this one! Very well written. 

Drift: Willa & Koy: A Narrows Novella by Adrienne Young ~ ☆☆☆ ½ - 3.5 stars. This is a young adult fantasy - it's set the Fable world, known as the Narrows. This focuses on Willa, the sister of one of our main characters. I thought this was okay, it didn't add a whole lot more to the world, but I liked the characters and the quick story!

Starling House by Alix E. Harrow ~ ☆☆☆ ½ - 3.5 stars. This is an adult gothic horror novel set around a haunted house that feels like it has it's own character! I did end up liking this story; however, the pacing was off for me. This book started out very slow (lots of footnotes and nothing plot wise happening) - I almost stopped at 41% however because it felt like nothing was actually happening plot wise. It sounded like things could eventually happen so I stuck it out and it picked up. I liked the house and the storyline there but I didn't connect with the characters.

October was overall a pretty good reading month - a few highs, and a few lows in there! 

Here's a little refresh of my rating system:

5 Stars: Excellent/Fantastic/Amazing Read 
4.5 Stars: Really Great Read
4 Stars: Great Read 
3.5 Stars: Really Good Book
3 Stars: Good Book 
2.5 Stars: Eh, It was Okay Read
2 Stars: Finished it, but Didn't Enjoy It
1.5 Stars: Not Good at All
1 Star: DNF (Did Not Finish)

What was the best book you read this month?! For me, it had to be The Woman in Me! 

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