October Wrap Up, Part Two

Wow, October has seriously flown by, I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone. Also, I was unable to find a job in the month of October so I read quite a few books, most of which came out in 2017 so that’s cool, I guess. So in total, I read 24 books, for a total of 7,782 pages. Of course, part of that success is due to two of the three readathons I’ve participated in, but a lot of it has just been that unless I was interviewing, not a lot was happening. As usual, here are some fun charts I made that you can look at if you’re curious!

If I included one of these books in a Readaton post, I’ll let you know and won’t recap it again. Any relevant post is linked on the side. So, let’s get started!

11. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Excellent book, loved it. See more the in Spookathon Wrap Up post.

12. Hamilton’s Battalion: A Trio of Romances by Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, and Alyssa Cole

I have a full review of this book, which is a collection of three stories set during or shortly after the Revolutionary War. I adored each of these stories, but, of course, Courtney Milan and Alyssa Cole’s were my favorite. Given that I’m already familiar with their writing and I don’t love short story collections, generally, this is not a surprise. For detailed thoughts, please check out the review.

13. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Y’all, I gotta admit that all this drama surrounding Maggie Stiefvater lately has left a sour taste in my mouth, but setting that aside… The Raven King felt like a very satisfying ending to me, but also an ending that made me upset. I talked about it a bit in the Spookathon Wrap Up, so you can see more there.

14. A Hope Divided by Alyssa Cole

I GOT AN ARC AND I AM STILL SO HAPPY ABOUT IT. This book was absolutely amazing and I just really can’t highly recommend this series enough. I was so right to include Alyssa Cole in my Historical Romance to help you run from your problems list even though I hadn’t yet read An Extraordinary Union.

This book is about Marlie and Ewan. Marlie is a mixed race, daughter of a former slave, who is living with her white family in the South during the Civil War. Ewan is the brother of Malcolm and Irish, fighting for the Union. Or more accurately, being a person who gets information via torture. Now, I have issues with the way this prospect is presented only because I think torture is actually unlikely to work, but that’s easy enough to set to the side. I think this book explored so many sides about why, for example, poor white Southerners didn’t always fight for the Confederacy and how dehumanizing slavery really was. People, slave owners, really didn’t think of slaves as people. It wasn’t that they thought black people were just less than them, they genuinely thought of black people as sub-human. It’s such an appalling concept… And I’m so thankful that there are historical romance novels in the world that grapple with some of the darkest parts of our history and write hope back into our history. Because there is always darkness in the world and I think romance novels are just vital to helping us deal with that darkness. This review has turned more philosophical than I meant for it to, but, yeah, read A Hope Divided!! My full review will be posted on its release date, which is November 28, 2017.

15. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

I just honestly don’t have many thoughts on this book so what you see in my Dewey’s Wrap Up is really all I have to say. I liked this book much more as a child than I do now, but I can’t even figure out why I liked it so much as a child.

16. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

A 4.5 star worthy tome that I discussed in my Spookathon Wrap Up and a little bit in my Dewey’s Wrap Up so check out those for more information.

17. Dear Martin by Nic Stone

I can’t really say much more here because I wrote out all of my feelings in my review of Dear Martin already. This book is absolutely a must read. However, on Goodreads, I managed to write a little more about the writing, but avoiding the content almost entirely, so I’ll provide that aspect here.

This book is written in an intriguing way. There are, of course, letters to MLK, Jr. written by Justyce, but there are also chapters written in the first person, where sometimes Stone chooses to present dialogue in a way that more closely resembles a script than the narrative form most common in novels. For me, personally, I enjoyed this. I think that you are able to so clearly grasp what is happening and that tags for who is saying what can get complicated when a classroom discussion is going on. I imagine it is a stylistic choice some may disagree with or dislike, but I would hope they would still read the novel. It deals with so many themes, aside from just racism.

18. Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

Again, I discussed this 4 star read in my Dewey’s Wrap Up so check that out for more information. I have, however, remembered one of the things that knocked this book down for me, which is that the main conflict keeping the couple apart is our heroine believing that she can’t have a relationship with Duane and travel the world. I’ve mentioned before that borrowing trouble before you get to the trouble is one of my least favorite conflict devices and I just really hate reading about it because I think it’s so dumb. So that’s why this book was only a four star read because otherwise, Penny Reid is super funny and I adore her writing.

19. Haven by Rebekah Witherspoon

I will direct you to my Dewey’s Wrap Up post because that pretty much says all I have to say about this four star read.

20. Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

So, basically what you need to know about this book is that I started reading it for the Try a Chapter Tag and then I didn’t stop reading it. In other words, I loved this book so much it became an instant favorite of 2017 and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Basically, the book is about Grace, who is adopted and just gave up her baby for adoption, and her journey meeting her biological siblings and their stories as well. The book is incredible. Grace and her sister, Maya, were both adopted by great families, but her brother Joaquin bounced around from foster home to foster home, most likely because brown babies aren’t as “desirable” as white babies. This book really walks you through what it’s like for each of them and delves into who they are as they begin to form a relationship. It’s a weird sort of Found Family vibe since technically they’re all biologically related.

Additionally, Maya is a lesbian and her dad’s reaction when she came out is the most precious and adorable thing. This book is full of quotes that I kept sending along to my best friend because I just had to share them. I need my own copy so I can highlight to my heart’s content and fortunately, I’m already ready to read it again. Unfortunately, still no job.

But before I forget to rave about the best part of this book: THE KIDS GO TO THERAPY AND THERAPY IS GOOD FOR THEM. Do you have any idea how amazing that was to see? Seriously, if you have any other books where therapy is good and written on the page, send me all your recs because I need as much of this aspect as possible. I just adore seeing that experience, especially since too often it’s almost a trope to have therapy go horribly or for there to be an inappropriate relationship between therapist and client. Okay, now that I’ve rambled so much I may as well have written a full review, let’s move on…

21. That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston

Another book that I began the first chapter as part of the Try a Chapter Tag and one that left me super intrigued, That Inevitable Victorian Thing had an intriguing premise and an execution that requires at least three other books written in the series. The book takes place in Canada and spotlights three POV characters, Helena, Margaret (aka Her Royal Highness Victoria-Margaret), and August. Basically, Margaret is masquerading as a normal (read: non-royal) person for debut season in Toronto and meets Helena. Helena and August have an understanding that they will marry after Helena has her debut, but throughout the course of the summer and once Helena learns some things, things change. Wow. Turns out not spoiling this book is difficult.

Johnston acknowledges that Queen Victoria and the Victorian Era of history was full of a lot of really disastrous things and that in creating an alternate history, there was much that she couldn’t include, but there were things that she thought about that just couldn’t make it to the page. For me, after reading so many reviews dealing with colonization plot lines, I’m concerned about how people from backgrounds that dealt with colonization are going to respond to this book so I’m mentioning it here to note that I am extremely ill-equipped to discuss such a thing at all, but that I recognize that some people may find this premise to be too far beyond alternate history to be acceptable.

I do want to note that there is a lot of racial diversity in this book, First Nations characters included. There is also a f/f relationship and an intersex character. Johnston mentions in an answer to a question on Goodreads that one character is demi and one is bisexual and while after reading I know who is bisexual, the label is not mentioned on the page and neither is the demi character. I do think this book had positive LGBTQIA representation, but again, I’m not the person best qualified to speak to that aspect.

Ultimately, I gave this book four stars!

22. Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

I read this book as part of the Storytime with Squibbles hosted by Joce on Goodreads. You can find Joce at SquibblesReads on YouTube as well.

I think that if I were a mother, I would have gotten more from this book and also I never would have been able to read it. This book discusses so much about motherhood and despite being set in Nigeria, I think for people who deal with infertility, the cultural differences would seem less stark than they did, at times, for me. Regardless of those differences, this book is incredibly, incredibly powerful and I really recommend it for anyone who is looking for an emotionally impactful book that will probably make them cry, but also think a lot, and want to call their own mother if that’s something they’re still able to do. I haven’t been doing well at including trigger warnings, but I think you need a heads up for this one, so here they are: death of a child, cheating, terminal illness, murder, death of a parent.

Also, I’m thinking about doing a spoiler filled discussion post about this book because I really do have so many thoughts that I can’t really fully discuss without spoiling things and as great as the Goodreads group is, I think I would also like to preserve my thoughts in a blog post. Let me know if you have a preference down below. Also, here’s the Goodreads synopsis since I know I’ve done a terrible job telling you anything about this book:

Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage–after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures–Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time–until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant, which, finally, she does, but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.

23. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Wow. I thought I would be in a better position to write this review this afternoon since I finished the book last night around midnight, but nope. I’m still in shock by how powerful this book was. For some reason, going in, I was thinking that since the book is about racism in the U.K., it wasn’t going to be quite as powerful to me as a white person in the U.S.

I feel like Trevor Noah would be all over telling me this in real life, so it’s only appropriate to use his image here. Anyway, this book covers very briefly the history of black British peoples and the racism they faced that has been ignored nearly as much in the U.K. as it has here in the U.S. To be fair though, I know virtually nothing about any country that’s not America through school and what I know of U.S. history seems to barely scratch the surface. This has been an on-going discovery, especially since as a child I adored historical fiction. But I’m getting side-tracked: this book comes out in the States on November 7, 2017 and y’all gotta read it. I’ll have a full review posted soon where I can go into detail about exactly why, but just know that this book is the perfect read for your Non-Fiction November needs.

24. American King by Sierra Simone

My final book of the month utterly destroyed me and I don’t have the words for you at the moment. If you’ve read American Queen and American Prince, then you’re prepared for the way Simone just writes angst in such a way that you can’t deal with it, but also you can’t stop reading. It’s like she’s Ash and knows exactly how much pain she can give you.

This is an erotic romance series with a triad relationship so it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but oh my goodness, if it even might be at all, y’all. This series is so good.

Also in the month of October, I managed to complete my Goodreads goal because I surpassed 200 books! It’s amazing what stress reading romance novels when your life is falling apart can do for your reading. I don’t really recommend, but also, yay, I did it?

How was your reading month? What was your favorite read of October? I actually can’t pick one this month because I added three new books to my favorites list and you can’t make me choose!


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