This month, I actually got a crazy amount of reading done, and I'm so happy because I know that November is going to be nuts for me, schedule-wise and I won't be able to read nearly as much. I'm always busy but the last month of a semester is a different beast. In October, I read 9 books and 4,509 pages! It's kinda crazy how fast I read when I'm really passionate about it and since this month contained both a reread book series and a long anticipated novel, I was eager to dive in.
The Marvels, by Brian Selznick- 5/10
Starting off the month with an absolute chonker of a book- Marvel is over 600 pages long! But over half of those pages were such intricate drawings that it must have taken hours to complete each one. I usually love Brian Selznick’s work, he’s written two other books, The Inventions of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck, both of which I loved. But this one didn’t hit for me, for some reason. It wasn’t as cohesive as the other two. This one had 350 pages of images followed by two hundred pages of text, and it felt like the stories were different and they didn’t intertwine until the very end. It wasn’t my favorite, which is a bit of a shame, since this was my 50th book of 2022 - it feels like it should be a bigger milestone- but it was okay.
Positively, by Courtney Sheinmenl- 7/10
I read this book on my kindle because I started thinking about it while I was in the process of reading a book for my LGBTQ Literature class about the AIDS crisis. This book is set in 2008 and follows a thirteen-year-old girl named Emmy who is HIV positive. Her mother has just passed away from AIDS and she has to go live with her dad and his new wife, Meg, who is pregnant. This is a middle-grade fiction book and it took me less than 24 hours to read it, but I’m glad I did because it offered a new perspective on the AIDS crisis that I’ve been learning so much about recently. Emmy is on lots of medications and struggles with feeling normal until she is sent to Camp Positive- a camp for girls who are HIV positive. I really like this book and I think it’s a fresh perspective.
The Prettiest Star, by Carter Sickels- 7/10
This is the book I was reading for my LGBTQ Literature class! This book is set in 1986 at the height of the AIDS crisis when Brian, a 24 year old gay man returns to his small town and stays with his family, revealing the news that his boyfriend Shawn had just died of AIDS and Brian has it too. The book takes place over the course of about three months as Brian gets progressively sicker, and the whole town finds out he is sick and makes him and his family pariahs. This was a difficult book to read but a really important one. I don’t know that I would have picked this book up off the shelf if I hadn’t had to read it for a class, but I’m really glad I did, because it taught me a lot and was a very emotional read.
A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas- 9/10
Not going to lie, I’ve been going through it lately with my physical and mental health, on top of school being a LOT right now. I needed something in my life to be good, so I picked up this book for the third (yes, you heard me, third) time this year. I read this book for the first time in January at the glowing recommendation of my bookish bestie and boy oh boy did I become addicted. I have a Sarah J. Maas fan-art wall above my bookshelf at school (pictured below) because this book series is so good that I then proceeded to read everything she’s ever written - a whopping 15 books over three book series’. ACOTAR is by far my favorite. I will say- the first book is not my favorite, and without spoiling much, this book is about a 19 year old human girl, Feyre Archeron who accidentally kills a faerie disguised as a wolf. She has to pay the price, go with a faerie named Tamlin into the faerie lands- where few humans have ever escaped alive. She lives with Tamlin on his estate in the Spring Court and learns that faeries are very different from what she once thought they were.
The first book is kind of a veeeerrryyyy long prequel to book two. I cannot recommend this book series enough (if my multiple blog posts about it haven’t clued you in.)
A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas- 15/10
If I could only read one book for the rest of my life, it very well might be this. This is by far one of the most brilliant books I’ve ever read. I want to get a tattoo of one of the quotes in the book- “There you are. I’ve been looking for you.” Not just because it is the most brilliant line in the book for reasons I can’t really explain without spoiling the whole plot, but I will tell you that with that one quote, EVERYTHING makes sense. All of the loose ends from the previous book and all of the confusion in this one end up being tied together with that one line and it made me go “OH- WHOAAAAA…” on an airplane the first time I read it. Reading this book truly feels like coming home. And of course, reading it with Madschoefield’s page overlays definitely enhanced my experience. If you love these books as much as I do, check her out on Instagram! She’s a brilliant digital artist and whenever she puts an art print or page overlays in her shop, I’m basically like “shut up and take my money!” But anyways, this book reminds me of everything I love about writing and fantasy. Sarah J. Maas wrote a book from the perspective of someone who had been abused, and she did it so masterfully that readers - or at least I - didn’t figure it out until the character did. It’s really interesting to reread this because I pick up on so much that I didn’t the first time around, and I also feel like an idiot, because some things are SO OBVIOUS in the second read-through.
A Court of Wings and Ruin, by Sarah J. Maas - 9/10
Something about this book never fails to give me warm fuzzies. It’s right on the mark and again, it’s such brilliant writing. Feyre infiltrated an enemy court and planted seeds of doubt about the high lord amongst its members and it’s just so badass. I hate that I can’t write more about this, but I don’t want to spoil anything for people who haven’t read it! If you have, comment, and we will talk about it because I’ll never stop loving this series. This book has adorable, melt-your-heart moments, gripping action, keeps you on the edge of your seat and leaves you wanting to reread it.
A Court of Frost and Starlight, by Sarah J. Maas - 8/10
This book is considerably shorter than the other four and is universally considered the “Holiday Special” of the ACOTAR series. People have very polarized opinions about ACOFAS- either they love it or hate it. I happen to love it. Did much of substance happen? No. Do you need to read it to understand the books that follow? No. But I happen to love reading (and writing) fluff, so I loved the cute moments in this book and it was a lovely follow-up to such an action-packed book like A Court of Wings and Ruin. This book details several characters we haven’t heard from yet, (Mor, Cassian, Rhys) and I loved getting their sides of the story because up until this point, it’s been entirely Feyre’s point of view. I would KILL for a Mor book- her character is so layered and I think she’s such a badass. I’d actually just love a book that’s just about all of the Inner Circle’s childhood trauma. Does that make me weird? Anyone else? No? Okay, I’ll sit down.
A Court of Silver Flames, by Sarah J. Maas- 9/10
The first time I read this book, I rated it 7/10 stars. I’ll just say it- I strongly disliked Nesta and thought Cassian deserved far better. Nesta, Feyre’s oldest sister and the star of this book alongside Cassian, one-third of the bat boys, Illyrian Warriors, brothers, whatever you want to call them. I love Cassian and he was a big inspiration for one of my main characters in my own novel. Cassian is pretty universally loved. Nesta, on the other hand, is even more polarized than A Court of Frost and Starlight. She’s mean, bitter, and wasting away at the beginning of this book. She treats everyone in the Inner Circle like crap, despite all of their efforts to rehabilitate her. She was awful to Feyre for her whole life before the beginning of A Court of Thorns and Roses, which is why I can’t lay all of the blame for her demeanor on her trauma from the previous few books. I still kinda hated her at the end of my first read-through of this. HOWEVER- On my second read-through, this time reading a physical paper book (thanks Mom and Dad for the box set for my 22nd birthday!!) I was able to pick up so much more and take away more from the text. I was able to understand her character development a lot more, though I still think many of her actions were utterly inexcusable. I still think Cassian deserved better than how she treated him in the first three-quarters of the book, but I did actually end up really enjoying it this time around. I really really really want another ACOTAR book, but as far as I can tell, SJM is deep in the trenches of the third Crescent City book and working on the ACOTAR television show, and since I want both of those things as soon as possible, I won’t bother her.
It Starts With Us, by Colleen Hoover - 10/10
The long-awaited sequel to It Ends With Us! I adored this book just as much as its prequel. Something about Colleen Hoover's writing always just drags me in headfirst and I read this book in under 24 hours. This is, obviously, the follow up to CoHo's wildly popular book, It Ends With Us, which I reviewed back in August (you can find that post, and all other monthly book reviews under the "Book Reviews" tab on the home page!) This book took place directly following the events of the previous book, and it has a perspective we've been DYING to hear- Atlas! Lily's childhood love comes back into her life almost a year after she divorced her abusive husband, Ryle (we HATE him). Lily is learning how to coparent her daughter, Emerson, with an emotionally volatile man who thinks Atlas is the reason for his divorce. When Atlas comes back into her life, the polar opposite of Ryle in every way, they have to navigate dating around Ryle, Emerson, and Josh, Atlas's long lost brother. It's just such good writing and I love Atlas so much :) I want a third book, but I know that a sequel was pushing it lol.
Whoo! I loved almost all of the books I read this month! What did you read in October? Let me know in the comments!