Hi everyone! I can’t believe we’re already in November that’s honestly wild! At the start of October I posted my October TBR which was definitely overambitious, and I didn’t manage to complete it but I really enjoyed the majority of the books that I read and I only had one DNF, so I think that’s pretty successful!
As for the statistics, I read a total of 15 books, of which only four were physical books, nine were e-books (one was a graphic novel) and 2 were audiobooks. I managed to read nine ARCs last month but all of the books I read this month were books that I had accumulated in 2020 (I want to read more of my backlist!). Half of the books that I read were written by AOC and all but one of the books (which was a non-fiction) featured queer main characters! Surprisingly, the genre that I read most of this month was contemporary/romance, which I think was down to all the ARCs that I read, but fantasy/paranormal did come in a close second.
Starting with the ARCs that I read, I’m going to get my DNF over and done with, and that was Cat’s Got Your Heart by Jem Zero. I was soo excited for this one, and specifically signed up to the author’s ARC list just to get my hands on it, but I just struggled all the way through it. It’s an mlm enemies to lovers with a trans mc which prominently features a pet shop as the backdrop. Even though I’m not a huge enemies to lovers fan this was just really not great – one of the main characters is unnecessarily rude and mean to the other main character and the whole situation felt so unrealistic. A bit of a better read, however, was Zaina Arafat’s debut, You Exist Too Much. This follows a young, bisexual Palestinian woman dealing with her childhood, her relationship to her mother and her romantic and sexual relationships. I’m hoping to write a full review on it soon, but overall I really enjoyed it but I felt that the last 40% or so wasn’t as good as the first 60%.
Get It Right by Skye Kilaen was a book I was highly anticipating and was so lucky to recieve an eARC of (you can read my review here!). This novella follows a fat, pansexual nurse and a butch lesbian parolee and has a second chance romance. I absolutely loved Skye Kilaen’s first novella, Glorious Day, and this one didn’t disappoint! I can’t wait for you all to read it on its release in December! Evie and the Pack-Horse Librarians by Laurel Beckley was probably my favourite ARC that I read this month! It follows Evie who has been exiled to work with the Pack-Horse Librarians after her now ex-girlfriend leaked the manuscript of her company’s most prolific author, that Evie was meant to be editing. It was beautiful and magical and had so much queer rep and, my favourite, found family! It’s a super short and sweet read that I highly recommend that you pick up! Finally, I somehow got approved for an ARC of the new Juliet Takes a Breath graphic novel by Gabby Rivera and Celia Moscote. I absolutely loved this one, I think more than I loved the original novel. The illustrations and colour palette were absolutely beautiful and I felt that some of the plot holes of the novel were nicely dealt with in the graphic novel. I highly recommend everyone to pick this up, too, and I’m glad it’s now also available in a slightly more accessible medium!
I really think I read mostly ARCs last month, which isn’t a bad thing, except for all my unread physical books on my shelves! Right at the start of the month I picked up Stealing Jennifer by CC Bridges which is a super fun f/f/m poly thriller-slash-romance novella following three jewel thieves that, after one of them is caught by the FBI, the other two must get her back safely. It was so much fun and I really enjoyed the poly relationship, I just wish that it had been a tad longer! I do have a mini review of this one here! I also got approved for my first audiobook ARC this month which was so exciting! It was The Power of Privilege: How White People Can Challenge Racism by June Sarpong. This was an exellent non-fiction that was also narrated by the author, which I love my non-fiction audiobooks to be. It was short and sweet and I loved the inclusion of British history and politics, rather than just US history and politics. This is the perfect “beginners'” book for anti-racism work and I can see it being really useful alongside Reni Eddo-Lodge and Ibram X. Kendi’s books. Finally, I also read On the Square and Lockset by Brenda Murphy – books one and two in the University Square series. I have a full review of them both here, so I won’t bore you with too much detail right now, but these are a really fun, adult sapphic romance series with butch main characters (which I love to see) and several main characters of colour, and I really enjoyed my time reading them!
To get me more in the spooky, October mood, I read two spooky books, that really shocked me by how much I enjoyed them (I have reviews for them both here)! The first is Deadline by Stephanie Ahn which has been sitting on my kindle for over a year now. This follows Harry, a disgraced lesbian witch, who is hired to look for a lost magical artefact. This novella was fast-paced, hilarious and so action packed! It’s definitely for those of you who love paranormal fantasy books set in our world with perhaps a little BDSM thrown in there! Next, my second audiobook of the month was Yellow Jessamine by Caitlin Starling – a sapphic gothic horror that was so spooky and atmospheric and I adored it so much! The narrator was absolutely perfect so I highly recommend picking up the audiobook of this one.
Sadly, I only managed to read four physical books in October, although one was particularly chunky, so it’s not all bad! First up I read Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour, which was much more haunting (haha! get it!) than I was expecting. It follows Mila who, after growing out of the fostering system, takes up a job teaching children on a farm, which seems like the perfect job. However, she wasn’t expecting the ghosts. This was a very melancholy and atmospheric book for Autumn that I really enjoyed and I think I’m now a firm Nina LaCour fan! I have a full review of the book here if you want to know more of my thoughts! Slightly later in the month I read Miss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore which has become a new favourite, and I’ve discovered that I actually love reading magical realism! It’s a beautiful, queer standalone following Lita, who wants to finally achieve her dream of winning the Miss Meteor pageant, even though she’s as far from looking like the usual winners as possible. So, she enlists the help of her old best friend Chicky to help her win! This was such a sweet, heart warming read with a beautiful found family that I would die for and I can’t recommend this book enough!
Then I participated in my first ever buddy read with Hsinju which was so much fun!! We read Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas which has also become a new all-time favourite of mine! It follows Yadriel who is desperate for his family to recognise him as the brujo that he is. So, he secretly performs the ritual to become a brujx and tries to summon the ghost of his cousin, Miguel. However, he accidentally summons Julian’s ghost – the school’s ‘bad boy’ – but Julian won’t leave until he finds out what happened to him. This book really deserves all the hype that it’s getting. It made me laugh out loud on several occasions and it has the sweetest romance! Check out my review for my full thoughts, but all I can really say is that I absolutely adored this book! Finally, I got round to reading The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang. I’d been putting this off for months because I was absolutely terrified as to what would happen to my favourite characters, and suffice to say, I was a sobbing mess at the end of this book! This book has a lot of military and political strategy in it, and it was definitely slower than the first book. Although I did enjoy it overall, I definitely prefer The Poppy War, although that might just be because I preferred being naïve about the future of the Cike!
If you got this far give yourself a pat on the back because I don’t half ramble! I’d love to know what your favourite book that you read in October was, and I hope that November is a great reading month for you! Stay safe!