Monthly Wrap-Up: October 2023

October started out as a really great reading month. I was giving fairly high reviews and even had a five-star read. It all went downhill from there I’m afraid. I ended the month with some very average reads, but I did finish 16 books with one DNF (more on that in December). It may have been my best month yet numbers-wise, which is surprising because I feel like I haven’t read anything.

All That Consumes Us by Erica Waters

Read: 27/9/23 – 3/10/23

Rating: 4 out of 5.

*I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

I’ve been all about the thrillers lately and this one was pretty creepy. The twist is revealed a little too soon for my liking though and it did lose its mystery after that point, but it was an enjoyable read.

ARC Review: All That Consumes Us by Erica Waters

Synopsis: Everyone knows the students in Corbin College’s elite academic society, Magni Viri, have it all—free tuition, inspirational professors, and dream jobs once they graduate. So when Tara is offered a chance to enrol, she takes it.

But once she’s settled into the gorgeous Victorian dormitory the academy calls home, something strange starts to happen. She finally has the chance to write, but her stories are dark and twisted. When she’s not sleepwalking, she’s dreaming about being trapped in a coffin, buried alive. And she’s starting to feel an unseen presence stalking her through the halls of her dorm.

As Tara slowly loses her grip on everything she’s ever known, she discovers a terrible secret at the heart of Magni Viri, one that just might turn her dreams into nightmares, one that might destroy her before she has a chance to escape.

As Good As Dead (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #3) by Holly Jackson

Read: 1/10/23 – 3/10/23

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I absolutely devoured this book and my god do I love this series. It has instantly won a top spot in my top five series of all time and I plan to re-read it in the future. 

As Good As Dead was definitely my least favourite of the series but it still gets a solid five stars.

Book Review: As Good As Dead by Holly Jackson

Synopsis: Pip is about to head to college, but she is still haunted by the way her last investigation ended. She’s used to online death threats in the wake of her viral true-crime podcast, but she can’t help noticing an anonymous person who keeps asking her: Who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears?

Soon the threats escalate and Pip realizes that someone is following her in real life. When she starts to find connections between her stalker and a local serial killer caught six years ago, she wonders if maybe the wrong man is behind bars.

Police refuse to act, so Pip has only one choice: find the suspect herself—or be the next victim. As the deadly game plays out, Pip discovers that everything in her small town is coming full circle… and if she doesn’t find the answers, this time she will be the one who disappears…

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling

Read: 8/10/23 – 9/10/23

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I put off reading this book for years just to finish it within 24 hours. I was presently surprised by how speedy this book was and I really enjoyed it. No plans to read the sequel any time soon (maybe next spooky season?) but it was pretty good.

Book Review: These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling

Synopsis: Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.

Brooms by Jasmine Walls & Teo Duvall

Read: 10/10/23

Rating: 4 out of 5.

*I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Queer witch graphic novel with a cool art style? Yes, please. 

Brooms was a really fun read that dealt with some interesting topics. I’d definitely recommend you check this out.

Graphic Novel ARC Review: Brooms by Jasmine Walls and Teo DuVall

Synopsis: It’s 1930s Mississippi. Magic is permitted only in certain circumstances, and by certain people. Unsanctioned broom racing is banned. But for those who need the money, or the thrills…it’s there to be found.

Meet Billie Mae, captain of the Night Storms racing team, and Loretta, her best friend and second-in-command. They’re determined to make enough money to move out west to a state that allows Black folks to legally use magic and take part in national races.

Cheng-Kwan – doing her best to handle the delicate and dangerous double act of being the perfect “son” to her parents, and being true to herself while racing.

Mattie and Emma — Choctaw and Black — the youngest of the group and trying to dodge government officials who want to send them and their newly-surfaced powers away to boarding school.

And Luella, in love with Billie Mae. Her powers were sealed away years ago after she fought

Death Checked Out by Leah Dobrinska

Read: 4/10/23 – 10/10/23

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I think I would have enjoyed this far more if I’d read the written version, however, I needed to read this one as I was sent the second one and the audiobook was the cheapest option. The actual story was ok, but I get distracted easily when audiobooks have one narrator.

Audiobook Review: Death Checked Out by Leah Dobrinska

Synopsis: Greta Plank, library director in the small, lakeside town of Larkspur, Wisconsin, prefers her rose-tinted glasses extra rosy, thank you very much. It’s how she copes with the hard stuff in life…like her sister’s death and her ex-boyfriend’s deception. But Greta’s cheery resolve takes a hit when she stumbles upon a dead body on her way home from work. What she assumes is a terrible accident Greta soon learns is something more sinister, and to make matters worse, a new-to-town detective cites her as not only his primary source for the case, but his top suspect.

To clear her name and save her reputation, Greta decides to do some off-the-books clue cataloguing of her own. After all, asking questions is what she does best. With the help of her fellow librarians and her lawyer mom, Greta flips through the pages of the murder, uncovering details about Larkspur’s real estate market and the deceased’s rare book collection as she tries to understand why anyone would have authored his death.

With friends and neighbours stacking up as both victims and suspects, Greta must cross-reference the facts and put a hold on her idyllic worldview if she wants to get the full story without paying the fine of her life.

Bound by Treason by Eliza Tilton

Read: 10/10/23 – 11/10/23

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This was pretty decent for a novella. I didn’t realise it was part of a standalone series with each book written by a different author. I’m going to make my way through them while I have a Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Book Review: Bound by Treason by Eliza Tilton

Synopsis: A Mysterious Death. A Forbidden Romance. A Reign at its End.

When her third daughter mysteriously dies, Queen Moira will do whatever it takes to discover the truth and keep her youngest safe. She’s lost three children in the span of a year and will not lose another.

Her husband, the dragon king of the fae, had long left her chambers and found solace in his wicked mistresses who eased his erratic fears. He would not help Moira in this quest, and so she turned to the only fae she trusted: Tallis

Tallis, the head of the royal guard and her dear friend, would do anything to protect his queen and the royal line, but as the two fae search around the castle, they discover the truth behind the murders, and bringing the culprit to justice will tear the kingdom apart.

With each passing day, Moira is forced to choose who she is loyal to: the crown or her heart, because she can no longer honour both.

Accidental Magic by Iris Beaglehole

Read: 16/10/23 – 21/10/23

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

It felt like it took me a very long time to get through this book, but I did really enjoy it. The Gilmore Girls-inspired banter was pretty good and I’m interested enough to want to continue the series.

I’ll be posting a full review of this on Sunday!

Synopsis: Welcome to Myrtlewood, a quirky town, steeped in magic, tea and mystery…

Life’s a struggle for Rosemary Thorn and her teen daughter, Athena. But their regular troubles are turned upside down after Granny Thorn’s mysterious death. 

Despite her cousin’s sinister manoeuvrings, Rosemary returns to Myrtlewood and the sprawling, dilapidated Thorn Manor. But there’s more to the old house than meets the eye, as Rosemary and Athena soon find out — in a whirlwind of magic, adventure, mystical creatures and endless cups of tea.

Life in Myrtlewood would be bliss if Rosemary could only clear her name in a certain murder investigation, solve the mystery and stay out of mortal peril – for at least a little while! 

A small town with endless secrets, strange activities and a house with a mind of its own. 

The Mist-Walker Volume 1 by Stéphane Fert

Read: 23/10/23

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This graphic novel has an insanely gorgeous art style and I really recommend you check it out. I’m really hoping there will be a second volume.

Graphic Novel ARC Review: The Mist-Walker Volume 1 by Stéphane Fert

Synopsis: One day, everything was lost in the mist. No, not those little morning wisps or the thin type that follows rain. The really dense stuff. A pea-souper, a dark fog, thick and black like atomized ink. A mist that engulfs everything. But the mist also left something a mutant, an ogress—or perhaps just a little girl that a grouchy old witch would decide to call Temperance and who would be brought up in a quiet village by a group of contented old women. Then one day, the mist returns. It wants her back. Now it’s time for the witches to dust off their charms and try to remember their old incantations and kung fu techniques as they set out on a great adventure that will determine young Temperance’s destiny.

Four Good Liars by Sarah Wishart

Read: 23/10/23 – 24/10/23

Rating: 3 out of 5.

*I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

I’ve said this in my review but I need to say it again. I don’t know what I thought about this book. It was all over the place, but also quite slow-moving at the same time. It was OK.

My review of this should be published on the 15th!

Synopsis: Layla. Kai. Liam. Fliss.

Terrified big sister. Troubled surfer. Insecure genius. Pampered princess.

They have nothing in common, except they were all on the school bus that morning. The morning of the crash. The morning they discovered the dead driver’s holdall, containing one million pounds – and a gun.

All of them have secrets, and all of them need that money. But someone dangerous is hunting it down, and drawing closer every minute. If Layla, Kai, Liam and Fliss want to survive, they’ll need to stick together. But can four good liars really trust one another? Or are some truths just too powerful to stay buried…?

Mayhem in Circulation by Leah Dobrinska

Read: 26/10/23 – 31/10/23

Rating: 3 out of 5.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

Another book that was just OK. I didn’t find myself compelled by the mystery and I really didn’t care about what was happening. The most exciting part was the budding relationship between Greta and McHenry, which makes me think this author would do great with romance novels.

My full review will be up later this month!

Synopsis: Librarian Greta Plank is hard at work planning and preparing for Larkspur’s Fall Festival and regional tourism showcase which, if successful, will be a boon to the local economy. But disaster strikes and chances of a positive review look slimmer than a periodical’s spine when a series of pranks escalates and one of Larkspur’s own is found dead the same day the reporter is set to arrive.

Desperate to defend her town’s character and get to the bottom of the circulating mayhem, Greta begins indexing suspects. Could the crimes be an outside job, undertaken by someone intent on harming the town’s reputation? Or is someone closer to home trying to ruin Larkspur from the inside?

With destruction of property, sabotage, and strange animal mishaps piling up on top of murder, Greta wouldn’t recommend this ‘choose your own (disastrous) adventure’ to anyone. In the end, she must decide who she can trust so she can close the book on these crimes before the shadowy vandal authors another kill.

The October Faction, Vol. 1 by Steve Niles & Damien Worm

Read: 31/10/23

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I didn’t know what to expect from this but I suppose it was also OK. I’ve really ended my month on some average reads. October overall wasn’t a great reading month.

Synopsis: The October Faction details the adventures of retired monster-hunter Frederick Allan and his family… which include a thrill-killer, a witch, and a warlock. Because sometimes crazy is the glue that binds a family together.

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