October Wrap Up

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I feel that October was I very good reading month for me, and just a good month in general! If it wasn't for the increasingly darkening days, which are getting colder and colder, October would be my favourite months of the year, with the trees turning all autumnal colours and the festive season beginning with the build-up to Halloween and the knowledge that there are only two months left until Christmas! I am one of those people that as soon as Halloween is done, it is time to get into the Christmas mood, start singing those favourite Christmas tunes we all love and planning presents to buy my friends and family. It is also my last official Christmas at home before I head off to University (obviously I will be back for future Christmas') so I plan to make the most of it. 

If any of you follow me on Instagram and look at my stories, you will have seen a few days ago I also got to see London Grammar play at the O2 Academy in Brixton and it was so amazing! The lead singer Hannah Reid has the most amazing voice that on CD sounds amazing but in person was phenomenal. When she sang, with no instrumental back up, the beginning of Rooting For You (which also has a very high note) I was blown away. I haven't been to many gigs before and this was completely worth standing for hours and the travel into London. If you like their music, definitely go and see them as you will love it! I also got a signed poster which I am going to have framed have to get framed before I put it on my wall as all my other posters seemed to get completely shredded to pieces! And I have no idea how it happens...

So back to the books... Out of the five books in my October TBR, I managed to read three which isn't too bad at all, but I also managed to top that and read an extra five books! Wow, I didn't realise it was that much! I think this has to have been my best reading month all year, mainly due to the half term holiday when I pretty much read for the entire week straight (the dream right?) fitting in three books and the first half of another. Below, I have given my star rated and a general overview of what I thought of each book as well as leave links to my full reviews (or when the post will be published for those coming in the next week or two) if you want a read of that too! 


NORTH AND SOUTH BY ELIZABETH GASKELL 

Started: 15th September
Finished: 5th October
Star Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Pages: 530
Thoughts: So you may be thinking that this may not count as most of the time I spent reading it was in September but I only read about 80 of the 530 pages in September, marathoning the rest in the first week of October. I had some incentive to get through it with some new books I bought and desperate to start reading! But, that is not to say that this was boring, no no no, I just find that when reading Victorian classics I to have to concentrate a  lot more than with YA books, thoroughly reading each page as they are much denser than so it takes a lot more time to read. 

I absolutely loved this book, mainly told from the point of view of Margret Hale, who began the story living with her rich aunt in the social scene of London, but when she returns to live with her father and mother in the countryside, they have to move from her childhood home into the industrial city of Milton-Northern. Margret was such a normal character- her opinions and the opinions others had of her is what I imagine others having of me and I really related to her. I also was very excited for the possible romance between Margret and Mr Thornton, willing for it to happen all throughout the book, never know if it was going to happen or not (and I won't tell you if it does as you'll have to read it to find out for yourself!). 

I also loved the insight into what it was like living in the industrial era for the people involved and those more removed from it. If you are studying English literature at A Level, especially if you are studying any Victorian literature, I would say this should be a must read as it will give you so much context into what it was like to live during that era as it was such an accurate retelling of life at that time. 



WE WERE LIARS BY E. LOCKHART

Started: 7th October
Finished: 7th October
Star Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Pages: 225
Thoughts: I have a full review up of this already which you can read here! This was one I have seen a lot and I have heard very good things about E. Lockhart so when I saw this beautiful cover in Waterstones I couldn't resist. Well, I did for 24 hours but then I had to go back. And it was worth it as it looks oh so beautiful on my shelf and was one of the best books I read this month. It was one that whilst reading it, I wasn't too sure, even when I finished it (sobbing my heart out may I add) I still didn't sure if I liked it. The following few days, it kept popping into my head, and I found myself thinking about the characters and that twist that completely changed the story. That's why I decided on it being an amazing book. I keep recommending it to anyone who will listen as I want to talk about it with everyone and see what they think of it! 



THE GREAT GATSBY BY F, SCOTT FITZGERALD

Started: 12th October
Finished: 14th October
Star Rating: 🌟🌟
Pages: 191
Thoughts: I really wanted to fall completely in love with this book as so many people do but I just didn't. I didn't particularly like the narrative writing style and when I was finished I was just left feeling a bit meh. I don't know if maybe I missed something and if I re-read it I'll enjoy it more, I don't know. I tried reading it a long time ago but put it down after a few pages and never picked it up again as it just didn't catch my interest. I just found it a bit boring to be completely honest. I do want to try some more of F. Scott Fitzgerald's work as he is such a renowned writer and maybe I will prefer some of his other work or after reading more of his style, I'll enjoy it more. 



THREE DARK CROWNS & ONE DARK THRONE BY KENARE BLAKE

Started: 15th October
Finished: 20th October
Star Rating: 🌟🌟🌟
Pages: 407
Thoughts: Last week I posted a joint book review on both Three Dark Crowns and One Dark Throne which you can read here if you're interested! I wasn't blown away by the first book. I found it incredibly slow with little to no action in the first half to three quarters. It took me quite a lot of willpower to keep pursuing it as I kept getting distracted, however as soon as the action started in the last third, I speed through it and cliffhanger at the end is really what saved it for me and brought that star rating up to a three, giving me the encouragement I needed to get onto reading the next one.

Started: 21st October 
Finished: 22nd October
Star Rating: 🌟🌟🌟
Pages: 450
Thoughts: Much more action-packed than the first one, with more development into the characters, I did enjoy this book a lot more and is a far more solid three than before. The ending wasn't as good and didn't leave me as eager to read the next book but the romances greatly improved and I much prefered the pace and general writing of the book. 



HEIR OF FIRE BY SARAH J MASS

Started: 23rd October
Finished: 25th October
Star Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Pages: 562
Thoughts: Oh ma word. I LOVED this book so much and it is the best of the three Throne of Glass books I have read so far. In fact, I loved it so much, I went a bit trigger happy with a book depository order buying all three of the next books. Meaning I can just power through them as I cannot stand the waiting! Of course, the fifth book had to arrive before the fourth and is now sitting on my shelf just taunting me, but I can see that it is much bigger and when I see the books increasing in size in a series I am really enjoying, I get very excited as it means more time with the characters and the amazing world!

I feel that the world, the characters and the plot was taken to a whole new level with so much more development, especially Celaena who was baddass to start with but the emotional side of her is explored so much more and I just loved seeing that. Also, can we take a moment to just appreciate Rowan...wait... Ok, we can move on now. 

The only thing I would say was a downside was that the parts from the witch's perspective were a bit boring and I found myself counting down the pages, eager to get to the next chapter. But even that isn't enough to bring the star rating down to a four as it was just so dang good. I really hope Queen of Shadows lives up to this one! 



TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN BY JOHN GREEN

Started: 25th October 
Finished: 26th October
Star Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Pages: 286
Thoughts: I did it, I jumped onto the I love John Green bandwagon. Even though this book is EVERYWHERE: bookstagram, twitter, booktube, the shops, I wasn't planning on buying it. I read The Fault in Our Stars a few years ago before the film came out and (I apologise to those who absolutely love this book and have a hundred copies) I just didn't like it. I can't even remember why now but I just remember really not being a fan, so I really wasn't going to read it. But then I saw it on Amazon for only £7 and, I challenge any of you resisting a new hardback release for only £7, I just couldn't resist. And I am surprisingly thankful that I did as I ended up giving it a four-star rating!

John Green takes subjects that tend to make people uncomfortable, death, mental illness, topics which are normally avoided or brushed under the carpet, and makes sure everyone is talking about them. The protagonist in Turtles all the Way Down, Aza, struggles with OCD and whilst I don't suffer from mental illness so can't say from personal experience, I image John Green has managed to create a very realistic portrayal of what it is like to live with this illness. More and more people are discussing mental illness, either from their own experience or supporting those who suffer from it, and I think that it is so important for us all the keep pushing to get away from that negative stigma that has surrounded mental illness for so long. Books like this, that place it into everyday life and reflect the reality of it, that will help to break up that stigma. 

What stopped this becoming a straight out five out of five was that the plot lacked a bit. It is understandable as the emphasis of the story is Aza dealing with her OCD, but there was just something missing.

I will have a full review up on the 6th October.



A SHIVER OF SNOW AND SKY BY LISA LUEDDECKE

Started: 26th October
Finished: 28th October
Star Rating: 🌟🌟🌟
Pages: 341
Thoughts: The synopsis of this book is really what sold me and I had to pick it up. Ósa lives in the very cold island of Skane where the lights in the sky tell the word of the Goddess. When they turn red, Ósa has to find a way to stop a plague and beasts from invading her village and threatening those she loves.

I kind of have the same feeling towards this as I did the Three Dark Crown series: it was good, but not amazing. I think it was mainly the writing style as some bits didn't really flow and I found the dialogue a bit stiff. The plot, however, was unique and different from anything I have read before and the romance wasn't too stuffy. It is Lisa Leuddecke's first book and I am hoping that with the second one, the writing will flow a bit better and the dialogue will fit the characters more as I would love to read the next one which I hear she is working on at the moment!

I will have a full review up on the 10th October.



And there are the eight books I have somehow managed to read this month! I have a feeling that November won't be as successful on the reading front, especially towards the end of the month as I have the dreaded mock exams during the first week of December so will sadly have to prioritise that.

Who has decided to take part in NaNoWriMo? I was really wanted to but I'm only eight chapters into outlining my idea and with school deciding to up the amount of work, I just don't think I will have the time I want to have to dedicate towards it. I love hearing about how everyone else is going and watching writing vlogs so I am so excited to see how everyone else gets on and if you're taking part, good luck!

What was your favourite book you read in October?

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