October + November Reading Wrap-up 2019

Wednesday, December 04, 2019
October is my favourite month of the year as I start my Christmas gift guides, autumn is here and halloween is my favourite holiday so I had grand plans to read so many halloween, gothic or scary books but sadly I had the worst reading slump all year in October. I DNF'd so many books in October and I just wasn't in the mood for reading anything so I only finished two books...making it my worst reading month for three years. Great.

Thankfully, November was much better as I read nine books, including one over 500 pages. My favourite books from October and November include: Carry On and France: A History. Sadly  I did DNF a lot of books over the past eight/nine weeks including: The Furies, In The Darkness, Eyes of the Dragon and The Carnival of Florence, just to name a few.

*Hex Life by Christopher Golden (400 pages) ★★★ 
I only read two books in October but thankfully both of them were perfect for the spooky season, the first being this gorgeously designed short story collection that I was sent a couple of months ago. I love any books involving witches or halloween so this one was ideal for October and while I did like a few of the short stories in the collection (my favourites were Widows Walk and The Memories of Trees), it was a bit of a mixed bag, if I'm honest. Sadly, I don't think short story collections are for me, although I still try and read them as I might come across one I like (and I did in November). I think most people will like this collection but unfortunately it just wasn't for me. 

*The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox (332 pages) ★★★ (3.5) 
The second and final book I read in October was my favourite of the two and it's all about a suspected witch, mysterious happenings and a rather handsome new minister. I love the rugged small town setting and all of the Edgar Allan Poe references which made it even more perfect for halloween. I liked the feel of the book, it had a slight Sleepy Hollow vibe which I'm always looking for and I did love the romance between the two main characters. It was very predictable but it was a quick, easy and entertaining halloween read that helped me get out of a horrendous reading slump. 

France: A History from Gaul to de Gaulle by John Julius Norwich (400 pages)
★★★ (3.5)
I started this book in July and I've been reading small sections since then as it's a very dense book so I can only read approximately 30 pages, if that, at one time. The book focuses on the very beginnings of the French nation, it's wars with England and the French involvement in the crusades to it's kings, issues with the line of succession, how each king or queen has impacted their kingdom and the modern history of France.

I loved the writing style of the book on the whole as it was very engaging and interesting but some of the sentences were too long (which is a pet peeve of mine, especially with non-fiction reads) and it was a little confusing at times in terms of the line of succession and switching timelines so I think a diagram illustrating the timeline and line of succession would have been useful, particularly as before this book, my knowledge of French history was limited solely to the French revolution. If you like history books and you want to dip in and out of an interesting non-fiction read then I'd definitely recommend this book as it was thoroughly informative and contained a plethora of information that was entirely new to me.

The Book Of Swords Part Two by Gardner Dozois (256 pages) ★★★ (3.5)
The second short story collection I read recently was one that's been on my shelves for a while and I don't know why I didn't pick it up sooner! I bought the collection as it has a short story by Scott Lynch within it and he wrote by favourite fantasy book ever, The Lies of Locke Lamora, so I knew I'd adore at least one story. The collection started off perfectly with two amazing short stories by Ellen Kushner and Scott Lynch; followed by another fantastic (steampunkish...) story by Rich Larson which I loved. There are seven stories within the collection and I liked most of them (which is surprising as I don't tend to like short story collections) with my favourites being the first three. There are quite a few books within this series by Gardner Dozois and I definitely want to read more. If you like fantasy, definitely check out this short story collection! 

Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner (363 pages) ★★★ (3.5)
A book I started reading because I loved the short story by the author within The Book of Swords is Swordspoint. It follows on from the short story within The Book of Swords and we follow the duels of the brazen and skilled swordsman Richard St Vier as he becomes unboiled in local politics, power play between the lords and we see his relationship with a seemingly impoverished student who is holding a few secrets of his own. 

I loved the short story and this one carries on from it, maybe a couple of years later, set in the same region with some of the same characters. I enjoyed the sword fighting, setting, the relationship between Alec and Richard (for the most part) and I liked the feel of the book as to me it had an element of The Lies of Locke Lamora to it with the character of Richard and the power play involved. However, I thought it would be more wide ranging, if that makes sense. It was very localised, there were many lords and characters with authority that I couldn't keep track of half of them and it seemed quite narrow. I did like this book but I just wanted more in terms of the scope, the action (it was a little slow and not that much happened, in my opinion) and I wanted a happy relationship for Richard and Alec which I don't think will be forthcoming sadly. I don't think I'll carry on with the other books but I'd recommend it if you like fantasy; however I was just a little disappointed overall. 

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (531 pages) ★★★ (3.5)
Fantasy has been my favourite genre this year and I particularly love magical fantasy and fantasy books with LGBT characters so I had to read this book as it has been described as 'gay Harry Potter' so naturally I wanted to read it. We follow the 'chosen one' Simon Snow as he starts his last year at the Watford School of Magicks as his roommate and 'enemy' is missing, a creature (that looks like a child version of himself) is trying to kill him and his girlfriend just broke up with him.

The modern magic school premise was great, I loved the super quick and easy writing that allowed me to finish the book in a couple of days despite being over 500 pages and I loved the cheesy magical terms and creatures, particularly a certain vampire. It is definitely YA, with a little swearing and the generic teen angst but I did really enjoy it and I didn't want to put it down as it was entertaining, easy and I wanted to know if a certain two characters would have a happily ever after (or there abouts). Overall, I loved it but it felt a little drawn out at times and I wanted more of Simon and Baz. 

*Ocean Anatomy by Julia Rothman (208 pages) ★★★★
November was non-fiction November and up until the end of the month I'd only read one so I thought I'd try and squeeze in another so this short and beautifully illustrated non-fiction read all about sea creatures, the dangers of overfishing, ocean pollution, ocean exploration and more, seemed like a great option. I've read a couple of this authors previous books which are laid out and illustrated in the same way and loved them so I knew I'd like this one too. 

I adored the illustrations throughout the book, the layout and the way the information is presented in diagrams, facts and illustrations rather than just text. I love that it included sections about overfishing, pollution and the impact of human culture on sea creatures and the health of the ocean. I think it's a great book for all ages, particularly older children and maybe teens. 

The Woods: Volume One - The Arrow by James Tynion (111 pages) ★★★
I noticed this comic book series on Booktube at the end of November and when I noticed that it was free with Kindle Unlimited, I decided to give it a go as it was highly recommended and super short. Also it was free so I don't mind trying something I'm not sure about if I don't have to pay for it. We follow a group of students and their entire high school as it is transported to an alien world. That doesn't typically sound like something I'd be interested in as sci-fi isn't my favourite genre and I haven't liked many comic books in the past but this one was surprisingly enjoyable...for the most part. 

I loved the art style, the colour palette and the overall story as it was entertaining and something very different to anything else I'd read recently. I have downloaded the second comic book as it is also free on Kindle Unlimited but I don't think I would have if it wasn't free as I found the first volume to be interesting but a little cheesy and predictable at times. If you have Kindle Unlimited then I'd recommend it, if not then maybe wait for it to go on sale. 

The Woods: Volume Two - The Swarm by James Tynion (112 pages) ★★★
The second volume of The Woods carried on from the first with the same art style, world and terrors but it evolved a little, giving more of an insight into the creatures of this alien world, the mysteries and the developing relationships between a couple of the characters. I enjoyed the story overall and I liked getting to know the characters more, although the first and second volumes seemed to blur together and maybe could have just been one volume. I did like it enough to carry on with the third and fourth volumes as they are also free on Kindle Unlimited. Also they are super quick, easy reads that have helped me get back into reading after an awful reading slump. 

The Woods: Volume Three by James Tynion (106 pages) ★★★ 
If you have Kindle Unlimited, either a subscription or a free trial, then you can read the first five volumes of this comic book series for free. I do like the art style for all of the four volumes I've read and I love the premise. Maybe I shouldn't have read four in a row as they have all blended together for me but they are all quick, easy and entertaining reads overall. If you like YA sci-fi or alien comic books then I think you'll like this series.  

The Woods: Volume Four by James Tynion (109 pages) ★★★ 
The final volume I read was volume four and it brings in more characters, more peril and more of an understanding of the alien world and it's history. I don't think I'll read the fifth volume, even though it is free, as I became increasingly less attached to the characters and less interested in the story as the books progressed. I would definitely recommend the first two volumes (which I'd give a high three stars) but not so much the third and fourth (which I'd give a low three stars). 

Have you read any of these books? What have you been reading recently? 



  1. Oooh there are some amazing books here!

    Love, Amie ❤
    The Curvaceous Vegan

  2. I need to start reading again! I so miss reading! :(

    Erin || MakeErinOver

  3. Sorry October wasn't a great reading month for you. I managed 13 in November which was so good for me. I've been reading lots of thrillers recently x


  4. Hate it when you have to DNF so many books x


  5. I'm currently reading a non-fic book (Homo Deus by Noah Yuval Hurari) but looking forward to reading something fictional next :)

    Jasmine xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

  6. Wow you manage to read so many! I've really slowed down on it the last month or so xx

    Tiffany x www.foodandotherloves.co.uk

  7. I'm so behind on reading at the moment. I have piles to read but no time xx

  8. Hadn't read of these but they sound interesting, especially The Woods! I do love myself a little sci-fi! I could never get into Carry On even after reading it twice! I tried! xD

    Daisy xoxo | TheDeeWhoLived

  9. I need to catch up on some reading asap! x

  10. The Widow of Pale Harbour probably appeals to me most! Great round-up! x

  11. Some really interesting books mentioned. I need to read more.


  12. It feels like months since I finished a book but I’ve just had no time at all x

  13. I'd love to start reading but I just wouldn't have the patience x


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