I don’t know what happened to me in October. It’s like my brain knew that I have a stack (nay, a tower) of books to get through and decided to slow it down, way down. Can anyone relate to that kind of paradox reaction?
I’m not saying that nine books (one’s missing in this pic) is a bad reading month. Not at all. Nine is great. Especially when I enjoyed all of my reads. But nine in October, when the new releases are kicking into high gear and the November of YA releases is just around the corner… *deep breaths* Well, I’ve landed myself in a bit of a situation. A situation I will expound (seek help) on in a post coming, where I talk about my November TBR.
Anyway, back to the great and greater, back to my favorite books of October.
For the adult titles, top honors go to Clayton’s The Last Train to London. For YA, it’s Rena Barron’s The Kingdom of Souls. Middle-grade, nobody does it better than Victoria Schwab, and she proves it again in Tunnel of Bones.
As for the entirety of my October wrap-up, here goes:
The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton
One of the best works of historical fiction I’ve read to date.
Few storytellers can bring history to life in a way that makes us (really) feel, and Clayton is one of those. The Last Train to London is a pre-WWII-era story of the Kindertransport that evacuated thousands of children out of Nazi-occupied Europe. As is the beauty of historical fiction, where historical figures and events are interwoven with fictional characters and story threads, Clayton weaves a tapestry so richly detailed and emotionally raw here that one can’t but be taken in and deeply unwound by the heartbreak of the unfolding story.
Whether you’re a seasoned historical reader or new to the pre-WWII subject matter as it relates to what’s being covered at school, Clayton’s The Last Train to London is a must-read!
- Rating: 5/5 stars
- For a full review, click here.
- Add The Last Train to London to your Goodreads list.
Land of Last Chances by Joan Cohen
Whip-smart, female-centered career fiction, with elements of a corporate thriller.
Jeanne is a 48-year-old executive whose recent menopause turns out to be an unplanned change-of-life baby. And suddenly, risk-analyst Jeanne finds herself considering something she never thought possible — keeping the baby despite the implications this will have for her career. But a letter from the past (filled with the contents of a safety deposit box held by her recently deceased mother) shakes up whatever confidence Jeanne had gained in her decision; there’s a good chance she’s inherited a predisposition for early-onset Alzheimer’s. Suddenly, the risks become incalculable, and risk-averse Jeanne finds herself spiraling.
Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron
Book #1 in the Kingdom of Souls series.
A totally binge-worthy new fantasy epic.
Arrah comes from a long line of powerful witchdoctors, which is excellent when you need a witchdoctor, but not so great when you’re the only one in your family without powers. She wouldn’t dream of trading her years for a touch of charlatan magic until the Kingdom’s children start to disappear.
I’ve long held a fascination with West African religions and traditions, and love stories that incorporate the West African creation story and the Orishas (the primordial divinities, or gods, if you like). In Kingdom of Souls, Barron mixes fact with fiction in such a way that makes this an utterly addictive read.
All the Bad Apples by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Magical realism to sweep you off your feet.
Fowley Doyle is an expert at magical realism and one who continually gets it right. Seamlessly weaving reality and supernatural threads into a tapestry so detailed and appealing to the senses that one can’t help but develop a nearly insatiable craving for sharp, tangy apples while reading about the Rys family’s cursed “bad apples.” Who admittedly are people (young women, to be exact), but the curse began with an apple tree, and the scent of apples is everywhere.
All the Bad Apples is almost certainly guaranteed a spot among my top-ten of 2019.
What She Found in the Woods by Josephine Angelini
Deliciously dark and twisted YA suspense read that hooks you from the start and does not let go.
Lena is freshly released from a nine-month stint in a mental hospital into the care of her grandparents, who live in the Pacific Northwest and are about the only people left willing to take her in. But her grandparents aren’t ones to tackle unpleasant issues, which the reason behind Lena’s cross-country move distinctly is. And so Lena is left to cope on her own, wandering the hiking trails behind her grandparent’s home. Until her path collides with Wildboy, Bo, and things are starting to look up … that is until the first body appears.
What She Found in the Woods tackles big issues such as mental illness and family dysfunction deftly amid its page-turning narrative.
- Rating: 4.5/5 stars
- For a full review, click here.
- Add What She Found in the Woods to your Goodreads list.
The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Book #1 in the Origin series.
Sci-fi adventure with swoon-worthy romance.
Utterly book-boyfriend/girlfriend worthy characters and swoon-worthy romance are at the heart of this action-packed sci-fi adventure, which is a Lux spin-off. If you’re like me and haven’t (for reasons unknown and unexplainable) read the Lux series yet, you can totally jump right into The Darkest Star – this book is delicious! Honestly, the best way I can describe it. It’s like your favorite treat, but in book form, addictive. There will be spoilers, obviously, but not so that once you‘ve finished, you won’t want to pick up the Lux books. And, boy, do I want to check out Lux now. But first, Origin #2 The Burning Shadow beckons.
The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
A female-focused reimagining of the untold story of the brides of Dracula.
This dark retelling is utterly atmospheric and an easy one to get into, with the threat of danger (the Dragon, or Dracula) looming from page one. Dracula is a well-established figure, and so we know how the story of his brides (twin girls) will eventually end. The girls’ sisterhood is at the heart of this story, the emotional core, and what drives the action. There’s romance too, though strictly secondary to the story’s central theme of fate vs. free will. A stunning read.
Intensity and content overall puts The Deathless Girls at the more mature end of the YA spectrum.
Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab
Book #2 in the Cassidy Blake series.
One of my new favorite ghost stories.
Cassidy Blake and ghost best friend, Jacob, set out on a new adventure. This time it’s off to one of Europe’s most haunted cities, Paris, where Cass’ parents are filming their next TV show segment on the city’s catacombs. When Cass accidentally awakens a spirit as strong as it is frightening, the entire city erupts in chaos. But sending the spirit on is no simple thing of a mirror and chanting the words “watch and listen, see and know, this is what you are.” The spirit seems wholly unaware of who he used to be, and unless Cass and Jacob can remind him, Paris may remain haunted forever.
Tunnel of Bones is a perfect sequel to book one City of Ghosts. Wonderfully spooky with one of the most beautiful fictional friendships, and not just that between a human and a ghost. A stellar series.
What were some of your favorite October reads? Let me know in the comments below.
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