October was a weird reading month for me. I read or listened to a fair amount of, but I didn’t LOVE many of them. I’ve found that a lot this year… Last year I had an excellent reading year; I fell in love with everything that I read, to the point where I was crying happy tears. However, I’ve found this year to be much more temperamental in that I’m reading a lot of books, but I’m not falling head over heels in love.
So, What did I read this month?
An Empress of Air and Chaos by Roelle Rayne
This book follows the story of Emara Clearwater, a girl who finds herself thrust into the supernatural world, after her world is torn apart after a demon attack. Having to leave the world she knows behind, she moves into the watch tower – a tower where a clan of demon hunters lives. However, everything isn’t as it seems and, before she knows it, Emara finds herself caught up in the lives of two hunters who will do anything to protector, while questioning everything she’s ever known. Between the increasing number of demon attacks and a man that’s out to make his own gains, can she survive long enough to figure out who she is?
Sadly, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would, but it kept me going until the end. For me, the title of the book was a bit of a give away, so I did see some of the twists and turns happening, however I really enjoyed seeing Emara’s growth through the story and who doesn’t love a bit of a love triangle, anyway?
The best bit: The Blacksteel brothers – or one of them anyway 😉
Escape from Pompeii by Christina Balit
This was a short read for the kids I teach! Every year, the kids use this book as stimulus for volcano setting descriptions, and every year I’m blown away by their writing! The book itself follows two friends after Mount Vesuvius erupts and, in return, the destruction of their town.
The best bit: the beautiful photos
Hidden Mate by Jen L Grey (audiobook)
I bought this book on a bit of a whim while browsing Audible. I’m not long into exploring audiobooks and I was looking for narrators I didn’t want to stab in the eye when I came across Hidden Mate by Jen L Grey.
The story follows Sadie, a young werewolf who has finally found herself where she wants to be – at college, with her best friend and most importantly, away from her controlling father. But, on her first day, she gets more than she bargain for, accidentally stumbling into her fated mate… and, to make matters worse, he’s a human.
After making a vow to stay away from him after a few *heated* encounters, Sadie finds herself thrust into life side by side him, while having to question everything she’s ever know. Does she stay loyal to her dad – the alpha of the pack and the most famous super natural – or does she go her own way and make her own destiny?
I really enjoyed this audio book – the narration was great and really captured all of the emotions well. Although Sadie isn’t the badass female main character we’ve all come to expect in fantasy books, she really does grow through out the story, speaking for herself and not letting others control her. She also has a great group of friends that she’s found (two vampires, a dragon and a werewolf no less!) that really do have her back and really advocate for her following her dreams, as well as doing what she believes in. I do think if I had been reading paperback, I would have found the story too predictable, but it was just what I needed for an audiobook!
The best bit: seeing Sadie stick up to her dad and follow what she believes in
Afterlove by Tanya Byrne (audiobook)
I decided to listen to Afterlove after a friend recommended it and, although it’s not my usual type of book, I had really high hopes after reading some of the views. Sadly, I didn’t really enjoy it as much as I was expecting. For me, the pace of the book was far too slow and I needed a little bit more ‘action’ a little sooner.
That being said, the last third of the book was excellent. Tanya Byrne has a real way with words and some of the prose that she wrote for Ash was absolutely stunning, bringing tears to my eyes!
The best bit: the writing style – I absolutely love it when I read a book and feel seen!
Bad Lands by Stacie Marie Brown
(book 4 in an ongoing series)
AHHHHHHHHHHHH!! It was finally here and it DID NOT DISAPPOINT!
I won’t go into too much detail about this book as it is book 4 in an ongoing series (and I want to eventually do a more in depth review on the series) but I AM IN LOVE. Don’t get me wrong, I hate the ‘the two MC are separated for 100s of pages while they go on their own journey’ trope so much, but it was 10000% worth it to hear Warwick say the words I’ve been waiting four books to hear.
If you love fae, magic, egotistical and morally grey males, a kickass female character, a bit of the spice and an excellent squad, then this book is for you!
The best bit: Warwick… and Ash… and Opie…. just all of the squad!!
Tides of Mutiny by Rebecca Rode
Over the course of the year, I’ve become to realise that I love a pirate adventure. I don’t know what it is, but I do know there’s something pretty cool about a sassy, confident girl putting herself into a male centred environment and proving she is stronger than any of them.
Tides of Mutiny followed the story of sixteen year old Lane and her life on board a pirate ship. Apart from there’s one problem… it’s against the law for her to be on a ship, let alone working on one after a pirate queen nearly took over all the lands, and the price is a hanging. Determined not to give up on her dream, she sails across the seas on her fathers boat, alongside a young lad she’s not sure she can trust, but will do anything to save. But, is everything as it seems?
I enjoyed Lane’s story a lot – she was determined to live out her dream and not take no for an answer. She came across some pretty hard truths in her adventures and, as expected, showed all the pirate men that it doesn’t matter if she’s a girl, she can best them all anyway. Sadly, it wasn’t my favourite pirate adventure, but it would be great for a young teen who’s getting into reading!
The best bit: the way our young prince never expects Lane to change who she is
Holes by Louis Sachar
Again, another school read and, being completely honest, I have a bit of a love-to-hate relationship with this book because of the writing style. The story itself follows Stanley, a young boy who has been falsely accused of stealing and ends up at Camp Green Lake, a rehabilitation camp for young, troubled boys. Along the way, he makes some excellent friends, as well as the odd enemy too, and, on the whole, it’s a great feel-good story.
If I was rating this book solely on my preferences, it wouldn’t be getting 4 stars. HOWEVER, every year I read this story to my Y5 English class and they love it. It completely hooks them in and they do some excellent writing from it so, for how much it enthuses the children I teach, it gets an extra star from me!
The best bit: Seeing my kids’ faces when they realise who the Warden is!
Song of the Marked and A Twist of the Blade by S M Gaither
Book 1 rating: ★★★★.25
Book 2 rating: ★★★.75
Casia is fade marked – one of the few people who caught the sickness and lived. She has no idea why she survived and, after her adoptive parents die, she finds herself living among her new family – a tight nit group of mercenaries – going on different jobs to ear their keep. Unfortunately, the young emperor is intrigued by her and claims to want to work along side her to find a cure… which also means working along side the insufferable captain of the army. But, in a land where strange monsters cause havoc and bodies keep on piling up, is the dashing Captain Elander (who she can’t help but feel drawn to) really who he says he is, or is he also full of secrets?
I really enjoyed these two books – I’m a sucker for a good squad, with good banter and even better sass. The characters work really, really well together and, although they all seem to have a range of secrets the other can’t seem to figure out, Casia and Elander find themselves in a situation where they can’t help but trust the other; they can always find each other and, no matter what, will protect each other the best they can.
For me, the books are quite slow paced, something I’m not usually a fan of, but let me tell you now – S. M. Gaither knows how to write a CRACKING last 100 pages. Both books had me completely hooked and wanting to find out what was going to happen next. I couldn’t read them fast enough! As the series is unfinished, I’ve taken a bit of a break so I can read the next book closer to book 4s release date, but I’me excited to get back into the lands and see where it goes!
The best bit: Elander and Casia’s banter and sass
Finally, here are October’s reading stats:
Books read: 9
Pages read: 3,581 (Huzzah – I completed my challenge of reading 100 pages or more every day!)
Format: 2 audio books and 7 physical books
Average star rating: 3.91
Favourite book: Bad Lands by Stacie Marie Brown
Least favourite book: Afterlove by Tanya Byrne
What was your favourite book in October? I’d love to hear more so I can add them to my ever loving TBR list too!