October was a great reading month for me – both with physical books (3 completed) and audiobooks (4 completed). I may not have followed my TBR exactly (check out my October TRB post on Instagram: October TBR), but honestly, I don’t care. Monthly TBRs are tricky for me. I like making them because they’re fun – they make nice book stacks for Instagram posts and they remind me of all the exciting unread books I have on my shelves. But in the end, I’m an emotional reader and sometimes I just don’t feel like reading the books I picked out at the beginning of the month. With that said, I consider my TBR more of a suggestion than a promise, so I don’t feel bad when I look back on the past month and realize I didn’t follow through on my reading plans. As long as I like the books I read, that’s all that matters. 🙂
You may have noticed that no, I did not finish reading The Iliad or Daughter of Fortune this past month like I said I would. Again, I’m an emotional reader and those two didn’t make the cut in October. And that’s okay. There’s always next month, or maybe the month after that.
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware (4 Stars)
When Nora, a crime novelist, receives an invitation out of the blue to her estranged childhood best friend’s hen party her first instinct is to not attend, but her curiosity gets the best of her and she finds herself out in the middle of the woods of Northumberland to celebrate a girl she no longer feels she knows. The weekend takes a sinister turn when an intruder enters the house and is shot. In the aftermath, secrets from Nora’s past begin to surface and collide catastrophically with the present.
I really enjoyed listening to this novel (see my full review here: In a Dark, Dark Wood). It was my second Ruth Ware book and I fully intend to read more from her. The mystery was solid and kept me guessing until the last couple chapters.
Family Trust by Kathy Wang (3 Stars)
This family drama centers around the Huangs, a Chinese-American family living in Silicon Valley, CA. Stuck between two cultures that value professional, familial, and material success (or at least the appearance of such), the members of the Huang family have worked hard to cement their places in the Silicon Valley community. But much of what they present to the world and to each other is a slight (or large) exaggeration of what is really happening below the surface. When Stanley, the father, is diagnosed with cancer, the family’s secrets begin to unravel as they struggle to grapple with impending loss and financial woes.
See my full review here: Family Trust. I enjoyed this book; Wang sucked me into this contemporary family drama and kept me hooked.
So Close to Being the Sh*t, Ya’ll Don’t Even Know by Retta (3 Stars)
I don’t know about you all, but I have fully jumped on board the celebrity memoir train. Retta’s memoir was funny, enlightening, and a great audiobook to listen to. She reads it herself, so you get to experience the book as she meant it to be read. From her humble beginnings in New Jersey to her super success on Parks & Rec, she lays it all out in this book.
While I really enjoyed hearing about her experience as a comedian and her time on Parks & Rec, there were parts of this book I wasn’t all that interested in, like the two chapters dedicated to her obsession with handbags and her burgeoning love of the Los Angeles Kings. Nevertheless, if you’re a lover of celebrity memoirs you don’t want to miss this one! And I would definitely recommend the audiobook over the physical copy.
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen (5 Stars)
Vanessa Thompson is barely keeping herself together. After a difficult divorce from her husband Richard, she is battling anxiety, a potentially dangerous dependence on alcohol, and the risk of self-sabotaging her job as a sales girl at Saks. Her obsession with her ex and his new fiancee is beginning to push her over the edge – but nothing is as it appears.
I loved this book! I don’t want to say too much and risk spoiling the twists and turns for you, but holy moly this book had me on the edge of my seat. The major twist came about halfway through the book and was so unexpected I had to rewind the audiobook and listen to it a second time just to be sure I heard it properly. If you’re a fan of twisty, gut-wrenching psychological thrillers look no further, this is the book for you.
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica (1 Star)
Mia Dennett is planning on meeting her boyfriend at a bar after work, but when he doesn’t show up she recklessly decides to go home with a stranger. What seemed fairly innocent to her at first quickly turns into one of the most terrifying nights of her life when Colin, the stranger, abducts her to a cabin out in the middle of the woods.
Oh boy. There was very little about this book that I actually liked. From an infuriating case of Stockholm Syndrome to an incomprehensible affair between Mia’s mother and the detective investigating her case I thought this book couldn’t get any worse, but I was wrong. The twist at the end was unsurprising and a little childish. All in all, I was really disappointed because I was looking forward to this book a lot. If you’ve read other books by Mary Kubica, what did you think? Should I give her another try?
Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (5 Stars)
In the fourth installment of the Cormoran Strike series, Galbraith takes us deeper into the intricate lives and work of private investigator Cormoran Strike and his associate Robin Ellacott. During an odd meeting with Billy, a troubled young man, Strike is introduced to a potential child murder from the past. When Billy and the supposed murder are linked to one of Strike and Robin’s new cases involving an old, elite British family and several members of Parliament, the chase is on to catch a killer, or two.
I absolutely loved this book. No less consuming than previous books from the series, this installment is noticeably less violent and disturbing than it’s predecessor Career of Evil. While the mystery is still central to the plot, Lethal White takes the time to further develop the characters of Strike and Robin – and I love them. I CANNOT wait for book 5!
Small Spaces by Katherine Arden (5 Stars)
“Avoid large places at night. Keep to small,” says the mysterious, old book Ollie rescued from being thrown into the river by a crazy, disheveled woman. At first Ollie is intrigued by this little book that so obviously distressed its previous owner, but when the story it contains turns out to not only be true, but also be about the farm her sixth grade class is visiting on a field trip things take a spooky turn. On the way home their school bus is stranded, a dark mist is quickly approaching, and the scarecrows appear to be watching from the corn fields, so Ollie and two of her friends flee for safety. The adventure that follows in this middle grade novel is hair-raising, spooky, and wonderfully atmospheric.
What a fun Halloween read! Katherine Arden is a master at conjuring up literary atmospheres that make you feel as if you’re living inside her books. All I can say is: read this book, and if you haven’t already, read her Russian folklore inspired series beginning with The Bear and the Nightingale. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.😃