October Reads

         Cheers to another successful reading month. Five books this time around and two were off my reading list. I only have to read four more books to reach my goal of fifty for the year (and that’ll be a piece of cake at this rate) and barely more than that are on my reading list. I’m sure we’re going to finish this year strong. Only thing I have to complain about, and it’s not really a complaint, is that it’s been mostly audio books lately. The cause of that, though, is that I quit smoking (yay!) so now I don’t have random seven-minute breaks to sit and read at work. I’m in the middle of two books (one e-book and one paperback) that I’ve been casually getting through for the last month. Not that they aren’t good, I am enjoying them, I just don’t seem to have the time to actually read right now. Work is busy, home is busy, and I’m trying to get my next book ready to publish so all in all, reading has taken the back seat. But audio books save the day.

Unf*ck Your Brain by Faith G. Harper

         So, I’m mixed up about this book. It was free on audible and sounded interesting, so I thought I’d give it a shot. But… I was so not a fan of the audio. The quality was off, and I felt like she was talking too fast. And when she was at a start of a topic, I could barely tell because it ran right into her next sentence. And then the constant swear words got on my nerves. Not because I don’t swear, because I definitely do, but because it felt like it didn’t fit. It wasn’t natural. Most of it sounded forced and like she wasn’t comfortable saying the words.

         The content itself was fine, though. Maybe I’ll pick up a physical copy and go through it again. There were helpful tips and great ways of looking at situations. I feel like I’ll use it in my life, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time. I just don’t recommend the audio.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

         This book was brilliant. I knew it was on my reading list for a reason. It was a rollercoaster of emotions and I couldn’t devour it fast enough. Only regret is that I wish I’d gotten to it sooner.

         The characters were so real and genuine. Even when they were being terrible–it was real. Briar stole my whole heart, and I felt Emira’s struggle and pain when she had to let her go.

         Emira is all of us struggling to find ourselves in our twenties. She gets overwhelmed when her friends are moving at a different pace when all she really wants is to pay her bills and not worry about her health insurance. But she’s supposed to be deciding what to do with the rest of her life. Being at the end of my twenties now, I related so hard.

         And Alix. Oh, she always tried to have the ‘best intentions’ and at first it really seemed like she just wanted to be Emira’s friend. But as time went on, her real thoughts came clear and I wanted to shake her. Especially after Kelley came into the picture. She became a thirty-something year old still obsessed with her high school boyfriend. Someone needed to smack her. But her friends all supported her decisions!

         And in the end, Emira figured some of her life out and made some smart decisions for her future. I was so proud of her growth and how she stood up for herself.

         I listened to this on audio, since the lack of time prevents me from reading words lately, but I will definitely have to pick this one up in hard copy. It deserves a permanent spot on my shelf.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

         I loved The Handmaid’s Tale, so I went into this book with high hopes. I wasn’t exactly disappointed, but it wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped for either. It was good, and brough you back into the scary world of Gilliad, which is all you can really hope for. Sequels have a tendency to let you down when they come so many years after the first one.

         One of the things I was let down by was the ‘baby Nicole’ revelation. It felt so ‘duh’ and obvious way before they said it. And I know she was a teenager and rebellious, but I found her a little annoying. When she ‘snuck’ into Gilliad, she took nothing seriously. She could have gotten herself killed, and the idea didn’t even phase her.

         Agnes was more likeable. She was a great example of how a child will grow up in a strange place with strange rules. She isn’t unquestioning, but she does what she’s supposed to in order to avoid trouble and stay alive. Her reveal was less obvious, so more enjoyable. And I’m glad she survives to the end.

         Aunt Lydia was… great in her own way. It’s nice to know she wasn’t evil to the bone like she’s portrayed in the first book, but it was also a bit of a letdown. Evil characters are necessary because actual people can be evil.

         The ending really wrapped everything up for the reader. No more questions left unanswered. Which was also nice. But sometimes the questions are good and keep the reader obsessed with the fictional world.

The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard

         This book was everything I never knew I needed in a serial killer book. The changing perspectives and place in time was perfectly executed and everything was revealed at just the right time.

         The twists and surprises in the timeline gave you just enough to nibble on until the next one. Even with Will’s situation making you feel bad for him, you’re still not quite sure what to believe throughout because he confessed.

         I loved Alison’s mother. She was so realistic and fun. Her relationship with Alison was so pure. And speaking of relationships, the slow burn between Alison and Malone was like icing on the cake.

         I’m so happy I picked this one up and will recommend it to anyone I know who likes this type of book.

Authority by Nathan Barry

My craft book for the month was about self-publishing and becoming financially successful with your books. It was a little more targeted at non-fiction writers, but I found several pieces of advice helpful to fiction as well. It’s even made me feel like I could put out a non-fiction book on my own writing process. You never know who could gain something from what I have to say.

We’ll see what comes of that, but the book was inciteful and I enjoyed his sense of humor.

         Another productive month down and only two more to go in the year. Can’t wait to wrap it up and finish out my reading list. But that means it’s time to draft next year’s list. If you have any recommendations for books I should read, let me know. Happy reading.