Chantal’s October Wrap Up

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Hi everyone! I can actually not believe it’s already November. Where has this year gone?? It feels like October blew right past me. For those of you who don’t know, I started my second year of university at the beginning of October and that definitely reflected on my reading. This year is particularly tough because next to all the classes, readings, projects and essays I have to do, I’m also applying for jobs for next year (we call them industrial placements in the UK) and it’s been difficult handling both plus trying to maintain a halfway adequate social life. Having said that, I’m still pretty happy with how much I read this month. It’s not a lot, only 4 books, but considering everything else that was going on, I’m content. So let’s get into it, in chronological order:

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: My month started off with a bang. Recently I’ve been getting more into literary fiction and I find myself loving books that would probably have bored me half a year ago. Having said that, I absolutely adored Everything I Never Told You and consider it one of my favourites of the year. It’s a story about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio and how they cope with the death of Lydia, the Lee family’s favourite daughter. This book is extremely character-driven and psychological and also tackles many important issues, such as racism, sexism and what it was like to be in an interracial relationship in the 70s. Most of all though, this book is about family and miscommunication. About how we can love someone and yet are unable to express our feelings towards them. Celeste Ng’s writing is stunning and I found this book deeply moving. It might be a bit too slow-paced for some readers, but if you like stories that delve into the inner psyche of characters and explore emotional topics, definitely pick this up. 5 stars

All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood: This book has been getting heaps of praise and rave reviews and is even a nominee for the Goodreads Choice Awards Adult Fiction category. Unfortunately, I really can’t see what everyone sees in this book. Yes, it deals with a very controversial topic. I LOVE controversial topics and do not shy away from unconventional romances (e.g. see my review of Forbidden), but this book just didn’t work for me. I appreciate the discussion that comes out of it and the fact that it made me think, but besides that, it didn’t have many redeeming qualities. First off, this book was weird. But not weird because a little girl and a 24-year-old like each other, but because the author made such strange stylistic and structural choices that took away from the story. The writing was very simplistic and I felt absolutely nothing for any of the characters. The book also seemed to drag on forever and there came a point where I was simply bored. 2.5 starsΒ 

We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson: I’m just gonna say it straight out: this book is fantastic. It really deserves a higher rating than I’m giving it. But since I rate books both on their merit AND my personal enjoyment, I had to lower it slightly. I have come to the conclusion that I just don’t really like YA contemporaries anymore (which this book is, despite the sci-fi elements). Sure, there are exceptions (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, One, I’ll Give You the Sun) but in general, they always fall flat for me now, especially when they feature a high school setting. However, this book is still great and I highly recommend it to anyone who does enjoy the genre. It deals with depression, suicide, loss, grief and guilt so well and also features a diverse cast of characters. The characters are sympathetic and I cared for them a whole lot, even if I wasn’t completely invested. Overall, this book was excellent, it just wasn’t totally for me. 3.5 stars

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch:Β This is one of the best fantasy books I’ve read recently and a real star of the genre; I now understand why everyone raves about it. It’s difficult to get into at first, the writing is dense and there is an overload of descriptions, but the story and characters are great. The novel features a bunch of misfits, anti-hero thieves (what’s not to love?) who steal from the rich to…keep the money for themselves. The world-building is rich and evocative, the story well plotted and it constantly kept me on my toes. I was genuinely scared for the characters throughout and couldn’t predict anything that happened. I did find some of the passages a bit superfluous and wish Scott Lynch would have gone a bit lighter on the flashbacks, but otherwise this book fantastic. 4 stars

What books did you read in October? Have you read any of the ones I listed? If yes, what did you think of them? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!Β πŸ™‚

6 Comments

  1. The Lies of Locke Lamora is one of those books I’ve been wanting to read for the longest time. I’m a big fan of fantasy so I’m pretty sure I’m going to enjoy it but I always read something else instead. Anyway, I’m so glad you liked it πŸ˜€

    • chantal

      November 10, 2016 at 11:32 PM

      I feel you so much, Kimi! I’ve had that book on my shelf for SO long and never picked it up (I think I was a bit intimidated by the size and knew it was something I had to be fully concentrated with). But it’s honestly so worth it! I really hope you pick it up and enjoy it. Such a good fantasy πŸ™‚ Thank you <3

  2. Great wrap up, Chantal! I look forward to reading Everything I Never Told to You and We are the Ants. I’m really glad they turned out great reads for you. Too bad All the Ugly and Wonderful Things didn’t work for you. I agree about the simplistic writing but in my case, it’s what got me drawn to the book and made the story seem more genuine. But I agree, it’s really not the kind of book for everyone and I appreciate your honest thoughts on it. Hope you find more great reads! πŸ™‚

    • chantal

      November 11, 2016 at 11:12 AM

      Thank you so much, Aj!! I hope you like them! I read your beautiful review on All the Ugly and Wonderful Things and I could totally see why you liked it. I really enjoyed the beginning but as the story went on it just felt like I was dragging myself through and the discussion topic wasn’t enough anymore to keep me interested. Thank you, I hope the same for you!

  3. I am so there with the contemporary YA not working that well for me. I did love One but wasn’t that enthused by Simon… *cue hiding under a rock*.
    I really want to read Locke Lamora so bad! So many people have recommended it to me!

    • chantal

      November 12, 2016 at 7:50 PM

      I know, right? YA contemporaries were never my favourite, but recently I’ve found that really struggle to get through them and just feel so…repetitive to me. Haha, don’t hide! It’s fine if you don’t enjoy a book, I was actually surprised at how much I ended up enjoying Simon; I was expecting not to like it. One is amazing.
      You should, Karen!! As a Sanderson fan I think you will love it! Can’t wait to see it pop up in one of your wrap ups πŸ™‚

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