Nina’s October Wrap Up

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Hi everyone! Can you guys believe October has passed already? Because I can’t. It feels like I’ve only just written my September Wrap Up, yet here I am, reflecting on this month’s reads. In October, I had a pretty constant reading cycle without slumps and was therefore able to exceed September’s reading amount of 6 books. So, I consider this quite a good reading month for me. Additionally, I made good on my vow to myself to read more diversely in October, because I mostly hang out in my fantasy corner and get incredibly lazy and far too comfortable. From the fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary genre, I read two of each. And so, I present to you my October Wrap Up in chronological order.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo: It goes without saying that Crooked Kingdom was one of my most anticipated releases of 2016. I cannot say I was disappointed, as the book delivers a suspenseful and action-packed sequel like I hoped it would and I was, of course, delighted to be back in the Grisha world and reuinted with the Dregs. And the ships, people, THE SHIPS. Buuut I cannot ignore some of the issues I experienced with Crooked Kingdom. Situations were too easily resolved and little explanations were provided and, overall, the second book just didn’t perform as well as the first. I can still highly recommend this duology, though. 4 stars.

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: I’ve been on the fence about reading this one ever since it was published because I’m always scared the injustice and cruelty faced by homosexual teenagers will drive me mad with anger. This one didn’t. Albertalli cleverly wrapped a serious topic in a light and funny coating – with a high dose of dry humour, friendship, and romance. I blew through Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda in a couple of hours and giggled, laughed, and swooned on multiple occasions. And I did not find out who Blue was, which also kept the mystery aspect pretty interesting. Recommended! 4 stars.

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa: I had heard many good things about this paranormal series written by Kagawa, and though I enjoyed the book as a whole, it didn’t have enough substance for my taste. Therefore, I’d classify The Immortal Rules as a guilty pleasure read among my books. Kagawa operates with vampire clichés and young adult fiction tropes, introducing nothing new to the genre. Nevertheless, the plot picked up speed and suspense, and the storyline of the Katana-wielding Asian vampire kept me hooked until the very end, which saved the rating and my opinion of this book. 3 stars.

One by Sarah Crossan: This contemporary novel broke me. It has been a long time since my emotions were last so over the place as with this book. Written in verse, One tells the heartbreaking tale of an unusual sisterhood, family struggles, highschool experiences, and everything inbetween from the viewpoint of one of the conjoined twins. Crossan’s novel is authentic, touching, and as extraordinary as the medical condition itself. Keep tissues nearby. 4 stars.

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning: This was my biggest disappointment of October and perhaps even the previous months. Everyone and their grandmother had loved Darkfever, so I thought I would at least enjoy this one as a guilty pleasure read in the worst case. Well, it was way worse. If a sunny blonde cliché heroine is more interested in what colour nail polish she should paint her nails or how to best describe the sensual lips of an arrogant jerk than stabby-stabbing some creepy faeries, then I’m out the door. No regrets, except ever buying the book in the first place, which is actually a shame because I adore Celtic mythology, but this book just wasn’t a good enough wrapping for it. 2.5 stars.

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston: A Thousand Nights is a tale of love. Not the slow burn between a female main character and her love interest, but a love so deep like it can only run between siblings. This is a testimony to sisterhood, to the strength of women, and to the magic of belief. Though perhaps peculiar and not without its faults, this book is beautiful and enchanting, authentic in its world-building, and narrated with the voice of a strong heroine. I’m a reader to seek fast-paced reads, but this slow-going and meaningful Arabian fantasy won me over in a heartbeat. 4 stars.

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones: Wintersong is like a dark, haunting, yet sweet melody, inspired by Goethe’s German ballad Der Erlkönig. This debut excites with flawed, wicked characters, European folklore, a gloomy atmosphere, and magnificent writing. And still, I cannot wholeheartedly recommend this imaginative urban fantasy, for the characterisation entails common tropes – and I’ve grown tired of them – and the twisted romance that was rather problematic for me, though the ending is somewhat redeeming. Yet I applaud to the author for making the ancient folklore of western Europe trendy again. 3 stars. 

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas: I was warned by my friends that this book was going to make me fall in love with a prince – and I did. The Burning Sky was hard for me to get into, for the pace was slow and the heroine agitated me, but one third in, the book enclosed its firm grip around me and wouldn’t let me go. As a hopeless shipper of love-hate relationships and girls disguising as boys, this urban fantasy was the perfect read for me. This does not mean, however, that I was able to shut my eyes to its flaws. Thomas packed a punch into this fantastical magic system, and it did not work for me. It was chaos. Wands, elixirs, elemental magic, portals, mystical beasts. It was as though someone had blended Harry Potter with Avatar The Last Airbender, and exciting as this may sound, it was really just a bit much to digest. 3.5 stars.

What books did you read in October? Have you read any of the ones I have listed here? If yes, what did you think of them? Please share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below, as I would love to hear from you 🙂

8 Comments

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed most of them. I read Crooked Kingdom last month as well and I absolutely loved it. The only thing I didn’t really like was the ending. The you-know-what situation with you-know-who. Haha sorry I don’t know how do hide spoilers in here.

    • nina

      November 6, 2016 at 4:58 PM

      The hint has been received, haha! In our posts, the spoilers work with square brackets, but it doesn’t for comments. Will have to find out how to do that!

      Yes, besides Kaz guessing his way out of precarious situations, the you-know-what situation pissed me off to no end. It was anti-climatic, for one thing, and didn’t push the plot forward one bit, which suggests it merely served as a shock device. If Bardugo had wanted to have a meaningful event, she would have chosen a different character, and there’s really only one that comes to mind, if you catch my drift 😛

      • Exactly! It’s like the whole party was over and then Bardugo realized she needed at least one shocking event in her book so she threw that in there. Ughhhh.

        No! I have no idea what character you have in mind. Tell me! haha inbox me or something.

        • nina

          November 6, 2016 at 6:01 PM

          On point! And I really don’t feel like the book genuinely needed the added drama with their plans blowing up in their faces half the time 😉

          Will inbox you asap!

  2. Cait @ Paper Fury

    November 6, 2016 at 11:44 PM

    Yay for a good reading month! I LOVED CROOKED KINGDOM SO MUCH I CAN ONLY SHRIEK. *hollers from the mountaintops* fajdkslad so perfect and ships and KAZ BREKKER and all that waffle appreciation? Be still my beating heart. I did think the plot of the first book was more clever, but I still loved CK so I gave it all the stars.🎉🍰 And yesss, I loved Simons! I read that last year since it seemed everyone was flailing about it. So so stinkin’ adorable. I loved it!
    That’s disappointing about Wintersong though. D: I’m getting really tired of all the same-old-same-old tropes too. A downside of being a vivacious reader!?? I see the same stuff too often.😂 I still hopefully plan to read it eventually though!
    Hope you have an amazing reading bookish November too!

    • nina

      November 7, 2016 at 7:52 PM

      YAY INDEED. Crooked Kingdom is my troubled child of October, because I really liked it, because ships and waffles and powers turning creepy and Wylan, my small son. And yet, it disappointed me in several areas. For example, I had absolutely adored Kaz in Six of Crows, that cunning little bastard, but there was only little introspection into his character in the sequel, and he resolved situations by guessing, calling a good bluff. Convenient much?? So, I agree when you say Six of Crows’ plot was more clever. I’m hoping for a spin-off with Nina and a certain sassy privateer, though. THE HOPE IS ALIVE 😀

      I haven’t posted my review yet, so I’ll go ahead and give a glimpse of the bloggish future 😉 Basically, the main character is your typical ugly duckling (a statement for which we are given no proof in the book, btw) turned special shiny snowflake, and I cannot get onboard with heroines finding their self-worth in the physical and emotional affection of a love interest. Just, please staaahp with this bullshit. However, I don’t want to discredit the book, because it is well written with a great setting for the most part and so wickedly dark, so you might really enjoy it! 🙂

      Thanks, mate! You too!

  3. Great wrap up, Nina. I’ve just finished Crooked Kingdom myself and it definitely deserves your top spot. Your other titles are in my must read list too like Simon, One and A thousand Nights and I look forward to reading them even more. 😉

    • nina

      November 7, 2016 at 7:56 PM

      Thank you, Aj! I’m glad you enjoyed Crooked Kingdom. I think you will adore Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda and A Thousand Nights is simply the most beautiful, poetic book ever, so I’m curious to see what you’ll think of those! 🙂

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