Hi, all—happy October, and happy spooky season!
I’ll admit, that while I’m a Christmas girl through and through, there is a special place in my heart for Halloween. I’ve been binging haunting movies
(if we can call Hocus Pocus and Haunted Mansion that), I’ve been listening to true crime stories that make me far too paranoid, and I’m yearning for a trip to the cider mill in which I can live out all of my cozy autumnal dreams. We’re here; we’re ready for the spooky season. Red by Taylor Swift is spinning on my record player, and a fall-scented candle is burning in my near proximity.
But, with each passing month, 2020 manages to bring us another tumultuous storm with no sign of the sun coming out anytime soon. If you are a citizen of the United States and over 18 years of age, please please please make absolutely sure that you are registered to vote (there is still time in some states!). Educate yourself before filling in your ballot. Consider the issues that are at stake with this election. This is our chance to, in our so-called democracy, make our voices heard about the things we care about. And, if you’re unsure of where your political compass points, I urge you to visit the website isidewith.com, which is a quick quiz that will point you in the right direction. Vote with not only your mind, but your heart. Vote with compassion. Vote for the now, and vote for the generations after us.
Like I mentioned in my last recap, I’ve been struggling to pull myself out of a reading slump. With that, I’ve been revisiting some old stories near and dear to my heart; but, I also managed to read some new books that were pretty fantastic too. Not to mention, I FINALLY finished a long-awaited movie series, and I’m feeling all of the feels.
In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken – ★★★★★. On a whim, and thanks to a stubborn reading slump, I figured there would be nothing better than to pick up the final book of my favorite series. Since I have read the story before and have though about the characters just about every day since, it would be less painful, right? Wrong. In the Afterlight still stung like hand sanitizer in a paper cut. I thought I was ready; I thought I was prepared. Alas, I was nowhere near either. All jokes aside though, this conclusion is simply stunning. The story itself wraps up in the best way possible, and not without a few twists along the way. Characters grow and transform, letting their words speak for them. And the plot moves forward so naturally and easily that, before you know it, you’ve been reading for hours straight even though it only felt like minutes. Ruby’s overall transformation will never seize to amaze me, and I will never tire reading of her adventures.
The Darkest Legacy by Alexandra Bracken – ★★★★★. After picking up an old favorite, I was more than ready to read a brand new book, meet new characters, right? Wrong again. Rereading just one book wasn’t enough to shake my persistent slump, so I should just press on with the continuation of my favorite series, yeah? The biggest worry I have when an author decides to tack a title onto a beloved series is that the story feels forced, the new characters feel like an afterthought. The Darkest Legacy is anything but; I would even argue that this book is very much a part of the original series—it feels as if you can’t have one without the other. As far as those newly added characters? They felt like they’d been there the whole time. This book floods me with emotions every time I think about it.
*I recently wrote about why I love The Darkest Minds series as much as I do, if you’re interested in giving it a read. And, if you’re specifically interested in The Darkest Legacy, I wrote a review a little while back!
Anxious People by Fredrick Backman – ★★★☆☆. This book started out so well for me! A bank robbery gone wrong? A bank robber who has no idea what they’re doing and accidentally takes hostages? Said hostages all acting as the stereotypes they were assigned? And it all being told in a sarcastic banter? That’s right up my alley. Overall, the book was really enjoyable, but the ending was a little lack luster, which is why I ended up rating it three stars. The three stars isn’t a bad thing though; I’m definitely happy to have read it!
Loveless by Alice Oseman – ★★★★★. It’s been weeks since finishing this book, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. Each day that’s passed, I’ve promised myself that I’d finally be getting around to writing that review, but for the life of me, I can’t find the right words to convey how this book made me feel. I don’t know that I’ve ever read a book in which a platonic friendship is painted as just as, or even more, important than a romantic one. It was refreshing and beautiful and emotional, and altogether lovely. That full review I mentioned is hopefully coming soon, but I also want to place this disclaimer here: I have seen some readers mention that this is a fantastic representation of asexuality and aromanticism, and I have seen other readers feel not at all represented, condemning what this book did; my personal opinion on this story and the characters is not at all the end-all-be-all opinion. I fully respect all of the differing opinions and simply wanted to mention them.
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan – ★★★★☆. I’ve officially finished the Heroes of Olympus series! Even though I only started the PJO series this past summer, this feels like a long time coming, and the story concluded so, so well. Percy still has no idea what he’s doing. Jason maybe knows what he’s doing. Annabeth is telling everyone that what they’re doing is wrong. Nico is lurking in the shadows. Hazel is trying to control the shadows. Piper is trying to control her voice. Frank is trying to find his. Reyna is trying to come up with a new one. And, somehow, it all comes together in the end. The series was definitely an enjoyable one, and I’m happy to now understand all of the PJO and HoO memes.
Currently reading: Keeping with the theme of rereading books, I’m currently in the middle of The Institute by Stephen King. Even though this is my second time through, the magic of the story is still there. I was immediately captivated by characters I’ve already met, and I want to know how their stories end
(even though I already know that painful, painful ending). Plus, it wouldn’t be a proper spooky season with at least one Stephen King book, right?
How to Train Your Dragon 2 & 3. Please consider this post the official proclamation of my love for Hiccup, Toothless, Astrid, Valka, Stoick, Tuffnut, Ruffnet, Snotlout, Fishlegs, Gobber…my love for the movies as a whole, truthfully. I recently watched the first movie for the first time ever
(which, I’m still disappointed it took me this long), and fell in love with it instantiously; I knew the sequels would be no different. The only thing I didn’t expect is developing an all-encompassing love for these animated characters. Seeing a scrawny, cautious Hiccup turn into the confident, battle-ready chief by the end of the third movie is the kind of character development that I’m more than here for. I think that’s one of the main reasons I fell in love with this story as much as I did—the transformation that just about every character goes through. Take Hiccup and Toothless for example. Hiccup was raised to fear dragons, and Toothless has spent his life fighting humans. But, by happenstance, both realize that it’s really all a bunch of miscommunication. They learn from each other, lean on each other, and together they change the minds of everyone they interact with. I could cry thinking about it.
Enola Holmes. I feel as if I should disclose that I would watch just about anything with Sam Claflin in it. And we’re adding Henry Cavill to the mix? Then, to top it off, this is a movie about Sherlock Holmes’ curious, adventurous, and inquisitive little sister? Sign me right up, please and thank you. While Enola Holmes didn’t make my favorites list like others
(cough cough), the movie itself was definitely enjoyable. Following Enola on her adventure as she attempts to track down her mom was more addicting than I thought it would be—probably because it turned into an adventure in which she was doing just about everything other than finding her mom. She jumped off trains with strangers, bought lavish gowns to disguise herself, and flipped a man onto his back on a cobblestone street. The girl fought for her life countless times, most times in said lavish gowns, and I was entranced the whole time. If you’re intrigued by mystery and wild goose chases, I couldn’t recommend it enough!
Margaret over at Weird Zeal graced us with her pure genius-ness when she shared some of the playlists she has created based on books. No word of lie, I had her Raven Cycle playlist on repeat for a probably unhealthy amount of time. Not only are these songs wonderful, but they so perfectly encapsulate the themes of the books and the feelings I had.
Chana from Paper Procrastinators penned an incredible PSA to people who keep recommending books by only white authors, and wow. Each point brought up was well-articulated and well-said, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that this post is a must-read.
Sofii at A Book. A Thought. shared her five favorite books with morally gray characters, and I’m beyond myself excited to meet these characters? Morally gray characters are right up there for me with flawed characters—they’re so wonderfully corrupt, and they almost never do the right thing; it’s fantastic to read about. And, seeing as I haven’t read any of the books Sofii mentioned, I’m even more excited to get my hands on them now.
Lais from The Bookish Skies shared an incredible post in which she discusses expectations about own-voices books and opens up about colonization and white-washed references. To put it lightly, this post blew my mind. Lais is an incredible and supportive blogger, and I love hearing about her experience any chance I get; and any words I come up with to summarize her points simply won’t do the post any favors. Please give it a read!
Bri from Marshmallow Harmonies recommended books based on musicals, and it’s really all I’ve ever wanted. The musicals she mentioned themselves are out-of-the-water fantastic, and I don’t think I could be more excited to finally read some of these books—especially after them being connected to some pretty wonderful musicals.
Emme at A Literary Latte discussed her experience as a book blogger that doesn’t write reviews. Considering I’ve yet to write an official book review for 2020
(yikes), I found myself relating to this post all too well.
Kat from Novels & Waffles recommended 20 different books for each Camp Half-Blood Cabin, and I couldn’t have loved this post more even if I tried. Each book seemed to fit so well within that cabin; I for one, as a proud Cabin 7 camper, am over the moon (the sun?) excited to get my hand’s on The Poet X.
As Anne Shirley said, I’m so glad to live in a world where there are Octobers; aren’t you?