2020 · Long post · Wrap ups

October Wrap-Up and Mini-Reviews 2020

phew…

I did Gothtober this month and a full wrap-up will be published soon. I have included them here but my opinion is shorter.

Overall, I did fairly well again. It was a bit of a rush in the end trying to finish everything, but I’m pleased with my efforts πŸ™‚

In total I finished 11 books this month and I well into another.

Let’s just dive in πŸ™‚

As a reminder: To me, 5 ivy leaves is an amazing book that stuck with me, surprised me, one I could stop thinking about, I got lost in, etc. 4 ivy leaves is an enjoyable read something I really liked, but that’s it. 3 ivy leaves are either a disappointing read, or the book is just OK.

Akata Warrior (Akata Witch #2) by Nnedi Okorafor

Physical book – owned

The sequel to Akata Witch, Akata Warrior continues a year after the first book.

Synopsis of the first book:

Akata Witch transports the reader to a magical place where nothing is quite as it seems. Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, twelve-year old Sunny is understandably a little lost. She is albino and thus, incredibly sensitive to the sun. All Sunny wants to do is be able to play football and get through another day of school without being bullied. But once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, Sunny is plunged in to the world of the Leopard People, where your worst defect becomes your greatest asset. Together, Sunny, Orlu, Chichi and Sasha form the youngest ever Oha Coven. Their mission is to track down Black Hat Otokoto, the man responsible for kidnapping and maiming children. 

Gothtober read

It was so much fun to be back here and earn cash while learning πŸ™‚

Archangel by Robert Harris

Physical book – owned

Fluke Kelso was once a scholar of promise, but like so many in the highly competitive world of academia, he’s never delivered. But one night, at a symposium in Moscow concerning the release of secret Soviet archives, he is approached by Papu Rapava, a former Kremlin bodyguard with a story to tell. No one but the desperate Kelso would believe the tale, for what Rapava describes is a sort of Holy Grail among researchers: an actual diary left by Joseph Stalin himself. 

Before Kelso can learn the location of the diary, Rapava disappears, and Kelso’s search for the former bodyguard leads him to the man’s daughter, a whore selling herself in the new Moscow of drugs, corruption, and the Russian mafia. With an unscrupulous American journalist hot on their heels, a major of the new KGB close behind, and the shadowy Mamantov following them all, the two follow a trail that leads from Moscow’s seedy underbelly to the industrial city of Archangel, where Russia once built her fleets of submarines, to a remote camp on the edge of the Siberian nothingness, and finally to a shocking conclusion that bites like the wind blowing off the tundra.

Gothtober read

Wow…! I know there was a trend to read historical fiction in thriller format with something exciting and stuff, but I didn’t realise it lasted into 2009 when this book was published. I didn’t get it. I didn’t much enjoy it. I am not keeping it.

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Race by Robin DiAngelo

Audiobook – Library

The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.

Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, anti-racist educator Robin DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what can be done to engage more constructively.

This was such an eye-opening book to me, but not about systematic racism but about my own so far unknown white fragility. I see myself in a different light and I can hear that defensive voice creep up on me before I catch it and force it back down. It so fascinating to watch myself come t these realisations. I have not just become aware of my own white fragility in relation to racism but any other less privileged issues like islamophobia etc. I caught myself frowning at a white guy converting to Islam, and based on the stuff I have learned about Islam there is nothing to fear, but my own fragility crept up on me and I had to catch myself.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelly

Audiobook – Library

Obsessed with creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life with electricity. But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker and all that he holds dear. Mary Shelley’s chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley near Byron’s villa on Lake Geneva. It would become the world’s most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity

Gothtober read

This was not what I expected but after reading it, I’m glad I have read it. Its’s not a bad book but it is very different from any movie adaptation.

The Heartforger (The Bone Witch #2) by Rin Chupeco

Physical book – Owned

The Bone Witch Book 1 synopsis:

In the captivating start to a new, darkly lyrical fantasy series, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price. When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training. In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha-one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles and make a powerful choice.

Gothtober read.

Aaaa! Book two was so good! I can’t wait to read the next and last book! I totally ship the main couple too πŸ™‚

Sofia Khan is Not Obliged (Sofia Khan #1) by Ayisha Malik

E-audiobook – Library

Unlucky in love once again after her sort-of-boyfriend/possible-marriage-partner-to-be proves a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good. Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all exposΓ© about the Muslim dating scene.

As her woes become her work, Sofia must lean on the support of her brilliant friends, baffled colleagues ,and baffling parents as she seeks stories for her book. But in amongst the marriage-crazy relatives, racist tube passengers, and polygamy-inclined friends, could there be a lingering possibility that she might just be falling in love?

I really like this Muslim dating book! I loved how the book was set up with the story within a story. It was sweet and funny at the same time and made me laugh on several points. I will definitely pick up more from this author and the next book in the series πŸ™‚

The London of Us (London Romance #4) by Clare Lydon

Audiobook – Library

Alice Di Santo has it all – everyone says so. Perfect boyfriend, great job, settled home life. But when she meets Rachel Cramer, all that changes. Because Rachel is everything Alice has never considered – and now cannot stop thinking about.

This charming tale of coming out in your 30s sees Alice risk everything to go after what she wants, soon discovering she’s deserving of love – and especially this love, which takes her breath away.

The fourth book in the London Romance Series features favourite characters from the previous three novels, and proves that falling in love is never scripted.

Gothtober read.

I read this book right after Sofia Khan and it fell a bit int its shadow unfortunately. This book is a step down from Sofia Khan and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected. Still an enjoyable read.

Sex and Lies by Laila Slimani

E-book – Library

In these essays, Leila Slimani gives voice to young Moroccan women who are grappling with a conservative Arab culture that at once condemns and commodifies sex. In a country where the law punishes and outlaws all forms of sex outside marriage, as well as homosexuality and prostitution, women have only two options for their sexual identities: virgin or wife. Sex and Lies is an essential confrontation with Morocco’s intimate demons and a vibrant appeal for the universal freedom to be, to love and to desire.

Gothtober read.

WOW! This was super educational! It made me mildly angry at several stages in a powerful way. I really liked the authors writing style and her use of words. I’m interested in picking up some of her fictional works.

Nod by Adrian Barnes

Physical book – Own

Dawn breaks over Vancouver and no one in the world has slept the night before, or almost no one. A few people, perhaps one in ten thousand, can still sleep, and they’ve all shared the same golden dream. 

After six days of absolute sleep deprivation, psychosis will set in. After four weeks, the body will die. In the interim, panic ensues and a bizarre new world arises in which those previously on the fringes of society take the lead. 

Paul, a writer, continues to sleep while his partner Tanya disintegrates before his eyes, and the new world swallows the old one whole.

Gothtober read.

Hmm. Not sure if it was just the fact that I was reading a pandemic book during a pandemic or if it was the book. I was a bit bored.

The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher

Audiobook – Own

The Christmasaurus is a story about a boy named William Trundle, and a dinosaur, the Christmasaurus. It’s about how they meet one Christmas Eve and have a magical adventure. It’s about friendship and families, sleigh bells and Santa, singing elves and flying reindeer, music and magic. It’s about discovering your heart’s true desire, and learning that the impossible might just be possible. 

Gothtober read.

A very fun book about dinosaurs and Christmas! I would have loved this when I was a child. Maybe it will become a Christmas present for my niece and nephew instead.

Ninth House (Alex Stern #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Audiobook – Own

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, ranging from Jodie Foster to George W. Bush. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more supernatural than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

Gothtober read

I’m a bit surprised at how original this was. It was intense, mysterious, and intriguing! I’m very much looking forward to the next instalment whenever that happens.

Reading Challenge check:

Let’s hold me accountable.

I have two goals this year which involve acquiring books;

  1. only buy two books a month,
  2. only request two ARCs a month.

Rules: For buying books it only for books I, personally, spend money on including subscription boxes (one per box), but it excludes my audible membership and all free books and gifts. For the ARC’s I’ve focused on my request-button-pressing and not getting the requests approved because you don’t know if it will be approved, nor do you know when it will be approved. Therefore, only two request-clicks per month. I can move the points between the months and if I don’t use them in one month transfer them to the next month.

I will have this on my wrap-ups every month.

Let’s check if I stuck to my goals:

  • Only buy two books a month:
    • none

Available credit from last month; 5

Credit transferring over to next month: 7

  • Only request two ARC’s: 
    • The Gilded Ones ❌
    • The Library of The Dead ❌

Available credits from last month; 9

Credit transferring over to next month: 9

TBR Shelf Reads

I also had a goal of reading one book form my physical shelf and one books from my e-book shelf per month. None of these can involve 2020 acquired books. Based on all the books I read this month these are the once from my shelves:

  • Physical shelf
    • The Heartforger
    • Nod
    • Archangel
    • Akata Warrior
  • E-Book shelf
    • Frankenstein

That’s it!

Have you read any of these?

Of all of them, I think either The Heartforger or Ninth House were my favourites. What was your favourite read this month?

Until next time; happy reading!

5 thoughts on “October Wrap-Up and Mini-Reviews 2020

  1. Looks like you had a really good reading month! I hope November is just as good!
    Since I keep seeing Akata Witch on your blog, I really want to read it haha!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

    Liked by 1 person

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