I’m writing this post while it’s raining outside. It’s freezing for late October, the streets in front of my apartment are covered in brown leaves, and I have a Stars Hollow themed candle lighting up next to me. The perfect atmosphere for an autumn lover and the energy boost I need to do this month’s wrap up.
I’ve been rewatching Gilmore Girls for the fortieth time, so I haven’t read that much this month, even though I have a long list of spooky books to read this season. My book selection in October has been varied, combining classic witchy books with new thrillers, graphic novels and non-fiction.
Best reads of October
I Know You by Claire McGowan
I love Claire McGowan, her thrillers are always addictive and exciting. I read this book the second it came out and loved it.
A woman finds a body in the woods but doesn’t call the police. Instead, she runs because the last time she found a dead body, she was blamed for it. A thrilling whodunit combined with an unreliable narrator and early 2000s nostalgia.
I was walking in my favourite part of the woods, the cinnamon smell of leaves underfoot telling me autumn was on its way, with its promise of open fires and forgiving jumpers.
For the Wolf by Hannah F. Whitten
I don’t usually read fantasy, so I wasn’t sure For the Wolf would be good, but the combination of a dark fairytale with monsters and romance worked pretty well. In Wilderwood, the first daughter is for the throne, and the second daughter is for the Wolf. There’s magic, an enchanted forest, and a Wolf that’s more human than people thought.
The second part comes out next year, and I can’t wait to read it, even though the premise of the next book sounds a bit weird.
Red spent the time mostly in her room, surrounded by her books, letting the familiar passages be an escape. She was good at escaping.
The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox
Look at me, reusing pictures from my last post because I didn’t have time to take new ones. But I really like how this one turned out, even more after reading the book. I need to read more Hester Fox books because this one was great. Historical fiction is easily one of the best genres for spooky season, especially if it has ghosts and witches. I hated one of the characters so badly though, every time she was mentioned, I had to leave the book, take a minute, and come back to finish the chapter.
Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, a family with three daughters moves into Willow Hall, Massachusetts. The estate is obviously haunted, but not only by ghosts, there’s also a new witch in town, though she doesn’t know what she is.
I want to feel the cold air prick my skin, I want to invite the dampness to settle in my bones. Something, I just want to feel something more than the endless, stale hours of waiting for Friday to come.
A witch has a third eye that she may use to see the world not as it is, but as it may be. See what you want to see, bend vision to your will.
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
Before Practical Magic, there was The Rules of Magic. Set in the 60s, the Owens siblings are starting to realise they might have magic powers, and there’s also a big curse on the family that no one wants to talk about.
I love this story and all the characters are fascinating. It has coming-of-age vibes, with the added bonus of three weird teenagers dabbling in magic and curses.
Her one salvation was the novels she read. On nights when she thought it might be better not to be alive without Levi in the world, she opened a book and was therefore saved, discovering that a novel was as great an escape as any spell.
They arrived on Midsummer’s Eve, the summer solstice, when the day is so long it seems for once there is all the time in the world. The roses were in bloom and a green blur of pollen drifted through the darkening air. As they walked through the small town, neighbors came to stand at their windows and gawk. It was common knowledge that any strangers dressed in black would likely be heading to Magnolia Street.
Fangs by Sarah Anderson
I’ll never get over how cute this book is. The stories are funny and charming, with the perfect combination of dark humour and romance. It’s a great graphic novel for anyone that was a goth in high school like me.
Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley’s Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter by Brea Grants, Yishan Li
I thought I’d like Mary more than I did. I was interested in the story, the characters were cute and all, but it felt a bit too YA for my taste. It follows teenager Mary Shelley, who is the great-great-great-great-great granddaughter of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein. She has the power to heal monsters who won’t stop showing up so she can help them.
The Audacity by Katherine Ryan
I obviously had to listen to the audiobook as it was read by Katherine Ryan herself. She’s one of my favourite comedians, and I loved her stories in this tell-all biography. It was the perfect book to listen to while trying to crochet for the first time. Her stories were funny and exciting, with hilarious insights into her upbringing and how she became the amazing person she is today.
The Audacity is definitely part of my top 10 non-fiction of 2021.
It’s actually amazing that I haven’t got body issues as an adult because I remember her trying on my clothes and remarking, “Isn’t it funny, Katherine, your jeans are too big for me but your tops are too small!” Yes, Mum. You’re a human Barbie doll while I’m 15 with a fat ass and no tits. That IS funny.
RedHanded: An Exploration of Criminals, Cannibals, Cults, and What Makes a Killer Tick by Suruthi Bala, Hannah Maguire
I’ve never listened to the podcast RedHanded, and I’d never heard of it until I found this book in Waterstones and was intrigued by the promise of learning about the psychology of serial killers and cult leaders. I really enjoyed the book. It had a lot of information combined with true crime stories and analysis of famous murderers, a charming read for sure. I tried listening to the podcast, but it wasn’t for me, though I recommend the book to anyone interested in learning what makes a killer tick.
I’ve read 81 books so far this year. With only two months left of 2021, I might be able to reach my goal of 95 books, which has never happened before! I’m excited for November, I look forward to more cold and rainy days, long and cosy sweatshirts and lots of hot chocolates with good books.