Books I Read In October

“You didn’t let me keep my name, so I will strip you of yours. In this world, you are what I say you are, and I say you are a ghost, a long night’s fever dream that I have finally woken up from. . . . I say you do not have a name.” – Constanta

I have mentioned before that I usually avoid reading anything scary, but I took the plunge last month and decided to read some spooky books. Now before you congratulate me on my bravado, I have to be honest here. Although I stepped out of my comfort zone, I didn’t read anything that would give me nightmares or give my vivid imagination ideas that would scare me later. So instead, I took the classic route, focusing on some beloved, classic spooky reads only. Maybe next year, I’ll have the courage to read something that will have me in a cocoon of covers while clutching my Bible for dear life. So now, with all that out of the way, here are the books I read last month!

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It is widely known that Carmilla is the early works of vampire fiction predating Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I immediately noticed a few characteristic similarities between Carmilla and Dracula. I enjoyed reading this book immensely, but shockingly, it was probably the scariest book I read in October. The book opens with Laura, who narrates her experiences with Carmilla’s female vampire, later revealed to be Mircalla, Countess Karnstein. As Laura’s health declines, she slowly begins to discover disturbing facts about Carmilla and realizes she must act quickly before it’s too late. This book gave me all the spooky vibes I was looking for. The chemistry between Carmilla and Laura was not only fun to read, but it was interesting to compare Carmilla’s attraction to Laura to Dracula’s obsession and infatuation with his partners. 

A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Holy macaroni, this book was fantastic! I loved everything about this book, but what stood out the most for me was the writing. I wasn’t surprised when I found out that S.T. Gibson is a poet because she utilized just about every poetic element one can think of in this book. While Bram Stoker provided nameless companions for Dracula, Gibson gave them a voice. In this reimagining of Dracula’s brides, Constanta struggles to recall intimate details about her former life. However, there’s one thing she remembers with complete clarity: the night she met Him. But when Dracula draws a cunning aristocrat and a starving artist into his web of passion and deceit, Constanta realizes that her beloved is capable of terrible things. I can’t stop thinking about this book, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a strong female protagonist with loads of badass quotes to send to your exes! 

Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

My very first time reading Agatha Christie and possibly my last. Outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare, Agatha Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time. This story begins with preparing for a Halloween party where 13-year-old Joyce Reynolds witnesses a murder. When the party ends, Joyce is found dead, having been drowned in an apple-bobbing tub. Ariadne Oliver, attending the party while visiting her friend Judith Butler, calls on Hercule Poirot to investigate the murder and Joyce’s claim. While it lacked a spooky atmosphere, overall, it was a fun read. Yet, I don’t believe I’ll read anything else from this author since I found out about some books she published that wasn’t too kind about minorities.  

“You must come with me, loving me, to death; or else hate me, and still come with me.” – Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

I take no pleasure in writing a bad review because I want to show my appreciation to authors whether or not the story is good. However, I also want to be honest with my experiences. Although this book isn’t a spooky read, I decided to read it, given all the hype surrounding it. Unfortunately, I was disappointed again. This is the second Colleen Hoover book I read, and I wasn’t impressed. I enjoyed a few things about this book, but overall, I was annoyed by the characters and the writing. 

The Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Man, this was another disappointment. Again, the synopsis of this story was fascinating, but it completely missed the mark. The storyline of a girl promising her dying father to preserve her culture and identity by marrying within her culture only to have that oath tested when she falls for a tall, handsome, but white guy captured my interest. Yet, the character was annoying, the dialogue was boring, and the writing was loaded with cliche phrases. While I may not have had an enjoyable experience with this novel, I do believe this author has the potential to produce something great. 

All in all, I am proud of myself for taking a tiny step towards facing my fears when it comes to reading spooky books. I had a fantastic time with some of my October selections, and I can’t wait to share next month’s reading experience with you all. Also, be sure to check out my new YouTube channel, where I gush about my October wrap-up and other videos!

Happy Reading!

Books I Read in April

I can’t recall the last time I shared my monthly wrap-up with you all. Secretly, I’m often embarrassed to mention the number of books I’ve read in a month because then my inability to read past five books in thirty days is on full display. Yes, you guessed it. I am a slow reader. I’m not sure if it’s because I like to spend more time with the characters and their world or that I want to get a deeper understanding of the author’s message. Be that as it may, I like to believe that my reading capacity is the result of having a greater appreciation for the art of storytelling. Thus, despite the fact that I only read five books last month, I am thrilled to share my experiences! 

Atomic Love by Jenne Fields

I take no pleasure in writing a negative review about a book. I would normally jot down two to three sentences of my thoughts on Goodreads and leave it at that. However, I must be honest here. As a history buff, I love historical fiction novels, and if there’s a love triangle, I am all here for it. Sadly, this was a disappointment. Although I appreciate the historical contexts, the story did not meet my expectations. The pacing of the story was often awkward–especially towards the end. The female protagonist in this dual narrative was annoying. A few characters were irrelevant and did not aid in moving the story along. And most importantly, the love triangle was poorly executed, as the female protagonist was devoted to only one character. This book had a great synopsis, but it missed the mark for me. 

New Kid by Jerry Craft

I am not ashamed to admit that I adore reading middle-grade publications. For me, middle-grade books provide a light reading experience in between intricate novels and help to clear my “reading palate,” so to speak. Yet, this graphic narrative tackles serious conversations about racism and microaggressions while still maintaining that straightforward style of writing for the younger audience. I enjoyed the multitudes of laugh-out-loud moments in this book. The main character’s experiences were so relatable because it almost mirrors my encounters with similar situations. The message in this book has no age restriction as it’s both clear and effective. 

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

I fell in love with Angie Thomas’s writing after reading her epic debut novel, The Hate U Give. Thomas provided her readers with a deeper understanding of the characters’ personalities in her debut novel by examining the choices those characters made in this prequel. It was such a joy to revisit this world but at a different angle. Thomas points out that oftentimes our circumstances force us to make unfavorable choices in falsely believing there is no other way.  It was satisfying to learn more about the characters and witness their growth.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

I wasn’t interested in reading this book at first. Based on other opinions about this book, I didn’t think I would enjoy it. This publication truly surprised me. As cliche as this may sound, I genuinely couldn’t put it down. I took multiple breaks during work just to read it. The story was interesting and thought-provoking. One of the many things I loved most about this story was how the protagonist had to rely on the interaction of others to quickly piece together what sort of person she was according to the different versions of her life she chooses to experience. I’m glad I gave this book a chance.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The way Tracy Deonn used probably one of the world’s oldest legends to confront certain experiences that are unique to African Americans is simply amazing. Deonn paid close attention to the smallest details in both the action scenes and the world-building. The characters were interesting and unique. Aside from that, the love triangle was perfectly executed. I had a book hangover for probably a week. I can confidently say that I will reread this book a few times before the second book comes out. I had a fantastic time with this story! 

Ultimately, I’d say I had a decent reading experience last month. The number of books may have been small in comparison to others but I embrace my reading capacity. I look forward to sharing more of my monthly wrap-up regardless of the number of books I read. If you have read one of these books, be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Happy Reading!

Book as Refuge: What I Read During the Pandemic

“Indeed, who has a greater right to public respect than the man of color fighting for freedom after having experienced all the horrors of slavery? To equal the most celebrated warriors he need only keep in mind all the evils he has suffered.”
― Tom Reiss, the Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo

I know it’s been some time since I last posted anything, and I am truly sorry for my disappearance. Towards the end of last year, work was both chaotic and stressful which led me into a massive reading slump. However, right when things started to calm down, the world stopped due to the Coronavirus. Like everyone else, I was a bit nervous and scared about this pandemic. Standing in long lines at grocery stores, being holed up at home, and receiving devastating updates from news outlets all had me craving for some kind of diversion from the unfolding crisis. And like a true bibliophile, I turned to books as my refuge during these trying times. To my amazement, I’ve read a total of five books last month! Now, I know that’s not an impressive number, but if you’re a slow reader like myself, you’ll agree that this is a colossal achievement. With that being said, here are the books that have kept me sane during this time, along with a brief review:

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory — This book was not for me. I didn’t enjoy it one bit. The plot was OK but the execution was very cliche. The characters were annoying and the romance felt cheesy and rushed. I normally don’t DNF a book — a bookish terminology which means Did Not Finish — and because I bought this book with my own money, I owed it to myself to finish reading it no matter how boring the story was.

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter — This book should have been featured above as the second novel to the right but I grabbed the wrong publication for this photo. Oops. Anyway, this book was fantastic! Absolutely moving! I normally avoid any holocaust novels because I just can’t stomach the horrific truth. However, I accidentally purchased this book without reading the synopsis, thinking it was a romance novel. However, I am so glad that I obtained this amazing book! The author was inspired to write this incredible true story of a Jewish family that got separated at the start of World War II. Finding out more about what the Jewish community really went through in order to survive shocked me to my core. This book made me cry, laugh, and cry even more.

Continue reading “Book as Refuge: What I Read During the Pandemic”

My September TBR

I have an embarrassing confession to make. August was not a good reading month for me. I read a total of two books — only two books! Now, before you start thinking that maybe they were two colossal novels, please don’t. That is way too kind of you. They were both under 400 pages. The first book was The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken and the second was Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott. However, I am determined to make sure I put up double digits this month — especially since I plan on reading a few thick books. Without further ado,  here’s my reading list for this month.

Continue reading “My September TBR”