October 2017 Reading Wrap Up

Happy Halloween, everyone! 🍂🎃💛

I hope you all have a safe and spooky time out tonight! October was an amazing reading month for me! I was able to read fourteen books, and even though I had a few duds, I also had a few of the best books I’ll read all year!

Like always, you can click the links in each of the titles if you would like to read a more in depth review of each book and see the individual trigger warnings.

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson – ★★★★★
Epic fantasy at its finest. I read this in preparation for Oathbringer! I loved this series so very much, and I’m currently reading the next book and feel just as in love with it.

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover – ★★★★★
This book has recently hurt some people, so I don’t want to spend too much time talking about it, but I will say that the depression and pansexual representation meant a lot to me. And again, if you feel like you could be suffering with depression, I am always here to talk.

The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre – DNF @ 56%
I just couldn’t do this, which is so weird because I’ve loved so many of Alessandra’s other works. Many of my friends also really enjoyed this, but I just couldn’t do it anymore. This story is about an author who is dying, but before she passes away she wants to write one final story. And this final story will be about the truth of what happened to her husband, which no one else knows but her. Unfortunately, her illness is coming quicker than expected, so she is forced to hire a ghostwriter to help her. And dark secrets and mystery ensue.

27 Hours (The Nightside Saga #1) by Tristina Wright – ★★★
In my opinion, 27 Hours had so much good, yet so much disappointment, too. This book falls completely down the middle for me. The representation is beautiful and important, but a lot of the romance was too unbelievable for me, which I feel like the twenty-seven-hour time frame really did this book a disservice. Then there is the issue with the colonization that’s very hard to unsee once you’ve seen it, and finally, the only two white main characters in the book do most of the explaining to the main characters of color about what is right. It feels bad, like, really bad. Yet, I love that any marginalized teen could pick this book up and see themselves. That, is something I can’t even put a rating on, and I cannot emphasize how important that statement is to me. This book honestly has me feeling very torn.

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (The Grisha) by Leigh Bardugo – ★★★★★
Perfection in every single way. This story collection changed my life, and will without a doubt be in my best books of 2017 list. The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic is a bind up of six fairy tales that take place in the Grishaverse, which is the same world that her Shadow and Bone series and her Six of Crows series take place! All of these are expertly crafted. All of these are so very lyrical and beautiful. All of these feel powerful and impactful. All of these are absolutely haunting.

A Discovery Of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness – ★
Nothing offended me or anything like that, this book was just ungodly boring. I mean, there is a very alpha vampire in here that marks his territory and claims what he thinks is his, but, I mean, that’s just sort of expected in paranormal romance books about vampires, so it wasn’t anything that bothered me. A Discovery of Witches is pretty much just an adult Twilight.

The Bloodprint (The Khorasan Archives #1) by Ausma Zehanat Khan – ★★★
This is the first in a series and a debut adult fantasy novel that is very diverse and truly celebrates the importance of words, and what happens when we take away basic human rights from people that are deemed lesser. This book is a good blend of magic and religion and everything in-between. This book has a very unforgiving learning curve, and a few of the aspects just didn’t sit well with me, but overall I did enjoy this one.

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3) by Seanan McGuire – ★★★★★
This is another amazing installment in the Wayward Children series and it starts out right back at Eleanor West’s magical boarding school. And this book heavily centers around one of my favorite characters from Every Heart a Doorway, Sumi! From race, to sexuality, to mental illnesses, to body representation, to physical disabilities, to religious representation, this series has it all. And it’s seamlessly woven and never feels exploitative.

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) by Jay Kristoff – ★★★★★
Yes, I finally read it! And you guys were right, I loved it. This story reads like a dark version of Harry Potter, to me. From the boarding school aspect, to the magic, to how they travel through the world, to the professors and their different classes, so much of this book reminds me of the wizarding world. I can’t wait to read Godsgrave next month!

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle #1) by Libba Bray – ★
This was, hands down, the worst book I’ve read maybe all year. This book is extremely racist, homophobic, misogynistic, and loves to fat and slut shame constantly. This book, like Nevernight, is also set in a spooky boarding school setting, but nothing happens until the last 100 pages, and by that point I was too offended and bored to even care.

The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones – ★★★
This is a story about a girl named Dee that is struggling with abuse and anxiety from her family. She lives in a boarding school and she can see demons. One day, she decides to make a deal with one. This was a super important read that talks heavily on parental abuse, and how it can be so much more than just physical. Abuse takes many forms, and even though physical abuse is shown here, too, this book also shows a very realistic depiction of having parents who are alcoholics. There are so many parents out there that truly pick the contents of a bottle over their families, and it’s something that’s not depicted much in YA, but this book puts it on display.

Paper Princess (The Royals #1) by Erin Watt – ★★★
I needed something that would be a fast, fluffy, and immersive read that would make me happy, so I picked up Paper Princess and it totally did the trick! I really enjoyed it, even though there are a lot of problematic things that I listed in my review. This is a rags to riches story, about a girl who wants nothing more than to be safe and stable, who grew up on the streets and is now thrust in the limelight of money. Also, this book has a few pretty good steamy scenes. I totally recommend this if you’re looking for a sexy new NA read.

Broken Prince (The Royals, #2) by Erin Watt – ★★
And I immediately jumped right into the next book, which wasn’t as good as Paper Princess! Plus, all of the problematic content and the glorifying of bullying and violence in general was at the forefront, so it really was just a much less enjoyable read. The series also derailed a little bit, into a territory that felt very much like I was watching a soap opera with my grandmother, but it was still an enjoyable ride!

Twisted Palace (The Royals, #3) by Erin Watt – ★★
And then I just decided to binge the whole series, because why not? I mean, who has strict reading lists and TBR timelines for all your ARCs? Oh, wait, I do. But this series was such a mindless, but addicting, read that brought me so much happiness. I’m not even mad. And I know that a two star rating doesn’t seem that great, but I did enjoy this series and truly couldn’t put any of them down.

October was also a special month for me, because I was able to attend the Goodreads Power User Summit! I got to connect with so many readers, reviewers, and just book lovers in general and it was such an amazing experience. Plus, it was my very first time in San Francisco, and I hope that I am able to return very soon!

I’m not sure if November will be able to beat this month for me, but I’m going to try! I also have a special trip planned for November that I can’t wait to share with you guys! I hope you all had an amazing October, and I hope you’re all having amazing celebrations tonight for Halloween! Happy reading, loves. 🍂🎃💛

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The Bloodprint (The Khorasan Archives #1) by Ausma Zehanat Khan

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ARC provided by the publisher via Harper Voyager in exchange for an honest review.

“Did the Bloodprint represent deliverance or deception?”

The Bloodprint is the first in a series and a debut adult fantasy novel that is very diverse and truly celebrates the importance of words, and what happens when we take away basic human rights to people that are deemed lesser. This book is a good blend of magic and religion and everything in-between. And ultimately this story is about breaking slave chains, which is something that I will always support and get behind.

“We do what we always do with slave-chains—we break them.”

Plus, not only is this a diverse read, the author is a Muslim woman who drew a lot of inspiration and influences from her own religion into this story. I loved every aspect of this, and I can’t stress enough how important it is to have more things like this published, especially in fantasy.

The Bloodprint itself is a dangerous text that the Talisman has tried to rid the world of. Many people even believe it to be just a myth. The Companions of Hira is a group of women, who have developed magical powers from reading sacred scripture known as the Claim, and they fight against the Talisman every day.

The Talisman is led by a man that is known as the One-eyed Preacher, who is also leading and is responsible for a lot of the slave trafficking in this world, along with many other horrible things. Arian, who is a very beloved and well-respected member of the Companions of Hira, has been trying to rescue as many humans as possible from the slave trades over the years. Yet, her new mission is to locate the Bloodprint, which can destroy the One-eyed Preacher, and the Talisman people who follow him, once and forever. But Arian is still struggling and suffering from many events that took place in her past.

“A man, a child, and two women braving a Talisman redoubt. To capture the stone of heaven. Symbol of the Eternal Blue Sky.”

This book heavily talks about sex trade and promises of rape, and even though it never gets too graphic, it is still a prevalent theme throughout the novel. Like, from the very start to the very end. So please go into this book using caution if that is something that bothers you while reading.

I feel like this book was sold to me as a diverse feministic fantasy novel, but I never truly felt the feminist elements, sadly. Yes, this world is very patriarchal and gross things are done to woman throughout, but I was really struggling to find the feministic undertones, especially since there are so many male characters that further the story along constantly.

Also, there is a bit of an annoying romance that never had me truly swooning. From the very start you learn about Arian’s love interest, even though so many things have kept them apart. But ultimately, she kept relying on him over and over again, when all I wanted was for her to rely on herself. And, in my opinion, the love story just wasn’t that great. I think this story would have benefited without a tragic love story past, while being forced to watch an inevitable rekindling of that love.

The other thing that I really didn’t enjoy is that the one of the main side characters, Sinnia, is said to have darker skin than the main protagonist, Arian, and it is constantly being told by every group they encounter how much more desirable Arian is than Sinnia. I’m sure the author didn’t mean any malice by this, but it still rubbed me the wrong way with the constant reminders. I also don’t feel like Arian treats Sinnia that amazing, and it just feels bad because this could have been a super strong WoC duo that fought evil men, but instead I feel like these two are constantly being pitted, or at least compared, against each other.

I also feel like this book has a very unforgiving learning curve. Many times, I felt a tiny bit confused about what was going on. You have a lot of information thrown at you, and the information quickly builds upon itself. This book does a lot of telling, and not enough showing, in my opinion.

But overall, if you’re looking for a book filled with political intrigue, magic from words, good religious representation, and a full PoC cast, I would totally recommend The Bloodprint! This is the start of a four book series, and I am very curious to see what Ausma Zehanat Khan does next, because I do believe there is a lot of potential here. But be warned, the ending does leave on quite the cliffhanger.

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Buddy Read with Elise

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.