This is going to be a short wrap up for October because I only reading three books.
Serpent and Dove // 4 stars // I can see why my friends were yelling at me to read this. It’s so good. I read the audiobook version and the narration was great. It alternates between female and male narrators for Lou and Reed’s perspectives.
The plot and magic system are relatively simple, but the pacey action scenes and snappy dialogue really bring this book to life. I loved the main characters. Lou, with her razor sharp, witty humour, made me laugh out loud at times and I enjoyed her determination and tenacity.
Reed, by comparison, is well mannered but stiff when we first meet him. He’s motivated by his morals and doesn’t know what to make of Lou, who acts like she doesn’t have any morals (which is a facade). I found their forced/arranged marriage a bit contrived, but I enjoyed the way their relationship progressed and Reed’s views of witches changed.
This book is perhaps a more NA than YA (yes, there is some ~action~) but it’s a great historical fantasy adventure and I’m glad I picked it up.
Pumpkinheads // 4 stars // This was The Perfect™ October read and I’m so glad I made some time to read it before the month was over.
The art style is beautiful and the way Faith Erin Hicks draws the characters’ facial expressions is brilliant. She manages to capture so much heartfelt emotion, which is then buoyed by Rainbow Rowell’s great script.
Josie and Deja are such fun characters and their adventures running round the pumpkin patch together made me laugh. I’d definitely read more stories about them if they decided to create another volume.
This Is How You Lose the Time War // 3.5 stars // I can see why a lot of people found this book too abstract. But I was pretty taken by it.
The prose is sublime, but it blew a little hot and cold for me. Both authors weave metaphors into their writing with with unparalleled skill, but there were times when I thought the stacking of metaphor-upon-metaphor was unnecessary.
The intensifying plot is matched by complex character development, and I really liked the epistolary interactions between Red and Blue. Their whole relationship is fascinating; enemy agents who start off trying to kill each other to win the war, but become entranced with one another.
The layering of different eras was dense and the twist at the end was meteoric in its impact. I haven’t been that surprised/stunned/awed by a plot twist in ages. I also think this book has a sapphic romance. It’s not 100% clear in the writing, since both main characters are described as not human (they’re possibly alien or humanoid, it’s never really specified), but they both use she/her pronouns, so it seems to be F/F.
In October, I co-hosted Library Loves month, organised by Jess @ReadByJess, which was a whole month dedicated to supporting local libraries.
I also interviewed Rachel, a librarian based in the US, who gave some amazing insights into the library system in the States.
The reason I read so little in October was because I was travelling and out and about a lot, which left 0 time for reading.
At the beginning of the month, I went to Budapest with Hollie @Hollieblog and our friend Fleur and it was beautiful.
We visited Fisherman’s Bastion, St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Parliament buildings, Matthias’s Church (yes, I did think about Six of Crows), the National Art Gallery, Széchenyi Thermal Baths, and much more.
Budapest is a beautiful city and I’d definitely go back in spring or summer to see it during a different season. But even in autumn, with the colder weather coming in, it was wonderful.
Two weeks after I got back from Budapest, I went to Barcelona with my parents. We went to the Castle, visited Gaudi’s buildings, made a trip to la Boqueria market, went to Barcelona’s history museum, and walked through the Olympic Village.
My friend had said I wouldn’t struggle for vegan food in Barcelona, and she was right. We found a restaurant on our first night that did the most amazing vegan patatas bravas, and the next evening I had vegan tapas, followed by vegan paella the night after. My Dad also treated me hazelnut ice cream, and I took my folks to a bakery/cafe that did a vegan Nutella-stuffed donut, which turned out to be the best donut I’ve ever eaten. Ever.
Budapest and Barcelona were so different but I loved both cities and would definitely like to visit again in the future.
Last month, I went to a football match for the first time in about 12 years??? And I actually really enjoyed it. I went with my parents to watch a local club play the rivals of the club we support. (I’m from Newcastle originally so, unsurprisingly, I support Newcastle.)
To be honest, I’m not normally a huge football fan (my interest comes and goes) but I had a lot of fun and would be tempted to go and see another game soon.
I also went to see the National Theatre Live performance of Fleabag with some friends. I love the TV show Fleabag, so I was really looking forward to this, and it didn’t disappoint. But I did find that there are some things the show does better, simply because it’s more expansive and has more actors/settings/camera angles to play with.
What did you get up to in October? Did you read anything exciting?