October was another pretty good month. Not one single DNF. As a reward for having finished Bingo in September, I got myself paperbacks (cheap, visibly used, mismatched, but they’ll do) of the first half of Dunnett’s Niccolò series and reread the first book immediately to refresh my memory. I also briefly got lucky and got up to the coveted 80% on Netgalley, but then a few requests I’ve given up on got approved and, well. But that’s how blogging is! 😂 And the books are great so I can’t complain.
Niccolò Rising by Dorothy Dunnett (reread): Just as good as I remembered, and even more fun. The ostrich subplot is just the best.
The Nightland Express by J.M. Lee (ARC): Expected a weird western, got something mostly about fae. Disappointing.
His Quiet Agent (reread) and Agents of Winter by Ada Maria Soto: One of my favourite fluffy hurt/comfort romance series. Even if it’s contemporary, it hits all the tropes I like and the characters are asexual.
The Two Doctors Górski by Isaac Fellman (ARC): A very heavy novella about PhD magic students, trauma, and academic abuse. Quiet and low-key in Fellman’s usual style. Good, but oof.
Yellow Jessamine by Caitlin Starling: Creepy little gothic novella. Suits the season well.
The Keeper’s Six by Kate Elliott (ARC): Kind of underwhelming. I’d say there was too much infodumping but really, I just didn’t vibe with it.
Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell (ARC): Nothing groundbreaking, but very light and fun and easy to read in large chunks. Loved the disaster protagonist.
Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher: Based on the cover and the first few chapters, I expected more horror vibes and less quirky adventure than the book ended up being. And a lot of it didn’t click with me.
A Restless Truth by Freya Marske (ARC): Took a while to hook me but I’ve been enjoying it very very much.
You did not 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 are the smoke-wisp memory of a flame, thawing ice suffering under an early spring sun, a chalk ledger of debts being wiped clean.
I say you do not have a name.
After two DNFs in a row threatening to push me into a slump, and a general over a month long streak of mostly unsatisfying reads, I needed something good. And short. At barely over novella length, dark, and beautifully written, A Dowry of Blood, luckily, turned out to be the perfect recommendation.
I still can’t quite believe how many books I have managed to read in October. I’m not just out of a reading slump for good, I seem to be in a reading frenzy lately. Even with one DNF and one almost-finish, it’s been a shockingly great month.
The Diviners by Libba Bray: Good, nice spooky atmosphere, but perhaps a little overlong.
Vermilion by Molly Tanzer (DNF): Wasn’t feeling it. Maybe another time.
Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo: Never read a horror book before, but I liked this. Southern gothic exploration of grief and queer masculinity. Very character-focused and more atmospheric than scary.
Voltaire and the Century of Light by A. Owen Aldridge: Finally finished after months of picking at it. Four points in its favour, it has an awesome and very clear citation style (reference numbers of letters in text!), it’s readable, lots of fun anecdotes, and doesn’t demonise Frederick or Émilie (very defensive of her, even). It is more apologetic than I’d be at points and a bit dated, but all in all, a good one.
A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske: Part mystery, part romance, part magic, with a sunny himbo/grumpy nerd pairing. Spicier than I like, but enjoyable enough.
A Woman of the Iron People by Eleanor Arnason: Almost managed it in October! Mixed feelings so far, but since it’s a bookclub pick and one of my last Bingo squares…
I have wanted to start the series since 2017, but have always been put off by the length. Long, slow, heavy books and series are something I’m almost never in the mood for lately, so in a way, I’m surprised that I went for it now. But while it was, indeed, too long for my mood, the plot was good enough that I was able to both finish and enjoy it.
Come for the scheming merchants, stay for the chekhov’s ostrich.