October Reading Wrap-up

Updated: May 17

Already a week has passed in November. Time flies! It is high time I wrap up my October reads!


BOOKS I READ


1. TALKING AS FAST AS I CAN - Lauren Graham (audiobook) ✩✩✩✩


To all Gilmore Girls fans, this book wil make you long for more episodes, or at least to rewatch this series for the umpteeth time.

I am so glad I chose to listen to the audiobook instead of buying a paper copy. If you ever wondered if Lauren Graham would talk the same way in real life as in Stars Hollow: yes, she does (or at least in this book). And I loved it.

Even though she talks about childhood, the early start of her career as an actress and most of her acting jobs, you will not listen 10 minutes without hearing a reference to Gilmore Girls. You will hear fun facts about life on the Stars Hollow set, about Lauren Graham's feelings about the show, sometimes conflicting with the script, about things that makes her seem so much alike Lorelai Gilmore, and all this interspersed with anecdotes about her life outside of Gilmore Girls, because - of course - she is more than just the actress who played Lorelai Gilmore.


To all other people, don't waste your time with this book. If you have not seen Gilmore Girls, this book will not entertain you in any way, not informative, not emotional, not anything. If you are planning to watch Gilmore Girls, wait until you have watched the entire series, including the sequel mini series Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life, because this book contains major spoilers.


But as a big fan, so I could not care less about the above reasons to not read this book. I loved it and I am fangirling unashamedly.


2. WHAT MAKES US - Rafi Mittlefehld (ARC) ✩✩✩


You do not have a father, Eema told me. You have the memory of a man, a shadow that follows us both.



When fifteen-year-old Eran learns that he is the son of a notorious terrorist, he learns it together with the rest of the world. Consequently, he is not only confronted with his own confusing feelings, but at the same time with the outspoken opinions of people close to him and people who do not know him at all. (extensive synopsis on Goodreads)


What Makes Us is written from three perspectives: Eran himself, his mother and one of Eran's friends, Jade. Eran's chapters tell about his actions and feelings in the moment, his mother's (Eema's) chapters tell about the past, about how she dealed with her emotions, and with the media after the terrible act of her husband, and we look trough Jade's eyes when she tries to be there for Eran, while trying to find out what secret her parents are keeping from her.


Even though I did not dislike reading this story in mulitple perspectives, the balance between these perspectives was not right in my opinion. Eran is clearly the main character, but Jade seems to have to much story time to be a side character, but also too less to be a protagonist. I wish her role was more clear and because I really liked her character, I would have preferred that she filled more pages.


Rafi Mittlefehldt did a great job describing the characters' emotions. I wish I felt them more too. The reason I did not always feel emotionally involved, might be that it is hard to imagine what I would feel if I would find out my unknown dad was a terrorist. It is not a widely known situation. So Rafi Mittlefehldt took a risk telling a story like What Makes Us with such a strong topic and I have much respect for him that he dared to. Unfortunately, this strong story was not always accompanied by an equally strong writing style, which explains the average (but not a bad) rating.


3. THE MYSTWICK SCHOOL OF MUSICRAFT - Jessica Khoury (audiobook) ✩✩✩✩✩



To be honest, I didn't expect to enjoy The Mystwick School of Musicraft so much. It's a middle-grade fantasy and it has been years since I read a book for such a young audience. However, this was a fun and light read!

The story was full of magic and I loved hearing the music the Mystwick students playing in the background.

Suzy Jackson is easily the best narrator I have ever listened to. She gave every character each their own voice and accent without sounding weird.


4. PUMPKINHEADS - Rainbow Rowell ✩✩✩✩



I really enjoyed this graphic novel. The plot was a bit cliché but the characters were very cute and I loved the setting. I wish we had a Pumpkin Patch in my town! And don't get me started on the illustrations! Faith Erin Hicks did a beautiful job.


Perfect for a cozy sunday afternoon in fall!


5. THE LAST NAMSARA - Kristen Ciccarelli ✩✩✩✩.5


“The old heroes were called Namsara after a beloved god, he said. So she would be called Iskari, after a deadly one.”



Dragons, a strong female lead, dragons, a secret love, dragons, ancient stories and did I mention dragons?

I loved The Last Namsara, the first book in the Iskari trilogy. I participated in the read-along hosted by the author herself and I loved the book so much that I decided I want this series in my personal library. (The Dutch editions are so beautiful fyi. Take a look here. I haven't bought them yet though.)

This book has motivated me to start writing again. And when Kristen mentioned on her instagram that there was a moment she was no longer motivated to finish this book, and thus The Last Namsara had almost never been existed, I became extra motivated. I know that feeling all too well, and Kristen is the example of not giving up on your dreams.

Kirsten Ciccarelli's writing is to the point but beautiful. She tells you enough to picture the world and characters, but didn't lose herself in long descriptions. The character development is quite impressive. Asha, the main character, had many flaws, but she was also a character for whom I felt a lot of sympathy and empathy right from the beginning. And her feelings and actions became clearer as the plot unfolded.

Kristen Cicarrelli inserted ancient stories taking places in that world, that not only give you a better picture of the world, the people who populate it and what their beliefs are, but also really served the plot.

I cannot wait to read The Caged Queen (and get my hands on the Dutch edition!)


6. CARNIVAL ROW - TANGLE IN THE DARK - Stephanie K. Smith ✩✩✩



I got this audiobook for free as an Audible Member. The synopsis and even the cover really appealed to me. It was a short read, less than 4 hours. And it was long enough and too short at the same time.

Only after listening to this book I discovered it is a prequel of an Amazon Prime TV series, called Carnival Row. And than my mixed feelings made sense. I really liked the world this story is set in and very interesting characters were living in it. But because it was quite a short story, I didn't have enough time to really get to know them. It all felt rushed.

However, now I know it is a prequel to a TV series, it makes sense that not much time was spend on character developing, which is already done in the series.

So as a stand-alone novel it falls short, but I sincerely believe that the story is very appealing for fans of the series. It even makes me genuinely curious about the TV series!



BOOKS I BOUGHT




If you have read this blog post, you know I have already read Pumpkinheads. Great Expectations is still on my tbr-list. I really liked this edition, which I found in the bookshop De Markies in Antwerp (read about this bookshop in my post Antwerp: a guide through a beautiful Belgian city (part 1)). It is part of a collection of classics that has been published by Alma Publishing.


I hope you had a great time reading in October!


Love,


Janne

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