Monthly Wrap Up – October 2020

Firstly in non-book news, this month I got a new addition to my family! After several years I have finally adopted a kitten – Yuki! He’s three months old and 90% fluff, he loves attention and sleep. He also makes an excellent alarm clock as he demands breakfast from 5am every morning.

This month I changed things up a bit on my blog with a fresh new theme and I have dropped the WordPress from my domain! I’m so happy with the changes that I have made and feel this blog is much more me and what I envisioned the site to be when I first started up again. 

I also joined the ‘bookstagram’ community, so you can now find me over there too! Whilst I’m not new to Instagram, I am new to bookstagram so if you have any tips, then please let me know!

You’ll notice that this month I did endeavour to read spookier novels to get into the spirit of things. It was quite refreshing to change up genres for a bit and I’ll be sure to sprinkle in some of these reads throughout my year in future. 

Books read this month

This month I read a total of 14 books (8 physical books and 6 ebooks).

  1. The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  2. The Wolf and the Water by Josie Jaffrey (ARC)
  3. The Winter Duke by Claire Eliza Bartlett (ARC)
  4. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
  5. Letters From the Dead by Sam Hurcom (ARC)
  6. Earthlings by Sayaka Murata (ARC)
  7. Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda
  8. Dracula’s Child by J.S. Barnes
  9. A Touch of Death by Rebecca Crunden (Review request)
  10. The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry
  11. Mango Bay by Serena Fairfax (Blog tour)
  12. The Vegetarian by Han Kang
  13. The Dead of Winter by Nicola Upson (Blog tour)
  14. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
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Favourite books read this month

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
This is one of the most unique novels that I’ve read in a long time. It’s so mysterious and magical that it’s difficult to describe. For risk of saying anything that could be remotely deemed a spoiler, all I can do is urge you to check this novel out for yourselves – there’s nothing quite like it! 

Earthlings by Sayaka Murata
Whilst this is only a short novel, so much is packed into it and it left me speechless by the end. I had no idea what to expect and as each page passed I became more and more surprised and gripped. I loved how complex the characters were and their situations, it was a very refreshing read. 

Dracula’s Child by J.S. Barnes
This spiritual successor of Bram Stoker’s classic Dracula could easily have been a sequel that Bram Stoker had written himself. Barnes captures everything that makes Dracula great and creates a sensational story. I loved how this novel didn’t feel like a contemporary novel at all and how it was just as gripping, perhaps more so, than its predecessor. 

The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry
The Ghost Tree feels like a classic dark fairytale, despite it being set in 1980s America. When two girls are found brutally murdered the most shocking thing about this novel is how the town reacts to the fact. In this novel Henry has created a wonderfully unsettling community which leaves you feeling intensely uneasy. 

On Earth Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong 
This novel is a beautifully written letter from the protagonist to his mother. It is a brutally honest letter which covers many important topics that should be spoken about. Covering the Vietnam war, sexuality and racism, this novel doesn’t shy away from the difficulties some people faced and still face to this day. 

How was your October? Did you focus on spooky reads too or do you read them throughout the year? Let me know in the comments!

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Dracula’s Child by J.S. Barnes

Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date:
12/05/2020
Length: 576 pages
Genre:
Gothic | Horror

CW: n/a

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Dracula returns…

It has been some years since Jonathan and Mina Harker survived their ordeal in Transylvania and, vanquishing Count Dracula, returned to England to try and live ordinary lives. But shadows linger long in this world of blood feud and superstition – and, the older their son Quincy gets, the deeper the shadows that lengthen at the heart of the Harkers’ marriage. Jonathan has turned back to drink; Mina finds herself isolated inside the confines of her own family; Quincy himself struggles to live up to a family of such high renown. And when a gathering of old friends leads to unexpected tragedy, the very particular wounds in the heart of the Harkers’ marriage are about to be exposed…

There is darkness both within the marriage and without – for, while Jonathan and Mina wrestle with the right way to raise a child while still recovering from the trauma of their past lives, new evil is arising on the Continent. A naturalist is bringing a new species of bat back to London; two English gentlemen, on their separate tours of the continent, find a strange quixotic love for each other, and stumble into a calamity far worse than either has imagined; and the vestiges of something thought long-ago forgotten is, finally, beginning to stir…

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Book Haul – October 2020

This month I managed to stick to my budget and bought reads that I thought was perfect for this season! Some cozy reads mixed in with some darker, gothic, reads as for the shorter, colder, days. Check out the GoodReads description for each title below!

Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

From the author of Before the Coffee Gets Cold comes a story of four new customers each of whom is hoping to take advantage of Cafe Funiculi Funicula’s time-travelling offer.

Among some faces that will be familiar to readers of Kawaguchi’s previous novel, we will be introduced to:

The man who goes back to see his best friend who died 22 years ago
The son who was unable to attend his own mother’s funeral
The man who travelled to see the girl who he could not marry
The old detective who never gave his wife that gift…


The Little House by Kyoko Nakajima

The Little House is set in the early years of the Showa era (1926-89), when Japan’s situation is becoming increasingly tense but has not yet fully immersed in a wartime footing. On the outskirts of Tokyo, near a station on a private train line, stands a modest European style house with a red, triangular shaped roof. There, a woman named Taki has worked as a maidservant in the house and lived with its owners, the Hirai family. Now, near the end of her life, Taki is writing down in a notebook her nostalgic memories of the time spent living in the house. Her journal captures the refined middle-class life of the time from her gentle perspective. At the end of the novel, however, a startling final chapter is added.


Dracula’s Child by J.S. Barnes

Dracula returns…

It has been some years since Jonathan and Mina Harker survived their ordeal in Transylvania and, vanquishing Count Dracula, returned to England to try and live ordinary lives. But shadows linger long in this world of blood feud and superstition – and, the older their son Quincy gets, the deeper the shadows that lengthen at the heart of the Harkers’ marriage. Jonathan has turned back to drink; Mina finds herself isolated inside the confines of her own family; Quincy himself struggles to live up to a family of such high renown. And when a gathering of old friends leads to unexpected tragedy, the very particular wounds in the heart of the Harkers’ marriage are about to be exposed…


The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry

When the bodies of two girls are found torn apart in her hometown, Lauren is surprised, but she also expects that the police won’t find the killer. After all, the year before her father’s body was found with his heart missing, and since then everyone has moved on. Even her best friend, Miranda, has become more interested in boys than in spending time at the old ghost tree, the way they used to when they were kids. So when Lauren has a vision of a monster dragging the remains of the girls through the woods, she knows she can’t just do nothing. Not like the rest of her town. But as she draws closer to answers, she realises that the foundation of her seemingly normal town might be rotten at the centre. And that if nobody else stands for the missing, she will.


The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea

1686, Iceland. A cold, windswept land where they talk of witches and fear strangers . . .

When Rósa is betrothed to Jón Eiríksson, she is sent to a remote village.

There she finds a man who refuses to speak of his recently deceased first wife, and villagers who view her with suspicion.

Isolated and disturbed by her husband’s strange behaviour, her fears deepen.

What is making the strange sounds in the attic?
Who does the mysterious glass figure she is given represent?
And why do the villagers talk of the coming winter darkness in hushed tones?


Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Mia Corvere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.
Destined to destroy empires, the child raised in shadows made a promise on the day she lost everything: to avenge herself on those that shattered her world.
But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, and Mia must become a weapon without equal. Before she seeks vengeance, she must seek training among the infamous assassins of the Red Church of Itreya.
Inside the Church’s halls, Mia must prove herself against the deadliest of opponents and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and daemons at the heart of a murder cult.
The Church is no ordinary school. But Mia is no ordinary student.
The Red Church is no ordinary school, but Mia is no ordinary student.
The shadows love her.
And they drink her fear.


Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge: indomitable, compassionate and often unpredictable. A retired schoolteacher in a small coastal town in Maine, as she grows older she struggles to make sense of the changes in her life. She is a woman who sees into the hearts of those around her, their triumphs and tragedies.

We meet her stoic husband, bound to her in a marriage both broken and strong, and a young man who aches for the mother he lost – and whom Olive comforts by her mere presence, while her own son feels overwhelmed by her complex sensitivities.

Have you read any of these books? Are any on your own TBR? Let me know in the comments!

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