Thursday, October 31, 2019

October 2019 Wrap Up

Ah, October! The best month of the year!

As always, I prepared a long list of spooky reads to match the mood of the month. Here is a photo I shared of all of the books I had compiled. I did not actually intend to get around to reading all of them, which is good because I definitely didn't read all 10!

Here are brief reviews for the books I managed to finish:

Title: The Tyrant's Tomb
Author: Rick Riordan
Narrator: Robbie Daymond

Synopsis: Apollo and Meg have a detour on their journey: they must make it to Camp Jupiter and bring the camp bad news. While they are there, they must solve the communication problems the demigods are having and stop Caligula's fleet from destroying Camp Jupiter.

Thoughts: I am Rick Riordan trash and basically love all of his books. This series is probably my least favorite of all of his (so far), but that doesn't mean much because I still really enjoy them. I always recommend his books to anyone who likes mythology.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Title: The Vampyre
Author: John Polidori
Narrator: B.J. Harrison

Synopsis: This is one of the oldest vampire stories. It follows the journey of a young man, Aubrey, who is determined the make the acquaintance of mysterious Lord Ruthven. Having managed to secure some degree of familiarity, they agree to travel Europe together, but Aubrey might find that his mysterious companion hides some dark secrets.

Thoughts: I wanted to read this book for two reasons: 1, Ruthven is a great character in Vivian Shaw's  Dr. Greta Helsing novels and 2. this was written by a man who was an acquaintance of Mary Shelley! I read a book sometime last year that was all about Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley and he was discussed. And I guess the third reason is because it's one of the older vampire stories that has been published. It was short and pretty dark, but I rather enjoyed it. My one complaint was the narrator who made Ruthven sound vaguely Transylvanian, when he was meant to be from England.

Rating 3-31/2 stars out of 5 stars

Title: Grave Importance
Author: Vivian Shaw

Synopsis: Greta is called to a remote hospital and spa in France that specializes in the treatment of mummies. She takes the temporary position only to discover that many mummies are having some type of fit that weakens them and no one knows what is causing it. Meanwhile, Ruthven is afflicted with a mysterious curse and is sent to Hell to be treated. Oh, and the world might be ending.

Thoughts: I love these books. I think they are so fun. It almost feels like a guilty pleasure to read them. But I also enjoy them because there are other characters referenced, like Ruthven from Polidori's the Vampyre and Varney from the Victorian serial story Varney the Vampire. They can be a little spooky, but they are still entertaining. I hope she writes another one for me to read next October!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Title: First Grave on the Right
Author: Darynda Jones
Narrator: Lorelei King

Synopsis: Charley Davidson is a private investigator as far as most people know. But she is also a Grim Reaper. She can see the spirits of those who die and aren't able to move on right away. Using this handy skill, she can help solve crimes better than anyone else. Recently, a series of murders starts to shed light on a group that is kidnapping and selling kids. To make her life more complicated, the man she may or may not be starting to love is to be taken off life support if she can't figure out a way to save him.

Thoughts: So I had accidentally read the eighth book in this series several years ago because I did not realize it was part of a series. It was interesting enough for me to decide to pick this one up. If it hadn't been for her weird love life (I'm sorry, sex life since they basically never speak to each other), I would have enjoyed it much more. Her personal romance was (in my opinion) crap. But the rest of the story was good and often funny with several characters that I liked. But I do not plan to read any more. I just can't handle the romantic part of the story.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Title: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Narrator: Neil Gaiman

Synopsis: Nobody Owens walks a unique path between life and death. Raised by the ghosts and other denizens of the graveyard gives him a great appreciation of life and he grasps it with both hands.

Thoughts: I read this book (or listen to the audiobook) every year. That is how much I love this book. I love Bod and his adventures and the people he meets. And no matter what, I always cry at the end. This is definitely one of my very favorite books. It is beautifully written and I cannot recommend it more highly.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Title: A Madness so Discreet
Author: Mindy McGinnis

Synopsis: Grace has been institutionalized in an asylum in Boston for being mad. And maybe she is a bit mad, but for good reasons. Finding her past and horrible family secrets too much to bear, she locks away her voice. Following a series of mishaps, she ends up marked a trouble patient and is locked away in the cellars where she makes friends with another patient there who helps her find her voice again. Her sharp mind is discovered by a visiting doctor and he smuggles her away to be his assistant when he goes to solve murders. She ends up in a different institution in Ohio. For the first time, she feels that she has friends and a purpose. But she can't avoid her past forever.

Thoughts: OK, confession time. This was the very first Owlcrate book that I ever received. And I got that in the October box four years ago... I have not read all of my Owlcrate books, mostly because I have so many books to read that I can't get to them all right away. I'm not sure why I never got around to reading this one. The only reason I did was because someone suggested it as a sort of eerie October book that wasn't scary. And I'm glad I finally read it. I didn't really know what to expect, but I ended up really enjoying it.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Title: The Bone Houses
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Narrator: Moira Quirk

Synopsis: Aderyn is trying to keep her family's home. Her uncle became indebted to the greedy local lord who is holding Ryn responsible for paying it when her uncle disappears. Her brother and sister help where they can, but they realize that Ryn's grave digging won't be enough to pay off their family's debts. Then she meets Ellis who wants to enter the mythical woods around the town to make maps and try to discover hints to his past. And he offers to pay Ryn to guide him. Seeing this as her way out, she willingly takes Ellis into the forest. But there are good reasons that everyone avoids the forest of the Other King.

Thoughts: This was a September Owlcrate book. But I ended up listening to it because I didn't have time to read the physical book. Overall I enjoyed it. I liked the names especially. Listening to it was a very good idea and I recommend the audio. I very much liked Ryn and Ellis. And while I guessed the outcome of a few things, the characters were likable and great. And there are zombies (essentially). I don't do zombies, so I was pretty worried, but it was actually interesting.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5 stars 

Favorite book read this month: Besides the Graveyard Book which is one of my favorites ever? Grave Importance
Least favorite book read this month: First Grave on the Right

I started Varney the Vampire, but that book is a huge undertaking that I wasn't prepared for. I will have another go at it next year. I also started The Hearts We Sold, but didn't manage to finish it by the end of the month. I will go ahead and finish it though since I am more than half way through. 

In other news this month, I lost my little Zosi. He hadn't been doing great health-wise and he was getting to be an old little rat. He died on the morning of his second birthday and he was the last of my Littles to go. It has made for a less-than-ideal October. I miss him (and his brothers) so much. But here is an adorable picture of him. He had the best face: the brightest eyes and cutest crooked ears. He was also super sweet and was always licking my hands and fingers. Kevin said that if people who didn't like rats could meet him, he would change their minds. He was a special little guy.

In good October news, my momma came to visit me in my new city. We had a nice weekend trying some restaurants and going on a Ghost Walk Tour! Very seasonal!

Kevin and I managed to get to a little local pumpkin patch that had lots of cute games and activities and farm animals to pet. And we got some of the coolest pumpkins! I had never seen a green pumpkin! Or one that is quite this shade of peach:

Sorry I didn't manage to get a disease post up this month. I had lots of internet problems at home (it kind of comes and goes much of the time) and I have been very busy with work. I will do my best to get a post up in November. I just have to decide which disease I want to do!

So that is about it for October! I'm sad that my favorite month is over, but I already have a list of possible October reads for next year!

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