Thursday, November 2, 2023

October Reading Wrap-Up+

Spooky season! Did I read a lot of spooky books? Not really. I mean, I re-read The Graveyard Book which is becoming something of an annual tradition*. Which I am on board with. I've also been not reading but telling a version of Frankenstein to Matthew multiple times this month (often multiple times a day) after he saw a Frankenstein decoration on someone's lawn. He's getting a somewhat sanitized Mary Shelley version (no one gets killed in this version) and Matthew's takeaway is everyone should be nicer to the Creature, which is correct.

Total books read
5 - which brings me to my goal for the year of 52 books! 
Counterfeit by Kirsten Chen
Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz
The Darkwater Bride by Marty Ross

Counterfeit by Kirsten Chen
Enter into the world of counterfeit designer handbags. Ava seems to have the perfect life with her surgeon husband and adorable toddler, even if her fancy law degree isn't really getting use anymore. But, through a series of interviews with a detective, we learn how Ava was drawn into this underground world by a former college roommate who has come back into her life. It was a fun story with some tense moments and the two women felt real.
Rating: 4 stars

Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson
That title feels like a lot to live up to and honestly, beyond the title I didn't know much of what to expect. You'd think I'd at least remember where I first heard about the book, given it hasn't been out that long, but you would be wrong. A murder mystery where the main character Ernest spends just as much time talking to you, the reader, as he does the people within the story. And this is a technique that could get very old very fast, but Stevenson manages to make it work. A family reunion where everyone in this dysfunctional family has killed someone (though it's far more complicated than it seems). There are unreliable narrators who admit their unreliability, there are little hints dropped that are easy to miss but fall into place beautifully and result in twists that feel earned. It's interesting to see this listed as the first in a series as this didn't necessarily end in a way that felt like the beginning of a series, but I'd check out more Ernest books if they're as entertaining as this.
Rating: 4.5 stars

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
This is my 6th time reading the book in 10 years. What else am I going to say about it? It's just as good every. time. And the full cast audiobook recording? Love.
Rating: 5 stars

The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz
 I said I didn't read much in the way of spooky books but I guess this kind of counts except. Eh. A writing retreat for 5 lucky winners hosted by famous feminist author Roza Vallo (except how she's feminist other than she writes books with women in them is not addressed) in a secluded mansion in upstate NY. The women are given the task of writing an entirely new novel and by the end Roza will select winner, give them $1M and get their book published. But something seems off about the house, the contest, the other people there. Though honestly, it takes a LONG time to get to that point. All of the characters sort of sound the same, the book-within-the-book chapters were...whatever. It was...fine. I finished it so it kept me interested and engaged enough for that but there were a few DNF moments
Rating: 2.5 stars

The Darkwater Bride by Marty Ross
I was in between library holds when I picked this up. I had a couple come in while I was reading Graveyard Book and then again during Writing Retreat (WR being one of the holds) so with this I was looking for 2 things: something I already have (so I don't have to worry about returns if the library hold comes in) and something short. Because even though I own my copy of The Graveyard Book once I started it, I really didn't want to put it down in favor of the library option.
Anyway, this is a reread, an audible original production that's more like a radio play than an audiobook. It's a creepy story of a young Victorian woman who travels down to London from a small town in Scotland after her father's body is dredged up from the river. There she finds her way to London's seedy underworld to try to find out the truth of her father and the rumors of a ghost bride. Suspenseful and well acted, enough so that I wanted to reread it.
Rating: 3.75 stars

Total pages read
1,500 nice round number


Female authors

BIPOC authors

US authors


Book format
audiobook - 100%

Where'd I get the book
Library - 60%
Audible - 40%

Decade published
2000s: 20%
2010s: 20%
2020s: 60%

Resolution books
80% mostly due to non-US authors
Counterfeit author Kirsten Chen is from Singapore
Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone author Benjamin Stevenson is from Australia
The Graveyard Book author Neil Gaiman and The Darkwater Bride author Marty Ross are both from the UK

*I checked my spreadsheet (of course) and this was my 6th time reading this book since 2013. However, it was less often this time of year than I previously thought.
2015: August
2017: November
2019: April
2021: October
2022: November