Monthly Wrap-Up: October Reading 2023

I don’t think I’ve ever posted a monthly wrap-up on the first of the month yet. Or maybe I’m wrong? I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter much. It’s time to begin the October Reading 2023 Wrap-Up!

I read so, so, so much during this past month. It’s my bookish peak of the year so far! I’m so happy with myself – I don’t think I’ve ever read 13 books all in the same month before! I guess this just shows that autumn really is my favorite reading season, huh?

But yeah, without further ado, let’s get on into my statistics from The StoryGraph from last month!

October 2023 Reading

😐 MOODS: Adventurous was the biggest slice of pie, as it always is. Lighthearted was surprising in being the second biggest piece though – it’s never been before. The other ones were: Funny, Emotional, Dark, and Mysterious.

👢 PACE: I read all three different kinds of paced books: slow, medium and fast.

🔢 PAGE NUMBER: Everything I read was between 240 and 600 pages. The majority of books I read were between 300 and 499 pages, however.

📖 FICTION/NONFICTION: It was once again all fiction this month.

🎭 GENRES: Fantasy, as usual, was the biggest bar of the graph. Manga, Graphic NovelYA, and Middle Grade were the second longest bars after Fantasy. The other genres on the graph were Comics, Romance and Historical.

📄 FORMAT: This little StoryGraph pie chart is almost correct. All of the books except for one we’re all physical copies.

⭐ RATING: My median star rating for last month was 4.27. My ratings for October were all pretty varied, but they were generally higher than in September. Most of them were 4.0 and above.

📉 PAGES READ DAILY: I read a ton throughout October. The time I read the least was between the 5th and the 8th, and my peak of reading was on the 20th.

The Books I Read in October

The Glass Scientists: Volume One by S.H. Cotugno

★★★★★ • my review

The Chalice of the Gods by Rick Riordon

★★★★★ • my review

One Piece: Volumes 1 - 2 - 3 by Eiichiro Oda

★★★★✬

One Piece: Volumes 4 - 5 - 6 by Eiichiro Oda

★★★★✯

The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch by Melinda Taub

★★★★✯ • my review

Hooky: Volume One by Miriam Bonastre Tur

★★★★✯ • my review

Hooky: Volume Two by Miriam Bonastre Tur

★★★★✯

Hooky: Volume Three by Miriam Bonastre Tur

★★★★✯

One Piece: Volumes 7 - 8 - 9 by Eiichiro Oda

★★★★✯

One Piece: Volumes 10 - 11 - 12 by Eiichiro Oda

★★★★★

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

★★★✯☆ • my review

A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber

★★★✫☆ • my review

Hounded by Kevin Hearne

★★✯☆☆ • my review

Wrapping Up the Wrap-Up

So October ended up being waaayy better reading-wise – and blogging-wide – for me than September was. I’m really happy that I read so much, and with the books that I ended up reading. Here’s to keeping it up in November! 🤞🍀🥂🍻

I’m actually really excited for the books I’m almost certainly going to read this month. For one thing, Murderbot book #7 is coming out, and it’s my most anticipated book of the year. I’m also looking forward to hate reading Lightlark AND Nightbane, the latter which is also releasing this month. And of course, I’m continuing with One Piece and I’m looking forward to the next arc.

As for anything else I’m planning on for November… Other than the beginning of the holiday season and Thanksgiving and stuff, I’m not really sure yet about anything else. I’ll probably be doing some Christmas shopping though.

Anyway, thank you all so much for checking out my October 2023 Reading stars and monthly wrap-up. I hope you have an awesome day/night!

See ya ~Mar

Weekly Wrap-Up: 10/23 – 10/29

Last week was crazy. I read a lot, and I got a bunch of stuff done around the house. So, lots of different kinds of progress.

I can’t believe that Halloween is tomorrow. These past four weeks have gone by so fast. Soon enough I’ll be posting October’s monthly wrap-up!

But that’s for another time. Let’s get into this part week’s wrap-up.

Tuesday 10/24: Tasteful Tuesday

Last Tuesday I brought back Majestic Mondays – but now under a new name! I’ve also moved the day of the week that I do the post – hence why I’m now calling it Tasteful Tuesday!

Tasteful Tuesday, if you aren’t aware, is when I highlight an awesome looking book cover and talk about what I like about it.

Tasteful Tuesday #1

Wednesday 10/25: A Curse for True Love Review

On Wednesday, I posted another book review. It was one of my anticipated reads of October 2023, and I devoured it within a day.

Yup, it’s the last novel in the Once Upon a Broken Heart trilogy by Stephanie Garber – A Curse for True Love. I gave it ★★★✫☆.

My review of A Curse for True Love

Friday 10/27: Reading Update

For my Friday post, I did something a little different. I wasn’t feeling a First Line Friday or anything like that, but I was having a time of figuring out what to do.

I eventually decided to give the blog a reading update. As of Friday of last week, I’d read 52 books within 43 weeks. I’ve never done that before (and I’ve read even more now!). I’m not gonna gush about it here, cuz I’ve already done so in the actual post.

52 Books in 43 Weeks

Sunday 10/29: Hounded Review

Yesterday I posted another book review – the second of two last week. It was a book (and series) that I was actually excited to read, but was ultimately disappointed by, unfortunately.

Hounded was simply not for me. I don’t think it was necessarily poorly written or anything – I just think it just wasn’t my type of book. I ended up giving it ★★✯☆☆.

My review of Hounded

Books I Read Last Week

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber
Hounded by Kevin Hearne

🎁💖 Wrapping It All Up 🎁💖

I know I’ve been talking a lot during this section of the post lately, but I’m going to cut it a little short this time. I’m tired and I haven’t been feeling well since last night.

This coming week I’m definitely going to post my review for The Graveyard Book. I’ve actually been saving it for tomorrow, since it’s Halloween and all – I wanted to do a spooky book review!

Aside from that, I’m gonna post my monthly reading wrap-up for October, and probably Spell the Month in Books. But I’m not sure about anything else.

But yeah, I don’t really have anything else to say. So this is the end… of this post.

As always, thank you so much for reading, and I hope that you have a great day/night!

See ya ~Mar

“A Curse for True Love” by Stephanie Garber | Book Review

Evangeline Fox always believed she’d find herself inside of a fairytale one day.

A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber

A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber

SERIES: Once Upon a Broken Heart (Book #3)

LENGTH: 385 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Romance, YA, Fiction

PUBLISHER: Flatiron

RELEASE DATE: 24 October 2023

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Two villains, one girl, and a deadly battle for happily ever after…

Evangeline Fox ventured to the Magnificent North in search of her happy ending, and it seems as if she has it. She’s married to a handsome prince and lives in a legendary castle. 

But Evangeline has no idea of the devastating price she’s paid for this fairytale. She doesn’t know what she has lost, and her husband is determined to make sure she never finds out.

But first he must kill Jacks, the Prince of Hearts. Blood will be shed, hearts will be stolen, and true love will be put to the test.

My Review

The air crackled with something that made Evangeline think of little sparks. Then she felt a tingling on her wrist in the shape of her broken heart scar.

Jacks had arrived.

A Curse for True Love was… okay. I don’t know, maybe I’ve just kind of gotten tired of this trilogy, but it didn’t do too much for me.

Then again, I’ve had a lot of time to ruminate on the first two books. And I gotta say – I think a few of my opinions have shifted a little. That, and I just can’t with the stuff about this series that has been annoying me, anymore.

I honestly don’t have a lot to say here. Let’s get on with this review.

Pros

“This is a very bad idea,” Jacks murmured.

“I would have thought you liked bad ideas.”

“Only when they’re mine.”

The thing that I’ve always enjoyed the most about OUABH and its sequels has definitely been the setting. I love the way that Garber describes the world that she’s created. It just sounds so beautiful and mystical. Like a fairytale (which is almost certainly what she was going for, judging by her main character).

I still love the Magnificent North. It’s still one of my favorite new worlds that I’ve read about in the last few years. I love how it just reeks of magic, and I feel like we’ve only scratched the surface with this mystical land in this trilogy.

The pacing of A Curse for True Love and its predecessors has always been nice and brisk, which has always been one of my favorite things about them. I love a good fast-paced book. It’s just so… fast. Which makes it a pretty quick read – I’ve never taken more than like three hours to read any of the OUABH novels.

Cons

She needed to back away, to call her for guards, to tell him to leave. Her heart pounded impossibly fast.

But she found herself saying, “You’re not here to hurt me.” “You don’t know that.” A muscle ticked in his jaw. “This morning I nearly tossed you over the side of a bridge.”

“You also just killed someone to save my life.”

“Maybe I just enjoy killing people.”

Even though I enjoyed a few of the characters a lot in the first book, and even a little bit in the second, I’m kind of just done with them now. My irritation has reached a crescendo.

Evangeline Fox has always annoyed me somewhat, but I’m just tired of her. She was essentially reset at the end of the last book (spoilers?) and I hate that trope. Ironically enough though, she actually seemed to be more proactive than she’s ever been before, which is something that I found hilarious. But yeah, she’s probably in the bottom half of my protagonist rankings.

Jacks was interesting to me at first, and I still find him to be entertaining at times. But even his character has worn me down. I also don’t really understand why Evangeline is so into him – he’s such an ass. Like, he’s flirty and a douchy kind of charming to read about, but if he was a real life romantic prospect… ugh. No thank you.

Apollo also had a very interesting character assassination at the end of TBONA (book two). And now he was a total piece of work here – an even bigger a-hole than Jacks. But he was entirely devoid of personality, and frankly, a actual character the first two books, so it didn’t feel like I got ripped off or anything.

The plot has always been a little bit nonsensical and convoluted, but I found it to be the most noticable here. It also brought more attention to the storytelling flaws retroactively in the books one and two.

Even though the novels in this trilogy are very fast-paced, the plot ebbs and flows strangely. So there are parts where nothing happens, and then suddenly too many things are happening too fast. And nothing really has time to breathe.

Also, the OUABH books have a problem with major plot threads being ultimately pointless. For example, many of the events of book two. These problems continue in A Curse for True Love.

The romance in this trilogy has always been slightly ick to me. Jacks has never read like a healthy romantic partner, and there has never been any chemistry between Evangeline and Apollo.

And that has not changed in book three, believe me. If anything, the relationships are even more toxic. Jacks seems excessively unhealthy at a few points here, and Apollo is straight up Tamlin on steroids. Seriously, if you thought Tamlin from ACOTAR was bad and you hated him, you will absolutely despise Apollo here.

Final Thoughts

She remembered telling herself that night not to turn around. Not to look. And when she had looked at him, she’d tried to glance for only a second.

But it had been impossible. Jacks had been the moon and she’d been the tide, controlled by his impossible force. That much had not changed.

Even though the list of stuff I didn’t like is longer than the things I did like, I still found myself rating this kinda high. I think it’s because I loved the Stuff I Liked, combined with some nostalgia. All in all, A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber is an okay book.

If you liked the Caraval trilogy and the first two books in the Once Upon a Broken Heart trilogy, you’ll probably enjoy this one. Also, if you like whimsical, mystical fairytale-like stories, you might like this too.

Have you read A Curse for True Love yet? What did you think of it? Have you read any of Stephanie Garber’s other novels? What did you think of them?

Thanks again for reading, and I hope you have a whimsical day/night!

See ya ~Mar


My Links:


My review for Once Upon a Broken Heart

My review for The Ballad of Never After

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: “A Curse for True Love”

Good morning/afternoon/any other time of day everyone! It’s been over a month – again – since the last time I made it for Can’t-Wait Wednesday. And there’s a few books coming out in the next several weeks, so I thought it was more than time to do it again.

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings (and was previously hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine where it was known as Waiting on Wednesday) to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. They’re usually books that have not yet been released.

This week’s book is:

A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber.

I have a love-hate relationship with the Once Upon a Broken Heart trilogy. On the one hand, they’re very fast reads and have a very potentially interesting world and magic. On the other hand, many of the characters are annoying and just get pushed along by the plot, and a good chunk of the world building is wasted potential.

But yeah, despite the grievances I’ve been kinda venting about here, I really am looking forward to the final book in this trilogy. Next Tuesday can’t come soon enough!


A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber

A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber


Are you looking forward to A Curse for True Love? Have you read the other OUABH books, or the Caraval trilogy? What books are you excited for coming out in the near future?

As always, thank you all so much for reading, and I really hope that you have a awesome day/night!

See ya ~Mar

My Most Anticipated SFF Reads of 2023 | Oct, Nov, & Dec 🎃🦃🎄

Most Anticipated Reads from the Fourth Quarter of 2023

This is much later than I wanted to post this, but there was stuff going on last week. So, first I didn’t have time, and then I ended up forgetting. Whoops. It’s here now though – my Most Anticipated Reads of the fourth quarter.

It’s quarter four of 2023 now, so it’s time to do that thing I’ve done every quarter again. I’m gonna go over the books that are coming out over the next three months that interest me the most. And they’re pretty much only gonna be science fiction and fantasy. Because that’s mostly what I read.

This time I have six books that I’m interested in. I know that last time it seems like I didn’t read all the books on my third Most Anticipated list from this year, but that’s cuz I unfortunately ended up DNF-ing them. I guess they just weren’t for me.

Without further ado, let’s be off!

(Also, I know that October 3rd has already passed. But I’m still gonna put releases from it, cuz this post should’ve been done already on that date, at the very least. Plus, it’s the nature of the post.)

**The book covers are all linked up! So you can find more information about the books if you’re interested!**

The Glass Scientists: Volume One by S.H. Cotugno

RELEASING: October 3rd

(Been looking forward to this ever since I discovered the webcomic a couple of months ago!)

The gothic worlds of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein, and more collide in this graphic novel series about buried secrets, mad science, and misunderstood monsters. For fans of stylish reimaginings like Lore Olympus and gaslamp fantasies like The Night Circus!

London isn’t the safest place for mad scientists these days. After that whole ordeal with Frankenstein, angry mobs have gotten awfully good at hunting down monsters and wiping out anything they don’t understand. In fact, if it weren’t for one extraordinary young man, every out-of-the-box thinker would have been locked up… or worse.

That young man is none other than Dr. Henry Jekyll. He believes mad scientists would thrive if they could just fix their public image, which is why he founded the Society for Arcane Sciences, a place where like-minded eccentrics could come together to defy the laws of nature in peace.

But everything changes when a mysterious stranger arrives, bent on taking the Society in a radical new direction. With everyone turning against him, Jekyll’s life starts to spiral out of control, shattering all his carefully laid plans and threatening to expose his darkest secret—one that could destroy everything he has built from the inside out.

Volume One collects Chapters 1-7 of this thrilling, humorous, beloved webcomic, which is available in print for the first time ever. It also features a brand-new side story, a behind-the-scenes look at artwork, and more exclusive bonus content!

Starling House by Alix E. Harrow

RELEASING: October 3rd

(I wasn’t sure about this one at first, but then I decided I’d give it a shot. I’ve always loved stories with cursed houses and towns.)

Starling House is a gorgeous, modern gothic fantasy from the New York Times bestselling author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January.

I dream sometimes about a house I’ve never seen….

Opal is a lot of things—orphan, high school dropout, full-time cynic and part-time cashier—but above all, she’s determined to find a better life for her younger brother Jasper. One that gets them out of Eden, Kentucky, a town remarkable for only two things: bad luck and E. Starling, the reclusive nineteenth century author of The Underland, who disappeared over a hundred years ago.

All she left behind were dark rumors—and her home. Everyone agrees that it’s best to ignore the uncanny mansion and its misanthropic heir, Arthur. Almost everyone, anyway.

I should be scared, but in the dream I don’t hesitate.

Opal has been obsessed with The Underland since she was a child. When she gets the chance to step inside Starling House—and make some extra cash for her brother’s escape fund—she can’t resist.

But sinister forces are digging deeper into the buried secrets of Starling House, and Arthur’s own nightmares have become far too real. As Eden itself seems to be drowning in its own ghosts, Opal realizes that she might finally have found a reason to stick around.

In my dream, I’m home.

And now she’ll have to fight.

A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber

RELEASING: October 24th

(I know this series has tons of problems – and there’s plenty about these books that’s annoyed me – but for whatever reason, I can’t help but enjoy them.)

Blood will be shed, hearts will be stolen, and true love will be put to the test in A CURSE FOR TRUE LOVE, the breathtaking conclusion to Stephanie Garber’s #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling Once Upon A Broken Heart trilogy.

Two villains, one girl, and a deadly battle for happily ever after.

Evangeline Fox ventured to the Magnificent North in search of her happy ending, and it seems as if she has it. She’s married to a handsome prince and lives in a legendary castle. But Evangeline has no idea of the devastating price she’s paid for this fairytale. She doesn’t know what she has lost, and her husband is determined to make sure she never finds out…. but first he must kill Jacks, the Prince of Hearts.

Nightbane by Alex Aster

RELEASING: November 7th

(Very excited to hate read this one! I know it’s mean, but sometimes I like to do this.)

The seductive and action-packed follow-up to Alex Aster’s instant #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and internationally bestselling novel, Lightlark.

Isla Crown has secured the love of two powerful rulers and broken the curses that plagued the six realms for centuries, but few know the true origins of her powers. Now, in the wake of a crushing betrayal, Isla finds herself hungry for distraction, preferring to frequent Lightlark’s seductive haunts instead of embracing her duties as the newly crowned leader of two separate realms. Worse, her fellow rulers haven’t ceded victory quietly, and there are others in Isla’s midst who don’t believe her ascent to power was earned. As certain death races toward Lightlark and secrets from the past begin to unravel, Isla must weigh her responsibility to her people against the whims of the most dangerous traitor of all: her heart.

Alex Aster’s intricate world expands after the riveting culmination of the Centennial games, delving more deeply into Isla’s memories of her past, as her future hurtles toward two possible fates.

System Collapse by Martha Wells

RELEASING: November 14th

(I love the Murderbot Diaries! I’ve been anticipating this since it was announced!)

Everyone’s favorite lethal SecUnit is back in the next installment in Martha Wells’s New York Times bestselling Murderbot Diaries series.

Am I making it worse? I think I’m making it worse.

Following the events in Network Effect, the Barish-Estranza corporation has sent rescue ships to a newly-colonized planet in peril, as well as additional SecUnits. But if there’s an ethical corporation out there, Murderbot has yet to find it, and if Barish-Estranza can’t have the planet, they’re sure as hell not leaving without something. If that something just happens to be an entire colony of humans, well, a free workforce is a decent runner-up prize.

But there’s something wrong with Murderbot; it isn’t running within normal operational parameters. ART’s crew and the humans from Preservation are doing everything they can to protect the colonists, but with Barish-Estranza’s SecUnit-heavy persuasion teams, they’re going to have to hope Murderbot figures out what’s wrong with itself, and fast!

Yeah, this plan is… not going to work.

The Curse of Penryth Hall: A Mystery by Jess Armstrong

RELEASING: December 5th

(Oooh, this one looks interesting. It’s been years since I’ve read a dark mystery novel.)

An atmospheric gothic mystery that beautifully brings the ancient Cornish countryside to life, Armstrong introduces heroine Ruby Vaughn in her Minotaur Books & Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award-winning debut, The Curse of Penryth Hall.

After the Great War, American heiress Ruby Vaughn made a life for herself running a rare bookstore alongside her octogenarian employer and house mate in Exeter. She’s always avoided dwelling on the past, even before the war, but it always has a way of finding her. When Ruby is forced to deliver a box of books to a folk healer living deep in the Cornish countryside, she is brought back to the one place she swore she’d never return. A more sensible soul would have delivered the package and left without rehashing old wounds. But no one has ever accused Ruby of being sensible. Thus begins her visit to Penryth Hall.

A foreboding fortress, Penryth Hall is home to Ruby’s once dearest friend, Tamsyn, and her husband, Sir Edward Chenowyth. It’s an unsettling place, and after a more unsettling evening, Ruby is eager to depart. But her plans change when Penryth’s bells ring for the first time in thirty years. Edward is dead; he met a gruesome end in the orchard, and with his death brings whispers of a returned curse. It also brings Ruan Kivell, the person whose books brought her to Cornwall, the one the locals call a Pellar, the man they believe can break the curse. Ruby doesn’t believe in curses—or Pellars—but this is Cornwall and to these villagers the curse is anything but lore, and they believe it will soon claim its next victim: Tamsyn.

To protect her friend, Ruby must work alongside the Pellar to find out what really happened in the orchard that night.

These are all of my anticipated reads from the fourth quarter of 2023. What books are you looking forward to coming out in October? November? December? Do we share any of the same novels?

As always, thank you for reading, and have a wonderful day/night!

See ya ~Mar