October Wrap Up.

This month was a very good reading month for me! It rained almost EVERY SINGLE day this month, which meant I spent a TON of time indoors… perfect for reading. Also during October we did quite a bit of traveling for work, which meant hours upon hours spent on buses, planes, and waiting around in lines. So overall, tons of prime reading time, and no excuse not to devour my stack of books.

Here are (in no particular order) the 12 books I read last month. I will attach each book’s official “GoodReads” plot summary, as well as a few brief thoughts I had about each of them.. and my rating from 1-5/ out of 5. Please let me know if you would like me to go more in depth with a specific review.. I should note as well..that I will have a much more thorough review of the Lars Kepler books (including “Stalker”), as well as a full review of “A Little Life” & “The Wonder”, coming to the Blog soon.. so stay tuned if you are interested in hearing more of my feelings/ramblings about those specific novels.

xo, Happy Reading

Carly.

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1.) “Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur

4.5/5

I loved every single word inside this book of poetry. It was so beautiful, heartfelt, and just perfect. A very modern take on love, life, loss, and relationships. I have a full Review about these poems, earlier in my Blog if you are interested.

GoodReads Plot & Quotes

(milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.)

“i do not want to have you
to fill the empty parts of me
i want to be full on my own
i want to be so complete
i could light a whole city
and then
i want to have you
cause the two of us combined
could set it on fire”
Rupi Kaur, milk and honey

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2.) “The Kind Worth Killing”, by Peter Swanson

5/5

Wow! This was SUCH an incredible thriller. I first saw this book a year ago in Heathrow Airport, and the glowing reviews on the cover/back of the book convinced me immediately to buy it. I just finally got around to reading it this past month, and I now HATE myself for waiting so long. I can’t believe this wild thriller was sitting on my bookshelf all this time, collecting dust! Anyways… clearly I loved it ❤ This book had everything I love about a good mystery/thriller. So many unexpected twists and turns, and told from a few different points of view. Again this story had a few very very flawed main characters, but they were developed so well.. and just felt so REAL.. that I found myself relating to them, and caring for them almost immediately. Even though the things they were thinking about doing were outrageous, for some reason I felt like I was in their heads..and I found myself rooting for them.. despite the fact it was very very wrong. I loved this so much, I’ve already forced everyone I work with to read it.

GoodReads Plot & Quotes 

(A devious tale of psychological suspense involving sex, deception, and an accidental encounter that leads to murder. This is a modern re-imagining of Patricia Highsmith’s classic Strangers on a Train from the author of the acclaimed The Girl with a Clock for a Heart.

On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. But their game turns dark when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.”

From there, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they plot Miranda’s demise, but soon these co-conspirators are embroiled in a game of cat-and-mouse–one they both cannot survive–with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.)

“And to take another life was, in many ways, the greatest expression of what it meant to be alive.”
Peter Swanson, The Kind Worth Killing

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3.) “A Little Life”, by Hanya Yanagihara

A resounding 5/5

I honestly didn’t even know that one book could make me cry so much. Not just cry… it felt like this book broke my heart over and over again 100 times. This was an experience. An intense and incredible one. This book was exquisite.. just so moving, so real, and so heartbreaking. Probably the best book I’ve read in years. I know I’m always saying that…. but this book just knocked me on my ass. So indescribable, you need to read this one, immerse yourself in these incredible characters lives, and let it do it’s thing. There is a reason this book is a finalist for the prestigious “Man Booker Prize”.. and you owe it to yourself to find out why. Warning, this is a very depressing story, and also potentially triggering with issues of addiction and self harm.

GoodReads Plot & Quotes

(When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.)

“You won’t understand what I mean now, but someday you will: the only trick of friendship, I think, is to find people who are better than you are—not smarter, not cooler, but kinder, and more generous, and more forgiving—and then to appreciate them for what they can teach you, and to try to listen to them when they tell you something about yourself, no matter how bad—or good—it might be, and to trust them, which is the hardest thing of all. But the best, as well.”
Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life

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4.) “Night Film” by Marisha Pessl

3.5/5

I really enjoyed this book. A very creepy, intriguing crime thriller. The only negative I really had, is that I found it a bit hard to get into straight away. Also I read this book right after finishing another epic crime thriller, and I might just not have been in the right mood. It was a very good book though, and if you are interested in film/dark cult films.. then you will love this. I feel bad even saying anything negative because it was honestly SO good, and written in the most stunning way. So many twists that kept me guessing.. I think I was just in a reading slump and couldn’t give this one the 5 star energy it needed.

GoodReads Plot & Quotes

(On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.

Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world.

The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more.)

“Mortal fear is as crucial a thing to our lives as love. It cuts to the core of our being and shows us what we are. Will you step back and cover your eyes? Or will you have the strength to walk to the precipice and look out?”
Marisha Pessl, Night Film

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5.) “Just Kids”, by Patti Smith

5/5 or 10/10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THIS BOOK. I am so glad I finally read this, and I wish I could read it for the first time, 100 times in a row all over again. As a Photographer, I was very personally interested in everything to do with Robert Mapplethorpe, and his life. This book was like living Art itself.. just the most wonderful memoir I’ve read all year. Patti Smith is a legend, and I feel so lucky to have read this, and learned so much more about her.. about Robert.. about Art and Life. Very interesting read. Also I’ve never been to New York City, and now I have fully realized how BADLY I need to go there. Chelsea Hotel anyone?

GoodReads Plot & Quotes

(In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies. An honest and moving story of youth and friendship, Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to Just Kids as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work–from her influential 1975 album Horses to her visual art and poetry.)

“Where does it all lead? What will become of us? These were our young questions, and young answers were revealed. It leads to each other. We become ourselves.”
Patti Smith, Just Kids
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6.) “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth”, by Chris Hadfield
4/5
I bought this book for my boyfriend, for his birthday.. and stuck on a bus with a dead cell phone I was desperate to read anything.. so I rifled through backpack and found this little gem. I knew this book would be incredible (that’s why I bought it for R), but it never really seemed to me like something I would be into. Space overwhelms me, and I never really enjoy books about outer space for some reason. I have a hard time visualizing it. Anyways, this was such an unexpected winner. I loved this one SO much! Chris is so hilarious, and I was literally GLUED to the page. I couldn’t put this down. I learned SO many new fascinating and dinner-party-impressing-worthy facts! It also had so much unexpected heart to the story. Overall it was actually very inspiring, and I really loved it. I’ve never been so glad for a dead iPhone before.
GoodReads Plot & Quotes

(Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, and been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft. The secret to Col. Hadfield’s success-and survival-is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst-and enjoy every moment of it.

In An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, Col. Hadfield takes readers deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. Through eye-opening, entertaining stories filled with the adrenaline of launch, the mesmerizing wonder of spacewalks, and the measured, calm responses mandated by crises, he explains how conventional wisdom can get in the way of achievement-and happiness. His own extraordinary education in space has taught him some counterintuitive lessons: don’t visualize success, do care what others think, and always sweat the small stuff.

You might never be able to build a robot, pilot a spacecraft, make a music video or perform basic surgery in zero gravity like Col. Hadfield. But his vivid and refreshing insights will teach you how to think like an astronaut, and will change, completely, the way you view life on Earth-especially your own.)

“I wasn’t lonely. Loneliness, I think, has very little to do with location. It’s a state of mind. In the centre of every city are some of the loneliest people in the world. If anything, because our whole planet was just outside the window, I felt even more aware of and connected to the seven billion other people who call it home.”
Chris Hadfield, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth
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7.) “Stalker”, by Lars Kepler
5/5 OF COURSE!
I can’t even put into words how much I LOVE the literary duo superstars that are “Lars Kepler”. Every single one of Lars Kepler’s books is one of my favorite of the year. I am going to be forever grateful to my girlfriend Bella, for telling me about these books. I am so in love with the dark and mysterious Swedish setting. I am planning to go to Stockholm on my next Vacation, and these books are just feeding that urge even further. “Stalker” is everything I knew it would be.. A dark, twisty, imaginative and shocking thriller, with so much backstory and intrigue. It was so perfect, and I can’t WAIT for the next book in the Joona Linna series.
Amazon Plot Summary
(The police receive a video clip of a woman in a window and reason that someone must have been standing in the garden just outside her house to be able to film her. The next day the woman is found dead in her home, the vicious violence of the scene shocks even the most seasoned investigators.
 
A few days later, another clip is sent anonymously to the police, but there’s no way of identifying the woman before she too falls victim to a brutal attack. When he
finds her, the woman’s husband is so traumatized by the violent scene that, in a state of panic, he starts cleaning the house. He even washes the blood from his
wife’s body and puts her to bed, as if nothing is the matter. He may have seen a vital clue but is in such an extreme state of shock, and seems to be suffering from
short-term memory loss that the police cannot usefully question him.
 
Criminal psychiatrist and hypnotist Erik Maria Bark is called in hypnotize the man in order to unlock his memories of the murder scene. But what Dr Bark uncovers in his sessions with the dead woman’s husband make him decide to lie to the police.
 
It becomes clear that the case cannot be solved without the help of Detective Joona Linna, the man who’s been missing for more than a year and has been presumed dead)
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LARS KEPLER Obsessed.

8.) “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”, by Yuval Noah Harari

3/5
This book was super interesting and informative, and MUCH more interesting to read than high-school history class… Butttt still. Not really my thing. I found myself feeling like I was doing homework, instead of reading for pleasure. However, a friend of mine absolutely adored this book.. calling it one of the best he read this year! So really it all comes down to your own personal interests. This is a extremely well researched and intelligent book, and I wish I was more interested in it’s subject matter. I think I’ll give it another go in a few years.
GoodReads Plot & Quotes
(100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come? In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical – and sometimes devastating – breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, paleontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behavior from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come? Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power … and our future.)
“Culture tends to argue that it forbids only that which is unnatural. But from a biological perspective, nothing is unnatural. Whatever is possible is by definition also natural. A truly unnatural behaviour, one that goes against the laws of nature, simply cannot exist, so it would need no prohibition.”
Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
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9.) “The Wonder”, by Emma Donoghue
5/5
I know I’m giving a lot of 5 star ratings, but I feel like I’ve read SO many good ones this month. I blame BookTube! I get so many amazing recommendations, from all these incredible fellow book lovers.. that it’s been a long time since I’ve read a total dud. This book was everything I hoped it would be. I have been a huge fan of Emma Donoghue ever since reading her novel “Room”, and this one did not disappoint. The story is told in the most beautiful way, making the setting and landscape feel like it’s coming to life. The characters in this book were phenomenal, the idyllic setting was like a dream. This book had a very dark edge to it, and became quite the little thriller. I stayed awake until 4 am finishing this one. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I liked this one even MORE than “Room”!
GoodReads Plot & Quotes

 (In the latest masterpiece by Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room, an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle-a girl said to have survived without food for months-soon finds herself fighting to save the child’s life.

Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale’s Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl.

Written with all the propulsive tension that made Room a huge bestseller, THE WONDER works beautifully on many levels–a tale of two strangers who transform each other’s lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.

*The latest masterpiece by Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room*

ACCLAIM FOR THE WONDER:

“Deliciously gothic…. Dark and vivid, with complicated characters, this is a novel that lodges itself deep” (USA Today, 3/4 stars); “Heartbreaking and transcendent” (New York Times); “A fable as lean and discomfiting as Anna’s dwindling body…. Donoghue keeps us riveted” (Chicago Tribune); “Donoghue poses powerful questions about faith and belief” (Newsday)

“One never imagined that as the decades went by, one might drift into an unbounded country. It struck Lib now how alone in the world she was.”
Emma Donoghue, The Wonder
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10.) “The Farm”, by Tom Rob Smith
4/5
The plot of this book grabbed me right away, from the second I read the book jacket. The idea of being torn between both of your parents, not sure which one to believe… who to trust?! The central dilemma in this novel was one that really made me think “WHAT THE HELL WOULD I DO?????”. I love that in a book. To be able to get the reader right into the mind of the main character, to the point where the reader feels the need to think “what if?” about their own life.. is a real win for an author. This means that the book has hit home, and once it’s hit.. it’s there to stay. I will never forget this story… My GOD.
GoodReads Plot & Quotes

(Until the moment he received a frantic call from his father, Daniel believed his parents were headed into a peaceful, well-deserved retirement. They had sold their home and business in London, and said “farewell to England” with a cheerful party where all their friends had gathered to wish them well on their great adventure: setting off to begin life anew on a remote, bucolic farm in rural Sweden.

But with that phone call, everything changes. Your mother’s not well, his father tells him. She’s been imagining things–terrible, terrible things. She’s had a psychotic breakdown, and has been committed to a mental hospital.

Daniel prepares to rush to Sweden, on the first available flight the next day. Before he can board the plane, his father contacts him again with even more frightening news: his mother has been released from the hospital, and he doesn’t know where she is.

Then, he hears from his mother:

I’m sure your father has spoken to you. Everything that man has told you is a lie. I’m not mad. I don’t need a doctor. I need the police. I’m about to board a flight to London. Meet me at Heathrow.

Caught between his parents, and unsure of who to believe or trust, Daniel becomes his mother’s unwilling judge and jury as she tells him an urgent tale of secrets, of lies, of a horrible crime and a conspiracy that implicates his own father.)

“Standing at the point where these photographs were taken, you’re immersed in the most unbelievable quiet. It’s like being at the bottom of the sea except instead of a rusted shipwreck there’s an ancient farmhouse. Even the thoughts in my head sounded loud, and sometimes I found my heart beating hard for no reason except as a reaction against the silence.”
Tom Rob Smith, The Farm
11.) “Truly, Madly, Guilty”, by Liane Moriarty
2/5
Ugh.I really didn’t like this one. First off let me say, if you are a fan of Liane Moriarty’s work… “The Husband’s Secret”, “Big Little Lies” etc.. you may have LOVED this. It’s not my intention to offend anyone here with this unpopular review.. this one just didn’t work for me. I really liked her first few books, but every time I read one of them I always found myself feeling a bit like “Oh, that’s it?!”. I find her books all follow a similar pattern.. of starting the book out with a whole lot of “hush hush” around a certain “event”, that is then referenced throughout the entire rest of the book as the big “event” aka “twist” that are are supposed to be DYING to get to. Every single time I read one of her books.. I’m all like “WHAT WILL IT BE??? WHAT HAPPENED???”.. and I’m always always disappointed with the big “reveal”. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been reading SO many intense, dark, and disturbing “Gone Girl” type books.. but these “run of the mill” twists always left me feeling kind of like “ugh…. that’s all?”. I feel kind of like I wasted time reading this, not to mention $35.00 on the book itself.
I don’t mean to be so negative. I really do find that she can write the inner workings of a character’s mind.. almost like no other. Her ability to flesh out these women she writes about.. is uncanny. It’s a serious talent. I just think I’ve been spoiled with plot twists, and fast paced “WTF” moments from so many books lately that I’m a bit “de-sensitized” you could say.. to your average thriller/drama.
Anyway if you are a fan of her work, you will enjoy this. It’s a nice story, well told, very well developed.. just a bit blah.
GoodReads Plot & Quotes

(Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?

Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.

Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.

Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?

In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.)

“There is no special protection when you cross that invisible line from your ordinary life to that parallel world where tragedies happen. It happens just like this. You don’t become someone else. You’re still exactly the same. Everything around you still smells and looks and feels exactly the same.”
Liane Moriarty, Truly Madly Guilty
12.) “Harry Potter: And the Chamber of Secrets”, by J.K Rowling, Illustrated by Jim Kay
5/5
10/10
100/100
FUCKING AMAZING OKAY!
One sentence: The most beautiful, incredible, stunning, and perfect thing ever.
Jim Kay you are a phenomenal artist
J.K Rowling you are a legend.
So that’s the end! Happy Reading Guys, xoxoxo

One Comment Add yours

  1. foxtaylor says:

    I’m so jealous you finished so many books!!! I’ve been so busy I think I read maybe one. 😩😩

    Like

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