Books · Monthly Tags

October TBR 2022 – The TBR Raffle Game

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Hello, my reader friends!

The spooky season is my favorite season of them all. Cozy blankets, pumpkin spice latte, candles and October TBR books with eerie atmosphere. What’s not to like about that?

You probably already know this, but just a reminder that I share my current reading updates on my Instagram posts and stories, and my Goodreads and Storygraph account, so don’t forget to follow my Instagram and other socials (all listed at the bottom of the blog) to see what I am reading at any given time during this month. Sometimes my TBR varies, as I add additional books during the month.

And with that being said, let the October TBR commence.

The October TBR Raffle

I am usually filming my TBRs on my Instagram Stories. Make sure to follow me on Instagram, and check my Raffle draw (usually posted as a highlight or a reel).

My TBR Raffle game is simple: I have a number of prompts that I put in small papers, into a jar. I draw a prompt, and I fit in a book that matches my prompt. Here is a list of the current prompts I have. Feel free to leave any prompt suggestions in the comments. Once the prompt is drawn, I put it back into the jar, so it has an equal chance to get drawn again. I draw a total of 6 prompts, which result in 6 books for the month. If I fail to read a book, it automatically goes into the next month.

My October TBR

1. TBR Vet

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

One of the oldest books on my TBR, and a classic horror novel, I couldn’t not add Frankenstein by Mary Shelley to my TBR this month. It feels like ti was meant to be. I have read so much about the book, I vaguely know the plot, but I have never read it, so quite excited for this one.

Synopsis:

Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein. 

Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.

2. Travel (Set in Destination)

The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge

Set in the remote snows of contemporary Norway was enough for me to add The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge on my list. The fact that it has a very spooky cover and synopsis that promises chills, that was just a huge bonus!

Synopsis:

Part ghost story, part Nordic thriller – this is a twisty, tense and spooky YA debut, perfect for fans of Coraline and Michelle Paver.

Martha can tell things about a person just by touching their clothes, as if their emotions and memories have been absorbed into the material. It started the day she fell from the tree at her grandma’s cabin and became blind in one eye.

Determined to understand her strange ability, Martha sets off to visit her grandmother, Mormor – only to discover Mormor is dead, a peculiar boy is in her cabin and a terrifying creature is on the loose.

Then the spinning wheel starts creaking, books move around and terror creeps in . . .

✨ 3. Mystery

The Wych Elm by Tana French

I’ve had The Wych Elm by Tana French on my TBR list for quite some time. And after having mixed feeling about The Searcher, I decided to give Tana another chance. I’ve heard some good reviews about it, and the sysnopsis seems quite appealing to my taste.

Synopsis:

For me it all goes back to that night, the dark corroded hinge between before and after, the slipped-in sheet of trick glass that tints everything on one side in its own murky colours and leaves everything on the other luminous and untouchable.

One night changes everything for Toby. A brutal attack leaves him traumatised, unsure even of the person he used to be. He seeks refuge at the family’s ancestral home, the Ivy House, filled with cherished memories of wild-strawberry summers and teenage parties with his cousins.

But not long after Toby’s arrival, a discovery is made. A skull, tucked neatly inside the old wych elm in the garden.

As detectives begin to close in, Toby is forced to examine everything he thought he knew about his family, his past, and himself.

A spellbinding standalone from a literary writer who turns the crime genre inside out, The Wych Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, if we no longer know who we are.

✨ 4. 5 Star Prediction

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky, for some reason, has become I book I keep meaning to read and never get to it. There are a few books I’ve had this experience with, and they have all ended up being my favourites. I hope this book will follow their trail and saying that, I hope I will finally get to it.

Synopsis:

Christopher is seven years old.
Christopher is the new kid in town.
And Christopher has an imaginary friend.

We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.

Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with her child. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six long days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a treehouse in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.

Twenty years ago, Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower made readers everywhere feel infinite. Now, Chbosky has returned with an epic work of literary horror, years in the making, whose grand scale and rich emotion redefine the genre. Read it with the lights on.

5. Instagram Scroll

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

I actually enjoyed scrolling through my Instagram feed to find The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. There was an abundance of spooky books that I didn’t own and had to pass. My TBR list just got way bigger for next year!

Synopsis:

Four seekers have arrived at the rambling old pile known as Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of psychic phenomena; Theodora, his lovely and lighthearted assistant; Luke, the adventurous future inheritor of the estate; and Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman with a dark past. As they begin to cope with chilling, even horrifying occurrences beyond their control or understanding, they cannot possibly know what lies ahead. For Hill House is gathering its powers – and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

6. My Pick

Bindle Punk Bruja by Desideria Mesa

I love it when I get the “My Pick” prompt. It gives me the freedom to choose any book I want, and I sometimes leave this empty until I pick on the spot in the middle of the month. But this time, I instantly added Bindle Punk Bruja by Desideria Mesa to my October TBR. It’s a book I had my eye on for a few months since I’ve been gifted a proof reader copy, and it’s perfect for the spooky season, filled with witches!

Synopsis:

A part-time reporter and club owner takes on crooked city councilmen, mysterious and deadly mobsters, and society’s deeply rooted sexism and racism, all while keeping her true identity and magical abilities hidden –inspired by an ancient Mexican folktale.

Yo soy quien soy. I am who I am.

Luna–or depending on who’s asking, Rose–is the white-passing daughter of an immigrant mother who has seen what happens to people from her culture. This world is prejudicial, and she must hide her identity in pursuit of owning an illegal jazz club. Using her cunning powers, Rose negotiates with dangerous criminals as she climbs up Kansas City’s bootlegging ladder. Luna, however, runs the risk of losing everything if the crooked city councilmen and ruthless mobsters discover her ties to an immigrant boxcar community that secretly houses witches. Last thing she wants is to put her entire family in danger.

But this bruja with ever-growing magical abilities can never resist a good fight. With her new identity, Rose, an unabashed flapper, defies societal expectations all the while struggling to keep her true self and witchcraft in check. However, the harder she tries to avoid scrutiny, the more her efforts eventually capture unwanted attention. Soon, she finds herself surrounded by greed and every brand of bigotry–from local gangsters who want a piece of the action and businessmen who hate her diverse staff to the Ku Klux Klan and Al Capone. Will her earth magic be enough to save her friends and family? As much as she hates to admit it, she may need to learn to have faith in others–and learning to trust may prove to be her biggest ambition yet.

And that’s my October TBR. Have you read any of the above books? What is on your October TBR list? Let me know in the comments!

Make sure to follow me on Instagram, so you can stay up to date with my current updates during the month.

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Book Review · Books

This Book Kills by Ravena Guron [BOOK REVIEW]

This Book Kills by Ravena Guron [BOOK REVIEW]

I could not recommend it enough! “This Book Kills” deserves all the hype in the world!

About The Book:

This Book Kills by Ravena Guron [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 394

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: Usborne YA

Format I read it in: Uncorrected Proof / Paperback

Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts:

I can’t remember the last time I was so immersed in a book, that I spent a full all-nighter finishing it, gasped at every hint and literally jumped (all the while dropping the book in excitement) when I correctly guessed who’d done it! 

The most popular and rich kid in Heybuckle School, Hugh Henry Van Boren, has been found dead. And as soon as the news arrive, the student body is very keen to find the murderer. Our main character, Jess, is a student in this school. Not being rich, she is working hard to keep her grades good and her record clean so she doesn’t lose her scholarship. 

However, she finds herself at the centre of the investigation when it’s revealed that Hugh died in the exact same way as a character in a short story that she wrote. On top of this, Jess receives an anonymous tip, thanking her for the inspiration, and sending a threat her way.

Jess needs to solve this murder urgently, as time is running out. She may not only lose her scholarship, but she may end up also losing her life!

I greatly enjoyed “This Book Kills” and rooted for Jess from the very beginning.

We are instantly introduced to this posh high-school, where Jess feels an instant disadvantage being “the scholarship girl”. We can feel this through her interactions with the other students and teachers. 

It also doesn’t help that the school has an anonymous secret club called the Regia Club, where students are asked to pull dangerous pranks on each other. And the adults know this is happening and yet decide to not act upon it, due to reputation. 

“Just because things are easy for you, doesn’t mean they’re easy. Just because people are good to you, doesn’t mean they’re good. You can’t close your eyes and then claim ignorance – people who let bad stuff happen are just as bad as the people who do bad stuff.”

I wouldn’t say this is the deadliest thriller of 2023, but it’s for sure the most intriguing YA thriller I have read so far. It kept me on the edge of my seat; the clues, the drama, the plot twists just kept coming. I ended up predicting the culprit, but I don’t think it was very predictable. I loved the fact that the book stops at a certain point and tells you to make a prediction, because a reveal is about to happen. As soon as I got the reveal, I was beyond happy that I guessed it right. This interaction with the book made me completely forget whether my prediction was predictable or not. 

I am certain that this book will take the reader community by storm in the new year. Jess is a heroine that we will want to be friends with, although we’d rather not be in her shoes. If you’re about to pick any YA thriller in the new year, let it be this one. As This Book Kills. 

About The Author:

This Book Kills by Ravena Guron [BOOK REVIEW]

A born and bred Londoner, Ravena writes MG and YA, usually featuring antiheroines or snarky narrators. Growing up she always read the last page of books first, but discovering Agatha Christie in her early teens stopped that habit, igniting a love of twisty murder-mysteries with jaw-dropping endings the reader never saw coming. Ravena is a lawyer with a degree in biochemistry, and hopes to use the knowledge gained from her experiences to plot the perfect murder (for a book, of course!).

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Book Review · Books

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin [BOOK REVIEW]

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin [BOOK REVIEW]

I remember loving Elsewhere when I read it as a teenager. And now, reading it again, I know why I always loved it so much. It’s sad, happy, but most importantly, real. 

About the book:

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 271

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Format I read it in: Paperback

Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts:

“I’m just a girl who forgot to look both ways before she crossed the street.”

Liz is almost 16 and she dies in a hit-and-run accident. And this is where her story begins. Instead of going wherever it is that people go when they’re dead, she wakes up on a big boat that’s heading to a place called Elsewhere. It turns out that people go to Elsewhere when they die, they live there (if you can call it that), age backwards and then return to Earth as babies to be (quite literally) reborn. 

As we follow Liz around on the ship, she is having a very hard time understanding she is dead. She thinks this is all a dream and expects to be woken up anytime. 

“It can be particularly difficult for young people to realise they have passed. Young people tend to think they’re immortal. Many of them can’t conceive of themselves as dead.”

As the story goes on, Liz meets her grandma, Betty, who passed away before Liz was born. Due to how time is measured in Elsewhere, Betty now looks quite young. Young enough to be in a relationship with Liz’s friend. We’ll get into that in a minute.

Liz is supposed to now live her life and find an avocation.

An avocation is like a job on Earth, except you have to really enjoy doing it and can only do it if it makes you happy. So Liz becomes a counsellor for the Division of Domestic Animals, and her task is to welcome dogs on Elsewhere and explain everything to them when they arrive. I loved the idea that the dogs could talk with some people that can speak the dog language. Some of my favourite scenes are when the dogs are talking – the humour in them is priceless!

At the beginning, Liz is having a very hard time accepting this reality. She dies before she could truly live her life and she will never grow up, have children, buy a house, or grow old. Not on Earth and not in Elsewhere either. She’ll just age backwards from 16 to 0. She is very depressed and spends a lot of time at the Observation Desks, where she can watch people on Earth through binoculars. She even tries an illegal way to make contact and it massively backfires. 

“Many people on Earth spend their whole lives dead.”

But in all this grief, she meets a friend and things slowly start to get better for her. She starts to find joy in the years she has left and enjoys herself. This book has a powerful message about living in the moment and making the most of life with the cards you’ve been dealt. It’s a sad, but true story about life and death, grieving, depression, but also about friendships and love.

“People, you’ll find, aren’t usually all good or all bad. Sometimes they’re a little bit good and a whole lot bad. And sometimes, they’re mostly good with a dash of bad. And most of us, well, we fall in the middle somewhere.”

The ending is a bit sad, but at the same time satisfying. And it will definitely make you want to read the book backwards as soon as you have finished it. 

About The Author:

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin [BOOK REVIEW]

Gabrielle Zevin is an internationally best-selling and critically acclaimed author, whose books have been translated into thirty-eight languages.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry spent several months on the New York Times Best Seller List, reached #1 on the National Indie Best Seller List, was a USA Today Best Seller, and has been a best seller all around the world.

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Book Review · Books

You by Caroline Kepnes [BOOK REVIEW]

You by Caroline Kepnes [BOOK REVIEW]

About You by Caroline Kepnes

You by Caroline Kepnes [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 422

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Format I read it in: Paperback

Rating: ★★★

My Thoughts:

You… How do I start writing a review about you? You had all the potential to be something special… A thriller with a psychologically unstable character, a person that becomes so obsessive about another person. We were almost there, me and you, You. But you ruined it with the cliche ending and unsurprising reveals. At the end I even started resenting the way you are written in second person. 

I’m not going to lie, I have had this book on my TBR since forever and I always found the synopsis so gripping. It’s not every day that you can enter the mind of a stalker who falls in love with “the girl next door”. I’ve always been captivated by twisted characters and this time was no different. But Joe kind of disappointed me. It wasn’t anything special, just a guy who goes really over the top about people he loves. Badshit crazy over the top, but predictable. 

I expected him to do everything he went on to do.

In fact, I was surprised by Beck. She was a real bitch actually. Obviously, she never deserved what happened to her, but she was brutal with her lying and cheating. If I was Joe, I’d be a bit upset too. Not as upset, I mean, the guy is bonkers… 

“The only thing cruller than a cage so small that a bird can’t fly is a cage so large that a bird thinks it can fly. Only a monster would lock a bird in here and call himself an animal lover.”

I am not sure what exactly I was expecting, but the book didn’t have it. That wow factor maybe. Or I was maybe missing the tension about someone figuring out who / what Joe is. Maybe it was Beck’s perspective I was missing, to understand her better. I never knew if I could trust the girl. And this is where the masterpiece comes – this is where we realise how genius the author is. The writing made me root for Joe. Made me root for the crazy guy without a single doubt in my mind. This book is so twisted and clever that I liked Joe as a character, despite him being a proper psychopath. I knew he was the bad guy, and yet his excuses made sense – which prompted me to double question myself after numerous chapters. 

I was lacking some tension and action. The book kept me gripped with its twistiness in characters, but it didn’t impress me. I was waiting for the big finale that never happened and the ending was underwhelming to me. However, I’m still planning to read the rest of the series because I’m curious to find out what is next for Joe.

About The Author:

You by Caroline Kepnes [BOOK REVIEW]

Caroline Kepnes is the New York Times bestselling author of You, Hidden Bodies, Providence and…

You Love Me. Publishing in the US on April 6, 2021

Her work has been translated into a multitude of languages and inspired a television series adaptation of You, currently on Netflix. Kepnes graduated from Brown University and then worked as a pop culture journalist for Entertainment Weekly and a TV writer for 7th Heaven and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. She grew up on Cape Cod, and now lives in Los Angeles.

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Book Review · Books

Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow [BOOK REVIEW]

Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow [BOOK REVIEW]

Bad Things Happen Here is a beautiful story with a lot of lessons to give. It has a little bit of everything and just enough to keep you intrigued and melt your heart!

About The Book:

Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow [BOOK REVIEW]

Pages: 352

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Format I read it in: Uncorrected Proof / Paperback

Rating: ★★★★

My Thoughts:

Luca Laine Thomas has lived in Parris Island all her life. And one year ago, she lost Polly, her best friend. Now there’s a new girl that moved into Polly’s house and the curse that surrounds this island strikes again. 

Young women keep being murdered and the cases remain unsolved. Now it’s Luca’s turn to do some investigating on her own and figure out what the hell is wrong with this island. 

Luca is such a refreshing character.

She is mixed-race, queer and plus sized, but most importantly, she’s hilarious, smart, and not afraid to stand up for herself. I was glad to see her embrace her mental health journey and show us how she is dealing with grief. She is not afraid to open about her feelings – and thank God for that – we need more Luca’s in our lives and on our pages, so that people start realising that talking about emotions is okay. 

The story is intriguing and captivating. Meeting a log of characters and having those parties on the island gave me some “We Were Liars” vibes. The chapters are short and the way they end prompts you to continue. I stayed up until 2am, finishing this book. 

“People lie about where they were when they don’t want anyone to know what they were doing and where they were doing it.”

I liked the mystery elements, although I think there were some flaws. Luca relied on just one source to give her clues, and if that source ceased for some reason, she wouldn’t have been able to reveal anything. Additionally, I think in real life, that person would never reveal anything at all, because of how it relates to them and the connection, in my opinion. And even though we get one reveal in the end, we don’t get answers to the old cases at all. There was supposed to be some connection between all the murders, and it was never entertained afterwards. It left me slightly disappointed from that point of view.

I liked the romantic connection Luca had, and how real it all was. Especially towards the end. It proves to show that you can love and care for someone so deeply, but still cannot forgive or forget if they hurt you bad enough. We don’t always get the happy ever afters. And maybe time will heal their wounds and destiny will guide them to each other again. We’ll never know, and we can only hope, and that’s the beauty of it. 

About The Author:

Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow [BOOK REVIEW]

Rebecca Barrow is the critically acclaimed author of Bad Things Happen Here, Interview with the Vixen, This Is What It Feels Like, and You Don’t Know Me But I Know You. She is a lover of sunshine, Old Hollywood icons, and all things high femme. She lives and writes in England. Visit her at www.rebecca-barrow.com

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