Book Review · Books

October, October by Katya Balen [BOOK REVIEW]

October, October by Katya Balen [BOOK REVIEW]


I am so glad I read October, October by Katya Balen and illustrated by Angela Harding. It is a perfect middle grade book that not only brings us to a beautiful wild adventure, but also teaches us that it’s okay to be different. Thank you to Bloomsbury and LoveReading 4 Kids, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my review.


October and her dad live in the woods. They live in a house that her dad built and enjoy the nature and the animals and the trees. They love the river and they love looking at the stars at night. It’s always been just the two of them, and that’s how it is.

And then October turns eleven. That’s the year she rescues a baby owl. That’s the year her dad fell from the tallest tree and was taken to hospital. The year when the woman who calls herself mother came back.

That’s when everything changes.

My Thoughts:

Through October’s passionate and, at the same time, innocent thoughts, we enter her world surrounded by wilderness and freedom. A child raised in the wild, whose life changes in a way she never deemed possible. She now has a new life that she needs to adjust to. But October doesn’t understand this. She doesn’t feel the need to adjust, because the wilderness is her home. Together with her dad. And now she lives in the city with this woman who calls herself mother, who tells her she needs to go to school, and who doesn’t approve of the baby owl.

“A pocket of people in a pocket of a world that’s small as a marble. We are tiny and we are everything and we are wild. We live in the woods.”

“Being wild and free is different for every person and every thing and it can be folded into the woods or whirling through the city streets. I know not everything has a perfect ending and I know that some things have a perfect place and that some things don’t and that all this can change anyway.”

With each paragraph and each chapter, I could feel October’s frustration. How her life is very unfair, and her questioning everything, trying to figure out why people want her to behave differently.

“What feels best isn’t always right, you know.”

This book resonated with me so much.

Perhaps because I was once in a similar situation to October as a child. I loved exploring the world from her point of view and I loved her wild personality. The relationship she has with her father was so precious. He understands her the most, and they get along together very well.

The story developed in a very nice way, and the ending was quite satisfying. Without giving anything away, I will just say that many characters realised many things by the end of the book. The learning journey they all went thought was very prominent and it left me with a melancholy, but also happy feeling. The ending felt very bittersweet.

“Sometimes it’s a kindness to let something go even when you love it very much.”

October, October is a beautifully written book about wilderness, happiness and freedom. The beautiful illustrations just add up to the writing and give a life to the story. I recommend it to both children and adults. A gem worth discovering!

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Book Review · Books

Curses of Scale by S.D. Reeves [BOOK REVIEW]

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Book Description:

Sixteen-year-old Niena wants nothing more than to attend an elite bardic college, but when the dragon that shattered the empire awakens again she finds herself on the run, through the fey realm of Fairhome, to the city where she was born. On her trail are her army veteran grandfather, thrown into a commander’s role he doesn’t want, the lord of the fairies, trying to steer her to his own ends, and the husband she won’t meet for fifteen years. If she kills the dragon, she’ll save everyone she holds dear. But if she kills the dragon, she’s cursed instead to become it.

”Dreams starve and die if not fed by imagination.”

My thoughts:

A uniquely designed plot, intriguing and different. I was so excited to read this book. The cover was mesmerising and the synopsis was promising. It made me eager to start the book and I couldn’t wait to dive into this fantasy world.

The first couple of chapters were very slow for me. I had to re-read chapters twice, and I didn’t quite understand what is happening. After a while, things became clearer, and I started to enjoy the story a bit more.

I loved Niena’s character. She was a typical being, where one part gasps with bravery, and the rest gasps with fear. I loved how realistic she was at moments, knowing to be scared when supposed to, and fierce when needed of her.

The story gasps with a lot of intense scenes, full of adventures, that I am sure you will all love and appreciate. From trying to fight a dragon, to running away, to the amazing plot twist right at the very end, this book made me restless, after I started enjoying it.

The only reason I am taking two stars away is because I had to read the first 60-ish pages two-three times, until I finally dived in and started enjoying the story.

”A fairy bargain can live no deeper than your lips, it always dies before reaching the heart.”

A beautiful tale, full of magic, adventure and time travel. And a cover that suits it so well.

If you seem to like these types of books – don’t wait and grab your copy now:

Thank you to the author, S.D. Reeves , for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review · Books

Sleep, Merel, Sleep – Silke Stein [BOOK REVIEW]

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This is a story about a little girl called Merel. This is also a story about how Merel one day can’t sleep. This story also happens to be one of the most adorable middle grade stories that I have ever read. Silke Stein did an amazing job in portraying a little girl, and creating a magical world that we see through her eyes.

Merel is a little girl and since her sick baby brother was born, her parents stopped paying attention to her.

In a magical world, far, far away, a dream collector plays on a violin and makes children fall asleep. But this one day, the dream collector gives up on Merel’s sleep and leaves his tiny silver violin in her bedroom.

Merel learns that her sleep has abandoned her, and she goes onto an incredible journey to recover the sleep, or to stay awake forever. With many characters helping her along the way, she will learn what the most important things in life are, and she will learn to see things in a different way.

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While meeting a sleepy king, and a man on a train that goes nowhere, and moonfish that cry, and a little baby handed in her hands, we will see this magical world through an eight-year-old girl and how her perception changes chapter by chapter.

This is one of the books that will make you feel relaxed and deeply satisfied within after reading it. I felt lighter and was glowing all day.

Merel is such a cute character, and any parent would wish to have her as a daughter. She is the perfect example of how children react when a new baby sibling comes to the family, and they think that the parents don’t love them anymore, because they devote their attention to this little creature that cries all the time.

I loved her adventures – they were so adorable, and so many questions and discussions were raised. Even though the beginning was a bit slow for me, and it took me a while to catch the story, I am completely certain that this was because I am a grown up – and I am sure that kids will be easily able to dive into the story immediately.

Thank you to Silke Stein, for sending me a paperback copy of Sleep, Merel, Sleep, in exchange for an honest review.

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