October was a tough month for me, for reasons I spoke about in my life update. It took me a while to get back into the reading groove, but I have and I ended up reading some amazing books. October is normally my favourite reading month, so I am happy I was able to read a few spooky and atmospheric books.
As always, I will talk about my October reads in order from my least favourite to my favourite.
Bears aren’t the only predators in these woods.
Best friends Neena and Josie spent high school as outsiders, but at least they had each other. Now, with college and a two-thousand-mile separation looming on the horizon, they have one last chance to be together—a three-day hike deep into the woods of the Pisgah National Forest.
Simmering tensions lead to a detour off the trail and straight into a waking nightmare; and then into something far worse. Something that will test them in horrifying ways.
I know that many people did not like There’s Someone Inside Your House, but I thought it was a fun teen slasher. I sadly cannot say the same for The Woods Are Always Watching. I did not like the characters and could not get past their stupid decision-making. It was a quick read, but not an enjoyable one for me.
Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.
I adore Grady Hendrix, but I think I built Horrostor up in my head. For a shorter book, it took a while for anything scary to happen and I never became invested in the characters. I feel like I need to have a connection to the characters in a book like this one in order to care what happens to them. I also thought there were a lot of conveniences and you really have to suspend your disbelief. I appreciated the ending though and I love the entire premise. It is such a clever idea!
Jane Shoringfield sees the world in numbers, patterns, and logical projections, and by her math, she needs one thing above all else: a husband who wants a marriage of convenience. At the top of her list is Augustine Lawrence, a young, reclusive doctor. He agrees to her proposal, with only one requirement: she must never visit Lindridge Hall, his ancestral, crumbling house several miles out of town. He is compelled to return there each time the sun sets, despite night calls and ailing patients, but Jane must never accompany him. He says it’s just because of disrepair brought on by a country doctor’s salary, but on their wedding night, an accident brings her to his door past sundown and she finds him changed. Gone is the bold, courageous surgeon, and in his place is a confused, fearful man.
By morning, Augustine is himself again, but something is deeply wrong at Lindridge Hall. At night, strange figures stalk the halls, and Jane catches glimpses of a beautiful red-eyed woman in the mirrors and windows of the house. Augustine claims she was a patient of his who died two years before, but unexpected house guests tell a different story: her name was Elodie Lawrence, and Augustine believes he killed her.
Soon, Jane is fighting for her sanity and her life, drawn into a world of secret societies, theoretical mathematics, impossible magic, and rituals gone wrong. And now that the secrets of Lindridge Hall have met her, they’re not about to let her go.
I really loved the first half of The Death of Jane Lawrence and I thought that Jane herself was a fantastic character. It was the second half that lost me a little bit. There was almost too much going on! That said, I still enjoyed this and would recommend it for the atmosphere alone. One of the spookiest books I have read in a while. I loved the ending as well and found myself surprisingly invested in the romance.
Scarlett Clark is an exceptional English professor. But she’s even better at getting away with murder. Every year, she searches for the worst man at Gorman University and plots his well-deserved demise. Thanks to her meticulous planning, she’s avoided drawing attention to herself—but as she’s preparing for her biggest kill yet, the school starts probing into the growing body count on campus. Determined to keep her enemies close, Scarlett insinuates herself into the investigation and charms the woman in charge, Dr. Mina Pierce. Everything’s going according to her master plan…until she loses control with her latest victim, putting her secret life at risk of exposure.
Meanwhile, Gorman student Carly Schiller is just trying to survive her freshman year. Finally free of her emotionally abusive father, all Carly wants is to focus on her studies and fade into the background. Her new roommate has other ideas. Allison Hadley is cool and confident—everything Carly wishes she could be—and the two girls quickly form an intense friendship. So when Allison is sexually assaulted at a party, Carly becomes obsessed with making the attacker pay…and turning her fantasies about revenge into a reality.
If you are a fan of You by Caroline Kepnes, I have found the perfect book for you! I think I may have liked They Never Learn even more because Scarlett, our serial killer main character, is complex and you can sympathize with her motivations. I absolutely loved this on audio and it is now one of my favourite thrillers.
After having just graduated with a degree in shoe design, and trying to get her feet on the ground, Cindy is working for her stepmother, who happens to be the executive producer of America’s favorite reality show, Before Midnight. When a spot on the show needs filling ASAP, Cindy volunteers, hoping it might help jump-start her fashion career, or at least give her something to do while her peers land jobs in the world of high fashion.
Turns out being the only plus size woman on a reality dating competition makes a splash, and soon Cindy becomes a body positivity icon for women everywhere. What she doesn’t expect? That she may just find inspiration — and love — in the process. Ultimately, Cindy learns that if the shoe doesn’t fit, maybe it’s time to design your own.
If the Shoe Fits was the book that got me out of my reading slump and it was the right book at the right time for me. It came in my Once Upon a Book Club book box and I filmed a reading vlog of this book if you want to hear more of my thoughts! It was a mix of modern Cinderella and The Bachelor, which I didn’t know I needed but just worked.
After a wild bet, gourmet grilled-cheese sandwich, and cuddle with a baby goat, Alexis Montgomery has had her world turned upside down. The cause: Daniel Grant, a ridiculously hot carpenter who’s ten years younger than her and as casual as they come—the complete opposite of sophisticated city-girl Alexis. And yet their chemistry is undeniable.
While her ultra-wealthy parents want her to carry on the family legacy of world-renowned surgeons, Alexis doesn’t need glory or fame. She’s fine with being a “mere” ER doctor. And every minute she spends with Daniel and the tight-knit town where he lives, she’s discovering just what’s really important. Yet letting their relationship become anything more than a short-term fling would mean turning her back on her family and giving up the opportunity to help thousands of people.
Bringing Daniel into her world is impossible, and yet she can’t just give up the joy she’s found with him either. With so many differences between them, how can Alexis possibly choose between her world and his?
I hate to do this to you all because Part of Your World does not come out until April 18th, 2022, but when I was approved for the ARC on Netgalley I knew I had to read it right away. Abby Jimenez is up there as one of my favourite romance writers, and I think that this one is her best. Part of Your World is the start of a new romance series and is loosely based on Little Mermaid. It focuses on the relationship between two characters who have an instant connection but are from very different worlds. It also tackles some serious topics, domestic abuse in particular.
Upon the cliffs of a remote Scottish island, Lòn Haven, stands a lighthouse. A lighthouse that weathered more than storms. Mysterious and terrible events have happened on this island. It started with a witch hunt. Now, centuries later, islanders are vanishing without explanation. Coincidence? Or curse? Liv Stay flees to the island with her three daughters, in search of a home. She doesn’t believe in witches, or dark omens, or hauntings. But within months, her daughter Luna will be the only one of them left. Twenty years later, Luna is drawn back to the place her family vanished. As the last sister left, it’s up to her to find out the truth . . . But what really happened at the lighthouse all those years ago?
I had no idea that I was going to love The Lighthouse Witches as much as I did. It has so many things that I love in fiction- witches, a curse, a mysterious island, and complicated familial relationships. I could not put this book down and I hope that it gets the hype that it deserves. I feel like I have talked about it nonstop since I read it!
The Owens family has been cursed in matters of love for over three-hundred years but all of that is about to change. The novel begins in a library, the best place for a story to be conjured, when beloved aunt Jet Owens hears the deathwatch beetle and knows she has only seven days to live. Jet is not the only one in danger—the curse is already at work.
A frantic attempt to save a young man’s life spurs three generations of the Owens women, and one long-lost brother, to use their unusual gifts to break the curse as they travel from Paris to London to the English countryside where their ancestor Maria Owens first practiced the Unnamed Art. The younger generation discovers secrets that have been hidden from them in matters of both magic and love by Sally, their fiercely protective mother. As Kylie Owens uncovers the truth about who she is and what her own dark powers are, her aunt Franny comes to understand that she is ready to sacrifice everything for her family, and Sally Owens realizes that she is willing to give up everything for love.
I am so sad that the Practical Magic series has come to an end, but I could not have asked for a better ending. It was so bittersweet and I found myself reading through tears most of the time. If you are invested in the series enough to get to this last book, I don’t think you will be disappointed. I also reread Magic Lessons in October and still adored it!