Are you ready for Part Two of my October Wrap Up? Because it’s here! And if you haven’t checked it out yet, be sure to read Part One.
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
I’m going to use the Goodreads description for Stardust to give you an idea of the premise since I think it encapsulates this story really well: “Tristan Thorn promised to bring back a fallen star. So he sets out on a journey to fulfill the request of his beloved, the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester—and stumbles into the enchanted realm that lies beyond the wall of his English country town.”
Stardust is my first Neil Gaiman book, which feels super overdue. It was a cute read and I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it. I’m wondering if part of that was just because I wasn’t in the right mood for it? I’m not sure. I just didn’t feel like I got to know the characters that well and I wasn’t overly impressed with Tristran’s groundless obsession with Victoria Forrester. So yeah, a cute story, but it didn’t do an awful lot for me. I’ve heard that the movie is pretty good, though, so I’d like to check that out eventually.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
The Harry Potter reread continues! I actually did a full post about my thoughts for Prisoner of Azkaban, which you can check out here.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
And Then There Were None starts with a group of strangers being invited to a mysterious island for a house party. At dinner, a recorded messages accuses each of the guests of murder, and before the evening is over, one of their number is dead. “Stranded by a violent storm, and haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down one by one . . . one by one they begin to die,” the blurb promises.
This book got off to a slow start for me. There were so many different characters introduced in the first 50 pages that I had a hard time keeping track. I wanted to read, but I didn’t want to read this, so I put it down to read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. As it turns out, I put this book down right before it started getting really good, and I wound up finishing the rest of the book in one sitting. This book was really freaky with the murders matching up to the poem hanging in the guests’ rooms, and every time I thought I had something figured out, I was wrong. I got nowhere close to figure out who the murderer was, and it made for a wild ride of a book. I really enjoyed it and I’m excited to check out the BBC adaptation of this book. I’m also eager to read Murder on the Orient Express before seeing the movie!
The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke translated by Stephen Mitchell
This is a book that I 100 percent should have DNFed, but I’m so close to completing the Book Riot Read Harder challenge and it’s something I’d like to fully complete at least once, so I pushed through it (this challenge is also probably a large part of the reason I’ve been less willing to push through some of the other books on my shelves).
I genuinely have no idea how to review poetry other than to say whether I enjoyed it or not, but I’m really not a big fan of poetry, so I can’t say that I particularly enjoyed this collection. I know Rilke is a really popular poet, though, so if you’re interested in poetry, you might want to check out The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. But it didn’t particularly resonate with me and doesn’t make me eager to check out more poetry.
The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra
So I’ll be completely honest, I can’t say I gave this book a fair chance. The Tsar of Love and Techno is a collection if interconnected short stories set in different times and places in Russia. My mother-in-law lent it to me because she loves it so much, but we tend to have much different tastes in fiction, so I wasn’t that excited to pick it up. I wanted to give it a fair shot, but then I realized that my mother-in-law has already asked me to read Marra’s previous work, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, and that while I finished that book, I didn’t particularly like it. So I really wasn’t excited about this book.
I read the first two short stories in The Tsar of Love and Techno, but it’s the same writing style that I don’t care for, so this book ultimately just isn’t for me. I’ve heard from at least three people, though, that this is one of their favorite books, so if you’re interested I would definitely give this book a shot. It’s just not something I personally gravitate towards and I arguably wasn’t as open to it as something I might have chosen for myself.
A Hope Divided by Alyssa Cole
A Hope Divided is one of my most anticipated books coming out this fall, so I was obviously super excited when I got approved for an advanced reader copy on Netgalley! I don’t want to say too much just yet since I have a full review post coming closer to the publication date, but I found myself a bit disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a good story, and you definitely have to read it if you loved An Extraordinary Union (which I did!), but I thought this was more of a historical fiction book than a historical romance, and it left me wanting more.
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
The Red Rising trilogy is a dystopian meets science fiction-type novel, though I think it’s more than either of those genres. Darrow is a Red mining Mars for elements to be used in terraforming the planet, until one day he finds out everything he thought he knew was a lie and that Mars has been inhabited for generations. When his wife is executed, he’s plunged into the center of a movement to overthrow the current ruler of the solar system and eradicate the color-based caste system that kept his people oppressed for centuries.
I did not like the first 50 to 100 pages of this book. I struggled a lot to understand the world and its lingo and I wasn’t invested enough in Darrow to care about his wife’s execution. I also thought she was incredibly selfish for essentially committing suicide by singing a song that she knew would get her killed (btw, I still don’t understand why that song was enough to get her killed, so I was highly skeptical about her execution). I think the first chuck of the book would have been much better told via flashbacks later in the book, though maybe I would have been more ok with it if it had been better fleshed out.
Regardless, I’d heard such good things about this series that I decided to keep reading, and I’m really glad I did, because it got really good! I ripped through Red Rising and immediately ordered Golden Son and Morning Star while simultaneously downloading copies from the library so I could keep reading before my physical copies showed up. I do still have a few qualms with the first book. My main gripe is with the female characters. They get better in later books, but in Red Rising, Darrow’s wife really just serves as a motivator to drive the plot forward, while Mustang comes across as rather two-dimensional and again is most defined by her relationship with Darrow. I also didn’t think the side characters were that well developed, though again, I think this changed dramatically as the series continued.
So yeah, the first book had a few drawbacks, but I think Brown grew as a writer with the second and third books and did an excellent job developing the series and keeping me on the edge of my seat. It was so much fun seeing what surprises the book would throw at me next and how many tricks Darrow had up his sleeve. It was super heart wrenching, too; more than a few times I felt like I was reading Game of Thrones because so many characters died, so don’t get too attached! I really enjoyed the entire series and kind of want to go back and reread it again but go more slowly so I can savor it more. And I can’t tell you how excited I am that Brown is writing a sequel trilogy. Two more months until Iron Gold is out!!
OPM by Michael Lechter
OPM is essentially a business book intended as a guide for those who are looking to develop a business but need help raising capital. My main takeaway is that there are a number of ways to use other people’s money and resources to help build your business than just the ones you hear about more traditionally, like borrowing money from friends and family or getting an investment from an angel investor. I think that’s a really valuable thing to understand and would definitely recommend checking this book out if you’re thinking about starting a business, but since I’m not right now, I felt that I got what I needed out of the first third of the book and decided to DNF it so I can give it back to my dad. The remaining two-thirds looked a lot more in-depth at the different methods of raising capital. I know I’m not going to remember all of that information when I need it, so I’d rather come back and consult this book if and when it’s more applicable to my life. If you’re thinking of starting a business sometime in the near future, I think you might want to look into this book.
Whew, that was a lot of books! I guess it’s really not fair to say I had a lot of disappointing reads because I clearly had a lot of great ones too, but I still didn’t feel like I had a great reading month for some reason. Ah well, there’s always November!
What do you guys thinking of having my monthly recaps split into two parts? Do you prefer them all in one post? Or if you like having them split, should I post the first part earlier in the month? Let me know in the comments, along with your favorite book you read in October!