Reading Lately – October 2018

October has been a fantastic month for me on the reading front. The combination of school holidays and long evenings spent in the campervan during our half term road trip meant I was literally ploughing through the books. People keep asking me how I manage to read so much but in honesty months like these aren’t really typical. I usually manage three, at a push four, books a month but this month I’ve read seven. I’d better get on with reviewing them, hadn’t I? Standard book blogger problems – too many books to review, too little time!

My first book for October was Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, the first in a series of young adult fantasy novels based around a world inhabited by ‘reds’ and ‘silvers’. Silvers have superpowers which denote their place in society as royalty and leaders, while reds like Mare live tough lives under harsh and punitive rules. When the silvers discover that Mare has powers of her own though, they bring her into the fold, declaring her a long lost silver princess, and setting off a chain of events that lead to rebellion, intrigue and an unusual love triangle. If you like books like A Court of Thorns and Roses, Twilight or the Hunger Games you’ll love it. And if you like teen fantasy with a bit of romantic interest it’s a good one – I’m looking forward to the next instalment now!

Picture of 'Red Queen' book on bench with red berries

My second book for October was a little-known book called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling 🙂 . My eldest son has been badgering me to read it for ages now – I’m actually quite embarrassed to admit I never have! I don’t suppose I need go into too much detail on the story, but anyway…. 😉 .  I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to – I’ve always liked the movies but for some reason didn’t feel the urge to read the books. Whether I’ll go on to read the rest of the series is another matter – the remaining books are really rather massive (I’m thinking audiobooks to be fair). What an amazing imagination Ms Rowling possesses though. If you haven’t seen the unauthorised bio pic of her life Magic Beyond Words it’s one I’d really recommend!

Picture of Harry Potter book on bench

My third, and fourth books for October were Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive and Notes on a Nervous Planet. I’m grouping them into one review because a). I read a lot of books in October and I’m being lazy and b). I’d say they are very much companion reads. They both focus on issues around depression and anxiety, Matt’s own struggles with both, and his thoughts on making the best of life. If you have any sort of mental health issue, want to empathise with people who do, or just live in the 21st century, just read them! Matt is such an authentic, honest author and lately I can’t seem to get enough of his books. I’m also excited to read his ‘Reasons to Stay Alive for Kids’, The Truth Pixie which I’ve heard SO many good things about this month.

Photo of 'Reasons to Stay Alive' and 'Notes on a Nervous Planet' books against fallen leaves.

My fifth book for the month was The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. I think I heard about this book over on Hayley’s blog as one fans of books like A Man Called Ove would like. It’s an offbeat love story about socially inept Don Tillman, who decides to seek out a life partner using a stringent selection process he dubs The Wife Project. It’s all going along hilariously badly until he meets Rosie, who meets none of his criteria yet manages to steal his heart….This is a properly lovely book with the kind of unlikely hero you’ll unwittingly find yourself falling a little bit in love with. Fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and A Man Called Ove rejoice in another surprising book crush (and while you’re at it, run to the nearest bookstore now!)

Photo of 'The Rosie Project' book against stone wall and greenery.

My sixth book for October (I do other things but read all month, honest!), was The Back-Up Plan by Alice Judge-Talbot. I’ve been reading Alice’s blog More Than Toast for a while now and have always been impressed by her fabulous writing and her witty turn of phrase. Her book – about life after divorce as a single parent – was every bit as engaging as I hoped it would be and I devoured it over a weekend. Even if you haven’t read Alice’s blog before, this is a funny, frank, and genuinely life-affirming read.

Picture of 'The Back Up Plan' book against blue door.

My final book for October was 365 Days of Happiness by Jacqueline Pirtle. I was kindly sent a review copy of this book – a set of 365 passages to inspire happiness every single day. The passages focus mostly on visualisation, and a daily instruction on how to focus your mindset for happiness. So things like imagining yourself in different situations and visualising an experience to positively shift your thoughts. I loved the book’s premise of encouraging a daily practice of happiness – but I have to admit that, for me, it did occasionally feel a bit on the superficial side. I would have loved to have read a bit more storytelling about the author’s own journey to happiness and contentment to give the passages a bit more depth and a more rounded, authentic feel. That said, if you’re looking for something light you can dip in and out of then this would be fantastic. Plus – it has cake on the front cover. And cake is always a sure-fire route to happiness on any day, I’m sure!

Photo of '365 Days of Happiness' book on table with flowers

That’s it for my reading round up for this month. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and it’s given you some ideas for your future reading list. I’ll be back in November for another foray through the pages of my reading pile. Until then, happy reading, bookish friends!

G x

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links which mean I will receive a small commission should you purchase via them.

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'Books, Glorious Books' written on letterboard with flowers