Wrap Up: October 2015

October15wrapup

Hello everybody. Wow, the month has flown by pretty quickly! Where did all the time go? Before we get into what I read in October, I should share my exciting news that I announced last week. I am now a co-blogger at Happy Indulgence! Head over there to see more from me! My first post (a review of The Next Together) is now up!

I had a fabulous reading month in October. I read some pretty high quality books and I’m now 30 books away from my 2015 reading goal of 200 books! I think 15 books in November and December sounds doable (I’ve already finished my first book of November, this morning at 2am!)

Let’s get started with what books I read this month. As always, these appear in the order that I read them throughout the month and my reviews are linked.

October15

Reading summary header

1. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs  45 stars

A wonderfully mysterious and creepy book about a cast of peculiar children with peculiar powers living in the 1940s. It contains some amazing black and white photographs and beautiful writing!

2. Hollow City – Ransom Riggs  5 stars

The second book in the Miss Peregrine’s trilogy. This was my favourite book in the trilogy and definitely was not a ‘filler’ book in the series. It had me dying to read the next book.

3. Library of Souls – Ransom Riggs  45 stars

The final book in the Miss Peregrine’s trilogy. This was action-packed and thrilling, and everything I wanted this last book to be. Has a completely resolved ending and I’m sad that the series is over.

4. Zeroes – Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan & Deborah Biancotti  35 stars

The first book in a new series about a group of kids with special abilities. It was exciting and filled with action. I fell in love with some of the characters and cannot wait to read more about them in the next book.

5. A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness  5 stars

This was a really dark and emotional read for me. It had a wonderful story with beautiful writing.. and it gave me all the feels.

6. Chewy Noh and the Fall of the Mu-Dang – Tim Learn  35 stars

The first book in a middle-grade series by an indie author. This book features a Korean main character with a unique superpower and how he deals with his bullies!

7. Chewy Noh and the Phantasm of Winter – Tim Learn  4 stars

The second book in the Chewy Noh series. It did a great job of blending in Korean mythology and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Korean culture.

8. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo  4 stars

The first non-fiction book I’ve read in a while – this book had lots of great tips and tricks on storage and decluttering.

9. A Little Something Different – Sandy Hall  15 stars

This was an extremely disappointing new adult contemporary. It was written from 14 different perspectives and was done quite unsuccessfully. I had many problems with the plot, characters and writing.

10. Outspoken – Lora Richardson  4 stars

This is probably the best self-published novel I’ve ever written. It was an incredible YA contemporary debut about finding your own voice.

11. Ice Like Fire – Sara Raasch  35 stars

The second book in the Snow Like Ashes trilogy, this book fell a little bit flat for me. There wasn’t very much that happened plotwise, and many of the characters went through some massive changes.

12. The Next Together – Lauren James  4 stars

A unique blend of contemporary, sci-fi, mystery and historical fiction. This book follows two characters that are reborn over and over, but end up together each time. It was filled with little notes and email exchanges and I thought it was a great debut novel.

13. Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff  4 stars

The first book in a sci-fi trilogy, Illuminae is written completely as a collection of classified materials. The formatting and graphics in the book were amazing and it was a unique reading experience.

14. The Billionaire’s Forbidden Desire – Nadia Lee  4 stars

It’s been a while since I’ve read an adult romance book and this one caught my eye as I was browsing through the iBooks new releases. It was good but had too many sex scenes for my liking.

15. The Lake House – Kate Morton  5 stars

This was my favourite book of the month. It’s a fantastic mystery, with the most beautiful writing and very realistic characters. I also loved the historical elements of the book and really enjoyed the 1930s Cornwall setting.

16. Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo  35 stars

The first book in the Grisha trilogy, Shadow and Bone didn’t really wow me. It has some interesting characters and a world that I enjoyed reading about, but I found it to be a little bit lacking. A full review will be up soon.

T10T

This month I did four Top Ten Tuesday posts:


Thanks for visiting. Did you read any of these books this month and what did you think of it? What was your favourite book of October?

Review: Outspoken by Lora Richardson

outspoken

Publisher: self-published
Release date: August 16, 2015
Format: eBook
ISBN: 1516935721
Pages: 252
Goodreads || Book Depository || Amazon

Penny Beck is a girl who says yes when she means no. She keeps to herself, follows the rules, and does what she’s told. After a disastrous experience with her boyfriend, she’s determined to change from the spineless person she’s always been into the strong woman she wants to become. All she needs is a little practice.

On a cross-country trip to check on her grandpa, she strives to become bolder and more outspoken with the strangers she meets. Penny’s plan is to practice saying and doing what she wants without worrying about what anyone else thinks.

Then she meets Archer, an introspective loner to whom she finds herself drawn. She realizes she does care what he thinks, very much. Will Penny be able to stick to her plan, or will she revert back to her people-pleasing ways?

MY THOUGHTS

4 stars

I received an electronic copy of Outspoken from the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I love reading YA contemporary books and just the synopsis of this book told me that Outspoken would be right up my alley. I love a good coming-of-age book where there’s a lot of great character growth.

Penny has always done what other people tell her to do. She lets others make big decisions for her and she’s never spoken her own mind. She applies for college because her boyfriend told her to. She decides to major in chemistry because her father told her to. And she bought a black car because that’s the colour her younger sister wanted. But an incident with her boyfriend makes her realise that it’s time for her to voice her own opinions and say the things she wants to say. When given the opportunity to move across the country to check on her grandfather who has Alzheimer’s, she decides that a fresh start is just what she needs.

There’s not a lot that’s wrong with this book. It’s probably one of the best self-published books I’ve read, and it’s also a debut novel as well! So I guess I’ll start this review off with the one criticism that I have. I don’t feel as though there was enough character development in this book for me. Judging from the synopsis, the book is ostensibly about Penny’s growth and her transformation from being kind of spineless to being an assertive young woman, but I missed seeing an improvement in her character. The book starts off with Penny driving into her new town and becoming a new person and speaking her mind. Because we never got to really see who she was in the past, I couldn’t compare the person she was then to the new person she is now. I don’t feel as though she grew very much throughout the book either. There was just no before and after, for me. There is a point in the book where Penny goes home to visit and her sister mentions that she seems like a different person. I personally didn’t really see any changes in her, and that’s my main criticism of the book.

I think that the character development was probably overshadowed a little bit by all of the other things that were going on in the book. The book incorporates a lot of issues like post-natal depression, Alzheimer’s disease, blindness and grief. I actually really enjoyed that these things were mentioned and explored but I think it took away the emphasis of the character growth that we were supposed to be seeing. Having said that, I don’t think this book would have been as interesting if it hadn’t explored those issues and shone a light on the struggles of the people who suffer from those conditions.

I really loved the pace of this book. It’s quite slow in pace, and really allows you to immerse yourself into the book and the situation. The flow of the book was really good and it never felt like it was too slow. The pace of the book was consistent and very comfortable to read. As with a lot of self-published works, there were some unnecessary details scattered here and there and it could have been edited down a little bit. But I thought the writing was easy to read and not overly purple prose or overly simple.

What I enjoyed the most about Outspoken were the characters. I could really relate to a lot of the things that Penny was feeling. I connected with all of her feelings about not being in control of her own life, because I’ve also had my own period of being forced to take a million extracurriculars as a young teen. I liked all of the moments where she was able to speak her own mind (though there were times when I was a little bit horrified by how rude she was). I also really liked her love interest, Archer. He’s the introverted and broody type that I naturally find myself drawn to. But he was also more complex than a lot of other YA male love interests. It was really refreshing to see his flaws and his darker side, and he still made me swoon. There were a lot of interesting side characters too and they all warmed my heart.

I liked Penny and Archer separately but I liked them even more together. In fact, my favourite scenes in the book were when they were together. They brought out the best in each other and were able to open up and speak honestly to each other, even though they sometimes hid from others around them. I thought they had a really special relationship and really supported each other. I also feel like their relationship developed very naturally – it didn’t feel insta-lovey and there was no dancing around each other. The whole relationship just felt very honest.

I really recommend this book! I love reading and promoting self-published authors (they need love too!) and this is a really impressive self-published contemporary YA novel. If you enjoy reading contemporaries, especially those with great romances and some road trip elements, I think you’ll really like Outspoken.