October was a great reading month for me, and I don’t mean in numbers. I picked up some great books in the month which is why I’m doing a wrap-up of books this time instead of a wrap-up with sections on other things too.
Going into October, I had only one goal—to read at least one chapter a day. The kind of books or the format did not matter. Some days, I read more. But most days, I read only a chapter or two. I ended up finishing 11 books and am in the middle of 4 books. And I have quite a bit to say about them.
three swedish mountain men by lily gold
- 1 three swedish mountain men by lily gold
- 2 born in secret by susan kearney
- 3 in a jam by kate canterbary
- 4 always only you by chloe liese
- 5 girl in white cotton by avni doshi
- 6 deeper by rilzy adams
- 7 my mechanical romance by alexene ferol follmuth
- 8 tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow by gabrielle zevin
- 9 conversations on love by natasha lunn
- 10 building a second brain by tiago forte
- 11 the ex talk by rachel lynn solomon
I read the first 3 books in the series and was not impressed with them but I still picked up this one hoping that it’ll be good. It wasn’t. Honestly, the entire series is a bunch of similar books. All the characters fit a certain trope, especially the men. This book was even worse because of the damsel-in-distress trope and the other characters were basically caricatures of tropes with barely any depth. There was one different aspect of their history but that’s it.
One of my main complaints about this entire series is the lack of chemistry between the characters. These people are attracted to each other right from the start and quickly get into a physical relationship with barely any tension or waiting. They meet, they bone, they apparently fall in love, there’s a predictable third-act breakup, and then the men apologize and they get back together. (Why is it always the men apologizing??) I never felt like the characters were meant for each other.
If you want a light and predictable read where your brain has to do nothing, this is great. It is complete fluff. But if you want a story and characters with depth and substance, this is not it. Especially if you’re reading the entire series. I suggest reading one of the books and moving on.
born in secret by susan kearney
This was a very random read for me. I noticed that someone searched for ”books like born in secret” and reached my list of best adult romance books and was curious about the book. I read it out of curiosity, mainly.
This was a weird and disappointing book. It was a romance that tried its hand at mystery with a thriller kick. None of it was good enough. The characters had a little bit of chemistry but it wasn’t fleshed out. The man had a couple of bonding scenes with the kid but it wasn’t enough. The couple was randomly running away and breaking into places. And suddenly they would be hanging out with the family and having a picnic. The transitions weren’t good and things were left unresolved at times.
I finished the book pretty quickly and wondered why I read it. There was not even one aspect that I actually liked. But hey, maybe it’s simply not my book. I was happy that the person came to my post, though. If they liked this book then they would love my recommendations
in a jam by kate canterbary
After two unimpressive reads, this was a TREAT. Kate Canterbary does not disappoint.
This book does use two common tropes—city girl moves to the suburbs and inheritance with a marriage clause—but it did not feel like cliché or overdone. The characters were refreshing—especially the main character Shay. Her history, mixed feelings, and hangups were well-developed. We got a little less about Noah but what we did get was great.
The story is a second chance, slow-burn romance with a fake marriage plot thrown in. Yes, it is a cliché trope combination but it still felt new. The characters and the setting made all the difference.
Especially Noah’s niece, whom he adopted. Giselle made EVERYTHING better. She’s a stubborn, mouthy, toddler who likes being a pirate and has the energy of 20 people. I absolutely loved her.
If you want a fluffy romance book that will make you swoon and laugh, pick this one.
always only you by chloe liese
I picked up this book because I’ve been seeing talk about the author quite a bit in the book community and I was curious. The synopsis sounded a bit generic—sports setting and grumpy x sunshine—but I gave it shot.
The book surprised me. It was much more than I expected. Sure, the synopsis covered most of the main parts but the small details of the story were the best parts. The slow-burn romance worked really well with the characters’ individual story arcs and contributed to a solid bond between them.
I really liked the disability and autism representation. I can’t speak for the realness of them but I appreciated it because it felt normalizing rather than explanatory. Generally, authors write small explanations such that the reader becomes aware of the nuances but here, Liese SHOWED them.
The grumpy and sunshine tropes felt a tad bit overdone but the fact that the woman was the grump softened it. I could have done with less of the ”I’m grumpy and can’t understand his sunshine” sentences, though.
All-in-all, a solid romance book. I will definitely try more books from the author.
girl in white cotton by avni doshi
I was gifted this book (also known as Burnt Sugar) last year (or the year before that?) and it was simply waiting on my shelf until now. I decided that I should slowly get through the books on my shelf so I picked this up.
Right from the start, this book was weird. And I mean WEIRD. The story kept shifting between the current day and random times in the main character’s past. The point of the book was to show the fraught (and downright traumatising) relationship between the main character and her mother. In the current day timeline, the mother is going mad but I felt like she was messed up from way before as well. But the story and writing sometimes question whether the circumstances made the mother make the decisions that she did.
The book touches on some problematic things and points out the weirdest things in EVERY SINGLE SITUATION. At times, it felt like the author made characters make the most messed up choices just to convolute the book further.
By the end of the book, I felt like I was losing my mind.
Apparently expecting high from a book that was shortlisted for a prize was too much. I think I won’t try the Booker prize books again, at least not anytime soon.
deeper by rilzy adams
Go Deep by Rilzy Adams is one of the best romance books I’ve read so when I learned that there’s a short novella covering their wedding, I HAD to read it. And damn, it was so good.
This novella is only 37 pages and is filled with fluff. I read it very quickly and it was like taking a serotonin shot. It made me happy, made me swoon, and also got me to tear up towards the end. These characters <3
If you haven’t read Go Deep and Deeper, you definitely have to pick them up! They’re available on Kindle Unlimited and are honestly such good romance books. They will definitely perk up your mood.
After the disaster read that was Girl in White Cotton, this was what I needed to make me like reading again.
my mechanical romance by alexene ferol follmuth
Firstly, I did not know that the author is Olivie Blake who wrote The Atlas Six. I understand the need for two different names, though. They are writing in different genres and even age categories. The books are very different, too.
My Mechanical Romance is about Bel, a high school senior who has shifted to a new school. The new school is very different from her old one because this one is ruled by the nerds and studying and future plans are a Serious Thing™ here. Without meaning to, she showcases her talent for engineering and gets pushed into the robotics team.
She soon learns that engineering could be something she’s good at but also that she is not easily welcomed since she’s a girl. The book is about taking up space, believing in oneself, and casual sexism in engineering right from high school.
It has been a while since I liked a young adult book but I really liked this one. It was easy to read, easy to like because of the flawed characters (especially the main character), and relatable (for me). Not gonna lie, the existential crisis about future plans that Bel had reminded me of my own and made me feel glad that I’m done with those years, lol.
Amidst all the above, it also had a cute teenage romance. The romance was pure fluff at times and I ate! it! up! Bel and Teo are very cute.
Overall, great read. I finished it in a day.
tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow by gabrielle zevin
I first heard of this book through Alexandria Ang on Instagram. She raved about it over a few posts and they persuaded me to add the post to my TBR. After that, I saw a few more people praise it as well. I had a good feeling. about it so I planned to get the paperback and then read it. But when I saw that the book is available on Kindle Unlimited, I immediately got it and read it next.
It is hard to describe the book in one or two lines because it is about so many things. It is about gaming, the gaming industry, creating something together, going through life together, friendship, dealing with disabilities, and more. It is about life.
I devoured the book. It was engrossing, captivating, interesting, emotional, and much more. I highlighted way too many parts of the book. Several quotes stood out to me for various reasons.
All I can say is: read this book. You will love it. This is especially for people who love stories that take place over several tears and showcase platonic relationships with a heavy focus on character arcs.
conversations on love by natasha lunn
I’ve seen quotes from this book and praise for this book for a long time. After seeing yet another annotation from this book, I decided that I had to read it. I needed a busy to read with for motivation and thankfully, Sai volunteered. (Although he has not yet finished the book, I think. I zoomed ahead and finished it.)
Conversations on Love started out promising. The introduction was relatable and I heated up to read some good discussions about love and its different facets. It turned out to be disappointing pretty quickly and didn’t redeem itself.
I found the chapters longer than necessary, filled with obvious statements, and not delving deep into topics. I was especially unimpressed with the interview questions, I found them to be simple and not very original. The author tended to go off on tangents as well, which wasn’t fun to read.
By the time I reached the 75% mark, I was ready for the book to end. I almost skim-read the rest of the book. The only chapter I truly liked was the one about friendships but even that wasn’t great. There is more about friendships in some fictional books (A Little Life and Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, for example).
Sure, the book has some great quotes that even I would share. But it wasn’t good overall. I expect more substance and depth from books, especially non-fiction books like this that delve into a concept.
building a second brain by tiago forte
After reading Show Your Work, I’ve been wanting to read more books targeting creative folks and ones that help us be more creative and better at life. This was the top book on my radar so when I found it in the bookstore, I immediately nabbed it.
The book turned out to be as good as I wanted it to be. It is totally deserving of the hype that it gets.
The problem that the book solved almost exactly matched my problem—dealing with information overload, finding a process to capture ideas and information, and organising my information. I was hooked right from the first page.
The book is about organization and applies to just about anybody but I specifically picked out the parts that I related to (as a creative and someone who works in a corporation). As with any self-help book, we have to pick and choose what applies to us and I did the same here.
I tried to read the book slowly and apply what it suggested during the month. I set up Apple Notes and have slowly been using it. I could almost immediately see a difference because writing down ideas spurs me to take action on them.
Although notetaking hasn’t become a habit yet, I am slowly working on it and hopefully, it will create a significant improvement over time.
the ex talk by rachel lynn solomon
When this book was released, it was HYPED. Most readers loved it and it was praised to be a refreshing rom-com. When I saw the book available in my bookstore, I quickly nabbed it and was excited about it.
Unfortunately, the book did not impress me. The only interesting or different aspect of the book was the radio station setting and the fake breakup plot. We generally see fake dating but it was fun to see a fake breakup plot bringing the main characters together. Their banter was especially fun to read. The radio station setting was nice too since it’s something we generally don’t see in books.
Other than those two, the plot felt recycled. It read like any other popular romance book with the tall-guy-tiny-girl trope and the grumpy-and-sunshine pairing. Aside from the initial banter, I could see nothing in their relationship. I couldn’t have cared less about their relationship progressing.
I also felt like the characters weren’t as developed. Dominic was bearable but did include some cliched aspects. Shay’s character was the worst. I simply could not care for her when she hated Dominic for almost no reason. If there is going to be a dislike-to-lovers plot, there needs to be a proper reason for the dislike! Reading from her point of view got pretty annoying at times too.
One smaller plot point of the book (because of the radio talk show) was the different relationships in life and how romantic relationships aren’t the endgame. The characters spoke about it but there wasn’t much done about it! And there wasn’t even enough talk about it! As someone who firmly believes in platonic relationships being as important as romantic ones, I did not like the half-hearted addition of it.
Overall, it was meh. I would not recommend it considering there are better books available.