Monthly Wrap-ups

My October Reads

Here’s a wrap-up of the books I read in October. Some of these books were discovery while others were a real disappointment. The first part of this post is the list of all the books with the links to the complete reviews and it’s followed by quick reviews of them. Hope you’ll enjoy!

Below are all the reviews of my readings for October:

  1. The Vanishing Stairs by Maureen Johnson
  2. Mrs England by Stacey Hall
  3. The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
  4. The Bone Witch by Rin Chupelco
  5. The Library of the Dead by Tendai Huchu
  6. Slade House by David Mitchell
  7. The Witchling’s Girl by Helena Coggan

The Vanishing Stairs by Maureen Johnson

Themes: YA mysery, murder mystery, school/academia

My rating: 5/5

Synopsis: as usual, no synopsis since it’s a sequel 😉

Quick review: I just loved this sequel. The Ellingham case is becoming the main focus of the book (finally) and so is more and more intriguing. I have the third volume and am so excited to begin it!

Mrs England by Stacey Hall

Themes: historical fiction, gothic, mystery/thriller

My rating: 3/5


Ruby May is starting her work at Hardcastle House as the nurse of Charles and Lilian England’s children. But she soon realises that the place is less beautiful than it first seems, with Mrs England behaving strangely and not paying much attention to her children. Ruby will have to overcome her past in order to discover the mystery surrounding the family and avoid her past to become true again.

Quick review: I’m sorry I didn’t like this book more. It was way too slow for my taste even if I’m glad I didn’t DNF it because of the last hundred pages. Positive point: the atmosphere is great!

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

Themes: historical fiction, adult fantasy, witches, feminism

My rating: 4/5


In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

Quick review: This book was very interesting since it mixes witches and feminism. Witchcraft becomes just one of the many excuses to burn women and that’s sadly what really happened in some countries. The plot and characters are well constructed and developed, and succeed in making you forget you’re reading a fantasy tackling more serious issues than usual.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Themes: high fantasy, witches, YA fantasy

My Rating: 4/5


When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother, Fox, from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha—one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

Quick review: One of the books I read for Halloween and I’m not disappointed by it! Even if it’s not spooky I loved finding a book that was more complex than usual. The parallel between the present of the plot and the future of the narration just kept me reading and I can’t wait to read more about Tea and learn the reasons behind her situation.

The Library of the Dead by T.L. Huchu

Themes: adult fantasy, mystery, ghosts, horror, dystopia

My rating: 3,5/5


When a child goes missing in Edinburgh’s darkest streets, young Ropa investigates. She’ll need to call on Zimbabwean magic as well as her Scottish pragmatism to hunt down clues. But as shadows lengthen, will the hunter become the hunted?

When ghosts talk, she will listen…

Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker. Now she speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to the living. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children–leaving them husks, empty of joy and life. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honor-bound to investigate. But what she learns will change her world.

She’ll dice with death (not part of her life plan…), discovering an occult library and a taste for hidden magic. She’ll also experience dark times. For Edinburgh hides a wealth of secrets, and Ropa’s gonna hunt them all down. 

Quick review: I enjoyed reading this book (even if the mystery was disappointing), and even more since it was the week of Halloween and it was creepier than I thought 😀

Slade House by David Mitchell

Themes: horror, fiction, fantasy, mystery

My rating: 3,5/5


Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you’ll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t. Every nine years, the house’s residents — an odd brother and sister — extend a unique invitation to someone who’s different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House? For those who find out, it’s already too late…

Spanning five decades, from the last days of the 1970s to the present, leaping genres, and barreling toward an astonishing conclusion, this intricately woven novel will pull you into a reality-warping new vision of the haunted house story—as only David Mitchell could imagine it.

Quick review: A book perfect for Halloween, with a haunted house and people disappearing. Well written and spooky enough to make me read it during daylight 😉

The Witchling’s Girl by Helena Coggan

Themes: YA fantasy, paranormal, witches, LGBT

My rating: 4/5


In a quiet street far from the river, with an ancient tree growing through its walls and floors, is the House of the Dead. There lives the witchling: healer, midwife and conduit between the world of the living and the world below. A witchling must give up her family and friends and spend her life alone, tending to the sick and carrying the dead down dark tunnels to the underworld.

Haley was born with the gift of death-magic, and at the age of seven her mother abandons her to the witchling to be raised as her successor. But as Haley grows older and learns her craft – as invading armies pass through her town, people are born and die on her floor, and loyalties shift and dissolve around her – she finds it harder and harder to keep her vows and be the perfect and impassive healer.

But if she can’t, it will be her downfall – and that of everyone she’s not supposed to love . . . 

Quick review: I enjoyed this book which has an impressive worldbuilding for a standalone. I would recommend it for more mature YA readers since some heavy themes are addressed.

Note: Most synopsis are taken from Goodreads.

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