Welcome to a new post in the Monthly Highlights series, in which I talk about the books I read this month, what happened, and some book-related news.
What I Read
So, this month I ended up reading 7 books:
- 4 new novels, of which 2 were ARCs and one I DNFed 75% in;
- 2 novellas
- 1 reread of a novel.
I would have read more, but I got sick at the end of the month and didn’t manage. Anyway, this wasn’t the best reading month, not because of quantity (I haven’t been reading much in general) but because of quality; I rated three books two stars, which is the most two stars I’ve found in a month this year.
As usual, let’s talk about what I liked:
↬ The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh is a historical paranormal romance set in New Orleans in 1872.
- this was… unexpected
- I had only seen bad reviews before going into the book, and then I loved it and disagreed with every single thing that has been said about this book (apart from it being slow and dramatic, which it is)
- can we stop comparing this to Twilight just because it has vampires in it
- gorgeous, decadent atmosphere; the kind of writing that needs to be savored
- underground paranormal society composed mostly of marginalized people! I would die for Odette, the mysterious magical lesbian
- I also really really liked our main character, that mess named named Celine, and her character arc meant so much to me
- about power, desire, and grappling with self-loathing brought by a strict religious (Catholic) upbringing. Relatable content!
- when I say that this is dramatic I mean it. One of the characters even has a pet snake
↬ Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon is a new adult f/f romance novella following two Black women who meet at a strip club, in which one of the two works.
- this was wonderful and I’m always here for well-written f/f sex scenes
- positive sex worker representation! And really diverse in other ways too, as one of the main character is a suicide attempt survivor and has ADHD
- about learning to stand up for yourself and the people you love
- I’ve tried other books by this author before and they didn’t work for me but this one was everything
- novellas really are the best format for romance
Life (Plant) Update
I have new plant friends!
(yes, I have since repotted them, as these pots were clearly too small)
I didn’t know what they were when I got them and neither did the person I got them from, so I tried to identify them through internet searching, and this is what I got (left to right):
- Fenestraria rhopalophylla, which according to the internet is known in English as “babies’ toes“; of this one I’m pretty sure about.
- some Aloe hybrid, maybe Aloe cultivar “peppermint”, I’m not completely sure – anyway, a plant in the Aloe genus
- Some other species in the Aloe genus. I’m going with “maybe Aloe aculeata“, but it could also be an Aloe ferox or Aloe marlothii (or: a hybrid involving these species); it’s very difficult to tell when it’s so young.
So! A Fenestraria and two Aloe. I hope I’m able to keep them alive.
October really is cover reveal month! So many gorgeous book cover got released that I won’t even be able to talk about all of them as I usually do, but I couldn’t exclude that many either because they’re all gorgeous:
Favorite Covers of the Month
The Damned by Renée Ahdieh – I finished The Beautiful just a few weeks ago and I already can’t wait to see what happens next, especially after this very eerie cover that doesn’t mirror the “this is exactly Twilight” misleading style of the first one, was revealed. I love it and I can’t stop looking at it.
Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena – the other gorgeous cover that was revealed this month. I haven’t read anything by this author yet, but I need to try this YA fantasy inspired by medieval India. Also, those who think people on the cover don’t work are just wrong.
Other Beautiful Covers
The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth – no cover portrays the gay atmospheric summer romance aesthetic as much as this one does and I love it so much. Also isn’t the premise just amazing
Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar – illustrated covers should be more common in YA, and if someone asks why, just show them this cover. Not only it’s pretty, it also tells you “YA fantasy involving astronomy and inspired by Hindu mythology” in a moment.
The Unconquered City by K.A. Doore – the third and final book in this series about queer assassins is almost here and it’s so pretty. How did this series somehow get all the best adult fantasy covers.
Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee – another beautiful Charlie Bowater cover! This YA fantasy novel should be inspired by Hmong shamanism and it’s being advertised as “for fans of Naomi Novik”? (Am I hearing… creepy forests? I’m so here for this.)
Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles – so atmospheric! I’ve been anticipating this since its announcement because it sounded like it would be (I mean, Phantom of the Opera x Moulin Rouge) and the cover didn’t disappoint.
The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke – queer witches! I don’t know anything else about this and I’m not sure I’ll read it until I hear more, but the cover’s aesthetic is everything to me.
The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinka – this cover isn’t the most remarkable thing I’ve ever seen, but it has a quiet beauty to it and apparently it’s an f/f villain romance?? I need it now
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender – …visibly trans black boy on the cover. On a beautiful illustrated cover. Sometimes I feel hopeless about publishing, and then I remember that just two years ago, this would never have happened.
This Coven Won’t Break by Isabel Sterling – I like this one more than the first book’s! I should really get around to reading These Witches Don’t Burn, by the way.
What are your favorite covers revealed this month? Have you read anything good in October?