Recent Reads, October 2023

I am still struggling with time management and balance right now – trying to squeeze in reading where I can, but also accept that this is a busy time of year with work, the blog, and having a social life, too. So I’m reading a little more slowly than my usual, but still trying to make time for it where I can. This means I haven’t managed to read The Woman in Me yet but it is on my list! Here is everything that I did read in October.

The Pumpkin Spice Café by Laurie Gilmore

This was a cozy, sweet read that is inspired by Gilmore Girls and Stars Hollow. Jeanie is escaping a fast-paced life in the city to take over a cafe in a small town from her aunt, who has retired. Almost as soon as she gets there, she meets Logan, who normally tries to stay out of the town’s gossip and activities… but once Jeanie arrives, he just can’t seem to stay away like he normally does. It’s definitely a lighter read, nothing too serious, but it has a fun cast of characters in the townspeople. If you’re looking for a cozy, feel-good romance, and especially if you’re a Gilmore Girls fan, I think you’d enjoy this.

The September House by Carissa Orlando

(CW: abuse) This was a thriller and horror story but also kind of… lighthearted? It’s a combination that might sound kind of odd, but I actually really enjoyed it. Margaret and her husband, Hal, bought the (seemingly) house of their dreams… only to find out that it’s haunted. Like, every September, the walls drip blood kind of haunted. Hal wants to leave immediately, but Margaret wants to stay and basically find a way to live with the ghosts. A friend compared the ghosts to the TV show Ghost, and that feels extremely accurate. But then Hal disappears, and things keep getting stranger. I loved that I was never quiet sure what was real and what wasn’t while I was reading! This was a good not-too-scary thriller.

You, Again by Kate Goldbeck

I loved this loosely inspired by When Harry Met Sally take on enemies to friends to lovers. The story takes place over different years of the characters’ lives, but when the story starts, Ari is a comedian taking odd jobs to survive life in New York City, and casually sleeping with her roommate, only to find out her roommate is also dating and sleeping with Josh, a man Ari had an unfriendly encounter with during one of her many odd jobs handing out pamphlets. Over the ensuing years, Ari and Josh seem to keep running into each other, and accidentally become friends… with a very blurred dynamic. I loved seeing their relationship develop over the years, and also loved the pop culture references throughout the book.

Bunny by Mona Awad

THIS BOOK. I read this very early in October and I’m still thinking about it, and still will be thinking about it for a while longer. It is one of those books where you’re never really sure if what you’re reading is actually happening, or if it’s a dream, or in someone’s imagination, or something else entirely. Samantha is a student at a highly selective MFA program, but doesn’t feel like she fits in with the rest of the students – a group of women that she calls Bunny, based on the pet name they call each other. She has one friend outside the program, Ava, who she spends all her time with. But then she gets an invite to one of the Bunnies infamous “Smut Salons,” decides to go, and then finds strange things keep happening. The more time she spends with the Bunnies, the more Samantha seems to be losing touch with herself and her previous life. This book is truly strange but in the best possible way.

The Christmas Orphans Club by Becca Freeman

Becca Freeman was one of my original ACOTAR influencers, so of course I knew I wanted to read her first book! I really loved this story of found friendship. Hannah found Finn her first year at college, when both had nowhere to go for the holidays and were some of the only people at college. Since then, the two have been best friends, and have spent the holidays together each year. Two other friends joined their group and their holiday tradition, and Hannah felt like she had the found family she always wanted. But her world is thrown into a tailspin when Finn tells her he’s moving across the country, and her boyfriend is also questioning where he really fits in Hannah’s life. I loved how real the story felt – the grappling with friendships and partners as you grow up, and try to figure out how to grow without losing your history that has made you who you are. I know Christmas is in the title, but this is perfect to read anytime during the fall / winter season.

Valley of Shadows by Rudy Ruiz

(CW: rape, gore) This was such an incredible book, and perfect to read in October, too. Solitario lives alone (as his name suggests) after losing everything in a little town in Texas (that used to be part of Mexico, before the borders were moved). He’s not exactly alone alone, as he can see, and talk to, ghosts on his property. But he’s drawn back into the life of his community after they ask for his help solving a series of more and more disturbing murders. There are Mexican-American tensions, tensions with the indigenous people who live on the land.. and a little bit of romantic tension, too. The book really kept me guessing, but was also beautiful in it’s own way, even amidst the somewhat gory descriptions. Magical realism is one of my favorite genres, and this one didn’t disappoint.

Shop the books:

Leave a Reply