October 2021 Reads

October was easily my best reading month of the year so far! I read eighteen books (a tie with January) and 8,472 pages (according to storygraph). I’ve been trying to take advantage of the last few weeks of my Kindle Unlimited Membership, as well as tackling a couple of books that have been on my TBR pile for a while.


For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing ⭐️⭐️/5

We started the month with a lackluster thriller. I enjoyed Samantha Downing’s book My Lovely Wife, so I was hoping for something similar but wasn’t wowed by this one. This book follows an unhinged teacher at an elite prep school. He’s out here sabotaging students and poisoning his coworkers because he’s mad at rich-people-privilege. I thought the concept had a lot of potential, but I found myself kind of bored and didn’t love all the POV hopping we did throughout the novel.




One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

😭😭😭

Ouch! This book hurt! I love TJR and I’m slowly working through her entire backlist. This novel is one of her earlier “romance” books (although it’s definitely on the heavier side). It follows Emma Blair, whose husband was presumed dead years ago after a helicopter crash. After grieving and building a new life for herself, she is engaged to a new man when her husband is found, alive. (It’s essentially the boring part of Castaway from the woman’s perspective.) Emma has to decide which man she’s going to stay with, her husband from her past or her fiance from her present. It was heartbreaking. I cried. A lot. You know that someone is going to get their heartbroken and no one really did anything to deserve it. It was really sad but good. I would read TJR’s grocery list and thank her for the privilege.



The Sweetest Oblivion by Danielle Lori ⭐️✨/5

🍆

This is a KU mafia romance that has been all over Tik Tok. TBH, I thought it was boring. I wanted more kidnapping, more almost dying, more drama. Instead, we got a lot of our two leads making out in hallways and pretending that there was nothing going on between them. I didn’t have a bad time, but it was a bit of a snooze. However, I have heard the other two books in the series are better, so I might give those a shot.



Bunny by Mona Awad ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨/5

I wish I could tell you what happened in this book, unfortunately, I’m not sure I know. This book came highly recommended and I was warned that it was weird, but I don’t think I realized how weird. It was like if I was reading The Secret History (by Donna Tartt) and then watched a Betsey Johnson fashion show and had a fever dream about the two of them. Did I hate it? No. I thought it was extraordinarily well written, but I feel like I need someone to explain it to me.



The Magic of Found Objects by Maddie Dawson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

I read this for my book club. I really enjoyed Matchmaking for Beginners and I was looking forward to this read. I enjoyed it more than I anticipated. It follows Phronsie, a woman conceived at Woodstock to a hippie mother and farmer father, who’s now an adult living in New York City. When her best friend proposes they marry each other and give up on romance, Phronsie agrees. The story travels through her childhood and present, as she explores the meaning of love and friendship. It was an unexpectedly charming and heartwarming story. I had a good time.



The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨/5

😢😍

I’ve really enjoyed all the books in Helen Hoang’s romance world. This is probably the heaviest of her books and some people have even said they hesitate to call it a romance because of the focus on the main character’s other problems. The book follows Anna a concert violinist, who has recently developed a severe mental block with playing the violin. Her boyfriend says they should take a break to see other people and Anna decides to get on a dating app. Her first date is with Quan. It goes terribly, but Quan is the best and slowly they start to fall in love. Quan is a gem! The second half of the book explores Anna’s struggles as she becomes a primary caretaker for her father after a severe stroke.


I loved Quan and the weight of being a caretaker was beautifully explored in this book, but I just didn’t find it quite as sweet and magical as Hoang’s other books in this series.


The Fine Print by Lauren Asher ⭐️⭐️/5

🚩

This book is about a fake Disneyland. It follows the love story of his quirky and fun woman, Zahra, who wants to work on the creative team for the park, and grumpy Rowan, the grandson of the late-park owner. Rowan has to come up with an idea to make the park better in order to receive his portion of his grandfather’s money. Zahra ends up on his team for the project and they fall in love. I wish I could tell you more, but I literally can’t remember a single thing from this story. I think it was fine?



Block Shot by Kennedy Ryan ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

🚩😢

Another Tik Tok KU romance (you should be sensing a theme here. This one is a sports romance and it follows two sports agents, Jared and Banner. They went to college together and were friends, until one night when something terrible happened between them. They never spoke again, but Jared decides he’s going to win Banner back (years later) because he knows she’s the one for him. I don’t remember much from this one either, but it was a good time.


The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern ⭐️⭐️✨/5

Y’all I hated the Night Circus way back in like 2016, but I was ready to give Erin Morgenstern another chance. This book sounded so promising with its promises of magic libraries and secret societies, but it wasn’t for me. I can objectively see that this book would be people’s favorite. It’s beautifully told and I adored parts of it, but not for me. It largely takes place in this fairytale-esque reality where there is not really any sense of logic and I didn’t love it.



Glint by Raven Kennedy ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

😍

Way back in June I read Glid (the first book in this series) and I really didn’t like it, but I kept seeing this series on Tik Tok and everyone swore the later books in the series are so good. This book was significantly better than the first book. This book follows Auren, the gold girl, as she travels with the army she was captured by at the end of the first book. She’s a prisoner, but everyone is really nice to her and is mostly just trying to convince her that Midas is an asshole and she just has Stockholm’s syndrome. Honestly, while I understand we needed some of the first book for world-building purposes, it seems like you could have cut the whole part with the snow pirates and just smushed it into the beginning of this book. We also get to hang out with Commander Rip, who is a classic fantasy romance love interest. He’s great.


Ruthless Creatures by J.T. Geissinger ⭐️⭐️/5

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When I say I want a mafia romance, this is what I’m talking about. Nat is an art teacher living in Tahoe. Her fiance vanished on her wedding day five years ago, and she’s still coping with that loss. When Kage moves in next door, she’s immediately enamored with him. Turns out he’s a high-ranking member of the Russian mob and was sent to kill her. Instead, he falls in love with her. Is this book fine literature? No. Did I have a good time? Yes.



Carnal Urges by J.T. Geissinger ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

🍆

This book takes place immediately after Ruthless Creatures and follows Sloane, who is kidnapped by the head of the Irish mob, Declan. Sloane is Nat’s best friend from the first book and she is over the top, but I loved her. Sloane is oddly pretty cool with being kidnapped and quickly makes friends with her kidnappers and then falls for Declan. This book is even more ridiculous than Ruthless Creatures, but I loved it anyway.



Gleam by Raven Kennedy ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨/5

😍

Then I read the third book in the Plated Prisoner series. Auren is reunited with Midas, but she’s much less willing to go along with his schemes after her time with Commander Rip. We learn more about her powers and we watch as her relationship with Rip grows. It was really fun! I’m glad I stuck with it after the first book. I will be reading the fourth book when it comes out next year!



Finlay Donavon is Killing It by Elle Cosimano ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Finlay Donavon, struggling novelist and recently divorced mother, is at a meeting at Panera when she accidentally accepts a job as a hitman. The rest of the book follows her and her babysitter’s adventures in crime. It was such a fun time and I LOVE the cover.








The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

😍💖🍆😢

Now we’re into the Mariana Zapata corner of my reads for the month. I’ve had this book in my Kindle Unlimited library for months. I’ve heard it recommended dozens of times, but it never sounded appealing. It’s a slow-burn football romance. I don’t like football and I thought slow-burn equaled boring. No. This book was everything I could ever want in a romance. It follows Vanessa and Aiden. Aiden is a vegan NFL football player, who is a little grumpy and rarely speaks. Vanessa is his assistant. When Vanessa quits to pursue her graphic design business, Aiden asks if she will marry him, so he can get his green card. She doesn’t really like Aiden (he’s not very nice) but agrees because he is going to pay off her student loans and buy her a house. What follows is hundreds of pages of the sweetest scenes between these two as they both realize they have feelings for the other. I’m a sucker for that elevator scene and the marathon. 😍 It was such a delight! I loved every minute of it.



From Luktov with Love by Mariana Zapata ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

😍💖🍆😢

I read The Wall of Winnipeg in a day and immediately jumped into another highly recommended Mariana book, From Lukov with Love. This book follows Jasmine and Ivan, two professional figure skaters who have hated each other for years. They get paired up after they both lose their partners and they have to learn to work together. It was so fantastic. I adored Ivan. Jasmine was such a compelling lead. I may have even liked this one slightly better than Winni. Jasmine gets sick and Ivan has to take care of her and I died. When she has that confrontation with her dad in the restaurant and he comforts her. Kill me now. So good!



All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨/5

😍💖🍆😭

While this didn’t quite have the same magic as the first two I read, I still completely adored this book. It follows Aurora, who has recently moved back to her hometown in Colorado, after a divorce. She moves into the garage apartment of a grumpy dad, Rhodes. Rhodes is so grumpy at the beginning and I wasn’t sure how we were going to fall for him, but boy did I. Rhodes has a teen son, Amos, with whom Aurora develops a friendship throughout the novel. I loved this book. It was so sweet and cozy. I’m obsessed with the hugs in Mariana Zapata novels and this book has some of the best ones.


Wait for It by Mariana Zapata ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨/5

😍💖🍆😢

This book follows Diana, Vanessa’s best friend from Winni, and her love story with Dallas. Diana has become the single parent to her two nephews after her brother died and has recently moved across the street from Dallas. Dallas seems to hate Diana initially but warms up to her pretty quickly after her nephew, Josh joins the baseball team Dallas coaches. I loved the boys. I loved Diana. Dallas is a gem and a half. No surprise here, I loved this book.



Lingus by Mariana Zapata ⭐️⭐️/5

🍆

After four smashing successes, I decided I was going to read Mariana’s entire backlist. I started with her first book Lingus and I did not like it. I contemplated DNFing at the 50% mark, but went ahead and finished. It didn’t have the sweet and cozy feel of her other books and honestly, I missed her signature grumpy male lead. This book follows Tristian and Kat, who meet at a porn convention because Tristan is a porn star. They become fast friends and then it turns into something more. This book felt very early 2000s and I hated the humor. Lots of dick, fart, and poop jokes. Despite the fact, Tristian was a total sweetie, it just wasn’t the book for me.


😢 = I shed a tear

😭 = I ugly cried

🍆 = Steamy

💎 = A gem

💖 = Warmed my heart

👻 = Scary!

🤢= Gross

😍= Swoon-worthy love-story

🚩= Red Flag!