October has been the busiest month I’ve had since pre-pandemic. It really feels like things are back to “normal” with going places and doing things – safely, of course. New York State requires proof of vaccination for any indoor event, which makes me feel a little safer. And places like Broadway require masks worn at all times inside. Every single weekend this month I’ve been busy! It’s tiring, but I’m enjoying myself before it gets too cold to go out anymore.
I wrote an October TBR post – how did I do? I read 4 books on my TBR – I only had 7 books on my TBR this month, so thats actually not bad at all! I just started Empire of the Vampire, and that’s going to take a WHILE, so that half counts? I started it at least? The graphic novels on my TBR are due back to the library soon so its now or never!
In October, I read 14 books total (which is a new record for me, thanks short audio novellas!) and DNF-ed 1 book. I ended up subscribing to Audible early in the month and have really been enjoying their Included catalog – I’ve found some really great new reads I wouldn’t have otherwise picked up! These novellas were usually around ~5 hours and I did quite a few roadtrips this month, so those books kept me company on long drives.
1. White Smoke – Audiobook – 2.5/5 ★★☆☆☆
Tiffany D. Jackson is an auto-read author for me. She puts out a new book, I will read it. She has proven again and again she’s the queen of plot twists and I was excited to read her for horror novel – and autumn seemed like the perfect time to give this a try.
Unfortunately, this story just missed the mark for me. It wasn’t really scary, to me this was just…weird. I never felt scared and I’m used to Tiffany’s books having some sort of huge mind blowing plot twist. This still has a plot twist, but its very predictable in my opinion.
I still plan to read Tiffany’s next book as I enjoy her writing – her horror novel just wasn’t it for me.
2. Hold Back The Tide – Audiobook – 2/5 ★★☆☆☆
I regret the time I wasted on this book. (I listened out of rage to just finish it.)
IT WAS SO BORING. NOTHING HAPPENED.
And it was predictable. I will say the VERY ending surprised me and thats why I’m giving it 2 stars instead of 1 but. Wow. This was just lacking in plot and character development and overall story. It had potential. But it just didn’t vibe with me.
3. Self Care by the Moon – Audiobook – 3/5 ★★★☆☆
This was included in the Audible Plus catalog for Audible members, so I figured I’d give it a try!
The audiobook is a quick listen which is always nice. This is about just what the title says – practicing self care and setting intentions based on the phases of the moon. I’m not super into astrology or anything but I was curious to give this a try. It’s interesting enough. If I come away learning something, I feel like thats a success. It’s about keeping yourself accountable for your own well being and knowing when you need to take a break and take care of yourself. The author suggests following the phases of the moon to accomplish this.
This was good, nothing wrong with it if you’re looking to learn a little more or find a new way to do self care. Not completely up my alley but I enjoyed it nonetheless!
4. These Hollow Vows – Audiobook – 4/5 ★★★★☆
I loved Brie and her resourcefulness. She cares about her sister first and foremost and will do anything to protect her, even if it harms Brie in the process. She’s passionate and sometimes unpredictable. Brie is morally gray, and thats something I truly love about characters. She will do what she must to protect those she loves.
The pacing of this story was incredibly fast and I was eager to continue reading more. There was never a dull moment and everything felt well calculated.
I went into this not knowing too much and I advise you go in the same way. There is a love triangle, there is some kissing and swooning, and rule #1 of faerie is you can’t trust anyone. We meet a great cast of characters and some very soft fae boys.
5. Priest – Audiobook – 4/5 ★★★★☆
I’m a sucker for the forbidden romance trope, but make it a hot 29-year old Priest who is forbidden to wed & take someone to bed? Oh yeah, I’m sold.
I was worried the religion aspect might turn me off, but I thought it was all well done and well handled and never bothered me in the least.
Sierra Simone never disappoints with her stories and the passion she brings to the characters. This was incredibly hot and I flew through this audiobook – love love LOVE Jacob Morgan’s narration, SO GOOD.
6. Midnight Mass – Audiobook – 3/5 ★★★☆☆
I’m the type of romance reader who doesn’t want to know what happens afterwards – in my mind, they live happily ever after. But rarely is that the case. This tells what happens after Priest.
This was ok, the sex scenes were still incredibly hot, but there was a possessiveness to Tyler that just didn’t sit right with me and it was too intense all the time. It was kinky, there was always a safeword in place, but it just didn’t give me the same feels as Priest. This story also deals with more serious issues and it became really heavy, heavier than I was expecting.
Unless you care about what comes after the happily ever after in Priest, I’d honestly pass on this one. Its short but not all that sweet.
7. The Fell of Dark – Audiobook – 2.5/5 ★★★☆☆
August Pfeiffer literally lives in a vampire town, just outside of the Chicago area. Fulton Heights is a nexus of mystical energy fields and it is known that vampires live in that town and you shouldn’t be out after dark alone. It’s weird to think of a book that knows about and accepts vampires. That also makes it hard to know who to trust.
This book was a lot of fun – I felt it was really typical and really cheesy – and if that’s your thing, you’re going to love this! But I’m particular about my vampire books so unfortunately, I have to say “Its not you book, it’s me.” I can fully see why so many people love this one! It was such a fun YA vampire ride! But it just didn’t vibe completely with me.
It was ok. It wasn’t bad. But it put me into a slump halfway through. I could’ve put it down and not cared how it ended.
8. Bridesmates – Audiobook – 4/5 ★★★★☆
Did I pick this audiobook up purely because Teddy Hamilton narrates it? Yes, yes I did 100%.
This M/M romance is available on Audible and included in your membership and I’m so glad I decided to give this one a try! It’s a short short novella, super quick listen, and I loved it!
I had so much fun with this one! I listened to it on my drive home from a wedding which felt super appropriate. This is a quick one but still felt like it was well developed and I liked both Cooper and Will! There is some quick but steamy romance in this one.
Highly recommend if you’re looking for a short but hot rom-com.
9. Call Me Maybe – Audiobook – 4/5 ★★★★☆
Did I pick it up because of the title “Call Me Maybe” and how I love that pop song? Yes, that is what drew me to this – but again, I’m really happy I took a chance on this book as I really enjoyed it!
There are dual perspectives, we hear from both Vera and Cal. This book was created specifically for Audible in the audiobook format and it shows – the prodcution level of this audiobook is fantastic – I love the sound effects that make it sound like either Vera or Cal are really speaking on a phone, you hear background noise depending where they are (outside, grocery store, their own apartments) which added another level to this audiobook.
This audiobook is just about 6 hours long so it feels enough like a full story, but still goes by extremely quickly! I’m glad I gave this one a chance as it was just what I needed to listen to. I would recommend this one if you’re looking for a cute rom-com that takes place entirely over the phone.
10. The Witch Haven – Audiobook – 4.5/5 ★★★★★
If you’re looking for a historical fiction witchy book set in 1911 New York City that has strong female friendships, look no further – The Witch Haven is here! I fell in love with this book from the very first chapter and I was hooked. It’s almost like….it was magic.
Frances forms an easy friendship with one of her roommates, Lena, and one of the “nurses” (who is actually also a student) who came to first find Frances – Maxine. One of my favorite thing about this book is the friendship and sisterhood amongst the girls. This is the kind of found family troupe I love the most. When you might not have anyone else, but those near you take you in as one of their own. Their bond through magic and being a woman in 1911 New York is stronger than anything else.
I don’t want to give away too much, but this book might be on my favorites of 2021 list, it was such a delight to read and touched upon some important and still relevant issues. I just learned this is scheduled to be a duology – I originally thought it was a standalone and honestly, it can be read as a standalone.
11. Sunset Springs – Audiobook – 2.5/5 ★★☆☆☆
This was a really quick listen. Charlie is forced to move back home after losing his job as an editor, 4 hours outside of New York City, to live with his mom in his childhood hometown. A place where everyone knows everyone. Except Charlie is transgender and gay and Black, and this little town isn’t very accept of anyone who is different.
This one was ok. I feel like it tried to pack too much story into too little time and got repetitive without really telling enough of a story for me to feel complete. The rep was A+, but I would probably skip this one and wouldn’t really recommend it…
12. The Dead and the Dark – Audiobook – DNF @ 76%
It’s never too late to DNF a book you aren’t enjoying!
I was excited to read this spooky book in October but right from the beginning it wasn’t vibing with me. I kept listening to the audiobook while I waited for another library hold to come in, which is why I got so far, but I truly don’t feel anything for these characters or this plot. It doesn’t feel like it has much of a plot at all, honestly. Its a lot of “well tell you when you’re ready” and not a lot of actual TELLING happening.
This is sapphic, and I got past the point where they kiss at least, but I didn’t even feel like the two characters even liked each other very much so…the romance made zero sense to me. I’m clearly in the minority here since I see so many positive reviews, but I found this extremely boring.
13. Three Pianos: A Memoir – Audiobook – 5/5 ★★★★★
Andrew has always told these stories about his life on stage and its amazing to finally see them written on the page – and many of these I didn’t know. The thing is, he isn’t perfect and he shows that. He wasn’t a perfect kid, he didn’t look perfect, he drank and smoke and experimented with drugs, and that’s all ok. He lets who he was truly show through and how that helped shape him into the person he is today from a teenager in Something Corporate, to Jack’s Mannequin, to his adult life in Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.
This is a love letter to the pianos who got him through the tough days. Really, he speaks to his pianos throughout this memoir – and I love that. And to the friends and family who stood by him, and those he parted ways with. Everyone has a role to play in your life, and yours in theirs, sometimes briefly and sometimes for a lifetime.
Even if you don’t know who he is – I think his story is still one worth reading.
14. A Lesson in Vengeance – Audiobook – 3/5 ★★★☆☆
If you like boarding schools set in secluded locations – this is the book for you. Boarding school stories are hit or miss for me, but this one was pretty good. Felicity was away from school for the past year after the death of her best friend. Some people think she killed her friend – her secret girlfriend.
I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. I’m giving it a solid 3 stars because I didn’t hate it but I could have also stopped and put it down at any time without caring how it would end. (The ending was pretty damn good though, so I am glad I finished!) I have a feeling Victoria Lee’s writing just might not be for me, as I wasn’t a fan of their previous novel “The Fever King” either.
15. Sweet Talk – Audiobook – 5/5 ★★★★★
Our protagonist “J.D.” receives a voice memo in the late hours of the night (early morning?) and assumes its a wrong number, but she has the contact in her phone and its none other than Eliot Hoffman, a man she’s been daydreaming about. However, he didn’t realize who he was texting and didn’t save her name correctly in his phone, so he doesn’t know who he’s talking to! It’s a hilarious exchange of these two getting to know each other and Eliot trying to guess who this “J.D.” in his phone is. They’re both insomniacs and end up chatting late into the night since neither of them can sleep.
This is a fast paced loved story told in a short amount of time, but it still feels like a complete story! We learn about J.D’s family, and Eliot’s sister is Vera, the MC from Call Me Maybe – these two stories actually overlap time wise and its really fun to see it happen in real time! As I mentioned above, you can read this without having read Call Me Maybe – this will spoil that story for you, but I don’t think its a big deal if you want to only pick up this one.
Movies: I started off October by seeing Venom in theaters – and was disappointed. It wasn’t awful but I remember LOVING the first one and this just didn’t do it for me. The end credit scene, however, 10/10 SO GOOD SO WORTH IT!!!
I saw Dune on opening night and it was….an experience. I liked it, but also I couldn’t tell you much about it. This was Part One (of a hopefully Two? part? movie?) and only the first half of the book (no, I haven’t read it (yet)). The world building was incredible. The cinematography was stunning – some of the best I think I’ve ever seen, it was just so beautifully filmed. But because there was so much world building, I felt like the plot didn’t move forward all that much for an almost 3 hour movie. I mean. I GET IT. I’m not MAD about it. But I just want MORE ya know? Needless to say, I’ll be picking up the book sometime soon.
Broadway: Broadway is fully reopen and I am back on my bs of seeing all the Broadway shows possible! October 7th I saw the Previews Opening of Freestyle Love Supreme – this is an improv show, so every show is different with a different cast! I saw it back in 2019/2020 before the pandemic and loved it and I’m so happy its back on Broadway for a limited run. (Check out their documentary “We Are Freestyle Love Supreme” on Hulu if you want to know more about it!) They now allow photos/videos at the end of the show, so take a look here if you want to see a snippet of FLS!
Then I had a free weekend, so a friend and I tried for rush tickets for Waitress but that didn’t happen, so we ended up seeing a matinee of Hadestown on October 9th, and then also did rush rickets for Freestyle Love Supreme at 9pm. Busy but very good day! Watch this performance of FLS’s ending here.
I ended up winning lottery tickets to see Freestyle Love Supreme AGAIN on October 18th. Can you tell I love this show? Watch this performance’s ending here!
I won lottery tickets to see Come From Away on Halloween – October 31st! It was my first time seeing this show and its so emotional. It’s also available to watch on Apple TV and I highly recommend it! After grabbing lunch with friends, I decided to try for an evening show as well and lucked out with a last minute ticket to see Six Halloween evening! I saw Six in February 2020, but that was a WHILE ago so I’m so happy to see this fun concert-esque musical again!
Concerts: I went to two concerts this month, seeing the same artist twice – Japanese rock star MIYAVI! I saw him on October 27th at Sony Hall in NYC and again on October 29th at Stat Theatre in Washington, D.C. He’s always a pleasure to watch perform but the best of all is I have so many friends who are also in Jrock, so its nice to reunite with friends from all over!
Brooklyn Book Festival: I attended the annual Brooklyn Book Festival on October 3rd – I love attending this festival every year, its mostly outdoors and a variety of authors come to speak and sign books. Its very relaxing and chill. This year had less guests than usual, but I’m still happy it even took place! Check out my thread on Twitter for more details.
New York Comic Con: I wrote up an entire blog post about my experience if you’re curious! NYCC is one of my favorite events of the year and I’m so happy it could safely take place this year! The con was more spread out than usual, they sold less tickets, and I can safely say it felt a LOT less crowded than in years past. I attended the few author panels that took place but generally it was a very chill con experience. I was able to relax and walk the entire show floor and walk the entire artist alley – something I’ve never done in my years attending NYCC.
I also had a TON of fun in my Harley Quinn Suicide Squad cosplay! I received so many compliments and it made me so happy. I loved seeing all the cosplayers, thats one of my favorite things about cons!
Side note, I’ve started a cosplay instagram if anyone is interested in that, I’d appreciate any follows! (New page, who dis.) https://www.instagram.com/missykittycosplay/