Books, Real Life

October Wrap-up: Spooky depressive once-in-a-blue-moon extravaganza

Welp. Election Day is upon us and I’m trying to distract myself.

October wrap-up time.

I put too much pressure on October to be the best month ever.


There are MORE than a few reasons for this:

  • I’ve been having issues with unemployment since May. In short, I’m still waiting on AT LEAST $6000 of unpaid pandemic assistance. Despite numerous emails and phone calls, the problems are ongoing.
  • I took another break from OkCupid after being ghosted. Even though I know this happens to people fairly often, it really bummed me out.
  • My grandpa had a massive stroke that led to both him and my grandma moving into assisted living. This transition has been really hard on my whole family.
  • We are putting my dog down this week. (I say “we,” meaning my parents and their vet.) I got to see Tie for the last time this weekend. She’s been in our lives for twelve years. I can’t comprehend life without her.
  • I think I worked mandatory overtime at some point? It sucked. I ordered so much pizza that week.
  • Cops keep killing unarmed civilians – the most recent death I know of was Kevin Peterson Jr. of Vancouver, WA.
  • This isn’t so much a bad thing, though it is a big thing: I might be autistic? While getting confirmation would explain a LOT, it’s also a pretty huge identity shift if true.


I thought I was going to do NaNo but you know what? I’d much rather watch horror movies.

Let’s talk about last month’s reading stats.

October Stats

In October, I completed a total of 11 books.

Of the books I read,

  • 73% were fiction
  • 27% were non-fiction
  • 82% were new books
  • 18% were rereads
  • 45% were Young Adult
  • 55% were Adult

My average rating for the month was 3.75.

Reading-wise, this means I KIND OF enjoyed myself.

For my rating breakdown:

  • 1-star reads: 1 book
  • 3-star reads: 3 books
  • 3.5-star reads: 3 books
  • 4-star reads: 2 books
  • 4.5-star reads: 2 books

The genre breakdown this month is pretty clear-cut, for which I am grateful.

This is the chart of a well-rounded individual.

I made a very long and unattainable spooky TBR last month.

Of the 16 books on that list, I finished 7 and started an additional 2.

The list got even longer during the month – I’ll be reading spooky books well into 2021.

For notable books this month, I’m going to focus on books that were on my October TBR.

Notable Spooky Stories

The Waste of Time

I’m tempted to go back and rate The Return at least 1.5 stars.

The Return by Rachel Harrison: Her friend disappeared. A stranger came back.

Was it really so bad that I had to give it the lowest possible Goodreads rating?

I might have been kinder if so many sections in this book hadn’t felt utterly pointless.

The book was only 300 pages and spent at least 60 pages poking fun at the tacky hotel.

If you’re not going to use your setting to either contrast the horrific events or amp up the creep factor, then writing about it is wasting the reader’s time.

I hoped the ending would turn things around.

(Spoilers ahead)

Though the word was never used, it sounded like Julie turned into a wendigo?

Wendigos are my favorite cryptid and I felt not a drop of horror.


The Sorta Scaries

The Scapegracers was all over the place and not strictly scary.

The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke: Party hard. Hex harder.

I liked some of the friendship moments, LOVED Mr. Scratch, and thought the sequel set-up was well done.

I can see why so many people loved this book.

Burn Our Bodies Down was an EXPERIENCE.

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

The undercurrent of emotional abuse really bothered me – I had a rough time.

As far as horror preferences go, Rory Power’s books have SO MUCH GORE. (The secret word is…blood corn.)

I was able to stomach this story more easily than Wilder Girls, but I still struggled!

I think Power’s books aren’t for me.

Foul is Fair tried to be intersectional.

Foul is Fair: A Novel by Hannah Capin

I don’t know that it should be applauded for inclusions that were mostly aesthetic.

Capin takes her books to really dark places, but for some reason I’m not convinced.

Something about her writing stops me from fully engaging.

I realize this book is a revenge fantasy and thus a little suspension of disbelief is required.

I think this book either needed to be more grounded or go whole hog and embrace the dreamy unreality.

As it is, the story is stuck in a liminal place that feels superficial and fake.

ALL THAT BEING SAID, I appreciate that the heroine was allowed to be vengeful and wasn’t punished for it.

The Creeps

I didn’t rate Cemetery Boys five stars and for this I will be punished.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

The resolution of the central mystery really bothered me. I felt like it undercut the themes of acceptance and support.

HOWEVER…I loved the romance so much, the family relationships were lovingly and realistically conveyed, and the characters were so strong.

And the jokes?? THE BEST JOKES. There are lines from this book that I can’t stop quoting. (“NO LIME! NO LIME! NOE LIME!”)

I LOVE THE ROMANCE SO MUCH THAT I’M GOING TO MENTION IT TWICE. I was really moved by imperfect angry boi Julian Diaz being such an amazing trans ally. WHAT A GOOD PERSON.

This book is heartwarming and fun AND SPOOKY. THERE’S SOME SPOOKY, SCARY STUFF IN HERE.

The climax of Mexican Gothic kind of killed the book for me.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

All the buildup and creeping dread in the first 2/3 were phenomenal.

The climax tries to go action-adventure (similar to episode 4 of Lovecraft Country) and doesn’t quite get there.

It also ends with love, which…if you’ve read the book, you might know why I rolled my eyes.

That’s all the bad stuff. The good stuff: HOLY SHIT THIS BOOK IS CREEPY.


The book also went a direction I was NOT expecting. I thought it used a really interesting twist that managed to convey the evils of imperialism in the grossest way possible.

There’s a lot to like about this book and it is truly perfect for October.

The Growing Terrors

Did you all know that I’m claustrophobic?

I’m also useless in survival situations. In fact, survival stories are my least favorite type of stories.

I still ended up buying and reading The Luminous Dead because a pretty girl told me to.

The Luminous Dead: A Novel by Caitlin Starling: The cave will swallow them whole

I was prepped for sadism and creepy cave monsters.

I…sort of got that?

The Luminous Dead was very different from what I expected, but in a good way.

I last-minute ordered Bunny by Mona Awad after eyeing it for two years and AM I GLAD I READ IT.

Bunny: A Novel by Mona Awad

I believe “squawk” is the word you would use to describe the sound I made while reading this.

I lost it. I also laughed myself to death.

Usually when I read a really disturbing book, I regret it, but this one was WEIRDLY FUN.

It was definitely my favorite spooky read of the month.


I’m tempted to reread a bunch of old favorites this month to battle the doldrums.

Is this what I end up doing EVERY November?

I might be predictable.

I won’t be keeping up with election coverage today. I hope you all stay safe in every sense of the word.

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