Somehow, October 2021 is long gone and we’re right on the brink of the holiday season!
As a lover of all things spooky, October is one of my favorite months; and I certainly got some creepy reads in for the occasion.
It was also a fun month because I completed by 50th book! My reading goal for 2021 was 50 books and I reached it in October. A review of my 50th read, as well as all of my other October reads, is included below.
If you want more details about any of the books or to buy your own copy, affiliate links are included throughout.
Verity by Colleen Hoover
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
I read a book by Colleen Hoover years ago and very much did not like it. Her writing style is good but the book was cliche, predictable, and overall seemed unoriginal to me. However, I saw SO many people raving about her newer novel, Verity, and how twisted it was that I decided to give her another try.
Man, oh man am I glad I did. This book was so messed up, and I mean that in the best way. It’s about a writer named Lowen who gets hired to complete the rest of famous author Verity Crawford’s series. Verity has been in an accident and can no longer walk, talk, or write, of course. While going through Verity’s office looking for book notes, Lowen discovers a manuscript for Verity’s autobiography, and along with that discovers that Verity is not at all who her family, and especially her husband, thinks she is.
This story drew me in right from the opening. There were one or two parts that did feel cliche and overdone (I’m noticing it’s Hoover’s romantic scenes that irk me in this way) but the book was a wonderful read overall. Suspenseful, creepy as hell, and extremely dark. I’m not sure I needed the last chapter, which is why this one didn’t quite make it to 5 stars, but I think it’s safe to say my opinion of Colleen Hoover and her books has drastically changed with this one.
Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegemund-Broka
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
This was a cute little read that my inner literature nerd enjoyed. It’s a young adult novel written by two high school sweethearts who love Shakespeare, so there are a ton of references to the Bard and a healthy dose of high school teen drama.
The story follows Megan, a veteran stage director in her high school’s theater program who is now trying her hand at acting to boost her college applications. Between having to get over her own stage fright, dealing with her ex boyfriend and best friend now being a couple, and adjusting to lots of changes at home, Megan has a lot on her plate. We see her navigate all of this while trying to find her own Romeo and overcome some internal struggles.
As I said, I did enjoy this book. It was a little slower and less exciting than some of my other October reads, but a nice story nonetheless. It was slightly predictable, as high school love stories tend to be, but still heartwarming and satisfying.
Dying Breath by Wendy Corsi Staub
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
I chose this book because it had a unique premise (and because it was free on Audible lol) and it turned out to be a pretty solid story! I like that it partially takes place at the Jersey Shore; it’s fun recognizing buildings and customs when you read a book.
Dying Breath is about a woman named Cam who starts having weird, dark visions about young girls being trapped and tortured. She’d had them years before when she was pregnant with her daughter, but then they’d gone away for 15 years. Now, after Cam’s husband has just left her and she’s having increasing difficulty connecting with her daughter, she must also make sense of these terrifying premonitions.
As I said above, this was a pretty solid book. I would have liked a little more suspense, as it just wasn’t super exciting for me. Looking back, it was also a little forgettable. I did enjoy that the main point of view we got in this story was not one of a cop or detective, though, because that gets a little old for me after reading a lot of similar mysteries in a row.
Lies She Told by Cate Holahan
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
This one really pulled me in at the beginning, but didn’t have as good of a follow-through. It was split into two parts and one of them was significantly more predictable/slow than the other, so that is why it ended up being a more average and less memorable read for me.
Liza is a suspense writer who has been trying to have a baby with her husband Nick and also trying to come up with a book that will pull her out of her slump. Beth, the star of Liza’s latest book, is a new mom with suspicions that her husband is cheating with one of his coworkers. We switch back and forth between Liza’s real life and the story she’s penning. The story being written, the one with Beth, was interesting and I loved seeing inside this character’s head. However, the true storyline with Liza was the one that I found very predictable and not as engaging.
In the end, things came together nicely. The plot twist wasn’t exactly what I’d suspected, but it wasn’t a huge surprise, either. I think this was a solid book, just feel like it could have been better.
Memoirs and Misinformation by Jim Carrey and Dana Vachon
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
I love Jim Carrey so much and I want to be able to rate this higher so badly, but I just can’t. This book had awesome potential and was generally enjoyable, but I wish Carrey would’ve let us see just a little further behind the curtain. Just a bit more balance between the actual memoir parts and the great waves of misinformation would have improved this book, for me.
The story follows Carrey throughout a challenging time in his life and career. He isn’t as big and famous as he once was and he has an almost crippling fear of being forgotten or seen in the eyes of the public as washed out. It’s a chaotic mix of accounts from his real life, glimpses into a darker past than he’s previously allowed us to see, completely exaggerated, fantastical sub-plots featuring some of his famous friends, and other asides that sort of jumble everything together.
I understand that the point of this book was to go back and forth so much that the lines between real and fiction were blurred. Kind of Tim O’Brien-esque, but not as well done, to tell the truth. The glimpses Carrey did give us of his real life and struggles were terribly sad, but they were so raw and honest. Every time we came close to that inner core he pulled us back out with a wildly ridiculous turn in the plot or somewhat unrelated nightmarish fantasy. This was amusing and is, of course, a great representation of the superstar himself and how we as the public know him to be. At first it ping-ponged at an impressive pace between serious stuff and fun celebrity cameos, but then it took a turn towards silly and then never came back again. This is where the book lost me and I was left feeling a bit disappointed. I wanted both real and silly Carrey, but he was only willing to reveal so much of his heart and mind to us.
The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances
My Rating: 4.5/5
This awesome book was also #50 for me! It was a perfect “goal-accomplishing” read—interesting characters, smart plot twists, and a super-engaging writing style.
This story is told from two perspectives—Laura’s and Cherry’s. The story really centers around a medical student named Daniel, who is in his 20s, but we hear everything from the women in his life. Laura is a wealthy producer and Daniel’s loving mother. Cherry is Daniel’s new girlfriend, seemingly perfect to him but not without her own dark secrets. Both Laura and Cherry are dynamic characters, similar to the point where they butt heads but unpredictable enough that things stay interesting.
I can’t really say why this isn’t a 5-star book for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it checked all of my usual boxes—it kept me guessing, it was creepy and twisted, it didn’t have any obvious plot holes…it was just missing an extra something to really put it over the edge for me. This was certainly a memorable story and one that I highly recommend, though. If you’re a fan of suspense you will definitely like it. Bonus if you’re a fan of family dramas.
What was the best book you read in October? Comment below to let me know! Happy reading, all. <3