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Recently Read: October

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Hello everyone! As much as I love fall, it doesn't like me. I suffer from a lot of sinus headaches this time of the year, and I find that when Advil doesn't work, the only thing I can do is turn off all the lights, put an eye mask on and earplugs in, and sleep it off. Unfortunately, that means not as much blogging or reading time. I was still able to get through five books this month. Keep reading to hear my thoughts! 

October reading, reading wrap-up, book blogger, dark matter, book review, the child finder, the heart's invisible furies, we were liars, toronto blogger, the river at night

The Heart's Invisible Furies 5/5
This was the first book I read in October and it took me a long time to get back into a book after it. It was probably over a week before I even picked up another book because it was so amazing. I have a full review here.

Dark Matter 4/5
Emily Fox has raved about this book and I figured October would be the perfect time to read it. "Are you happy with your life?" These are the last words Jason Dessen hears before a masked abductor knocks him unconscious. He wakes to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by people who apparently know him, asking questions about his experiences over the last year and a half. But Jason is at a loss about what these scientists want and who they are. As he finds out his entire world is different from the one he knows, he must face the fact that something remarkably different and seemingly impossible has happened, and he must find the courage to find his way back to the life he knows.

I don't read much science fiction, so I found myself struggling with this book. It requires the reader to suspend belief in reality and how we view the world. It takes place across multiple universes. The theory is that every choice we make or don't make defines the reality we exist in, and the ones where the choices were different from the ones we choose still exist in alternate realities. To enter the alternative universes, an individual must take a drug that affects (something rather) in your brain and enter an object in superposition.  It relies on the idea of Schrödinger's cat, where once we are able to let go of our observable world are we able to see both what is there and what isn't.

I probably did a horrible job explaining that because to be honest, I still don't know if I understand it. But the thriller element of the book really kept me engaged. As I read a lot of thrillers, I find they can get quite repetitive, but the science fiction element provided a unique twist, especially as the book progressed. I don't want to say too much at the risk of giving it away, but if you're like me, I think this book is a great way to step outside of your comfort zone.

The Child Finder 4/5
I was so excited to read this because it was the first ever ARC I recieved (despite the fact it's already on sale, I was over the moon). I watch a lot of booktubers and was always so in awe of unique covers and hearing about books months before their relese date.

Three years earlier, Madison Culver went missing in Oregon's Skookum National Forest on a trip with her parents to find the perfect Christmas tree. Naomi, a private investigator that specializes in missing child cases, is called to the scene to investigate Madison's disappearance. As Naomi struggles with dead ends, she is forced to examine the horrors of her own childhood. Focusing on how our imagination can help us through life's darkest times, The Child Finer is a poetic and memorable book.

This book was very poetic, and it took me a while to adjust to the writing style, especially after I had just finished something as scientific as Dark Matter. It was challenging, if not almost disturbing, to read from Madison's perspective of her captor. Because she was only five years old when she was kidnapped, her view on Mr. B and the life she was becoming accustomed to was difficult to read. While she did struggle at the beginning, the adoration she felt for Mr. B, despite the physical and psychological abuse she faced, was incomprehensible. It's difficult to imagine being entirely dependant on someone for three years and being locked in a cellar during that time. Madison alluded to sexual assault on a few occasions, and the thought of a grown man abusing a child in that manner was sickening.

But reading Naomi's parts were almost uplifting. As a survivor of abduction as a child, Naomi had a unique perspective on what missing children were facing and how their imagination could help them through it. She was relentless in trying to save Madison, among other children, because of the personal horrors she experienced. Like Dark Matter, this thriller was very different from what I had read, and I found myself thinking about it long after I'd put the book down. While I studied Criminology in university, something I always wanted to learn more about was victimology, and despite the fact this was a work of fiction, I felt like this was a fresh and unique insight into the ideology. While it can be triggering, I think this book is definitely worth the read and brings a fresh voice to the world of psychological thrillers.

We Were Liars 2/5
This book is so hyped. Whether it's BookTube, Bookstagram or Goodreads, I'm pretty sure everyone has read it at one point. I found it for $2 at my local used bookstore and thought it would be a great chance to read it. I'm not a huge YA fan so I didn't have high hopes going into this book.

Following the beautiful and rich Sinclair family, the story focuses on the four "liars" and summer "15" on their private island. Focusing on damaged relationships, class differentiation, destructive ideologies and grief, We Were Liars examines the lengths a family will go to to protect those they love.

This was my commuting book, so I was reading it at the same time as The Child Finder and found a lot of similarities between the two. Both were very poetic in terms of the writing styles, both dealt with grief and the coping mechanisms our brains develop in times of trauma. But unlike The Child Finder, I found We Were Liars to be very juvenile. It focused on a very privileged family who complained about their very privileged upbringing, predominately their future inheritance. I found the main characters intolerable. They acted like the silver platter that life was handed to them on was too tarnished, and came across as spoiled brats on every page. Despite the fact the story was only 250 pages, it felt too long and repetitive. The only redeeming feature of the novel was the twist at the end. Becuase I was only reading about 20 pages every few days (when the subway wasn't too loud or crowded and I could actually read), I didn't see the twist coming. But if I had sat down and read the book in one to two sittings (which would have been easily achievable), I almost certainly would have seen it coming. I really don't know why this book is so hyped, but it's already in the donation pile and I would definitely not recommend it.

The River at Night 3/5
I hadn't actually heard a lot about this book, but it sounded vaguely like the movie Deliverance, so I thought it would be the perfect book to read around Halloween.

A group of four best friends decide to embark on a thrilling vacation in the remote parts of the Michigan forests on a hiking and white water rafting trip. But soon after their trip begins, they find themselves in trouble. A freak accident leaves the women stranded, separating them from their raft and means of survival. But when they find a ramshackle camp, they find themselves in an even more threatening situation. Fighting against themselves and the elements, the four women must do anything it takes to survive this nightmare.

I really liked the storyline of this book, but I think it was the writing style that prevented me from giving it a higher rating. It was very abrupt and choppy, and there was something I couldn't quite put my finger on, but I found I wasn't able to visualize what I was reading like I usually can. I found it also played up the idea of disability too conveniently as well. Wini just happened to be the only one in her group who would communicate with Dean, who was deaf like her brother was. Wini felt compelled to try and save Dean because she had lost her brother years before despite the fact she had just met him, even if this meant turning against her lifelong friendships.  I feel like the book had a lot of potential, but it wasn't executed well.

Overall, I read a mixture of books this month. I found a new favourite and read some books that I can't get off my shelves quick enough. What have you been reading lately? Are you going to continue with thrillers into November?

xoxo K