After being in a reading slump for the majority of September, I was able to read nine books in October, and I hit my 2022 reading goal of 70 books!

The Dead Harlequin by Agatha Christie ★★★☆☆

This was one of Agatha Christie's short stories, and while it wasn't my favourite, I did enjoy it. One thing that always stands out to me when reading Christie's short stories is that she is always able to create memorable and unique characters in such a limited amount of pages.

Leila and the Blue Fox by Kiran Millwood Hargrave ★★★★☆

This is Kiran Millwood Hargrave's latest release, and I picked up a signed special edition with stunning stenciled edges!

I did have really high expectations for this book after reading Julia and the Shark last year, and while I didn't enjoy Leila and the Blue Fox quite as much as Julia and the Shark, it did not disappoint in terms of the overall story and writing. 

Kiran Millwood Hargrave has a way with words, there is absolutely no denying it. I cried so much at the end of this book!

This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher ★★☆☆☆

Wow, where do I even begin with this one? Looking back at the notes I took while reading this one, a few of things are jumping out at me:

Parker is a psycho

Obviously it was _____ ???

Generally this book was just not it, I didn't enjoy it. I listened to the audiobook, and while I do own a physical copy, I'm definitely tempted to unhaul it as I don't really want a copy of this book on my shelf to be honest. 

I understand that Parker's awful personality is deliberate, and we're not supposed to like him, but there is a line for me, and this book crossed it. There were so many scenes and different quotes which just made me feel incredibly uncomfortable, and I don't think the topics which are insanely triggering and inappropriate are actually discussed in a healthy way. There's just Parker (and other characters) doing things which should be discussed, but the author doesn't counteract this behaviour with a discussion on how things should be. It's just kind of... there. I wasn't a fan of this one, and I don't think I would recommend it to anyone else.

Activist by Louisa Reid ★★★★☆

This was an ARC I received from the publisher, so thank you first of all to Guppy Books for that!

There were a lot of triggers in this book, which I hadn't seen any warnings for online, so if you're thinking of picking this up please be aware that there is a lot of discussion and on-page s*xual v*olence, r*pe, victim blaming, h*rrassment, online bullying, and more.

With that said and done, I did think this book was really well done. I read it in two sittings, and I think the fact that this is a novel in verse works really well with the content of the story.

If you're in the right place to read something with so many triggers, I would really recommend that you read Activist. It deals with some incredibly important topics which doesn't often get discussed in such a blunt and straight-forward way.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire ★★☆☆☆

Another two star read... I don't honestly know why I picked this up, I knew I likely wouldn't like it. I read the first book in this series a few years ago, and didn't like that one either. 

I have lost the notes I made on this while I was listening to the audiobook, so I can't really comment in any detail as to why I disliked it quite as much as I did. I feel like this series appeals a lot because the books are also so short, but I won't be continuing with this series.

Transformation by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley ★★★☆☆

This was a collection of three short stories I read as personal research for uni. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either. I think the first story (Transformation) was my favourite out of the three.

Your Soul is a River by Nikita Gill ★★★★☆

I finally finished this poetry collection! Honestly, I thought I had already finished this months ago, but when I checked my Scribd account, I had a few pages left. This isn't my favourite of Nikita Gill's poetry collections, but I did really enjoy it.

XOXO by Axie Oh ★★★★★

Okay, finally a book I really enjoyed. This is now one of my all-time favourite books. I really needed something light and easy to read, and this book ticked all of the boxes. It had a cute and fluffy romance, a realistic and flawed main character, an academic element, fun and loveable side characters, and k-pop. Honestly, what more could I ask for? I will have a full spoiler-free review for XOXO coming up soon, so if you're interested in that, make sure to stay tuned!

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake ★★★☆☆

And finally... I read The Atlas Six. I have mixed feelings for this one; on the one hand I enjoyed (most of) the characters, and the plot was engaging. On the other hand, I cannot stand Callum, and I also guessed the ending. It isn't actually that common for me to guess the ending of a book, but with this one I had already seen it coming for a while, so the plot twist wasn't that shocking to me. 

Callum also makes me so angry, like I cannot stand him. I am still planning on reading book two of course, but the idea of reading from his perspective again just... isn't it. I know he isn't exactly meant to be likeable, but I seriously was starting to dread any scenes with him in them.

Generally though, I did enjoy this book, and I can see why it is so popular. I'm just hoping that Callum is slightly more bearable in book two... 

So, to wrap up: my favourite book of the month was XOXO by Axie Oh; and my least favourite book of the month was This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher.

What was the best book you read in October? Let me know in the comments!