HomeMonthly FeaturesWrap-UpsOctober 2022 Reading Wrap-Up

October 2022 Reading Wrap-Up

A pretty decent month of reading, considering Covid hit my family this month and wiped out all energy for, well, everything. I didn’t get to as many spooky reads on my TBR as I was hoping, but I found a new favourite read of the year!! Here’s what a read, with brief reviews and star ratings.


  • Total Books Read: 10
  • Average Rating: 3.8
  • Audiobooks: 3
  • Best Book: Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley 
  • Least Favourite Book: Mad Honey by Jodi Piccoult and Jennifer Finlay Boylan

The Clackity (4*)

Written by Lara Senf

Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Next time you need a spooky read, this middle grade should be at the top of your list – be warned, I will likely be recommending it over and over in the future! A story about a young girl, Evie, who lives with her aunt in the 7th most haunted town in the US and battles anxiety after her parents disappeared following a house fire. When her aunt disappears into an abandoned meat processing plant, Evie makes a deal with the suuuuper creepy creature known as The Clackity and ventures into an upside-down world where she battles through seven different challenges to find and rescue her beloved aunt. This book is spoooooky and so well done!

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

A River Enchanted (5*)

Written by Rebecca Ross

Published by Harper Voyager

Sometimes, second time is the charm! After putting aside this story as a physical read in June, Rebecca’s ethereal adult fantasy novel about a Scottish island where malevolent, tricky earth spirits – earth, wind, and water – are an everyday part of the inhabitants lives, kept coming back to me. Listening as an audiobook was the key! The narrator brings this story to new levels and the slow moving, earth centred story was so perfectly paired with late autumn reading. A comforting, unique fantasy that delivers on an interesting magical system, well rounded characters, and a great enemy-lovers romance.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Matchmaker’s Gift (3*)

Written by Lynda Cohen Loigman

Published by St. Martin’s Press

I was disappointed by this story that follows a Jewish matchmaker in early 20th century NYC and subsequently her granddaughter who has also inherited this matchmaking gift but is a practicing divorce lawyer in the 1990s. I found the story tiresome, extremely repetitive and not very inclusive. While I understand that anything outside of heteronormative relationships wouldn’t have been tolerated in the earlier timeline, there was no reason to exclude it from the present day matchmaking (aside from the little nuggets quickly popped in which felt like quota appeasing rather than genuine storytelling). I didn’t love how that was handled.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Spineless (4*)

Written by Samantha Sam Miguel

Published by Union Square Kids

Fun, old fashioned middle grade story telling is at work here in this break-neck, fast paced novel. Following Algie, a 12-year-old budding naturalist who struggles with asthma at the turn of the 20th century, as he travels to a Florida hotel to spend the winter in a warmer climate. Here he will meet wonderful creatures in peril – an adorable (and incredibly smart) young octopus for one – as well as the daughters of the hotel owner, budding naturalists themselves. They must band together to uncover the mystery as to what is harming the creatures of the Florida swamp. Highly recommend putting this in the hands of readers who enjoy fast paced stories who may struggle with short attention spans.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Mad Honey (2.5*)

Written by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finlay Boylan

Published by Ballantine Books

As much as I wanted to be the champion of this story, it was a poorly executed slog. While I doubt the “mystery reveal” will be much of a mystery to many much longer – which is also something I took issue to: I didn’t enjoy how this “surprise!!” was handled … I think it actually does more damage to the cause and enlightenment the authors were hoping to achieve. I understand (and have listened to them speak) as to why they did this, but I don’t love how it was handled. But aside from all that vagueness, the story was a chore to read and easily could have lost 100 pages and the courtroom drama was what made this even remotely interesting. Forced characterization (all good or all bad), extremely cringey writing and terms of phrase – especially the teenage sex scenes. I mean, when is it ever lovely to say “I’m as wet as a seal?” Ummm… just no.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Mapmaker (4*)

Written by Lisa Moore Ramee

Published by Balzer + Bray

An enjoyable middle grade fantasy escape! If you love fantasy maps and the idea of jumping inside one, this is the story for you! A young boy, struggling to connect with his father and twin sister after moving to a new town realizes he has the ability to create worlds through his mapmaking … and potentially destroy them! An all around fun adventure with strong characters and real challenges that face them. While the ending was a bit rushed for my liking and would have loved even more fleshing out of the fantasy world, room has been left for sequels that may deliver that!

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Witches of Moonshyne Manor (3*)

Written by Bianca Mairas

Published by Mira Books

I hate reviewing 3 star reads, because what else is there to say besides – it was okay? While a fine read, it did take an exorbitantly long time for the story to pick up and find its way – 170 pages of 300 to be exact. I really took issue to the handling of non binary and transgender in this story – having said character be a “shape shifter” is problematic. While I don’t believe harm was intended here, it was not handled well in my opinion. Other times it did feel like the author was trying to stuff a lot of “wokeness” into the dialogue which came across stunted and awkward … But the cast of octogenarian women was refreshing and their fight against the patriarchy was entertaining. I always want more magic when I hear a story has witches and this one came close to delivering.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting (5*)

Written by Clare Pooley

Published by Pamela Dorman Books

With all the spooky reads this month, I needed a happy escape to dive into and this audiobook was the ticket! If large, interconnected cast stories are your thing, like Daisy Jones or Anxious People, then this should be your next read. A group of strangers in London, who share the train to and from work everyday but never speak, will have their lives forever changed when Iona breaks the cardinal rule of commuting: speaking to your fellow passengers. This is such a heartwarming and entertaining novel, with equal parts brevity and laugh-out-loud moments. Highly recommend the audiobook!

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Southern Book Club Guide’s to Slaying Vampires (4.25*)

Written by Grady Hendrix

Published by Quirk Books

This I was not expecting, but I absolutely adored this story! It was so compulsively readable and absolutely so disgusting that I still can’t believe this self proclaimed scaredy cat made it through. But I did! Growing up in the 1990s, I feel Grady captured the time very well – the little details of nostalgia and the failings of a society stacked full of ignorant privilege, racism, chauvinism and gas lighting. I was heavily invested in this group of women and their battle to rid their community of a vampire that may be behind disappearing children. I’m not sure I loved the ending (hence not a full five stars) it got a little ridiculous in the quest for gore and I feel the late game trigger to one of the characters wasn’t necessary, but if you can stomach or even enjoy horror & gore, this is smart horror.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Gallant (3.75*)

Written by V.E. Schwab

Published by Greenwillow Books

Really beautiful writing and a really interesting take on The Secret Garden, but am I sure I fully understood this? Not really. The entire time I read this I felt I was missing some hidden piece of symbolism and that got particularly tiring … when I feel a book is trying to outsmart me… The ending was classic, melancholic Schwab which I find repetitive and predictable (personal preference) but the writing was ethereal, the illustrations were truly lovely & enhancing of Schwab’s story, and I’m happy I ended my October reading with this enchanting story.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org


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