October in Review // A Month of Transition

Spooky Season may have come and gone, but ya girl embraces spooky 24/7! My month was a little intense with a reading slump that just won’t quit, relocating 600 miles (more about that in the personal update), and trying to find the energy to spend time with family and friends.

GDT: - Game 21: Sabres vs Penguins - 11/19 7pm ET (MSG-B ...

I watched a lot of slasher flicks as is my tradition for the month, as well as Hocus Pocus. My reading slump is really weird because I’ve been enjoying the books I am reading but just don’t have the desire to read. I’m working to accept that though.

I did manage to get some reading done… and actually cleared my current reading shelf on Goodreads, which at one point last month had six books on it and gave me literal anxiety.


I read a total of 2,269 pages across 6 books in October. I am still struggling with reading but I am doing better with reading at least a little bit every day. Sure, some days it was 6 pages, but better than nothing!!!

Let’s not talk about the fact that I haven’t written a review for any of the books I read in October. I am gaining quite the backlog of review to comes, but honestly I’ve been in a creative rut the past few weeks and just not feeling it.

✨ As a quick reminder, I’ve done away with star ratings on my blog reviews. You can read more about my reasoning in this discussion post on ratings systems, but you can find my ratings on Goodreads!

My Favorite Reads of October

Gravemaidens is one of my Novel19 class this year, and after spending much of the year getting to know the author the hype in my brain was strong. But this one absolutely lived up to the hype for me!

First in a duology, this is a touching story of love and sacrifice. With one of the most iconic ride or die friendships with Iltani.

I laughed. I cried. Sometimes at the same time. I recommend this one to fans who love fiercely feminist characters, tough sibling relationships, and a respectful not-so-love love interest.

📖  Full ARC Review to Come


The Beautiful coverThe Beautiful by Renee Adieh had me entirely in its thrall for much of the month! This was probably my most highly anticipated release this year – I read the first 47 pages back in June and basically frothed at the mouth for the following 4 months trying to get a full ARC of the book.

Alas, an ARC wasn’t in the cards for me but I pre-ordered a copy from my local indie and was fortunate enough to attend an event during release week (would you want to see a post about it?).

I literally took 21 days to read the book because I was savoring every word. I was swept away by Adieh’s lush descriptions and fell in love with Celine and Bastien. Their chemistry oozes off of the page. I need The Damned in my hands immediately.

📖  Full Review to Come

All October Reads

ARCs/copies from author or publisher are noted below by an asterisk *

  • The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones – I received this book in my Owlcrate in September, and buddy read it with Loretta and Siobhan. This was such an enjoyable, fast-paced read! It feels like an old fashioned fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm, with some incredibly precious sibling relationships. Let it be known that I will die for that Goat.  | 📖 Full review to come
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson – this was also included in the October Owlcrate, so I finally was able to read this iconic horror novel! It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but my goodness does Jackson have a way with words and atmosphere. I do think this might lend better to film, and I am excited to finally watch the Netflix series soon.  | 📖 Full review to come
  • * Darkdawn (Nevernight Chronicle #3) by Jay Kristoff – I started reading this book in September when it was released… and it took me 47 days to finish. I think this was in large part to my burnout with fantasy, but I’ve also realized that I struggle with the pacing of adult fantasy in general. I liked it, but am still not sure how I feel about that ending.   | 📖 Full ARC review to come
  • * The Light at the Bottom of the World (The Light at the Bottom of the World #1) by London Shah – I’ve always been fascinated with the ocean, and when I found out about this YA fantasy debut I was stoked! This was a buddy read with Shealea, and the book is delightfully atmospheric and the worldbuilding is so well done, but I did struggle with connecting with the main character Leyla. This isn’t a bad thing: I am 18 years older than her and her voice reads very true to her age. The atmosphere more than made up for it for me, and I look forward to the rest of the duology!  | 📖 Full ARC review to come

Did Not Finish

These are the books that I started in September but gave up on. Other than this, I finished all of the books I started in October!

  • * Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chboosky (audiobook) — 9% as of 9/20/19 — DNF

October Statistics

Total Books Read: 6 | Total Pages Read: 2,669

Total Books Read in 2019: 74
Goodreads Reading Goal: 52 🎉

ARC Mountain Update

I recently put myself on an ARC Ban (as of July 12, 2019), and back in July I wrote a post about the ban to hold me accountable, and I’m reporting on the mountain each month.

How am I doing? lololol but at least it’s just 2020 ARCs so 🙃

Current 2019 (& older) ARC Total: 23 (-3)
Finished in October:
3 (Darkdawn, Gravemaidens, The Light at the Bottom of the World)
Reviews to Write:(Darkdawn, Gravemaidens, The Light at the Bottom of the World)

Awesome Community Posts

Friends, I am doing a lot better with blog hopping and it makes me feel so accomplished! Seriously, my mojo of daily hopping was lost in February and never came back. I am still not up to daily but I will take anything other than once a month.

Here are some fantastic October posts that I enjoyed reading and you need to check out!

Personal & Blog Update

In addition to October being dedicated to all things spooky, it was also a month of transition for me personally. I’ve been on an extended leave of absence from work since March of this year for medical reasons, and on October 14th I was medically separated from my job. This means I am permanently on disability until doctor’s deem me fit to return to the workforce, but when I do it will be with someplace new.

This is bittersweet. The past seven years of my life were filled with the highest of highs and the literal lowest of lows. I learned a lot and grew in my career, and am thankful for the time I spent in Northern California.

I made the decision to move back home to San Diego once I was told medical separation was imminent. I wanted to be close to my friends and family, and without my job there was nothing holding me back from doing so. I’m settling into my new apartment and really excited for a fresh start and having the time to heal without the expectation from work of my return hanging over me (I had a LOT of guilt about needing so much time).

Thank you

Thank you, everyone, so much for visiting, liking, commenting, and sharing your bookish thoughts with me last month! I hope that you had a fantastic October, let me know how your month went in the comments below!

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!


  1. Evelyn

    November 3, 2019 at 1:29 AM

    Looks like you had a good month! I hope November is even better!


    1. Kal

      November 14, 2019 at 11:58 PM

      Thank you, and happy November to you!

  2. Dini @ dinipandareads

    November 3, 2019 at 3:52 AM

    Ah, I’m totally on the same page with the piling up ‘reviews to come’! I’ve come to realize just how much writing reviews helps me remember what I read 😂 Not writing reviews and (already) forgetting what I’ve read makes me feel like such a nan! Lol
    New beginnings are pretty exciting. I hope you enjoy moving back home 🙂

    1. Kal

      November 15, 2019 at 12:01 AM

      Oh man, I peeked at my rtc shelf on goodreads and it’s getting out of control. But I just want to read, so I keep putting them off lol. I forget stuff too, it is the worst! I have to take extensive notes to try and help jog my memory, haha.

      Thank you so much! The move was a pain but I love my new place!

  3. Flora

    November 3, 2019 at 5:02 AM

    These wrap up posts can help, can’t they. They help me to see what I’m spending my time on and whether I’ve got my priorities right.
    Good luck with the new chapter in your life, Kal. Try not to get bogged down with writing reviews; being book bloggers we can sometimes lose our enthusiasm for sharing our thoughts when it becomes a duty/chore.

    1. Kal

      November 15, 2019 at 12:03 AM

      Thank you so much, Flora! I am definitely trying to let go of the need/guilt to review everything. Some of these are arcs and I’ll need to review them sooner or later, but no need to force it when I’d rather be reading or working on projects. Happy November to you!

  4. Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea

    November 3, 2019 at 6:07 AM

    Congrats on the move, Kal! I hope that San Diego is better than California! I’m so excited to read The Beautiful now! I was scared at first because I heard mixed things, but I’ve read some of it already, and I’m pretty sure that I’ll like it! My October was pretty bad in the first three weeks, but then it got so much better in the last week because I had school break and all I did was blog and read, haha. I hope you have an amazing, November!

    1. Kal

      November 15, 2019 at 12:05 AM

      Thank you so much, Caitlin! It’s been nice being back in Southern California… the weather is better and the beach is right there *points* I can see why The Beautiful has mixed reviews, but for the people who click with the story, I think they will love it. I am sorry to hear you had a rough start to October, and I hope you have a wonderful November as well!

  5. Lois @ My Midnight Musing

    November 3, 2019 at 7:03 AM

    Glad to hear you’re settling in at your new apartment.
    It’s funny I finished watching The Haunting of Hill in October and had no idea that it was based on a book until midway through. I’m curious to see how the show differs from the book.
    I hope you can break the slump. Have a lovely November.

    1. Kal

      November 15, 2019 at 12:08 AM

      Thank you so much, the new apartment is quite nice & it’s amazing what a change of scenery can do.
      Ahhh, I still need to watch the series. I might be rewatching Gilmore Girls, lol.

  6. Tasya @ The Literary Huntress

    November 3, 2019 at 8:04 AM

    I’m pretty sure I’m out of my reading slump but I do have the same problem with you: I enjoyed all my reads, but it’s hard to push myself to start a new one :/ You also compiled some fantastic posts there, my window is full of new tabs now ahaha.

    I hope San Diego will be better than California and provide a fresh start for you. Here’s to new experiences! 🙂

    1. Kal

      November 15, 2019 at 12:10 AM

      YES, celebrate the liberation from reading slump! But it is really weird to kind of be blah about reading? I think I have broken free of that, and I hope you do soon, too.

  7. Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy

    November 3, 2019 at 8:45 AM

    Good luck with your move back to San Diego! I have relatives in Davis, it’s such a pretty place to live. Did you fly back before the fires and all the power outages??

    1. Kal

      November 15, 2019 at 12:11 AM

      Thank you, and I agree – Davis is a gorgeous place and I adored it, but it kind of got a little poisoned. I did fly out before the PG&E power outages, thank goodness.

  8. Avery

    November 3, 2019 at 10:39 AM

    Sending you lots of love <3

  9. Amber @ Books of Amber

    November 3, 2019 at 12:20 PM

    I’ve got soooo many backlist reviews to get to! The more I read, the more I ignore the review list because it’s so intimidating.
    I ADORED the Netflix adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House. I haven’t actually read the book yet because I’m worried it won’t live up to the show. It was incredible.
    I hope you enjoy being back in San Diego and that it works out for your health <3

  10. Sophie

    November 3, 2019 at 12:21 PM

    To new beginnings Kal! And I loved The Beautiful su much! That’s why we wrote two fanfiction posts with another bookstagrammer! We just couldn’t resist at imagining what book two would look like 😉

  11. Kristi @ConfessionsofaYAReader

    November 3, 2019 at 2:17 PM

    You had a great month Kal! I didn’t know you were moving back to SD. I’m so jealous. I’ve been home for a day and want to be back. We’re struggling with finding a good job and the cost for homes/and or rent there. But it’s a goal for me. I hope you enjoy being back.

  12. Destiny @ Howling Libraries

    November 3, 2019 at 8:55 PM

    I’m so proud of you for doing what needs to be done for your health. I can’t begin to imagine how tough it must be to say goodbye to such a big and important piece of your life, but I think this is an amazing step you’re taking and if you need anything at all, please know that I’m here ♥ I can’t wait to see you finally have the chance to heal and blossom again!

  13. Tânia @MyLovelySecret

    November 4, 2019 at 11:24 AM

    I always try to watch creepy films during October – this year, I rewatched The Conjuring I and II and its many companions and all of the Insidious films. 🙂 Good luck with your new adventure. Hope you get better (sending hugs).

    Happy readings!

  14. Mere

    November 4, 2019 at 7:49 PM

    I definitely want to read Gravemaidens! It sounds so good. I too, loved the Bone Houses. One of my favorites so far. I thought it was hilarious in parts.
    Good luck with your move, and I hope everything settles down for you, and gets better quickly, both personally and with reading!
    I’m just in denial about this month. I need to write my wrap up and I’m avoiding it like the plague.

  15. Krisha

    November 4, 2019 at 11:30 PM

    I am so excited for Gravemaidens too! I am glad you liked it. Also good luck with your move and hope everything goes smoothly 😊💛

  16. Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

    November 5, 2019 at 8:58 AM

    *pat pat* You are doing good either way, Kal! <3 It's okay to not write a review, especially if they're not for review, and I'm so glad you have been medically separated from your job and doing what you need to do to take care of yourself.

  17. Vanessa

    November 5, 2019 at 3:00 PM

    I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed Gravemaidens. It sounds so interesting! I’m also happy to see you like The Beautiful. I’m sooo curious. I have been reading Darkdawn on and off since September. Partly because I don’t want it to end but partly because I felt like certain parts did kind of lag and I had to switch to the audiobook. I’m still not even at Part 5 yet. I feel like Darkdawn is the sort of book I should be devouring, but yeah, the pace isn’t my favorite. I’ll have to see about the ending when I get to it. You read so many amazing books! I hope November treats you well 🙂

  18. Haley

    November 6, 2019 at 3:12 AM

    I’m so glad you got your new place and are settling in, it looks so cute from what I’ve seen so far and it’s nice to be closer to family and friends, something comforting just knowing you are closer. Also, reading Gravemaidens was definitely a highlight for my month and sharing reactions with you and Ruby, hope this next month is even better!

  19. Veronika Éles

    November 6, 2019 at 8:25 AM

    I hope you’ll enjoy The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix – I watched it last year and then rewatched it recently with my mom. (I’m pretty sure it’s the only show I’ve ever rewatched.) The book is not my favorite, tbh, I preferred We Have Always Live in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. I hope you’ll continue to get out of your reading slump in October! And I definitely relate to feeling anxious about having multiple books on your currently reading shelf – I especially hate it if one or more book is on it for weeks. It makes me want to finish it, because I don’t really put books on hold – I either finish or DNF – but then forcing myself to read it pushes me into a reading slump, haha.

  20. Brittany

    November 6, 2019 at 12:21 PM

    I’m glad you are all moved and are now closer to family and friends! I hope it helps you heal <3 And I hope you have a great November!

  21. Olivia Roach

    November 6, 2019 at 7:15 PM

    I really want to read The Beautiful so I am glad you loved it! And I want to try the book for the Haunting of Hill House as I have read a short story by Shirley Jackson and enjoyed it. I want to try more of her work. I am so sorry that you had to be medically separated from your job. I am glad you went home to be with friends and family throughout this, and hope your recovery goes well <3

  22. Jess

    November 7, 2019 at 5:44 AM

    Thank you for linking to my post!! You rocked it this month even if a total doesn’t reflect what you wanted. Blog hopping is it’s own reward and struggle and you kicked its butt!

  23. Lisa @ waytoofantasy

    November 7, 2019 at 12:48 PM

    Sounds like October was kind of a crazy month for you. I’m sorry that you had to say good bye to your job but here’s to new beginnings! Wishing the best for you, Kal! And may your reading slump be over soon too. <3

  24. Kristina

    November 8, 2019 at 4:42 PM

    While I see the bitter sweet and hit it must’ve been for you, I think health wise it should be better for you that you don’t have a limited deadline you need to be better from, if you see what I mean? Now you can fully focus on getting better, no matter how long or how little it takes. Hoping that being among friends and family will help a little ❤️

    I feel like i’ve been in that kind of slump before… potentially in times where I had LOTS to do ? and I choosed to pick gaming over reading in that instance in the little times I had to relax. I meant to watch (or read) The haunting of Hill House but just end up didn’t xD
    May November is a better month for you xx

  25. Jamsu

    November 9, 2019 at 7:25 AM

    I need to see some pics from your apartment at some point but six books is still good even though you’ve been struggling. I hope November is going to be better one for you *sends strength*
    I’ve heard great things about The Beautiful, so I can’t wait to see your thoughts.

  26. Annemieke

    November 11, 2019 at 4:28 AM

    I’m glad you are now able to be close to your family and friends again even though the reasons might not be the positivest. But it sounds like it is the best decision for you. I hope that you will continue to heal and that 2019 will end on a good note <3

    And just so you know, you are a very inspiring human being <3

  27. Sam || Fictionally Sam

    November 14, 2019 at 11:09 AM

    First off, I am so incredibly proud of you. For realizing you needed a moment, for seeking help, for doing what was best for you. I am so happy to know that you are making a fresh start in a new place and allowing yourself a new chapter! Wishing you nothing but positivity and health in this new adventure of life. Also, you got some solid reading and blog hopping done in October! I really need to get on your level! Great job Kal!

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