October TBR

Carry On By Rainbow Rowell

I’ve had this book on my shelf for a while now because so many people have recommended it and I had to read it after loving Fangirl so much. I’m glad it is the TBAB month pick because it forces me to pick it up now.

Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Light it Up by Kekla Magoon

I’ve heard about this book on bookstagram so when I saw it at the Pasadena Loves YA Book Blitz I knew I had to grab it. I can’t wait to read this one even if I have a feeling it’ll break my heart.

A girl walks home from school. She’s tall for her age. She’s wearing her winter coat. Her headphones are in. She’s hurrying.

She never makes it home.

In the aftermath, while law enforcement tries to justify the response, one fact remains: a police officer has shot and killed an unarmed thirteen-year-old girl. The community is thrown into upheaval, leading to unrest, a growing movement to protest the senseless taking of black lives, and the arrival of white supremacist counter demonstrators.

Cog by Greg Van Eekout

I actually started this one today and so far it’s really cute and can’t wait to share it with my younger cousins.

Five robots. One unforgettable journey. Their programming will never be the same.

Wall-E meets The Wild Robot in this middle grade instant classic about five robots on a mission to rescue their inventor from the corporation that controls them all.

Cog looks like a normal twelve-year-old boy. But his name is short for “cognitive development,” and he was built to learn.

But after an accident leaves him damaged, Cog wakes up in an unknown lab–and Gina, the scientist who created and cared for him, is nowhere to be found. Surrounded by scientists who want to study him and remove his brain, Cog recruits four robot accomplices for a mission to find her.

Cog, ADA, Proto, Trashbot, and Car’s journey will likely involve much cognitive development in the form of mistakes, but Cog is willing to risk everything to find his way back to Gina.

Paul, Big, and Small by David Glen Robb

I got this one at Yallwest which was a while back and am glad to be getting to read it now since it’ll be publishing this month.

Paul Adams has always been short, but he’s an excellent rock climber. And his small size means he can hide from the bullies that prowl the halls of his high school.

Top on his list of “People to Avoid” are Conor, from his Language Arts class, Hunter, who hangs around the climbing gym, and Lily Small, who happens to be the tallest girl in school. But he might be able to be friends with a new kid from Hawaii who insists that everyone call him “Big.” He’s got a way of bringing everyone into his circle and finding the beauty in even the worst of situations.

When the three of them—Paul, Big, and Small—are assigned to the same group project, they form an unlikely friendship. And Paul realizes that maybe Lily isn’t so bad after all. He might even actually like her. And maybe even more than like her.


Paul and Lily team up for a rock-climbing competition, but when Lily is diagnosed with leukemia, Paul ends up with Conor on his team. And when Paul learns that Conor is dealing with bullies of his own—as well as some deep emotional pain—he realizes that the bullying in his school has got to stop.

Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy

This one looked so cute in all the ads and since I’ve really been enjoying middle grade lately I decided why not give it a try.

Patricia “Sweet Pea” DiMarco wasn’t sure what to expect when her parents announced they were getting a divorce. She never could have imagined that they would have the “brilliant” idea of living in nearly identical houses on the same street. In the one house between them lives their eccentric neighbor Miss Flora Mae, the famed local advice columnist behind “Miss Flora Mae I?”

Dividing her time between two homes is not easy. And it doesn’t help that at school, Sweet Pea is now sitting right next to her ex–best friend, Kiera, a daily reminder of the friendship that once was. Things might be unbearable if Sweet Pea didn’t have Oscar—her new best friend—and her fifteen-pound cat, Cheese.

Then one day Flora leaves for a trip and asks Sweet Pea to forward her the letters for the column. And Sweet Pea happens to recognize the handwriting on one of the envelopes.

What she decides to do with that letter sets off a chain of events that will forever change the lives of Sweet Pea DiMarco, her family, and many of the readers of “Miss Flora Mae I?”

The Papaya King by Adam Pelzman

I got this one in the mail from the author and I can’t wait to get to read it. It sounds like a cute short read.

Bobby Walser’s tragic childhood has left him a man frozen in time and mired in a world of his own making—one that has little in common with reality. Genteel and old-fashioned, his manners and habits are more suited to an aristocrat from a Chekhov play than to a young man on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Haunted by his failure to live up to the legacy of his great father, Walser’s sense of ineffectuality is compounded when he suffers a series of deflating professional setbacks. He’s baffled by the people around him, and his only solace is the hope of a romance—conducted via handwritten letters—with a mysterious woman who may not even exist. As his despair with twenty-first century life reaches a breaking point, Walser bristles at a newly constructed sculpture that represents everything he loathes about these times. Realizing that he has more to care about—and fight for—outside himself, he marches toward a final showdown with this towering symbol of oppressive technology. 

The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy

Any book that has an LGBTQ+ character goes onto my TBR because I never saw these characters growing up.

Rahul Kapoor is heading into seventh grade in a small town in Indiana. The start of middle school is making him feel increasingly anxious, so his favorite person in the whole world, his grandfather Bhai, gives him some well-meaning advice: Find one thing you’re really good at. And become the BEST at it.

Those four little words sear themselves into Rahul’s brain. While he’s not quite sure what that special thing is, he is convinced that once he finds it, bullies like Brent Mason will stop torturing him at school. And he won’t be worried about staring too long at his classmate Justin Emery. With his best friend, Chelsea, by his side, Rahul is ready to crush this challenge. . . . But what if he discovers he isn’t the best at anything?

Funny, charming, and incredibly touching, this is a story about friendship, family, and the courage it takes to live your truth.

Friend or Fiction by Abby Cooper

This is the first middle grade book that I got at Yallwest and it really drew me to the genre. I’ve read other middle grades before this one so I’m happy to finally get to this one.

One creative middle-schooler discovers that the best friend a girl can have is the one she makes herself in this charming magical realism read.

Jade’s life hasn’t exactly been normal lately, especially since her dad’s cancer diagnosis. Jade wishes her family could leave their no-name town in Colorado already–everybody else does sooner rather than later, including every best friend Jade’s ever had. So she makes one up. In the pages of her notebook, she writes all about Zoe–the most amazing best friend anyone could dream of.

But when pretend Zoe appears in real life thanks to a magical experiment gone right, Jade isn’t so sure if she likes sharing her imaginary friend with the real world. To keep her best friend (and even make some new ones), Jade learns how to cope with jealousy, that friends should let friends be true to themselves, and that maybe the perfect best friend doesn’t exist after all.

Freeing Finch by Ginny Rorby

This was one that I requested from the publisher because it featured a transgender character. I just am so happy that these characters exists in books for younger kids because I never saw myself in books growing up.

When her father leaves and her mother passes away soon afterward, Finch can’t help feeling abandoned. Now she’s stuck living with her stepfather and his new wife. They’re mostly nice, but they don’t believe the one true thing Finch knows about herself: that she’s a girl, even though she was born in a boy’s body.

Thankfully, she has Maddy, a neighbor and animal rescuer who accepts her for who she is. Finch helps Maddy care for a menagerie of lost and lonely creatures, including a scared, stray dog who needs a family and home as much as she does. As she earns the dog’s trust, Finch realizes she must also learn to trust the people in her life–even if they are the last people she expected to love her and help her to be true to herself.

What are you reading this month?

The Lady in the Coppergate Tower

Thank You to Shadow Mountain Press for a copy of this book in exchange for my review.

Summary: (Borrowed from Barnes and Noble) Hazel Hughes believes there is nothing remarkable about her, not even her strange ability to heal the sick and injured. Her employer, Doctor Sam MacInnes recognizes her special talent, but because of the difference in their social status, he can’t tell her how much he admires her. When a mysterious count arrives in London and reveals to Hazel the existence a twin sister, she agrees to accompany him to the wilds of Romania, where she learns that her healing skills are needed to save her twin’s life. Worried for her safety, Sam insists on traveling with her.

Faced with dark magic, malfunctioning automatons, and dangerous magical artifacts, Hazel and Sam learn to rely on each other as they untangle a deadly web of mystery surrounding the count and search for a way to free Hazel’s sister from the cursed walls of the Coppergate Tower before time runs out on all of them.

Thoughts: This book I was hesitant to read because Romance is not a genre that I usually read and I was judging a book by its cover. I decided to go ahead and read it anyway since I like to give books a try. I found that there were so many things that I really enjoyed about this book.

I love the way that the author describes every scene and every item that you encounter, it made me feel like I was in the story. I loved the way the automatons interacted with the people and especially loved Eugene’s sarcasm and wit. It really added some light humor to a rather dire situation for our characters.

Something else I liked was the mystery aspect to this story, it was much more than just a romance between the main characters. They were working together to try and figure out Petrescu’s motives and along the way establishing that they were more than just business partners. I loved how the book had moments that it quickly picked up the pace before going smoothly back into the regular pace. The action scenes had me intrigued the whole time and I was worried for all of the characters.

Overall this book was a quick read with twists and turns and a great steampunk retelling of repunzal. I recommend this to you who love a great YA romance book or who like retellings of stories.

You can purchase this book at Barnes and Noble or look for it at your local library.

Dark Matter (Contagion) By Teri Terry Book Review

I got a advanced reader copy of the book at yallwest. Thanks to Charlesbridge Teen and Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for a review.

Summary: Callie has gone missing and her brother, Kai is starting to believe that he is never going to find her or know what happened to her. Just as he is about to lose hope he meets Shay who recalls a girl who fits the description of Kai’s sister. While on this search to find his sister, Shay and Kai wind up encountering an epidemic that is quickly making its way through Scotland and they are in a race against time. Will Shay and Kai be able to bypass this epidemic and find Callie or will it be too late?

Thoughts: I will read anything that has to do with contagions, epidemics, viruses, and diseases so this was no exception. I was very pleased by so many things in this book but I will say that it isn’t for everyone, as much as I want to have everyone read this book. If you’re a bit squeamish I would say you might want to pass on this book but if not then read on.

When reading books about epidemics and contagions I always enjoy a map being included in the beginning because it makes it easy for me to follow the disease, virus, parasite, or whatever else is causing people to die in large quantities. I love being able to refer back to the map anytime that a character mentions their location or what is happening to people in different parts of Scotland.

I love how the story is told in the perspective of two characters and both of them are talking in first person. I was worried it would get confusing or that they would distract from each other’s story but it was quite the opposite. I felt that hearing from both of their perspectives really adds to the story and is has more of an impact when you find out small details about both of the girls.

Something else that I enjoyed was the explanation for what this epidemic really is. It was a bit difficult for me to understand and I had to read it more than once to get it but I loved that it was different from others I have read in the past. I love that it was something completely out of the norm and something that really made you think.

If you would like to read this book you can find it on Amazon or look for it at your local library.