What’s up, October?

Hello, bookworld! It wouldn’t be a monthly post if I didn’t kick off by saying “where the hell did the time go?!” So, like, where DID it go?

– What Happened –

September was a busy and exciting month of books thanks to Self-Published Fantasy Month. I was happy to get through most of my list of self-published review copies!

My favourite read this month was The Aggressive, an intensely dark sci-fi thriller by debut author Gem Jackson. The Wolf and the Water was an interesting ancient Greece-inspired YA read, and The Synchronized Six was a dieselpunk fantasy featuring a psychic connection between strangers in the style of Sense8. This last book is definitely underrated, and I encourage other book reviewers to check it out!

I also participated in blog tours for The Skald’s Black Verse and The Jealousy of Jalice, both of which turned out to feature an interesting blend of dark fantasy and sci-fi.

For bonus points, I listened to and reviewed Walking to Aldebaran for the sake of having some Tchaikovsky on my blog, participated in a blog tour for Notes From Small Planets (which was weirdly abandoned by the publisher halfway through), and joined a cover reveal of Jesse Nolan Bailey’s new novella, Amethyst.

– The Damage –

In a shocking turn of events, I only purchased 9 books in total this month. This is down significantly from September (which turned out to be 25 books in total, because I forgot to count the Nevernight hardcovers I bought):

eBook Purchases

Physical books and pre-orders

I bought a copy of Seven Devils as I’ve heard a lot of great things about it, and I’m planning to read it for Sci-fi Month in November. I tried to hunt down the Illumicrate edition in all its pink-edged glory but ended up settling for the US edition shown above. I also picked up four sci-fi paperbacks in an HMV sale!

Oh, and in a moment of weakness, I pre-ordered the Goldsboro edition of Unconquerable Sun.


This month I backed Dyrk Ashton’s Kickstarter for a hardcover copy of Paternus: Rise of Gods and Paternus: Wrath of Gods. I’ve seen enough praise for this self-published, urban fantasy trilogy that I felt confident investing in the books without having read them. I’ll definitely be backing the Kickstarter for Paternus: War of Gods so that I have the complete set! I think it might also be my favourite of these awesome covers.

– What’s Gonna Happen –

While I discovered some great new books and authors in September, I definitely bit off far more than I could chew, which put pressure on my reading. I learnt that just like any hobby, book reviewing can become less fun when you take it too seriously. 

Luckily, this month is the OcTBR Challenge which will keep me on track to catch up on review copies and then hopefully explore the dusty depths of my TBR pile.

I’ll be reading eBooks Once Again, a sci-fi thriller that has received praise from Max Gladstone himself, The Engineer, a self-published novel by Darran Handshaw that I didn’t get to for Self-published Fantasy Month, and The Thounsand Deaths of Ardor Benn, an upcoming re-release from Orbit.

If I manage to make it back to my TBR, I’d like to pick up The Traitor Baru Cormorant which I’ve been wanting to read for almost five years now, and I recently invested in the full set! I’m also looking forward to Brian Naslund’s The Dragon’s of Terra series because he promised mushroom zombies in the second book (’nuff said). 

At the risk of turning this post into a diary entry, I’ve been struggling to keep up with social media in between reading and work (and my mixed feelings about social media in general). I’ve loved meeting fantastic people and seeing some quality bookish content, but I dislike how Twitter seems designed to make me compare myself to other people or obsess over engagement. At times I wish we could all pack up our books and move back to WordPress and Goodreads, but I know that would disadvantage authors.

I’ll continue to check out the latest posts from my favourite bloggers on Twitter and Instagram, but I won’t put as much pressure myself to check all of my accounts daily, as I think about how I want to do this blogging thing in the future. If any other bloggers have struggled with this focus on social media, I’m keen to hear your suggestions!

What will you be reading this October?

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22 thoughts on “What’s up, October?

  1. Ooh, Ringworld! I read it last year (I think?) and enjoyed it much more than I thought I would, be interested to see what you make of it. Some very dated attitudes towards gender, but I found the story and world building solid.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have the first four Halo books on my shelf somewhere, but haven’t made the time for it. I played the game before I really got into SF books and the scope of the story really blew me away!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very exciting tbr, Jake, looking forward to your thoughts!

    As to the social media bit, I think we all eventually compare ourselves to others, especially in a creative industry. Sometimes I think it’s either lack of self-confidence or just the way I learned to see the world was designed as.

    But I find limiting my time, and focusing on the whys of blogging (why I’m doing it, what’s rly my purpose, etc) helps a lot to center myself.

    Every time I compare myself to others I just try to focus them, and what I love about their work, and try to take some inspiration from it.

    So their success doesn’t have to be parallel to mine, it can intersect and inspire me to be better. It’s hard sometimes, especially when one gets little engagement, but the engaging community we’ve created here rly helps me love the blogging. As much as I compare, they make me want to be involved and grow.

    I’m sorry the publisher dropped the tour! Your post was awesome and (alongside Manda) you’ve roped me into that book easily :p

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks so much for your comments, Arina! That’s great advice, I’m definitely going to limit my time a little this month and see how I feel about things. I initially started blogging purely for the selfish reason of free books 🤣 I’m lucky to know quite a few supportive bloggers, and I want to make the time to promote their posts too!
    Hope you have an awesome month of reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t see that as a selfish reason 🙂 Many of us have limited means to buy books and free books are the only way we get to read as much as, and exactly what, we want (me included). It’s love for reading paired w/ low to no budgets, which is always hard!

    Even so, I can see from the love you put into your blog it’s not just the free books (those fancy stats are witness 😉 ). It’s bearing fruit, you’ve quickly become one of my go-to bloggers in the community.

    Thank you, and I know from that tbr you’ll have one too!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m also backing Dyrk Ashton’s Kickstarters, although I haven’t started reading the books yet. I hardly ever go on Twitter and I don’t think I’m missing much😁 I’m more of an Instagram girl. Hope you have a good reading month!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That’s true! Though somehow I’m still spending 1000% more on books than I used to 😂
    Thanks a lot for your lovely comments, I’m really enjoying your posts too ☺️


  8. I did think of you when I was having a bit of a Tweet crisis, you have so many great posts but I don’t see much of you on Twitter! I have fun on Instagram too, though I haven’t been posting as much as I’d like.
    Thank you, same to you! ☺️


  9. Hmm, speaking of Twitter, I’ve been having some related thoughts. I’ve noticed that this community of SFF bloggers seems to use Twitter differently than I usually do. Ex. I see a lot more of direct engagement via tweets rather than blog comments, and it seems more people are finding new posts via Twitter than through RSS/Wordpress, e-mail subscription, etc. Sometimes I also wish I could drop the Twitter element of blogging but I do find it really useful the majority of the time (but checking for new blog posts is not one of the ways I use Twitter). Anyway, sorry, I don’t think I’ve said anything very helpful in this comment, haha – just commiserating alongside you 😂

    …I could say that my strategy for keeping up with new blog posts is having a tiered system where I group blogs in Feedly according to how often I check them. Ex. I check my favourite blogs (who post almost 100% content I’m interested in) maybe three times a week, whereas blogs that post more mixed content (that I’m only interested in 20% of the time, or that I’m not personal friends with, etc.) I check maybe once a week. Not sure if that is the kind of suggestions you’re hoping for, but that’s my strategy 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thanks so much for your comment! I feel exactly the same but you said it a bit better 😅I think it would be a bit simpler and more genuine if the community was based around blogs and/or goodreads. I definitely have enjoyed getting to know people on twitter, but I don’t want to have to pay attention to things like followers and retweets etc., though that feels like the thing publishers care about now instead of content of reviews.
    I suppose there are pros and cons as there are with most things! Thanks for your suggestion, I’ve never used something like Feedly but will definitely check it out 😊 at the moment I mostly use the WordPress reader, and I plan to make a shortlist of people I follow on Twitter (it’s not possibly to keep up to date with 500+ haha)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You’re welcome! I think blogging did used to be more focused on blogs/Goodreads. I think I am still living in that time, haha. It’s only been in the past year or two that I’ve started to really see how much book blogging has transformed since I started in 2014. Ex. like you mention with what publishers care about – the focus on reach has definitely grown. There wasn’t so much focus on reviewing ARCs when I started blogging…that’s another thing I try not to feel pressured about to keep up with. Anyway, I hope Feedly helps you out! I’ve been using it for ages so feel free to ask if you have any questions about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks so much 😊 yeah agreed, I’ve slowed down on ARCs unless it’s something I wanted to read anyway. And I’m less focused on getting physical ARCs as a personal milestone. The important part is having fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Totally agree with the social media thing. I went through a phase of feeling like I needed to constantly be on twitter, posting and interacting, but honestly it was just too stressful and made everything miserable. I made a conscious decision to back off twitter for a while. I took some time away from it altogether and deleted the app from my phone. Now I just pop on for a half hour here and there on my desktop to catch up with my fave bloggers and book pals and it’s so refreshing not having it constantly buzzing around in the back of my brain. I think we all need to remember sometimes that having a hobby should be fun and when something stops making it fun it’s time to re-evaluate.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Absolutely! Glad it’s not just me. I feel a little less frustrated about it this month, I guess it’s directly linked to how much spare time I have. Twitter is terrible if you’re a perfectionist, there’s no way to ever be totally up to date 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I don’t know how the algorithms on social media work – although I’m sure they’re different on every platform – and I often miss some of my faves sharing really interesting stuff, while I’ll see less relevant content. So, using social media to engage is tricky enough – let alone trying to post at the right time, with the right hashtags etc. Exhausting! It almost feels like a job in itself. I have no idea what the answer is, but don’t doubt yourself or your capabilities! You’re an awesome blogger with great content and your pictures are super high quality. Your TBR looks great for this month – looking forward to seeing those reviews.


  16. You’ve got your hands on some really exciting books and I hope you’ve been able to read many of them so far this month! I personally adored Gardens of the Moon and I hope to read The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn soon too! 😮 Happy reading, Jake. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you, Lashaan! Sadly I’m yet to finish one book this month 😭
    For some reason I thought it would be a great idea to get a kitten while I’m studying for a Nov exam.
    Hoping to get back on the book horse soon, definitely have fomo after catching up on some recent blogs!


  18. I think it’s awesome you focused on self-published fantasy authors. There are so many underrated self published books out there that’s actually what I usually look for on Goodreads lists and recommendations from friends. Thanks for sharing all these great reads. I actually just finished a fantastic self-published science fiction book that I think you will really like called “The Code: If your AI loses its mind, can it take meds?” by Peter McAllister (https://www.petermcallisterauthor.com/). The premise revolves around a mining operation led by an AI on the moon, who develops schizophrenia and goes rogue. Liam, an engineer and protagonist, is charged with bringing the AI to heel and saving the moon from being destroyed. It really is hard to define this book with a quick synopsis, but this author really has a great mind for sci-fi and the story is awesome. It’s really funny too and even though the premise is very classic Sci-Fi there is more heart to it than a lot of others I have read! I would definitely recommend checking it out and keeping an eye open for a sequel!


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