October Book Round-Up

Hi friends,

I’ve missed you all!! My school transitioned to hybrid learning this past month, and I’ve been adjusting to the new schedule. I’m happy to have found some time to blog though — there’s lots to catch up on!

It snowed where I live this past weekend, and, while I have been listening to Kacey Musgraves’ Christmas album on repeat for weeks already, I was not prepared for such a drastic change in weather. So, today — though turtleneck sweaters, chocolate cream pie, and boatloads of cranberry sauce are on the horizon — I’m going to revel in orange leaves and wicked spells and take a look back on my recent October reads. We’ve still got spooky witches and magic doorways to talk about!

You can check out my October reading round-up below. Be sure to let me know what you’re currently reading or what you’ve finished, too! Recommendations are always welcome.

I continued my love affair with Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s work this month (I have her entire bibliography on hold at various libraries!!) with the 1920s-set Gods of Jade and Shadow. The book honors and incorporates Mexican folklore, and its central relationship is so lovely, I haven’t stopped thinking about it for weeks. Plus, the clothes are super glam.

My birthday was in October, and I was lucky enough to receive some new books as gifts! Among these was Leigh Bardugo’s The Lives of Saints, which has beautiful art and prose (though I would expect nothing less from everyone’s favorite witch-aunt/author!), as well as Alice Oehr’s The Art of Cake. I definitely recommend learning the history of the Grishaverse and croquembouche all at once — it’s a fascinating (and tasty!) endeavor.

I got into the spooky spirit this Halloween season with Seanan McGuire’s delightfully-weird Wayward Children series! The first two novellas, Every Heart a Doorway and Down Among the Sticks and Bones ask what happens to children after they return from magical realms and fantastical worlds. The books are fast and insightful, heart-warming yet dark. They’re also totally worth your time.

Finally, I finished things off with Julie C. Dao’s latest offering, Broken Wish. It’s the first in a series to be written by four popular YA authors, and I loved how Dao both paid tribute to classic fairytales and crafted an original, feminist-tinged story. Curses and witches make for perfect October reading!

What books did you read last month?

xx

lulu

Currently Loving | September 28 – October 4

Hello!! 

Long time, no see, friends! I hope you’re all doing well and having a lovely weekend!! 

School started up for me over these past couple of weeks, and I’ve been a bit slogged down with homework and extracurriculars. I’ve so missed blogging and chatting with you, though, and I’m eager to get back into a writing routine! (And a reading one! I fear for the fate my 2020 book challenge.) 

Today, I’m sharing a list of some of my favorite music, shows, books, and recipes as of late. Check them out below! 

The Great British Bake Off >> GBBO is peak television. It has everything I look for in a show: puns, sweets, banter, random relaxing shots of wildlife, the works! I’m loving the newest season; come Friday evening, you’ll definitely find me in my living room, cup of tea in hand, yelling about florentines. 

Baking with fall flavors >> Speaking of baking, I have been taking advantage of the season and trying out loads of new recipes! Apples, pumpkin, and cinnamon are some of my favorite flavors to bake with, and I love how cozy my kitchen feels after making a batch of scones or cookies. Smitten Kitchen’s Apple Breakfast Granola Crisp (pictured above) is my go-to morning meal right now, and I’ve also tried out these apple muffins from King Arthur Flour and the Apple Pecan Snacking Cake from Flour Bakery. This week, I’m looking forward to taste-testing some white chocolate apple scones. Apples, galore! 

Enola Holmes + Maleficent: Mistress of Evil >> During the week I tend to be busy with schoolwork and college apps, but, on the weekend, I look forward to family movie nights! Recent picks for films have been Millie Bobby Brown’s Holmesian romp, Enola Holmes, on Netflix as well as the second Maleficent installment on Disney Plus. Both were great fun – historical mysteries and fantasy magic perfectly complement October’s spooky mood!

Rebel Spy >> I’ve been lucky enough to read some top-notch books over the past couple of months, but none surprised me as much as Veronica Rossi’s Rebel Spy. Telling the imagined backstory of the woman spy “355” during the American Revolution, the book is engrossing and suspenseful. Plus, it features a squeal-worthy love story! I can’t wait to check out Rossi’s other works.

Islander Cast Album >> I miss theater quite a bit right now, and cast albums are always in my regular rotation on Spotify. At the top of my list at the moment is the music from Islander, a two-person musical which played at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and in the UK last year. My sister got to see the show in person (lucky duck!), but I’m still loving the folksy, mythological tunes from the comfort of my couch. 

Have an amazing week!

xx

lulu

Spooky Schools, Folklore, and Books About Books: My Most Anticipated Autumn Releases!

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you’re having a lovely day.

I go back to school next week, and while I’ve been busy gathering supplies and finishing up my summer work, I’m excited to settle in to a routine. And, alongside school, the fall season brings with it plenty of fun things: apple pie, my birthday (!!), and new books! Today I’m looking ahead to the rest of autumn, and I’m highlighting the books coming out that I’m most excited for. Check them out below!

Where Dreams Descend came out at the end of August, but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. So, I’m including it in this round-up as well! Not only does the novel have a truly gorgeous cover, it also features magicians, a circus, and elements of Moulin Rouge and Phantom of the Opera. Magic + theatrical France is a winning combo, I think.

I’m looking forward to new releases from some of my favorite authors! The Lives of Saints is at the top of my wishlist, as it comes out right before my birthday. Plus, I think Leigh Bardugo is at her best when crafting short stories. Julie C. Dao and Jennifer Donnelly are publishing new fantasy titles as well: Broken Wish promises witches and curses in 19th-century Germany, and Poisoned looks like a deliciously wicked twist on Snow White. 

Continuing the folklore theme, The Forest of Ghosts and Bones and A Girl is a Body of Water have both caught my eye. Lisa Lueddecke’s standalone fantasy draws on the myths of Hungaria, and Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s latest novel is a feminist coming-of-age “rich in the folklore of Uganda.” I can’t wait to read both!

When it comes to the fall, I’m always on the lookout for a good ~spooky~ book. A Deadly Education, about a magical boarding school with no teachers, seems to fit the bill.** As does These Violent Delights, a version of Romeo and Juliet set in 1920s Shanghai and featuring a mysterious “monster in the shadows.” Intrigue and twists are sure to abound!

Finally, I don’t pick up too much contemporary YA, but This is All Your Fault seems like my kind of read. Diverse, feminist characters? Friendship? A bookstore?! All my favorite things.

Which releases are you most excited about this fall? 

xx


lulu

**Update as of October 2020: I still have not read A Deadly Education, but I would be remiss if I did not address other bloggers’ justified complaints regarding the book’s poor depiction of nonwhite characters and cultures. (Asma’s review on Goodreads lays things out well.) The book is no longer on my TBR list. If you do choose to read the novel, I urge you to do so with a critical mind.

Currently Loving | May 3 – 10

Happy Mother’s Day everyone! I’m enjoying some warmer weather and sunshine this Sunday, while also catching up on schoolwork, reading, and (best of all!) baking. How about you?

Here are the books, songs, and other media that caught my eye this week…

Joan of Arc on the Dance Floor” by Aly & AJ | I’ve been listening to “Potential Breakup Song” on a constant loop since 2007. I’m giving that classic a rest, though, to enjoy Aly and AJ Michalka’s newest single. “Joan of Arc” is a pop banger, with electric beats and dark, cool-girl lyrics. It’s like you’re at a club, but that club also happens to be a graveyard. Dance on, everyone. 

The Borgias | Just when I think I’ve exhausted the backlog of soap-y TV period dramas, a new one always finds its way into my Netflix queue. In the same vein as Reign and The Tudors, The Borgias (2013) is a sexy, scandalous take on the Renaissance papacy. The show is nowhere near historically accurate, nor is it always very good. But it’s always pretty, always twist-y, and I can’t stop watching.  

Home Cooking Podcast | The West Wing Weekly won my podcast heart, so I was delighted to hear that former TWWW host Hrishi Hirway was teaming up with professional chef Samin Nosrat to produce a 4-part audio miniseries. Armed with expert knowledge and top-notch puns, the pair answers listeners’ questions about cooking during quarantine. It’s very inspiring; thanks to Samin, I made a medieval precursor to eggnog!

Mothers Before, edited by Edan Lepucki | I read an excerpt from Mothers Before earlier this week on The Cut, and though I haven’t been able to get my hands on the full book, it won a place on my “to-read” list for sure. The collection of essays and photos is so moving (and timely, considering today’s celebrations!)

Supernova by Marissa Meyer | I adore Marissa Meyer’s books. They’re dramatic. They’re fluffy. They’re usually too long. Fittingly, the conclusion to her Renegades trilogy gave me everything I wanted: superhero action, cheesy romance, and science fiction fun. It was great.

what things did you watch, read, or listen to this week?

xx

lulu

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