I can’t believe we only have 10 days left in October. It seems like the month just started. I had hoped to have read more by now but at the same time I can’t complain.
If I compare where I’m currently at to how much I read in September I’m actually ahead in order to read the same amount. Last month I finished off with 8 and as of this moment while writing this I’m at 5 read in October. So as long as I take less than 3 days to finish a book I can match, if not exceed last month.
This past week I took part in the readathon called Spookathon which was created by the amazing Kayla from BooksandLala. Each year there are different prompts for it but it’s basically all about reading thrillers and spooky books during one week in October. This year I completed two books for it. The Vine Witch by Luanne G Smith and Rebel Girls by Elizabeth Keenan.
A young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy of betrayal, vengeance, and self-discovery set in turn-of-the-century France.
The Vine Witch by Luanne G Smith was the first book I finished during Spookathon this week and was just released October 1st and published by 47North. I read this as a mixture of both ebook and audiobook. First things first, before getting into the meat of everything, I have to say that the narrator did a phenomenal job with all the different voices/accents for people and it really pulled me in even more than I think just reading it would have. I was a little surprised though that not everyone had a French accent though since this took place in France.
The book starts in the marshland and we meet a frog who is taking to herself and eating its shedding, poisonous skin for reasons it can’t remember. I found this strange at first because I figured we would first be introduced to a girl who is supposed to be the main character. By the end of the chapter, the frog transforms into a human girl who turns out to actually be Elena who had been cursed to be a frog and in the second chapter you learn she has missed 7 years and the vineyard she grew up on, Chateau Renard, is no longer owned by her mentor but to Jean-Paul Martel who believes in science and dismisses superstition, nor does he believe in witches.
Thankfully, she is able to talk Jean-Paul into letting her stay and help the vineyard which has been covered in hexes only witches can see. The only problem, she has to hide her true nature and ways of removing the hexes and act as if she is on board with only using science to help fix the downfall of the vineyard. During all of this, she is still trying to regain her magical strength and figure out who cursed her so she can act on her revenge.
I found her time imprisoned and then on the run towards the end of the book to be very gripping and could not stop reading during this time. I won’t get too much into why she was put into the witch jail or how she got out because it really ruins parts of the book and who did what but it was so well done. Parts I saw coming while others I was completely blindsided by and loved. Overall, I have it 5 stars on Goodreads. But on this site we don’t do stars. We use peppers so…
The next book I read for the readathon was Rebel Girls by Elizabeth Keenan. I had received an eARC of this through NetGalley and Inkyard Press a while ago and only now just got around to reading it. It came out September 10th this year so it is now available for everyone to read. I also read this as a mixture of ebook and audiobook. The narration was fine but it didn’t do much really to change the reading experience one way or the other.
It’s 1992, and there’s a rumor spreading in Baton Rouge…
Our main character Athena is all about feminist views, punk rock music, and is pro-choice. All of which are the exact opposite of what is considered acceptable and normal at her very conservative Catholic high school. When a terrible rumor starts to spread about her pro-life sister Helen having an abortion, they and their friends band together to convince the student body and administration of her innocence, put a stop to it all, and clear her name while trying not to get expelled.
I absolutely loved this book. Not only did the author do a great job of getting into the head and attitude of teenagers, but managed to discuss very touchy subject matter without being disrespectful or praising negative actions. I did appreciate how at the end of the book she wrote about the social issues and legal cases that helped with inspiration and information such as Roe vs Wade. I will say though that I feel that it should have had a different title because there wasn’t much rebelling going on. Sure some characters had different views than the school but people weren’t really being rebels.
The group of girls ended up being called the Gang of Five by other students and I almost feel that would’ve been a better name for this or even So What, which is the slogan they used for their campaign for Helen which barely fit into the school’s standards and was challenged multiple times.
I expected more rebellion because of the name. I did enjoy seeing the internal struggle Athena went through of being a feminist and how she should be focusing on helping her sister but at times only being able to think of a boy and spend time making out. As an adult, I am well aware that you can be a true feminist while still taking time to focus on making yourself happy because you can’t truly help others if you aren’t taking care of yourself. But as a teenager, this can be a very true feeling of confusion because of not having as much knowledge or experience.
Overall I did really enjoy this even with the few issues I saw. I originally gave it 5 stars but after a couple of days off of reading it felt it needed to be brought down to 4.
What about you guys? Did you participate in Spookathon or another readathons so far this month? Let me know. Tell me what you though of these books if you’ve read them and what you’re currently reading.
Goodreads Challenge: 63/60