Pumpkins, Spice and Everything Nice: October Wrap-Up

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You know how it goes: another month, another wrap-up and another TBR forsaken.

Well, hold on to your pumpkin spice latte because your girl actually managed to stick to her TBR this month. Yes – you did just read that correctly. I  read all the books that I said I would. *Braces for the end of the world which I’m sorry to inform you, in very much neigh*.  And let me tell you; I even persevered, sticking with the soul sucking books I idled through [Dracula I’m looking at you].

Spoiler Alert: October was a solid month full of moody reading, spooky fun and festive fear. So, let’s get into the details!

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My Month In A Nutshell

The short hand? Basically I owned my October reading goals and my Bucket List, making for a truly spooky month full of Halloween flicks and way to many pumpkin spice lattes.

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I started the month on a high note with a visit from two of my favorite people and a night out bar hopping in Melbourne. I introduced my NSW friends to my favorite underground bar Beneath Driver Lane which is literally underground. Situated in an unassuming lane way, the bar is one of Melbourne’s best kept secrets. As you descend a stair case into and old bank vault a world of blues and signature cocktails bursts to life. My advice? Get there early because the bar fills up fast.

Getting into the Halloween spirit, I also took a day trip to explore the eerie cells of the Old Melbourne Gaol. The Gaol was erected in the 1800’s to serve as a symbol of authority in an uncivilized society. Australia was still very much a young nation of immigrants and former convicts. When the Gold Rush hit the rural regions Bushranging thrived and law and order became harder to control. Bushrangers were escaped outlaws and highway men and many were held and executed at the Gaol including Ned Kelly.

Let me tell you – the Gaol is something out of a BuzzFeed Unsolved episode. It’s dark, morbid and seriously intimidating to tour so it’s no wonder many believe the Gaol to be haunted. Highlights included seeing Ned Kelly’s cell and death mask, learning about the Gaol’s resident ghosts, studding “the art of hanging” at the gallows  and getting “arrested” at the Watch House Experience.

Fun fact: at the City Watch House there is a cell known as the “wet cell” with a drain on the floor. If a prisoner was especially difficult he or she would be hosed down with cold water and left in the dark, damp cell. One prisoner didn’t make it to morning workers say that his ghost still lingers in that cell. While I didn’t glimpse the ghost, the cell felt colder and there was a definite vibe, a heaviness that settled over the cell.

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On another note, the largest Harry Potter store in Australia has officially hit Melbourne. I spent yet another day in the sprawling city with my squad exploring the merchandise and having my picture taken at the 9¾ wall.

The one pitfall was the fact that I got called into work on Halloween. I had to work the graveyard shift so my spooky night was cut very short. While I didn’t get to make my candy apples I did rock some serious spooky makeup to work and I did have my annual screening of Mickey’s House of Villains. On the bright side, the shopping center was all dressed up for the season with hearses, pumpkins and cobwebs and there were plenty of kids dressed up trick-or-treating around the shops.

Books Read

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Before by Anna Todd |★★★☆☆| Before is a companion to Anna Todd’s angst-y After series and served as the closure I wasn’t aware I needed. Before isn’t a must read but it gives a voice to complex characters like Molly, Zed, Steph and of course Hardin.

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig |★★★★★| House of Salt and Sorrows was the perfect eerie reading material for the spooky month. Atmospheric and morbid, House of Salt and Sorrows brims with creepy manors, family curses and more than a few ghostly apparitions that stalk the night.

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco |★★★★½| A re-read and a must for history lovers, Stalking Jack the Ripper sees Audrey Rose tackle the worlds most famous whodunit. Also, Thomas Freaking Cresswell – #enoughsaid.

Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes  |★★★☆☆| Gathering Darkness felt like a backwards step in the Falling Kingdoms series. The pacing was definitely slower and a particular reveal was seriously rushed but even with a 3 Star rating I finally fell in love with the characters.

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett |★★★★☆| Another re-read and another notch off of my Discworld read through, Equal Rites was the perfect witchy book for Halloween. Equal Rites introduces the much adored Witches of Lancer Coven and brims with feminism and empowerment.

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell |★★★★★| Pumpkinheads was a surprisingly deep story about last chances and change masquerading behind the facade of a quirky graphic novel. I lived for the serious Fall aesthetic. This just felt like pumpkin spice latte goodness on a crisp Autumn morning.

Mort by Terry Pratchet |★★★☆☆| Mort was one Discworld novel I was seriously anticipating. It was also the one Discworld novel that’s let me down. It wasn’t bad but I didn’t love it. That being said, any book featuring Death is bound to be full of morbid humor and general tomfoolery.

Dracula by Bram Stoker |★½☆☆☆| *Groans* Okay, Dracula destroyed my reading streak. I read Dracula for the A Vampire At Notre-Dame Readalong and honestly – did I read the same book? I usually love the classics but Dracula failed to deliver. I was constantly bored and perpetually waiting for the promise of horror and vampire goodness. Spoiler alert: it never arrived. Granted, I can understand that Dracula suffers from it’s hype and it’s preconceptions. Sorry Clara! ❤ #notasgoodasphantom.

Blog Posts

Spooky Scary Book Tag

Review: Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell

The Noobs Guide to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld 

The Awesome Blogger Award

Review: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Why Australia Needs Halloween + October Bucket List

Field Tripping In Melbourne: September Wrap-Up 

Final Thoughts and November TBR

So, what lies in store for November???

I’m planning to rush, full steam ahead, into the holidays because December is always a full-on month for me working in retail. That means I’m going to be super organised this year and start celebrating early. I’m already working on my Christmas Bucket List so you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be plenty of more adventuring. That and the fact that I’ll be camping in central Victoria volunteering for charity [I may or may not be already planning a post].

So, basically I plan on celebrating the rest of the year with festive reading material, cheesy Christmas flicks and plenty of Gingerbread Frappuccinos!

In terms of reading, I’ll be feverishly catching up on my 2019 TBR. I’ve pretty much accepted that I won’t have time to read the Grishaverse now but I plan on continuing my Falling Kingdoms group read-along, reading Hunting Prince Dracula and Escaping from Houdini, finishing Julie Andrews’ memoir; Homework and plunging into the next two Discworld novels. Also it’s November so who could forget the obligatory reading of The Scorpio Races? On top of that, I need to pick a new classic for the month. As always, there seems to be so much to read and so little time [hopefully I’ll have another solid month of taking down my TBR – fingers crossed anyway!].

Happy reading! xAlexandra

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15 thoughts on “Pumpkins, Spice and Everything Nice: October Wrap-Up

  1. Okay, I don’t know who you are but that bucket list looks so so cute. And you really owned your October. (Also, the wet cell gave me the chills…)
    I really need to read Stalking Jack The Ripper one day but I keep avoiding it for some reason. And, like you, I should get to finish The Grishaverse by the end of 2019. But I don’t know if that will happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwww – thank you so much Daria! I am so glad that I wasn’t the only one feeling those chills in the wet cell!

      There always seem to be those few books that we avoid. Mine as definitely the Grishaverse books and A Darker Shade of Magic. I love Stalking Jack the Ripper though and cannot recommend it enough. If you liked The Infernal Devices (even though I didn’t) it’ll be right up your alley. But honestly, so glad I’m not the only one who hasn’t finished the Grishaverse! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. you stuck to your TBR???!! i didn’t think anyone actually did that…ever. 😮 count me impressed.

    congrats on your awesome october!! (that bucket list is the cutest thing i’ve ever seen in my life.)

    also i LOOOOVE pumpkinheads. one of my favorite books of the year!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know right!?! Honestly, nobodies as shocked as I am! 😂😂😂 I NEVER stick to my TBRs. Like ever. In fact, I pretty much avoid them like the plague.

      And I haven’t stopped raving about Pumpkinheads all month. It will definitely be a new Halloween tradition! It’s so cozy and cute! Makes me want to live in America so bad! ❤

      Have an amazing November! x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats on not forsaking your TBR! 😂 Thomas freaking Cresswell…. I get it girl. Also I would love to see a post about your charity work if you get around to it. I’ve always been interested in charity work and love reading peoples experiences. Happy reading in November! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad you like Stalking Jack the Ripper. I personally think it’s underrated. I think the series got me more into historical fiction. I hope you have a productive and festive November!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s actually criminally underrated – I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks so!

      Shameful fact though – I haven’t finished the series yet?!?! It just kept getting pushed to the back burner. I wanted to read Dracula before Hunting Prince Dracula so I could spot all the nods and because I kept putting Dracula off I kept putting HPD off. Not anymore! I’m finally plunging head first into the series this month so I can finish Capturing the Devil before the end of the year.

      Wishing you a very festive month too! ❤

      Like

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