October Wrap Up + Stacking The Shelves


October was a good month for me. I decided to double down and intentionally finish some of the books that I have been struggling with, just to get them off my currently reading list. While not bad books, I think I am struggling in general with re-reading right now, which I find interesting as I have been a big comfort re-reader for most of my adolescence. Certainly starting a book blog hampered my ability to re-read when new books and review books were demanding so much attention, but I think it’s more than that.

I also quit two books, which is more than usual for me. One was an old ARC from 2017 I don’t even remember requesting (Select by Marit Weisenberg), and one was an adult horror I accidentally picked up thinking it was going to be more magical realism or paranormal, called The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix. I’ve written about the reasons why I quit them in the links above. Honestly, quitting both of them lifted a weight off my shoulders and I felt so much better, especially after admitting TSBCGTSV was really not for me, being someone who dislikes both horror and adult suburban novels.

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews and hosted by Reading Reality.
It’s all about sharing the books we’ve picked up for the week, whether they are bought, borrowed, gifted, galleys, physical or virtual.
Share your shelves and remember to visit Reading Reality to find more great books!

For Review

Thanks to Penguin Random House Australia for my review copy!

Assistant to the Villain by Hannah Nichole Maehrer

From the creator of a viral TikTok series about the sunshine assistant to the evil villain and their unexpected romance comes the most hotly-anticipated romantic fantasy book of the the year!

Notorious, high-ranking villain seeks loyal, level-headed assistant for unspecified office duties, supporting staff for random mayhem, terror, and other Dark Things in General. Discretion a must. Excellent benefits.
With ailing family to support, Evie Sage’s employment status isn’t just important, it’s vital. So when a mishap with Rennedawn’s most infamous Villain results in a job offer-naturally, she says yes. No job is perfect, of course, but even less so when you develop a teeny crush on your terrifying, temperamental, and undeniably hot boss. Don’t find evil so attractive, Evie.

But just when she’s getting used to severed heads suspended from the ceiling and the odd squish of an errant eyeball beneath her heel, Evie suspects this dungeon has a huge rat…and not just the literal kind. Because something rotten is growing in the kingdom of Rennedawn, and someone wants to take the Villain-and his entire nefarious empire-out.

Now Evie must not only resist drooling over her boss but also figure out exactly who is sabotaging his work… and ensure he makes them pay.

After all, a good job is hard to find…

I have been following Hannah on Tiktok since before she even announced that she was writing a book, and have been with her for the entire journey. This is probably my most-anticipated read of 2023. As soon as I saw it was available, I requested it, and I’m so happy and grateful that I was provided with a copy fore review!


Ellie Pillai is Brown by Christine Pillainayagam

The perfect coming-of-age summer romance by the most spectacularly funny and original debut UKYA voice.

My name is Ellie. Ellie Pillai . . . And I suppose I am a little bit weird, but then, aren’t we all, just a little bit?

Most days, Ellie Pillai is somewhere between invisible, and not very cool – and usually she’s okay with that. But suddenly, Ellie feels different. Maybe it’s the new boy at school who makes her brain explode into rainbows every time she sees him (and also happens to be going out with her best friend), or maybe it’s her new drama teacher, the one who seems to have noticed she exists. Suddenly, her misfit style, her skin colour, her songwriting and all that getting lost in the music in her head seem to be okay too. Because maybe standing out isn’t a bad thing after all.

I was drawn to the cool girl on the cover and my decision was solidified when it mentioned a best friend’s boyfriend and songwriting, which seems like prime Taylor Swift material. Let’s hope this book holds up!

Bring Me Your Midnight by Rachel Griffin

Tana Fairchild’s fate has been planned out for her since the day she was born: marry the governor’s son and secure an unprecedented alliance between the witches and the mainlanders. But when Tana meets Wolfe, a member of the only remaining coven left practicing dark magic, she’s stunned to learn of his existence. She’s always thought the final coven disbanded ten years ago, completely eradicating the use of dark magic.

When unknown magic builds in Tana’s body and she’s unable to expel the magic on her own, she begs Wolfe for help. And as she practices Wolfe’s dark magic, she’s horrified to discover how naturally it comes to her. It makes her feel powerful. Alive.

Tana tries to rid herself of the memories of Wolfe and his magic, throwing herself into her courtship with Landon, the key to the alliance the witches have worked so hard for. With Tana’s covenant ball approaching, their engagement will be officially announced.

But when Tana’s family discovers her use of dark magic and her mother confides in her that the witches are losing control of the currents, and it’s only a matter of time before the sea swallows a mainlander. When that happens, Tana’s relationship with Landon could be the only thing that keeps the mainlanders from turning on the witches.

But Tana can’t stop thinking about Wolfe. And as the tide grows fiercer, and the witches’ relationship with the mainlanders more tenuous, Tana has to decide what’s most important to her: love, or duty?

The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L Jensen

Lara has only one thought for her husband on their wedding day: I will bring your kingdom to its knees. A princess trained from childhood to be a lethal spy, Lara knows that the Bridge Kingdom represents both legendary evil – and legendary promise. The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom controls all trade and travel between lands, allowing its ruler to enrich himself and deprive his enemies, including Lara’s homeland. So when she is sent as a bride under the guise of fulfilling a treaty of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture the defenses of the impenetrable Bridge Kingdom.

But as she infiltrates her new home – a lush paradise surrounded by tempest seas – and comes to know her new husband, Aren, Lara begins to question where the true evil resides. Around her, she sees a kingdom fighting for survival, and in Aren, a man fiercely protective of his people. As her mission drives her to deeper understanding of the fight to possess the bridge, Lara finds the simmering attraction between her and Aren impossible to ignore. Her goal nearly within reach, Lara will have to decide her own fate: Will she be the destroyer of a king or the savior of her people?

I have wanted to read this for a while, I keep seeing it recommended as a really good slow burn enemies to lovers.


Loveless by Alice Oseman

Loveless by Alice Oseman

The fourth novel from the phenomenally talented Alice Oseman – one of the most authentic and talked-about voices in contemporary YA.

It was all sinking in. I’d never had a crush on anyone. No boys, no girls, not a single person I had ever met. What did that mean?

Georgia has never been in love, never kissed anyone, never even had a crush – but as a fanfic-obsessed romantic she’s sure she’ll find her person one day.

As she starts university with her best friends, Pip and Jason, in a whole new town far from home, Georgia’s ready to find romance, and with her outgoing roommate on her side and a place in the Shakespeare Society, her ‘teenage dream’ is in sight.

But when her romance plan wreaks havoc amongst her friends, Georgia ends up in her own comedy of errors, and she starts to question why love seems so easy for other people but not for her. With new terms thrown at her – asexual, aromantic – Georgia is more uncertain about her feelings than ever.

Is she destined to remain loveless? Or has she been looking for the wrong thing all along?

This wise, warm and witty story of identity and self-acceptance sees Alice Oseman on towering form as Georgia and her friends discover that true love isn’t limited to romance.

This was my audio pick for the month.


Monthly Wrap Up

Book Stuff

  • Number of books read: 5 (including DNFing 2):
    1. The Study of Poisons by Maria V Snyder
    2. A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet (reread, original review here)
    3. Select by Marit Weisenberg (DNF)
    4. Loveless by Alice Oseman (review coming soon!)
    5. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix (DNF)
  • Finished a series: No
  • Started a series: A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet (but not really as it was a re-read)
  • New to me authors: Marit Weisenberg, ALice Oseman, Grady Hendrix
  • Favourite book: Loveless by Alice Oseman

Book Reviews:

Other Blog Posts You May Have Missed:


About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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