September Wrap-Up & October Reading Plans | Spooktastic Reads 2020

September was a very odd month; I went back to college for my final semester. It was very nice to see some people I hadn’t seen in more than a year because of my internship and my semester abroad. Since most of my classes are online, it left me with quite a bit of time to read.

I decided to try-out Scribd to listen to audiobooks. I’m not a huge audiobook reader as I tend to lose focus very easily if I listen passively to something (which is why I struggle so much with Zoom classes…). However, I realized they can be a great way to consume stories while doing house chores or cooking. If I’m doing something with my hands, I can focus a bit more on the story and I’m not zoning out nearly as much. I listened to four audiobooks on Scribd so, for now, I have decided to keep my subscription! (if you have any audiobook recommendations, let me know!)

However, while the month started off pretty great, it didn’t end that well since I got covid… again. Yep, 2020 is the year I managed to be infected by the virus twice. What a shitty year. I wash my hands all the time, wear masks everywhere, limit my interactions with people as musch as possible but no, one time wasn’t enough apparently.

The good thing about being sick twice is that the second time my symptoms were very minor. I only had light head-aches and a sore throat. Compared to the first time where I couldn’t leave my bed for a week, it wasn’t that bad. I was also able to recognize quickly that I was sick and I quarantined myself and got tested as soon as I could. However, while it just meant I had to be in isolation for 14 days and wait it out, it also kind of killed off my mood completely. I struggled to do anything the whole time, I couldn’t focus and I completely stopped reading. I only wanted to exercise to burn off the extra energy or watch TV shows.

So yeah, September wasn’t exactly my favorite month of the year.

However, despite that, I still managed to read ten things (mostly at the beginning of the month), so at least, there’s that!

Books Read

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke ★★★★
  • Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie ★★★★
  • Clarkesworld issue 164 edited by Neil Clarke ★★★★
  • Vampire Bait by Annie Nicholas ★★
  • Autumn by Ali Smith ★★★★★
  • Exit Strategy by Martha Wells ★★★
  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury ★★★ 1/2
  • The House of Styx by Derek Kunsken ★★★ 1/2
  • Burning Roses by S.L. Huang ★★★★ 1/2
  • Lightspeed issue 120 edited by John Joseph Adams ★★★

Favorite Reads

Autumn by Ali Smith is one of my favorite books, it was my fourth time reading it and I still love it. I love this book so much that I struggle to explain why. It’s about Brexit, love, friendship, British pop-art and it’s freakin’ brilliant. The prose is one of a kind, I wish I could have a tenth of Ali Smith’s talent.

Burning Roses is a very different book but it’s also a great one. I will post my review of it in a few days, I really loved it and the ending made me cry like a baby. It’s a blend of Asian and European fairy tales and myths, it follows two older women, it’s sapphic and it’s about family, love, owning up to your mistakes and forgiving yourself and others. It’s short, it’s beautiful and I would highly recommend it to everyone!


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I rarely DNF review copies but I decided to stop reading this book after 30 pages. The writing style was pretty good but a lot of things didn’t make a lot of sense or were simply illogical. I can usually suspend my disbelief easily but, this book made me roll my eyes way too many times for the amount I’ve read of it. I thought it would be better at that point to stop reading it instead of finishing it and having to review it. I’m sure a lot of people would enjoy this book, I thought I would (hence why I accepted a copy of this book in the first place) but, it’s sadly not for me. If you want to know more about the book, here’s the Goodreads page.

Posts Recap

This month was light on reviews which means that I’m now more than ever behind on reviews… 😦 I’ll do my best to catch-up in the coming months!

October Reading Plans

Since I’m not in a reading mood at the moment, I’m not going to be overly ambitious with my TBR, I have decided to only put five books on my “official” October TBR. If I read less, that’s okay. If I read more, that’s great.

Art by Sergey Nivens from

I would still like to participate in Spooktastic Read, an event hosted by imyril, Lisa and Jorie. It’s a shorter, spookier and more casual version of Wyrd and Wonder focusing on horror and dark fantasy. The event runs for 13 days (of course) from October 19th to October 31st. I don’t usually read a lot of spooky books but I own a lot of them so, I hope I can read a few of them during the event!

Here are the books I would like to read in October:

Yes, I know Phoenix Extravagant has been on at least three of my TBRs but, I am going to read it this month! For sure!!

That’s it for me, sorry for the long health ramble, I hope you are all staying healthy. Let’s all try to survive this horrible year together!

18 thoughts on “September Wrap-Up & October Reading Plans | Spooktastic Reads 2020

    1. Yes, my antibodies are quicker and more efficient now but it still sucks… I hope it will be the last time, even if my symptoms were mild, I don’t want to pass it on to people who are more at risk than me. 😦
      I’m excited to read it but I’m a bit anxious, I loved his Machineries of Empire series so much that I don’t know if I’ll enjoy Phoenix Extravagant as much. I’ve heard great things so hopefully, it will be a good one as well! 😀


  1. I use Scribd for exactly the same reason! I unfroze my account yesterday because I had quite a lot of cooking to do 😅 I tend to go for shorter audiobooks, so if you’re interested in those I can recommend Made Things or Walking to Aldebaran by Adrian Tchaikovsky, anything on there by P Djeli Clark, and I’m currently listening to In the Vanisher’s Palace by Aliette de Bodard which is so far good!
    I’m sad you didn’t like House of Styx more! I reaaaaally loved it.
    Enjoy your October books! I’ve read all of them except The Disposessed – our similar tastes continues 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for all your recommendations!! 😀
      My rating of The House of Styx might change after writing the review, I enjoyed the book but I didn’t think the pacing wasn’t as good as his other novels. I will definitely read the sequel but it something was missing for me. I’m glad you loved it though! 😉
      I’m reading The Dispossessed right now and it’s a great one! It has so many awesome ideas, I’m loving it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hope you feel better soon Maryam! ❤
    Am gobsmacked you still managed to read 10 things! And I'm looking forward to your review for Burning Roses.
    Love the look of your TBR for October – good luck! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hallo, Hallo Maryam,

    Sorry to see you’ve had an equally horrid September – I spent mine with 8x migraines – a new feat for me as previously I felt 5x was my top limit! 😦 The only time I was seriously ill this year was in February and since that was prior to everyone learning about the virus I’ll never know if that illness was or wasn’t the one everyone else had or has had again. I do know it was the worst I’ve been sick in a lot of years so I yielded on thinking ‘maybe?’. Living with chronic migraines is beastly but like you, I love Scribd! I started to get into audiobooks in 2016 – hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions (audiobook blog tours – links in my upper left sidebar) as a way to offset my migraines and to trade off reading stories in print. I never could read ebooks due to the migraines but I was strictly reading print back then. Also round that time I started reviewing Harlequin Heartwarming novels (which I’ve come to love!) which are in Larger Print.

    The two changes in my reading life had a lot of positive effects – I try to maintain my Scribd membership regularly as I love the immersive feel I have listening to the audiobooks. I had to distract my mind a bit as well – however, I like doing solitary tasks round listening – such as colouring, solitarie or knitting. I don’t have to overthink about what I am doing with those like I would cooking and I can fully invest into the stories themselves. Plus its easier to hit ‘pause’ if I want to write down some notes, etc.

    It is hard to say what to recommend as I don’t know your reading preferences / genres of interest – however, I am finding I also like shorter audios like 1-3 hours as much as I love 5-7 and sometimes 11+. I also borrow audiobooks via OverDrive & CloudLibrary through my libraries whilst I have some I’ve purchased through Audible as well. The new $7.95 plan with Audible is a draw for me as they have a lot of Classics I want to listen to on it.

    I can share my top narrators list with you: Jake Urry, Kim Bretton, Alison Campbell, Ann Richardson, Heather Henderson, Moira Quirk, Victoria Rily, Alex Lee, Elizabeth Grace and Aimee Lilly. Likewise, you’ll find loads of audiobook reviews & spotlights on my blog to help you find new stories to listen too. Nearly all are available on Scribd. If you love realistic Cosy Crime narratives due listen to the Rachel Amphlett series “Kay Hunter” featuring Alison Campbell’s narration – the whole series is on Scribd! I am one behind on that series and have it earmarked to listen to – hopefully before the end of #SpooktasticReads!

    Speaking of which – “The Paris Winter” and “The Lost History of Dreams” I sampled recently on audio as I never had the chance to read the ARCs I received in the past (health, life, etc) and are from my backlogue. I found the audios for them on Scribd and plan to listen to them this week whilst readin the books in hand. I love doing that – where I have the stories in print and I can listen to the audiobooks. Sometimes it helps with my dsylexia as well as I hear words the way everyone else does rather than how I interpret them, too.

    Overall, I hope you find some spookified reads on Scribd!

    If you drop by my blog – leave me notes on the posts/reviews you read/visit and let me know your thoughts on those audiobooks! I always write personal reactions and reasons to listening or wanting to listen to stories if I’m spotlighting them (for audio or print) whilst sometimes I spotlighted an audiobook for different reasons: the second Kay Hunter story back from the current one was due to time issues, some are DNFs and others I struggled to finish in time for my post deadline. I also add copious notes about how the audiobooks sound and how I felt as I listened to the story – from articulation, performance, characters vocalisations and overall reactions underneath my audio reviews.


    1. Hello Jorie!
      First of all, thank you for your very detailed comment!! 😀
      I’m sorry your month of September sucked too, I hope October is treating you better… Migraines are the worst, they are so exhausting, I’m glad aubiobooks are helpful when you can’t read physically!
      I will definitely check out the narrators your recommended, I have never read a cozy mystery, I usually read science fiction and fantasy stories but I also like to branch out and read outside of my comfort zone so I have to give this genre a try!
      I also prefer shorter audiobooks, I don’t know why but I focus better when the books are shorter on audio. I recently listened to The Ballad of Black Tom on Scribd and I had a great time! Now I’m listening to When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole and it’s also very good but maybe a bit too creepy for me. Listening to a realistic horror/thriller alone before sleep probably isn’t the best idea… 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hallo, Hallo Maryam,

    I didn’t mean to mislead you as Cosy Crime is what I use to describe Suspense and Thrillers which aren’t to graphic but can be a bit more intense and or descriptive than Cosy Mysteries which are lighter and tamer!!

    Liked by 1 person

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