Apparently, the month of November is always actually a really busy month for me, and I never really realised this before. But this year, I’ve been trying to push reading a little further and make sure that it isn’t actually taking a back seat to the rest of the things that I have to do. I will make time for it.
This month I managed to read a grand total of 15 books, which is frankly, incredible.
The Hundredth Queen – Emily R. King
The Hundredth Queen was a book with an interesting premise, lots of potential, but that failed to live up to what it could have been. I read this as a free eBook through Kindle unlimited, and I’m honestly quite glad that I didn’t pay for it. It’s a fantasy series, where the main character has been chosen to be the Rajeh’s 100th bride. She must fight for this right against his other brides and many courtesans, but along the way, she falls in love with another and discovers her own power. Sounds great right? I just wish it had been executed well. I gave it a 3 as a generally ‘okay’ read when you can get it for free and don’t have anything better to read, but I wouldn’t suggest picking this up otherwise.
Moxie – Jennifer Mathieu
I struggled through this novel, and in the end, it was a good thing, as the better part of the rating and review comes from the last 50 pages, but having to read 250+ pages before this, that I disliked and felt were full of weak clichés made this book unbearable. I have so many post-it notes in this for the things that I dislike, that I ran out of the colour that I use for this, and in comparison, I only used like 5 or 6 for things I did like. I wanted to be fair to this book and give it a really good go. I tried. But I’m very glad that it is over.
Hate List – Jennifer Brown
A novel of epic proportions which seriously hit me in the feels. I thought Hate List was incredible and will definitely be picking up more of Jennifer Brown’s novels in the future. I think the characterisation was spot on, the writing was well paced and framed excellently, and I loved the interview with Brown after. I would suggest that everyone reads this novel, and I mean, everyone. There are a lot of triggers in this novel, but what is most important, is that there is hope. While this does not necessarily offer a path ‘through’, it shows that there can be a future and that there is no right or wrong way to get there. I love that message, and I support it 100%. Please read this.
The School for Good and Evil – Soman Chainani
This was a funny middle-grade novel which plays with the stereotypical tropes of fairy tales. I really liked to hate Sophie, which I think is the whole point, right until the end. The best part of this is the ending. The way that it plays with the moral story was fantastic. There are also some really nuanced moments in this novel, such as when Tedross believes that Agatha cannot be a princess as she doesn’t listen to the commands of men. This was such a clever, and ironic moment, that it really made me smile. I listened to the audiobook for this and although that is okay, I think it made the story a bit too slow for me, and I didn’t enjoy all aspects of the performance. If I read any more of these (which is the plan) then I will be reading these, rather than listening to them.
This Savage Song – V E Schwab
I didn’t find myself transported to this world as quickly as I was hoping. The Archived drew me in immediately, but for This Savage Song, it took around 70 pages before I was completely entranced. However, once I hit that point, I could not put this book down. I felt that this story played with some of the romantic tropes, rather than focusing on them, and I loved that fact. It felt like a much more natural progression and made a lot of sense to me. I enjoyed reading this, especially the second half of the book, and could not wait to binge the next book.
Our Dark Duet – V E Schwab
I picked up Our Dark Duet immediately after finishing This Savage Song. I was already within the world and it was easy to switch from one book to the other. I was looking forward to the fact that this was a duology. It felt like a perfect way to binge read something, and I also knew that there would be a definite ending here. I loved that fact because I wanted to feel that closure. The ending definitely didn’t disappoint. It made reading the duology worth it, just for the perfectly epic and beautiful way that the series ended. I came to love the characters, especially Isla and Allegro, and I’m sad to be leaving them, but also glad in a way that their story has come to an end. I think Schwab seems to have excelled here in making a story that is pure, unadulterated, entertainment – while managing to say some very serious things without you even noticing. For me, this was a fantastic duology. I’m eager to read the Darker Shades series now, so as soon as I get the third book, I will definitely be binging all three of them.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton
This is an e-book I received through, so I’m not allowed to review this just yet. I have been allowed to put some information up on Goodreads though – so take a look at some brief thoughts there!
One of Us is Lying – Karen M Macmanus
I thought the first part of this book was quite slow and I wasn’t sure that I would enjoy it. But after being pulled in by the characters a bit more in the second part of the book, I felt much more invested. I was glad I stuck with it because it turned out to be a very good mystery, with great characters, awesome relationships and some good twists. The comparisons to The Breakfast club are definitely true and I love that.
The Language of Thorns – Leigh Bardugo
I am not very fond of short stories or fairy tales – which is odd, considering I like to write them. I find it really hard to get into the world or care about the characters and for me, that is all I want from my reading experiences. So I couldn’t like this book as much as I was hoping. There were two stories I did enjoy. I thought the Witch of Duva was excellent and I enjoyed the cleverness of The Too Clever Fox. The ending of both these tales was very twisty and I really liked them,
They were enough to get this book the rating alone. The other tales I barely remember.
Stone Cold – Andrew Lane (Young Sherlock Book 7)
Stone Cold is not my favourite Young Sherlock novel, but I did enjoy it as a mystery and adventure novel that kept me thinking and returned me to a world and set of characters that I enjoy. I think that it lacks the overriding villain and main plot, which is why this struggles, and I was really missing some of my favourite people. However, that didn’t stop the fact that Matty and Sherlock are still great and I still liked this book a lot.
Franny and Zooey – J D Salinger
Franny and Zooey is like a terrible version of The Bell Jar. It is pointless, overblown and really should never have been written. I like Salinger in general, but I think Franny and Zooey is everything that is bad about his writing and nothing that is right. Unfortunately, I couldn’t finish the last 20 pages of this because I just needed to move on, it was draining my will to read.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – Mackenzie Lee
This is basically a Casanova style novel that lacks a charismatic main character. Monthly is an oaf and an ass, and I honestly couldn’t care less about him throughout the entire thing.
Felicity was the only main character I cared about at all, so I’m glad she had that ending, but I don’t really care what happened to anyone else and this book just wasn’t for me.
Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer – Rick Riordan
A fun, adventurous romp through a mythical and majestic modern world with characters who are funny, friendly and completely themselves. The characters dragged me along on their fast-paced adventures and had me turning page after page. I thought the different gods were amusing and well used, though it does risk feeling like a kind of list of Norse mythological figures. The main group had a lot of heart between them, and their hopes became my hopes, I saw their victories as well earned and felt their struggles. A very enjoyable read.
They Both Die At The End – Adam Silvera
I was heartbroken as I finished this book. There is a quiet simplicity to the ending of the text that is fitting, gentle and devastating. I cannot say more about this incase it ruin the book, but it was unexpected for me, and I was left shaken by it. This book surprised me and moved me. It had a.m slower pace than I expected, which I really appreciated, and the contemplative mood was nicely balanced through the additional small snippets of other people’s lives/deaths. Tension was added through this and a consequential narrative was created without being dwelt in. I also thought the world presented was curious and strikingly commonplace. The dark humour made me laugh, and the humanity made me cry. I would recommend.
The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
Another really good book to end the month. This was really simple and elegant. It’s a very short book but manages to tell the story of someone’s lifetime in a way that makes you feel connected and enthralled. I also think that this was not over the top – the main character believes that he has done nothing with his life, but through this story, you discover that he has lived a really interesting life, especially due to how ordinary his life seems. I really loved the main character and those who touched on his life were intriguing. I think each person definitely added to his story, and there are some beautiful quotations in his novel that will stay with me.