My reading in November was nowhere near as good as it was in October, when I read 17 books, but I don’t mind at all because I still read 10 books, and I some of them were absolutely fantastic.
The Only Good Indians // 4 stars // Audiobook
Content warnings for animal harm and mutilation, murder, violence, body horror, gore.
Horror isn’t a genre I generally read much of, but I’d heard great things about this book and I’ve been wanting to read more books by Native American authors, so I thought I’d listen to the audiobook.
This is definitely one of the most eerie, atmospheric books I’ve read in a long time. Stephen Graham Jones does such a good job of filling the narrative with tension and unease. Throughout the whole story, we’re given the feeling that something bad is going to happen, and we’re just waiting to find out what it is.
The book didn’t scare me because I read most of it during the day time with other people around, but it really creeped me out at certain points, which seems to be exactly what the author was going for.
The Poet X // 4.5 stars // Paperback
Content warnings for violence and domestic violence, sexism, racism, discussions of sexual assault, discussions of homophobia and bullying.
I’ve owned a copy of this book for over a year now and I finally made the time to pick it up during Latine/Latinx Heritage Month. I’d heard so many great things about it and read so many positive reviews and it lived up to every last drop of hype.
Reading this book reminded me of the power of novels-in-verse and why I love them so much. They can create structure and styles that wouldn’t necessarily work in a prose novel, but blossom in verse.
Elizabeth Acevedo’s writing style is beautiful and I loved the emphasis on slam poetry, spoken word, and finding your voice.
In the Light of the Broken Moon // 3 stars // e-ARC
Check out my full review here.
I really enjoyed the characters and their interactions in this novella. Demya is a warrior, full of anguish and grieving for Aleksan, but she would do anything to protect Selena.
Selena is much softer and seems very innocent at times, but her desire for knowledge is strong and she loves Demya intensely. I didn’t know whether to trust Aleksan or not, but this added to the tension in the narrative, as I was constantly worried he was going to double-cross Demya and Selena.
The moments of romance made me keen to pick up book two, as the yearning in this book is STRONG. There’s also discussion of Demya, Selena, and Aleksan’s past polyamorous relationship, and hints that this will continue in later episodes, which I’m really excited for.
Star Wars: Resistance Reborn // 3 stars // Audiobook
Content warnings for violence, mentions of kidnapping, threats of torture, murder.
Set just after The Last Jedi, the story follows the Resistance after the battle of Crait as they try to band together and form a new plan of attack.
The plot was mainly travelling between planets and going on missions to recruit old or new members of the Resistance, which did start to get a little repetitive at times, but I picked this up more for the characters and they didn’t disappoint.
Having recently read Black Sun, I wanted to read more of Rebecca Roanhorse’s fantastic writing, and I really got a sense of her ability to vary up her style depending on the genre she’s writing. Roanhorse gets the characterisation of Poe, Finn, and Leia spot on and the narrator’s voice for Poe even sounded like him.
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin // 4 stars // Audiobook
Content warnings for death of a parent, kidnapping, violence, emotional manipulation, attempted murder.
I’ve been meaning to read this since it released a few months ago, and I’m so glad I finally got round to picking it up. The action and drama drew me in and I enjoyed the writing style and audio narration.
I also really liked Nadia’s character growth. She begins the novel as a grumpy, over-indulged princess, resistant to her role as future queen. But throughout the course of the story she realises what’s important to her and accepts her responsibilities.
I felt sorry for Malik at first because he was so naive and unsure of his own power, but he was also such a haphazard character at times that I didn’t warm up to him in the same way I did Nadia.
This book is heavily inspired by West African folklore and I loved the descriptions of the lore and mythology because they really enriched the world-building. Enemies-to-lovers is also one of my favourite tropes so, needless to say, I enjoyed that part of the story a lot. The plot did become a little repetitive at times with the assassination attempts, but I’m a sucker for a good tournament storyline, so that part was right up my street.
Blood & Honey // 2 stars // Audiobook
Content warnings for violence, almost drowning, on-page death, emotional manipulation.
This book had a lot of potential, but I think it suffered from a severe case of middle book syndrome. I remember reading somewhere that this series was meant to be a duology, but then got extended to a trilogy, and reading this made me feel like the author had only planned for two books.
The plot didn’t feel strong, and the narrative seemed to spend more time on the linking scenes between key moments, rather than the key moments themselves. There were scenes that I (personally) felt didn’t need to be there but there were other scenes I thought should have been included that weren’t.
The main characters spent so much time rehashing the same arguments again and again and a lot of the plot seemed to hinge on their miscommunication, which I found really frustrating. Their relationship felt like it was becoming toxic because of the amount of lying and emotional manipulation that was happening, and there were a few scenes that didn’t sit right with me in the way they treated each other.
Circe // 4 stars // Hardback
Content warnings for sexual assault and rape, violence and domestic violence, gaslighting, on-page death, death of a parent.
Circe has been on my TBR for more than two years since it released in 2018 and I’m so pleased I finally read it because I enjoyed it a lot. Circe is such an interesting character because she’s very self-critical and aware of her own limitations, but she continues to try and surpass these limitations again and again. Sometimes she actively tries to surpass them and sometimes it just seems to happen for her. I love a good underdog story so this was a really captivating part of the story for me.
Madeline Miller’s writing is so well-suited to historical fiction and to mythological stories. Her narrative makes the characters and settings come alive and, although I don’t think the writing was as lyrical as in The Song of Achilles (because this isn’t the same type of love story), her style is still exceptional.
Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow // 4 stars // Audiobook
Content warnings for death of a family member, grief, bereavement, gaslighting.
I loved this so much, it’s definitely one of my favourite reads of the month. If you want a wholesome romance between a passionate, ambitious girl who loves baking and a soft boy who’s trying to keep his shop afloat, set in a small (ish) town in Winchester, then this is definitely the book for you.
Lila is the kind of character that never gives up and eventually wins everyone over, and I loved seeing her grow and succeed in this story. Her Cuban heritage also plays a big part in the story and I liked hearing her talk about her family history.
This book is full of heart-warming moments, but it also discusses grief in a thoughtful, nuanced way, showing that there’s no one way that people grieve and that everyone handles loss differently.
I also really liked how this book showed a friendship break up and the consequences of that. It normalised the fact that plans change, lives grow apart, and we don’t always stay close with our friends from high school. But it also showed Lila reaching out and making the effort to try and mend a friendship, despite feeling hurt, which I thought was great.
Criminal Intentions: It’s Witchcraft // 4 stars // e-book
Content warnings for violence, graphic descriptions of gore and blood, murder, substance abuse, forced coersion of an individual through substance abuse, discussions of BDSM.
Seong-Jae and Malcolm are back on cases together after Malcolm’s sick leave and I was so happy to see them working together again. I love their dynamic and the way they bounce off each other, and I’m pleased this series is quite a long one, because I could honestly read 100 books of them just interacting and spending time together.
The yearning was STRONG in this book and I loved the fact that both main characters are starting to let each other in and show their feelings and emotions to each other in a more unguarded manner. They’re also starting to accept how they feel for one another and MAYBE EVEN ACT ON THOSE FEELINGS???
We got more discussion of Malcolm’s backstory in this book which was captivating, and we found out more about Seong-Jae’s sexuality. When he mentioned being on the ace spectrum my little heart imploded from joy. There were so many soft scenes throughout the story and I just love Seong-Jae and Malcolm so much. This series has definitely become a new favourite for me.
These Violent Delights // 4 stars // e-ARC
Content warnings for gore, violence, on-page death, murder, insects.
This book was so dramatic and tense that reading it felt like riding a rollercoaster. And I loved it.
The world building was fantastic. The glamour and excitement of 1920s Shanghai set against the gruesome backdrop of murders, gang in-fighting, and a monster. Chloe Gong’s writing style is wonderful; the way she sets the scene and describes the streets of Shanghai is completely captivating.
I thought the way the characters were matched with the characters in Romeo and Juliette was really clever and I loved the use of language in this story.
Juliette was definitely my favourite character. She’s bold, ruthless, decisive, and cares so much for her people that she’s willing to do anything to save them. Honestly, Juliette could step on me in her heels and I’d thank her for it.
Romeo is equally as decisive, but he definitely seemed less ruthless and as we find out more of their shared backstory, we understand his motivations and see how much he still cares for Juliette.
Aside from the very slow pacing in certain chapters, I loved this and I was shocked by some of the plot twists at the end. I’m really looking forward to book two.
Lockdown part two
At the beginning of November, the UK government announced that England would be going into a second lockdown for 4 weeks. As a result, I didn’t do much in November because all non-essential shops, restaurants, leisure centres and more were closed.
I continued working from home (as I have been for 6 months), went running a lot, and read plenty. I also started a few new TV shows and got addicted to watching let’s plays of Among Us on YouTube.
My sister’s birthday
It was my sister’s birthday at the end of November, but since we were in lockdown, we couldn’t celebrate it in person with her, as we’d planned. It was such a shame and I was sad not to be able to spend the day with her, but there was nothing we could do. Instead, we video called her a few times throughout the day and tried to make it as fun and enjoyable as possible.
In November it was also a year since I passed my driving test and bought my first car! It feels like a long time since then, but that’s partly because 2020 has lasted about 84 years. I haven’t had the opportunity to do very much driving in last 6 months because of the pandemic, but at least it mans my carbon footprint has been much smaller.
What did you read during November? Have you read any of these books?