Monthly Wrap-Up: November 2020

Hi everyone! Welcome to my October monthly wrap-up post. I am sure these will evolve over time, but for now I’ll include Book Coven book club, fave books you can buy now, books to look out for and books I want to read soon. November has really been about me applying for a promotion so it has been a bit light on the reading side of things. I have my interview tomorrow morning though so hopefully after that I can get back into things!

Book Club

Every month the mods of the Book Coven get us to suggest books that make up the book club bracket. We then vote all the way through to a final, and that’s the book we read together over the course of 3 weeks. Then the amazing Paragraphs and Pages asks us some super insightful questions and off we go. This month the club read The Once and Future Witches by Alix. E. Harrow – but I decided to skip this book having not been impressed with The Ten Thousand Doors of January.

Next month we are reading Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur which I’m really excited about. Look at the gorgeous cover!

Favourites

I did get to read a few really good books this month! The first one that really captured my attention was Piranesi by Susanna Clare. It has the same sort of vibes as The Starless Sea so if you loved that you will probably like the mind-twisting Piranesi. You can find my review here.

I read a couple of contemporary novels this month but my favourite was The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. It’s historical fiction but more recent. It’s a book with great social commentary and rich character development – I was gripped from start to finish despite it being character driven. You can find my review here.

The last book I’m going to put in my favourites is The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon – a book I decided to re-read this month. I think this one got me out of a bit of a slump – it was really fast paced and the last 100 pages or so are WOW. The only reason it didn’t get 5 stars from me was the info dumping at the beginning. You can find my review here.

Books to Look Out For

I did read one a couple of eARCs this month – The Awakening by Nora Roberts and Just the Two of Us by Ryu Hyang. The Awakening is a fantasy set in present day that I found really sweet. It had super innocent vibes and felt a bit like a warm hug.

Just the Two of Us is a romance that is so, so heart-warming. It is grumpy and sunshine at its best. The characters really made this book, which has been described as a k-drama in book form.

Next month?

I’m not sure what I’m going to read in December. My friends are doing a re-read of A Court of Thorns and Roses so I might join them for book 2 and book 3 since I read the first one earlier this year.

I will also read more of The Bone Season series, I can’t wait to re-read The Mime Order and read The Song Rising for the first time in preparation for The Mask Falling in January.

Anyway, wish me luck in my interview. I’m really nervous, but a good friend told me to pretend I’m excited about it and I think it works? Hope you guys had a great November! On to the last month of 2020.

Book Review: The Bone Season

Sorry it’s been a while again! I have an interview for the job I applied for on Tuesday so the prep is taking most of my brain space right now. I did manage to sneak in reading The Bone Season again! It’s been a long time since I read this book and I was interested to see what adult me would think of it.

The Bone Season is an urban fantasy – a genre that usually isn’t my favourite but I really enjoyed this book. There is a lot of info dumping at the beginning as part of the world-building and world history, but once you get over this hurdle it is a really fast paced, amazing book!

Star rating: 4 stars

Paige Mahoney is clairvoyant – unnatural, as the Scion government would call her. She’s not just any clairvoyant though, she’s a rare dreamwalker operating in a small gang called The Seven Seals under the notorious Jaxon Hall.

One day her luck runs out and she thinks she’s been captured by Scion, only to end up in Oxford, a town that was previously thought to be wiped out. Instead, it’s been invaded by an alien species (well, more supernatural than alien), who made a deal with Scion to be provided with clairvoyants to help them fight a threatening invading species.

What I love about this book is the romance. Honestly, it’s so, so good and definitely kept my attention the whole way through. It’s a master / apprentice kind of relationship which I love, and also paranormal! Love that. The guy in question is Warner, who there is a lot more to than there seems at the beginning. The scenes where Warner and Paige interact really bring this book alive.

The plot is very fast paced after the initial info-dumping which meant I finished this in less then 24 hours. I have read the sequel, The Mime Order, before too, but it has been so long and I’m really excited to get to it next!

Have you read any Samantha Shannon books? If you like high fantasy more, I highly recommend The Priory of the Orange Tree, it’s one of my favourites!

Book Review: The Vanishing Half

Literary fiction is usually either a big hit or a big miss for me. Fortunately, Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half is one of the best books I’ve read lately. A family drama spanning decades, this is a historical fiction with a diverse cast of characters with great characterisation. The central characters’ individual journeys are incredibly gripping and provide a haunting social commentary.

Star rating: 5 stars.

Desiree and Stella are twin sisters growing up in the small village of Mallard in Louisiana. Desiree is energetic and restless, where as Stella is reserved. They are often described as two halves of the same person. Desperate to escape their small town life, the girls run away together to New Orleans, starting a new life in their late teens. One day, Stella vanishes, and Desiree is left alone with no idea where her twin has disappeared to.

We follow Desiree and Stella as their lives diverge, and the lives of their daughters, cousins who do not know of each other’s existence. Desiree marries a Black man, Stella pretends to be white and marries a rich white man. Jude is Black, Kennedy is white. The daughters have two different upbringings, both completely different to their mothers and each other.

Stella’s choice to live her life as passing as white gives her many privileges, and her daughter Kennedy the same. But she is lonely and without her family, stuck as the housewife to a boring white guy when all she really wants is to go to college as she was unable to go when she was younger. Kennedy dropped out of college to pursue acting, much to Stella’s frustration.

Desiree’s husband beats her so one night she takes her daughter Jude and they run away. Returning to Mallard, Desiree sees her mother for the first time in years. It was only meant to be temporary but years later she’s still there, and Jude grows up in a town where her dark skin is judged and hated. Jude escapes this life, really making something of herself against the odds.

The best thing about this book is the contrasting stories and characters – all so well developed and individual. I was gripped from start to finish despite its slow pace. If you like books that really delve into what motivates and drives characters then this is a contemporary fiction for you.

Book Review: Piranesi

Hi guys! Sorry it’s been it’s been a little while I’ve been a bit tired! But I finally finished another book that I felt like I could review – and that is none other than Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. I’ve not read Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell yet, so this is my first book by Susanna. I am grateful it’s a much shorter book than her previous that’s for sure!

In the books I’ve read, the only book similar to Piranesi is The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. Both books present a different world accessible to only those that know how in an ordinary, modern world. Piranesi is short, but packs in a mysterious story full of strange events and puzzles for the reader to figure out. I’m not sure any of the revelations in the book came as a huge twist or surprise for me, but I enjoyed the book a lot.

Star rating: 5 stars

Piranesi is alone in a House – not an ordinary house, but a House with lots of different rooms that span kilometres. His only company is The Other, another man who Piranesi sees a few times a week. The House is full of many statues and sometimes the Tides sweep in and Piranesi has to run for cover and hope he doesn’t drown.

For a concept that’s quite abstract, I found the book to be very accessible. Susanna’s writing is very smooth and addictive in its descriptiveness. Piranesi exudes innocence and although said to be in his thirties, his narration (through journal entries) is very child like. I loved reading how he put his own story together page by page.

There are a small number of characters in the book, which I enjoyed because it gave me something to focus on in a bizarre world with a strange plot. The world itself would have been extraordinarily unique if I hadn’t already read The Starless Sea. It was interesting to see Piranesi use his incredible knowledge of the House, and to watch his interactions with The Other Develop.

Overall this was an intriguing book that I’m glad I picked up. It’s short but takes a while to read due to the complexity and pace, but I’d recommend it if you like abstract ideas with a little magic thrown in.

Six for Sunday (Children’s books you’d love to jump into)

Hi everyone! This week I’m participating in Six for Sunday, a meme hosted by Steph at A Little But a Lot. This month, the focus is a celebration of kids’ books, and this week’s topic is: Children’s books you’d love to jump into

1) Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. Okay so this isn’t exactly a kids book (it is about kids though!) but I would like to see what kind of world I’d end up in!

2) Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend. I haven’t read this series yet but it sound so cool and I’d love to hang out in what seems like a magical world.

3) You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson. If I was still at school I’d really want to be friends with Liz Lighty! She’s such an amazing protagonist.

4) The Magic Spell by Linda Chapman. Using this again. Who wouldn’t want a secret unicorn?

5) Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre (RIP Rachel). Again, a Young Adult but I’d really want to live in a space whale!!!

6) Loveless by Alice Oseman. OK I am cheating again and going for a YA, but I wish I’d had friends like Georgia does when I was at university.

I threw in some YA as well as Middle Grade since I don’t read enough kids books!

Sorry I’ve been a bit absent from blogging this week, I have been applying for a new job and work has been a bit chaotic!

Hope everyone is doing well, feel free to share your posts below.

WWW Wednesday (11th November 2020)

Hi friends, it’s time for WWW Wednesday again. So, what’s it about? This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived on Taking on a World of Words. Here are my answers to the three Ws!

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Master of Crows by Grace Draven. It sounded like something I’d like to read during this slight slump I’m in (I blame all the amazing books I read in October). I’m enjoying it so far!

What did you recently finish reading?

Recently finished an eARC of Just the Two of Us, a romance that follows the grump and sunshine trope that I love so much. This was honestly I surprisingly cute story about an intense doctor and a chef. It’s very slow-burn and ends on a cliffhanger which is really really frustrating for a romance novel!

What do you think you’ll read next?

No idea. I finally hit my reading wall of 2020 – I might read The Awakening by Nora Roberts. It seems cool and I’ve never really read any books by Nora Roberts even though she has published LOADS.

What do you think of these choices? I am so excited to make more progress on my to be read.

Let me know what you’ve been reading this week!

Top Ten Tuesday (Book Titles that Would Make Great Song Titles)

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This is my first Top 10 Tuesday post, and this week the theme is:  Book Titles that Would Make Great Song Titles

1) You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson. Could you imagine this song by a female solo artist or a girl band? I can!

2) Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Break-up song anyone? Funny because this book is actually debunking the whole idea that there is The One out there.

3) Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner. Can I have a gay love song please??

4) The Deep Blue Between by Ayesha Harruna Attah. I feel a country song with this one!

5) Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. I really love this title and feel like it would make a great song too.

6) 99% Mine by Sally Throne. I feel like this one could be a cool song too!

7) Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas. A ballad perhaps?

8) When the Stars Lead to You by Ronni Davis. Feeling another cute love song.

9) Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier. Not sure why I thought of this one! Just could imagine a fun song.

10) If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane. Yep, another break up song. Or perhaps a sappy love song?

What do you think of these choices? I had a lot of fun with this prompt! Feel free to share your posts with me in the comments.

Six for Sunday (Children’s books that would make brilliant graphic novels)

Hi everyone! This week I’m participating in Six for Sunday, a meme hosted by Steph at A Little But a Lot. This month, the focus is a celebration of kids’ books, and this week’s topic is: children’s books that would make brilliant graphic novels!

1) I would love to see a graphic novel of When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten. Just yes! It would look so pretty.

2) This Young Adult book is one of my faves of 2020. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn would look so incredible – I can imagine the art of the graphic novel already.

3) You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson is awesome, and I’d absolutely love to see it in graphic novel form (or a film / tv series, it’s literally made for that, please).

4) There’s Something About Sweetie is probably my favourite Sandhya Menon book to date and I’d love to see a graphic novel because Sweetie is one of my favourite characters! When Dimple Met Rishi got an Indian TV series too, so maybe we’ll see this on the screen someday.

5) Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman. This is a really important story that got it’s own TV series earlier this year. I think a graphic novel would be a really cool way to make it an accessible read for more people.

6) OK, so since Alice Oseman already has a graphic novel series called Heartstopper, I’d love to see her write and draw one for Radio Silence too. This is one of my fave YA novels and I’d love for more people to be reading it, whatever the format.

Love this prompt idea. I threw in some YA as well as Middle Grade since I don’t read enough kids books!

Hope everyone is doing well, feel free to share your posts below.

Fall Time, Cosy Time Book Tag

I was tagged in this by The Reading Addict! You should definitely check out their blog, it’s super cute. Let’s get into these prompts!

1. CRUNCHING LEAVES: The world is full of colour! Choose a book with red/orange/yellow on the cover.

Furia is one my favourite 2020 releases. You can check out my review here. I love soccer and girls who put themselves first. Camila is one of my favourite YA characters of all time.

2. COZY SWEATER: It’s finally cool enough for warm cozy clothing! What book gives you the warm fuzzies?

I can’t believe I’m talking about this book again but to me it feels like a warm hug. It made me take a long hard look at my outlook on life, but at the same time I feel seen and understood. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is just absolutely that book for me.

3. FALL STORM: The wind is howling & the rain is pounding. Choose a book that you like to read on a stormy day.

Ooooh not sure about this one. I think I’ll go with With the Fire on High just because it has such good imagery of warm spicy food that would be so comforting in a storm.

4. COOL CRISP AIR: makes you breathe freely~ Who’s the coolest character you’d want to trade places with?

Hahahahaha I have absolutely no idea who I would want to trade places with. Maybe Zara in Honor Among Thieves so I could meet Nadim.

5. HOT APPLE CIDER: warm autumn drink. What underhyped book do you want to see become the next biggest, hottest thing?

Legendborn is absolutely this book for me. It has so much potential, is perfect for TV and needs to be picked up now. Love it.

6. COAT, SCARVES, & MITTENS: the weather has turned cold & it’s time to cover up! What’s a book cover you don’t like?

Ooooh. I don’t know! I feel like Jade City? It’s one of my favourite books of all time but I’m just not a fan of the cover design. Definitely read this series though it is fantastic!!!

7. PUMPKIN SPICE: time for some Starbucks! What’s your favourite fall comfort food?

Not really sure! When I went to the US last year I had pumpkin bread for the first time. It was in May so it’s not exactly a fall food but it gives me that vibe and I really enjoyed having it for breakfast when we were in a rush and had to go to Starbucks.

8. WARM, COZY BONFIRE: spread the cosy warmth! Who do you tag?

Oooooh let’s do this!

The Book Berrie | Paragraphs and Pages | Linaria’s Library | Esoteric Elixir | Janel Allison | Whispering Stories | Colorful Bibliophile | Windows to Worlds

WWW Wednesday (4th November 2020)

Hi friends, it’s time for WWW Wednesday again. So, what’s it about? This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived on Taking on a World of Words. Here are my answers to the three Ws!

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Raybearer. I’ve only read a couple of chapters after a busy weekend, but I really like the concept so far and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

What did you recently finish reading?

The last book I finished was actually my really slow re-read of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. You all know how much I adore this book and it’s messages – I hope everyone who wants to read it gets to it soon! I also get my first illumicrate box today, I’ll have to do an unboxing post. I know the featured book is going to be Addie though! I can’t wait to see what they do with the cover design.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Trick decision. I have to get to reading my eARCs so I think I’m going to read The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre. Really excited to read this one!

What do you think of these choices? I am so excited to make more progress on my to be read.

Let me know what you’ve been reading this week!