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 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.