November Reading Round Up

So... the year is basically over. That's ridiculous, isn't it? Oh boy. 

With November being National Novel Writing Month, I didn't get a whole lot of reading done since I was working on my novel. (I'll have a NaNoWriMo wrap-up post next week!) But, I find that kind of refreshing from time to time because in my spare time I also let myself focus on other things which I like when I'm hard-core working on my own book.

Some notes on how I review:

I rate books on a 5 star scale. One being the lowest, five the highest. Most of the books you see me review will get at least a 3 star rating because I enjoyed it. Usually, if I'm not enjoying a book, I don't finish it, and therefore won't have much of a review. Then, I also have included trigger warnings for people who find those helpful. If there are any I have missed, please let me know. 

These are all of my personal opinions on each book. If you would like plot summaries, click on the title of the book and it will lead you to it's Goodreads page. 

Also, when you see my use of the word "trope," do not take it as a negative comment, particularly with romance books. It is simply a term to express different standards in the genre. (Ex. friends to lovers trope)

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

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  • Genre: Classic Murder Mystery
  • Format: Audiobook
  • Rating: 3 Stars

I know... I'm awful that I only gave this book 3 stars. I feel like such a terrible person! I just... I found it boring. 

The premise is awesome. I love the setting of the train and the mix of people and how they all have different stories. The reveal is really cool and totally ahead of her time. Which is what makes it such a classic and I totally get why people love it so much.

But friends... I WAS SO BORED. The only things that kept me going were the fact that Dan Stevens was that narrator was AMAZING (seriously, I'll now listen to anything he reads. SO GOOD) and it was a classic so I wanted to see what all of the fuss was about. 

I'm glad I listened to it and I'll go see the movie, but overall not my favorite. 

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy: Other classic murder mysteries, travel, eccentric casts
  • Trigger Warnings: there's a lot of negative stereotyping of different nationalities and genders, violent murder (off screen), discussion of a child's murder

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

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  • Genre: Epic/Historical Fantasy
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Rating: 4 Stars

I was pleasantly surprised by this one, particularly as it got towards the end. It doesn't read quickly, but not slow either. Just a nice leisurely and enjoyable pace. I was liking the book the whole time I read it, but wasn't in love. Then as the plot started to wrap up I realized I was much more invested in the characters than I thought! It was moving and I definitely want to continue to the next book. 

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy: historical fantasy, light fantasy, something with a folk/fairy-tale feel, light romance
  • Trigger Warnings: on page rape (this was a big reason why this book doesn't have a full five stars, I had some issues because while the depiction of the aftermath and how it effected the main character psychologically was done well, I don't think it's necessary to have the actual event so detailed), animal abuse/death, violence, negligent parents
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  • Genre: Epic Fantasy
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Rating: 4 Stars

This is the third and final book in Schwab's Shades of Magic trilogy. (Although, I've heard she's writing a spin-off series set in the same world. I'm unsure of if it'll be the same characters or not.) I know of a ton of people who are completely in love with this trilogy, and I'm so happy they are!

I'm not one of them. I definitely enjoy it, and I see why so many people have fallen in love with this trilogy. The world is unique and I love the relationship the characters have with magic. The first book was okay, but the next two definitely got better. Out of the three, I think this one was my favorite. It was very character driven and I liked getting into their heads more. There just is something about this series which doesn't draw me in the way some of my other favorite fantasy books. It's purely a personal preference sort of thing. 

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy: the other books in the Shades of Magic series, epic fantasy, multiple worlds, strong emphasis on magic, m/m romance, f/m romance, pirates
  • Trigger Warnings: violence, torture, abusive flashbacks, pain

 

Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger

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  • Genre: Steampunk/Paranormal/Historical Romance
  • Format: ebook
  • Rating: 5 Stars

Well, this novella was all kinds of delightful and everything you'd want in a Gail Carriger book. Carriger writes Victorian Steampunk Paranormal and they're ridiculously entertaining and fabulous. It's funny, cute, witty, sexy, smart, and full of paranormal romance shenanigans. (This novella literally made me LOL. When what the last time you ACTUALLY laughed out loud while reading?) Many time with novellas I feel like they're lacking, but I never felt that way with this book. Also, it was fun to see characters from her other novels pop up!

If you aren't a fan of longing glances and sexual tension in a f/f/ romance... this book might not be for you. But if you're a total sap and love a cute romance like me, you'll love this one!

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy:  romance novels, F/F love interests, unrequited love trope, steampunk, The Parasol Protectorate series, Victorian England, vampires, werewolves, strong female leads, women dressing as men
  • Trigger Warnings: sexual harassment

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

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  • Genre: Science Fiction Novella
  • Format: ebook
  • Rating: 5 Stars

This is another one of those books I kept hearing about all last year and heard nothing but wonderful things (I believe it won a Hugo last year, but don't quote me on that), yet I haven't read it until now. Binti is a fast sci-fi read since it's barely even 100 pages. (I think it took me about an hour to read - maybe less.) So, if you want something good but don't have a lot of time, this will be perfect for you. Like Romancing the Inventor, in spite of it being a novella I didn't feel it was lacking at all. The world was beautifully built, Binti had a great character arc, and I loved how it was a classic space travel/coming of age/survival story while also exploring what it's like to be an outsider and moving to a new place where you need to learn how to hold onto your culture while also adapting to your new surroundings. I can't wait to read the next one!

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy:  space travel, survival stories, short stories, unlikely friendships, African culture
  • Trigger Warnings: graphic violence, loneliness, culture shock, homesickness, racism

Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger

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  • Genre:Steampunk/Paranormal/Historical Romance 
  • Format: ebook
  • Rating: 4 Stars

Another awesome Gail Carriger novella. This one featured the London werewolf pack and took place at Christmas. I loved getting to know Biffy more and seeing him as the alpha. It wasn't quite as Christmasy and swoony as I had hoped - but I still completely enjoyed this one!

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy:  bumbling men with babies, m/m romance, werewolves, paranormal, historical fiction, comedy of mannors
  • Trigger Warnings: child abandonment, cult-like religion

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melisa de la Cruz

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  • Genre: Contemporary Romance Retelling
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Rating: 3.5 Stars

This was a ridiculously fast and cute read. I read it within a couple of hours yesterday. It's a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice where the characters are gender bent. (Mr. Darcy is Darcy Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth is Luke Bennett. Also, Bingley and Jim Bennett are gay and make me happy.) The big downfall of this book is that everything felt rushed. All of the events in this book happen within a few days. (MAYBE a few weeks.) Imagine cramming all of the events of Pride and Prejudice to make them all fit within a couple weeks of the Christmas season? Yeah.
But, it's still fun. If you want a really well-done modern retelling, go watch The Lizzie Bennett Diaries on YouTube. Seriously, it's one of my favorite Mr. Darcy's. This book was fun though. It was exactly what I expected and wanted. It's a book version of a Hallmark Christmas Rom-Com. And sometimes, that's what you want and need. 

  • You'll like this book if you also enjoy:  Jane Austen, retellings, Hallmark Christmas Romantic Comedies
  • Trigger Warnings: heart-attack, panic attack, some drunken kissing and making out

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