November TBR Time!

Is this tbr a little late? Yeah! But better late than never ๐Ÿ˜…

October did not go great for me reading wise, but it gave me the reality check I needed that reading is a hobby that I’m supposed to enjoy, not stress about. So although I’ve got a fairly big tbr for November, I’m not going to stress if I don’t manage to read all the books.

I’m also transferring books over from last months tbr, so let’s start with those before I move onto the new books on the list.

Dracula by Bram Stoker is a well known Gothic classic, and one that I got over halfway through in October. I’m really enjoying it so far and looking forward to finishing up the story.

Illumicrate’s book for last month, The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean is a horror standalone set mainly in the north east of England (love) about people who eat books and people who eat minds. I’m only about 20% of the way into this one but it’s another I have high hopes about enjoying.

And then Goldsboro’s GSFF book last month was Mindwalker by Kate Dylan. A YA Sci-fi with Marvel vibes, this is definitely a fun one and I’m looking forward to the conclusion.

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb is one of my “12 in 12 months” books and I’d like to be able to at least make a good dent in all of those. It’s also a high fantasy, which I’ve not read for a while.

And the last for transferred books is How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie. I only read 35 pages of this last month so I’ve barely scraped the surface of this one, but I’m intrigued and always down for a death themed read.

Now onto the books that are new for this month.

The wonderful people over at Footnote sent me Between Starshine and Clay by Sarah Ladipo Manyika, which is a non-fiction work where Ladipo Manyika has conversations with people across the African diaspora. It sounds completely fascinating and I’m really excited to dive in.

Then we have this month’s Illumicrate read: The Whispering Dark by Kelly Andrew. This has own voices deaf representation and seems like it’s going to be a dark read. Right up my street.

Goldsboro GSFF for this month is Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco. I loved The Never Tilting World so I’m excited to read this vampire book from them, I’ve not read a vampire book in years!

Then Dune by Frank Herbert is also on my “12 in 12 months” list so I’m trying to squeeze this one is as well, buddy reading it with Eleanor and Chels. This is a classic sci-fi space opera and the first time I’ve dove into one of those. Hoping I enjoy it!

And the final book on my tbr is Erotic Stories for Punjabi Women by Balli Kaur Jaswal, one that Hannah from Ladette M put on my tbr for this month. This is a contemporary, which I don’t usually read. But I trust Hannah so I’m looking forward to diving into this one!

And that’s the tbr! Like I said, if I don’t read these books it’s not the end of the world. Fingers crossed I do but I’m just taking it easy and looking after my mental health.

With us being almost half way through the month, I hope that your tbr is going well! Good luck for the rest of November!

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, a review

I read the Wordsworth edition of this book: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde with the Merry Men, and other stories by R.L. Stevenson. I’m going to touch on the other stories, but my primary focus of this review will be Jekyll and Hyde.

I’d seen online that Mrs Stevenson had actually thrown the first draft of this book in the fire after she read it. And I am clapping her for this. Because what even was this? This book had so much potential.

I’m not sure if it’s simply because we’ve had so many more books and stories since this was published in 1887, but it was so anti-climactic. We’ve all heard (or at least in the UK it’s pretty common) of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. One is a horrific monster! One is a lovely scientist. Well the two are actually pretty opposite to each other.

I don’t think Stevenson really noticed that.

I’m taking the piss, of course I am. But seriously in terms of modern day literature not enough of a difference is made between the two. If this was real life then Hyde would indeed be a monster, but having this hyped up to me all my life as a horror story I did expect just a little more from our monster. Highlight here for a minor spoiler: Hyde murders a man and then runs away and hides as though in shame.

This is the only real piece of violence we see from our “monster”. I did enjoy, however, seeing Jekyll attempting to live with his morals despite knowing what “he” has done. Those discussions and seeing his angst was incredibly interesting.

And now we delve a little into The Merry Men and Other Stories. I’m not going to be giving an individual review of these. What I will say is this. I’ve DNF’d this book, mid story. This story being the second to last in the book. I struggled through all of the others.

R.L. Stevenson’s writing in these short stories is just awful. It’s completely boring. He takes really interesting sounding plots and just butchers them. I hate saying this about a Scottish author cause I’m half-Scottish and always here for the rep. But yeah he is just… not my fave?

For my rating on CAWPILE I gave: Characters: 5, Atmosphere: 5, Writing: 2, Plot: 7, Intrigue: 2, Logic: 2, and Enjoyment: 2 which gives a score of 3.57, leading to a 2* rating.

I’m glad I read Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Just to say that I’ve read the original and to understand adaptations a little better. But I’m not a fan of Stevenson’s writing and I likely won’t be picking up anything else by him again.

Resurrection, a review

In the Dead Famous Readalong we’re finally onto the second season of the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy with Resurrection! Val is back, and shit is still weird.

As with all the Skulduggery books so far, this is a reread for me. When I read this the first time around I gave it 5 stars. I mean Val and Skul-man were back! What else was I supposed to give this?! But second time around? Well I’m a little older and able to be a little bit more critical.

I adored the character development that we got in this book. Valkyrie has been through a lot in the previous 9 books, and now we get to see her struggling with PTSD. In my (limited) viewpoint it’s handled pretty well. i.e. she’s damn struggling.

There has been a lot, however, that felt like it needed to be shoehorned in. This series wasn’t supposed to continue past book 9 and Landy needed to build enough in this book to span us onwards. Whilst sometimes it was done cleverly, there were also some points where it jolted. And it felt that there were a lot of Valdugery ship moments. Which I am 100% NOT here for, just to be clear.

But I adore Omen, he’s such a cute bean. And there is a lot better representation in these books (which I’ve learnt after scouring reviews is because of some backlash again one of the books in his Demon Road series: Desolation). We have a lot more in the way of characters of colour and various sexualities and genders. It’s not done perfectly, but I have the privilege of hindsight to know that it gets better, so please do stick with it!

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 8, Atmosphere: 7, Writing: 8, Plot: 7, Intrigue: 7, Logic: 7, and Enjoyment: 8, which gives an average of 7.43 and a 4* rating.

I’m still really looking forward to continuing on with this series and I am SUPER excited to read the final book!

Cathy’s Key, a review

The second book in the Cathy Vickers Trilogy, this is a series that I intended to read so many years ago and I’m excited that I’m finally making progress!

This series follows a teen girl as she’s dating an older man (who happens to be immortal) whilst navigating her relationship with her parents, her best friend, and some other immortals that have taken a real disliking to her.

If you wanna check out my review of book one, Cathy’s Book, the click here!

I picked these books up originally because of the multi-media style formatting. Each page is just covered in doodles and I love looking at them and seeing how they relate to the content we’re reading. There are also centre pages in my edition that have similar content to the extras that were loose with my edition of book one. They add so much extra to the story and really make you feel more engrossed.

This is definitely a YA series and I would’ve been so much more obsessed if I’d read this at the time I actually bought them (see my first review for more of that story) but it still holds enough of its own that in my mid-20s I’m still enjoying it!

I’m really interested to see what happens in the last book. They’re such short books that there can’t be that much more but I have so many questions! I just hope they’re all answered.

On CAWPILE I gave this book: Characters: 8, Atmosphere: 7, Writing: 6, Plot: 7, Intrigue: 7, Logic: 6, and Enjoyment: 7, which gives an overall total of 6.86 which is a 3* read.

Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t my new favourite books. You can probably tell that. But at the same time they’re really fun, I adore the doodles and the friendship and the refreshing portrayal of the parental relationship is nice to read too (although ever so slightly tropey). Let’s see how book 3 does!

Rogue Protocol, a review

Yes I did read yet another Murderbot book, no I won’t be accepting judgement. Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells is the third novella in the Murderbot Diaries series. We follow an AI unit who really does not want to have to deal with humans. And yet here they are.

Yet again I really enjoyed this book. It was so fun to see Murderbot engaging with other bots, and in a really interesting way this time around (spoiler free so I can’t say much more than that!)

In this book we get to see Murderbot become a lot more adept at dealing with humans, as well as understanding their emotions (and their own) a lot better than previously. I adored the stark contrast we had between Murderbot and one (god damn adorable) character and Murderbot’s reaction to this themselves.

On CAWPILE I gave this book: Characters: 9, Atmosphere: 9, Writing: 10, Plot: 8, Intrigue: 9, Logic: 9, and Enjoyment: 10. That gave me a total of 9.14 which to nobody’s surprise is a 5 * rating.

This Sci-Fi series is one of my absolute all time favourites and I’m still so so grateful to Veronica from Veronica’s Shelf got me into this series and clearly made my life infinitely better! So excited to read more of these!

The Dying of the Light, a review

This is the ninth book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy and was originally intended to be the last. Which means this was supposed to be the big finale. And oh boy did Landy deliver.

This is an amazing “last” book. So many people died. My heart was broken so many times. And this is a reread for me! I’ve read this book a few times, but most recently I’ve been doing a full series reread along with the Dead Famous Readalong. So this was impacting me when I already knew the story.

We have sharp twists and turns, where nothing is anything like it seems whilst we try to avoid the “big evil” (look I’m trying to be spoiler free), and Landy engineers this in a way that wraps up so much about the world and all those loose ends that we’ve had floating around from the previous books.

Don’t get me wrong, the book isn’t perfect. Some things didn’t quite make sense, with the plot being a little choppy in places, but regardless this was still a fun read.

For my CAWPILE ratings I gave this book: Characters: 9, Atmosphere: 10, Writing: 9, Plot: 8, Intrigue: 8, Logic: 8, and Enjoyment: 8. That gives an overall score of 8.57 which is a 4 star book.

It’s not perfect. But this was a good book and even better when knowing we still had more of the world to delve into.

Five Forget Mothers Day, a review

I’ve managed to take so long to do this review that it’s now timely! Cause in the UK, Mother’s Day is on the 27th of March (less than 2 weeks away, shop people! Shop!) This is one of the parodies that Bruno Vincent has published of the Famous Five and because I loved those books as a kid I’ve been trying to collect them all!

This one was technically gifted to me. No I’m not a mother! I actually bought it for my own mum, and she read and enjoyed it (she’s where I get my love of the Famous Five from) but she doesn’t keep books and so considering I’m collecting them all the book came back to me ๐Ÿ˜‚

This is such a fun parody. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve not enjoyed all of these parodies I’ve read. But this one is all about how Aunt Fanny doesn’t feel appreciated, how George is trying her damn best to be a good daughter (yet failing spectacularly), and how eventually mum will get her way!

A fun little read that I gave 3 stars and I’m happy to have on my shelves!

๐ŸŽ…๐ŸปMerry Christmas!๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿป


Merry Christmas to all of those who celebrate today! I am one of those such people and this will actually be my first ever year celebrating without being with my parents. I’m going to be with my partner and his family instead which will be lovely, but quite odd.

I most likely won’t be reading anything at all today. I’ll be helping my mother in law with the cooking most likely and then eating as much of the food as I can!

If you celebrate Christmas I hope that you have a wonderful day celebrating! If you don’t then I hope you have a wonderful ordinary December day!

Image ID: A stack of books on a white shelf alternating between read and white spines. There is a small plush Santa on top of the stack. The books from bottom to top are: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, The Eternity Code by Eoin Colfer, Sabriel by Garth Nix, A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab, The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, Vox by Christina Dalcher, and Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas

What books do you associate with Christmas?


It’s Christmas Eve Eve! And what’s better than a nice Christmass-y The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to get us into the seasonal spirit!

Narnia was one of my all time favourite series as a child. I know these books off by heart and I can fall back into their worlds at any moment.

As an adult I’ve noticed some… issues when I reread them. So I probably wouldn’t give them to a child now. But for me? With the nostalgia? I’ll always love them, and this book itself will always make me think of Christmas!

Image ID: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis laid flat, surrounding the book on all sides are other open books

Touch, a review

I definitely read Touch by Claire North at the wrong time. It should definitely not be read during a panini!

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We follow a being which doesn’t have a body of its own. Instead it utilises other peoples bodies by touching them to take possession. Now this wouldn’t have been a problem in and of itself, but there is one scene where the entity is attempting to flee and does so by running through a crowd and flitting between all of the bodies that they happen to touch against as they run.

Like I said, bad timing to read this because what do you mean touching people outside on a busy street?? I’ve been in pretty stringent isolation through the entire two years we’ve been in this global pandemi lovato so touching people is a foreign concept to me right now.

This, if you couldn’t tell, just fully pulled me out of the book. It’s not a judgement on the author at all because this book was published back in 2015, probably the last time the world felt vaguely normal.

Other than this I really enjoyed the concept that the book played with of consenting and unconsenting bodies used for these entities to jump around and explore the world in. It wasn’t quite as good as The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August or The End of the Day but still enjoyable nonetheless and I’m excited to read some more from North in the future!

Have you read anything from Claire North? Let me know what you thought of it!