November Reading Wrap Up

I tried to keep my November tbr small and still failed, but I managed to get through a fair amount of them! I didn’t finish up my Goldsboro or Illumicrate books, so I’m going to leave those for now and if I do finish my December tbr in good time I’ll squeeze them in before the end of the year.

Dracula by Bram Stoker is the classic vampire novel that I was finishing up from October. Truthfully I had been expecting to just find this fine. But I loved it! The character development was so engaging and the female characters? Actually being appreciated and fleshed out? *French kiss*.

Mindwalker by Kate Dylan is another book I was finishing up from my October TBR. It’s a fabulous Sci-Fi story

The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean is the final book that I was finishing up from my October reads.

Van Gogh by Meyer Schapiro is a book that I found in a charity shop in October. It is a non-fiction which shows large prints of selected van Gogh paintings alongside Schapiro’s thoughts and analysis on the work. It was a little overly academic for me at times, but I did enjoy learning more about this artist that I love.

Between Starshine and Clay by Sarah Ladipo Manyika was sent to me by the wonderful people over at Footnote, and I’m so very grateful because this book was fantastic. I really enjoyed how Ladipo Manyika told us the stories she was learning, utilising different styles and methods. We hear so many stories from wide across the diaspora and I will definitely be looking to learn more about every person included in this book!

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb is a book Celine wanted me to read, and now I have I totally see why. This book was amazing! Exactly the type of fantasy that I adore and oh dear I’m in love with this series just one book in! Watching the growth of this young boy, isolated from everyone around him, and the struggles he faces. The character development. All of it is just amazing and you all (if you enjoy fantasy) need to pick this book up!

How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie is a book that Hannah had put on my tbr for October, clearly it didn’t happen that month but I wanted it to still happen so I got in gear and read it in November. At the start I hated our main character, but I pushed through and I’m glad I did! This is such a wild book and a lot of fun. The ending? Frustrating. Honestly Mackie WHY. But apart from that? Fun!

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal is the book that Hannah actually put on my tbr for November, and again she picked an amazing book. This is set in London and follows a young British Indian woman who doesn’t fit in with the cultural expectations but ends up with a job in her local temple… teaching the elderly women how to write erotic stories. But this book is about so much more. It’s about racism, feminism, community, and culture. It’s a really beautiful book and one I’ll definitely be recommending! There are scenes of written erotica in here, as we see the widow’s stories, which as a Demi weren’t what I was here for. But I did enjoy the rest of the book.

Dune by Frank Herbert was my final read for November and I buddy read this with Eleanor (and Chels tried but life was lifeing). There weren’t any chapter breaks in this book, which obviously was an issue while buddy reading. So that was frustrating. And the synopsis is written badly in my edition as it spoils something which doesn’t actually occur until over 200 pages in. I think I’ll appreciate this book a lot more on reread but it was simply fine for this first read through. Now I need to decide if I’m continuing with the series or if I’m leaving this here.

I did also read some of Silver Under Nightfall of Rin Chupeco and The Whispering Dark by Kelly Andrew, which hopefully I’ll be finishing up before the end of the year. I’m enjoying both of them, Silver a lot more, and I hope that carries on as I finish up the books.

Overall I’m really happy with how this reading month ended up, with a fair few books read! What is the best book you read in November? I’m debating between Assassin’s Apprentice and Dracula!

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!

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco, a review (The Never Tilting World #1)

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco was a duology that was on my radar but I hadn’t thought to dive in. That was changed when Kari sent me both books (thank you!) and I knew that I’d enjoy them if they were recommended by her.

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

Enjoy this I did! This is a fantastic mix of sci-fi and fantasy. We’re in a world that has stopped spinning on its axis, meaning one half is frozen and the other burns under the sun’s heat. To fix this? Magic.

There are multiple POVs through this book, and whether they’re in the dark or the light is signified by a moon or a sun at the chapter start. But there are two characters in each hemisphere and there’s no distinguishing mark between them. That was my one frustration with this book, having to figure that out through context. Other than that, I adored our 4 POVs. They all brought really unique aspects and viewpoints to the story, without having unconvincing miscommunication.

The magic and science within the book were fascinating too. One hemisphere being boiling and one freezing is what would happen to the earth if it stopped spinning on its axis in real life, and I love that this was brought into the novel. But I also really enjoyed the magical aspect and how that was what caused the Earth to stop rotating in the first place (as well as being an aspect of the high born’s daily lives)

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 8, Atmosphere: 8, Writing: 8, Plot: 8, Intrigue: 8, Logic: 8, Enjoyment: 8, with an average of 8 (no surprise) and a 4.5* rating!

Highlight here for content warnings: abuse (mentioned), animal death, death (discussed), gore, harassment (mentioned), PTSD depiction, sexual assault (mentioned), violence, war themes.

This is such a great first book in a trilogy. I think the first two sentences of my original goodreads review sum it up well. “I have passed. I am deceased”.

Pick up this duology! Please!

September Reading Wrap Up ’22

How the HELL did I read so many books this month? It’s actually slightly ridiculous, but I suppose it’s a good thing to balance out the birthday books coming next month! w Overall I read nineteen books. 19. How? How?! I really don’t know, but here we are. I had an amazing month. Not complaining! I also managed to actually read my whole tbr within these books too, so overall I’m really pleased.

Now. Let’s dive into these books and their mini reviews

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was my first finished book of the month. This 1122 page behemoth is one I was reading for the MiddleEarthAThon and I was finishing up the final 500ish pages at the start of the month. My full review is incredibly in depth, so I’ll just say that I enjoyed this and I’m glad I’ve finally read all of the Sherlock books!

Leading on from my first read, I picked up The Essential Sherlock Holmes Stories from Running Press Mini. This is essentially just a summary of the Holmes stories and is a cute little shelf decoration.

Fake Law by The Secret Barrister was my “non-fiction of the month” and whilst it was incredibly anger inducing, it was also really insightful. It’s a discussion on how the law operates in England and Wales (as this is where TSB works) and how the media picks up and spins tales around cases to create headlines. A fantastic read and one I highly recommend.

Going for something a little different, a middle grade! The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan is the second book in the Kane Chronicles which is his Ancient Egyptian series. I enjoyed this book a lot more than the first, oddly enough, and it’s definitely invigorated my desire to finish up the series. And maybe even finally picking up Percy Jackson!

Then I finished my audiobook, Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko which is a fantastic YA fantasy that I should have picked up a while ago! I adored the magic system in this book, as well as the character development. I’m super excited to pick up the second book in this duology!

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin was gifted to me by my uncle (who runs a page called On This Gay Day that you totally need to check out) and I truthfully didn’t think I would like it because it’s very much a slice of life style read. But I loved it? I’m so into these peoples lives and I’m 100% carrying on with the series because I need to stay with these characters!

Gothic vibes seemed appropriate as we moved into Autumn, and The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss fits the vibes perfectly. Retelling classic Victorian stories of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Frankenstein, and more. This is a fantastical, gothical, historical, mystery and it’s so much fun. I’m excited to continue with this trilogy!

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jeanette McCurdy is one of the most hyped books right now, and seeing as I loved iCarly when I was a kid and the topic generally interests me? Well this was an obvious pick. It’s a rough read, but a very well written one and I’m glad I picked it up. This is one of my highest rated books of the month!

This month’s Goldsboro GSFF read was Lost in Time by A.G. Riddle, a Sci-Fi time travel read. This one was let down slightly because I was expecting more dinosaurs! There were less than 100 pages! But the mystery/time travel aspect of the book was so utterly fascinating that I can’t even complain that much. This book just needed to be longer!! Give me another 200/300 pages with the dinos in there and I’ll be happy.

Air Awakens by Elise Kova is a book I listened to via audiobook and hooooo boy did I not enjoy this one. It had so much potential in its plot and the magic system that Kova has created. But it’s completely ruined by the pining love story going on that takes centre stage. Very much not my sort of read.

Another audiobook, but a very different vibe, No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference by Greta Thunberg is a collection of her speeches to various organisations, reminding those in power that climate change is reaching irreversible levels and what we will lose. Very short (like 100 pages/1.5 hours) and a little repetitive, because it’s from different speeches. But good!

And then my final audiobook for the month which was Funny You Should Ask by the QI Elves. I love how they added in sound effects for this audiobook, it really added that something extra. A fun non-fiction with lots of random, quite interesting, facts!

Failure to Communicate by Kaia Sรธnderby is a sci-fi book with great autism representation, and after reading it, I felt like it has such Murderbot vibes! I struggled to put this book down, it’s so so readable and I adored learning about the xeno-liason job our main character holds. I’m definitely grabbing the second one in this series!

Unfortunately, the next book wasn’t such a hit. Raging Star by Moira Young is the final book in the Dustland trilogy (with Blood Red Road as the first book). I… would have DNF’d this if it wasn’t the final book in the trilogy. The concepts in here were fab but Young just absolutely fails at writing and fleshing these out. Such a disappointment.

The first book in a duology, The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco, is just so good. This has fabulous worldbuilding, fascinating characters with fantastic development, and a great plot! I just wish it was made a little clearer which character’s POV we’re reading from when it switches. Super excited to finish this duology!

Then for a book I read all in one day, The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuka Natsukawa is the most fantastical Japanese cat book I’ve read. This one is actually a fantasy read, unlike many of the others I’ve read previously. I really enjoyed it! It’s not my favourite (The Travelling Cat Chronicles has my heart) but I did very much enjoy it. A book for readers as well as cat lovers.

Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi is the prequel to Pet, and whilst I didn’t love this as much as I loved Pet – I still loved it. It gives us so much depth to this world and to Jam’s parents, as well as about some of the adults in Jam’s life! This is, in my opinion, one to definitely read after the book it prequels. You’ll get a lot more depth out of it then.

We’re technically at the last book I finished in September! My Name is Monster by Katie Hale was not what I expected from this book. A lot more about humanity and motherhood than about survival after a sickness. Despite that I did still think it was a good review. Something I think mothers would get a little more out of than I did.

And then I feel like I should mention Babel by R.F. Kaung. This will be short because I technically finished this on 1st October, but damn is this book good. It’s a slow, deep, and beautiful read.

And that’s what I managed to read in September! 6245 pages in total, which is just ridiculous. And I’ve gotten my physical tbr down to 101 books! (ugh if I’d just finished Babel it would’ve been 100!). Just in time for my tbr to jump up massively because of birthday gifts in October! ๐Ÿ˜…

What’s the best book you read in September? I’m really struggling to pick just one! But I’m Glad My Mom Died definitely has a high spot ๐Ÿ’–

My September TBR!

At this very beginning of September I’ve been finishing off my reads for the MiddleEarthAThon, so that has delayed me starting my actual tbr. It’s also tempting a slump because WOW I read a lot ๐Ÿ˜‚ but that’s why this tbr is a little late.

Ironically, my video version wasn’t late – so if you’d rather see this in video form then check it out!

But now onto the list version of my tbr! I do have one “secret” book on my tbr, that you folks won’t find out about until mid-October at the earliest. I really need to get reading on that one!

Babel by R.F. Kuang is one of the most hyped books of this month and I’m so excited to dive into this diverse dark academia. I’ve not read anything by Kuang yet (The Poppy War is on my tbr still) and so I really hope I enjoy her writing style – I have hope! This one was, of course, from my Illumicrate subscription.

My Goldsboro GSFF subscription brought me Lost in Time by A.G. Riddle and it’s definitely something very different to what I usually pick up! A man is sent back to the time of the dinosaurs as a punishment but he has to get back to the modern day. Sounds wild and I’m here for it.

Then for the Middle Grade Magic readathon which is taking place from the 1st to the 11th September I’m wanting to read two books. One is Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko which I’m wanting to read via audiobook, a YA high fantasy, magical, queer read. Always here for that and I’ve heard wonderful things. The other book is The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan, the second book in his Ancient Egyptian series The Kane Chronicles. This is one of the few middle grades that I have a physical copy of so it was the obvious choice.

And then I have four books on my general tbr, along with a fifth for my tbr jar pick.

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin is a piece of classic LGBTQ+ literature that was gifted to me by my uncle (who runs this amazing page called On This Gay Day) and I’ve been meaning to read for a while!

Then one that I keep hearing amazing things about, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss. Now that I’ve read more gothic literature, I’m excited to dive into this book that utilises both those tropes as well as the famous characters from these books, and I’ve heard the communication style is unique.

It’s been a while since I read a dystopian so I’m finally going to pick up Raging Star by Moira Young and finish the Blood Red Road trilogy. I’ve had this on my tbr for so long now that it’s slightly ridiculous. Time to finally read it!

Failure to Communicate by Kaia Sonderby is my last book before the jar and this is a sci-fi read that has autistic representation that I’ve been told is wonderful. It’s also an indie-published novel which I always love supporting!

And then for the jar. I went through the jar with Caitlyn from Mad Cheshire Rabbit and added and removed some entries – from the newly refreshed jar I picked out……

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco! (which was gifted to me by Kari from Kar-ing for Books) This is a sci-fi fantasy read where the planet has stopped rotating. One half is freezing and the other is boiling – but the two must work together. I’m excited to try out this one.

And that’s my tbr. As always it’s far too big but fingers crossed I can get through all these reads and that I enjoy most of them, we’ll have to wait and see ๐Ÿ˜‰

What are you most excited to read in September? I’m assuming for most of you the answer will be Babel! I’m super excited for that one too!!