Tuesday, 5 December 2017

November Reading Wrap-Up

I am pretty impressed with myself.
Why? I hear you ask
Because I'm a slow reader that's not why I'm impressed hear me out

I'm not one of those people who can read 10+ books in a month. BUT...in November I read six books.....yes SIX BOOKS...which is amazing for me! 

Before we get into all the books I read this month, I have a few pieces of news. Little snippets, if you will...

I have been subscribed to the wonderful FairyLoot book subscription box for over a year now and I can honestly say that I have never been disappointed with one of their boxes - in fact - I feel like FairyLoot are really stepping their game up right now and the boxes keep getting better and better! 

I unboxed the Ladies That Slay November box over on my Instagram stories and also posted a full, detailed unboxing over there too. So head over to my Instagram to read more about what came in this month's AMAZING box in more detail. 

Oh...and don't forget to follow me while you're over there 

I did something very exciting in November....I went to a Sarah J Maas event!! Sarah is one of my favourite authors and when I heard that she was coming to Manchester for her Tower of Dawn tour I HAD to get a ticket - so I did!!

The event was fantastic - waiting outside in the queue was freezing - but the event was fantastic. Sarah gave a talk and then we all got our signed books. Charlie Bowater (the artist) was also there and it was really interesting hearing how she interpreted Sarah's books into her own art form. 

Going to this event gave me the Event Bug (it's a real illness, google it - except don't because I'm lying) and I just want to go to them all now! I will definitely be keeping my eye out in the future. 

And now onto the books I read in November...

First up I read Golden Son by Pierce Brown. I picked up Red Rising in October and was so close SO CLOSE to putting it back down again. I just could not get into it. So I had a little gander on Goodreads and so many reviews said to stick it out past the 100-page mark and it starts to pick up from there....so I did...and I am soooooo glad that I did. I loved Red Rising. The world that Pierce has created is so incredibly unique, his characters are amazing and the story was just.....WOW! So obviously I had to pick up the next book in the series. Golden Son was a little slower than Red Rising, and like the first book this one takes a bit of work to get into but its SO worth it. I listened to this one on audiobook which was really good and I'm tempted to get the third book Morning Star on audio too but I'm getting the physical copy for Christmas so it will be a little rude not to actually read it....hmmm. Anyway...4 out of 5 stars for Golden Son. 

(to avoid spoilers I haven't added the Golden Son description....here is the Red Rising one)

'Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.
Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.
But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.
Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.'

I'm pretty sure I started Slasher Girls and Monster Boys in October because I wanted to read something spooky...but I didn't finish it until November because sloooooow. This book is edited by April Genevieve Tucholke and features creepy short stories from lots of amazing authors. I really enjoyed this anthology and some of the stories actually freaked me out big time (In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan I'm looking at YOU!). My favourite stories in the collection are: 

The Flicker, The Fingers, The Beat, The Sigh by April Genevieve Tucholke
Sleepless by Jay Kristoff
In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan

The other stories didn't hit me as much as the ones above but I gave the overall collection 4 out of 5 stars and would love to read something like this again in the future. 

'For fans of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Lois Duncan, and Daphne Du Maurier comes a powerhouse anthology featuring some of the best writers of YA thrillers and horror A host of the smartest young adult authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke.Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. There are no superficial scares here; these are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror to supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill.Fans of TV’s The Walking Dead, True Blood, and American Horror Story will tear through tales by these talented authors:Stefan BachmannLeigh BardugoKendare BlakeA. G. HowardJay KristoffMarie LuJonathan MaberryDanielle PaigeCarrie RyanMegan ShepherdNova Ren SumaMcCormick TemplemanApril Genevieve TucholkeCat Winters'

I'd been hearing so much about all the greatness that is The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee on Booktube but I just didn't think it would be for me. I'm not sure what actually possessed me to purchase this on audiobook (probably because EVERYONE recommended it) - but I did and I am so glad! As I said, believe everything you've heard about this book - and if you haven't heard anything believe everything you hear now - because this novel is fantastic. It's funny, exciting and touching. The characters are great, the story is crazy and I actually had some 'hold my heart' moments at the end of this book: 

This was actually me walking back from the school-run listening to the ending

5 out of 5 stars from me

(and definitely get that audiobook. Tom Riddle from Chamber of Secrets narrates it and its wonderful!)

'Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men. But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy. Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.'

Leigh Bardugo has become one of my favourite authors this year. Literally - she is Queen. I adore all of the Grisha universe books so when I heard that she was releasing Language of Thorns I snapped it up on pre-order - but then cancelled it quickly when FairyLoot announced they were including it in their October box. This is a collection of short fairytale-esque stories from the Grishaverse and I loved them!!! First of all...the book is BEAUTIFUL. Little illustrations build up over every page into full-size pictures and it's so amazing to read. The tales in this collection are dark, creepy, rich and laced with feminist awesomeness. I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars overall, but if you only read one story from here PLEASE read The Witch of Duva. That one still haunts me long after I closed the book. 

'Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns. Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price. Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love. Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse. This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.'  

I must attach sad-face to this book.

Let me just say that I really like Kristen Martin. I watch her videos all the time and I think she is an awesome woman and wonderful person. But - this is the second book of hers that I have tried to read and I...just...could...not. While Shadow Crown was significantly better than her first book the Alpha Drive...I just still couldn't get through it. Which is a real shame because I was definitely enjoying it at first and the world she has created is so interesting...but I couldn't get on board with the characters or the writing and never felt excited to pick this up. I ended up DNFing this about 150 pages in - so I gave it a good shot - but it wasn't for me. 

I have all the respect for self-publishers, especially those that do it so well like Kristen...but I have yet to read a self-published book that blew my socks off and there's definitely something to be said for the rigorous editorial process that traditionally-published books go through. 

I feel sad about this book, and I won't give it a star-rating because I didn't finish it and that's not fair...but I can't recommend it either. 

Sorry Kristen :( 

'For most people, the act of killing is intangible. Unfathomable. But not for seventeen-year-old Arden Eliri. Having been involved in Cruex assassination attempts as a mere child, killing is a natural disposition for her. Growing up without parents, in a castle ruled by an iron-fisted king, is the furthest thing from a fairy tale, as is being forced into the Cruex, the king’s group of hand-selected assassins. But with each passing year, she comes to enjoy the act of killing more and more. Kill or be killed—she chooses the former. A decade ago, King Darius Tymond banished The Caldari—those who practice illusiĆ©, or old magick—from Trendalath Kingdom, ensuring that no Caldari will ever step foot in his kingdom again. But Arden discovers otherwise after a dual-assigned mission goes horribly awry. Even more startling, she discovers that she may have more in common with the Caldari than she’s been led to believe. Arden wants to trust that King Tymond’s intentions are pure, but as their pasts collide in unexpected ways, the quicker she realizes the consequences and dangers of his reign. But Arden is also hiding something—something that threatens her very existence—and she’ll have to face her inner darkness and conquer it before it destroys her . . . and the kingdom she’s come to call her home.'

Emily over at BooksWithEmilyFox talked about Sleeping Giants by Slyvain Neuvel recently and lots of other people recommended this audiobook so I had to give it a try. Firstly....100% get this on audio - it has a full cast who do a fantastic job of narrating this story in such an animated way. This book is super science-ey and that was something that I initially struggled with because I am not that way inclined, but as the story goes on you begin to understand it all so much more and I felt significantly smarter at the end of this. As far as the story goes....this was veeeery interesting, but the pacing was an issue for me as I felt like a good portion of the book was slow but the final quarter felt very rushed and I couldn't keep up. I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars and I'm definitely interested in carrying on with this series but I'm not sure when I will pick it up and my fingers aren't twitching to do so immediately. 

'A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand. Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected. But some can never stop searching for answers. Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction? An inventive debut in the tradition of World War Z and The Martian, told in interviews, journal entries, transcripts, and news articles, Sleeping Giants is a thriller fueled by a quest for truth—and a fight for control of earthshaking power.'

So that's my November reading wrap-up. I'm super impressed with myself for reading this many books alongside all of the uni reading and assignments that I also had to do so many too many Let's hope this pace carries on so I can finally make a dent in the 77 unread books on my shelf at the minute...

What did you read in November?
Let me know in the comments and definitely link your posts so I can pop over and have a look at the stories you ate this month. 

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