November was a pretty strong month of reading for me, numbers-wise, and it started and ended strong, ratings-wise, but I have to say I was really battling a slump in the middle there. A lot of 2 and 3 star ratings will do that to you. Can you tell by all the genres I bounced between? But! This was a good month regardless! I met Maggie Stiefvater, John Boyne responded to one of my tweets on Twitter, and had a really great Thanksgiving, and work has been less stressful than it has the last few months. AND I got a LIBRARY CARD. Way to go me, after a thousand years.
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What I Read
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater ★★★★☆
This book was the perfect fallish read. It was amazingly atmospheric, had great characters, and very unique plot about human-eating water horses. The ending fell a big short for me, but otherwise I really enjoyed this. Full review.
Bird Box by Josh Malerman ★★★★★
Bird Box was fantastically creepy story and had just the right balance of horror and mystery, and I was genuinely frightened by some of the scenes in this book. It’s about a world taken over by mysterious creatures that, if seen, cause a person to become violent and kill themselves. It was a very refreshing take on a dystopian novel, and I raced through this book. Full review.
The Power by Naomi Alderman ★★☆☆☆
This book had an intriguing premise – what if women were given the power of electricity to use how they pleased, from the palm of their hands? – but unfortunately I found this book a bit outlandish, not quite as exploratory as I would have liked, and mostly, boring. Full review.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven ★★★☆☆
About two suicidal teens, All the Bright Places wasn’t the most exciting read, and it didn’t take me long to figure out where it was going to go. I was disappointed by it, though I loved one of the main characters, Finch, who was unique and funny, but mostly, it was probably just a book that wasn’t for me. Full review.
Renegades by Marissa Meyer ★★☆☆☆
I’d been hoping that this book would be an innovative take on superheroes, given what I’d seen in Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, but unfortunately I was severely disappointed by this book. It was cliche, lacking depth, had characters that could have used more development, and very, very slow paced. Full review.
Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis ★★★☆☆
This book, about a man who is kidnapped from earth to be used as a human sacrifice on an alien planet and instead ends up befriending them, was slow for me to get through. I slogged through it for three months, but in the end Lewis hit me with the ending and I fell for the allegorical nature of his story. As always. Full review.
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi ★★★☆☆
This book was beautifully written and had an interesting story steeped in mythology, but unfortunately I failed to fully connect to it. I enjoyed the characters, but the plot I found confusing and a bit boring. Full review.
The Absolutist by John Boyne ★★★★★ – favorite of the month!
I finished the month of STRONG with this book, about a young man who is burdened by a horrible event during his time in World War I, and the boy he fell in love with. It was heartbreaking and haunting and shocking in the best way. I’m still thinking about this book. Full review.
I also read about half of Illuminae by Aimee Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, but I just couldn’t push myself to finish it. I was very surprised at how terribly it bored me, after seeing so much hype for it for so long! I don’t think it was the case of an overhyped book, but me trying to force sci-fi on myself once again. I have nothing against sci-fi, but it’s really just not my thing. I’ll spare all you sci-fi lovers any more bad reviews from now on by hanging up my sci-fi towel.
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Meeting Maggie Stiefvater
As I mentioned above, I met Maggie Stiefvater this month! I snagged some tickets for me and one of my best friends, Jenny, whom I buddy read The Raven Cycle with, and it was one of the best nights this month. We were all put in an auditorium and Maggie came on stage and spent about an hour telling us how she came to write her latest book, All the Crooked Saints, and it was fascinating and interesting and hilarious. Seriously, she puts on a fantastic one-woman show. It ranged from stand-up comedy to the intensely personal, and I was really inspired by her. And to be honest, I wasn’t all to interested in All the Crooked Saints before this, but she SOLD it to me and I’m very excited to read it when the mood finally strikes me.
And then we got to get our books signed and meet her!! If you follow Maggie Stiefvater on Twitter or Instagram, you may have seen that she’s been collecting keys from readers to decorate her studio with, a week or two before this I’d gone to Jenny’s we’d gotten some key’s made. Key’s to my car, specifically (we felt that was appropriate), and then we painted them!
Jenny’s amazing Raven Cycle key is on the left, and my key is on the right because my artistic abilities amount to smearing colors together. I kind of wanted Jenny’s key for myself, I love it so much.
Jenny and I both brought our copies of The Dream Thieves (our fave Raven Cycle book), which Maggie signed, and Maggie made sure I had a car key to get home (I did), and then Jenny asked her a question pertaining to Henry Cheng and she and Maggie talked about Korean dramas and it was the most precious conversation I’ve ever witnessed.
Basically, Maggie was so kind and hilarious and awesome, and it was a fantastic experience to meet her!
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I just finished reading The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, which is just about the most December book ever, and it’s truly helped me get into the wintery mood. I ADORED it. It is the definition of a cozy winter read (with just the right amount of darkness). That, and I haven’t really been in a mood for fantasy in a very long time, and I think this really broke my fantasy slump.
So appropriately, I’m now on to reading Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, which my brother told me to read when I went into his room a few days ago and was looking at his shelves. I’d read a book by Diana Wynne Jones earlier in the year and wasn’t crazy about it, but I’m about halfway through this one and I’m loving it.
I’m not sure what my TBR is for the rest of the months (as I never am), but I’m kind of hoping it’s full of magical books like these two. Though I did get some John Boyne books from the library because I’m always open to him breaking my heart any time of year.
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What are you going to read this month?? Have any fun magical books to recommend me? I really want to break my new library card in!!