October 2019 Wrap Up || #LatinxLitTakeover, Ebookathon, Witchathon, + More [CC]
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October 2019 Wrap Up || #LatinxLitTakeover, Ebookathon, Witchathon, + More [CC]


Hello everybody, my name is Cara, and
today I’m here with my October Wrap Up. I actually read quite a few audiobooks
during this month as part of kind of an ongoing experiment I’m doing to try and
make myself like them; I already did a wrap-up for those separately so I will
link that down below. And for whatever reason I feel like I completely lost
track of the order that I read some of these in so we’re just gonna do the best
we can. The first book I finished was Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Ngyuen (wih-ihn); I
think that’s how you [say] it, according to the pronunciation guide I looked up.
We follow our main characters Mia and Jake and basically their moms are best
friends and they have always wanted the two of them to date and to end up together.
The problem is that Mia and Jake can’t stand each other,
so they decide that they’re going to pretend to date and then stage a really
dramatic breakup in order to get their mothers off their case for good. The fake
dating trope is one I love so I of course enjoyed that aspect of it, as my
friend Kelly pointed out this book had a really stellar like ‘fake kiss turns into
real kiss’ moment, I think that scene was like one of the best ones in the book.
And I also really liked the focus on family and on different kinds of
families. The relationship between Jake and his adoptive mother was just really
wonderful to see but there was one subplot related to family that I did not
think was really handled as well as it could have been, or it just wasn’t as
satisfying to me as I think it was supposed to be. And also as far as the
fake dating aspect, I liked some of it, but I feel like the attraction part
happened too soon. I get really irritated when I’m reading a book and like the
narration is like ‘oh my gosh, I hate him so much! but why does my heart start
beating faster when he looks at me? it must be because I hate him so much!’ That
just like really annoys me and this book did that quite a bit near the beginning,
so that was another reason I didn’t love the relationship as much as I wanted to.
Basically, this was fun, it was cute, I gave it 3.5 stars. Next I finished Ella
Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine and this was a reread for me and Giselle and
Taylor’s kind of middle grade reread book club. We actually did a whole live
show on it that I will link down below, and I really really enjoyed this. I
really love the way Gail Carson Levine does retellings, like the aspects
that she chooses to explore and change are just so interesting. I really loved
Ella as a main character and how brave and strong she is, and I think when I was
younger I was frustrated by how petty some of her rebellions felt, but reading
it now, I understand more how she felt like that was–like that *was* the only way
that she could fight back in some cases, so I think that I actually found that
aspect more enjoyable now. And I really loved Char as the love interest and
just as a side character, like he’s just so wholesome and good. There are a few
scenes that I really love, like the three nights of the ball
and kind of the implications for what that means for Ella and Char’s
relationship? Being very vague in case you haven’t read this yet. And I also feel
like the final, like the ending scene, kind of like the climax of the book, I
think is just so well done and it got me like really emotional this time so I
just think that was fantastic. That being said I did give Ella
Enchanted 4 stars. As Taylor pointed out in our live show, it feels kind of
like–like a very particular kind of like 90’s or early 2000’s feminism where it’s
like “girly things are stupid”, and Ella is definitely not the worst offender
I’ve ever seen for this, but I did kind of get that vibe from her sometimes
which is a little frustrating. And another thing is just like enjoyment-
wise I find this book actually very stressful to reread. Even when I was
younger and like obviously I enjoyed this book, I reread it multiple times, but
you know how sometimes you reread a favorite book and there’s like that one
scene that you dread rereading because it just like is upsetting? With Ella
Enchanted I feel like there’s like three scenes like that. *laughs* Like all of the
bullying and all of the like near misses where it’s like ‘Ella could have been
happy and then this one thing happened,’ I feel like those kind of hinder my
enjoyment somewhat but I do still think it stands up to the test of time and I
really enjoyed it. I also finished Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter.
This was a buddy read with my friend Kazen from Always Doing and I had such a
good time buddy reading this and discussing it with
her, we definitely had a lot of things to say and thoughts to exchange and things
to complain about; I kind of ended up hating this book *laughs* but the actual buddy
read part was great! So this is about our main character Sophie also known as
Fevvers, and she is a woman with wings. And the premise of the book, it starts
out as like a reporter who’s trying to expose her as a fraud so he starts like
getting her life story, but then it turns into him just like trailing after her at
a circus, and then there’s like a train in Siberia, and things just go completely
off the rails. The beginning part of this book I actually quite liked: I think
it was really interesting, the actual interview part and getting to hear
Fevver’s backstory and the reporter, what’s his name…I think his name was
Jack? maybe? And of course I wanted to know like is Fevvers a fraud or is she
actually–like does she actually have wings. Unfortunately though I didn’t
really like anything about this after that; the only other thing besides the
beginning that I liked is sometimes the writing was good. There are particular
turns of phrase that I thought were very beautiful or descriptive or like made
you stop and think, but other than that…let’s jump into the things I didn’t
like, and I’m gonna start out with the writing! because it was so overwrought
and pretentious and like I just kept feeling like Angela Carter was patting
herself on the back for how clever she sounded, even when her descriptions kind
of made no sense. Like there was this one scene that I thought was so stupid, it
was like this clown…I don’t even know how to describe it, it was like a clown
orgy, basically? and it was ridiculous, because like it was clear that this
scene was supposed to be like very like philosophical and like challenging and
just really impressive and make you think a lot, and it was just kind of dumb.
I think the phrase I used to describe the writing when I was talking to Kazen
about it is like very self-satisfied. So much of this novel read as a parody of a
novel, but not in a self-aware way? like I don’t think this book knows it
was ridiculous *laughs* and that was one of my big problems with it. I also feel like
the characters were really really underdeveloped, and I had a really big
problem with the way this book handled the female characters’ stories in
particular. Like Fevvers herself I think was more complex and even to an extent
her companion who I can’t remember the name of, but other than that it was like
every single woman they came across was a victim of abuse, or rape, or human
trafficking basically, or torture, like there was so much gratuitous violence
against women to the point where like it just got really like sickening, and kind
of frustrating, because it’s like ‘can you not write a side character without
making her a victim of abuse?’ And none of that was even handled well: it’s not like–
it’s not like Angela Carter used that to say something about the treatment of
women or anything like that, like it was just there. There are a couple of
personal things that I just don’t enjoy that I think also hindered my enjoyment,
like I don’t like circus settings; I thought the majority of the book was
going to be about the interview and learning about Fevvers as a character
and like the reporter, so I didn’t know there was gonna be this huge chunk set
at the circus so I really didn’t like that, and I also didn’t like–like the
whole like last third of this book it seems like, took place in like a
wasteland-type survival thing, which I don’t like survival stories, but I kind
of think that even if you do, like this wasn’t really a survival story. It was
just boring, it was like people were just wandering in a frozen wasteland *laughs* like
there wasn’t even any like survival aspects outside of like the author
killing off various characters because she got bored of them or she like didn’t
know what to do with them. This is also one of those books where like the
gratuitous violence or almost like “trauma porn” kind of feeling stuff,
there’s like multiple incidences of all of them, so it’s not like you can just
get past this one part and then enjoy the rest of the book. It happened like
over and over. Like I mentioned the treatment of women; there was also like –
just as an example of how unnecessary so much of this felt – at one point this
group of people kill and eat a dog. And like immediately prior to that they have
all come across this person who has been surviving by himself and they know that
he’s been like eating fish, like somehow he’s been getting fish and primarily
surviving off of that, so why the actual eff would they not ask this person about
how to go fishing or like where he was getting food before they killed and ate
their pet?! Like it just didn’t make any sense, and it was–like I couldn’t tell if
this was another instance of the author just trying to get rid of extra
characters she didn’t care about anymore, or if she just like really doesn’t like
dogs or like what was going on here, ’cause that made no sense, and in fact
immediately after that I’m pretty sure they actually did go fishing or they
learned how to get fish or whatever, so it was completely unnecessary in every way.
So yeah, what with the content, the pretentious writing, which I don’t even
think was that good all the time! like I mentioned there were certain lines that
were very good but it’s not even like ‘oh this is really high-quality writing and
I just don’t understand it,’ it’s like, I understood it. I just don’t think it’s
good. I think she used all of her fancy metaphors and similes to hide
deficiencies of story and characterization, and you know what? They
don’t even function that well as descriptions either. And I gave Nights at the Circus 1.75 stars. I also finished another buddy read in October and that
was A Dance of Silver and Shadow by Melanie Cellier. This is a retelling of
the Twelve Dancing Princesses and this was a buddy read with my lovely friend
Giselle, as always I will link all of the people I mention. So we follow our
main character Liliana and her twin sister and they are sent on kind of like
a diplomatic mission to another kingdom, and then when they get there they find
out that they have to compete in this trial in order to choose the
princess that’s going to marry a neighboring prince, and nobody wants this
to happen because this prince does not have a very good reputation. There are
all these rules and ancient magic and there’s a lot of reasons why they are
forced to compete, and that was actually one of the things I really found
interesting about this book is like the really interesting dynamic
you have when you have a group of people who are all forced to compete in
something that nobody wants to win, but they are forced to do their best – one of
the aspects of the magic is that it basically forces them to make a genuine
effort. I also appreciate the fact that Melanie Cellier didn’t spend too
much time detailing like every single trial, because there’s a lot of them that
happen in this book, and you really only see the important parts, which I actually
liked, it felt very natural, like it didn’t feel like you were missing
important stuff it was just like ‘man I really don’t want to sit through like 36
riddles or something!’ *laughs* so she didn’t do that for you, which I liked. I also really
liked the themes of sisterhood, women helping each other and looking out for
each other, like I love the fact that once everyone realizes that they’re
going to have to compete in this trial basically all of them like instantly
band together in order to protect the younger girls and to make sure that they
do everything in their power to make sure everybody makes it through these
trials alive and safe. And overall this book was just really nice, like it was
very pleasant to read, I enjoyed talking about it with Giselle. I was in the
middle of some other kind of like heavier [books] at the same time that I
was reading this so this was just such a pleasant break. I did have some problems
with it, like I really really didn’t like the romance, and the only other like
major issue I would say is I feel like the main character and her twin sister,
Liliana and I can’t even remember her sister’s name, I feel like they felt too
similar. Like their relationship is supposed to be a very important one, and
while I liked their interactions, I feel like there could have been more work
done to differentiate her from all the other like 10 girls or something. But I did
still have a lot of fun reading this and I gave it 3.5 stars. I also finished a
book that has taken me eight months to read and that is Daughter of the
Forest by Juliet Marillier. This is the first book in the Sevenwaters series and
as I said this one took me a long time, *laughs* it is very big *shows* but it shouldn’t have
taken me that long. And this is a fairy tale retelling of the…fairy tale I
always forget the name of, it’s the one where the girl’s brothers all get turned
into swans. *laughs* That one! And I have such conflicting feelings about this book.
Like I think storytelling-wise it’s very well done, and I think a lot of the
issues I have with it are things that are more like personal preference or
things that it’s not really fair for me to hold against the book. Sorcha our main character, she has a very close relationship with all of her six
brothers, and then something terrible happens and they get cursed and they all
get turned into swans. So the only way that Sorcha can bring them back is if she’s
completely silent, so no speaking, no laughing, no screaming, nothing,
for however long it takes her to like weave these shirts out of what sounds
like thistle or like thorns even; that’s the only way that she can break the
curse is if she does that and then she puts the shirts on her brothers, and this
book is basically her journey and her attempt to try and do that. And like I
said, a lot of mixed feelings. I’ll talk about the things I thought were really
good first: the writing is just beautiful. Like Juliet Marillier is obviously a
very good storyteller; like the atmosphere and the feeling of this–of
this story, like I just had such a clear idea of the setting and the vibe and the
whole atmosphere of this book. And I also really like that even though her
writing is on the more flowery side, it never felt overdone. Like it didn’t slow
me down. I also liked one of the main male
characters a lot more than I thought I would, like I had kind of made up my mind
that I wasn’t gonna like him *laughs guiltily* just based on things I had like heard about this
book or kind of the way he’s like set up in the story, but I ended up liking him
quite a bit, kind of against my will, which I guess is just a testament to how
well done his character was. And I also really thought that Sorcha was so well
characterized as a silent character. I have read several fairy tale retellings
that involve a silent main character at this point and some of them are not very
well done. Sometimes it almost seems like because a character can’t speak it’s
like suddenly they don’t have any thoughts or personality, and that’s not
true: that’s not true with people and it’s not true with characters. So I was
really impressed that Juliet Marillier still had Sorcha communicate and she
still had like thoughts and wishes and feelings. I do think that in a way her
character felt a little less developed than it could have been just because her
entire existence was so consumed with achieving this one goal, like it made
sense, it just kind of made it sometimes feel like she was completely shaped by
her circumstances rather than any personality of her own. Also I had been
warned that this book was like super slow and the beginning was really hard
to get into and I actually didn’t find that, I really liked the beginning, like
as we’re just kind of settling into this world and into these characters. And
there’s also a character named Simon who we meet at the beginning who I thought
was very interesting, like not likable really because you’re not supposed to
like him, but as a character and as a possibility for growth he was very
interesting. And that actually leads me into some of the things that I did not like
so much. So. We spend so long getting attached to Simon and to kind of where
the story is at that point, like 100+ pages, and then – I don’t think this is a spoiler – but then stuff happens where
basically he’s not important for most of the book, and I really didn’t like that
because I kind of felt like why did we waste all that time at the beginning
then if he doesn’t even really matter that much? And again because of spoiler
reasons I’m not gonna tell you like whether or not he does come back into
the story, but it just didn’t feel like all that time was necessary on him and
that’s what I felt frustrated me about the beginning – not that it was slow and
like the pacing was really deliberate, but the fact that it kind of felt like
none of what happened there really mattered. And then it took us a really
really long time to actually get to the point where the curse happens. Like this
book like really spiked my anxiety in some ways because it was just like
constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, because you know from the beginning
what is going to happen basically, and it’s like 200 pages before it does. And
that I just found very frustrating, it kind of–you kind of just wanted to like get it
over with. In a way Juliet Marillier’s beautiful writing worked against her in that
respect because…it just, it was like describing things that were not
beautiful and that were not supposed to sound beautiful, and like I remember
very clearly even before the really big incident that everyone warned me about,
there’s this one part near the beginning where she spends like a page or a page
and a half just like describing an entire barn full of animals dying in
like loving detail, and it was like really upsetting, there was just this weird
disconnect sometimes between how pretty her words were and the things that were
actually happening, and I don’t know if that was deliberate, maybe–maybe it was
and I’m just not picking up on it. And then also: so the other big thing that
everyone warned me about is that there is an extremely graphic rape scene in
this book, and normally I would just list that in the content warnings in the
description box but I actually want to mention it in the review because that is
part of what…I don’t know, it did form part of my opinion about this book. And
it felt… it felt gratuitous. And this is a case of
something where I don’t know if it’s fair for me to hold this book–hold
this against the book, because I’m reaching a point in my reading life
where I am just fed up with all of the violence against women in fantasy, and
this book was published in like ’99 or something, so it’s not even really fair
for me to say this book is doing something I don’t like when it’s like it
was written before–before I started noticing that, you know. It was just a
really upsetting and like devastating scene to read, and as I mentioned you
pretty much can’t read fantasy without reading a lot of sexual assault scenes
unfortunately, so I have read quite a few, and this was one of the most upsetting I
think I’ve ever read. And I also don’t think it was necessarily handled in the
best way because for a while it like–it definitely affects Sorcha and it changes
the way she sees people, it changes the way she sees the world, and all that
makes sense because she’s had this terrible thing happen to her that leaves
marks on people, but then by the end of the book it seems like some things don’t
really match up with that, and I don’t think we got enough of a healing journey
for her for some parts of the ending to make sense. And also the last really
frustrating thing about this book – because believe it or not like I did
enjoy this! like I think this is a very good book! – but the last thing that really
frustrated me about it is this particular way of building suspense, and
Juliet Marillier is not the only one who does this, like a lot of authors actually
do this and it’s one of my least favorite things in the world to read, and
that is when the narration of the book is like ‘oh there’s this really bad thing
coming, but I’m not gonna tell you what it is for a hundred pages. But! everything
would have been fine if this one thing hadn’t happened!’ I really hate that, and
this kind of goes back to the like just wanting the other shoe to drop you know,
at the beginning. We expect bad things to happen in a story because otherwise
there probably wouldn’t be much conflict, but can you at least not like
preemptively make us stressed about them before they happen? Like I just feel like
it’s a very cheap way to build suspense, because what I like in suspense is when
the reader starts picking up on clues or like just a kind of an unsettling
atmosphere or like you start anticipating ‘something’s gonna go wrong
here, I don’t know what it is,’ and then when you’re proven right it’s
interesting because you want to see what’s going on, whereas with this it’s
like I’m so mad, I just want–like I know someone’s gonna die, just kill the person
and move on, please have the bad thing happen so I
can continue reading! So anyway, very mixed experience with this one as I said.
I do plan to continue the series though and that’s something. Next I finished
More to the Story by Hena Kahn. This is an ownvoices Muslim contemporary that
is sort of a loose retelling of Little Women [by Louisa May Alcott.] Our main character is Jameela and she is the character who’s based on Jo March, and she is very happy in her life
with her three sisters and her parents, and then her father actually gets a job
that means he will have to be away from their family for a long time. Jameela is
also very interested in writing, she loves being on her school newspaper, then
she starts having some frustrating things happen with that, and then on
top of all of this one of her sisters actually gets sick. And I loved this
story so so much. First off the retelling aspects I think were done really really
well, I really really liked seeing how Hena Khan interpreted some aspects of
the story or some character traits, I just thought that was so interesting. I
think this is definitely one you can really really enjoy even if you don’t
know the story of Little Women or it’s not one of your favorite books, I still
think this book really stands on its own, and I think this is one of the looser
retellings I’ve read and I think that worked really well. I was also so
impressed with how easily this story translated to a contemporary middle
grade novel. I loved Jameela as a main character, she is so strong and like, she
makes mistakes but you still love her and you still feel for her and you
understand why she does the things she does. And I really liked seeing some of
her friendships too. Another thing I really liked about this book is I feel like
when you’re writing for a certain preteen age range, sometimes one of the
things that authors show or talk about is kind of that phase where kids are
just starting to possibly see other kids as–like in a romantic sense possibly, and
sometimes I feel like that can be done in a way that’s very cringy or that
feels very like forced or weird, and in this book it didn’t. Like there’s no like
romance subplot really or anything, but I feel like the way Hena Khan handled
like the way that some of these feelings start affecting the way she interacts
with friends or people that she has known, I think it felt very believable
and very natural. And another mark of Hena Khan’s really good storytelling
is how unexpected so much of this book felt. She’s such a compelling writer and
she’s so good at emotionally connecting you to these characters that even if I
had a prediction or a suspicion for something that was going to happen, you
were still kind of on the edge of your seat waiting to see if that would happen or
how that would happen or how that was going to affect people.
And I just loved this book so much, I think I mentioned in a tag video where I
talked about this book that I made it the whole book without crying, and then like
the last chapter or like the epilogue or whatever just like broke me but in the
best way. I loved this book, I gave it 5 stars, can’t recommend it enough.
Next I finished Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.
Thank you again Taylor so much for giving this to me! We follow our main
character Casiopea and she and her mother have kind of been forced into
basically servitude taking care of the house and cooking and cleaning for
Casiopea’s grandfather and his family. And then one day Casiopea opens a
chest and accidentally releases one of the Mayan gods of death, and he is on a
journey to get back his throne from his brother who stole it from him, and he
takes Cassiopeia with him. Things start getting complicated because Casiopea’s humanity is actually starting to affect the Mayan death god whose name is
Hun-Kamé, and this was just so beautiful. I really really loved the
character development of our two main characters,
I mean Casiopea is the main character but Hun-Kamé is quite important as well.
Casiopea, I just love her with all of my heart and I feel like she is such a
good example of how authors can write a headstrong, even stubborn, character and
not make them a complete idiot! *laughs* I just love her, she’s so strong and resilient
and clever. I loved the world and the writing of
this book, like the atmosphere and the general like feeling of this book is so
specific, it’s like 1920’s Jazz Age in Mexico City, and then of course there’s
also a lot of Mayan folklore and mythology woven in and all of it works
so cohesively and so beautifully. I also have to mention how much I enjoyed
the road trip part of this book because we all know I don’t really like road
trip stories very often, or when I do it’s a big deal, and this one I loved. I
think one of the reasons it worked for me so much is that like it wasn’t just a
scene in a journey book, it was like it showed you something about the
characters, like you were seeing how as they spent more time with each other
they gradually started changing, and you would also start learning more about the
world because they would talk to each other about what was going on. The only
reasons I gave this 4.5 stars instead of 5 is for one thing, like…I would have
wanted something a little different for the ending, but the other thing that I didn’t
like so much is I feel like Martín’s chapters were pretty unnecessary.
Martín is Casiopea’s cousin and even though I ended up finding his story very
interesting as– as a parallel or as a journey, I still
don’t think we needed all the chapters with him. I just wanted to get back to
Casiopea and Hun-Kamé, Martín was kind of just a drag. Next I finished A
School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin. This is the first book in the
Stranje House series and we follow our main character…I just forgot her name. *checks*
Georgie, I think short for Georgiana. And she gets sent to this finishing school
and then when she gets there she realizes that things are not as they
seem: basically there might be–there might be
classes and training going on at this boarding school that people don’t
actually know about. And this was an interesting reading experience. I’m
definitely going to continue the series because it’s a companion series and the
books that–and the later books in the series follow characters that I was much
more interested in and that I’m really excited about getting their story; this
one I did not like so much, um, I found Georgie a really really frustrating main
character, like there’s just not a lot to her. I don’t really know much about her
personality besides like these very specific passions she has, like she’s not
like other girls because she’s so passionate about science and stuff, and
because she gets to the school and starts finding like-minded people, it’s not
quite like the “not like other girls” feeling, but I just feel like Georgie
felt very flat as a character, and kind of like inconsistent too, like I remember
there’s one part like a couple hundred pages into this book where Georgie
thinks to herself like ‘I had never met anyone who was as good [at] mathematics as
I was,’ and I just like read that and I’m like ‘wait, you’re good at math? like this
has literally never come up before.’ And I also really didn’t like her
romance. Like I love banter in relationships but this is the kind of
banter where it’s like, he’s just talking to you like you’re stupid? And when they
would have one of their little like verbal sparring sessions, it almost
always felt like he won, so it kind of like not–not like their relationship was
unequal, but it just like wasn’t pleasant because I’m like this isn’t really…like
this isn’t really flirty-feeling, it feels like he’s making you feel stupid
or like bad about yourself or like making fun of you, and I don’t think
that’s cute. However I did really really like the
side characters; I mentioned like really being interested in the companion books
because they follow some of the other girls who I found much more compelling
than Georgie, and I also really really loved the headmistress of their school. I
just find her so interesting. There’s also like this very small hint of a romance
subplot for her that I found much more compelling than Georgie’s. I ended up
getting A School for Unusual Girls 2.75 stars. Next I finished Slay by Brittney
Morris. And in this book we follow our main character Kiera, and she is the
creator of an online game called Slay, but nobody knows that she’s the creator.
And the game is completely based on African [and Black] culture, and Kiera developed it as
a way for Black gamers to have a safe space, but she doesn’t feel like she can
ever tell people that she created it because it even seems like people around
her who really care about her, even they wouldn’t really understand this aspect
of her. Like her boyfriend is really against video games because he feels
like it’s something that is used to keep Black men down .So Kiera doesn’t feel
like she can really tell anybody about this huge passion and skill of hers. And
then one day a boy is actually murdered in connection with this game and then
Kiera starts worrying if she is responsible for this and then Slay also
hits mainstream media and it’s labeled as exclusionary and violent and it’s
starting to get all this really bad press, and then on top of that a racist
troll infiltrates the game. Then Kiera starts wondering how she can protect her
own identity and protect this game and this–this environment that she has created,
and everything kind of goes from there. I think Brittney Morris is just a
phenomenal writer, like the actual storytelling of this book is so good. You
know you start a fantasy and the world-building at the beginning is sort
of like setting up the world and the magic; well with contemporaries I feel
like you jump in and what the author needs to really set up is like the
main characters and their relationships with each other, and I feel like she was
just so good at that, like right from the beginning I knew like who was close with
who and who maybe had some kind of friction in their relationship, and it
was all just built so gradually too, because there wasn’t like this info dump
where it’s like ‘ah! here is my boyfriend who does this, and here is my sister who gets
angry at him when he does that,’ like those little hints would be dropped
throughout the beginning of the book so that by the time you start getting into
the heavier plot stuff, like you knew how people related to each other, and it was
just like so good. I actually really loved all the parts that took place in
the game and seeing a little bit about how Kiera came up with her ideas for the
game and kind of the development stuff; it’s not like super heavy on the
technical aspect but I honestly wasn’t anticipating this being one of my
favorite parts of the book because I’ve never been super interested in like
virtual reality stuff in books, like I have no interest in reading Ready Player One. So I wasn’t necessarily anticipating that being a real highlight of the book
for me but it was! it was so well-written and I could picture everything that was
happening really well, and it was also just very interesting. Like I loved
seeing the different card ideas that Keira came up with and it was just such a
fun part of the book while also being like
so cool that we’re seeing a Black girl involved in coding [and game development.] I also think Brittney Morris did an amazing job of combining the more like story aspects with the
issues or the topics that she was covering; like it never felt like ‘here’s
the section where she just explains the moral of this book,’ like it felt so
well-balanced with the story itself. I also was not expecting there to be
multiple points of view in this book, and at first when we switched POV I was kind
of upset because like I was really enjoying following Kiera, but I ended up
thinking that was another aspect that was done really well, like you really
understood why each of those points of view was there and like really enjoying
all of them. The only thing I didn’t think was really amazingly well done is
there were a couple of kind of important like subplots
with some of the other point of view characters, like there’s one in
particular I’m thinking of that is like pretty important, and it just didn’t
really feel like it was fully dealt with, but other than that I think this book
was phenomenal and I gave it 4.5 stars. Next I finished Dead Beautiful by Yvonne
Woon. This is the first book in a trilogy and
shoutout to Ariel from She Wants The Diction, she actually did a really fun
like vlog video picking out the books that she was going to send because I actually won
this in a giveaway! And as both of us noticed, like the tagline on this book is
kind of wild. It says “A Harry Potter start and a Twilight finish.” And like,
regardless of how you feel about either of those things, like that is a bold
claim to make. We follow our main character Renée and at the very beginning of the
book both of her parents are murdered. So she gets sent off to stay for a little
while with her grandfather I think, and then very quickly after that she is
enrolled in this elite boarding school that her family went to, and she’s not
really told why about a lot of this and as she’s at the school she starts
noticing some really suspicious things. Nobody will really explain it to Renée
so she decides to start finding out the answers for herself and she also gets
tangled up with this very handsome boy at the school named Dante. This seems
like a very kind of stereotypical paranormal story on the surface, but there
are a lot of things about it that I think were handled really well in a way that really sets it apart. [Not that PNR can’t be good!] So one of my favorite things about this book was the
creepiness, like the really like chilling atmosphere of this book. It’s
something I didn’t really expect going in. I mean even when you get to the
school and like ‘okay, there’s some kind of sketchy things happening, it’s a
little bit odd and unusual,’ I didn’t really anticipate how dark some of it
would get and I thought that was done so well. Like I was actually reading this
book at night a couple of times and I was like, this is
like really creepy but in a really enjoyable way. I also think the writing of
this book was really good for the most part, like it flowed really well. And I also
think the writing helped with the emotional stakes of this book: like right
at the beginning of the book, Renee loses her parents in a horrible way, and that
actually affects her, like it actually changes the way she interacts with
people and the way she sees the world and she still thinks about it. And I feel
like sometimes with books where there’s like this big tragedy at the beginning,
like for a little while it’ll bother them but then you’ll kind of get caught
up in the rest of the plot of the book and it’s kind of like they forget it
happens, and that never happened with this book. It felt like a very like real
and present thing, like it felt like a believable way to handle that kind of
thing and I was just very impressed with that. I also really really liked a lot of
the side characters in this book, like her roommate, Renée’s roommate, ended up
being one of my favorites. I just found her so interesting and kind of fun, like
she’s a good kind of like…not exactly comic relief, but kind of like chill
relief? *laughs* like Renée would be like really caught up and obsessed with this mystery
or with this handsome boy or something and her roommate would just
be like ‘okay, whatever, I’m going to math class.’ And I also really liked how
surprising some of the plot twists or the plot elements in this book were. Like
I had some theories about what was going on and some of them were right, but some
of them weren’t and they were very unique I think, or very unusual at least.
My only real negatives about it are once again I did not like the romance, I
feel like the romance could have been cut out completely. Though I will say that some
later parts of the book actually explain why the romance was done that way, and
I think–I think that actually did help. And also the main character, like Renée, I
liked her but I liked her most when she wasn’t with Dante, because I feel like
whenever she was with Dante she became a lot more boring and just like hyper-
focused on him. I liked Renée best when she was interacting with other
characters or doing things by herself. So I ended up so pleasantly surprised by
this book and I gave it 3.75 stars. Next I finished The
26th of November: A Pride and Prejudice Comedy of Farcical Proportions
by Elizabeth Adams. Basically what would happen if Elizabeth was forced to relive
the night of the Netherfield ball over and over and over again. And I really really
enjoyed this, I’ve never really been interested in that kind of like
Groundhog’s Day premise but the way this one was described and the fact that it
was Jane Austen and everything interested me and I’m really glad I read
it because I had so much fun with this. I think the writing and characterization
were really good. The very beginning of this, like the
first few pages or so, even the first chapter, are a little bit of a slow start
because it’s basically summarizing a lot of the events of Pride and Prejudice
leading up to the Netherfield ball, but after that I really really enjoyed the
writing and I really liked the direction that Elizabeth Adams took the plot in.
Like Elizabeth Adams is very upfront about the fact that she’s just having
fun with this, like on the book it actually says “no carriages, sisters, or
suitors were harmed in the writing of this book,” but I feel like even though it
is kind of a light-hearted take on it, the characterization was actually pretty
solid, and even though like the events of this book are obviously very different
from what happened in Pride and Prejudice,
nothing ever felt like so…so out of character that I like couldn’t enjoy
the story or anything. Also I appreciate the focus of like
Darcy basically just being like an awkward nerd, because I feel like that’s
something that we need to appreciate more. It’s like yeah, I mean, he’s not a
perfect character, but a lot of the things that he does that make people
think he’s a jerk, it’s like, he’s just an awkward introvert standing in a corner. I
really liked seeing the character development for Elizabeth and especially
her changing feelings on Darcy as she gets to know him, and obviously she’s
spending a lot of time with him because she’s repeating the same day over and
over not really knowing why. It was so fun to see her like try different things
and to like get to know people in different ways and I just like really
enjoyed this, I was going through a really really stressful time while I was
reading this and this was exactly what I wanted. I was a tiny bit disappointed in
the ending just because I kept hoping for this one particular thing to happen
that I thought would have been so cool and so clever, and it didn’t happen,
something else did, but other than that I really really enjoyed this and I gave
it 4 stars. Next I finished Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and
Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise and illustrated by Paola
Escobar. This was actually a recommendation from my lovely friend
Priscilla over at Bookie Charm, I’ll link the video where she talks about them and
reviews them. So this picture book tells the story of the life of Pura Belpré,
and the Belpré award for picture books is actually named after her, which I
didn’t know anything about and then after I read this I started seeing books
that had won that award. And it’s a story about her life and the reason she starts
telling stories and the folklore of Puerto Rico and how that really inspired
her to start telling these stories and to have kids like learn about their
heritage, and I just thought this was such a beautiful book. The illustrations
are stunning, like they’re so bright and detailed, I just love the way that this
was illustrated. Like the scenes from the stories she tells and also the everyday
scenes, all of them are done beautifully. And I ended up giving this picture book
4.5 stars, although I might bump it up later because this very short picture
book made me tear up like at least two or three times. Next I finished a romance
book that I feel like has been all over Book Blogging Land recently and that is
Well Met by Jen DeLuca. This takes place at a Renaissance Faire and our main
character is Emily, I think, and after some really horrible personal life stuff
happens she ends up travelling to stay with her sister as her sister recovers
from a car accident. Emily ends up helping at the Renaissance
Faire so that her niece can participate, and then she meets this guy named Simon
and they really butt heads, they cannot stand each other, they don’t get along at
all, then they find out that when they are both in character during the
Renaissance Faire, they’re actually very attracted to each other and they like
flirt and they banter. This is a story about their relationship and…I was
pretty disappointed in this book. I did really love the Faire setting, that was
actually one of my favorite parts of the book, and it was a little frustrating
at the beginning because Emily so clearly didn’t care *laughs* didn’t care about
being there, so seeing her grow and start to appreciate all the work people are
putting into this and like the–the fun and the importance of this kind of thing,
I did really really like that. I also really liked the important messages
about family and about taking care of people and still–still doing what you
want to do. And there were also a couple of side characters who I really liked. I
actually really ended up liking Emily’s niece, I can’t remember her name, but she
was actually really fun, like I feel like she felt like a believable teenage
character without falling into a lot of the stereotypes that adults tend to
write teenagers as, or at least some adult authors do. And I also think like
the first main kiss scene between Simon and Emily – because obviously, you know, it’s a
romance, they do get together – I think that scene was really really well done
and I really liked that. Unfortunately I did not like a lot of the other things
about this book. Emily as a main character just felt very bland to me, and
even Simon, like I liked him but…I still don’t feel like….*corrects* Like he had like a
couple of really dramatic things in his backstory and I feel like that was like
his whole character, and then kind of the same thing for Emily, so even though
I liked seeing them start to work through these issues, it still didn’t
really make them feel like fully developed characters because they had
like no personality outside of these big things that had happened. I also got
really frustrated because near the like 3/4 mark I think of this book, I was feeling very impressed that the author hadn’t fallen into this specific
romance trope that I really really hate, and then it happened *laughs* like it’s one that happens in a lot of romance books or even like just
contemporary books, and I don’t like it, and I still didn’t like it here, and
especially after feeling like ‘wow I’m really impressed that the author is
writing a story without using that!’ But my main issue unfortunately had to
do with the romance itself, and I just found this whole hate to love thing very
hard to believe and hard to enjoy. I think in general I’m a harder sell with
hate to love when it’s in a contemporary setting versus like a historical fiction
or a fantasy for example, and I think part of that is because like it’s hard for me
to read a contemporary hate to love and not feel like one of two things is
happening. Like one of them is like ‘this guy is just treating you like crap and
like I would not want to date someone who treated me this way’ or number two
which is kind of the opposite and like ‘this doesn’t even feel like hate to love,
like somebody said something snarky to you about the way you filled out your
form and now he’s like your mortal enemy? like that’s a little ridiculous.’ And I
feel like with this book it was kind of– like I had kind of both of those problems
in combination, especially the second one: like there were a lot of points where
I’m like, ‘I’m sorry, wait, like you guys hate each other because of this one
thing that happened?’ Like I understand first impressions of people but like
this was just a little unbelievable for me. And then there were a couple of times
[example of #1] where it’s like, if somebody was making my like working day [before they were in costume] this miserable, I don’t–like I don’t think that’s cute either. So anyway, I gave Well Met 3.5
stars originally but I’m kind of wondering if I should drop it down to
3 because the more I think about it the more I’m like, this is not as fun as
I wanted it to be. The next book I finished was Tempt by Natalia Jaster and I
received a free eARC in exchange for an honest review. This is the third book
in the Selfish Myths series and this is a companion series and the basic set up
for this world is that we’re following different deities or–like they’re
personifications of emotions, and their jobs is to sort of like
cause those emotions in humans on earth, and as the series goes on we’re actually
starting to see that some of these deities are actually getting kind of
uncomfortable with the fact that they are taking free will away from humans and
starting to wonder if there’s a better way to do things or if there’s a way to
balance what they do with freewill, and I’m actually really enjoying that
exploration in the series. So this third book is a Hades and Persephone retelling
and we follow Wonder and Malice and the way their
relationship develops when they basically are forced to work together
and to travel to a magical library in order to try and find some information
that is going to help all these deities who are starting to kind of rebel
against this idea of controlling human emotions like this. And I really liked this, I
think this is my second favorite in the series at this point. I really really
loved the magical library setting. I also thought the way that
Wonder and Malice’s backstories were explored was really interesting, um,
one thing that I’m consistently impressed with with Natalia Jaster
is how good she is at flashback scenes, because I hate reading flashback scenes,
I find them really boring, and I always like hers, and sometimes they’re actually
some of my favorite scenes in the whole book and this book was no different: I
found it very interesting to see how Wonder and Malice both ended up where
they were. As for the characters themselves, I really liked Wonder and
eventually I liked Malice. The romance took me a little bit to get into – by the
way this is New Adult so you know, be prepared for that going in – I found
Malice really unlikable at the beginning in a way that I’m not sure we were
supposed to, because one of the things he does is like he would make like super
sexual comments or like gestures at Wonder to deliberately make her feel
uncomfortable, and that’s something that I just personally really don’t like, but
eventually I do think he developed past that and I did end up really liking
their interactions. I love the way that they would like flirt with each other
with like books. And then I also think that there was a tendency in this book
to lean a little too heavily on the idea of finding legends or like loopholes
that are gonna fix everything, but I do think the way the book ended kind of
made up for that a little bit. As for the Hades and Persephone elements, I did like
those, and this was sort of a looser retelling than I think some others, um,
like instead of the Underworld you have kind of an underground library and
things like that, but I did like that. And I think that the writing, I also felt
kind of mixed about because Natalia Jaster has some really really beautiful
phrases and sentences, and then there’s some times where she kind of gets a
little bit into purple prose territory. And there’s this one like reveal that we
find out about one of the characters that supposedly is not supposed to be a
big deal, but the way other characters treated it, it was a really big deal, and
that felt kind of uncomfortable to me, but overall I did like this book, I
gave it 3.5 stars. Next I finished Grandmother’s Chocolate or El Chocolate de
Abuelita by Mara Price and illustrations are by
Lisa Fields. And this is also from Priscilla’s recommendations video! And
basically in this book a little girl starts to ask her grandmother questions
about hot chocolate and then her grandmother starts telling her stories
about her ancestors, like the Mayans and the Aztecs and how they used chocolate.
I also really loved this one, I gave it 4 stars. I really really liked the
illustration style in this one as well, it’s very expressive; like I think one of
my favorite things about it is how good a job the illustrator did of showing the
faces and the expressions on these different characters and also the
relationship between the little girl and her grandmother. I think that’s something
that really came through beautifully in the illustrations and also in the
storytelling, like the writing itself. I just think this was a really beautiful
exploration of family relationships and culture. I also finished another buddy
read that I did with Giselle and that is House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A.
Craig. This is a kind of creepy atmospheric horror retelling of the Twelve
Dancing Princesses, and our main character Annaleigh, several of her
sisters have died in horrible ways and people on the island are starting to
think that her family is cursed. Annaleigh starts seeing these horrible ghostly
apparitions [of] her dead sisters, and so she’s trying to figure out what’s going
on with those and what this means and what is going on with this curse that
they seem to have, and especially after Annaleigh becomes convinced that these
deaths were not accidents. And I really enjoyed this.
I mentioned that I really like kind of water-adjacent fantasy and this–this was
a great example of that. I think the world-building was done so
well, it was so interesting and it was so seamlessly woven into the story. You can
use familiar world building elements but if you use them a particular way or you
tell them a particular way or you’re just really really good at this kind of
thing, then I think they can feel really fresh and new. And I really liked the focus
on family relationships, specifically sister relationships, and even the
sisters who have died, it’s like you really – especially for the one that died
most recently – you still get a feeling for who she was as a person and the loss
that these girls are feeling, and even though some characters move on quicker
than others, it was just very–like this book felt very like permeated by that
feeling of sisterly relationships. And I also really liked the writing, there were
just really beautiful passages about the beliefs of this island and how they
related to the mainland and the different like buildings and structures
and like some of the dances that these
sisters end up going on, because of course it’s a Twelve Dancing
Princesses retelling, and I just loved the way all those were done. Like it
never felt like too much but I also had such a good idea of this setting and
what things looked like or just kind of the vibe that you get from them. And
speaking of the vibe, I think that the horror atmosphere or like the creepiness
was done so so well in this book. Like there were a couple of scenes in
particular that were just so creepy and so well done, and I think one of the
things that made the horror aspects work so well is like the juxtaposition
between what was scary and why it wasn’t supposed to be: so like these horrifying
apparitions that Annaleigh starts seeing of her dead sisters, I think one of the
reasons they were so effective is because – for one thing they were just
really grotesque and awful, some of them – but also like that contrast with like
‘these are people that you love, like these are people who you’re not supposed
to be scared by,’ and I feel like that really added to the unsettling feeling.
And I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoyed the creepy atmosphere like so
much: it still felt based in like character relationships, like it felt
meaningful. I have to say this is yet another case where I didn’t like the
romance at all. And I also feel like Annaleigh could have been developed a little bit
more as a protagonist, like she did have personality, it wasn’t like she was
a completely blank slate or anything, but I think that if we had cut out the
romance we could have maybe spent some more time getting to know her and
spending more time with her and her sisters, because I think the scenes
between the sisters were so well-done and I would have loved to see more of
those. There’s also this thing about the very very ending that I didn’t love, but
overall I liked the plot. And also I feel like this book has gotten incredibly
mixed reviews and I have a theory about that:
there is a certain kind of reviewer – and I know this is a pretty small proportion
of the reviewing like entity, but they are quite vocal so you see this a lot –
that loves to talk about how YA never goes far enough or is never dark enough
or is just never meaningful enough for them, and then when those people actually
get a YA book that is very dark or that has bad things happen or that
like “goes there,” you know, in a very significant way, they complain about it!
because that is not what they wanted or expected from this idea they had about
what YA is supposed to be. And honestly I…I think that’s part of the
reason why this book gets such mixed reviews; I’m not saying everybody,
obviously you can [dis]like this book for reasons other than that,
but I just feel like a lot of the negative reviews I’ve been seeing for
this book, I’m wondering if some of them are for that reason. Because I put off
reading Heartless by Marissa Meyer for YEARS because everyone talked about how
bad it was, and it turns out it’s actually a great book, and it just
doesn’t end the way people expect YA books to end, and that’s on them! anyway,
I’m gonna go off on a whole nother tangent here and I’m not gonna do that
because we have one more book to talk about *laughs* and that is Great Goddesses: Life
Lessons From Myths and Monsters by Nikita Gill, and I received this book in a
Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. And I absolutely loved
this. I’ve read one other poetry book by Nikita Gill and I think this one is
even better. One of the only things that I didn’t love about her other book I read
is that there were occasionally poems that felt like they mixed her poetic
style with some very like modern-feeling phrases and it felt a little bit jarring,
and in this book that was almost completely gone. This was
such a beautiful collection, like the way that Nikita Gill reimagines certain
myths and stories and characters from Greek mythology, like the way she pairs
that with like current issues was just done so beautifully. Like some of the
themes that this one handled that I think were done so well are healing,
love, forgiveness, sisterhood, anger, compassion. And I also want to mention a
few of my specific like favorite kinds of poems or stories, so these are not by
title of poem, this is just like, their– like the focus of them: Hera’s
redemption arc; Aphrodite and Hephaestus’ story and like their kind of
relationship; the characterization of Hades is really wonderful;
the one on Argos, Odysseus’ dog, was just so good, it made me really emotional
but I loved it; the poem about Iphigenia was fantastic;
the poem of Helen of Troy I really loved; like the poem about Megara, who is the
wife of Hercules, her poem was just so heartbreakingly
current but I thought it was just beautifully told; and also the way that
she ended this poetry collection: like I never would have thought it would make
sense to end this collection with the kinds of poems she did, but it somehow
just worked perfectly? I absolutely fell in love with this, I gave this poetry book 5
stars, and I’ll actually link my full Goodreads
review if you want like a little bit more detail, but it’s hard to describe
poetry but I really really loved this one. Okay everybody! So those are all of the books
that I read in October, minus my audiobooks. Let me know if you have read any of
these what you thought of them or if you’re planning to pick them up. Thank you
guys so much for watching, I will see you soon with another video, and I hope
you love the next book you read. Bye!

16 Comments

  • Badger Reads

    I don’t like circus settings either! That’s why I haven’t read the night circus.
    I hope you like the rest of the Sevenwaters series more!
    I need to get to House of Salt and Sorrows!

  • She Wants the Diction

    ngl I skipped right to the Dead Beautiful part to find out what happened 😂😂😂 3.75 isn't too bad! I'm glad it wasn't a totally terrible read, lol.

  • Mary Among Stories

    I loved Daughter of the Forest, even though the ending was a bit too "clean" and convenient for me!
    it was great to hear your thoughts on all these books <3

  • Always Doing

    I so agree with the 'my heart must be beating so fast because I hate him so much' thing, gah! OMG the clown orgy, yes. I do like circus settings but I still hate this book! 😂 I'm cheering through all of this – my thoughts exactly!
    Re: Well Met, I agree that the niece avoided falling into teenage stereotypes! She was also just present enough to be there, but not driving the plot past joining the Faire in the first place. YES to pretty much everything else you say – totally agree with the two pitfalls of contemporary hate to love.
    Putting captions on this must have taken so long, thank you for doing it! Way to go this month. 💕

  • Mariana Quesada

    You read so much! Great wrap up. I just added The 26th of November to my TBR.
    😂😂😂 I also haaaate the naive description of “I hate him so much but why does my heart beats so fast when I see him, must be because I hate him so much.”

  • Linh Hermione

    Oh good I'm glad you feel like that about Ella Enchanted actually – I started it once and I just had SUCH second-hand humiliation from the bullying scenes that I honestly couldn't continue, even though I have heard that it's really wonderful
    And ahh gosh I'm so desperate to read some Hena Khan soon!!

  • TheAbbieScreams

    The fairy tale you're thinking of is called The Wild Swans (it's my favorite fairy tale)! Also I fully understand where you're coming from with Nights at the Circus… I've heard it is one of Angela Carter's worst and I have steered clear. But you might enjoy her fairy tale retellings called The Bloody Chamber. There are a couple of repeats (a couple of different versions of say Beauty and the Beast and Little Red Riding Hood) but even so they've got a more bare bones approach to storytelling which you might like if you ever felt like giving her another try.

  • Olivia's Catastrophe

    I kind of want to read Fake it till You Break It but I will be aware there are some moments which are a bit frustrating! Ah, I remember loving both the book and the film for Ella Enchanted when I was younger 😀 Oh wow, you really didn't like Night at the Circus and it sounds like a heavy dose of overwriting 🙁 Sometimes big books, even if we like them, take us some sweet time… 8 months is a decent amount!! Ahh More to the Story sounds so fantastic and I can't wait to read it! I remember when everyone was hauling in Gods of Jade and Sorrow and I am very glad to know it's actually pretty great. Should I be reading that one too? Ahh I am sorry you didn't like Georgie's character! I actually think you might like the others a bit more. I SO want to read Slay as soon as I can, I think I will love it. I have seen Well Met around and it sounds decent but I also don't think I will love it so I am skipping over it… I wasn't sure about The House of Salt and Sorrow so I am glad to know you enjoyed it. And YES some people do that and it makes me sad when people dislike or rate things down just because what they wanted to have happen didn't happen…

  • Cozy Reader Kelly

    That kiss scene really made Fake It Till You Break It for me. Otherwise, I agree that the relationship moved too fast.
    A Dance of Silver and Shadow sounds like an interesting take on the 12 dancing princesses.
    I have that same issue with sexual assault in fantasy. I really can’t stand reading that unless I am purposefully going into a book about rape (like Beartown). But when it randomly shows up in fantasy I have a lot of trouble with it. I tend to avoid books that I know have that content. Which means a LOT of older fantasy is out for me.
    I also hate that foreshadowing thing where an author tells you something bad is coming or announces a death is imminent. I am actually going to discuss that in my next recent reads because it happened in a book I just read and it bugged me so much!
    I completely get all your criticisms of Well Met. I’m not sure why I love that book. I think romance books can be so subjective because everyone is attracted to something different in a person or relationship.

  • Bookie Charm

    You brought up some of the things I loved about Casiopea! Surprisingly, I didn't like the road trip parts and you're so right about Martin's POV being unnecessary. Now that I think about it, those parts can completely be removed from story and the story would be very similar. He's annoying and his parts were my least fav part of the story. Ooh really appreciated your thoughts about Slay! Yay thanks for the shout out and I'm glad you loved the picture book with Pura Belpre!!! I notice that award now everywhere too.

  • ASeaofTomes

    Ok I'm finally getting to watch this. I'm ready!
    Oooh no. Not a fan of that inner dialogue you described for Fake It Till You Break It.
    Ah Ella Enchanted! I haven't read that book in ages and I think I got that one at the library as a kid, so I don't even have it, but one day I hope to reread it because I love that story so much. But yes I know exactly what you mean about rereads and wanting to avoid certain scenes.
    Night at the Circus sounds like a trip and not in a good way. Ew. Clown orgy is something that should never exist ever. Maybe I'm biased because I despise clowns, but also just no. I don't like survival stories either except I liked parts of Into Thin Air and Into the Wild and I don't know why. Ugh that book sounds like a very bad time and I'm here for that rant.
    Also I love that outfit! It looks so lovely on you.
    The Twelve Princesses retelling sounds like a good time and like an interesting book.
    Oh wow that did take awhile! I've heard mostly good things about Juliet Marillier, but I don't know if it's something I want to try? I go back and forth on it.
    You're right there is a lot of violence against women in fantasy. I hate that I've come to expect it, but I do. But I know of some authors who don't do it or are steering away from it, so maybe there's hope? It probably also depends on when the book was published.
    I really want to read Gods of Jade and Shadow! I'm so glad you liked it!
    That is a bold claim to make haha! Harry Potter and Twilight in one book? That would be one wild ride. Did it live up to that blurb? It sounds like it was a perfect read for October though!
    Darcy is an awkward nerd and I love him.
    Planting Stories sounds so lovely and cool!
    Well Met is really all over the place isn't it? We already talked about this earlier, but I'm sorry you didn't love it. It sounded so promising, so it's probably extra disappointing. I know I'm always extra disappointed when I'm super excited about a book and then I don't like it. What's the romance trope you don't like that comes up all the time?
    Your thoughts on the House of Salt and Sorrows is the first positive review of it I've heard. So many people I know have either DNFed it or given it a really low rating. I love your theory about that though and you're probably right.
    Great Goddesses sounds like something I'd probably like. I'll have to look into that a bit more.
    I loved this and I hope November is going just as well for you Cara!

  • BookCave

    Oh my gosh, you killed it in October with this many books. “I understood it. I just don’t think it’s good.” Lmao.
    😂😂😂 It took me so long to come to that realization about pretentious books.
    Aw More to the Story sounds amazing. Being able to be surprised so much in a retelling is such an endorsement.

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