Hey-o! I is back with a new post. Today as you can see from the title I’m doing a November wrap up. I know is a little late—even though I like to believe it’s not that late—but my excuse is that I’m on finals. I’ve been wanting to do a wrap up for a while but I’ve only done them on social media aka Twitter and Instagram—which you should follow me on—but it’s finally time for one here. This month I read 12 books. From these, I believe 6 were audiobooks. I think it was a great reading month which is great because this month I’m on a reading slump plus I’m currently on my finals, which I have mentioned like a thousand times everywhere, so I don’t know how much reading I’ll get done. I have officially started like 5 books and then taken them out of my currently reading because I can’t seem to be able to read more than a couple of pages. A moment of silence for that. This month I got one 2 stars, three 3 stars, six 4 stars, and two 5 stars. I’m trying to be a little harsher on my ratings because I want to differentiate the books I really liked from books that were good, and those that were okay, therefore, the low rating on four books this month. I give high ratings too easily and I think I should be more critical about it so that way those that should actually get a good rating will shine brighter. This being said I am not going back to my old ratings and change them unless it’s a reread but from now on things will be different. Anyway, I am now going to list the books in order from the lowest rating to the highest.
Two stars read
The book that got the lowest rating is actually a graphic novel memoir called
Pregnant Butch: Nine Long Months Spent in Drag by A. K. Summers
First pregnancy can be a fraught, uncomfortable experience for any woman, but for resolutely butch lesbian Teek Thomasson, it is exceptionally challenging: Teek identifies as a masculine woman in a world bent on associating pregnancy with a cult of uber-femininity. Teek wonders, “Can butches even get pregnant?”
Of course, as she and her pragmatic femme girlfriend Vee discover, they can. But what happens when they do?
I thought this book was okay. I found it funny at times but not as funny as the author probably intended it to be. Maybe it’s ’cause I haven’t been in that situation so I didn’t identify with the character or story but for me, it was just okay. I do like to think I don’t have to identify with a character to like a story so I don’t think that was it. I just found it a little bit monotonous and since this was originally an online comic it didn’t have this constant storyline so the chapters and storyline were a little hard to follow. I finished it in a sitting so I guess it wasn’t that bad but it just wasn’t for me. Do I recommend it? Actually, I do because of how it shows the reader what it’s like to be a butch and pregnant, how it affects how you look at yourself, and just what it’s like being pregnant in general.
Three stars reads
This month, sadly, I had three 3 stars reads which is always disappointing since I go into books expecting to love them or at least really like them. Because of this when there’s a book that for me is a 3 stars read I feel a little frustrated. I feel this way because I was so close to really liking them but it didn’t happen. I don’t know why this frustrates me more than 2 stars reads but it does. These next three books were hard to rate so I’m breaking out the decimals.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.
I’m part of the few people that wasn’t a fan of the book. This book has a whopping 4.14 stars rating on Goodreads which makes me part of the unpopular opinion. I really wanted to love this book. Last year I read it and gave it 4 stars which I guess that was this year equivalent to 3.75 stars. Sadly, my reread this year made me lower the rating. I was debating how I should rate it because the day I read it I was feeling sick and definitely not in the mood to read but honestly, if it had been as good as I expected it to be I would’ve liked it or loved it no matter what. I loved the family dynamic and every member of the family but I didn’t like the relationship at all or the story of it. I can’t seem to decide on a rating and because of this, I keep changing it. At first, I left the rating at 4 stars then I lowered it to 3.25 and then to 3.35 but for my final rating I went back to 3.25 and that’s only because I loved the family dynamic. As an overall read, it wasn’t bad it just wasn’t fantastic. Do I recommend it? Sure, there a lot of people that will really enjoy it. I just wasn’t one of them. I want to talk more about it, but I think I should do it on a different post where I don’t have to worry about length. As soon as I do I’ll link it here.
The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.
First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.
That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.
There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.
At first, this book was hard for me to get into. I think the first 100 pages or so were just okay and it took me switching to the audiobook to really get into it, but once I did I really, really liked it. I enjoyed it to the point that I ended up switching back to physically reading it because the audiobook was too slow for my impatient self. I am going to say I am not dying for the main character but she wasn’t horrible. A huge part of the beginning of the story focuses on something I really thought was unnecessary. I get the author meant to bring out the topic since it’s one rarely talked about in YA but I feel dedicating that many pages when it barely amounts to the plot was just, again, unnecessary. But I liked the story and I liked the main character’s determination. But my favorite thing about the book is that is told through Monica and her sister’s perspective. I must say I prefer her sister’s. This was probably my first thriller and I really enjoyed even though thriller lovers have said it isn’t the best which makes me motivated to give others a try. Do I recommend it? Yes, I think it’s a nice and easy way to get into thrillers. I gave it 3.70 stars. The only reason I didn’t give it 4 full stars is that I believe books should be good from the very beginning or at least before the 100 pages mark and for me this wasn’t that way. I think maybe the audiobook helped up the rating a little but I’m still happy with my rating.
A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell
She’s your best friend.
She knows all your secrets.
That’s why she’s so dangerous.
A single mother’s life is turned upside down when her best friend vanishes in this chilling debut thriller in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.
It starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son Nicky after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and her son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together—just like she and Emily. A widow and stay-at-home mommy blogger living in woodsy suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a sophisticated PR executive whose job in Manhattan demands so much of her time.
But Emily doesn’t come back. She doesn’t answer calls or return texts. Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong—Emily would never leave Nicky, no matter what the police say. Terrified, she reaches out to her blog readers for help. She also reaches out to Emily’s husband, the handsome, reticent Sean, offering emotional support. It’s the least she can do for her best friend. Then, she and Sean receive shocking news. Emily is dead. The nightmare of her disappearance is over.
Or is it? Because soon, Stephanie will begin to see that nothing—not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favor—is as simple as it seems.
This book was probably the hardest book to rate in this whole list. It would’ve been a 4 stars read if it wasn’t because of the characters. I hated them with a passion. I don’t think I’ve ever hated characters like I hate the one in this book. We also have the fact that there’s an incestual relationship between two adults and it plays a huge part of the plot so if you aren’t able to ignore that then you might not enjoy it. Do I recommend it? No unless you’re able to look pass problematic topics and characters. There’s actually a movie out for this book with Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively and I’ve heard it’s pretty good. This is another book I think deserves to be talked about more than I can on this post so like To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before I’ll have a separate post for it. I’ll link it here as soon as it’s up. As for the rating, I give a 3.80
Four stars reads
I had six 4 stars reads and that makes me very happy since it means the month wasn’t so bad after all. For these ones, I don’t want to complicate myself so I’m just leaving it at 4 full stars. The first one is
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…
This was a reread sponsored by my literature class and it was one I was excited about because it already was on my list of books I wanted to reread. I did have a hard time reading it because I was in such a reading slump—thank you To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before—and this book isn’t most action-packed out there. This book can be very monotonous since it’s just the main character narrating how things are, how things got to be like that, and what new things were happening. I can see a lot of people getting bored but honestly, it’s worth the read. I gave it 4 stars because I love this world. It reminds me to appreciate the rights and freedom I, as a woman living in Puerto Rico, have. Not everyone has the same rights and freedom that I do and I should not take mine for granted. The thing is that this story is something that can happen which is scary. It really made me reflect now only on these blessings but also on how things need to change or this fictitious world won’t be so fictitious after all. I think everyone, especially women, should read it. I specify women because this whole book deals with losing their right including their rights to their bodies which is already happening. There’s actually a series on Hulu based on it and I’ve heard it’s fantastic so you should probably check it out.
Fox 8 by George Saunders
Fox 8 has always been known as the daydreamer in his pack, the one his fellow foxes regarded with a knowing snort and a roll of the eyes. That is,until Fox 8 develops a unique skill: He teaches himself to speak “Yuman” by hiding in the bushes outside a house and listening to children’s bedtime stories. The power of language fuels his abundant curiosity about people—even after “danjer” arrives in the form of a new shopping mall that cuts off his food supply, sending Fox 8 on a harrowing quest to help save his pack.
This is such a cute and sad story. It was adorable, but it truly broke my heart. This book is only 21 pages long but that’s enough for it to give you a wake-up call. It was amazing to be reminded that animals are still living creatures that deserve respect, that animals might be different to us, but they still have feelings. I mean, haven’t you ever seen or heard of a depressed dog who mourns the death of their owner and because of this, they die shortly after? It’s a wake-up call that reminds us that we need to realize how our actions are affecting the environment and how every house, mall, and city we create affects the creatures that live in that place or around it. Honestly, this was just such a good read.
Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal’s Pakistani village, but she had no complaints, and besides, she’s busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Her dreams are temporarily dashed when—as the eldest daughter—she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn’t lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens—after an accidental run-in with the son of her village’s corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family’s servant to pay off her own family’s debt.
Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal—especially when she inadvertently makes an enemy of a girl named Nabila. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s growing awareness of the Khans’ nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear just how far they will go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams.
I feel like I’m saying this over and over again, but this was such a great story. It reflects the sad realities of many without sacrificing hope. The fact that she found light in the middle of the darkness, that even though she forced away from her family she found a little family of her own, a little happiness of her own. This serves a great reminder that like Dumbledore said: “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.” I honestly loved it and only gave it 4 stars because the ending was just too middle grade for me. I get it’s trying to send a positive message to middle graders, but it just wasn’t a realist ending. I mean I can’t measure a middle-grade book with the same standards I do YA, NA and Adult books which is why I tried to be fair with the rating but it still bothers me. Another reason I didn’t give it 5 stars is that for me it missed that spark that would bump it up to 5 stars which, again, is probably because of the ending. I really recommend it. It’s a short read, only 240 pages long, so it should be easy enough for you and every middle grader out there to read. The audiobook is also really good so if you’re interested in it I would give it a chance. Again, I just keep repeating myself but I truly recommend it especially for the target audience since, even though the ending is not realistic, it gives them a very uplifting message of how they can change the world, how there’s always nice people out there willing to help, and how there’s always light no matter how dark everything seems.
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.
On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.
Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.
That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.
Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?
Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.
Okay, I must say I’m not a big fan of romance so I’m glad this wasn’t exactly completely that. This is an interesting concept that I haven’t seen represented outside of telenovelas. For telenovelas, the whole lover who was dead but then is apparently alive and now the main character has to choose between their old lover and their new one is such an overused trope but this is the first time I’ve seen it in a book and I think the author did a fantastic job. I really enjoyed the fact that we get to see the two relationships develop and it wasn’t this cheesier than an extra cheese pizza. It was cheesy enough for me to enjoy. I really enjoyed the family interaction and how the dynamic changes throughout the story. But what I really loved was her character development. This story wasn’t about how she had to choose between two guys. This story about how this went from an angsty teenager to a happy successful woman that kept changing to a better self even when life was throwing lemons at her. When life throws lemons at you grab them throw some back and with the rest make lemonade. I really loved it and I might be biased because my ship is canon but if there was a book on this list that was really close to 5 stars rating is this one. After reading Evidence of the Affair and now this one I can say with confidence that I am going to read everything this author has and will ever write. Apart from those two, she has four more books including The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo which I hope to get to before the release of her newest one. It’s always such a good feeling discovering a new favorite author only to find out that they have a lot of books out you can get to while you wait for their newest release.
Scream All Night by Derek Milman
Dario Heyward knows one thing: He’s never going back to Moldavia Studios, the iconic castle that served as the set, studio, and home to the cast and crew of dozens of cult classic B-horror movies. It’s been three years since Dario’s even seen the place, after getting legally emancipated from his father, the infamous director of Moldavia’s creature features.
But then Dario’s brother invites him home to a mysterious ceremony involving his father and a tribute to his first film—The Curse of the Mummy’s Tongue. Dario swears his homecoming will be a one-time visit. A way for him to get closure on his past—and reunite with Hayley, his first love and costar of Zombie Children of the Harvest Sun, a production fraught with real-life tragedy—and say good-bye for good. But the unthinkable happens—Dario gets sucked back into the twisted world of Moldavia and the horrors, both real and imagined, he’s left there.
With only months to rescue the sinking studio and everyone who has built their lives there, Dario must confront the demons of his past—and the uncertainties of his future. But can he escape the place that’s haunted him his whole life?
THIS BOOK, MAN! This book was just too much for me to handle. I think the best way to explain how I feel about this book apart from saying that I really, really liked it is that I felt like I was on an acid trip while reading it. It’s such a weird book but Lord knows it’s another one I almost gave 5 stars. I’ll talk about it more on a different post which, again, I’ll link here once it’s up.
Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert
Since she was seven years old, Yvonne has had her trusted violin to keep her company, especially in those lonely days after her mother walked out on their family. But with graduation just around the corner, she is forced to face the hard truth that she just might not be good enough to attend a conservatory after high school.
Full of doubt about her future, and increasingly frustrated by her strained relationship with her successful but emotionally closed-off father, Yvonne meets a street musician and fellow violinist who understands her struggle. He’s mysterious, charming, and different from Warren, the familiar and reliable boy who has her heart. But when Yvonne becomes unexpectedly pregnant, she has to make the most difficult decision yet about her future.
This was a really interesting read. It focuses on another topic I don’t think we see represented enough on literature at least in a way that isn’t condemning it, and that topic is abortion. This book doesn’t condemn it nor does it applause it. It just tells you that it’s an option and that only the pregnant person is the one that gets to decide what’s the right decision is. But that isn’t the whole story here we also discuss how not everyone at 17 knows what they’re going to do next and how minorities, specifically African Americans, have to work twice as hard and stay far away from stereotypes to get the half of the respect a white person with the same merits would. All these discussions made me really love this book. Do I recommend it? YES! Knowing that this story is out there makes me so happy that this story is out there. I totally recommend it.
Five stars reads:
Now for my two 5 stars read I got
Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel
This is the last installment on the Themis Files trilogy so I’m not posting the synopsis to avoid spoilers and instead will post the one for the first book on this trilogy, Sleeping Giants.
Sleeping Giants synopsis:
A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped 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 – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.
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 relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?
If there was a book on this list you should listen to the audiobook of is this one. Honestly, just listen to the audiobook of the whole trilogy because if you loved the audiobook of Sadie you will adore the audiobooks of these ones. We got sound effects, a full cast and the type of narration that makes you feel like you’re watching a movie. I have loved every single book in this trilogy and I’m so thankful that I went to the book club where I heard about this book because this is definitely my favorite trilogy ever and Waking Gods—the second installment on this series—is one of my top 3 favorite books. But we aren’t talking about it all as whole but about the conclusion to this series. Honestly, I am stuck between loving the ending and being slightly disappointed. I feel like in Waking Gods we had enough action for the whole trilogy and I know a different ending wouldn’t fit with the story but I just wanted a little bit more. STILL, I absolutely adore this book I love the whole political aspect of it but I must say I understand why not every person would. This book is completely different from the rest of the series but I believe it still felt organic. Actually, I feel like each book on this trilogy is completely different from the others on their own way without straying away from the storyline. I think it made sense that the author decided this to be the next step which is why I don’t understand why so many fans are against it. I’m not a fan of very political read but this one was great. I loved that it reflected the human nature that we have seen in both past and present history and I get how some—mostly conservatives and white supremacist—wouldn’t enjoy seeing a book as they might feel that their beliefs are being attacked. Do I recommend this book? If I have to kidnap you to get you to read it I will. I am definitely going to be rereading this trilogy again and again.
Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry
Michael is an atheist. So as he walks through the doors at St. Clare’s—a strict Catholic school—sporting a plaid tie, things can’t get much worse. His dad has just made the family move again, and Michael needs a friend. When a girl challenges their teacher in class, Michael thinks he might have found one, and a fellow nonbeliever at that. Only this girl, Lucy, is not just Catholic . . . she wants to be a priest.
But Lucy introduces Michael to other St. Clare’s outcasts, and he officially joins Heretics Anonymous, where he can be an atheist, Lucy can be an outspoken feminist, Avi can be Jewish and gay, Max can wear whatever he wants, and Eden can practice paganism. After an incident in theology class, Michael encourages the Heretics to go from secret society to rebels intent on exposing the school’s hypocrisies. When Michael takes one mission too far—putting the other Heretics at risk—he must decide whether to fight for his own freedom, or rely on faith, whatever that means, in God, his friends, or himself.
If you follow me on Instagram or if you have read my last post you know that I completely loved this book. I loved it so much that I did a whole review for it. Check it out here. I’m not going to say anything else because I rather you read the review but I must say that this is a fantastic read and that I think everyone should read.
Well, those are the 12 books I read on the month of November. I hope you enjoyed this post as much, or more, as I enjoyed writing it. Don’t forget to follow me here, on Instagram, Goodreads, and Twitter. Thank you for reading and