Hello everyone! I somehow dread and love writing these wrap-ups at the same time. It gives me great pleasure to look back on the month and talk about some of the highlights with you all, but it’s scary as it flew so fast… 2020 is *wild wind whooshes in*.
But nonetheless, I truly enjoyed my month of November, and it was one of many great milestones for blogging for me. I changed my site name from “cherelle the bibliophile” to “a bolt out of the book”, something I always wanted to do but was apprehensive, you can learn about the new name here!
Furthermore, I set up a book club with Ashmita @ The Fictional Journal on Goodreads: BOOKS GO BOOM!! You can learn more about it here (my post) and here (Ashmita’s post). We just decided on the Book of the Month for December which is SET FIRE TO THE GODS by Kristin Simmons and Sarah Raasch, I am so excited to read it with you all in the club!
Okay without further ado, let’s see November!
Okay guys, I am positive book blogging has some magic. Before I started book blogging I was reading 5-6 books a month. In October (my 2nd month of blogging) I read 9 and this month I read 13 books?!! (okay technically 12 because I re-read one book)
And that’s not all, nearly all of the books I read were all 4 stars and above which was incredible. I also had 3 five-star reads, which are really rare for me! (I currently have less than 10 five-star books)… My mind is just blown at how amazing November was in terms of reading!
Salt to the Sea (Ruta Sepetys)
my rating: ★★★ || genre(s): historical fiction, YA
Despite all my ravings for how good the month of November was in terms of reading, it did not start out on the best note. Don’t get me wrong, Ruta Sepetys writing is so beautifully and brutally enrapturing and Salt to the Sea was so well thought out that I was in awe, but I was disappointed. I was expecting to be completely attached to the characters, completely wrecked by what happened in the book. But I was mostly unfeeling. I couldn’t connect much to the characters, they seemed rather distant and they weren’t given enough time to brood (due to the short chapters and 4 POVs).
Geekerella (Ashley Poston) [Once Upon a Con #1]
my rating: ★★★★ || genre(s): contemporary fiction, YA
Geekerella was just such a fun read with SUPER RELATABLE characters (my fandom loving heart was dancing) and also packs in meaningful messages of doing what you love and not allowing people to shame you, amongst all the light-heartedness. Highly recommend if you’re looking for a good retelling or just a book to make you smile.
Everything I Never Told You (Celeste Ng)
my rating: ★★★½ || genre(s): contemporary fiction
Honestly, I don’t know what to feel about this book. On one hand, it was dull and repetitive and downright annoying at times when I just wanted the mystery to be solved and finish the book…however towards the end of the book I began to devour the story not only because I wanted a conclusion, but because I felt connected to the character and wanted to find out more about them, more about the family dynamics. I also loved how this books tackled with issues like racial and gender discrimination very sensitively. This was an unlikely like for me!
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (V.E. Schwab)
my rating: ★★★★½ || genre(s): fantasy, historical fiction
Guys I had super high expectations for this book it being my first V.E. Schwab book and one that received so much hype in the bookish community. And it definitely lived up and surpassed all my expectations. This book was just so beautiful, with characters I felt numb and cried for, with themes that I died for. The writing was so captivating and you could really see how much effort was put into crafting this masterpiece. This is one you should (must) go pick up if you haven’t.
The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas)
my rating: ★★★★ || genre(s): contemporary fiction, YA
I don’t think I can emphasize enough how much you need to read this book. The Hate U Give was both empowering and eye-opening… I could literally feel when the beating of your heart echoes the beating (okay wrong reference) but it was that stirring. The voice of Starr will be one that sticks with me.
Between Shades of Gray (Ruta Sepetys)
my rating: ★★★★ || genre(s): fantasy, historical fiction, YA
So I was disappointed in Salt to the Sea, but thank you so much to Abby @ Beyond the Read for encouraging me to try Between Shades of Gray out. Because I loved it and was visibly affected by it. Apart from the resonant and endearing storyline of surviving and family, the thing that made Between Shades of Gray so prominent to me was the atmosphere. Ruta Sepetys creates this bleak world through her writing that I was just numb as I read the book. Truly incredible.
The Giver of Stars (Jojo Moyes)
my rating: ★★★★ || genre(s): historical fiction
I had an inkling I would like The Giver of Stars but I didn’t think I would love it that much.IT IS PRECIOUS AND MUST BE PROTECTED. The strong female characters who learnt not to let societal norms and expectations define them, who had their own dreams, who shared a passion to spread the love of books and knowledge to poorer families just stuck with me and my book loving heart! It may be a bit slow, but definitely packs so much in its character-driven glory, I highly recommend checking it out!
Six of Crows || Crooked Kingdom (Leigh Bardugo) [Six of Crows #1, 2]
GUYS THIS IS NEW FAVOURITE FANTASY BOOK INCOMING!!
my rating: ★★★★★ || genre(s): fantasy, YA
Imma jump right into all the hype and be yelling “No mourners, no funerals” with all my breath. Because Six of Crows was simply ELECTRIC.
It mastered the misfits with clashing personalities and pasts banding together and finding a “family” and got me screeching at nearly every single plot twist or smart move our witty crew makes. I was constantly rooting for all the characters and devoured this whole book in a whole sitting. The writing is also just super *intense* and exhilarating, hitting the nail right on the head when it comes to the feels, be it wonder, fear, tension or just *bottled up emotions for my favourite group of misfits*.
This book still managed to shock, wow, and win me over 1000% despite my already high expectations. Definitely a fantasy with a thrilling plot and characters you will spend weeks thinking about. (If I wasn’t clear enough, I HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND!)
GIVE ME THE MYSTERIOUS THIRD BOOK PLEASE. NOW. PLEASE.
And I also re-read Crooked Kingdom the day after I finished it so… (whoa that was so long)
A Court of Frost and Starlight (Sarah J. Maas) [ACOTAR #3.1]
my rating: ★★★ || genre(s): fantasy, YA
Heyy despite my initial wariness, I quite enjoyed this book as a bridging book. Okay so the first to third POV which all sound the same was annoying but I still enjoyed visiting one of my favourite fictional families and seeing them finally chill a but. Despite the lack of a proper central plot, I loved all the different small storylines which really sets up well for ACOSF!
A List of Cages (Robin Roe)
my rating: ★★★★★ || genre(s): contemporary fiction, YA
Okay this book *deep inhale* was a very dark book, a heavy, ugly read. (Please check the trigger warnings first) It dealt with so many painful topics and made me tear up especially with the brutal writing style which just delivers. However, I had also gotten emotional due to the amount of hope that shone through the dark in this book as well. The genuine and tender friendship in this book was too much for my fragile heart. A List of Cages was affecting but also a journey I think you all should try embarking on. Definitely makes it to my favourites and five star list this year.
Twisted (Laurie Halse Anderson)
my rating: ★½ || genre(s): contemporary fiction, YA
Perhaps it’s because I’m a girl reading about a male POV, perhaps it was because it was the same high school stereotypes again that made me wince, or perhaps I just have bad taste (seeing how many high star reviews there are)… but Twisted just wasn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love LAH’s books – Speak, Wintergirls and The Impossible Knife of Memory all punched me in the gut… but Twisted lacked that power. The POV of Tyler was incredibly entertaining to read thanks to his dry humour. However, it felt a little unrealistic. Family, school and even dealing with the deeper issues felt a little cliche, which is something I don’t expect in LAH’s books… so I’m truly sorry… 😦
This month I didn’t really buy books but I did make a trip down to the library and brought back some books I’ve been meaning to read for a long while! Here are 3 of them which I am most excited for. I will also be sharing reviews by other bloggers which pushed me to get them!
An Ember in the Ashes (Sabaa Tahir) [An Ember in the Ashes #1]
genre(s): fantasy, YA
I know I am horrible for not having read An Ember in the Ashes. But in my defence, before I started book blogging I had no idea that this series and many others existed! My way for finding books was simply picking books off the library shelf. However, I have seen this top many favourites list so I’m game to try it!
reviews of this book I loved:
Julia @ Stormy Reads YA ‘s review
The Poppy War (R.F Kuang) [The Poppy War #1]
genre(s): fantasy, historical fiction
Again, I have heard amazing, out-of-this-world things about the Poppy War. Chinese culture (I need to read more books about my own culture haha) and a blend of two of my favourite genres? Yes yes!
reviews of this book I loved:
Belle @ This Belle Reads Too ‘s review
Leah @ Leah’s Books ‘s review
Soothsayer (Kathryn Amurra)
genre(s): historical fiction, romance
I was so honoured to have gotten a copy of Soothsayer from the author, Kathryn Amurra for a review… but before that I was already sold because… Ancient Rome?? I love historical fiction very much, but only entered the genre properly last year so I have been reading the fairly common ones of the two big World Wars… thus, Soothsayer seems perfect to venture deeper!
reviews of this book I loved:
Abby @ Beyond the Read ‘s review
Noelle @ Wordgazing and Magic ‘s review
“The tale I’m going to tell is of summer long ago. Of killing and kidnapping and children pursued by demons of a thousand names. There will be courage in this story and cowardice. There will be love and betrayal. And of course, there will be hope. In the end, isn’t that what every good story is about?”
This quote is taken from This Tender Land which is my current read! I could resonate so much with this… truly, stories have both positive and negative elements but there is always hope, with our characters in the darkest of times. Books are also our hopes and dreams. And I think stories do exist to give us hope in terms of allowing us to draw from the experience of others, to escape, to see a better and possible world in them.
By mid-December, my blog would have hit 3 months old and once again my mind is blown. Also, not that I’m super follower oriented, but I just want to take this chance to thank you all for 200 followers. Your support means millions to me!
As mentioned in the intro, this month has been one of a lot of changes to blogging for me. I changed my blog name (you can read why here), started a book club with Ashmita @ The Fictional Journal (join here!) and discovered so many new blogs.
2a. The “darker” side of blogging and I have met
However, there is a toll I am experiencing. Posting regularly is still not a problem for me because I have many drafts that are scheduled ahead in case of a rainy day… but I am finding reading all your blogs a bit more challenging. All your content is just astoundingly captivating… but I follow a lot of blogs (like I can have a never ending list of posts to read just because I don’t go onto WordPress for a day)… which makes me a little stressed and sad. Stressed because I genuinely want to read all your posts and comment on them, and sad because sometimes it’s not possible, while you all lovely souls take the time to read mine. Thus, this is just a short message to say I’m sorry if I have not been active on your blog, that doesn’t mean I have forgotten or unsubscribed! I just need some time to work out a routine that fits.
I’ve seen countless bloggers do it and it’s such a good idea to support fellow bloggers so here we go!
Apart from the book reviews of other book bloggers featured in “books hauled”, here are some posts I enjoyed reading!
DISCUSSIONS & RECS
- Florence @ Miscellany Pages wrote a thought provoking discussion + recommendations post on Questioning the Canon – Race and Greek Mythology Retellings
- Millay @ Millay’s Musings did an intriguing discussion on rereading books
OTHER REVIEWS (see “books hauled” section for even more recommended reviews to read)
- Katie @ The Storybook Sisters did a lovely review on Divided Fire by Jennifer San Fillipo
- Ahaana @ Windows to Worlds wrote reviews on a rare 5 star duology: The Sacred Earth Saga
- April @ Booked Till Midnight did a review on Renegades
- Riddhi @ Whispering Stories hit 200 followers and did a Q&A
- Alex @ The Scribe Owl shared new changes to her blog and I am in awe
- Tiction @ FIctionally Crazy hit 100 followers and 2 months
- Lilly @ Lilly’s Little Library did the Lost in Translation Tag and it was hilarious
- Sunny @ Revolution Reading created The Hamilton Tag
- Alicia @ The Colorful Bibliophile made some Five Star Predictions
- Sanah @ Stories & Stardust shared some books she is thankful for
- Pilar @ The Bookworm Shelf did a post on characters she’d name pets after
Thee are actually many other awesome posts… apologies as this was quite a last minute decision so I would have missed out quite a bit… but I hope that you will enjoy these posts and discover new blogs!
Okay this post is getting longer than I expected, if you are still here, thank you! I’ll skip the random life update part and jump straight into 2 book memes/features!
3. Character Chat #1
This week’s topic- A character you do not want to get on the bad side of?
Kaz Brekker from the Six of Crows duology (AKA my new favourite fantasy series — check out my thoughts up above in the books read section). If you’ve read the duology, you know that Kaz is one of the most fearsome and brutal gang leaders in Ketterdam. When he has an enemy and a target, he really goes for it like a hungry wolf or er crow. Even with a limp, he manages to command such a feared aura and be so deadly, able to get out of literally any situation. And he is the brains… judging by all his schemes, I definitely want to stay in his good graces (if he even has good graces).
4. GIF-y Love #3
GIF-y Love is a new feature created by my friends Nehal and Tiction over at Books and Words and Fictionally Crazy respectively! Every Wednesday, they will publish a prompt and we have to respond with a gif. Sweet and simple, isn’t it? You can find out more about GIF-y Love here.
This week’s prompt: Studies
And that was my November, how did you guys find this format of post? Thank you for reading!
How was your November? What was your best read? Have you read some of the books I hauled? Which character would you not want to get on the bad side of?