Blogmas · TBRs and Wrap ups

Blogmas Day 3 // November wrap up and December TBR

Since I’m doing Blogmas again this year, I decided to combine my November wrap up and December TBR so I could keep one of my 12 posts of Blogmas free for something else. (Original Christmas tag? Best books of the year? Books as the 12 days of Christmas? These posts are all coming.) I’ve also had the sudden realisation that this is my final wrap up and last TBR of 2018. The next time I post a wrap up or TBR will be 2019. So what better way to go out on a high than to combine them both into one big, long, mammoth, rambling post. Enjoy.

Books cover

I read six books, an essay, and a web comic in November, and these were chosen at random because I didn’t get myself a monthly TBR. Although not having a TBR left me feeling freed it also made me feel a little at sea; I kept going to check what I’d planned to read, only to remember that I had no TBR. Nevertheless, it was a fun experience and good to change things up a little.

History Is All You Left Me // 4 stars // This was my first Adam Silvera novel and I loved it. It’s such a sweet and sad novel about loss, grief, and first love, and I really enjoyed the narrative style. I didn’t cry like I was expecting too (am I made of stone? Who knows) but I found some of the saddest chapters incredibly moving and was completely invested in the main characters.

Muse of Nightmares // 4.5 stars // I read Strange the Dreamer earlier this year in July, and I really loved it, so I was expecting big things from Muse. And Laini Taylor once again delivers. The characters are developed further following on from the first book, the plot is filled with action and wonderfully intense scenes where characters meet for the first time, and the narrative is sublime. If I had to describe Laini’s writing in metaphorical terms, it’s like melting a chocolate bar into perfect, liquid silk, then stirring a spoon around in it until it’s completely smooth and shiny, and finally tasting it. Basically it’s luscious and rich and I can’t get enough of her work.

Empire of Sand // 4 stars // Ah I was enthralled by this book. The narrative is imaginative and the world-building culturally-rich and captivating. Mehr is a brilliant, driven, and indomitable, and her desire for social revolution is the key to unlocking her ability to help others.

Radio Silence // 4.5 stars // I finished this book on the last day of November and wow. I enjoyed it so much. I felt close to the characters and part of this was down to Frances’s distinctive voice. She’s honest and open about what she’s thinking, and this immediately made me warm to her. The plot was realistic and Alice Oseman explores under-discussed issues surrounding high school, university, and being a teenager. I know now why everyone’s been encouraging me to read this, if you said I’d love it, you were 100% right.

UnOrdinary // 4 stars // I started this because it was one of the highest rated comics on Webtoon, and I can see why. UnOrdinary is set in a world where people have either strong, weak, or no abilities and society is segregated by how much power you have. The comic uses this hierarchy to discuss discrimination, emotional manipulation, and abuse of power. The main character, John, is the epitome of ‘unordinary’ because he has no powers, but is hiding several dark secrets. The art style of this comic appeals to me because it’s similar to a lot of the manga I enjoy, and the action scenes are drawn and coloured exquisitely. My issue with this series is that the word ‘cripple’ is used frequently to describe those without any powers, and as of yet, the series hasn’t fully challenged the use of this word.

We Should All Be Feminists // 5 stars // I promised myself I would read this before the end of 2018, and I finally did. Although short, this essay is packed with power. Ngozi Adichie narrates her own experiences of being a woman in Nigeria, describing how people equate marriage with success for women, and how women can’t go into clubs without a man. She explores the manifestations of sexism in Lagos, discussing the fact that most men don’t mean to insult women, their actions are simply a byproduct of a society that’s become used to male dominance. Her tone isn’t one of anger, but of determination. Determination to change things, and revolutionise social norms, and reading this made me want to work even harder to revolutionise things along with her.

Blue Exorcist volumes 12 and 13 // 4 stars // I’ve been making my way through this series for the past few months and it’s so addictive. The character development just gets better and better with each book, and the plot twists in these two volumes in particular were huge. We learn more about Izumo’s backstory and why she’s often cold to the other characters, and a betrayal ensues that I just didn’t see coming.

This month's posts.jpg

In November I wrote about queer books I’m thankful I added to my TBR and book subscription boxes I’d like to try

I also did the The Panic! At The Disco book tag, as they’re a band I really enjoy listening to, and the To Kill A Kingdom book tag.

One of the posts I was particularly pleased with this month was my discussion about why I decided not to do NaNoWriMo this year. I don’t tend to talk about my writing processes and my issue with actually finishing pieces of writing, so I was pleased that I opened up a little in this post, and was able to discuss the difficulties of fitting in Nano alongside everyday life with other people.

Life Updates

I was less busy in November than I was in October, but I still had a few fun events planned.

  • I went to see Florence and the Machine with my sister and we had such a feel-good evening. I knew she was a goddess, but her voice is as amazing live as it is on her albums, and the way she performs is just next level.
  • It was my sister’s birthday in November, so we visited her at university to give her presents and went out for a meal (mmm Wagamama’s). My mum and I also birthday cake, which went down pretty well, if I do say so.
  • My mum and I finally went to see The Hate U Give before it stopped showing in cinemas and it was just as powerful and moving as the book. It’s definitely up there with Love, Simon in terms of some of the best book-movie adaptations I’ve ever seen.
  • I got accepted to part of the street team for Joan He’s Descendant of the Crane! I’ve never been part of a street team before, and this is one of my most anticipated books of 2019, so I’m very excited to be involved.
  • I hosted another Birmingham book bloggers meet up and we did some Christmas shopping, explored Waterstones, and went on a mission to find me porridge. (I just really had a craving for porridge, OK?) Thankfully, Waterstones cafe was able to provide.
  • I discovered a zero waste shop in Birmingham and got addicted to their muesli. They’re called The Clean Kilo, are based in Birmingham city centre, and have all kinds of food produce – fresh fruit and veg, dried fruit, rice, pasta, nuts, coffee, flour, sweets, sugar, spices, herbs, chocolate, cereals – the lot. Reducing my impact on the environment is really important to me, so I’m trying to visit this shop every time I’m in Birmingham to support them and reduce my own plastic use.

Since I’m combining my TBR and wrap up this month, these are the books I’m hoping to read in December.

Most of the books on this month’s TBR are ARCs that I want/need to read befor January and I’m especially excited to pick up The Girl King, which I’ve had since YALC. And, yes, I caved and am going to try and read Kingdom of Ash. My mum checked it out from the library for me so I’m going to give it a go before it has to be returned. There will be plenty of (salty) updates about it on my Instagram stories, in you want to follow me on there (I’m @ readingthroughinfinity).

What books did you read last month? Are there any exciting books on your December TBR? Also, if you have any posts from November you’d like to share, please leave me a link so I can check them out!

Until next time,KateNEW

8 thoughts on “Blogmas Day 3 // November wrap up and December TBR

    1. It was brilliant! Alice Oseman is definitely one of my new favourites of 2018! The way she discusses friendships and fandom is so true to real life and I really liked the way she explored how university isn’t for everyone. I went to uni and loved it, but that’s not the way it goes for everyone, so it was nice to read a book discussing that! 🙂 Thanks Marie, I hope you have a super month too! ❤

  1. I am so so curious about Girl King. I saw the author at Book Expo this summer, and her book just really intrigued me, but I couldn’t get to her booth in time to snag an ARC. I have also seen a few negative reviews for it so far so now I am extra curious what it’s like. It’s a fairly chunky book too so I suppose I want to know if it is worth the time.

    1. Me too, to be honest! I got an ARC at YALC but because the publication date was so far away, I decided not to pick it up for a bit. But I definitely want to read it before its release, so now we’re into December I think it’s time to give it a go. It sounds like something I’d love so I’m excited to get started 🙂 I’ll be reviewing it closer to the pub date once I’ve read it!

  2. Hallo, Hallo Kate!

    I totally missed out on the street team opportunity! I was offline quite a bit when that was being s/o on Twitter and when I came back, I saw the tweet and crumpled a bit realising it was probably the best news I’d missed recently! However, its a novel I’ve earmarked to fetch at my library – if one of them purchases it or if I need to request it for purchase. I love stories similar to that one — reminds me, I need to re-queue Mortal Song as I fell ill and couldn’t finish it before the ILL request expired.

    I clearly missed the memo about #blogmas being 12 posts leading into Christmas Week – I thought it was a 30 day posting challenge similar to #blogtober – I had an #epicfail for October and although I started off strong with #blogmas initially, my fortnight of illness derailed the rest of it. I’m still trying to get some posts up on my blog that are needed still which were originally meant to be #blogmas ones. I decided to shift into my #cloakanddaggerchristmas reviews for Cosy Mysteries or Mysteries/Suspense/Thriller as honestly, I wanted to focus on something uplifting after so much strife with health.

    I’m clicking through your blog to the posts you’ve linked here – this is one of the best wrap-ups I’ve read in awhile as you wrote it like a journal. Love those kinds!! 🙂

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