November was a crazy month for me, for a lot of different reasons. I read the books I planned to read halfway through the month, then, I discovered Netflix.
I DNF’d two books and returned library books I originally wanted to read but I lost interest in them. The stress of the Goodreads Reading Challenge got to me and I debated ending it when I only had ten books left to read.
The end of the month made me reconsider the idea of monthly TBRs. I realized I never read all the books I plan on. I have become very much of a mood reader the past year. Regardless, November was not a terrible month of reading; I still read good books. Some of them were library books that I loved so much I had to buy them.
The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray (library book)
If you read my November TBR post earlier this month, you might remember I said The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray was not only the first book I planned to read, but also one of the ones I was most excited about. Unfortunately, this book was a let down.
I don’t want to say it was a bad book. There is a misconception about giving a book on Goodreads a 2 star rating. It does not necessarily mean the reader disliked the book. My overall reading experience of The Gilded Cage was actually quite good.
While the writing was very good and the historical elements were realistic of 1800s England, the summary was misleading. It promised a Gothic horror/mystery story. Only the Gothic element does not come into play until the end, and then only briefly. The mystery plotline was lackluster. It was obvious, to me anyway, who the perpetrator was halfway through the book. The length of the whole book itself was too short. In my opinion, it could have done better with more build up with at least 100 more pages.
On the flip side, my favorite part of this novel was the protagonist, Katherine. She was spunky and had no problem showing off her Virginia roots to the uptight English society. She had two love interests, although one was used as more of a plot device than an actual character. I did like the man she ended up with, yet I felt their relationship was borderline “insta-lovey.”
My expectations for this book were admittedly too high. As a whole, it was an OK book for me. If you like young adult historical romance, you might enjoy The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray.
Melody’s Key by Dallas Coryell (review digital book)
I have a full review of Melody’s Key up on my blog and it is the first book I have received for review from the author. Overall, despite the low rating, I enjoyed this book. I liked the main characters and their bonding through music. I liked the strong family presence, something you don’t see a lot of in new adult or young adult literature. However, I personally do not gravitate told novels heavy in romance and the Grammar Nazi in me had issues with the writing style. If you want to know all my thoughts on Melody’s Key, go read the review.
Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
Definitely one of my favorite books I read this month and it met my expectations. For the first half of the book, I thought I would end up giving it a 3.5 star rating, mostly for the witty writing style. By the time I got to the halfway point, it was bumped up to a full 4.
Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit is one of the few books I have read with a gay protagonist, named Jo Gordon. She was my favorite part of this novel. She had great values and a great sense of humor. She made mistakes, but she owned up to them. Aside from romance, there was also a strong element of friendship and family present. Jo’s dad was wrong to ask her what he did, but they have a great relationship regardless, and his new wife, Elizabeth, is not a Wicked Stepmother you see in contemporary YA novels. Jo’s friend Dana is also a great support system for her, as well as her friendship with another classmate with two moms. The characters are what made this book so great.
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
My favorite book I read this month. I have a full review up on this book where all I am doing is gushing about it. The writing and the story were both wonderful. The setting of Victorian London was dark, scary, and realistic. The author did not shy away from the gore, which I deeply appreciated. I was enthralled from the first page and could think of nothing else when I was reading it, as well as when I wasn’t reading it.
Audrey Rose Wadsworth, the protagonist, has earned herself a spot on my list of favorite heroines. She is smart, feisty, and independent. She totally rejects London’s high society’s expectations of her gender and is not squeamish about sticking her hands into corpses, but she also enjoys girly things like pretty dresses. The other characters themselves were interesting. I thought Stalking Jack the Ripper was a stand-alone novel, but it’s the first of the series. I can’t begin to explain how excited I am for the upcoming books.
Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
I will be honest: this was not my favorite book in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. It took me a total of two months to read this book. That is unusual for me as of late.
The writing was great and the ending set up for what I expect to be an epic finale. Manon Blackbeak is easily my new favorite character in the whole series. I was surprised how much I liked seeing her with Dorian, who I liked in previous books but I adore him now. He’s grown so much since the first book. I missed Chaol Westfall, I know a lot of people did, and I am in need of his novella. Elide and Lorcan’s storyline was my favorite in the book. Aedion and Lysandra are my favorite new couple.
However, I must admit, I prefer Aelin back when she was Celeana. She has become reckless and I found myself agreeing with one of her political enemies that she is not fit to rule a kingdom. She still has a lot to learn. Also, I’m not sure how I feel about her relationship with Rowan. Don’t get me wrong: I actually really like Rowan as a character. Only I feel his relationship with Aelin is forced, like it came out of nowhere. There were also some problems with world-building and I’m curious to see how this whole story with the magic and Wyrdkeys wraps up in the last book.
Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins
After I finished Empire of Storms, I needed something light, fluffy, and fun before I thought about picking up something like A Court of Mist and Fury. I read Rebel Belle, the first book in the trilogy, last summer and really enjoyed it. I bought Miss Mayhem and Lady Renegades, books 2 and 3, with the intent of finishing the trilogy this year.
While Miss Mayhem had the same witty writing and fast-paced story as Rebel Belle, I found it ultimately to be lackluster. It was enough to make me want to keep reading, but I was starting to understand why most people did not enjoy Miss Mayhem as much as they did its predecessor. Harper is a fun main character and her boyfriend, Oracle David Stark, is an underrated YA guy. Only there was too much teenaged angst and not enough kick-butt action or magic as I would have liked.
What was your favorite book you read in November?