November Reading Wrap-up 2017

Friday, December 08, 2017
I had a pretty good reading month in October but thankfully I'm back on form with my November reading as I managed to read 10 books, one of which was almost 600 pages. November was non-fiction November so I wanted to read some non-fiction but sadly I did only read two non-fiction books and I've almost finished one non-fiction audiobook - did you take part in non-fiction November?

*The Secret Of Vesalius by Jordi Llorbregat (582 pages - available Nov 2017) ★★★ (3.5)
I was very kindly sent an arc of this book by the lovely people at Quercus Books (thanks!) and the tag line the sold me on it was 'Frankenstein meets Sherlock' which sounded amazing! I'm just going to be very brief here as I already posted a full review. I loved the characters, the relationships, the atmosphere and action scenes as well as the writing and setting. Despite being almost 600 pages, it was very readable, quick and entertaining. However, I knew of Vesalius and the tag line gave away too much in my opinion so while reading I was just waiting for the characters to catch on. Despite being a bit predictable and the plethora of twists and the very end, I did really enjoy it and I would recommend it!

Gimson's Kings & Queens by Andrew Gimson (240 pages - available now) ★★★
I bought this non-fiction book a while ago as the cover is just gorgeous and I've finally read it! It covers every English/British monarch from 1066 with William the Conquerer to our current queen, Elizabeth II. I love the illustrations for each monarch, it's such an entertaining read as well as being very informative and concise. I can't pin point why I knocked off a couple of stars but it was definitely worth reading.

*The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler (384 pages - available now) ★★★ 
BookBridgr is a site where book bloggers can request newly released or upcoming releases to review and this one was kindly sent to me via Bookbridgr. The cover is stunning and the premise intrigued the new book nerd in me as it looks at 99 authors who for some reason have disappeared from shelves or are not well known. I liked the writing as it should have been very dry but it wasn't and it definitely had me looking up authors and books on amazon to add to my growing wish list of books. Each authors only has a couple of pages so it's fairly quick to get through and I'd definitely recommend it.

*There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins (304 pages - available now) ★★★
I started this book last month and for the first 20% I thought that I'd have to DNF it sadly but I'm glad that I carried on reading as the book developed and the mysteries unfolded which made it far more interesting than the very YA and gossipy start to the book.

We follow a small community in the Midwestern United States, in particular the cliques within the local high school including some of the more popular students and the outcasts and misfits after there's been a murder (that's not a spoiler as it happens within the first chapter or so). We then discover the relationships between certain students, the secrets the students are harbouring and the ramifications of the events that shock the students, school and community.

While I liked the writing, the story on the whole as well as the romance (which is rare for me) and the mystery - the mystery definitely kept me going - I thought it was very YA and it was ridiculous and cheesy at times. Overall, I think it's an entertaining, quick mystery that I would recommend but only if you like YA.
*The Devil's Claw by Lara Dearman (368 pages - available now) ★★★
I was lucky enough to receive and ARC of this book along with some chocolate (books and chocolate are the best combination). We follow Jenny, a journalist who has moved back to the island of Guernsey after some kind of traumatic event in London. I don't want to say any more about the plot than that as it is a thriller so I don't want to give anything away; also it's always best to go into books like this without knowing a lot about the plot.

I liked the quick, easy writing style, the overall story and the mystery as well as the main characters but the best part of the book for me were the historical elements, mentions of the occult and the setting of Guernsey which is such an atmospheric but familiar setting. The story and setting reminded me of the TV show Shetland (which is also based on a series of books) and I think this book would make a fantastic TV series!

*Strange Weather by Joe Hill (448 pages - available now) ★★★
I have wanted to read Joe Hill  for a while as I've heard great things about Horns and The Fireman so I was very excited to read this new offering from him! I was kindly sent the new hardback version from Gollancz *thank you*. Strange Weather is a collection of four short stories including: Snapshot, Loaded, Aloft and Rain.

The first story is 'Snapshot' which follows a teenage boy who is subject to bullying as he helps his neighbour out who seems to be suffering with alzheimer's and thinks that someone called the 'poleroid man' is coming for her. It sounds unusual and it definitely is as well as being thought provoking, entertaining and slightly creepy. I did like this story but I find all of them to be a little bit too slow at times. I liked the second story 'Loaded' despite the heartbreaking ending and large number of characters for the length of the story.

The next short story was Aloft which was so unusual and follows a group of friends who are going skydiving for the first time in memory of their freind/sister who had passed away due to cancer. It was such an odd story but I'm definitely a fan of imaginative, unusual and magical realism.

Lastly, Rain which takes place in a present day America where a freak storm unlike any other occurs and it has devastating consequences. I loved this story, I think it might be my favourite of the four. Each one has it's merits and they are all very unusual and quirky, particularly the last two and I'd definitely recommend although it wasn't anything I was expecting and it was a little slow at times.

*Before This Is Over by Amanda Hickie (456 pages - available now) ★★★
Next up is another book I was kindly sent *thanks Bookbridgr and Headline Review*. We follow an Australian family and their average street of nosy neighbours from the beginnings of a new disease epidemic to its conclusion. It isn't a new concept but I think the way it was focused on the family in such detail is and it made me feel quite constricted and claustrophobic as they quarantine themselves from the new and deadly virus that is spreading across the globe.

For the positives, I love the cover as well as the writing style, the vivid and familiar characters and the overall story which was entertaining and I wanted to find out the conclusion of the book. I did have some problems such as the mum, Hannah, who was such an annoying and neurotic character which was so draining to read about and the overall story wasn't as plot driven as I like - it's much more character and family focused as it's slower and less compelling in my opinion. It fell a little flat for me personally on the whole but I'd still recommend it - it would make a great movie!

*The Man In The High Castle by Philip K Dick (288 pages - available now) ★★★
I've been interested in this book since the TV show was released but I haven't wanted to watch the TV show as I always prefer to read the book first; however all of the editions have such awful covers until this one came along from Gollancz. I adore the cover of this gorgeous naked hardback and I couldn't wait to read it.

It's set in a world where the allies lost the second world war and now North America is divided into German controlled and Japanese controlled halves with a no-mans land in between. I haven't read anything like this before and to be honest, I have mixed feelings about this book! I love the idea, it's an interesting and thought provoking story but for me personally it was overly complex and I found myself switching between being a little bored and confused but also interested. I think if it sounds like something you'd like then definitely give it a go but I think the TV show might be a little easier to fully understand and follow along with; however that's just my opinion and I am still glad that I read it (thanks to Gollancz for this gorgeous edition).
*The Nutcracker by Shobhna Patel (32 pages - available now) ★★★★
Next up is one of my most beautiful children books I've ever seen! I was very kindly sent it by the lovely people at Thames and Hudson for my upcoming book gift guide (stay tuned for that) but I wanted to read it first. It's not only a lovely, short childrens Christmas story but it is so unique and festive.

It's a gorgeously published hardback but the best thing about this book are the papercut pop up pages which are beautiful and such a unique, interactive aspect to the book. You just gently push down the papercut pages and it reveals a gorgeous papercut festive design that matches the story. I think this book would be great for children and adults alike this Christmas!

*Norse Myths: Tales of Ordin, Thor and Loki by Kevin Crossley-Holland and Jeffrey Allen Love (240 pages - available now) ★★★★
The 10th and final book I read this month was all about the classic Norse myths but retold for older children and teens! Thanks to Walker Studio for this gorgeous illustrated hardback copy - I love the cover and illustrations throughout. I grew up learning about ancient Egyptian and Greek myths so I know very little about the Norse myths apart from the names of a few of their gods so this was a fantastic, charming and familiar introduction to the gods, myths as well as the viking view of the world, life and death.

This book is targeted towards children and teens between the ages of 9 to 16 according to Amazon and I'd go along with that age range although there are quite a few scenes including death, murder and gore so I'd personally only really give this book to mature children or teens. I'm going to be saving it for my friends son when he's older as I think that he will love it - I know I did! This book will also be featured in my upcoming book gift guide so stay tuned!

Have you read any of these books? What are you currently reading? 

18 comments

  1. Oh wow the Nutcracker sounds so good. X

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  2. That nutcracker book is gorgeous!! Not sure I would let me kids near it just yet though - it looks so delicate! I like the sound of the kings and queens book - I am interested in history but need something a little lighter than some of the historical record books x

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  3. oh i love the book with the paper cuts! I'm going to see if any of these are on audible!!!

    http://fashionforlunch.net

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  4. I love the sound of kings and queens! Xx

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  5. I love how much you read - I really miss reading all the time, makes me sad I don't have the time to at the moment

    Erin || MakeErinOver

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  6. Wow, you've read so many books! Good on you! xx

    Beautylymin

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  7. I haven't read any of these as I don't have a lot of time for reading but The Nutcracker sounds super cute especially for this time of year!
    Alice Xx
    www.blacktulipbeauty.co.uk

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  8. I think my niece would love the nutcracker book x

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  9. Oh my goodness I don't think I've seen a prettier book that this nutcracker one!
    Chantelle x
    The Girl In The Tartan Scarf

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  10. So many books, so many options! Thanks for sharing!

    x Mariya

    www.brunetteondemand.com

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  11. These all sound like such cosy reads. The nutcracker book is just beautiful!!
    Liv xx
    livwrites.co.uk

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  12. I am going to have to treat myself to some of these. I love having a big stack of books to work through over Christmas!

    Danielle xx
    http://www.fashionbeautyblog.co.uk/

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  13. I have just finished a good book call Stranger in the House. It is kind of Girl on the Train vibes. Really good read if you like thrillers! x

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  14. There's Someone Inside Your House sounds interesting! I would like to start reading more mystery/murder based books. You read an extortionate amount during November xo

    Char | www.charslittleblog.co.uk

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  15. I've never read any of these but they look beautiful! I haven't read in such a long time but I really want to get back into it over the festive period xx
    www.imjustagirl16.co.uk

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  16. Some of the covers are just divine! I'll be adding some to my to read list x

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  17. I love the way they have done The Nutcracker here! fab gift too x

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  18. I've been wanting to sit down and properly read The Man In The High Castle for months. The Nutcracker sounds like a beautiful & festive book.

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