My November Wrap Up and December TBR! – Blogmas Day 2

Hi everyone! Welcome to Blogmas Day 2! Today’s post? My November reading wrap up and December TBR!

November Wrap Up!

This month I read 12 books. This is a great change from October when I only got to 4 books. I met my Goodreads goal this month, reaching 76 out of a goal of 75 books!

Also, all the books in this wrap up were library books! Lots of love to my amazing local library!

Okay, since I had so many books I want to get into it. I’m sure it’ll be a long post!

Here we go!

Cress by Marissa Meyer

3/5 Stars

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I finished Cress this month, having started it last month. It wasn’t too bad, but it was my least favorite of the series. Still it did a good job setting up the story for the next book. As this is the third book I don’t really want to get into details as to not spoil it but I will say Cinder is still my favorite, I like Scarlett a lot more in this book, and I think I like Winter (what little we saw of her). Cress? Not my favorite character. Ah well!

As for the overall plot of the series, Cinder, the main character, is a cyborg living in the Eastern Commonwealth, one of the 5 nations of Earth. Earthen relations with the lunar country Luna are strained and Cinder, naturally, gets caught in the middle. More on my overall thoughts of this series later (as I finished the series this month).

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

5/5 Stars

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Fairest is listed as book 3.5 in the Lunar Chronicles series. And I really liked this one! I loved seeing Levana’s backstory and learning more about her. Levana’s reasoning for why she is such a tyrannical and obsessive ruler of Luna makes more sense as you see what her life was like before she became Queen Regent and why she became obsessed with fully becoming the Queen and keeping her power.

Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs

4/5 Stars

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This wasn’t the most exciting book as it’s meant to be a story book rather like the Grimm’s fairy tales, cautionary tales to future generations. I didn’t “read” this one as much as I did pick out my favorite stories but I still enjoyed it and it looks absolutely beautiful! I kind of wish I had bought it so it would live with my other Miss Peregrine’s books and look pretty but I’m okay with not owning it.

The Miss Peregrine’s series features characters that have “peculiar” abilities who hide from humans without abilities and live in “loops”, pockets of time that repeat themselves, keeping peculiar safe and young endlessly. (Until the main character arrives, of course.)

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

5/5 Stars

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I actually got this book from my sister, who passed this book to me after she read it. She picked it up after it was given the “Best Spy” sash at the library last month. The basic idea is that the main character is a lost princess of a conquered nation and she is now a spy and thief masquerading as a believed-to-be-dead lady of another nation that has fallen to a supernatural threat on the kingdom she is currently spying in (the one that conquered her home). I really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to read the sequel! I thought it was very cleverly written and every character is not what they seemed at all.

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Best Spy!

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

5/5 Stars

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I’d wanted to read this book anyway but I didn’t know I had picked up the second book until I actually saw this one. This one got the “Best Cover” award and you can see why! I really loved this book as I found the world was very interesting as was the bubbling feud between the red and silver bloods. Mare’s journey and where she ends up is also awesome and fun to follow along.

This book, as I said above, features red blooded people who are normal and silver blooded people who have god-like abilities in the red bloods’ eyes. Naturally, the silvers control the world and rule over reds mercilessly. Mare ends up learning she is a red with silver abilities in a spectacular way and is swept up in the silver world, which seemed like the life of safety and luxury from the outside, but is incredibly dangerous and complicated on the inside.

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Cruel Crown

4/5 Stars

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I next picked up this book because it’s the “prequel” stories of two characters in the series. I loved the first story Queen Song of Queen Coriane, who had been the first wife of King Tiberias and the mother of Prince Cal, who is deceased at the time the series takes place. It covers her life as she grows up poor and ruled by her overbearing aunt, catches the eye and marries the prince, becomes queen, becomes a mother, and ultimately meets death. The next story Steel Scars of Diana Farley, a member of the Red Dawn, as she comes to the country Norta where the story takes place to form a rebellion force. She faces a tough job of making connections and ultimately meets Mare before Mare is brought into the Silver world. I didn’t like this story as much as the first, so it did bring down the overall rating of the book. There was also a sneak peak of the second book in the series!

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

4/5 Stars

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This is a dystopian world novel. The main character, Cassie, has survived the first 5 waves of alien invasion. Each “wave” was a coordinated attack on Earth’s population, and Cassie sometimes believes that she’s the only human left alive. Despite this she is determined to find her younger brother, the only other family member she might have left. She heads off towards where she believes her brother might be and along the way she meets Evan, and needs to decide if she’ll trust him against the rules she’s followed that has kept her alive: staying alone and trusting no one.

I liked this book although I felt that Cassie was quite indecisive at times for being determined to survive and find her brother. I’m not quite sure how this book needs a second book as I felt there was plenty of doom in this one, but I’m still planning to read it. This one was very gripping and while the multi-person point of views isn’t my favorite narration type, it worked very well for this book.

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

4/5 Stars

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Picking up where Red Queen left off, I had high hopes for this book. I don’t want to spoil the first book for anyone  (I know, I say that a lot) but I will say that for me, it didn’t quite meet expectations. Essentially Mare is not the only Red to have Silver abilities and works to find other “new bloods”, as she starts calling this group, while running for her life from the king of Norta.

I found it boring compared to the first book actually, and I wish Mare would have more instincts to trust but I suppose if she did then the story would move about more quickly. That would be my preference but it was still an entertaining book and I’ll be reading the next one.

Winter by Marissa Meyer

4/5 Stars

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Somehow I originally rated Winter 3 stars after reading it but I think it was a slip of my thumb as I had intended to rate it 4. Not the best book, but not the worst of the series. The only reason I can really think of was because I kept getting annoyed that people kept getting separated from the rest of the party and it was quite frustrating and silly at times how often this happened.

I felt it was a good resolution and all parties involved got their fairy tale endings, in a way that they didn’t expect but were content with. Well, mostly everyone. And I’ll leave it at that!

The Diary of Frida Kahlo by Frida Kahlo

4/5 Stars

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This was another book that I kind of flipped through. As it’s Frida’s diary during the last 10 years of her life, I know it wasn’t meant to be entertaining but I still found it boring. Another reason I flipped through it was because I found her writing hard to read and didn’t realize until much later that typed text was behind the diary pages. I would have liked to see the diary page and the typed text together but I think it was better to stick it at the end. That is because Frida would paint in her diary as well as write, so if the paint bled through the back of the page, it was printed that way. It was very beautifully produced and it was a good insight to her life during those years.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

3/5 Stars

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Well, I didn’t like this book. Unlike the first book of this series Divergent I didn’t feel captivated with the characters or story or world in this sequel. I’m still going to read the third and final book as well as the “alternate viewpoint” book but this wasn’t good. It picks up where the first book left off but I don’t think it continued in that way. Tris in Insurgent wasn’t the same Tris I loved in Divergent, and I know she was having trouble moving on from the events in the first book and she is a teen, but in the first book she was able to act mature and analyze situations well, and I didn’t see that in the second book.

Essentially the first book introduces a dystopian world in Chicago (the city I live closest to and visit regularly!) that is divided into 5 factions, each placing the most value on a different part of society. Abnegation values selflessness, Amity values peace, Candor values honesty, Erudite values knowledge, and Dauntless values bravery. There are also the factionless who have not found a place in these 5 factions who live in extreme poverty compared to the factions who live according to their values. (Example, Abnegation live simply but well, while the Erudite live in a giant and shiny skyscraper.)

I recently watched the movie adaptation and disliked that too, for entirely different reasons! I’ll likely do another movie and book comparison on this one as I did for Divergent before.

The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt

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A few months ago my mom was reading a magazine and we had a conversation that went like this:

Mom: Hey look at this house! It’s so beautifully decorated!

Me: Yeah it really is. *Notices who the owner is.* Oh look! It’s Anderson Cooper!

Mom: Who?

Me: He’s a journalist I really like. Do you know who Gloria Vanderbilt is?

Mom: Yeah!

Me: Oh, that’s his mom.

Mom: I used to wear her perfume!

So super simple but I found it incredible that my mom and I had connections to a mother and son pair. Soon afterwards I learned that they’d written a book together (or maybe I knew that before, I can’t quite remember) and I wanted to read it. I picked it up and it was not what I expected!

I knew this was a conversation Anderson and Gloria started when Gloria suffered a series of health problems at the age of 91. I expected more of a transcript but it was actually full paragraphs that they had mostly emailed to each other during that year. They talked about everything, Gloria’s upbringing, the death of Anderson’s father and brother, and more. It’s clear the Gloria supports her son and is quite proud of him while Anderson is interested in learning as much from his mom as possible. Something that really surprised me was how little Anderson knew of his mom’s life. He mentioned early in the book that he’d had to google aspects of her life as a child. Gloria admits that she never mentioned it and hadn’t really thought to so that makes sense but I’m surprised Anderson, being a journalist, didn’t ask.

I am very happy they chose to share their conversations with us. I expected a little more from it, I felt that the conversation had finally moved from the past to the future when it suddenly ended. Still, Anderson and Gloria had said they would continue their conversations so maybe that’s for a part two? We shall see!


December TBR!

Well I didn’t study for the GMAT at all… Fail! I still plan to study, but I have some books on my TBR that I hope to get to.

  • Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (did not read)
  • La Sombra del Viento by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (did not read any more but I need to finish this one at some point x5)
  • Loving and Leaving Washington by John Yochelson (brought this book home to read as my vacation book but changed at last minute, must finish!x2)
  • The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth (I need to read 3 and then read the spin off Four)
  • Ms. Marvel #’s 3, 4, and 5 (gotta continue this one!)
  • And I Darken by Kiersten White
  • The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
  • Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • Replica by Lauren Oliver
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling! I might try to do that Harry Potter Christmas read along thing but I don’t know if I will this year. We always watch the movies at Christmas time so we’ll see.

And that’s my November wrap up and December TBR! Thanks for joining me on Day 2 of Blogmas and let me know if you have any book suggestions or Blogmas suggestions!

Thanks for reading!

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