Features, Wrap Ups & Hauls

November 2018 Wrap-Up + Book Haul



Goodbye November & hello December!

I cannot believe we are already in our final month of 2018!  How the heck did this happen?!


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October2018WUOctober 2018 Reading Wrap-Up + Book Haul

Nov18TBRNovember 2018 TBR

ThanksgivingReadatonCov#ThanksgivingReadathon 2018 TBR

TWU2018#ThanksgivingReadathon 2018 Wrap-Up + I Met Jackie B @DeathbyTsundoku (the Host) IRL!


What I read this month

» The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier


add-to-goodreads-button5-Star Rating System
Feelings in a few thoughts:

  • This book is definitely going on my favorite middle grade Halloween books list!
  • The Night Gardener is a very complex middle grade book.  I think it can appeal to a wide audience from middle grade all the way up to adult readers.
  • Someone put this book in Tim Burton‘s hands so he can do a film adaptation!

» Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

NextYearinHavanaadd-to-goodreads-button5-Star Rating System*4.5 Stars*

Feelings in a few thoughts:

  • I really enjoyed learning more about Cuba & its political turmoil throughout history.  I am really embarrassed to admit that my knowledge of Cuba before this book was minimal.
  • After reading this, I have more of an appreciation of all the freedoms I enjoy by living in the United States.
  • I’m not typically big on books where the romance is central to the plot. While there is a lot of romance in Next Year in Havana, it was balanced well with the rest of the plot.
  • The big plot twist was predictable, but didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the book.

» The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan



5-Star Rating System
*3.5 stars*

Feelings in a few thoughts:

  • Trigger/Content warning: suicide & depression
  • I read this book in print form, but I bet it would translate well to audiobook.
  • This is a heartbreaking read, it is one of those books where you need to be in the right mindset/mood for.
  • I definitely think this is a wonderful YA book that tackles a very heavy topic.   The magic realism elements & beautiful prose offset the overall heaviness of the book.
  • For some reason I did not connect fully with this one.  I do not think this was the book’s fault though, it was me.

» Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan



5-Star Rating System

Feelings in a few thoughts:

  • This book was a mixed bag for me.  I really enjoyed some aspects, but others… not so much.
  • I hate to say it, but the audiobook is NOT well narrated.  The narrator was far too monotoned throughout the book.  I can’t say if this impacted my rating or not, but I’m sure it played a factor.
  • I really enjoyed learning more about Joy Davidman, wife of C.S. Lewis, especially since she is a bit of a controversial figure.
  • I’m not a huge fan of books that are overly religious… they tend to start feeling “preachy.”  I’d say this book was borderline overly religious, but not too hateful.
  • I felt that the book was dragging in many areas.  Not sure if this because of the audiobook narration or not…
  • I also had issues with Joy’s character.  I can’t really go into much detail because of spoilers, but I felt like she was a stage 5 clinger for the majority of the book.

» The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle


5-Star Rating System

Feelings in a few thoughts:

  • This book was not what I was expecting, but not in a bad way.  When people talk about The Last Unicorn, many refer to is as a fantasy classic.  I was expecting more of an epic high fantasy like Lord of the Rings, but that is not what this book is.
  • This book reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, not in the plot, but the overall adult fairytale feeling.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Gaiman drew inspiration for Stardust from TLU.
  • Themes = identity, unlikely heroes, hope, live life to the fullest, etc.
  • I loved the unlikely cast of characters: Schmendrick – the subpar magician, Molly Grue – the rough around the edges middle aged woman beat down by life, Prince Lir – the prince with a hero complex, and the last unicorn in the world – a unicorn going through an identity crisis.  You all know I’m a sucker for quirky characters.

» Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia #2 – Publication Order) by C.S. Lewis



5-Star Rating System

Feelings in a few thoughts:

  • NOT as good as the first book, BUT nothing will ever beat The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
  • Not sure if it is just me, but I didn’t actually feel like a lot happened in this book?  At least in comparison to the first book…
  • Loved the addition of new characters: Reepicheep, Trumpkin, Wimbleweather, etc.  Side note – C.S. Lewis really knows how to name characters.
  • I liked Edmund’s development from the first book.

» And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness
5-Star Rating System

Feelings in  few thoughts:

  • I know there are mixed reviews for this one, but I really enjoyed it.
  • And the Ocean Was Our Sky is a retelling of Moby-Dick told from the perspective of a whale.  While I’ve never actually read Moby-Dick, I do know the basic plot.  I don’t think you have to have read Moby-Dick in order to fully “get” this retelling.
  • I adore how Patrick chose to come at this retelling.  I am here for unique and inventive!  It does take a bit to fully grasp what’s going on, but it does become clear.
  • Themes: legends (rumors), what makes a monster?, prejudices, etc.  I really enjoyed the morals behind the story the most.
  • If you need books with well fleshed out characters or in-depth plotlines, this isn’t going to be the book for you.  This is a very simple plotline without much character development.  Remember, this is a short story, but it does have a deep moral.
  • If I am being completely honest, I was a tad disappointed in the illustrations.  They were far too simple.  Had there been more depth to them, I feel it would have enhanced the story.  BUT the cover almost makes up for this *heart eyes*

» The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne


5-Star Rating System

Feelings in  few thoughts:

  • I knew this book was going to destroy me.  From reading the synopsis, I obviously THOUGHT I knew what was coming, but Boyne managed to still surprise me.
  • I’ve read MANY a WWII historical fiction, but never from the perspective of a child of a Nazi commandant.  I’d never really thought about this perspective much, but think it was an important perspective to tell.
  • This is my second John Boyne book, and he has knocked it out of the park both times.  Can’t wait to read more!

»  The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange


5-Star Rating System

Feelings in  few thoughts:

  • This book was beautifully written!
  • This book is tagged as a middle grade book, but I would almost classify it as a YA book.  Despite the fact the narrator is 12 (turns 13 in the book), the content & writing is above a MG level in my opinion.
  • This is definitely a darker, gothic style book with overall themes of grief & depression.
  • The audiobook was brilliantly narrated by the author herself!  She actually sounds a lot like Keira Knightly.  The narration was simply lovely.

» The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Feelings in  few thoughts:

  • I am actually not going to rate this one because I do not think print form is the way to go with this book.   I am going to re-read this one via audiobook, especially since it’s narrated by Stephen Fry.

» The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie


5-Star Rating SystemFeelings in a few thoughts:

  • So I actually didn’t know about Sherman Alexie’s 2018 sexual harassment scandal before picking this book up… I only found out about it after looking him up after reading his book.  Had I known this, I would not have purchased this book, but the damage was already done.
  • I’ll give Alexie this, he definitely wrote a book that will appeal to teen boys, which is not easy to do.  This book is a tad on the crude side, but it definitely felt like a teen boy POV.  I also think the illustrations were a nice touch as graphic novels appeal to the YA demographic.
  • I’d never read an #OwnVoices book featuring a Native American main character.  This is definitely a gap in my reading that I need to make an effort to rectify.  After doing some research on Alexie, Arnold is definitely based on the author’s own experiences.  Many things that happen to Arnold in the book happened to Alexie in real life.
  • There was too much tragedy for a 230 page book.  While I know the issues in the book are all issues that Native Americans living on reservations in the United States face, it made the book feel underdeveloped and rushed including so much in so few pages.  The book either needed to be longer, or aspects of the story needed cut out.  I feel like Alexie wanted to address issues like alcoholism, violence, racism, etc but was too over-the-top with it & didn’t get into any of the reasons behind these issues. I just wanted more exploration of the issues.
  • My favorite aspect of this book was the friendship between Arnold & Rowdy.
  • While Arnold’s medical issues are a big part of the beginning, we really don’t hear anything about them for the rest of the book?

» The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia #3 – Publication Order) by C.S. Lewis


5-Star Rating SystemFeelings in a few thoughts:

  • Enjoyed this one more than the second book!
  • I love a good adventure story and that’s just what this was!
  • Eustace was a welcome addition to the cast – loved his character development over the course of the book.


Challenge Updates


I hit my 100 book goal for my Goodreads challenge!  Technically I hit this on the second of December as I finished Vengeful by V.E. Schwab, BUT I started the book in November so I’ll share it in my November wrap-up.


Book Haul


I *MAY* have gone a tad overboard with my book buying this month… I blame discounted books

*Book titles link to Goodreads

Book Outlet Haul

» Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf #1) by Ryan Graudin

» American Gods by Neil Gaiman

» Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë *Paper Mill Classics Edition*

» Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë *Paper Mill Classics Edition*

» Frankenstein by Mary Shelley *Paper Mill Classics Edition*

» Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga #1) by Orson Schott Card

» The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

» The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge #1) by Ken Follett

Book Loft Haul

» Mosquitoland by David Arnold

» The Wizard of Oz (Oz #1) by L. Frank Baum *Puffin Chalk Edition*

» Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll *Puffin Chalk Edition*

» Lord of the Flies by William Golding *Casebook Edition*

» Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables #1) by L.M. Montgomery *Puffin Classics Edition*



What books did you read in November?

Have you read any of the books I read in the month of November?  If so, what did you think?

Have a wonderful week & happy reading:)

7 thoughts on “November 2018 Wrap-Up + Book Haul”

      1. Ah brilliant glad I spurred you to buy it! I dont think you’ll regret it. It’s a fun and interesting read based on your taste I think you’ll like it!


  1. Ahhh The Astonishing Color of After! I’m glad you read and overall enjoyed this one! I read it recently as well and I really liked it, it was a heavy read for sure, but also beautifully written ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You had an AWESOME November, Amanda! I love it. I also didn’t realize what an enabler I am… I left The Book Loft with two books and you left with 5?! I am also a bit disappointed in myself. Oops! I barely put a ding in my book budget during that trip. XD

    With this huge haul, what will you possible prioritize?! How many books in your haul are books you’ve never read?


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