wrap up

november wrap-up (non-fiction, ARCs, and more!)

November was such a good reading month for me. At least it was in my opinion! I’m so happy that I got around to reading so many books. I’m also over the moon about being sort-of consistent when blogging during November. I can tell you that I missed being a part of this community with all my heart…

november wrap-up

But enough sappiness! Here is the list of books I read in the month of November.

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📕 books read: 7 books
📄 number of pages read: 2925 pages
🌟 average rating: 3,7 stars

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Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

SapiensI’ve already blogged a lot about this book. It’s a non-fiction book that tells the story of humankind in a very brief way. The author has broken up history into several parts that revolve around one main event (the agricultural revolution, the modern age…).

I absolutely adored this book! In fact, I could barely put it down. I love how the author made history so interesting and was always aware that he was generalizing. How else could you fit millennia of history into 500 pages?!
My favorite part was how Yuval Noah Harari twisted some common narratives on their heads. The chapters about the agricultural revolution are superb! I highly recommend this book even for just those chapters!

rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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Escape by Carolyn Jessop and Laura Palmer

EscapeThis non-fiction memoir has one of the most intriguing blurbs I’ve ever seen. It tells the story of Carolyn Jessop, a former member of a Christian cult. If you know me, you’ll know I love learning about cults. They’re weirdly fascinating to me.

The story of Carolyn is very inspiring and has you on the edge of your seat. The trouble this woman had to go through just to secure her freedom is crazy… And to think that there are still cults like this today in the US! Reading Escape made me super uncomfortable and nervous.

But boy oh boy… This book is a total train wreck in terms of writing. Laura Palmer is the actual writer of the book and I’m still wondering how they got this ready for publication. First of all, there is no need for Escape to be 500 pages long. No need. I wouldn’t be surprised if you told me that 100 pages are just repeated information over and over again. At first, it was useful to help me remember key aspects of the club. But after the 5th time reading the same recycled sentence I began to dislike the book…

rating: 🌟🌟🌟

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Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende

Island Beneath the Sea
This Allende historical fiction novel tells the life story of Tété, a slave from the island of Saint-Domingue. At a very young age, she is sold to a plantation owner whom she serves for nearly thirty years. The book follows her as she fights to gain her freedom, has children, and struggles to define her own identity.

Allende is one of my favorite writers and this is one of my all-time favorite books. I love how well-developed all of her characters are. As a reader, you notice that you’re really rooting for these characters to succeed in life. They will steal your heart away!

As always, her writing style is stunning. Isabel Allende can craft some of the best sentences I’ve ever read. If you haven’t read this one yet, do it!

rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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Book Love by Debbie Tung

Book LoveBook Love is a cute little graphic novel perfect for all book lovers. The author illustrates what I’m sure all bookworms have done/thought/felt in the past regarding books. The drawings are so cute and totally relatable!

As soon as I saw this up for grabs on NetGalley, I knew I had to get it. I sped through this (it’s a graphic novel, so it didn’t take that long) and loved it. My favorite panels have to be the ones about 1) sniffing books, 2) buying waaaay too many books, 3) taking several books in your bag just in case.

I’m all for sharing bookish love, so I thought it would be perfect to review this one on my blog! It’s not out yet. Book Love is being published by Andrews McMeel Publishing on January 1st, 2018. What better way to start the year than by diving into this adorably relatable comic???

rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer

The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval EnglandCan there be a more self-explanatory title than this?! Ian Mortimer’s book is the first in a non-fiction history series. In each book, he transports the reader back to a specific time (in this case, to England in the 1300s).

You are asked to imagine that you’re a traveler in England who has just gotten to a city and observe everything around you. What do you see? How are people dressed? What’s that smell? What does the city look like? These are all questions that the author answers in the book. The amount of research that went into making this book possible is insane. I’m not kidding — there are 200 pages just dedicated to references!

I was afraid to have problems with the author’s proposal of transporting the reader back to the Middle Ages. After all, we’d get a very biased and unfair view of England. When you think “Middle Ages”, what do you think? Probably dirty, super religious, uptight, ignorant…? But I was super happy to see the author asking the reader to leave their 21st-century mentality at home. How could you judge someone who lived 650 years ago based on what we know today?

This book is super accessible. If you don’t have much experience reading historical non-fiction books, don’t worry. The author’s writing and explanations are more than enough to get you hooked and understanding everything. It’s definitely a must-read!

rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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Watersnakes by Tony Sandoval

WatersnakesThis graphic novel tells the story of Mila, a shy teen who meets a mysterious girl at the river one day. Her teeth are fascinating, as are her crazy stories of ghosts and other worlds…
Watersnakes is where the reading month went down for me. I don’t want to say that I hated this book, but I thoroughly did not like it. To be fair to the author, I will break up my review into two parts: one about the plot and the other about the illustrations.

First of all, this plot was the biggest train wreck I’ve seen in a long time. There was no coherence between panels and the story just took massive time leaps. There was also no build up and the climax failed to have any real impact on me. I mean, I was so confused (in a bad way) about what was going on that I didn’t care for the characters!

Speaking of characters, these were massively underdeveloped. I have no clue who Mila is even after reading the book because we learn nothing about her character. Sure, we learn a few minor things here and there, but nothing major.

I was drawn to this book because it was marked as LGBTQ+. If you feel interested because of this, don’t kid yourself — it is anything but. There is a LGBTQ+ part of the plot, but the massive (and duuuuumb!) cop-out at the end destroyed any representation possible.

Lastly, I want to know where the hell are these kids’ parents!!! Mila and Agnes are just teens, they must have parents. But where are they? And why are they okay with letting their children sleep on the beach without being informed prior to it??? I’m confused.

But the book wasn’t all bad. Well, not if you count the art. Tony Sandoval is an amazing illustrator. The drawings are so compelling and fit in perfectly with the mood of the story. I loved how the bodies were drawn, how washed out the colors were, and how weird the fantastic characters looked. If I were rating this book solely on the quality of the illustrations, it would be a solid five-star novel.

Watersnakes was re-published by Lion Forge on November 20th, 2018. I received this copy in exchange for an honest review.

rating: 🌟🌟

look at these stunning illustrations!!!line.png

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

A very large expense of seaThis young-adult contemporary is one I had been meaning to read for a while. It tells the story of Shirin, a Muslim high school student after 9/11 in America. Her family is always moving from one place to the other, which makes her “the new girl” wherever she goes.

As you can probably expect, Shirin is the target of a lot of bullying and attacks solely because she is Muslim. Some of the nastiest insults are thrown at her and I felt very disgusted by them. While the first quarter of the book was too heavy on telling-not-showing, I can see why Mafi chose to do this. All the insults and slurs thrown at Shirin shape up her character in the end.

I was sad to see that the flowery writing I loved so much in Shatter Me was nowhere to be found here. I missed her over-the-top writing, even if it was a little too much! Another thing that disappointed me was the romance. It wasn’t as interesting as I was expecting it, but it was still very sweet!

“People talked over me, they talked for me, they discussed me without ever asking my opinion. I’d become a talking point; a statistic. I was no longer free to be only a teenager, only a human, only flesh and blood—no, I had to be more than that. I was an outrage. An uncomfortable topic of conversation.”

rating:  🌟🌟🌟

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As I said, I am impressed at how often I posted (even though with some irregularities here and there!). Just in case you missed them, these are the posts I wrote during this month:

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how was your November? Did you get a lot of readings done? I’m quite proud of myself actually… Have you read any of these books?
I’d love to hear your opinions! 🤗

6 thoughts on “november wrap-up (non-fiction, ARCs, and more!)

  1. I was so fascinated by the story in Escape but yeah, the writing was a mess and hard to believe a professional writer was working on it. I always think if a memoir is more than 300 pages, there better be a good reason for it and some excellent writing to back it up and that one definitely faltered.

    I flipped through Sapiens in a bookstore the other day, I think I’m going to try it…to hear that it’s unputdownable is a really good selling point! I wouldn’t have imagined history on the agricultural revolution could be so compelling, but you’re making a good case for it!

    Like

  2. I picked up a copy of Sapiens over the summer at a used bookstore, and I’ll have to bump it up on my list now! Book Love also sounds very interesting. Great reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

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