Hello everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good November! I’ve been super busy this month, both with reading and general life stuff. I have a sneaking suspicion December is going be even more tiring!
My first semester of university is slowly coming to an end! It’s been a strange time with online teaching, and I feel quite separated from student life. Luckily, I have a lot of friends I’m zooming every week, so I can’t feel lonely!
After much bugging, I’ve finally started at my new job! I’m looking forward to having that sweet, sweet money that I can spend on even more books.
I’ve read so many ARCs this month and written so many reviews! Hoping to have a bit of a quieter reading month in December, but knowing me that’s not going to happen.
Finally, I started an Instagram this month! You can follow me over at @luminositylibrary if you’d like!
Without further ado, here are the books I read this month!
- From Darkness by Kate Hazel Hall – This book was a delightful debut novel featuring sinkhole portals to the underworld and a wonderfully sweet sapphic romance! I love a good portal fantasy, and From Darkness is a unique take on the genre filled with a little bit of spookiness and a lot of love. I wrote a full length review you can check out! Recommended for people who love sweet sapphic romances, people who like books that tackle grief, people who enjoy portal fantasy.
- Born At Dawn by Christina Davis – When I signed up for the book tour for Born At Dawn I expected a fun YA fantasy, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did! The cultures of the different species are unique and interesting to learn about. It also has a great found family feel, but without leaving behind our main characters biological family! Check out my blog tour post! Recommended for people who want their YA fantasy with a little bit more detail, people who love a fantasy with multiple potential love interests, people who want a story that’s based around family, found or otherwise .
- Pet by Akwaeke Emezi – The message in Pet was so important, it focuses on how pretending problems don’t exist doesn’t solve them. It’s set in a utopian future and reminds us that no matter how good things get we’ll always have work to do, we’ll always have history to remember, we’ll always have people to protect. I’ve written a much longer review that talks more about the message of Pet than I can here. Also, Jam’s a black trans girl with selective mutism and I love that rep! Recommended for people who like straightforward stories with a lot of depth, people who wonder about the world after we destroy oppression, people who love a bit of justice.
- The Ravens by Kass Morgan & Danielle Paige – This took me a little while to get into, but when I did I had a great time. I love the idea of a sorority being a coven of witches. Scarlett, a legacy member of the sorority, was my favourite character, and, oh boy, does she suffer in this book. I can’t wait for the rest of the series to release! I talked more about what I loved and disliked about this book here! Recommended for people who love books about witches, people who like multi-pov books, people who love a good dark mystery.
- The Four Profound Weaves by R.B. Lemberg – I adored the representation of this book, it featured two elderly trans protagonists and I think that’s so important. Unfortunately nothing else about the book really spoke to me. I really wish I’d enjoyed this, maybe it was a bit too metaphorical for me. You can find out more in my full review. Recommended for people who love beautiful writing, people who want to read elder trans representation, people who enjoy quest books.
- A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers – The Wayfarers series is the perfect comfort read. It’s a universe where bad things happen, sure, but the people are good, the tone is hopeful, it’s a delight. It’s a story of friendship, humanity, and love. Recommended for people who like quiet, character driven stories, people who like stories about artificial intelligence and humanity, people who love found families.
- Bunny by Mona Awad – This book was absolutely bizarre in the best kind of way. The only way I can think to describe it is a fever dream. When people say this book is weird they’re not lying. I thought it was good fun though. Recommended for people who love books that are difficult to make sense of, people who like morally grey, unlikeable characters, people who love strange goings on that hide deeper themes.
- A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem by Manda Collins – I wasn’t sure about the way this book combined murder-mystery and rom-com but it’s one I can see a lot of other people loving. The relationship dynamic was really great to read, I loved the romance, dislike-to-love is always a win! I’ve written a longer review you can check out! Recommended for people who love humorous historical romances, people who love independent protagonists, people who aren’t looking for a strong mystery.
- Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – I had absolutely no idea what to expect with this one, and I ended up loving it! Lazlo Strange was such a brilliant protagonist, it was beautifully written, and the secrets of Weep were a delight to uncover. Recommended for people who enjoy books that feel like a fairy-tale, people who like to figure out the secrets of a world, people who are interested in a different interpretation of gods and humanity.
- The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern – I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy this going in. Sometimes books that have beautiful writing feel a bit bogged down in my mind, and though that was true of the ending I found this enjoyable. I love the idea of a secret world full of books and mysteries. Recommended for people who love beautiful writing and imagery, people who love the idea of secret worlds beneath ours, people who don’t mind feeling confused.
- Cute Mutants Vol 1: Mutant Pride by SJ Whitby – This was such a fun book that transported me into a comic book world. With wonderful characters and an amazing sense of humour, this book is about a group of queer super heroes with a generous serving of found family. I took part in the book tour for this one earlier this week! Recommended for people who love comic books, people who love books with a huge queer cast, people who are interested in what their pillow would say if it could speak.
- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – The final book of The Hunger Games! I hadn’t reread this series in years, so I’d forgotten most of what happened in this one! It’s definitely where shit got real, my heart breaks for how much our beloved characters went through. It had some pacing issues, but overall a great finale. Recommended for people who want to read one of the best YA dystopias, people who want realistic portrayals of trauma and PTSD, people who wanna feel sad.
- Catch Lili Too by Sophie Whittemore – I absolutely adore the premise and representation in this book! We follow Lili, a depressed asexual siren who’s wrapped up in solving a murder mystery! Featuring a mainly queer cast including a gay, poet, ghost called Byron. It was a bit clunky at times, but I had fun reading it. I wrote a longer review of this one you could check out! Recommended for people who enjoy small indie published work, people who want a mainly queer cast, people who want a quirky found family story.
- Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee – As soon as you say non-binary protagonist and automation dragons I’m here. I had a lot of fun with this one. Jebi was an interesting character because they aren’t really interested in joining the rebellion against imperialism, they just want to do art. Their sister and the sibling relationship between them was so interesting! Recommended for people who like books that sit nicely between sci-fi & fantasy, people who like complex sibling relationships, people who don’t mind books ending with unanswered questions.
- The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart – I loved this book! It follows multiple different characters in a world where bone shard magic taken from the skulls of the population is used to create horrible animalistic constructs. I’m not always a fan of multi-pov books but I was so interested in our character’s different stories. I do wish some of them had had more relevance to the plot though; I’m sure the next book will answer my questions. Recommended for people who love multi-pov books, people who want the greatest animal companion, people who love a bit of corruption and revolution.
- The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab – This is such a beautiful book both inside and out. It felt so romantic, not in a ‘has lots of romance’ way’, but in the vibes. I love deals with devil and unconsidered consequences! I do think it’s a bit weird that Addie loves freedom & adventure, and has lived 300 years, but only speaks european languages, and has only been to europe and north america. Recommended for people who love slow character driven books, people who love books about books (and other types of art), people who want to read a book that’ll make you feel big feelings.
- Exit Strategy by Martha Wells – The fourth Murderbot novella! I loved this so much. Murderbot is one of my favourite characters in anything. I love it’s sense of humour, I love that it’s an A.I whose not expected to become more human. I love how it’s slowly learning to trust, to have friends. I never want this series to end. Recommended for people who love sarcastic, cynical protagonists, people who love A.I., people who like fast paced novellas.
- Thorn of the Night Blossoms by JC Kang – CW: Rape, Paedophilia, Sex Trafficking. This book left me feeling horrible. I don’t understand why the author would make their character, a worker in a brothel, so sexualised when they’ve been described as prepubescent. Our main character is twenty, sure, but because of elf aging she hasn’t had her period yet, she’s flat chested. Why? Why make your main character an adult who looks like a child. It’s also been described as a supportive view of sex work, but these women can’t leave and they didn’t choose to be there. I would say that’s much more reminiscent of sex trafficking, and it’s not handled critically at all. The last straw was a rape scene involving magic that makes people want to have sex. I hate this trope with a passion, it’s just an excuse to sexualise rape, why is it necessary. Wouldn’t recommend.
- Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse – I loved the worldbuilding in this book so much. It mixes political intrigue, prophecy, and human sacrifice into a darkly beautiful book. Also, a chaotic bisexual siren! And a kind vessel for a crow god! I do wish the story had been more self-contained, but that might just be me being salty that the next book isn’t out yet. Recommended for people who love slow-building stories with epic endings, people who want morally grey characters you can’t help but love, people who want a rich, deep fantasy world to immerse yourself in. Add to Goodreads.
- A Deal with the Elf King by Elise Kova – This was a fun, easy read! I don’t think it did anything particularly special or new, but sometimes you just want a good old fantasy romance to see you through. This is one of the most heterosexual books I’ve read in a while, but hey, you can’t have it all. Recommended for people who love fantasy romance (SJM fans will like this one!), people who want an easy romantic read, people who love elves and fae.
Here’s some of my favourite posts I’ve written this month!
Favourite Instagram Picture I took this month!
How was your month? What was your favourite read? Have you read any of these?