Reviews and Essays

Reading Round Up – November

November – AKA NaNoWriMo. For the last couple years, I’ve given my Novembers to National Novel Writing Month (Worth it! This year was my first win 🙂 ), but I still had a couple reading goals. My intention was to finish the books I was currently reading at the end of October – Little Star and Harry Potter #5. I also wanted to take on The Haunting of Hill House and something by Michael McDowell, but that didn’t pan out. Here’s how I did.

Books I Completed

Little Star (John A. Lindqvist)

Little Star

At the end of October, I was still reading Little Star (John Lidqvist). I did finish it, and had quite a visceral reaction, overall. It was uncomfortable at times, and it elicited very real physical responses from me. Read my review here.

Akata Witch (Nnedi Okorafor)

Akata Witch

Wow! This book has been affectionately referred to as “Nigeria’s Harry Potter,” but I don’t love that. I think such a title undermines the uniqueness of this book and its specific cultural identity. Read my review here.

Saga, Volume 8 (Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples)

Saga vol 8

Oh man! I LOVE this series, and it felt so good to jump back in. I’m hooked all over again. It’s like falling in love twice – Have I made it clear yet that I’m a fan of this series? Read my review here.

Steal the Stars (Mac Rogers)

steal the stars

This one is a bit of a cheat as it’s an audio-story podcast, rather than a book. But, it’s a story I consumed in full this month, so it seems worth noting 🙂 I really enjoyed this scripted podcast and I’ll probably check out the novelization someday, too. Read my review here.

Books I DNF’d (And Why)


Harry Potter 5 red cover

Sorry folks – I could not get through this one. To be honest, I don’t know that I ever will (though, I’d like to think I might). I have a strange relationship with Harry Potter – I was the right age when it came out, but I just never fell into it. Magic wasn’t my thing, and I didn’t find the concept interesting. I was pretty unhappy when my grade 6 teacher chose it as the book he’d read to us that year, and was given special permission to have quiet reading time by myself in the hall when he did.

As an adult, I finally picked up Book 1 and thought it was great! I read the first 4 books back to back and enjoyed the experience, but without emotional attachment. I think I was too old for that by then (late 20s). But Book 5… yikes. I tried in book format first and found myself getting frustrated, so I switched to audiobook. Still felt frustrated. For me, it was very much like being stuck on a bus at rush hour with a big group of teenagers, and no headphones. There was just WAY too much teenage angst for me. I thought it was great that the characters took control over their education, but the constant bickering and whining was just too much for me to handle. So, that’s that. I called it during Chapter 26 (of 38).

Books I’m Still Reading

Timebound (Rysa Walker)


I found this book in my Kindle library and honestly don’t recall purchasing it. I read the description and thought, “that sounds fun!” Time travel and HH Holmes – that must be why I bought it, whenever I did. So far, I don’t find the writing itself to be anything special, but the story is certainly interesting enough to keep me going.

The Calculating Stars (Mary Robinette Kowal)

Calculating Stars

Lately, I’ve been listening to a whole lot of the podcast, Writing Excuses – because, you know, NaNoWriMo. Kowal is one of the hosts on the show, and I figured, if I’m this keen on her writing advice, I should probably make sure I like her writing. I decided to grab this as an audiobook, narrated by the author herself, because she talks a lot on the podcast about her experience voicing books and it felt like a really solid way to get a full sense of her work. So far, it’s great! Loving the feminist alt-history of the 50s setting.

Reading Goals – December

I’m not great at planning ahead of time what I’ll be reading. That said, I do intend to check out Gregory MacGuire’s, Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker, after I finish the two I’m currently reading. I also want to assume I’ll be busy revising my NaNoWriMo novel to do much else, but there are a few graphic novels that I’ve been meaning to catch up on, mainly: Paper Girls and American Vampire.

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