November 2017 Reading Wrap Up

How is it already the last day of November? I hope you all are having a wonderful start to the wintery season! Time is going way too fast, and I honestly cannot deal. But here we are, and here are the twelve things that I was able to read in the month of November!


Like always, you can click the links in each of the titles if you would like to read a more in-depth review of each book and see the individual trigger and content warnings.

A Monstrous Love: Two Halloween Romances by Magen Cubed – ★★★★
Okay, I might have technically read this on October 31st, but I didn’t get my review out until November 1st! So, here we are! This is a bind up of two short stories, and by short stories, I truly mean short stories. Like, you can finish both of these tales in fifteen minutes tops! But they will both completely get you into a spooky mood!

The Armored Saint (The Sacred Throne #1) by Myke Cole – ★★★★★
Well, I think it’s safe for me to yell from the rooftops: pre-order The Armored Saint now, guys! What an amazing ride, even though I wasn’t ready for it to be over. This is easily one of the best things I’ve read in 2017, and this is truly epic fantasy at its finest. I’m so damn impressed. But this is also a story about discovering and embracing your sexuality. Heloise is constantly questioning her feelings for her best friend, and it made me cry so many happy yet sad tears. This is a beautiful tale about a girl coming to terms with her queerness in a world that thinks it is unnatural, and it is so very important. This story truly means more to me than I can express in words.

Fallen Heir (The Royals #4) by Erin Watt – ★★
At this point, you guys know I’m trash for this series. It’s honestly just like a high school soap opera, but it’s so addicting and completely impossible to put down. And even though I haven’t enjoyed any of the installments as much as Paper Princess, I knew I couldn’t pass this by because this story is about my favorite Royal boy, Easton.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland – ★★★★★
Dread Nation is the perfect mix of action and suspense, while always having oppression be at the forefront of the story. This book was thought-provoking, moving, intense, so very well written, and completely and absolutely enthralling. This book was nothing short of amazing and it’s one of the best things I’ve read this entire year. If you want to read a book about black girls killing zombies and putting a stop to white power-hungry men (because who honestly wouldn’t?) please give Dread Nation a try. And I hope if you do give it a try, that you will take something from it and help to raise and support marginalized voices.

Zenith (The Androma Saga, #1) by Lindsay Cummings & Sasha Alsberg – DNF @ Chapter 41
I just… couldn’t do this anymore. I’m sorry, guys. I tried, I really tried. Zenith is the first book in a YA series that stars Androma, AKA: the Bloody Baroness, and her crew, who are forced to do a very dangerous mission. This mission is the direct result of the ghosts from Andi’s past that have come back to haunt her. One of them being her past lover, Dex, who betrayed her, and Andi is now forced to work alongside him for this mission. I don’t care about Dex, or Andi, or even her crew! The incredibly short chapters that jump around to a million different points of view are just too much for me. This is such a jarring read that is really lacking any real cohesiveness.

Roomies by Christina Lauren – ★★★★
This was maybe the sweetest book I’ve read all year. It was heartwarming, adorable, and just a joy to read. I loved this and I hope if you guys are looking for a romantic contemporary this holiday season, you’ll pick up Roomies upon release on December 5th! I love the “marriage of convenience” story trope and this one was so perfect. There are a few sort of steamy scenes, but nothing too explicit. But this book is oh so romantic and it was honestly un-put-downable for me.

Into the Drowning Deep (Rolling in the Deep #1) by Mira Grant – ★★★
I just feel really torn on this one! I loved so many aspects of this, but ultimately I feel like this just wasn’t a book for me. I still encourage anyone who is intrigued by the synopsis to pick it up, especially if you like horror with science! And… this is about killer mermaids!

Bad Habit (Bad Love #1) by Charleigh Rose – ★
I was very uncomfortable with the ages of the love interests in this book. For most the book they are seventeen and twenty-one, which is still… not okay, but the flashbacks are fourteen and seventeen and I just… can’t. The ages just ruined this book for me, without question. Bad Habit? This should have been named Illegal Habit. Or at the least, Uncomfortable Habit, because I was the entire time reading.

Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2) by Brandon Sanderson – ★★★★★
I slacked so badly at writing this review, holy moly! I normally never get behind with reviews, but I just kept feeling like everything I wrote didn’t do this book justice, and I kept putting it off and off. But I loved this with my whole heart. It’s such a strong addition to, what I feel like, is Brandon Sanderson’s best series! And it made me so very excited for Oathbringer!

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado – ★★★★
This collection of short stories heavily emphasizes the violence that we put on women’s bodies. Whether it be sexual violence, physical violence, violence put on us by society, or violence we put on ourselves. This entire collection is absolutely haunting in the best way possible. I won’t forget this collection, ever. And these are all so queer, and so feminist, and invoked so many emotions from me. Carmen Maria Machado is beyond words talented, and I feel so very blessed to even have been able to read this.

The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden – ★★★★★
I loved this so much. Easily the best thing I read all month and easily one of my all time favorite stories. This story is a love letter to stories everywhere. This book is a mash-up retelling of many Russian fairy tales, but with unique spins of them, which are woven together to tell such a beautiful tale that makes me breathless just thinking about how expertly it is crafted. Please read this during this winter season and then come gush with me!

Robots vs. Fairies edited by Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe – ★★★
This is an anthology that is all about Robots, Fairies, and literally Robots vs. Fairies! Overall, I really, really, really enjoyed this! But it is a bit of a mixed bag, I do suppose! Some of these were so amazing, where others are ones that I will probably not remember or carry with me. But I do also believe there is something here for everyone to love, whether you are #TeamFairies or #TeamRobots!

This month I was also so very blessed to go to BlizzCon at the start of this month! And it was for sure the highlight of my month, without question! So, I had to mention it in this wrap up, even if it’s not really book related!

I hope you guys had an amazing November! I am so looking forward to relaxing more in December and just being able to focus on my family and reading! I wish you all the happiest of holiday season! Happy reading, lovelies! ❄⛄

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Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

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This collection of short stories heavily emphasizes the violence that we put on women’s bodies. Whether it be sexual violence, physical violence, violence put on us by society, or violence we put on ourselves. This entire collection is absolutely haunting in the best way possible. I won’t forget this collection, ever. And these are all so queer, and so feminist, and invoked so many emotions from me. Carmen Maria Machado is beyond words talented, and I feel so very blessed to even have been able to read this.

I’m going to break down each short story with my thoughts, opinions, and individual star rating!

THE HUSBAND STITCH – ★★★★★
This is my second time reading this, and it is just as powerful and hard hitting as it was the first time around. You can read this for free from Granta!, and I implore each and every one of you who is reading this review to do yourself a favor and read this short story.

This story is very feminist and very sexually explicit, but so damn important. It’s about the life of a woman, who gives everything to men and never is allowed to keep anything for herself. It’s about life’s expectations on women, and how society shapes the choices we do and do not have. It’s about how, no matter what, giving everything will never be good enough as a woman. It’s about enjoying and exploring your sexuality, yet trying to cope with the shame. It’s about never fully being able to become the person you are, but becoming the person your husband and/or family require you to be. It’s about having children, who will just repeat the same vicious and unfair cycle. This is my favorite short story of all time and it deserves all the stars that Goodreads and every other book rating site has to offer.

INVENTORY – ★★★★
This is essentially an inventory list of all the sexual encounters this particular woman has had during her thirty years while her world escalates into chaos. I loved looking at this sexual exploration, journey, and acceptance. And it evoked such raw emotion from me. I just didn’t think it was as hard hitting as some of the others in the collection.

Also, if you enjoyed this short story, please check out The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison! I honestly can’t recommend it enough, and both stories have a similar theme, feeling, and hauntingness to them.

MOTHERS – ★★★
This is a very metaphorical story that starts out with a woman being given a baby by her female lover that they created unbeknownst to the narrator. And I use the word narrator very loosely, because this story is very unreliable. You will constantly be unsure of what is real and what is not, but you slowly get to see a story unfold. I also wholeheartedly believe that this story is very open for interpretation, and what I got from it could be, and probably is, something very different from what you were able to take from it. And that in and of itself is beyond words beautiful.

ESPECIALLY HEINOUS – ★★
This is a retelling of each season and episode of Law & Order: SVU that dips into the realm of the paranormal, but because I have never seen that show (I know, I know) I don’t think I got that much enjoyment out of this one. I still thought it was so very smartly written, and it has that haunting feeling that I know associate with Carmen Maria Machado, but I just wasn’t as in love with this as I feel others will be.

REAL WOMEN HAVE BODIES – ★★★★★
This story felt like a punch to the gut over and over and over. Words can be so powerful, and Carmen Maria Machado has perfected the craft of writing, I swear. Women in this world fade slowly and eventually become invisible. We get to see a dress shop, that puts youth and beautiful before all else, and a few of the workers are grasping to those values. Growing older, and feeling less valuable because of it, is a concept that many people in this world can’t deal with, without having to turn invisible. And I’m not going to lie to you and say that when I read that one of the characters of this book was twenty-nine that I didn’t try to suppress that visceral feeling that I don’t even have words for, but I wish so badly that I didn’t feel.

EIGHT BITES – ★★★★★
First and foremost, this short story would be so very trigging for anyone who has battled any form of eating disorder before, so please use caution before reading this one. Food and body obsession is so very real, and people will go their entire lives never knowing peace with themselves because of it. This is a story about a woman who has struggled her entire life and has finally decided to get bariatric surgery. This story also heavily talks about how we pass these terrible feelings and values down to our daughters and other generations, over and over.

THE RESIDENT – ★★★
Like most of the stories in this collection, this story felt really personal to read. Like, autobiographical personal. This is about a woman who goes up to the mountains, where she also spent some of her youth as a Girl Scout, to work on her novel among other artists. We slowly get to see the writer slowly comes undone by her past and her present, but also embraces and comes to terms with who she is and how she is. It’s a beautiful mixture that I think most humans will really resonate with.

DIFFICULT AT PARTIES – ★★★★
This was probably the most raw feeling story for me, and it really left me feeling empty. This is about a woman dealing, coping, and trying to heal with the aftermath of a sexual assault. Between others trying to help her, to hoping her assailant is found, and trying to find some sort of peace within herself, she is using pornography as a healing mechanism. Again, this is going to really be hard for a lot of people to read, but it’s also going to hit home for so many readers that need stories like this.

I really loved this collection, and I gave Her Body and Other Parties 4 stars overall, because out of a possible 40 stars (5 stars possible for each of the 8 stories) this collection accumulated 31 stars (77%). Please pick this up, this is such an important book for everyone to read, and I can’t recommend it enough.

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Buddy read with Lilly, Elise, & Destiny! ❤

The Five Books I Have to Read Before 2017 Ends

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had an amazing day! Okay, so on top of my November TBR and all of the things I’m planning to read in December, I wanted to make a list of the top five books I want to read and review before the year is over. I picked these five, because I truly believe with my whole heart that they have the potential to make my “best of 2017” list at the end of the year.

You guys for sure should let me know if you’ve read any of these, or if you just feel like I should read one of these before the others! Seriously, feedback on reading order would be much appreciated! And without further ado, here are the five books I have to read before the end of 2017:

The Book of Etta (The Road to Nowhere, #2) by Meg Elison:
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife was my absolute favorite book of 2016. This is just such a hard-hitting mirror of our society, but I haven’t felt like I’m in the right headspace thanks to the garbage fire that is 2017.

Age of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom #1) by R.J. Barker:
I’m 99% sure that I’m going to bloody love this! I just received my ARC kind of on the late side, and since I wasn’t able to review it upon release I just let it fall to the wayside. But this is a high fantasy debut that features a disabled MC and I know I’m going to love it.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado:
I totally know how privileged and blessed I am with all of the ARCs I receive, but the reason I didn’t immediately buy and read this one was because the publicist said I was going to be receiving a finished copy in the mail upon publication to review. Well, it’s been well over a month now, so I just decided to purchase it myself because I knew I couldn’t not read this after being completely mesmerized by The Husband Stitch, my favorite short story of all time which is also featured in this collection.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng:
This I just know is going to be perfection. Celeste Ng’s sophomore novel and I know it’s just going to end up changing my life. So many people that I love and trust have hailed this book as their favorite book of 2017, and I feel like I won’t feel too differently. Also, I subscribed to Book of the Month just for this book!

Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2) by Jay Kristoff:
I recently read and completely loved Nevernight, and it felt like an adult, dark version of Harry Potter to me. Plus, all I truly want in this life is to read all the fantasy stories about queer assassins! I truly believe this sequel could make my best of 2017 list.

What do you guys think I should read first? I mean, I only have a month and a half left, while also trying to balance all my January ARCs! Thank you in advance for your input, I honestly love you all, and happy reading, lovelies!

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