Reading Recap: November

With the days getting colder and the nights getting longer, we are only a few days away from December.

As much as it pains me to admit this, I am starting to feel a bit festive. I am one of those people who doesn’t do Christmas stuff until December 1st, but I have caught myself humming Christmas Carols, craving hot chocolate and buying Christmas candles. I haven’t burned any yet, however, I suspect I will very soon. I have even gotten my Christmas Jumper for the year. I can’t wait to wear it. 

Not to brag (okay, maybe a little) but I have already finished my Christmas shopping! This feels like a massive weight off my shoulders going into December. The only downside is here in the UK, we are dealing with quite a few mail worker strikes, so delivery takes much longer on top of a slight risk of lost mail. I’m hopeful that everything should arrive soon enough but as a precaution, I bought as much as I could in the High Street to prevent the worst-case scenario. 

As for reading, as I mentioned in my last post, I have been rather busy with work and family crochet projects. I did manage to read a fair bit, but not as much as I would have liked. 

A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson

In this queer retelling of Dracula, we learn what it was like for his wives and husband. As you might have guessed, it kind of sucked.

Sorry, I had to use that pun. I could not resist. 

Written from the perspective of his first wife, Constanta. The story starts on that fateful night when he “saved” her, turning her into his undead bride. She must learn to adjust to her new surroundings, but things aren’t too bad. That is until he adds two more to the marital bed. Things are less than ideal, but Constanta and her fellow spouses Magdelena and Alexi bond deeply, and she voes to defend them from him. Constanta might have to get more blood on her hands when push comes to shove to protect those she truly loves.

It is gothic, tragic and romantic. Buckets of blood and drama in the best way.  

FREELOVE by Sia Figiel

17 ½-year-old Inosia Alofafua Afatasi is sent on an errand. While out she runs into her teacher and her spiritual brother, Mr Ioane Viliamu. They are not related by blood, but since he is the pastor’s son they are a spiritual family. He offers to drive her home, a decision will be made that changes their lives. 

The author describes the novel as a love story, but I think it is also a coming to self-story. Our lead is learning about herself as well as the man she falls for.

I struggled with the relationship. It seemed a bit gross to me, with him having power over her and all. It was consensual but still didn’t sit right with me. That might be a cultural thing, to be fair. It was an interesting read, but not one I was mad about. 

CLAMPdown: The Lowdown on the biggest manga group going down by Ian Wolf

CLAMPdown: The Lowdown on the biggest manga group going down by Ian Wolf is exactly what the title says. It discusses the history and impact CLAMP, an all-female Japanese manga artist group, has had on the industry.

I am trying to read more non-fiction, yet outside of memoirs, I can’t get into them. CLAMPdown on the other hand was a fun and easy read. Plenty of commentary and comedy. After reading this book, I ended up checking out several of the titles mentioned. My favourite is xxxHolic, it is so good!

The Blue Man: A haunted friendship across the decades by Leilanie Stewart

Two friends who haven’t seen each other in twenty years try to reconnect, but a shadowy figure from the worst time in their young lives comes back to haunt them, or at least one of them. 

Megan and Sabrina used to be best friends, but after Sabrina tells Megan about the local legend of the Blue Man weird things start happening to her. The toxic friend group certainly doesn’t help and things keep getting worse. When they reunite as adults it seems like the Blue Man is back and will not go down so easily this time. The two must work together to save each other and their loved ones.

Fliping between both women during their past and their current lives we get a good insight into how the events of the novel shaped them. It is so creepy and that ending, ouch. If you like supernatural thrillers, you need to check The Blue Man out. 

I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki by Baek Se-hee

Remember what I said about memoirs?

As the title suggests, this is the true story of Se-hee’s battle with persistent depressive disorder. It recounts her conversations with her therapist over 12 weeks. At the end of each chapter is a bit of insight and advice she shares with the reader. 

As someone who also has mental health struggles, I could relate to her story. I felt seen in a way. It is a brilliant book.

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