Book review (November 2016)

Happy December! I know it’s only the very beginning of the month, but because November has been an excellent reading month for me, I decided to post my round up of the books I read last month asap. I already mentioned once before that fall is one of my favorite seasons to read, so I got a lot of titles off my shelves. I stuck to mostly smaller books to ensure I would catch up with my reading challenge. And I have! I am currently 2 books ahead and have finished 47 books so far. There was one other book I finished last month, but I hadn’t started it yet when I took these pictures over the weekend, so I will loop that in with the December overview instead. Here’s what I read in November.

R.L. Stevenson - Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde Henry James - The Turn of the Screw J.K. Rowling - Hogwart's Library: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them & Quidditch through the Ages J.K. Rowling - The Tales of Beedle the Bard Jonathan Stroud - Lockwood & Co: The Hollow Boy Stephenie Meyer - The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

R.L. Stevenson – Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde
Henry James – The Turn of the Screw
J.K. Rowling – Hogwart’s Library: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them & Quidditch through the Ages
J.K. Rowling – The Tales of Beedle the Bard
Jonathan Stroud – Lockwood & Co: The Hollow Boy
Stephenie Meyer – The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

November started off with a reread of two classics. I had last read these when I was in college for different courses, so I felt justified in taking those off my shelves. I also finally got round to reading some books I had had sitting on my shelves for years, but hadn’t so much as glanced at until now. All Harry Potter and Twilight novellas were quick and easy reads, which precisely the purpose. At the end of the month I felt safe enough to pick up a slightly more substantial read and opted for a book from one of my favorite series that I don’t hear enough people talking about.

R.L. Stevenson – Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

Told from the perspective of Dr Jekyll’s lawyer and close friend, this classic tells the story of the clean cut upper class doctor who slowly turns himself into a monster. A lover of experiments by trade, Dr Jekyll secretly finds a way to release his darker side and gets away with everything, even murder. The figure is soon a wanted man and while Dr Jekyll thinks the situation is under control, matter swiftly get out of hand. Mr Hyde takes over his life more and more often. In final attempt for redemption, he fesses up everything to his friend.

I was in the mood for some gothic fiction this month and this hits that sweet spot just right. I love Victorian era gothic fiction. It’s when the genre was blooming and blossoming most and this tale is one that is a good example of what would happen if the darker side of humans would be ready to pop out. It’s grim, it’s dark and there’s suspense though I do think that this would have been a lot scarier at the time it was published than it is now. This is no shock and horror type book, but definitely one that raises questions of what it means to be human and civilized.

Henry James – The Turn of the Screw

Another gothic fiction book I hadn’t read in some time was The Turn of the Screw. This book is a ghost story on the surface as it tells the tale of a governess who moves into Bly House to take care of Miles and Flora. Her employer expressly instructs her not to contact him as he has no interest in caring for the children. Soon after her arrival she starts seeing figures. A man and a woman and upon describing them to the housemaid, she finds they resemble the former governess and the man servant of the house, now both deceased. The governess takes it upon herself to shield the children from the ghosts, but it seems the children have a strange connection with them. After weeks of build up tension Flora suddenly disappears and when the housemaid and the governess find her, the governess is certain she sees the former governess there. But when the housemaid doesn’t and the child denies she can see anything, the question remains: are the ghosts real or a figment of her imagination?

A ghost novel with a twist, that’s how I would describe it. Earlier this year I read This House is Haunted, which now that I reread The Turn of the Screw, made me realize what that book reminded me of. Where This House is Haunted felt cliché and same old, same old, The Turn of the Screw feels fresher and more unique in it’s premise. The fact that the reader cannot be sure whether the governess is right or not gives this tale and even eerier feel. Again, probably not as exciting as it was for 19th century audiences, but definitely a good solid read.

Stephenie Meyer – The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner tells the tale of a very minor character that appears in the third book in the Twilight series: Eclipse. Told from the perspective of new born vampire Bree Tanner, this book gives more insight into the world of vampires less highlighted by the novels. Here we meet not one, but a troop of bloodsucking vampires that hunt the streets of Seattle in search of victims. It tells the tale of their path of destruction, the lies they are fed to keep them complacent and how no one can be trusted.

This is not a book you’ll enjoy if you didn’t like the Twilight Saga. That series definitely has its flaws and the same flaws pop up in this accompanying novella. The first person perspective is too narrow, the character too whimsical to be believable and world building shabby at best. I still rated it three stars as it did give some insights that I didn’t get from the rest of the books which I enjoyed. It was a fast-paced and action packed read which meant it was great for speeding up the reading process.

J.K. Rowling – Hogwart’s Library: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them & Quidditch through the Ages

Initially published to support Comic Relief some years ago, Harry Potter’s School Books was a set I purchased years ago but had not yet read. Inside you find two books, both designed to look like library lent out from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by New Scamander is obviously the inspiration for the newly released movie starring Eddie Redmayne. Quidditch Through the Ages does exactly that: it tells the tale of how Quidditch came to be and also includes some broom history for completeness.

Shame on me! I had never read these before, yet had had them for such a long time. As a Harry Potter fan I decided it was high time to stick my foot in, especially with the movie being out and all that. I enjoyed these little tidbits of information that provide another glimpse into the Wizarding World. They aren’t the most outstanding reads ever, but it’s fun while I do think that the footnotes and additions (as if Harry & Co doodled in the books) that are supposed to be funny, didn’t seem very funny to me and often times unnecessary. Also I wish that my schoolbooks had been this thin in school!

J.K. Rowling – The Tales of Beedle the Bard

This book is heavily featured in book 7: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. With the story that gives the name to the title of the book, being featured here as part of a collection of Wizarding Fairytales. The book features commentary by Albus Dumbledore himself to explain the stories and why they hold merit. Another glimpse into the expanded Wizarding universe that is welcome to anyone obsessed with Harry Potter.

For good measure, I decided to also delve into this Harry Potter spin off. Again, bought it years ago but hadn’t gotten round to it just yet. I enjoyed this more than the other two novellas. This one felt more substantial, better thought through and the Dumbledore commentary made me chuckle. I felt this was a bit more unique than the other two Wizarding books and truly added a layer of understanding to some aspects that go on in the Wizarding World, be it in the background.

Jonathan Stroud – Lockwood & Co: The Hollow Boy

Lockwood & Co is back. Riding high on the fame gathered by their previous case, Lucy, George and Lockwood are so busy they can barely cope with the workload. When a massive outbreak of ghost activity occurs in Chelsea, DEPRAC is at a complete loss as to how it could happen, which means the trio wishes to investigate. With too much on their plate, Lockwood decides to hire a new secretary whom Lucy isn’t too fond of. Not only is she too prim and proper for her liking, she can also not know that Lucy has a Talent far more unique than anyone knows.

If there is one book series that needs more love in the Internet world of Booktube, Bookstagram and the like, I had to include the third installment of the Lockwood & Co series. The plot is well devised, the characters nicely fleshed out and it’s a unique spin on an alternative universe where ghosts are popping up left and right as part of The Problem. Lucy as a character was a bit annoying at times as her annoyance with Holly, the new secretary, is perhaps a little too much on top of everything else that is going on in the novel. Nonetheless, I truly enjoyed this and where parts 1 and 2 are more standalone novels, this book sets up a storyline that will surely be used in more books to come. If you are looking for a dark, yet funny YA fantasy/ gothic book series, then I would highly recommend this one.

What books did you read last month?

5 Comments Add yours

  1. chucky1012 says:

    So many good books!

    Xoxo

    1. indiequeen84 says:

      Yup read some great ones!

  2. Finally finished The Manual of Detection by Jedidiah Berry. Layered in cleverness, great read!

    1. indiequeen84 says:

      Sounds like something up my street!

  3. theamblogger says:

    NIce books . So excited to read them ❤

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