It's everybody's favorite time of the month! This month's book club picks are honestly some of my favorites. There's some great stories in here about triumph and perseverance that I've really come to appreciate. Don't get too soft though because there are some major schemes and deceptions going on as well. Have fun with November's selections!
#1: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
I came by this book by total chance. I was in Barnes and Noble, searching for a new book because I had surprisingly almost read all the ones I owned. After nearly two hours, I caught the name of an author I had read before and the rest, as they say, is history. This novel is one of those where you finish and all you want are a million sequels. The titular character, Lydia, is dealing with the repercussions of her fiancee's death. He died suddenly in a car accident but his best friend lives. To help, her psychiatrist prescribed sleeping pills. Soon, Lydia discovers that the pills take her to an alternate dream world where her fiancee is still alive. Lydia assumes this'll make everything easier but is leading two lives ever easy?
#2: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
This title may be familiar to you because it's been adapted to a show on Netflix. That's the main reason why I wanted the books. I hate watching a movie or show when there's a book because I think the book is just cooler because there's more information packed into it. Shadow and Bone is the first book in a trilogy series. My biggest draw to this book is that it actually draws off of Russian history and culture. I'd call it more of a dark fantasy novel. There's elements of magic but things definitely take a violent turn in the middle part. Basically, there's this place called The Fold, which is essentially darkness and you can't travel through it without some source of light or a lot of artillery. That is because within The Fold there are creatures called volcra. The volcra thrive in darkness and like to kill all the people who attempt to pass through. Fun fact: they're actually people. When The Fold was created, they were trapped inside and turned into vicious creatures. However, there is a way to get through safely with the help of the Sun Summoner. I won't tell you who it is but I will tell you that said unknown character has the ability to summon light with their hands. Things get absolutely wild and it is truly a journey.
#3: Sparks of Light by Janet B. Taylor
I'm late to the party with this one but better late than never. If you recall to one of my very first book clubs, you may remember a book called Into the Dim. Remember when I mentioned it had a sequel? Remember when I mentioned that I would try to include it in the next month's post? Remember when next month's post turned into almost two years later? With the first book, there was so much action. A teenager discovers that she's part of a time-traveling family and must go back to the 1600s to save her mother who became trapped while time-traveling herself. The sequel had much of that same quality but I'm not going to lie when I say that I actually got emotional while reading. Something happens to one of the main characters that I wasn't expecting. I kept hoping that it wasn't happening and at the last second, the author really gets your hopes up before sticking the final nail in the coffin. For as long as it took me to blog about it, I managed to read Sparks of Light in a few hours. It keeps you engaged and has a really great cliffhanger ending.
#4: Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena
We had to get here eventually. It's time for the murderous selection. This novel had an ending that you can perceive if you pay enough attention and stick to your gut instinct. The author writes in a way that makes you think any one of the main characters could've done it. Every perspective is so believable that even if you feel confident in your opinion, there will still be that little nagging voice in your head. The author does tie everything up in the end but the road to get there is not so neat and tidy.
#5: Star of the North by D.B. John
I got this book almost a year ago and I was dragging myself through it. I don't know where I found it but somehow I got the motivation to start reading for real. The novel has three different perspectives and I will admit that I found myself enjoying some perspectives over the other. The story was still fantastic and I could see why the certain characters were needed but some of them were just boring to me. Once I got in about a hundred pages or so, the pace started to pick up and it (thankfully) began to drift out of the slowness that comes in the beginning. Something that I appreciated was the genre which was actually really surprising. The book is a political thriller and I've never had great experiences with those in the past. I found the plots dull, characters uninspiring, and a spark of something missing. I think that's what caused my slow start to begin with. Star of the North threw all of that out the window. There was so much to take in and so much to experience with the novel being primarily set in North Korea. A worthwhile story all around.
And with that, I give you November's book club! Come back in December for some cozy titles!
Target has finally started putting all their Christmas stuff up for sale so obviously I went at the first opportunity. We were there on Sunday and I forgot what month it actually was. I kept seeing fall stuff everywhere and I couldn't figure out why until I was so kindly reminded that there is a month before December and we still have to go through it. I love Christmas so much that my mind immediately switches to it on October 31st. I forget about Thanksgiving and the rest of fall. It's full-on winter wonderland, deck the halls mode.
If you don't follow me on any social media, you missed a great time on Sunday night. I spent the whole day decorating and I shared a video of the finished project which I'm totally over the moon about. Yes, I realize that was a cheesy sentence but I really don't care. The joy that I feel is too great to not describe with incredibly cheesy sentences. I'm hoping to post a video going through all of my holiday decor so maybe then you'll get a better understanding and share in the joy with me. I'm also going to try my hand at Pinterest so pop over there in a few days to see it all.
In other news, happy November! Now that I, you know, realize it exists. This week we started a new term so our classes changed. Luckily for me, two of my classes stayed the same and only two switched. This term, I'm taking creative writing and psychology as my new classes. My two classes that didn't change are English and Spanish. Kind of a full schedule but I don't mind much. So far, they've been pretty interesting. I think creative writing will be the most beneficial because I've been in a writing rut. I won't call it writer's block because I have ideas and I'm constantly thinking but I just can't seem to translate it onto paper. Some days, I'll sit in front of my iPad and just stare at it for a good hour or more. By the end, I'll have written a handful of sentences that I'll have written and ripped apart a thousand times. I can't help myself because I'm too much of a perfectionist on the first try. My teacher is trying to get us all to understand that first drafts are a thing. Our assignment last night was literally called "A Crappy First Draft" where we just wrote whatever was in our heads without stopping or correcting anything.
My only complaint about this week is that it won't stop dragging on. This may be published on a Friday but I've been writing since Monday. I can't wait for the final bell to ring. At 3:10, I'm out and I'm shutting my brain off for two days. I feel like the first week of the month is always like this especially when you're taking multiple new classes in the same week as well. Let's all pray that next week goes faster.
If you didn't know, Starbucks dropped all of their holiday drinks yesterday and I got one just for this. I have thoughts. Let's discuss. My normal order is an iced white chocolate mocha with vanilla cold foam. The holiday drink that I ordered was a toasted white chocolate mocha topped with whipped cream and peppermint sprinkles. It is essentially the same as my normal drink except the beans are toasted, as the name implies. It was definitely much stronger but I liked it all and all. My only negative is that we didn't get the holiday cups. I don't know if it was just the location or what but I was very bitter about that. Tomorrow I'm hoping to try the peppermint mocha because although there were peppermint sprinkles, this drink really didn't taste different and I want the Christmas feeling! No matter what, I will get it.
With that, I will leave you pondering all of life's questions. Have a great weekend and I'll see you back here next week for more holiday-centric discussions. Get excited because I am still going to post whether you're Cindy Lou Who or the Grinch!
The Blog in a Nutshell
Hi! Welcome to Fashion Fun and Extra, a blog run by Caroline Hill. A wheelchair user, podcaster, little sister, writer, and more, Caroline's unique view on life allows readers to take a glance into something they don't experience everyday. Told with humor, realness, remarkable wit, and a special kind bluntness, no blog will fail to entertain!