Hey everyone! November is over and we are officially in the last month of 2020, believe it or not. This month we’d like to direct your attention towards the Philippines, which has experienced many consecutive typhoons over the last month or so. Kal @ Reader Voracious has put together a useful post with ways you can help (including watching dedicated Youtube videos) and this carrd also includes ways you can assist via donations and signing petitions for climate justice and preventing plastic pollution.
This month it’s just Sabrina because Vera is super busy right now – though, she did contribute most of our favourite posts of the month, which, let’s be honest, is not unusual. So now I’ll tell you a little bit about how November went for me and what I read and watched over the month!
What I Did
November was actually a pretty good month for me and for my entire state, with no new COVID cases for over 30 days in Victoria. I’ve been starting to get out of the house a bit more, having gone on two shopping trips with my mum and sister to get some clothes and buy Christmas gifts plus some get-togethers with friends.
I started the month by meeting with a friend who moved at the start of the year to go for a nature walk. It was fairly nice though there were a lot of parts that were alongside busy roads. Still, it was good to catch up in person after so many months apart.
The day after that, I met up with some other friends for a picnic. We all prepared a dish and took it to a lake to eat. The weather ended up being really hot, but fortunately we found a spot in the shade. At the end of the month, we met up again, this time for all-you-can-eat Japanese at a restaurant. The food was really nice and I would definitely go back there again one day. After that, we went back to my house to play some boardgames which was also a lot of fun.
Possibly the most exciting thing that happened this month though is that some butterflies I had emerged from their chrysalises. To explain a little, back in March of 2019, my parents had just bought a lemon tree when my I discovered three bright little caterpillars crawling around on it. I was not happy when my dad told me he was going to kill them, so I did some research and found out which breed of butterfly they were (to make sure they weren’t a pest species etc.) and put them into a little cage I already owned (from when I was given a monarch butterfly chrysalis for a birthday present as a twelve year old – butterflies and I go way back). I got some citrus leaves from an outside source (my grandma) to make sure they had plenty of food and within a week, they had all become chrysalises. It was unfortunately the end of the hot weather for a while, so we waited patiently for summer, 2019… and nothing happened. Fast forward to the autumn this year, and my mum is sick of having this cage with possibly-dead chrysalises in the house so she takes them outside. Honestly I had resigned myself to thinking they would never hatch when one day in November I went outside and discovered a butterfly in the cage. I kid you not, my first thought was that it had somehow got in there itself by crawling through a hole but no – one of the chrysalises was now very empty. The other two hatched in the weeks after as well, to my utter amazement. I hope they found a new home when I released them and have started a family. Another surprise – I actually took photos, so I can share them with you below:
What I Read
This month was also good for me in terms of reading! I read seven books, which though is not a record for me by any means, is still a high enough number that I feel comfortable enough in saying that my slump is finally over. Here’s my thoughts on some of the books I picked up:
MEET ME AT THE INTERSECTION
I have to say I really enjoyed the concept and experience of reading this Australian short story collection. It included both regular stories and poetry from people of all different backgrounds which don’t often get their stories shared in mainstream Australian media, especially when it comes to YA literature. There were some true gems in the collection and some that I didn’t love as much, but it’s definitely worth your time if you get the chance to pick it up! 3.5/5
THE A.I. WHO LOVED ME
Alyssa Cole did it again! I absolutely loved this novella and I think it was exactly what I needed in the moment I read it. I found myself genuinely laughing out loud at some parts and I was so invested in the story and the two main characters by the end of it. 5/5 stars
A PRINCESS IN THEORY
This is another Alyssa Cole book I picked up in November, which sadly is the first by her that I have not entirely loved. I still gave it three and a half stars, so don’t panic, but I did have my issues with it. First of all (and this happened in another book I read this month too!) I just don’t like it when one character is keeping a huge secret from another character and the weight of it is constantly hanging over the story, because you know the other character is going to find out eventually. I know sometimes the characters have good reasons for doing this and I don’t necessarily think they shouldn’t do it, it’s just a plot point that dampens my experience of a book. Also, my precious child Portia, from A Duke By Default, is often seen in a pretty bad light by Ledi, the main character of this book, which affected my feelings toward her. I did however, love Ledi’s character aside from that, especially her involvement in science and how that played a greater part in the book than I was expecting. 3.5/5 stars.
GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW BY SILVIA MORENO GARCIA
I truly enjoyed this historical fantasy about Mayan gods and a girl who wants to escape her living situation. It was a bit slow for me at times, but it pulled on my heartstrings and made me root for the main character. The writing was great, in that I could vividly picture all the surroundings, but I do wish I had got a little more inside the characters’ heads. 3.5/5 stars.
THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT BY CLARE POOLEY
I was loving this book for the first hundred pages or so, but after that point things went quickly downhill. I felt like the story didn’t go anywhere unexpected, and many of the characters felt to me like dramatic caricatures rather than real people. I completely hated the ending too. So though this book definitely had its moments, it wasn’t enough for me to like it overall. 2/5 stars.
What I Watched
This month I finally finished watching the entirety of Merlin. And, really, I was underwhelmed, especially with the last few seasons. I was desperately hoping for some significant changes between season two and three and though we got that, in a small way, it was not a slow, gradual change but an abrupt one that made me feel a bit cheated, to be honest. By season four I found myself constantly rolling my eyes at the ridiculous choices made with the plot and by the last episode, I wasn’t even surprised by their bad decisions anymore. I will say that I enjoyed a lot of the humour, but I didn’t fall in love with the characters in the way I wanted to either. So overall…eh.
I have also been watching Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, my first k-drama. It’s been a lot of fun so far* and I love the dramatic nature of it. One thing about me is that I love almost any zoom in, even if it’s not meant to be funny, and this tv show is full of them so I find myself laughing pretty often. The episodes are really long (over an hour!) so it usually takes me a few sessions to finish one, but I am getting there!
*Though there are some jokes that seem problematic to me, but I am watching with subtitles, so I don’t want to presume anything.
I watched two movies this month as well: the first being a rewatch of Pride & Prejudice (with Keira Knightley). I obviously enjoyed it, being a rewatch, though it’s not an absolute favourite. I love the atmosphere of it and the awkward moments.
The second movie was The Last Witch Hunter and I don’t know… It was okay. I think there was a lot of good ideas there, but I think they could have been better expanded upon. Also seeing the main character way back in the past was hilarious simply because of his hairstyle.
Posts & Reviews We Loved
- Abi @ Scribbles & Stories wrote a beautiful tribute for Rachel Cain.
- Becky @ A Fool’s Ingenuity discussed if her favorite fanfiction tropes translate well to books.
- Chana & Malka @ Paper Procrastinators discussed the do’s and don’ts of book blogging.
- Louise @ Monstrumology talked about 5 reasons why she loves Superman.
- Malka @ Paper Procrastinators asked what makes someone well-read.
- Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books discussed why book bloggers should get paid.
- May @ Forever and Everly reviewed These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong.
How was November for you? Did you have any new favourite books or experiences? Let us know!