November Recap & Haul Time!

December 6, 2021

It’s time for a look at my November reading life!

It’s time for another wrap-up/haul post! November was a month like September, where I read a lot, but it was mostly novellas, graphic novels, and manga – and that’s okay! It’s gotten me back into the swing of reading almost everyday, and that’s all I’m asking for right now. I think this might have been most up-and-down month in a while as far as ratings go, which encouraged me to bring back an old wrap-up format I haven’t done in ages: separating my read books by star rating!

This month’s wrap-up post is also much more in-depth than my last several wrap-ups have been, because I thought it might be nice to start giving more info than just star ratings in these posts. Feel free to leave your opinions below: in monthly wrap-ups, do you prefer mini-reviews like these, or just star ratings?

First, what I read:

(each title link will direct you to my review for more thoughts!)

5 stars

I absolutely adored this thriller and found it incredibly suspenseful, plus it held such an incredibly important social commentary that made me cry a few times.

This was such a cute, sweet NA paranormal fantasy graphic novel featuring a queer group of ghost hunters when the biggest skeptic of their team gets possessed by a demon.

SPYxFAMILY, VOL. 1 // Tatsuya Endo
I’m so glad Ellyn recommended this manga series to me, because this first volume was adorable! A spy is forced to take on a fake child and wife to infiltrate a prestigious school system, but ends up developing some pretty sweet feelings along the way, I think.

My spouse and I read this together right before bed one night and we both laughed so much. These comics have a really goofy, irreverent sense of humor that gets a little dark every now and then – I highly recommend it to fellow Bob’s Burgers fans.

SWEAT AND SOAP, VOL. 1 & 2 // Kintetsu Yamada
I did NOT expect to enjoy a rom-com manga series about a sweaty woman and the colleague who becomes obsessed with her scent, but… it works, somehow. They’re really sweet, communicate well, focus a lot on consent, and the whole storyline is cute. I can’t wait for my library ebook holds to come in for the next few volumes!

THE BACKSTAGERS, VOL. 2 // James Tynion IV
SO CUTE. SO SOFT. I love these lil’ gay theatre kids so much.

CAT’S CAFE // Matt Tarpley
I expected a cute comic book about animals running a coffeeshop, but I got that and so much more. The discussions around mental health in this book are AMAZING.

SKIN // Aveda Vice
If you also grew up with a crush on Goliath from the cartoon show Gargoyles, have I got a treat for you. Seriously though, this was super lovable and I need the full novel ASAP.

4 & 4.5 stars

SUGAR PLUM // Jenika Snow & Isabella Starling
A really cute holiday romance novella featuring a plus-size babe and her dad’s best friend. I love a good age gap romance!

CATS LIKE CREAM // Renee Miller
An odd and highly disgusting novella about a real estate agent who stalks the people he sells homes to. I cringed a LOT.

A decent collection, but looking back, this rating is probably too generous for the book as a whole… that said, there is a poem about queer youth that made me sob and has lived rent-free in my head since I read it.

TIDESONG // Wendy Xu
I didn’t love this as much as Mooncakes, which made it a bit of a disappointment, but in hindsight, it was actually a really lovely and sweet MG fantasy graphic novel about a girl learning magic and her new-found, reluctant friendship with a dragon spirit. Big Studio Ghibli vibes in this one, fam.

THE FIRE NEVER GOES OUT // Noelle Stevenson
I’d been meaning to read this memoir for a long time, and though I already knew most of its contents, Noelle had a few surprises in store for me and I enjoyed learning about her rise to fame.

3 & 3.5 stars

A PIZZA MY HEART // Teagan Hunter
A HUGE disappointment after how much I loved the last rom-com I read by her. The characters weren’t enjoyable, didn’t have a lot of chemistry, and I thought the writing needed quite a bit more editing (not for spelling/grammar, but for sentences simply not making sense) than it received. I mean, sibling/sibling’s childhood bestie is one of my favorite tropes, and even I couldn’t get into this.

SED DE SANGRE // V. Castro
A collection of sexy horror short stories. I honestly wanted less sex and more back story, but still enjoyed it overall.

DESERTER // Junji Ito
Not my favorite, but a very good collection to Junji’s work via a collection of short manga stories.

THE AUTUMNAL // Daniel Kraus
This graphic novel about a woman taking her daughter to her childhood town where a bunch of freaky, woodsy shit happens had a great premise, but I was so bored and the plot lost me several times.

STOLEN TONGUES // Felix Blackwell
5 stars for scariness, 1 star for crappy portrayal of Native Americans, especially when considering the author’s note is an entire essay about how he was determined NOT to make the same mistakes most white authors make while writing books about Native people.

I was left with more questions than answers, which bothers me in a book that doesn’t seem to have a sequel on the way, but I had fun with this little cult horror novella. I liked the creatures in it a lot!

I loved the premise of this YA contemporary about a girl whose boyfriend dies, and then she talks to his ghost through phone calls, but it fell short in a lot of ways with flat writing and characters.

2 & 2.5 stars

I disliked almost everything about this graphic novel except the art, but the art was STUNNING.

1 & 1.5 stars

MURDER BOOK // Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell
“Let me write a book about not glorifying serial killers, and then proceed to glorify serial killers!” Also, the storytelling style is terrible and all over the place, and the art is awful.

FINE PRINT, VOL. 1 // Stjepan Sejic
Even Sejic’s beautiful artwork couldn’t save this graphic novel from its nonsensical plot and a particularly hurtful acephobic moment in the prologue.

And now, for some of my favorite recent hauls:

BOOK OF NIGHT // Holly Black(review copy; adult fantasy)
TENDER IS THE FLESH // Agustina Bazterrica (purchase; adult horror)
GONE TO SEE THE RIVER MAN // Kristopher Triana (purchase; adult horror)
HIDE // Kiersten White (review copy; adult horror)
LAMELLA // Max Halper (review copy; adult horror)

And finally, a little life update:

November was a bit of an up-and-down month for me. We had a loss in my mom’s family, so it was emotional, but I also had a lot of good things happen, like getting to have a lot of quality family time and playing a lot of the new ACNH update and DLC, and reading a lot. The second half of the month was definitely better than the first half, and I’m hoping December will be better, still. I’m kind of reeling from the fact that the year is already almost over, but I’m SUPER excited for Christmas and I’m working on a lot of goals for 2022 that I’m looking forward to putting into motion!

How was your month? What was your favorite book you read or hauled, or what was something nice that happened in your life?



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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

    1. I don’t know how we’re already in the last month of 2021!! What is TIME ANYMORE!?!?!??!! AHHHH!!

      You had a really great month! I like mini-reviews along with star ratings – if you liked something (or disliked) its nice to know why you gave it that rating 🙂

      1. Right?! Time is just a figment of our imaginations at this point ?

        Thank you SO much for the feedback! It’s really helpful 😀 I liked writing the little mini-reviews, so hearing that someone enjoyed reading them is great!

    1. The best horro book I read this year was The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle. I don’t read a lot of horror but I loved the way this plays with old tropes and does something new.

    1. You had a great reading month quantity wise at least. It sucks that not all of them worked for you but it’s bound to happen. We can’t love them all. November ended up being my worst reading month quantity wise. I only read 4 books. I can’t decide if The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune was my favorite or if it was Kingdom of the Cursed by Kerri Maniscalco. I absolutely loved both of those books in November.

      1. That’s very true! I’m sorry you didn’t get to read much in November, but I’m glad you liked those two books so much! I can’t wait to finish The House in the Cerulean Sea and to pick up the Kingdom of the Wicked series!!

        1. It happens. My surgery just totally threw off my reading for some reason. Anything out of the normal for me usually throws off my reading lol. I hope you enjoy both of those books!!

    1. Loving all the 4-5 stars for you! And also wanted to drop in and say that I’m proud you are sticking to goals and keeping your ARC hauls smaller ?? Have an amazing last month of 2021 reading!

    1. Looks like you had a good reading month overall! ? SO very excited that you liked Spy x Family and Cat’s Cafe! My mom surprised me by getting a copy of Cat’s Cafe for me even though it isn’t Christmas yet ? I hope December is a good month for you! ?❤

    1. Lots of great graphic novels here. Tidesong looks so cute I’m hoping to pick it up next year! Spy X Family, my FAVE! It gets even funnier with each volume, so good! Happy December Destiny! ?

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