November: Case Closed!

Case Closed is a wrap up of the previous months’ reads, q+a’s, top 10s, and all things books.

Happy December! As we make our way into the winter months (and of course Christmas-themed cozy mysteries), I wanted to close the case of November’s thrilling reads.

But first, I want to start by saying that November was a pretty exciting and monumental book month for me. Why? My first blog posts! After months of religiously following bookstagrams, reading a plethora of Goodreads reviews, and even joining NetGalley, I decided it was finally time to take the plunge. More specifically, I needed to stop sitting on the sidelines as a spectator to my favorite sport: book-reviewing. Let’s face it, my life recently has been all things reading, especially thrillers, and instead of reviewing every psycho-domestic-drama to my fiance after each one I finish, it was time I put my thoughts down on (electronic) paper. So officially- HELLO- and welcome to that space for all things thrilling and compelling, hopefully you think the same of my reviews.

Another exciting November moment was joining Book of the Month club. You got me, Instagram ads, I finally caved. I am constantly driving myself crazy deciding what book to choose next (even though my TBR is a mile long) and choosing 1 (ok maybe 2) of 5 books per month is right up my indecisive alley. This month I chose The Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen and I cannot wait until my box arrives. I absolutely loved The Wife Between Us (did anyone see that twist coming?!) and hope The Anonymous Girl shocks me again. Review to come!

Ok back to my November reads. With Halloween being one of my favorite holidays, I never want the spooky books to end! Even after all of the ghost and witch decorations are replaced by cornucopias, I want to be spooked in my reading life. So naturally my first pick of November was a twisty read with a backdrop of a strange and almost magical happenings: The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti. This was a solid 4/5 read for me, as I was hooked to the story from the first chapter, and was kept guessing throughout the novel. Moretti has a gift for writing realistic characters, with just the right amount of unexplained magic set in the background. But don’t be mislead- The Blackbird Season is a real mystery, with real people and real domestic drama. The hints to witchcraft and magic are just a fun detail. As an owner of more than one Tarot deck, I really enjoyed the small connections to those witchy practices like Lucia and Bridget. The ending was a shocker to me for sure, but did leave a few questions unanswered, hence the 4/5. Overall, I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good twist and more specifically: witchy undertones, domestic drama, high school secrets, and potentially questionable characters.

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My next choice The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1) by Phillip Pullman. This was a buddy read with my fiance. (Is it still a “buddy read” if it’s with your long distance partner?!) Every few weeks, we like to read a book together to close the gap on our distance, and have something that feels like another connection when we are a country apart. I love knowing I’m reading the same pages he is reading, and wondering what he thinks while he gets to certain parts. In this case, he had seen the movie and knew a lot of major plot points, and was eager to know my thoughts. As a kid (and of course still now, Game of Thrones fans anyone?!) I loved all things magic and fantasy. For some reason though, I never got around to The Golden Compass. Probably because I was too busy watching the same Harry Potter movie two times in a row some days. So young Katie, this one is for you. The Golden Compass was nothing short of fantastic, filled with adventure, a spunky heroine, witches (I swear I’m not only into witch things!), lovable and cuddly demons, and phenomenally written characters. My only complaint about this story was that it made me realize I will never be able to have my own personal demon like Pan, the shape shifting companion. I can’t express the amount of times I wanted to squeeze my kitty and pretend he was my Pan. This story filled my heart, broke it, and then filled it over the top again through friendship, loss, evil, and finally friends-becoming-family. I already bought the Subtle Knife in anticipation to find out what will become of Lyra, Pan, and their new friends. Unquestionable 5/5, now I just have to impatiently wait for the HBO series that was just signed.

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My third November read was Into The Water by Paula Hawkins, which is kind of cheating since this long book spanned about 3 months for me, and finally finishing in November. That is not to say this book took me that long, but rather I took this book with me everywhere, savoring every beautiful word that left Hawkins’ pen as slowly as possible. This was typically my plane read, my travel read, my liminal space read. Whenever I fly, which is quite often lately (hence the long distance relationship), I feel like I am in a space between spaces and Into The Water was such an escape from my reality that it was the perfect read for this kind of feeling. When I was in a plane, or a hotel room, I was actually a woman in Beckford, questioning the lives and fates of troublesome women before me. If you can’t tell, this was perhaps one of my favorite reads this year, as it touched me in a way I haven’t felt in awhile. I should preface by saying I did not like the Girl on the Train- the story was ok, the writing was fine, the characters were meh, and the hype was just the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I procrastinated reading Into The Water because I was afraid I would read ~450 pages just to wonder why I wasted my time again. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Into The Water made me stay up late reading, stay up later analyzing, and even later questioning if I should go back to page 1 and start all over again. The novel was filled with loss, teenage angst, more loss, childhood trauma, more loss, a history of witches and magic (ok ok, maybe I really do need witchy themes! Fine, I’ll admit it!), another loss, and powerful women. To be honest I will be processing this book for awhile, and all I can say was that absolutely blew me Out Of The Water (sorry, terrible pun.) I’m sorry Paula I put this off for so long, and if anyone is wondering if they should read it, DO SO. So obviously this was another 5/5 read for me and a contender for favorite of the year.

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The last book I want to micro-review today is my last book of November, but certainly not least favorite! Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra was actually the most underrated book I read this year. After finishing Into The Water, I was worried I would get into a reading slump and that nothing would resonate with me as much. Although Only Daughter was a fast burning and twisty roller coaster unlike the slow burn drama of Into The Water, I felt just as impacted after finishing. Only Daughter had one of the most viscerally satisfying endings of a thriller that I’ve read in a long time. I almost didn’t want to start another book after this one, because I wanted to keep Only Daughter in my head for a long time after. Nowadays every thriller wants to live up to Gone Girl, but Only Daughter needs to be on more people’s radars as one of the most surprising twists all on its own. I’ve been the most hesitant to review this one, even micro-review it, for fear of giving too much away, and all I want to say is go in blind if this premise interests you even slightly. I was unsure if I wanted to read it at first, but I finished it in 2 days because I could not put it down. This book is CREEPY. Major heebie jeebies from this one, the most scared I have felt reading a thriller since All The Missing Girls, which is also a contender for favorite of the year for me. There is something dark and demonic feeling about this book, and I have to face it that the witchy undertones are something I really crave in a book, like the seance and spell that Bec has in this one. Ok I keep saying I don’t want to give too much away, and then I keep typing. One last thing- Bec is my fictional soulmate best friend and I wish I had her when I was 16. I also wished I was from Australia but that is a topic for another day.

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Alright friends! That was a pretty lengthy post, and props to you if you made it all the way through. Since it was my first Case Closed for a month, I wanted to give little short thoughts of each of my November reads since I don’t have any actual reviews for them, being a new blogger and all. I am incredibly content with my November reads, with a majority being favorites of all time.

Stay tuned for a thrilling December! I plan on reading a few cozies from NetGalley, my December BOTM read (The Anonymous Girl), and just started Little Monsters by Kara Thomas. I read some reviews from my idol bloggers who said they would compare it to Pretty Little Liars, which is my not-so-secret guilty pleasure and my all time favorite TV show, so I’m excited to see where this one goes.

That’s a wrap for November my friends, case closed!