Saturday, November 28, 2020

Book Haul: November 2020


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Welcome to Stacking the Shelves and Mailbox Monday, where I get to show off the books I’ve gotten recently. I tried really hard to slow down the book shopping because I’m going to get a bunch of books for Christmas. My slow-down attempt was . . . profoundly unsuccessful. Where do all these books come from? I swear I order one book, and four books turn up on my porch. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you! Here’s what I’ve acquired in the past few weeks.




🦃 November 2020 Book Haul 🍂





A Great And Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray


Young Adult Historical Fantasy


It's 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma's reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she's been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence's most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?


Why I’m excited to read it: Honestly, I haven’t love the other Libba Bray books I’ve read because they’re too bizarre and random for my tastes, but people have been recommending this novel to me for years. It’s loved by almost all of my book friends. Since I want to read more historical fantasy in 2021, I thought it was finally time to give in to peer pressure and pick it up.


Buy it on Amazon







The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James


Adult Classic Horror


A young, inexperienced governess is charged with the care of Miles and Flora, two small children abandoned by their uncle at his grand country house. She sees the figure of an unknown man on the tower and his face at the window. It is Peter Quint, the master's dissolute valet, and he has come for little Miles. But Peter Quint is dead.


Why I’m excited to read it: Who watched The Haunting Of Bly Manor on Netflix? I did! That show is based on this story. I’m interested to see how they compare. The show is splendid. You should watch it if you like getting your emotions stomped on by fictional ghosts.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository







There There by Tommy Orange


Adult Literary Fiction


Jacquie Red Feather and her sister Opal grew up together, relying on each other during their unsettled childhood. As adults they were driven apart, but Jacquie is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. That’s why she is there.

Dene is there because he has been collecting stories to honor his uncle's death. Edwin is looking for his true father. Opal came to watch her boy Orvil dance. All of them are connected by bonds they may not yet understand.

All of them are there for the celebration of culture that is the Big Oakland Powwow.

But Tony Loneman is also there. And Tony has come to the Powwow with darker intentions.


Why I’m excited to read it: It was a finalist for the Pulitzer and the National Book Award. It’s been called an “instant classic.” I can’t pass that up! The synopsis sounds mysterious. How are these characters’ lives going to collide? Is intense stuff going to happen? I hope so.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository







Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon


Adult Classic Mystery


Bigamy, child abandonment, deception, theft, murder, and insanity all take part in Mary Elizabeth Braddon's novel. Her over-the-top drama was one of the most popular novels of the mid-1800s and provides an interesting portrayal of both class and gender issues as they intersect within the domestic sphere.


Why I’m excited to read it: I’m actually reading this book right now. I’m not very far into it, but “over-the-top” is a good description of the writing. It’s a bit silly. The characters are drama queens for sure. Compared to most classics, it’s very readable so far. I can see why it was popular in the 1800s. It’s like the book version of potato chips. It’s not good for you, but it’s addictive.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository







Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide To Sex, Marriage, And Manners by Therese Oneill


Adult Nonfiction


Have you ever wished you could live in an earlier, more romantic era?

Ladies, welcome to the 19th century, where there's arsenic in your face cream, a pot of cold pee sits under your bed, and all of your underwear is crotchless. (Why? Shush, dear. A lady doesn't question.)

Unmentionable is your hilarious, illustrated, scandalously honest (yet never crass) guide to the secrets of Victorian womanhood, giving you detailed advice on:

~ What to wear
~ Where to relieve yourself
~ How to conceal your loathsome addiction to menstruating
~ What to expect on your wedding night
~ How to be the perfect Victorian wife
~ Why masturbating will kill you
~ And more

Irresistibly charming, laugh-out-loud funny, and featuring nearly 200 images from Victorian publications, Unmentionable will inspire a whole new level of respect for Elizabeth Bennett, Scarlet O'Hara, Jane Eyre, and all of our great, great grandmothers.

(And it just might leave you feeling ecstatically grateful to live in an age of pants, super absorbency tampons, epidurals, anti-depressants, and not-dying-of-the-syphilis-your-husband-brought-home.)


Why I’m excited to read it: Best synopsis ever! This book sounds hilarious. I already know I’d be a terrible Victorian lady. I need the Internet and modern medicine.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository







Insignificant Events In The Life Of A Cactus by Dusti Bowling


Contemporary Middlegrade Fiction


Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona, Aven moves with them across the country knowing that she’ll have to answer the question over and over again.

Her new life takes an unexpected turn when she bonds with Connor, a classmate who also feels isolated because of his own disability, and they discover a room at Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined. It’s hard to solve a mystery, help a friend, and face your worst fears. But Aven’s about to discover she can do it all . . . even without arms.


Why I’m excited to read it: Peer pressure, again. My book friends love it. It’s supposed to be a sweet story with spunky, realistic child characters. Also, it’s set in Arizona. I love deserts! If I could handle the heat without turning into a raving psycho bitch, I’d move to Arizona.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository







The Opposite Of Here by Tara Altebrando


Young Adult Mystery


Natalie's parents are taking her and her three best friends on a cruise for her seventeenth birthday. A sail-a-bration, they call it. But it's only been a few short months since Natalie's boyfriend died in a tragic accident, and she wants to be anywhere but here.

Then she meets a guy on the first night and sparks fly. After a moonlit conversation on a secluded deck of the ship, Natalie pops down to her cabin to get her swimsuit so they can go for a dip. But when she returns, he's gone. Something he said makes her think he might have . . . jumped? No, he couldn't have.

But why do her friends think she's crazy for wanting to make sure he's okay? Also, why do they seem to be hiding something from her? And how can she find him when she doesn't even know his name? Most importantly, why is the captain on the intercom announcing the urgent need for a headcount?


Why I’m excited to read it: It sucks to be the main character in this story. You meet an interesting guy on a ship, and he jumps overboard the instant you turn your back. That can’t be good for your self-esteem. Anyway, this sounds like a compelling mystery. Also, I love the cover. Someone should replace that rope before unfortunate events happen.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository







Cairo by G. Willow Wilson & M.K. Perker


Adult Urban Fantasy Graphic Novel


A stolen hookah, a spiritual underworld, and a genie on the run change the lives of five strangers forever in this modern fable set on the streets of the Middle East's largest metropolis.

Cairo interweaves the fates of a drug runner, a down-on-his-luck journalist, an American expatriate, a troubled young student, and an Israeli soldier as they race through bustling present-day Cairo to find an artifact of unimaginable power, one protected by a dignified jinn and sought by a wrathful gangster-magician. But the vastness of Africa's legendary City of Victory extends into a spiritual realm—the Undernile—and even darker powers lurk there


Why I’m excited to read it: I always need more graphic novels in my life. They’re fun, nice to look at, and quick to read. This book was recommended by a friend. I was looking for a graphic novel that has depth but would still let me escape from the real world. We’ll see if this one gives me what I’m looking for.


Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Book Depository







Have you read any of these? What did you think?


  1. Unmentionable sounds like a great read - whenever I read historical fiction, I am so thankful I live in the modern age.

  2. Unmentionable is fascinating and snarky fun. Enjoy!

  3. I adored meeting Aven Green. I hope you love her too. I read the Bray book way back when. I didn't finish the series, but I remember liking the book.

  4. Ooh I hope you like The Opposite of Here. I just got her newest book and am chomping at the bit...

  5. I don't blame you for buying so many books. I've been on a book buying binge myself (and I'm not ashamed to admit it)! Lots of great books you got here!

    Here’s my Stacking the Shelves!

    Ronyell @ Rabbit Ears Book Blog

  6. Unmentionable sounds kind of fantastic. I can't wait to hear what you think.


  7. I've only read Henry James... Life of a Cactus sounds good and Unmentionable also sounds like it could be funny (what would people think seeing a guy reading it?)

  8. You've got some great books lined up for this winter! I'm jealous! I didn't know that The haunting of Bly House is based on The turn of the Screw? Now I need to watch it! The Turn of the Screw is really, really great.

    Happy reading AJ and have a good week!

    Elza Reads

  9. I'm sure that my books actually breed overnight on my shelves. I surely can't have bought THAT many books!

  10. Wow, so many intriguing books. I hope you love them all!

  11. Opposite Side of Here was a wild ride, WILD. The author did a great job portraying how terrifying cruise ships were though, haha.

    A Great Terrible Beauty is really good! I have the rest of the series but haven't read it yet. Typical.

  12. ENJOY all of your books.

    They look good.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  13. That's a great haul with lots of variety. Ohhh - such a problem -- too many books. :-)
    Happy Reading!