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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

November Wrap-Up: My Favorite Reads of the Month


My very favorite Bossy November reads!

Here are the six books I most loved reading this past month: a wonderful story about a grumpy female pirate; fascinating futuristic speculation; a Gothic-feeling multi-timeline work of literary fiction; magical realism and time travel; and a captivating mystery about a complicated family.

If you've read any of these, I'd love to hear what you think!

And I'd also love to hear: what are some of your recent favorite reads?

 

01 The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi (Amina al-Sirafi #1) by Shannon Chakraborty

I loved every bit of the story of willful, sometimes grumpy pirate Amina al-Sirafi and her quest, her strategic swearing, her strength, her fierce loyalty, and her messy, grand, swashbuckling adventures.

“Amina, if you insist on going in alone, at least stop caressing your dagger.”

I listened to the first installment in Shannon Chakraborty's Amina al-Sirafi fantasy series, The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi, as an audiobook, which was narrated by the fantastic Lameece Issaq and Amin El Gamal.

Amina is a notorious former pirate--ruthless, scandalous, and invincible--who has dropped out of sight and settled down to raise her young daughter alongside her strong-willed mother.

Then a mysterious, wealthy matriarch preys upon Amina's need for funds--and her desire for one final, glorious success. Amina soon finds herself entangled in a dangerous ocean quest to rescue a young woman, while fighting to keep her own family safe.

The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi is fun, funny, and smart, and I was hooked on the lightning-fast banter; the gruff and independent, saucy, and irresistible main protagonist in the feminist Muslim character of Amina; and the sea adventure with various fantastical elements.

Chakraborty offers some closure to book one while setting up a sequel. I am alllll in on this series and can't wait for the second installment.

For my full review of this book, please see The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi.

 

02 The Future by Naomi Alderman

Alderman offers a dive into a future world that's crumbling due to greed, disregard for the environment, a loss of human connection, and threatening pandemics--then turns all of it on its head with a twisty, compelling, futuristic, technology-driven attempt at survival--and at maybe just changing the world for the better, and for good.

The behavior of three key tech billionaires might seem like the symptom of all the biggest world problems...relentless greed, disregard for the environment, hoarding of resources, destruction of privacy, and more. These three figures become the center of the plot of The Future, around which mind-bogglingly enormous developments occur.

In The Future, Alderman considers religious fanatics, corporate entities, pandemics, environmental implosion, fascinating imagined technological advancements, and more, while offering great twists, a compelling story, characters I was curious about, oddball friendships, and deep love.

This was an engrossing dystopian read. I loved it.

I mentioned Naomi Alderman's novel The Power in the Greedy Reading List Six Fascinating Dystopian and Postapocalyptic Novels. You might also want to check out the books on the Greedy Reading List Six More Fascinating Dystopian and Postapocalyptic Novels.

Click here for my full review of The Future.

 

03 North Woods by Daniel Mason

Mason's novel isn't simply a historical fiction story linked through timelines. The book builds to be an often-sinister, Gothic-feeling story with various interconnected repercussions, discoveries, and punishments; ghosts able to enact revenge; and, in the end, for select characters, a surprising and hopeful opportunity for a new start.

Mason's newest novel tells the story of a New England house in the woods by tracking those who live in it over the centuries.

But North Woods isn't a charming historical fiction novel. While Mason's various timelines and myriad inhabitants show the interconnectedness of us all and celebrate the wonders of the wild world surrounding us, they do so with a significant, dark undercurrent that grows in prominence as the story progresses.

North Woods explores cycles of nature and human behavior. The tone is spooky and the story moves at a measured pace. I was interested in the ultimate connections and outcomes and I appreciated the story and particularly Mason's gorgeous writing (the final chapter is a particular knockout), but I did take a long time to get through this one.

Click here for my full review of North Woods.

 

04 The Unmaking of June Farrow by Adrienne Young

June struggles with the complicated implications of her family's curse of hallucinations and mental illness...until she realizes that the red door and visions of the past are real memories from her own time-travel experiences.

June has been seeing and hearing visions for a year now, and she believes they're linked to the curse that the community believes has its hold on the Farrow women.

She would love to end the curse, the fraying of the Farrow women's minds, once and for all--by never having a child and allowing the mental illness to die with her.

But when she realizes she can walk through a magical red door, she finds unexpected circumstances--and realizes that she may be able to reinvent her path forward--and possibly also shift the events of the past.

The circumstances of the ending are largely satisfying, the emotional connections June ultimately makes are poignant, and there's a character-reveal twist that was sweet and lovely.

Adrienne Young is also the author of Fable, its sequel Namesake, and The Last Legacy, loosely set in the worlds of Fable and Namesake, and Spells for Forgetting.

Please click here for my full review of The Unmaking of June Farrow.

 

05 Some Desperate Glory by Emily Tesh

Emily Tesh's debut novel is a space opera about war, duty, brainwashing, escaping limitations, and reinventing oneself--with fascinating turns of events and richly wrought characters. I just loved it.

Kyr has not only trained her whole life for the day she can avenge the long-ago destruction of Earth, she was genetically bred to be exceptional at the task.

But then unexpected events lead her to leave the only home she's ever known in order to try to save her brother. She realizes that the revenge fantasies that have been instilled in her since birth--along with a distrust of all nonhuman creatures--were based on lies.

An oddball trio made up of Kyr, her brother's subversive genius of a friend, and a lonely alien force Kyr to reexamine all that she's ever known.

Emily Tesh's Some Desperate Glory examines deep matters in a fascinating chain of events, reflections, unexpected do-overs, and fantastic character growth.

I absolutely loved Tesh's writing, the scope of her work, her characters, their connections, the world-building--all of it. I'm in for alllll Emily Tesh books now.

For my full review, check out Some Desperate Glory.

 

06 Happiness Falls by Angie Kim

Angie Kim's sophomore novel is a mystery, but Happiness Falls is primarily an exploration of a complicated, loving, messy family and each of its members.

For the rest of our lives, every time one of us goes somewhere and doesn’t return on time, doesn’t let the others know where we are, we will remember this time, what can happen. And we will fall apart.

Mia doesn't panic when her father and brother Eugene are late returning from a walk in the park. They might have forgotten their phones, or taken a detour.

But when Eugene rushes into the house, bloody and alone, Mia realizes something terrible has happened. And Eugene, who has the rare genetic condition Angelman syndrome, cannot communicate to tell her what occurred.

Kim's missing-person novel is a mystery and is structured around the discovery and exploration of what may have happened to cause Mia's father's disappearance. But Happiness Falls is primarily a story about a family finally understanding each other and going to extraordinary lengths to work together.

For my full review, please see Happiness Falls.

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