Pages of November || Reading Wrap-Up

As you might know, I’ve been in a slump with reading and blogging for the past few months. For a couple of months, I didn’t do any hobby so it’s pretty hard to get back to them all at once.

The habit of reading, blogging, and drawing has faded away and I need to build up the habits again. While my reading was not bad in October, my blogging was zero. So I focused on blogging in November, and my reading reduced.

I’m still learning to develop multiple habits while balancing everything else in life. And that’s why I read the least number of books in November compared to other months this year. But hey, at least I read something and found a new favourite book!

the love hypothesis by ali hazelwood

the love hypothesis book cover

This book is really hyped. A ton of people praised it, it went viral on TikTok, and I couldn’t go a day without seeing a post about it. Hence, I expected a lot.

It wasn’t an amazing read for me but it was a good read. I liked the romance. It made me want to pick up my Kindle and read. I genuinely enjoyed the book.

But now that three weeks have passed since I read it, I don’t think it’s that great. Generally, when I love a book, I can clearly say why I loved it. It could be the writing, the way the romance progressed, the pace, the characters, or something else specific. I am not able to pick out even one specific thing that was great about The Love Hypothesis.

It was nice when reading but that is probably because of the combined effect of dialogue, vibe, and pace. I didn’t specifically dislike it. But now that I think about it, there are a few things that I didn’t like.

  • The way the book started. You’re telling me that this girl is so clumsy and out of it that she grabs a random guy and kisses him without seeing who he is? That abrupt beginning and forced PDA made me uncomfortable.
  • The main character Olive supposedly had great relationships with her close friends but beyond them interacting regularly, I couldn’t see it. Olive praised her best friend Anh for several paragraphs but I couldn’t see that affection through actions and dialogue, beyond Olive fake dating someone for Anh’s sake.
  • The book was more tell than show. The only part that was properly developed was the romance. The individual characters and other relationships were not given enough attention.
  • It felt like the author was trying to hit every cute aesthetic and idea that they had. It showed in the main relationship and even a supporting relationship.

The book was cute and funny. The romance was endearing. On the surface, it’s great. But nothing holds the book in my mind. There is nothing unique or special that makes it stand out compared to other romance books.

twice shy by sarah hogle

twice shy book cover

Y’all. I was excited about this book. I read You Deserve Each Other while recovering from surgery and didn’t pay too much attention to things in it, but it distracted me which was enough. And I even remember it! Through the drugs and exhaustion, it stuck enough that I remember why I liked it.

When Twice Shy was released and almost everybody loved it, I was excited too. But I kept it for a rainy day. I wanted to enjoy it when the hype went down and when I wanted a lasting romance book. So I picked it up after many days of not reading anything.

And it sorely disappointed me. I don’t understand why it’s loved. I didn’t like the vibe and atmosphere that came through the writing style. I didn’t like the characters. I didn’t care for the grumpy x sunshine romance. I had to force myself to pick it up multiple times, hoping the good part would breakthrough.

It was an okay read because there was nothing inherently bad about it. But I simply could not like it. I didn’t like any part of it. I was disappointed because of how the book turned out to be.

battle royal by lucy parker

battle royal book cover

This is another hyped book, but I saw it being hyped by only two people and I trust those 2 people. So I decided to give it a shot next.

Battle Royal, a grumpy x sunshine rivals-to-lovers romance, stole my heart. I loved it. It was funny, interesting, and heartwarming.

I loved the main characters. The supporting characters were well fleshed out. We got proper rivalry scenes and the hilariousness and cuteness when the romance progresses. We even have a minor romance relationship to root for. The concept of the book was executed just right.

The relationship development was so good. The two characters get off on the wrong foot in a baking show and end up as heads of rival bakeries across the street. When they are called to judge the same baking show together, it puts them in proximity. And! They’re both competing to bake the wedding cake for a royal wedding, the wedding of the decade. They’re tripping over each other all the time and fell in love in the best way.

It will be a book that I reread for comfort. That’s how much I loved it.

marriage for one by ella maise

marriage for one book cover

One of the people who hyped up Battle Royal was hyping this book right after I finished reading Battle Royal. I took it as a sign and went into Marriage for One.

This book is a grumpy x sunshine*, marriage of convenience romance with a clumsy girl boss who has all of the man’s heart. If you want a proper marriage of convenience book with ALL of the things the trope brings, go for this book.

While the romance and the relationship development are great, the book fails in almost everything else. The love interest was so perfect that he gave me a complex and made me write a ramble on men in romance books.**

The reason for the third act break up was not satisfying at all. In fact, this story would have been great without a third act breakup. In order to get it in place, there were a bunch of random things too, which make no sense realistically.

While the romance was so sweet and adorable, once I started to notice the issues with the plot and the male lead, I couldn’t unsee them. There is zero focus on anything but romance. A little something for a couple of supporting characters, and that’s it.

The book is written based on an aesthetic idea that would have been great without the traditional romance plot structure and expectations. It could have also been much shorter. But oh well.

*Now that I think about it, this was my FOURTH grumpy x sunshine romance read. All the books I read in November have the trope. Wow.

**If you want to read my ramble, feel free to DM me somewhere. It’s a random ramble which, in my opinion, makes good points on the topic.

maybe you should talk to someone by lori gottlieb

maybe you should talk to someone by Lori Gottlieb book cover

This was my best book of the month. I started reading it in August and forgot about it in the middle due to my slump. After finishing Marriage for One, I didn’t want to read more romances and thought about picking up a physical book, and I remembered this.

I read a few chapters and absolutely loved them. Especially chapters 12 and 13. The book made me get my annotation tools and use three forms of annotation! I want to annotate a lot in only 2 cases—either I’m loving the book or I’m hating it. Thankfully, this fell in the former category and got me hooked.

Because it was so good and I didn’t remember much of the previous chapters, I went back and read through them quickly tooMaybe You Should Talk to Someone is mainly about therapy but it is also about life. The many different types of lives, the different stages of it, and some of the struggles we face.

I highlighted parts, tabbed my favourites, and wrote summaries at the end of good chapters. It gave me a lot of food for thought as well. I highly recommend it.

I’ll probably write a whole review for this book. There is so much that I want to talk about. I also want to lend this book to friends and maybe ask them to annotate it. I definitely don’t want to sell it back like I generally do.

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