The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

November Wrap Up: some mini book reviews!

on November 30, 2018

Happy Friday bookworms!

I’ve read a lot of wonderful books in November. I’ve already reviewed a couple of those books, so this is just going to be a wrap up of everything else I read this month but haven’t talked about yet! Let me know if you’ve read any of these books, and what you thought of them! I like having people to fangirl with. ❤


The Wonderling by Mira Bartok

thewonderling

This was a cute middle grade fantasy about Arthur, a half-human/half fox boy, and his best friend, a little bird called Trinket, who go on an adventure after escaping from their grim orphanage, Miss Carbunkle’s Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures. This was such a fun book. It gave me Oliver Twist vibes, had some cool Steampunk elements, and the world building was brilliant. Everything felt magical, and there were more wonders to discover with every page, although there were also some dark and gloomy corners of the world which gave the book a gritty edge. The friendship between Arthur and Trinket was so heartwarming, and, along with the charming illustrations (drawn by the author herself), was probably my favourite thing about this book. My only criticism was that it was rather long for a middle grade at almost 500 pages, and it started to drag a little towards the end, but other than that, I adored this beautiful book.


Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

starryeyes

I picked this book up because I was in the mood for some fluffy contemporary and I liked it, but I didn’t love it. The basic premise is that Zorie and her ex-best-friend/boyfriend Lennon get stranded together in the wilderness after a camping trip with some other friends turns into a big bust up with said friends. I really enjoyed the chemistry between Zorie and Lennon, and I liked that they both had interesting hobbies. Zorie is into astronomy, and Lennon is (luckily) into wilderness survival. I’m a sucker for the whole hate to love thing, so the tension between these two was my fave. I think the thing which prevented me from loving this book wholeheartedly was the annoying trope of ‘lack of communication’. The reason Zorie and Lennon broke up wouldn’t have been a reason at all if they’d just had a conversation, and it makes no sense that they didn’t if they mattered to each other that much. The other thing I didn’t like is that Zorie says some super mean things to one of her friends on the camping trip, and never apologises. Their friendship is just over at the end of the book, and that’s it. But grievances aside, I did enjoy the romance in this one, I liked exploring the wilderness and learning more about outdoorsy stuff like how to stay safe from bears, and I liked Lennon’s lesbian moms who own a sex shop, because they were just cute and so much fun. ❤


Vicious and Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

viciousvengeful

I’m not the hugest fan of V.E. Schwab’s books; I always feel like something is missing. Thankfully, I felt differently about these two: I loved them! This series follows Victor and Eli, college friends (turned enemies), who decide to experiment with near death experiences in order to gain supernatural powers. The book kicks off ten years after these events with Victor escaping from prison, hellbent on revenge against Eli for putting him there. The characters in this series are so complexly constructed. It’s hard to tell who is the hero and who the villain; these characters are both morally grey. Victor and Eli want to destroy each other, and both have motivations that, though twisted, make sense. Victor is the one I was rooting for, but I couldn’t bring myself to completely hate Eli. I love all of the characters, and the dynamics between them, particularly the found-family relationship Victor has with Mike (his cellmate from prison) and Sydney, an injured girl he rescues from the side of the road. There’s something so warm and fuzzy about the way these three look out for each other as the story progresses.

I preferred Vicious to its sequel: Vicious had me completely sucked in, especially the sections set in the past, during Victor and Eli’s college days, however Vengeful was a little too slow paced and long to keep me constantly engaged. Nevertheless, I enjoyed being back with the characters, and also meeting some new anti-heroes along the way. I was not happy with the ending though. It was abrupt, and I feel like there is so much more story to tell! I hope we get another sequel.


Heartstopper Volume One by Alice Oseman

heartstopper

Heartstopper is an ongoing web comic created by UKYA author Alice Oseman (whom I adore!). A bind up of the first two chapters is being published in February, but I read this on Alice’s Tumblr as I don’t have a physical copy yet. I CAN’T WAIT TO GET MY HANDS ON ONE! The story of Heartstopper follows Charlie and Nick, two characters who appear in Alice’s debut novel Solitaire, however you don’t need to have read Solitaire first in order to understand this comic. It’s a gentle boy meets boy – friends to something more – love story, with gay and bisexual rep, and it’s so engaging because the interactions between the characters are so real. It’s warm and comforting (although it does deal with some heavier topics, such as bullying, at times) and is my new favourite thing ever. The art style is very cute; Alice perfectly captures the body language of people who are crushing on each other, and it fully gave me all the butterflies of that experience. Charlie and Nick are SO adorable, and every interaction between them made me squee with joy. Nick also has an adorable dog called Nellie who made me squee with joy whenever she appeared. Basically, if you want to squee with joy, repeatedly, you need to read this. You can read the whole thing (up to the latest post) for free on Alice Oseman’s Tumblr. You are so welcome! ❤


The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

the-raven-boys-maggie-stiefvaterthedreamthieves

I finally picked up The Raven Boys after having it on my shelf for about 6 years. I had tried to read it lots of times but never managed to get into it, but this time I got sucked into this weird and whimsical story. It is one of those series you have to really concentrate on, in order to get everything you can out of it. It is quite subtle, very character driven, and there are hints and allusions to things it would be easy to miss if you weren’t paying attention.The story follows Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah, a group of friends who are searching for the tomb of a Welsh King who is rumoured to grant a favour to the person who wakes him. It’s a story about psychics, and ley lines, and dreams, and magic, a perfect mix of things I adore. The pacing can be slow, because although there is a mysterious, fascinating plot, it almost takes a backseat to the characters and their complex friendships, but those characters are what make this story so dear to my heart.

My favourite character is Gansey; I relate so much to his burning need for there to be something *more* to life than we can see. I love his obsessive personality, and the way he fills his notebooks with frantic scribblings about his quest. My least favourite character so far is Adam. I want to like him, but he makes it so difficult. Adam is from a less privileged background than his friends, and has experienced some really difficult things, which of course make me sympathise with him, but his anger about his unhappy upbringing is often misdirected towards his friends, who are only ever trying to help him, and it really frustrates me. Ronan is supposed to be the snarky, spiteful character, and yet I find him so much more endearing than Adam. (I think this might be largely to do with how uncharacteristically sweet he is towards his pet raven, Chainsaw.) I’m reading book three now, and I am loving this series. It will definitely be one I re-read again and again in the future, as I feel there will be more to gain from it each time.


9 responses to “November Wrap Up: some mini book reviews!

  1. Wonderful wrap up! I’m so happy you’re loving the The Raven Boys, I’m rereading the series and enjoying it even more the second time. Gansey’s my favorite Raven Boy too ❤️ The Wonderling sounds great, I love foxes.

    • mudandstars says:

      Ahh thank you! 🙂 Yes I love Gansey! He’s just so charming and likeable. Glad you are enjoying it the second time around – I’m already looking forward to re-reading it! And yes, The Wonderling was great, I love foxes too which is why I was drawn to the cover. ❤

  2. Marie says:

    Lovely wrap-up! ❤ I'm so glad you like Heartstoppper, I love this webcomic so, so much, it makes me so happy. I also love The Raven Boys, what an incredible series, but I agree that it's a series you have to focus on, in order to really get it all 🙂 x

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks Marie! ❤ Ahhh me too it made me so happy and feel so warm and fuzzy. Yes I am absolutely loving The Raven Boys; I definitely think I'm gonna have to re-read it though, so I can catch all the little things I missed. I'm on the final book now – I don't want it to end! 😦 xx

  3. Ahhh I’m glad you’re enjoying The Raven Cycle! It’s one of my all time fave series. I think Adam is probably my least favourite of the group too (Ronan is my fave ♥), but I think he definitely gets more tolerable in the next 2 books. I also really need to read Vicious and actually can’t believe I haven’t yet because I’m almost certain I’ll love it.

  4. Wonderling sounds a lot of fun and like sound of illustrations. I’m surprised it was so long though! Shame you didn’t like starry eyes. I adore hate to love too, but also hate lack of communication, so I see your point there. A lot about that book does sound good though. I don’t like all of Schwab’s books too- but the first one I read was vicious and it basically made me hooked on getting everything she puts out anyway- cos I LOVED it too! The characters are so well done. Shame Vengeance was a little slow paced and a real pity about the abrupt ending- still plan to read it though (see above about how I read every Schwab book- but also this is the sequel to vicious, there’s really no question 😉 ) Heartstopper sounds great. So glad you were sucked into the Raven cycle 😀 And yeah the pacing can be slow but I agree that it didn’t matter cos it was atmospheric and the characters were SO GREAT. I adored Gansey (although Ronan was my favourite) and agree with you about Adam, cos I also found him frustrating. I definitely want to reread it in the future too! Awesome reviews!!

  5. So funny when you read a book after having it on your shelf for years

  6. I also read Vengeful this month and LOVED it! I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t think Vicious sounded like a book I’d like, but I ended up loving it. I really hope there will be a 3rd book. I really want more June & her backstory.

    I enjoyed The Raven Boys books! My favorite was the 3rd book, but unfortunately I was not a fan of the last book 😦 Hope you have a better go of it than I did.

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