Book Talk,  Tags & BookTube

Spell the Month in Books: November

One Book More did this tag yesterday and I thought it was so fun I had to give it a try! This tag was created by Reviews from the Stacks, and it can be done any time with any month. The idea is to spell the month with book titles, no repeats. I’m going to go ahead and reserve the right to ignore the words “the” and “a” at the beginning of titles if the second word works. Ready? Let’s go!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.

N: The Name of the Wind

The Name of the Wind
King Killer Chronicles Book One
by Patrick Rothfuss

Published 27 March 2007
by Penguin Group DAW

Genre: High Fantasy
Page Count: 662
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.

The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.

A high-action story written with a poet’s hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

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This book was either a Christmas gift in 2007 or a birthday gift in 2008. My Mom didn’t know what to get me, so she asked for a list of authors I already read and liked, took that to our local Chapters Indigo store, and asked someone in the SF/F section to recommend something new based on that list. This was it. Whoever that was, thank you! At this rate we may never get to know how the trilogy ends (yes, potential new readers, be warned that Rothfuss is secretly playing an epic game of chicken with Martin) but I do not regret starting it. I’m a proud owner of book two in first printing hardback along with all of his side project books, and I do hope that one day we’ll find out how Kvothe’s story ends.

O: Oracle Night

Oracle Night
by Paul Auster

Published 2 December 2003
by Henry Holt

Genre: Magical Realism
Page Count: 254
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

The discovery of a mysterious notebook turns a man’s life upside-down in this compulsively readable novel by ‘one of the great writers of our time’ (San Francisco Chronicle).

Several months into his recovery from a near-fatal illness, novelist Sidney Orr enters a stationery shop in Brooklyn and buys a blue notebook. It is September 18, 1982, and for the next nine days Orr will live under the spell of this blank book, trapped inside a world of eerie premonitions and bewildering events that threaten to destroy his marriage and undermine his faith in reality.

Paul Auster’s mesmerizing eleventh novel reads like an old-fashioned ghost story. But there are no ghosts in this book – only flesh-and-blood human beings, wandering through the haunted realms of everyday life. Oracle Night is a narrative tour de force that confirms Auster’s reputation as one of the boldest, most original writers at work in America today.

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I still have no idea what prompted me to purchase this book back in high school, but I did, and it was a wild ride. I hadn’t read magical realism before, nor was there any written label indicating that that’s what this was (it’s often filed simply as fiction, possibly contemporary fiction). I absolutely loved it, and I kept my eyes open for more books by Paul Auster for a while after reading it, but I wasn’t successful in our small local bookstore and eventually forgot about it. I recently reviewed Time is a Fine White Lie by William Steffey and was reminded of this book, and now I want to re-read it. If only I could find my copy! It must still be in my mother’s garage in BC…

V: The Vanishing Half

The Vanishing Half
by Brit Bennett

Published 2 June 2020
by Riverhead Books

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Page Count: 343
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

This was the book that made me want to subscribe to Book of the Month and was very annoyed to find that they don’t ship to Canada. I bought the eBook and then promptly discovered NetGalley, Edelweiss, and book tour companies, and I have somehow managed not to read this one yet because my TBR got so full! I vow to read this one in 2021. Hold me to it!

E: Eve: The Awakening

Eve: The Awakening
by Jenna Moreci

Published August 2015
(Createspace)

Genre: Science Fiction
Page Count: 547
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Eve is an outcast. A chimera.
After years of abuse and rejection, 19-year-old Evelyn Kingston is ready for a fresh start in a new city, where no one knows her name. The esteemed Billington University in sunny Southern California seems like the perfect place to reinvent herself—to live the life of an ordinary human.

But things at Billington aren’t as they seem. In a school filled with prodigies, socialites, and the leaders of tomorrow, Eve finds that the complex social hierarchy makes passing as a human much harder than she had anticipated. Even worse, Billington is harboring a secret of its own: Interlopers have infiltrated the university, and their sinister plans are targeted at chimeras—like Eve.

Instantly, Eve’s new life takes a drastic turn. In a time filled with chaos, is the world focusing on the wrong enemy? And when the situation at Billington shifts from hostile to dangerous, will Eve remain in the shadows, or rise up and fight?

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I discovered Jenna Moreci’s YouTube channel at some point around the release of Eve: The Awakening and I promptly ordered a signed copy straight from Jenna Moreci herself. I devoured that book and have faithfully been watching her channel and buying her books ever since. If you’ve been around on this blog at all (or on my own YouTube channel) then you probably know I was on the street team for her third novel, The Savior’s Sister (5-star review!), which released in September.

M: Mindscan

Mindscan
by Robert J. Sawyer

Published 1 April 2005
by Tor

Genre: Science Fiction
Page Count: 303
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Transplanting his consciousness into an android body in order to escape death, Jake Sullivan falls in love with the android Karen, a situation that is further complicated when Jake’s biological body takes hostages and demands its mind back.

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Jenna Rideout & Robert J. Sawyer (2011)

Come on, you knew I wasn’t getting through a free-reign book list without including a Robert J. Sawyer title! He’s my #1 favourite author of all time! And I’ve met him in person. I went to his lecture at the Vancouver Public Library during his book tour for WWW: Wonder in 2011 and got my copy signed. Don’t believe me? Here’s proof!

B: Blackveil

Blackveil
Green Rider Book Four
by Kristen Britain

Published 1 February 2011
by Daw Books

Genre: High Fantasy
Page Count: 672
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Once a simple student, Karigan G’ladheon finds herself in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand when she becomes a legendary Green Rider-one of the magical messengers of the king. Forced by magic to accept a dangerous fate she would never have chosen, headstrong Karigan has become completely devoted to the king and her fellow Riders.

But now, an insurrection led by dark magicians threatens to break the boundaries of ancient, evil Blackveil Forest-releasing powerful dark magics that have been shut away for a millennium.

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Although this is the fourth book in the series, Blackveil is also a setting in the series, and I read book one Green Rider in 2001. I spent over a decade of my life playing online “simulated pet ownership” category games of all sorts, but particularly forum-based horse games. At some point around 2004 I named one of my fictional horse stables Blackvale after the setting, intentionally misspelled, and when I moved communities I decided my name needed a rebranding. Since I grew up in BC, in “Western Canada,” I wanted to pay homage to that and the named morphed into Westveil. Why yes, astute reader, that is the name of this blog! Around the time I launched this blog it had been about two years since I last played those horse games at all. A group of us grew up together playing these forum based games in the same little communities and we tried to keep it alive into our 30s (or 50s, for some of our more seasoned friends) but slowly careers and parenthood have picked us off. I both wanted to honour that important era of my life and do something that would discourage me from trying to go back to actually playing even though I don’t have the time to play like I used to and don’t know how to play more casually (I was in charge of so many things…) so I named my blog after my stable. It keeps the name, and thus the memory, alive. It also gives me incentive not to revive the stable, since the name is now being used professionally. Two bird, one stone…

E: Esme’s Gift

Esme's Gift

Esme’s Gift
Esme Trilogy
by Elizabeth Foster

Published 30 November 2019
by Odyssey Books

Genre: Middle Grade/YA Fantasy
Page Count: 266
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Terror was within. Terror was without. Like her mother, she was at the water’s mercy.

In the enchanted world of Aeolia, fifteen-year-old Esme Silver is faced with her hardest task yet. She must master her unruly Gift – the power to observe the past – and uncover the secrets she needs to save her mother, Ariane.

In between attending school in the beguiling canal city of Esperance, Esme and her friends – old and new – travel far and wide across Aeolia, gathering the ingredients for a potent magical elixir.

Their journey takes them to volcanic isles, sunken ruins and snowy eyries, spectacular places fraught with danger, where they must confront their deepest fears and find hope in the darkest of places.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

I read Esme’s Wish (4 stars) and Esme’s Gift (5 stars) when I was brand new to NetGalley, and shortly after submitting my review of Esme’s Gift I was awarded my very first auto-approval from the publisher account that represented these titles. I absolutely love these books! I can’t wait for Elizabeth Foster to release the third book, and I’m hoping for an ARC.

R: The Reluctant Wizard

The Reluctant Wizard
by A.A. Warne

Published 3 September 2020
(Kindle)

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Page Count: 458
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

By day, wizards rule the world. At night, warlocks seek to destroy it. Now, one boy will challenge them both.

Eli never wanted to be a rebel. All he wants is an end to the famine and war threatening his community. To save his mother and baby brother from marauding warlocks, Eli is forced to make a heartbreaking decision. He must travel to Terra Magicae, the mysterious land of the wizards, to study magic. In exchange, the wizards will protect his family, but this protection comes at a price: once Eli enters the Grand Wizardry Academy, he may never come home.

Full of lush landscapes and magical marvels, Terra Magicae is more wondrous than Eli ever imagined… and more dangerous. At first, Eli’s struggles to fit in at the Academy seem ordinary. But the more he questions the wizards, the more he suspects a sinister purpose behind their bizarre rules and tests. For a dark secret lies at the heart of this mystical land, one so terrible it threatens not only the students at the Academy but the lives of everyone Eli loves.

To save them all, Eli must step into the midst of the battle between the wizards and warlocks and defy both sides. He must become the rebel he was always meant to be.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK 

I read this one for a blog tour with Silver Dagger Book Tours in late September, and I really enjoyed it. This is the start of a series, if I’m not mistaken, and I can’t wait to read more! 5-star review here.

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Have you read any of these books? Have I convinced you to add any of them to your TBR? Leave a comment and let me know!


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Jenna is the artist/illustrator and author behind Westveil Publishing and its sub-banner platforms Jenna Gets Creative and The Westveil Archives. She live in Newfoundland, Canada with her husband, daughter, and feline overlords.

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