monthly review

November Wrap-Up

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November has been super busy at work but I have had an excellent reading month. Work’s been hectic and looks set to continue on that way for the rest of December but we’ve had a couple of quiet weekends that have been pleasantly chilly before the onslaught of Christmas parties and other festive activities so I’ve spent a good few hours curled up under a blanket reading. I’m super excited about Christmas and all of the merriment that comes with the season. I love Christmas! I love the decorations, the smell of mulled wine, getting to eat pigs in blankets on a regular basis, buying gifts for family members, socialising and just the general cheeriness. It’s just my favourite 🙂
The Books
White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi (5*) – I think I was texting Hanna when she pointed out that I seemed to be on a bit of  good run with books. She was so right! I picked this one up on Hallowe’en while I was tucked up in the back of my house, reading by lamplight so that I wouldn’t be bothered by trick or treat people and it is absolutely stunning.  The writing is incredible. I wrote so many quotes into my review notebook and I’ve yet to figure out how to review it without just typing out huge chunks of it.  The story follows a family who have lived in the same house for generations, a house that is very possessive over its inhabitants.  There are the odd excerpt from the perspective of the house and they’re chilling.  I’ll be writing about this soon hopefully but know for the time being that I loved it.  One of my favourite books of the year.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling (5*) – Why have I left it so long before re-reading this series?!  I’m so enjoying being reunited with this set of characters.  I’ve been surprised about how much I remembered about the series but there have also been plenty of moments that I’d either forgotten or hadn’t appreciated when I was younger/when I didn’t know where the story was heading. 
Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (4*) – Surprisingly, I’ve already reviewed this one so I won’t say too much more about this one.  I really like the series and I’ve already got the last one in the trilogy, Library of Souls, lined up to get stuck into soon.
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough (3.5*) – The hashtag being used on Twitter for this book is #WTFthatending and I was intrigued enough that I requested a copy on NetGalley. It’s a twisted sort of psychological thriller focussing on a psychiatrist, his wife and his secretary and it is so unbelievably addictive.  I sat down to read it last Sunday and flew through the whole thing in a day. I had to know what was going on. It was such a fun reading experience and I had a great day with the book (and I am so glad that I didn’t have any plans). #WTFthatending indeed.
Landline by Rainbow Rowell (4*) – It’s been a while since I picked up a Rainbow Rowell book. I’ve had this out from the library for months and I just didn’t feel compelled to pick it up. I did finally get to it when I’d run out of renewal options from the library and I’m so glad I did.  Actually, late November was the perfect time to read it. This one sees Georgie and her husband Neal facing challenges in their marriage. It’s a bit more grown up feeling than Rowell’s other novels that I’ve read but I loved it for showing how “proper”, non-romantic-comedy relationships take work and shouldn’t be taken for granted.  Rowell also writes engaging dialogue like nobody else I’ve ever read and I love her books.
The Other Stuff

I’ve got back into the gym this month and have been alternating between circuits classes, spinning and yoga. I’ve joined a local, independently owned gym. It’s more expensive than the big chains but I feel better supporting a business run by a lovely couple so I’m happy to commit the extra few pounds a month.  The spinning and the circuits I already knew I’d love because they’re hard classes that I can do without putting too much pressure on my dodgy hip.  The yoga was completely new to me. I’m perhaps the clumsiest person I know and my balance is not so great. I thought I’d give yoga a go because it’s something new and the class I go to is at 7.30am and I fancied a bit of relaxation as a start to the day once a week. I am terrible at a lot of the poses but after four classes, I do feel as though I’m starting to improve so I’m really going to try hard to stick it out and keep trying.
It was also Boyfriend’s birthday in November so we did plenty of eating out and celebrating. We took a trip to one of James Martin’s restaurants and had a night out in Manchester with friends and it was a lot of fun!
Looking back, it was actually a jolly good month!
Hope you all had super Novembers and are enjoying the run up to Christmas! I’ve been trying to keep an eye out for Christmas mysteries and had some great recommendations on Twitter but if you have any particularly good’uns, let me know in the comments please 🙂