illustration of a tote bag containing books

It's the last stretch of the year and all I can think about are the books that I haven't read yet. November was a good reading month at the start and work took over my life in the second half. I managed to read quite a bit when I got the time to, though.

One thing you'll notice is the return of romance books! Yeah, I kept talking about how I finally moved on from the genre and yet I went back to it. It's because I wanted to read books from my TBR and romance dominates the list due to my love for the genre over the past few years. I read a bit of that and read a few fantasy books as well.

final offer by lauren asher

final offer book cover

I had this in my Kindle for a while because of the hype but I wasn't sure if I'd actually like it. I closed my eyes, picked a random unread book from my Kindle and landed on this book.

Final Offer is the third book in a romance series featuring billionaires and I haven't read the other two books. For some reason, this book is much more hyped and I wanted to know why. It's a second-chance romance book with a main character struggling with alcohol addiction.

Callahan's struggle with alcohol, the reasons why he is driven towards a bottle, and his weaknesses made for an impactful growth arc. The book shows how the fight is internal and even love is not enough to win at times. It showed how Callahan's image of himself and self-worth were tied to his addiction and childhood trauma.

It was interesting to watch him come to terms with his past, find the motivation and strength to fight his addiction, and learn to trust himself to be there for his loved ones.

The romance wasn't impressive. I hated the push and pull between the two characters, did not see why they liked each other, and couldn't care less about them ending up together. They were adults and Alana was a mother as well but sometimes they acted like lovesick teenagers.

The book doesn't give the historical context well. There are flashbacks but their placement and what they show weren't done well. A couple of things were alluded to in the book but they weren't properly resolved. The overall plotline wasn't interesting. I didn't like Alana at all. Callahan was bearable only because his growth arc was nice.

Overall, I didn't like much about the book. I don't see why it's widely loved and don't recommend it.

convergence of desire by felicity niven

convergence of desire book cover

I added this book to my TBR because it's a historical romance book with a neurodivergent heroine. It sounded interesting and historical romances are always refreshing after reading contemporaries.

Convergence of Desire is a marriage-of-convenience romance with a hero struggling for money and a neurodivergent heiress. Harriet AKA Harry proposes marriage to Thomas to share her wealth and be left alone to do mathematical research in return. It's a good deal but Thomas begins to care for her as his wife and they slowly grow closer.

Considering how historical romances have only a few types of heroines and not many are "new" anymore, reading about Harry falling in love was lovely. Thomas and Harry's romance was fun and interesting. I loved him going "my wife" and her going "let me prove mathematical theorems". It was so cute to see them bond and grow to care for each other.

I highly enjoyed reading the book. There was a lot of humour and plot to be engaged throughout. The characters were interesting. The writing style was entertaining. If you're looking for a good historical romance to be entertained by, pick this one.

before i let go by kennedy ryan

before i let go book cover

I've read only one book by Kennedy Ryan before and it was a very memorable one. Despite Long Shot staying on my mind for years, I didn't get around to reading other books by the author. I saw Before I Let Go in the bookstore a while back and the cover grabbed my attention. So, I came home and got the ebook.

Before I Let Go follows two characters whose love couldn't get them through a few devastating tragedies. Yasmen and Josiah—parents to two and co-owners of a restaurant—are still trying to move on from past events. Although they loved each other deeply, Yasmen wanted a divorce and it took them two years to start to move on.

The book chronicles their healing processes and their journey back to each other. For most of the book, it feels like life gave them too many hits for them to get back but as they each heal, they fall in love again.

The author made an impression on me through Long Shot because it was a very different kind of romance which highlighted individual journeys and hard topics. The author has cemented herself as one-of-a-kind for me through Before I Let Go. This is a painful book that wrings your heart as the characters go through depression and loneliness. Watching them grow with help from therapists and their loved ones is beautiful.

At times, I did roll my eyes because the main characters seemed to succumb to lust too easily despite their issues, but otherwise, the story was nice. Both of them had to separately grow and heal for them to fit with each other again. They had to become different people due to life events and they grew stronger.

Overall, a poignant and interesting romance.

a far wilder magic by allison saft

a far wilder magic book cover

This book has been on my TBR for a very long time and it was time for me to finally read it. I wanted a cozy fantasy romance and this seemed to fit.

A Far Wilder Magic is a slow-burn grumpy x sunshine romance set in the backdrop of a magical hunt. While there is a plot, the focus is more on character development. Margaret and Weston are misfits with opposite personalities but slowly, they grow and begin to fit together.

The book was slow-paced and I found myself bored a lot of the time. While the characters' journeys are interesting, not much happens for a long time and suddenly at the end, they cross a threshold. I also didn't understand why they liked each other. It felt like the romance suddenly bloomed out of nowhere. The magical hunt aspect wasn't done well, especially at the end.

It was nice to see Margaret and Weston individually struggle with their vulnerabilities and work hard to overcome them and prove themselves. The romance didn't muddle their individual character growth. However, I felt like the romance wasn't required. Somehow, for a fantasy romance book, the romance and the fantasy aspects didn't mean much to me.

The book had a specific vibe that I can't describe but contributed to the slow pace and underwhelming feeling. I simply wasn't interested in any of it. My attention waned and I struggled to finish the book.

Overall, it was a disappointing read. I was expecting to at least be engaged by the story.

a not so meet cute by meghan quinn

a not so meet cute book cover

I don't have a good track record with Meghan Quinn's books. I haven't liked any of them so far and considered removing this from my TBR. However, the premise sounded different and I decided to give it a chance.

A Not So Meet Cute follows Lottie and Huxley as they fake date for different reasons and fall in love. Lottie got scammed by her friend and is unemployed so she walks into a rich neighbourhood hoping to catch a rich guy. She meets Huxley who is looking for a fake girlfriend due to a lie he told. They strike up a deal and soon realize that there's much more to the other person.

The initial meeting was so far-fetched and the execution of it was quite cringey, I couldn't wait until it was over. But after that, the romance was really good! I liked the slow-burn romance. They get to know each other's bad parts first, so the eventual romance is lovely.

I liked that there was no miscommunication before they dated for real. When they begin to have feelings, Huxley takes her on a wonderful date and is honest about his feelings. There's no secret about it. The characters are honest about other things as well during their relationship.

The third-act breakup wasn't too bad as well, it was due to a genuine reason, unlike the usual miscommunications.

Overall, it was a good book. The only one by the author that I've liked so far. I don't think I would ever reread it but it was nice.

serpent & dove by shelby mahurin

serpent & dove book cover

While I've seen a lot of talk on this book, it was never on my TBR. Firstly, it's a Young Adult book and those aren't my jam anymore. Secondly, it simply didn't stand out to me. A couple of my friends in real life were raving about it recently so I borrowed the book from one of them and gave it a shot.

Serpent & Dove follows a witch who, under disguise and due to random circumstances, is married to a witch hunter. They hate each other but they have to be married. Louise is constantly thinking about how she's now living in a building full of hunters who would kill her and Reid goes "my wife" a lot.

The story is entertaining. The writing is easy to read. I didn't particularly like any of it but I didn't hate it. I finished the book in a few hours. It reminded me why I loved YA Fantasy at one point. I got lost in the book and flew through it all. There was danger, there were big secret reveals, and there was romance. Most of the story was predictable but I wasn't bored. I'm glad that there was no love triangle because that would have ruined the story for me.

The characters weren't deep—they were mainly made of one characteristic and seemed like they didn't have any layers—but it didn't matter much. I had such low expectations from this book because I don't enjoy YA anymore that I didn't mind what the book lacked as long as it kept me engaged.

Overall, an entertaining read. I might read book 2 if my friends lend it to me and make me read it.

iron flame by rebecca yarros

iron flame book cover

I finally succumbed and read Fourth Wing last month and ended up finishing it in almost one sitting. Pretty soon after Iron Flame was released, I snatched it up.

Unfortunately, like a lot of popular series, the sequel was disappointing. Iron Flame picked up where Fourth Wing left off, after that big reveal/cliffhanger, and it felt like everything went downhill from there. While it's a new adult book, the story felt like it was run by teenagers.

Violet Sorrengail's only aim was to survive in book 1—to prove that she could be a strong rider despite her physique. As book 2 begins, she has proven to be a survivor, proven to be strong, and is dating one of the strongest riders. So, what's in book 2 for character development? I didn't find much.

This book felt more plot-driven. A lot of the decisions made, especially towards the end, felt ridiculous. I was reading about real war fights but it still felt like kids making decisions and coming up with ridiculous solutions. There was almost nothing that I cared about. I wasn't interested in most of the story.

There were only 2 things that I liked in the book: the friendship between Violet and her batch mates, and the relationship tension between her and Xaden.

She brought up a very real issue of trust throughout the book because Xaden kept lying to her and keeping secrets from her. It was mildly interesting in the beginning and became repetitive later, but it's something new that I haven't seen in such fantasy books before.

The twist/reveal at the end was interesting as well. That was a good twist. It didn't redeem the book for me, though.

Overall, a disappointing sequel. For some reason, I thought the series was a duology but learned after finishing Iron Flame that it's to be 5 books long. Oh well.

chat with me!

What did you read in November? Would you recommend them? Have you read any of the books that I mentioned? Tell me in the comments!

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Sumedha spends her days reading books, bingeing Kdramas, drawing illustrations, and blogging while listening to Lo-Fi music. Read more ➔

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  • Mehek says:

    Oooo looks like you ended up reading quite a diverse array of stories in November, I ended up reading only one book in November and it was very average read which was very unfortunate as I was looking forward to reading that book for a while.

    I have had a similar experience with Serpent and Dove, the book does not stand out a lot and despite having read it twice I do not remember much from the plot at all 😅 and have not have any desire to continue on with the series.

    I have had Laureen Asher's books on my TBR for the longest time and am hoping to give the first book in the series a shot in 2024 and I am definitely adding Kennedy Ryan on my TBR list! I would love to read one of their books soon!

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      oh that’s unfortunate, i hope your december is going better reading-wise!

      YEAH. i don’t want to continue as well but my friends want me to try it so i might continue, let’s see 😂

      you HAVE to try Kennedy Ryan’s books! none of the books that i’ve read by her have disappointed.

      Reply ➔
  • Charvi Koul says:

    Omg The fourth Wing thing is gonna be 5 books long?! I can guarantee you it was gonna be a standalone or duology but then it blew up and of course they're gonna b e minting it now :/

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      yeah i thought the same. i guess they decided it will be longer when book 2 was being written. book 2 actually feels like it was dragged out and random things were added, and like the direction has changed from book 1. smh.

      Reply ➔
  • abookowlscorner says:

    Noooo - I'm really looking forward to finally picking up Iron Flame now that my exams are over, but your review doesn't bode well... 😅 That sounds thoroughly annoying! I'm glad you at least had a few better books to make up for the disappointment, though, even if there could have been more of them!

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      i meann i’d say let’s wait for the entire series to be out before fully judging it? but yeah book 2 was meh. it may be leading to a great book 3 but who knows.

      Reply ➔
  • anoushka says:

    final offer being the third book in a series is actually kind of hilarious because i had no idea a series even EXISTED before this?? huh. im sorry it kind of sucked though.

    i dont think ive ever specifically read historical romance before?? But GOSH convergence of desire ACTUALLY sounds really nice. Like its about a girl who marries someone so she'll be "be left alone to do mathematical research?? SHE SOUNDS SO COOL OKAY.

    also "Most of the story was predictable but I wasn't bored" wraps up serpent and dove so perfectly?? It kind of reminds me of shadow and bone sometimes. I also agree that the characters arent really well developed (reid literally had two phrases the entire book and theres only so many times you can read "my brethren" and "my wife") (although in this case i found it hilarious so its fine) but reading about them was so fun!!! (By which i mean reading about lou. And coco and ansel. Reid was boring and i didnt care sorry) im looking forward to reading your thoughts on the second book if you do end up reading it though!!

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      yeah haha even i didn’t know until i looked it up.

      convergence on desire was such a pleasant a surprise! the main lead is definitely the best.

      oh yeah, i miight read it next year? my friend said she’ll lend book 2 once she’s done so i’ll give it a go.

      Reply ➔