What I Read November 2020

by - December 02, 2020

My November reading was a bit all over the place. After I read the books included in this post, I couldn't seem to find a story that drew me in, other than Crea Reitan's Wonderland: Chronicles of Blood series. The reason I'm not including those four books in this month's reviews is because once the author got into the fourth book, she realized she had created more than one arc and couldn't resolve everything, so there's a secondary series set to release next year. However, if you like fairytale retellings, this Wonderland tale takes an approach unlike any others I've read. Just beware, it is a reverse harem and has some explicit scenes.

Two other books I finished but aren't including in this roundup are Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mils and Air Awakens by Elisa Kova. The first had a ridiculously unrealistic ending, and the latter was the first book in a series. I thought it was an okay start but it didn't really make me want to download the next book. If I cycle back around to it, I'll let you know!

I got about a quarter of the way through Where the Forest Meets the Stars before I gave up. I really wanted to like that one, but I just never got into it and struggled to get as far as I did. I also gave up on No Perfect Hero, which was disappointing because I tend to enjoy Nicole Snow's writing, but I just really did not like the main male character. Like at all.

See, it was a month of erratic reading. In fact, I got so frustrated with my inability to find what I was looking for that I started writing my own story, which has been just as satisfying.

Anyway, I think my lead-in may have gotten out of hand. Let's get to the reviews!

Harley Merlin and the Mortal Pact
Author: Bella Forrest

This book made the series worth it. I finally felt that emotional connection to the characters I had been missing throughout the other books. Despite all the comparisons I've seen to the Harry Potter series, Harley and Harry are very different heroes. To avoid spoilers, Harley is the daughter of two powerful magicals, and the descendant of the original magicals. When her aunt launches a quest to become a goddess and take over the world, it's up to Harley and her band of misfits to keep that from happening.

I'm going to be honest. I almost gave up on this series about halfway through. Harley wasn't a great protagonist, to me anyway. Don't get me wrong. Flaws make characters seem more realistic, but it's rather frustrating when the person you're supposed to be rooting for makes the same mistakes over and over again. That said, the storyline itself is pretty good, and the rest of the characters redeem Harley, which I think was the author's intention. If you'd like to give it a shot, start with Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven.

Finch Merlin and the Fount of Youth
Author: Bella Forrest

I was on the fence about whether to delve into the next set of books in the Harley Merlin world, but I really did fall in love with Finch's character. This book is set one year after the Mortal Pact. Finch is reluctantly working for Erubus, the darkest of the children of Chaos. Erebus's latest task has Finch looking for the Fountain of Youth, although he has no idea why an immortal child of Chaos needs this life-extending water. All your favorite characters from the previous books return in varying roles of importance, and you'll meet some new friends, as well. You definitely can't read this without first reading Harley's adventure, but Finch is an infinitely more likeable character in my opinion.

Crazy Eights
Author: Emilia Finn

When Jamie issues a $50k reward for information on his girl's whereabouts, Cam/Quinn breaks her silence and reaches out, even if it's just to rip him a new one. That contact leads Jamie to her doorstep and into the trouble Quinn and her brother, Will, have been dodging for the last eight years. Relying on the help of the genius/criminal mastermind, Sophia Bishop, they work to right some wrongs. This may be the conclusion of Jamie and Quinn's story, but there are a few loose ends that still need to be tied up. I'm not sure if they'll be addressed in the next book (out in December) or if Emilia is waiting until book 10 (expected in January).

Lonely Souls trilogy
Author: Autumn Reed

In this modern retelling of the Wizard of Oz, Thea returns to live with her deceased mother's former fiancé and his three sons after a tornado kills the aunt she'd been living with. Thea sees the arrangement as a way to prove her mother's death wasn't an accident but murder, and she thinks she knows who was behind it. She also reconnects with the three brothers she'd been close with as a child, except now they're men with their own secrets. This is a young adult mystery romance in which our heroine doesn't have to choose.

Love and Gelato
Author: Jenna Evans Welch

After her mother's death, Lina agrees to spend the summer in Florence, Italy, with who she believes is her father. Gifted her mom's journal from when she studied and lived in the country, Lina sets out to learn why her parents parted ways and discovers a love story of her own.

Dirty English
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills 

After a traumatizing experience with her high school boyfriend, Elizabeth Bennet doesn't do relationships. She lives her life by a set of carefully crafted rules, until she meets Declan. The British fighter moves in across the hall and then into her heart. When a face from her past shows up on campus to torment Elizabeth once again and an ex-flame keeps popping up wherever Declan goes, the couple just can't seem to make it work. In case the protagonist's name didn't give it away, this story was inspired by Pride and Prejudice, and there are plenty of references throughout. There are two other books in this series, but I haven't decided if I'll be reading them.

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