November Wrap-Up | writing a novel + reading anticipated books

Happy December, all!

Well, it’s that time again, time to wrap up the last month of my life. November was dominated by National Novel Writing Month for me, which I’ll talk more about later. As a result, both my reading and sleep schedule took a hit. I read 9 books in November, which is lower than my usual 12-ish, though my average rating for the month was higher than usual, at 4.16 stars. Also, fun fact, all of the books I read this month were 2019 releases!

Now let’s talk about what I read this month…


Books I read

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Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Loneliest Horse Race by Lara Prior-Palmer ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

This memoir about the first female winner of the toughest endurance race in the world was fine, but ultimately not my cup of tea. More thoughts here.

Well Met by Jen DeLuca ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5

An adorable romance set at a Renaissance Fair! Even though this was a little cliche and predictable, I still had a good time reading it. More thoughts here.

The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

This companion to The Tea Dragon Society was so sweet! Once again, every aspect of this graphic novel felt like a hug, from the feel-good storyline to the lovely art style. And I love how inclusive it is, with casual diversity all over the place! My need to have a tea dragon of my own has only grown stronger.

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

This modern-day reimagining of Pride & Prejudice was lovely, and I even liked how the author changed certain aspects to make the story her own. More thoughts here.

Lovely War by Julie Berry ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

A heartbreakingly beautiful love story set during World War I, narrated by the goddess Aphrodite. Definitely a winner! More thoughts here.

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Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5

One of my most anticipated books of the year was just as stunning as I’d hoped. Dark and haunting, this book was a masterpiece. My full review is here.

The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick by Mallory O’Meara ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5

Part biography and part memoir, this book tells the story of the woman who designed the Creature from the Black Lagoon. More thoughts here!

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (reread) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I couldn’t even make it to the end of the year before rereading this! I didn’t think this was possible, but I loved it even more the second time?? I already know that I’m going to be reading it over and over in 2020 and wishing I lived in that universe. Ugh, this book is everything that I love. My review from my first read is here.

Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

MY MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE OF THE YEAR! And I read it this month! I’m still in shock about everything that happened. And I cannot wait another moment for the sequel! My full review is here.


Other things

Meeting Casey McQuiston

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Casey McQuiston, the author of Red, White and Royal Blue, had an event near me this month and I got to meet her! I know I say this about pretty much every author event I go to…but this was definitely one of my favorite that I’ve attended. Everyone there was just as obsessed with this book as I am, Casey was hilarious, and we got to hear some secret things about her second book. Plus, when I met her in the signing line, I told her that I’m writing a romance novel for NaNoWriMo, and when I told her what it was about, she said, “Shut up! I want to read that!” So that was basically all the encouragement I needed to get through the rest of the month and also possibly the rest of my writing career. Speaking of which…

I won NaNoWriMo!

Winner 2019 - Square

I wrote over 60,000 words over the course of November and finished writing a novel start to finish. I plan to have a full post about it, so hang tight for that. This kind of consumed my month and many of my waking hours, so I don’t quite know what to do with myself now that it’s over. If you want to look back at my updates through the month or learn more about my WIP, I have several posts: the NaNoWriMo 20 Questions Tag, a lament about the ongoing passage of time, and a discussion about why I’m writing this particular novel.

Frozen 2

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I was fully prepared to watch this movie and realize that I had moved on from the part of my life when I cared about Frozen movies…but that’s not at all what happened! I loved it! I only watched this a few days ago, and I’ve already listened to the songs many, many times. Disney might be an overly powerful corporation designed to manipulate my emotions into giving them money, but I have to admit that they can make a great animated movie musical. Anyways, I’ll just be over here badly singing along to “Show Yourself” and pretending I have ice powers. 🤷‍♀️


November Blog Posts

I didn’t do nearly as much blog hopping as I would have liked because of, well, writing a novel, but here are a couple posts that I loved this month!

🍁 Sophie @ Me & Ink shared some of the struggles that come along with book blogging, which are all so relatable to me.

🍁 The Orangutan Librarian talked about writing advice they’ve encountered and don’t agree with.

🍁 Jess @ crowing about books wrote a very informative post about fantasy sub-genres.

🍁 Marie @ drizzleandhurricanebooks celebrated five years of blogging (congratulations!) by telling us about five lessons she’s learned in that time.

🍁 Abi @ Scribbles & Stories talked about fixing her book buying habits by focusing on reading books she already owns.

🍁 Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner had frequent updates as she participated in NaNoWriMo, all of which were so fun to read!


December TBR

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  • The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
  • Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan
  • Color Outside the Lines by Sangu Mandanna
  • Crier’s War by Nina Varela
  • Starsight by Brandon Sanderson
  • We Used To Be Friends by Amy Spalding (eARC; releases Jan. 7, 2020)


What books did you read in November? Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? What are you planning to read in the last month of the year?

x Margaret 

goodreads | twitter | indiebound

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23 thoughts on “November Wrap-Up | writing a novel + reading anticipated books

  1. Ahh.. Call Down The Hawk was a really good read and I need the sequel immediately as well!! 😍
    I am hoping to read Ninth House this month so I’m glad that you enjoyed it!!

    Getting to meet Casey must have been amazing!! It sounds like you had a great time and it is so sweet that she said about your book!! ❤

    Also congratulations on winning NaNoWriMo, that’s amazing!! You did so well!! 😊

    Thank you so much for mentioning my post, that means so much and I’m so happy you could relate to it!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats again on winning NaNoWriMo! 🎉 60,000+ words is no easy feat!

    I saw Frozen 2 during its opening weekend and I’m already planning on seeing it again, haha! I’m glad you liked it so much, and I agree that the music is fantastic!

    I just started reading Red, White and Royal Blue last night and I’m really enjoying it so far! And I’m planning on reading Starsight in December too, and I hope it’s as good as the first one! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on winning NaNoWriMo, this is amazing, I’m so happy and proud of you for writing so much!! ❤ ❤ and yay for getting that kind of encouragement from Casey McQuiston herself, this is incredible ahhhh 😀
    Thank you for sharing my post, you're too sweet ❤ I hope you're having a beautiful December ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so impressed that you did NaNoWriMo and managed to read a lot of great books! 🥰 It’s also great that you got to see Frozen 2, I haven’t yet watched it, but I’m glad that you ended up liking it so much 🙂 In my heart, I still have that very soft spot for the original movie 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey Margaret!!!
    Wow that’s so awesome how much you accomplished this month!! It’s amazing that you’ve read 9 books in addition to completing Nanowrimo!! I also really liked Red White & Royal Blue, and Ninth House is definitely on my TBR 🙂
    Congrats on winning Nano AND finishing your novel!! I’m sure it wasn’t easy but you did it!! What are your upcoming plans with your novel??
    It’s great that you’ve met Casey McQuiston! The fact that she likes your novel idea is a good sign 🙂 I also want to watch Frozen 2!!
    Have a wonderful December!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Sophie!! Haha it certainly wasn’t easy to get all of that done, but I’m glad I was able to fit it all 😄 I’m hoping to start revising at some point, after setting my novel aside for a little bit! And yes, meeting Casey Mcquiston was incredible!! I hope your December is wonderful too 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Tea dragon festival sounds really good. I’m so glad to hear ninth house was good as well. And I really liked call down the hawk as well 🙂 So cool you got to meet Casey McQuiston. Massive congrats on winning Nano- that’s a huge win! Glad to hear frozen 2 was good. Thanks so much for sharing my post!! ❤ Great wrap up!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Honestly, I don’t know how you managed to write 60,000 words and read 9 books in a month, I bow down to your sheer bookish powers! I’m also reading an ARC of We Used to Be Friends, you’ll have to let me know what you think of it! And I am completely in the same boat about Frozen 2, I haven’t stopped singing since! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

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