Monthly Wrap-Up: November Reading 2023

November Reading 2023

Here I am. With another monthly wrap-up. As I do every month. This time it’s for my November Reading of 2023, featuring my reading statistics from The StoryGraph from that month. (Say month again, why don’t you?)

I read less, comparatively, than I did in October, but I still read a ton. I feel like ten books is nothing to sneeze at, even though four of them were manga super-volumes and one was a 20 page short story. But November was kind of busy for me at some parts, so cut me some slack? (I think December might have a few of the same problems for a few of the same reasons, ei: holidays.)

Bur yeah, I’ll shut up now. Let’s get into the wrap-up.

November 2023 Reading

😐 MOODS: Adventurous was the biggest slice of pie, as it always is. Lighthearted was surprising in being the second biggest piece though – it’s only the second time this has happened, so far. The other ones were: ReflectiveEmotionalDark, and Mysterious.

👢 PACE: I read all three different kinds of paced books: slow, medium and fast. They were mostly fast and medium paced novels, though.

🔢 PAGE NUMBER: Everything I read was between 240 and 600 pages. But the majority of books I read were between 300 and 499 pages.

📖 FICTION/NONFICTION: It was once again all fiction this month.

🎭 GENRES: Fantasy, as usual, was the biggest bar of the graph. Manga, Graphic NovelYAScience Fiction and Romance were the second longest bars after Fantasy. The other genres on the graph were ComicsLGBTQIA+Historical and Short Stories. I think this might be the most genres I’ve read in the same month yet.

📄 FORMAT: This little StoryGraph pie chart is not correct (again). Most of the books I read last month were digital.

⭐ RATING: My median star rating for last month was 4.13. My ratings for November weren’t as varied as in October, but they were about as high. Most of them were 4.0 and above.

📉 PAGES READ DAILY: I read a ton throughout November. The time I read the least was between the 21st and the 28th, and my peak of reading was on the 18th.

The Books I Read in November

★★☆☆☆ • my review

★✬☆☆☆ • my review

★★★★★ • my review

★★★★☆ • my review

★★★★★ • review to be posted

★★★★✯ • my review





Wrapping Up the Wrap-Up

So yeah, November reading in 2023 was pretty strong. I’m really happy with what I was able to read though I do wish I was able to do a bit more. Ah well, we’ll see how what happens in December.

December doesn’t have any books coming out (that I’m aware of, at least) that I’m super excited about reading. Yeah, I had one on my anticipated reads releasing October through December list, but I’m not all that stoked about it. Just moderately – it looks interesting, but I won’t be upset if I don’t end up reading it. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, though. (Well, most of it anyway. I find Shallan’s chapters to be kind of boring at the moment.)

I’m also hoping to read some winter themed fantasy books, if I can find some. Tell me your recs in the comments, please! I love reading festively!

And well, I guess we’ll all find out what else I want to read this month together, because I’m honestly not sure now. Oh wait, maybe The Princess Bride by William Goldman. I got a really nice edition last month as a gift, and I’ve wanted to read this book for ages. But we’ll see.

So yeah, thank you so much for reading and I hope you have an excellent day/night!

See ya ~Mar

System Collapse by Martha Wells | Book Review

I gained interesting insights, ART- drone said. You should stop worrying.

Yeah, I’ll just code a patch to stop feeling anxiety, wow, why didn’t I think of that earlier. (That was sarcasm, I have too much organic neural tissue for that to work.) (Of course I’ve already tried it.)

System Collapse by Martha Wells

System Collapse by Martha Wells

SERIES: The Murderbot Diaries (Book #7)

LENGTH: 245 pages

GENRES: Science Fiction, Fiction


RELEASE DATE: 14 November 2023


Am I making it worse? I think I’m making it worse.

Everyone’s favorite lethal SecUnit is back.

Following the events in Network Effect, the Barish-Estranza corporation has sent rescue ships to a newly-colonized planet in peril, as well as additional SecUnits. But if there’s an ethical corporation out there, Murderbot has yet to find it, and if Barish-Estranza can’t have the planet, they’re sure as hell not leaving without something. If that something just happens to be an entire colony of humans, well, a free workforce is a decent runner-up prize.

But there’s something wrong with Murderbot; it isn’t running within normal operational parameters. ART’s crew and the humans from Preservation are doing everything they can to protect the colonists, but with Barish-Estranza’s SecUnit-heavy persuasion teams, they’re going to have to hope Murderbot figures out what’s wrong with itself, and fast!

Yeah, this plan is… not going to work.

My Review

I am not meant to function without multiple simultaneous inputs. If this was what being a human was like, it sucked massively.

Sooo… this review is like, extremely late. I had fully intended to post this review sometime early last week, before Thanksgiving, but I just ended up being too busy and stressed out.

But I’m back at the blog, and finally here with my review of System Collapse by Martha Wells. This was probably my most anticipated book of 2023 and it was… fine. Pretty good even. It just turned out a little differently than I expected. Honestly, I’m still on the fence about my rating for this novel – I’m torn between four stars or four and a half.

Let’s just get into it…

• The characters

ART- drone reached out a limb to Iris. My function is impaired, Iris. So is SecUnit’s.

Will you shut the hell up? I said.

You shut up, it replied.

“Let’s everybody shut up and get in the flyer,” Iris said, and shouldered ART- drone’s limb, taking part of its weight.

I’ve always felt that the characters were the strongest part of the Murderbot Diaries, particularly its titular character, and the same is still true here. But this story focused more on an internal conflict that Murderbot is dealing with. So the other characters I love from this series took a backseat in this book.

SecUnit also didn’t seem to be nearly as sassy as it usually is. There weren’t all that many fantastic and funny quotes and dialogue compared to the rest of the series that I noticed. And that’s one of my favorite things about this series – I love how sassy and fun it is. And yeah, I understand that Murderbot was working through something, but everything seemed to matter a lot less than its thoughts on what it was going through. Constantly.

But when other characters did feature, and SecUnit did interact with them, it was fantastic. These were my favorite moments reading and I wish there were more of them. ART actually had more pagetime than I initially gave it credit for, now that I think about it, and its banter with SecUnit is always a treat.

• The plot

“I’ve fucked everything up,” I’d told ART.

ART had said, That’s nothing new.

I didn’t really care about it. It was about saving the descendents of the colonists that were found on the planet in book five. But I never found myself caring about these people, then or now. They just felt like a motivation or a plot device in order for SecUnit and ART and its crew and Preservation to do stuff.

Honestly, the A plot just felt like it was stalling in order for the B plot to happen. Which was Murderbot’s inner conflict – that its organic neural tissue is starting to exhibit signs of PTSD. Which was far more interesting to me than the thing with the colonists.

• Other favorite quotes

I didn’t say anything. (I know I get pissed off when humans don’t acknowledge my work, but why is too much acknowledgment also upsetting? Sentience sucks.)


You’re stalling, ART- drone said. I am not. I can stand here and be useless without any ulterior motives, thanks.


So the next time I get optimistic about something, I want one of you to punch me in the face.


I was not even going to respond to that. ART had told Mensah it wouldn’t push me. Just because its MedSystem was certified for emotional support and trauma recovery it thought it knew everything.

and finally

Wow, you don’t think it can get any worse, and it always does.

• Final Thoughts

This review is a little shorter than usual, but I’m honestly struggling with stuff to say about it. I think that’s another reason why this review took so long. I just don’t have too many opinions on it.

But System Collapse is still a solid addition to the Murderbot Diaries. It was still fun and sassy, even if it was less so than usual. This is a must read for anyone who enjoys the rest of the series, especially since the ending sets up a new arc for the series.

Thank you so much for reading, and have an awesome day/night!

See ya ~Mar

My Links:

My review of the first six books in The Murderbot Diaries

My review of the Murderbot Diaries short story Home

Home: A Murderbot Diaries Short Story by Martha Wells | Book Review

As Ephraim gets up and Ayda can finally walk out of this damn room, she replies to SecUnit’s latest requisition form. It’s for a gunship nearly the size PortFreeCommerce’s transit ring: I think you made this one up.

Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory by Martha Wells

Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory by Martha Wells

SERIES: The Murderbot Diaries

LENGTH: 20 pages

GENRES: Science Fiction, Fiction


RELEASE DATE: 19 April 2021


Knowing what would happen, she wouldn’t choose a different planet, a different bond company. Because then SecUnit would still be someone’s property, would be waiting for the contract where the negligence or greed or indifference of its clients got it killed. 

This short story directly follows the events in Exit Strategy and is told from the point of view of Dr. Mensah, who is still recovering from the events of that novella.

My Review

SecUnit is looking down at her. “You can hug me if you need to.”

“No. No, that’s all right. I know you don’t care for it.” She wipes her face. There are tears in her eyes, because she’s an idiot.

This review is gonna be pretty short, as Home – being a short story – is naturally short. Like, it’s only like 20 pages or so. So none of my section/heading breaks today.

Seeing as System Collapse’s release is imminent, I finally decided to read and review the only Murderbot Diaries thing I hadn’t yet. I don’t know why I never read it when I read the others – I guess that’s just life?

So yeah, this is a little Murderbot story – but instead of our favorite SecUnit narrating it, it was a 3rd person POV from Dr. Ayda Mensah. The story takes place very soon after the fourth novella, Exit Strategy, and is probably best read then.

I rather liked it – Martha Wells always has good prose, and it’s nice to hear from another character in this universe who isn’t SecUnit for once – as much as I love that construct. Mensah is also one of my favorite characters, and I really enjoyed seeing her relationship with Murderbot from her perspective. It was also interesting to see more of the PTSD that we heard about in Network Effect, but didn’t really see – at least Dr. Mensah’s since she wasn’t present much.

“I’ll see what I can do.”

It’s looking down at her still, and she could meet its gaze to make it look away, but that won’t make it retreat. “Is that a bribe?”

She can’t help a smile. It does sound like a bribe, just a little. “Depends. Will it work?”

“I don’t know. I never had a bribe before.”

So my final verdict is: If you have access to ebooks and stuff, and enjoy the other books in The Murderbot Diaries, then definitely pick this one up. It’s a quick and wholesome little read.

Thank you for reading, and I hope that you have a wonderful day/night!

See ya ~Mar

My Links:

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: System Collapse

Good morning/afternoon/any other time of day everyone! It’s been a almost a month since the last time I made it for Can’t-Wait Wednesday. But I’m really excited for a novel coming out next week, so I thought it was more than time to do it again.

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings (and was previously hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine where it was known as Waiting on Wednesday) to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. They’re usually books that have not yet been released.

This week’s book is:

System Collapse by Martha Wells!

This is my most anticipated book of 2023. Ever since I first read All Systems Red, I’ve been a huge fan of The Murderbot Diaries. It’s probably my favorite sci-fi series. And this one’s another full novel to boot, like Network Effect, as opposed to a novella like the rest of the series.

System Collapse by Martha Wells

System Collapse by Martha Wells

Are you a fan of The Murderbot Diaries? Do you like any of Martha Wells’ other works? What books are coming out that you’re looking forward to?

Thank you so much for reading and have an excellent day/night!

See ya ~Mar

My Most Anticipated SFF Reads of 2023 | Oct, Nov, & Dec 🎃🦃🎄

Most Anticipated Reads from the Fourth Quarter of 2023

This is much later than I wanted to post this, but there was stuff going on last week. So, first I didn’t have time, and then I ended up forgetting. Whoops. It’s here now though – my Most Anticipated Reads of the fourth quarter.

It’s quarter four of 2023 now, so it’s time to do that thing I’ve done every quarter again. I’m gonna go over the books that are coming out over the next three months that interest me the most. And they’re pretty much only gonna be science fiction and fantasy. Because that’s mostly what I read.

This time I have six books that I’m interested in. I know that last time it seems like I didn’t read all the books on my third Most Anticipated list from this year, but that’s cuz I unfortunately ended up DNF-ing them. I guess they just weren’t for me.

Without further ado, let’s be off!

(Also, I know that October 3rd has already passed. But I’m still gonna put releases from it, cuz this post should’ve been done already on that date, at the very least. Plus, it’s the nature of the post.)

**The book covers are all linked up! So you can find more information about the books if you’re interested!**

The Glass Scientists: Volume One by S.H. Cotugno

RELEASING: October 3rd

(Been looking forward to this ever since I discovered the webcomic a couple of months ago!)

The gothic worlds of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein, and more collide in this graphic novel series about buried secrets, mad science, and misunderstood monsters. For fans of stylish reimaginings like Lore Olympus and gaslamp fantasies like The Night Circus!

London isn’t the safest place for mad scientists these days. After that whole ordeal with Frankenstein, angry mobs have gotten awfully good at hunting down monsters and wiping out anything they don’t understand. In fact, if it weren’t for one extraordinary young man, every out-of-the-box thinker would have been locked up… or worse.

That young man is none other than Dr. Henry Jekyll. He believes mad scientists would thrive if they could just fix their public image, which is why he founded the Society for Arcane Sciences, a place where like-minded eccentrics could come together to defy the laws of nature in peace.

But everything changes when a mysterious stranger arrives, bent on taking the Society in a radical new direction. With everyone turning against him, Jekyll’s life starts to spiral out of control, shattering all his carefully laid plans and threatening to expose his darkest secret—one that could destroy everything he has built from the inside out.

Volume One collects Chapters 1-7 of this thrilling, humorous, beloved webcomic, which is available in print for the first time ever. It also features a brand-new side story, a behind-the-scenes look at artwork, and more exclusive bonus content!

Starling House by Alix E. Harrow

RELEASING: October 3rd

(I wasn’t sure about this one at first, but then I decided I’d give it a shot. I’ve always loved stories with cursed houses and towns.)

Starling House is a gorgeous, modern gothic fantasy from the New York Times bestselling author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January.

I dream sometimes about a house I’ve never seen….

Opal is a lot of things—orphan, high school dropout, full-time cynic and part-time cashier—but above all, she’s determined to find a better life for her younger brother Jasper. One that gets them out of Eden, Kentucky, a town remarkable for only two things: bad luck and E. Starling, the reclusive nineteenth century author of The Underland, who disappeared over a hundred years ago.

All she left behind were dark rumors—and her home. Everyone agrees that it’s best to ignore the uncanny mansion and its misanthropic heir, Arthur. Almost everyone, anyway.

I should be scared, but in the dream I don’t hesitate.

Opal has been obsessed with The Underland since she was a child. When she gets the chance to step inside Starling House—and make some extra cash for her brother’s escape fund—she can’t resist.

But sinister forces are digging deeper into the buried secrets of Starling House, and Arthur’s own nightmares have become far too real. As Eden itself seems to be drowning in its own ghosts, Opal realizes that she might finally have found a reason to stick around.

In my dream, I’m home.

And now she’ll have to fight.

A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber

RELEASING: October 24th

(I know this series has tons of problems – and there’s plenty about these books that’s annoyed me – but for whatever reason, I can’t help but enjoy them.)

Blood will be shed, hearts will be stolen, and true love will be put to the test in A CURSE FOR TRUE LOVE, the breathtaking conclusion to Stephanie Garber’s #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling Once Upon A Broken Heart trilogy.

Two villains, one girl, and a deadly battle for happily ever after.

Evangeline Fox ventured to the Magnificent North in search of her happy ending, and it seems as if she has it. She’s married to a handsome prince and lives in a legendary castle. But Evangeline has no idea of the devastating price she’s paid for this fairytale. She doesn’t know what she has lost, and her husband is determined to make sure she never finds out…. but first he must kill Jacks, the Prince of Hearts.

Nightbane by Alex Aster

RELEASING: November 7th

(Very excited to hate read this one! I know it’s mean, but sometimes I like to do this.)

The seductive and action-packed follow-up to Alex Aster’s instant #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and internationally bestselling novel, Lightlark.

Isla Crown has secured the love of two powerful rulers and broken the curses that plagued the six realms for centuries, but few know the true origins of her powers. Now, in the wake of a crushing betrayal, Isla finds herself hungry for distraction, preferring to frequent Lightlark’s seductive haunts instead of embracing her duties as the newly crowned leader of two separate realms. Worse, her fellow rulers haven’t ceded victory quietly, and there are others in Isla’s midst who don’t believe her ascent to power was earned. As certain death races toward Lightlark and secrets from the past begin to unravel, Isla must weigh her responsibility to her people against the whims of the most dangerous traitor of all: her heart.

Alex Aster’s intricate world expands after the riveting culmination of the Centennial games, delving more deeply into Isla’s memories of her past, as her future hurtles toward two possible fates.

System Collapse by Martha Wells

RELEASING: November 14th

(I love the Murderbot Diaries! I’ve been anticipating this since it was announced!)

Everyone’s favorite lethal SecUnit is back in the next installment in Martha Wells’s New York Times bestselling Murderbot Diaries series.

Am I making it worse? I think I’m making it worse.

Following the events in Network Effect, the Barish-Estranza corporation has sent rescue ships to a newly-colonized planet in peril, as well as additional SecUnits. But if there’s an ethical corporation out there, Murderbot has yet to find it, and if Barish-Estranza can’t have the planet, they’re sure as hell not leaving without something. If that something just happens to be an entire colony of humans, well, a free workforce is a decent runner-up prize.

But there’s something wrong with Murderbot; it isn’t running within normal operational parameters. ART’s crew and the humans from Preservation are doing everything they can to protect the colonists, but with Barish-Estranza’s SecUnit-heavy persuasion teams, they’re going to have to hope Murderbot figures out what’s wrong with itself, and fast!

Yeah, this plan is… not going to work.

The Curse of Penryth Hall: A Mystery by Jess Armstrong

RELEASING: December 5th

(Oooh, this one looks interesting. It’s been years since I’ve read a dark mystery novel.)

An atmospheric gothic mystery that beautifully brings the ancient Cornish countryside to life, Armstrong introduces heroine Ruby Vaughn in her Minotaur Books & Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award-winning debut, The Curse of Penryth Hall.

After the Great War, American heiress Ruby Vaughn made a life for herself running a rare bookstore alongside her octogenarian employer and house mate in Exeter. She’s always avoided dwelling on the past, even before the war, but it always has a way of finding her. When Ruby is forced to deliver a box of books to a folk healer living deep in the Cornish countryside, she is brought back to the one place she swore she’d never return. A more sensible soul would have delivered the package and left without rehashing old wounds. But no one has ever accused Ruby of being sensible. Thus begins her visit to Penryth Hall.

A foreboding fortress, Penryth Hall is home to Ruby’s once dearest friend, Tamsyn, and her husband, Sir Edward Chenowyth. It’s an unsettling place, and after a more unsettling evening, Ruby is eager to depart. But her plans change when Penryth’s bells ring for the first time in thirty years. Edward is dead; he met a gruesome end in the orchard, and with his death brings whispers of a returned curse. It also brings Ruan Kivell, the person whose books brought her to Cornwall, the one the locals call a Pellar, the man they believe can break the curse. Ruby doesn’t believe in curses—or Pellars—but this is Cornwall and to these villagers the curse is anything but lore, and they believe it will soon claim its next victim: Tamsyn.

To protect her friend, Ruby must work alongside the Pellar to find out what really happened in the orchard that night.

These are all of my anticipated reads from the fourth quarter of 2023. What books are you looking forward to coming out in October? November? December? Do we share any of the same novels?

As always, thank you for reading, and have a wonderful day/night!

See ya ~Mar