In November, I read 20 books, bringing my total for the year up to 154 books read, out of my original goal of 100. (I’ve had more reading time than I imagined, plus, some of the books were fantastic, so I read them very quickly.) I also started two other books which I did not complete, by choice.
The Seventh Decimate, by Stephen R. Donaldson (read to review). Donaldson seems to thrive on unlikable main characters—or, at least, characters that I find hard to like—and this is no exception. The prince of a nation torn by a years-long war goes in search of a book that might hold the key to his land’s survival. Prince Bifalt is angry at pretty much everything around him, so he’s hateful and does things without thinking. I read this, but I’m not sure I’ll continue on with the trilogy.
The Austen Escape, by Katherine Reay (read to review). I really enjoyed this book! I’m a huge Jane Austen fan, and being able to go on a trip to stay in an Austen-esque estate and play dress-up and pretend to be one of her characters sounds so fun! I can totally relate to Mary Davies feeling overshadowed by her larger-than-life best friend, and her awkwardness and cluelessness around her crush. Fun, light reading that I definitely recommend.
The Taking, The Replaced, and The Countdown, by Kimberly Derting (just because). So…I bought a used—and signed—copy of The Taking months ago, and it’s been sitting there in the stack since. I picked it up one day and was immediately sucked in. Actually, I read the whole thing that day! Ditto for The Replaced and The Countdown. It’s about Kyra, who wakes up behind a gas station and finds out that five years have passed—five years she doesn’t remember at all—and everything has changed, but she remains the same. Her boyfriend id dating her best friend, and his little brother, Tyler, is all grown up now. Then Kyra realizes she has powers. And that people are following her. Suddenly, all those stories of alien abductions aren’t sounding quite so crazy. I LOVED these books. It probably took me less than 8 hours to read all three, because I could not put them down. I will definitely be reading more of Kimberly Derting’s books. Go. Read. These!
The Zombie Gospel, by Danielle J. Stricklend (spiritual book of the month). I loved the parallels the author made in this book, between The Walking Dead and the Christian life.
Animal Farm, by George Orwell (classic book of the month). I have no idea how I’d never read this before. And now I wish I hadn’t…but I disliked the pigs in this novel so much that bacon is sounding REALLY good right now!
From Sand and Ash, by Amy Harmon (cultural book of the month). Wow. This is set in World War II, in Italy, and tells the story of an Italian Jew, and the man she loves, who is a priest. This was a fantastic read!
Autonomous, by Andy Marino (read to review, but will not be reviewing because I did not care for it). This is basically all about four self-obsessed teenagers and their secrets. Also, social media and a self-driving car. No, thanks.
Little Broken Things, by Nicole Baart (read to review). A thriller with a hefty dose of mystery/what is going on here. A mysterious, abandoned child, secrets, and a clever bad guy, set in a small town, amidst memories from high school. Also a look into a broken family’s secrets.
I started reading Fix Me by Lisa M. Cronkite, but stopped at about 30%. The main character has a drug problem—a made-up drug, not something that actually exists—and the narrative was too distant/disjointed for me to connect with.
Hardcore Twenty-Four, by Janet Evanovich (just because). I’ve been disappointed with the last few Stephanie Plum books. The whole Ranger and Joe (simultaneously but also with feelings of guilt) thing is a bit annoying Make up your mind already! (and please pick Ranger). Most of the humor was also missing from this one, despite the zombies.
Rules of Rain, by Leah Scheier (read to review). I really enjoyed this book about a girl with an autistic twin brother. Rain tries to get her brother to stand on his own two feet, but it’s hard for her to adjust to not being needed.
Spelled, by Betsy Schow (just because). This was a fun, light-humored book about a spoiled princess whose wish turns the fairy tale world upside down. The puns in this book made it well-worth reading. It reminded me of Piers Anthony’s Xanth books.
The Leaving, by Tara Altebrando (just because). One of my Tulsa book haul picks, this is about six children who disappeared 11 years ago, and five of them suddenly show back up at home, with no memories of what happened. A bit twisted, but intriguing.
Dear Mr. Knightley, by Katherine Reay (just because). I discovered Katherine Reay earlier this month, and loved The Austen Escape, so I picked this one up for fun…and emerged on the other side a few hours later. Another fantastic, Austen-related tale, with a MC who absorbs herself in books, which I can relate to.
Anatomy of a Scandal, by Sarah Vaughan (read to review). This is about a woman, married for years, whose husband is accused of rape. There’s several timelines in this book, the present-day/rape trial, and the college-days tales of several characters. This one was merely “eh” for me, but it wasn’t a bad read. Just not what I needed at the time, so I chose not to review it.
The Girl in the Tower, by Katherine Arden (read to review). Have you ever read a book that you related to a character so much that it kind of blew your mind? That was this book, for me! I thought the first book, The Bear and the Nightingale, was fantastic, and the second book is phenomenal. I loved this book, which takes Vasya from her village home to the streets of Moscow, as she searches for a life that will make her happy—not the life everyone expects her to lead. There is magic in the pages of this book, and it saturates every word. I cannot recommend this enough. (And the cover is gorgeous!)
The Ninth Grave, by Stefan Ahnhem (stopped reading). I don’t normally start reading a series in the middle, but in this case, I took a chance. It didn’t work out for me. The opening was fantastically intriguing, but after that, the 15% I read jumped around a lot, and I couldn’t keep everyone straight, so I stopped reading. Perhaps I need to try again, from the beginning of the series.
Dead Man’s Chest, by Kerry Greenwood (review forthcoming). Ironically, this is also the first book in the series I’ve read. Book 18, to be exact. And I enjoyed it a lot! Phryne is a fascinating character—private detective/investigator—set in Australia, in one of my favorite eras to read about. She’s spunky and so observant I was completely engaged. A fun, light read.
All the Wrong Chords, by Christine Hurley Deriso (review forthcoming). I really enjoyed this YA book about Scarlett (obviously, I love her name, since Gone with the Wind is my favorite book ever), trying to recover from her brother’s death, who lives with her grandfather for the summer, and joins a local band with a hot lead singer. Scarlett’s struggle with the past, the truth, and her choices to ignore that little voice in her head is all of us.
A Murder for the Books, by Victoria Gilbert (review forthcoming). Amy is still reeling from the disastrous end of her last relationship, so she moves in with her aunt in a small Virginia town. She wasn’t ready for a mystery from the past that relates to two murders in the present, nor is she ready for her new neighbor, dancer-turned-teacher Richard. This was a fun read, and I completely related to Amy and her issues. Go read this!
Linking up with Anne from Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick Lit.)