Tag: what I’ve been reading lately

The Best Books I Read in November (2021)

In November, I read 22 books, bringing my total for the year to 217 books.

Of those 22 books, I really enjoyed three of them:

The Brightest Star in Paris, by Diana Biller. I didn’t realize until at least halfway through that I’d read—and enjoyed—the previous book in this series. Ballet, ghosts, and wonderful characters made this a read I enjoyed every single sentence of.

City of Time and Magic, by Paula Brackston. I’ve loved all the books in this series, and this was no different. Time travel, magic, romance, and a kick-butt (but not in an in-your-face way) heroine made this pure pleasure.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, by Nabeel Qureshi. I read this because I’d heard good things about it, and it did not disappoint. I learned so much about Islam in this, and the contrasts between it and Christianity were so clearly laid out that it destroys all arguments about similarities.

What I Read in November (2021)

Books Read in November: 22
Books Read for the Year:  217/250

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books:

The Inheritance Games, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I ended up binge-reading this because I couldn’t put it down! And immediately bought the second one.

Loving My Actual Life, by Alexandra Kuykendall (spiritual). I really enjoyed this read.

Fierce Jesus, by Lisa Harper (spiritual). Lisa Harper’s voice is so conversational, it makes everything she writes a good read.

For Review:

A Reckless Match, by Kate Bateman. I enjoyed this read. Lovers-to-enemies is one of my favorite tropes in romance reads.

Oh William!, by Elizabeth Strout. I have no idea why I finished reading this. I liked the writing, but the two main characters were selfish and unpleasant people.

Digging Up Trouble, by Kitt Crowe. This was also a “meh” read.The dog was cute, but a little to good to be true, and the MC was pretty self-absorbed.

Eight Perfect Hours, by Lia Louis. This was such a fun read! I loved all the little coincidences and run-ins between the characters and their chemistry was so believable.

The Brightest Star in Paris, by Diana Biller. This read was such a warm, pleasant read, like pulling a fuzzy blanket around you and snuggling on the choice. Great characters that were so believable and likable. I enjoyed it immensely!

Heard It In a Love Song, by Tracey Garvis Graves. I listened to this on audio, and I really enjoyed it. I loved getting into the characters’ heads.

The First Christmas, by Stephen Mitchell. This was creative, but not biblical. And the author is into Zen, so I don’t trust him to write truthfully about anything in the Bible.

Within These Wicked Walls, by Lauren Blackwood. This was quite unique, and I enjoyed the voice. There were a few rouch transitions that I felt jumped past some needed-details. (Also, does this cover like like Natalie Portman, or am I losing my mind?)

All of Us Villains, by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman. This was very loosely like The Hunger Games…if all the characters were more or less evil and selfish.

Never Fall for Your Fiancée, by Virginia Heath. I enjoyed this so much! The characters were a lot of fun, especially Hugh.

The Dangers of an Ordinary Night, by Lynne Reeves. This was…not quite to my liking. I found all the characters just “meh” at best, if not truly unlikable (to me).

A Light in the Sky, by Shina Reynolds. I enjoyed this fantasy about winged horses (not pegasus) and the warriors who ride them—and the evil rulers who have been lying to everyone all along (of course).

Unearthly and Starcrossed, by Katie Jane Gallagher. I have to confess: pretty sure I’ve never read any human-alien romance, so this was a first for me. They were quick, fun reads, even if the aliens were basically humans with a little different appearance.

City of Time and Magic, by Paula Brackston. I love this series so much! Time travel, history, romance, and adventure all rolled into one.

Forever Home, by Elysia Whisler. This ended up being a meh read, as the author completely destroyed my trust at the 73% mark. That negated the solid writing and interesting characters.

Small Things Like These, by Claire Keegan (review forthcoming). This was a very short and introspective read. A bit depressing for my tastes, but excellent writing.

Just Because:

The Harbinger II, by Jonathan Cahn. This was a fascianting read.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, by Nabeel Qureshi. I learned so much about Islam in this book, far more than I knew originally.

Left Unfinished:

Among the Hunted, by Caytlyn Brooke. I made it 10% or so before giving upon this. It seemed too superficial for me.

Another Beast’s Skin, by Jessika Grewe Glover. I think I made it 10-15%, but this felt like it just glossed over things and rushed them, without making me believe anything was truly happening.

Doizemaster, by Tony M. Quintana. This just wasn’t a good fit for me, and it seemed a bit…underdeveloped. Just my opinion.

The Left-Handed Twin, by Thomas Perry. Apparently this is a popular series, but the MC felt far too distant to hold my attention.

Hello, Transcriber, by Hannah Morrissey. I tried, but I just could not get into this. It seemed so bleak.

The Best Books I Read in October (2021)

In October I read 15 books, bringing my total to the year to 195 books. I’m not sure I’m going to hit my goal of 250 books for the year….But four of those reads were really excellent:

Winterlight, by Kristen Britain. I love this series! The characters are vibrant, the world is so vivid and brimming with life, and the storyline always has me on the edge of my seat.

The Rot, by Siri Pettersen. This is the second book in a trilogy, and from the very first page of the first book, I was riveted. This feels very much like Norse mythology and I’m completely invested in the story and can’t wait until the third one comes out.

Little Thieves, by Margaret Owen. This started off a bit slow, but I’m so glad I stuck it out. Unique and captivating.

Three Sisters, by Heather Morris. This is the third book in The Tattoist of Auschwitz books (I haven’t read the others. This was so moving, sad, and yet full of hope. This family is incredible.

What I Read in October (2021)

Books Read in October: 15
Books Read for the Year:  195/250
Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books:

Just Because:
Winterlight, by Kristen Britain (TBR). I really love this series! This was as excellent as the other books, and with the twist at the end, I can’t wait to read the next one.

Parable of the Sower, by Octavia E. Butler. I listened to this as an audio book, and enjoyed it far more than I expected to.

For Review:


The Rot, by Siri Pettersen. Can we talk about how amazing this book is? I adored the first book in the series, Odin’s Child, and this follow-up did not disappoint! Cannot wait for the third.

Luminous, by Mara Rutherford. I enjoyed Rutherford’s previous duology, but this one felt much less…polished. It was a decent read, but I wasn’t riveted.

The Keeper of Night, by Kylie Lee Baker. The MC here was…difficult. Unlikable. Selfish. The writing was excellent, the premise was unique, the characters…meh.

Little Thieves, by Margaret Owen. This started off very slowly, and I wanted desperately to put it down, but I’m a fan of Owen’s other works, so I persevered—and this ended up being a fantastic read!

Lies My Memory Told Me, by Sacha Wunsch. This was just a meh read for me. I strongly disliked the ending, and the MC was a little bit…passive, maybe? The other characters felt like cardboard cutouts.

I Am Not Who You Think I Am, by Eric Rickstad. I really didn’t care for the MC in this one. He was way too prone to jumping to conclusions, and he was oblivious to what anyone else wanted.

Sankofa, by Chibundu Onuzo. This was way better than I expected, although the MC still has some growing to do. Her father was awful, though.

Three Sisters, by Heather Morris. I haven’t’ read The Tattoist of Auschwitz, but this was a phenomenal read!

Finding a Christmas Home, by Lee Tobin McClain. This was a decent romance read. Quick, easy, standard romance fair.

A Cowgirl’s Secret, by Melinda Curtis. This wasn’t a standout romantic read, but it delivered on its promises.

The Alchemy Thief, by R.A Denny. This was an interesting time travel/historical read. I enjoyed reading the bits about alchemy especially.

I Am Margaret Moore, by Hannah Capin (review forthcoming). I’m not sure what to say about this. I figured out the twist pretty early on, but I didn’t care for the confusion that made the book very hard to connect with.

You Can Go Your Own Way, by Eric Smith (review forthcoming). I don’t know a thing about pinball machines or Philly, but I really enjoyed this read. Whitney and Adam were great—and relatable—characters, and I loved their journey. And the plants.

Left Unfinished:

The Mother Next Door, by Tara Laskowski. This was just a case of the book not being a good fit for me right now. I read about 20% of it before I stopped reading, and the writing was strong, the characters realistic. I just didn’t like the characters. I thought they were petty, vapid, and superficial, and I didn’t care about them in the slightest—or their secrets.

The House of Dust, by Noah Broyles. I read about 25% of this, but the point-of-view and the characters were too distant and disjointed to feel any connection to.

Five Strangers, by E.V. Adamson. I tried. I read about 20% of this, but the MC was pretty unlikable to me, so the story didn’t hold my interest.

The Last House on Needless Street, by Catriona Ward. Despite the glowing reviews for this one, I couldn’t get into it. I only made it about 10% before giving up on its disjointedness.

The Best Books I Read in September (2021)

In September, I only read 15 books. I enjoyed three of those books very much.

The Guide, by Peter Heller. This should have felt slow and leisurely, but it ended up being full of building suspense mixed with some phenomenal nature writing. I don’t know a thing about fly fishing, yet I was fascinated by the scenes describing it.

Forestborn, by Elayne Audrey Becker. I really enjoyed this fantasy read about a shifter who works for the king and a magical illness sweeping across the land.

Aria’s Travelling Book Shop, by Rebecca Raisin. This was such a sweet, fun read! It continues the story of the traveling merchants with their tiny shops. Just so much fun!

What I Read in September (2021)

Books Read in September: 15

Books Read for the Year:  180/250

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books:

Instead of choosing five books from my TBR pile this month, I only picked three. There was a lot going on, and I knew time was at a premium.

Speechless: Controlling Words, Controlling Minds, by Michael J. Knowles. This was pretty horrifying to read.

Saint Odd, by Dean Koontz. I was so sad to see this series come to an end! I think Odd Thomas is an absolutely fascinating character.

Dream Big, by Bob Goff. Bob Goff’s conversational tone is just so relatable. It makes everything he writes seem like a chat with a good friend.

For Review:

The Inheritance, by JoAnn Ross. This was good, although one of the sisters was almost unlikable at first.

A Bright Young Thing, by Brianne Moore. I really enjoyed this read! I love the time period, and Astra’s character growth was great to watch.

The Living and the Lost, by Ellen Feldman. That was an interesting WWII novel. I haven’t ever read anything set in Berlin just after the war ended, so it was fascinating seeing that side of it.

This is Why We Lie, by Gabriella Lepore. This was a quick YA thriller where I never figured out who the killer was.

Requiem of Silence, by L. Penelope. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading the stories of this world, and this was a solid wrap-up to an enjoyable series.

The Children’s Secret, by Nina Monroe. This was…entirely one-sided, and one of the characters was an absolutely awful person. Do not recommend.

Her Perfect Life, by Hank Phillippi Ryan. This was a pretty “meh” read for me, as the MC appears to forget her common sense, believe someone she shouldn’t, and end up in a mess.

The Guide, by Peter Heller. I really enjoyed this book! It could easily have felt slow, but instead I was riveted to the page.

Forestborn, by Audrey Elayne Becker (review forthcoming). Loved this fantasy novel! Unique, with distinct, likable characters.

Aria’s Travelling Book Shop, by Rebecca Raisin (review forthcoming). I just love Rebecca Raisin’s stories! Feel-good stories, quirky characters, and a distinctive setting that just draws me right in.

When Sparks Fly, by Helena Hunting (review forthcoming). I’d have to say this was just “meh.”

Left Unfinished:

Never Saw Me Coming, by Vera Kurian. I read about half of this before stopping. Unique idea, but I just couldn’t make myself care about the psychopath characters.

The Guilt Trip, by Sandie Jones. I read about 40% of this before just accepting that I couldn’t stand any of the characters and didn’t care what happened to them.

The Dating Dare, by Jacyi Lee. I didn’t make it very far in this, because I found both Tara and Seth to be caricatures and not very likable, with “rebellious/unconventional” being their main character traits.

He Gets that from Me, by Jacqueline Friedland. The characters annoyed me, and I couldn’t make myself finish this.

The Best Books I Read in August (2021)

I read 13 books in August…and DNFed 12, so yeah, August’s reading was a crapshoot.

I actually really loved four of my monthly reading selections from my TBR pile.

A Court of Silver Flames, by Sarah J. Maas. I’ve enjoyed this entire series, but it was fascinating to see Nesta and Cassian’s story. Talk about oil and water!

Deeply Odd, by Dean Koontz. I read the first five books in this series years ago (I started reading before they were a series), and have just recently re-read those and started reading the others. I love the voice in these so much, and Odd Thomas is such a great character.

Mister Impossible, by Maggie Stiefvater. I do enjoy Stiefvater’s books so much, and I’ve loved these characters for years (some of them, anyway).

Million Dollar Demon, by Kim Harrison. I’ve read and loved this entire series. Jenks is definitely my favorite character.

What I Read in August (2021)

Books Read in August: 13

Books Read for the Year: 165/250

I will say, I DNFed a lot of books this month—as in almost as many as I actually finished reading. Possibly because I committed to read so many, so I couldn’t afford to read one that didn’t completely hold my interest.

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books:

A Court of Silver Flames, by Sarah J. Maas (TBR). Loved this read!

Gently and Lowly, by Dane Ortlund (spiritual). I enjoyed this.

Deeply Odd, by Dean Koontz (TBR). I really loved this!

Mister Impossible, by Maggie Stiefvater (TBR). I do enjoy Stiefvater’s books so much.

Million Dollar Demon, by Kim Harrison (TBR). I’ve read and loved this entire series. Jenks is definitely my favorite character.

For Review:

Such a Good Wife, by Seraphina Glass. I have to say, the wife was pretty heartless in this. It was a solid read, but she gave me issues.

Where the Truth Lies, by Anna Bailey. I feel like the author had a bad experience with a small town, because every single person in this novel was hiding dark, ugly secrets.

We Are the Brennans, by Tracey Lange. I really enjoyed this family tale!

Beware the Mermaids, by Carrie Talick. I enjoyed this more than I thought I would, although the husband was such a jerk. A fun, easy read.

What We Carry, by Kalyn Fogarty. This was pretty heavy, and the MC (and her mother) were both basically selfish and clueless people.

The Bookseller’s Secret, by Michelle Gable. I liked this read, although I preferred the present-day storyline much more than the historical one.

Where I Left Her, by Amber Garza. This was…I don’t know. It wasn’t a horrible read or anything, but the mother and her super-controlling personality were awful. Definitely an unreliable narrator and I didn’t care for her at all.

Velvet Was the Night, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This was masterfully written, but I didn’t really care for the characters.

Left Unfinished:

Songbirds, by Christy Lefteri. I read about 15% of this, but it was very slow, and it just didn’t keep my attention.

The Wildest Ride, by Marcella Bell. I think I read about 30% of this, but the two main characters were too arrogant and their only other non-cliche character trait was attitude, so it just wasn’t for me.

The People We keep, by Allison Larkin. I just couldn’t get into this.

The Hand of the Sun King, by J.T. Greathouse. I made it about 15% of the way through this before giving up. I just couldn’t make myself care about the MC.

The Show Girl, by Nicola Harrison. This wasn’t bad. I read over 50% of it, but Olive ended up getting on my nerves because she was so self-absorbed.

Yours Cheerfully, by AJ Pearce. I wanted to like this. But, I read 15% of it, and though I found it funny, I was also slightly bored, so I stopped reading.

Maiden Voyages, by Siân Evans. I didn’t get very far in this before putting it down, because it felt like reading a textbook.

The Eternal Audience of One, by Rémy Ngamije. I didn’t make it very far in this, as the condescending and racist tone was too much for me.

Ramadan Ramsey, by Louis Edwards. Normally, I love to read anything set in New Orleans, but this started off sooooo slooooowly I just couldn’t get into it.

Refugee High, by Elly Fishman. I choose not to read anything that makes its political bias so obvious on page two.

The Family Plot, by Megan Collins. This sounded intriguing, but the whole scenario was pretty creepy—and Dahlia was just so unwilling to accept that reality was different from her perception of it. I couldn’t read more than 15% of it.

The Best Books I Read in July (2021)

In July, I read 23 books, bringing my total for the year to 152.

Most of those were solid reads, but three really stood out.

A Court of Frost and Starlight, by Sarah J. Maas. This series is so, so good! I’m mad I read the first one years ago, then forgot about them until earlier this year. Looking forward to reading Nessa’s story next!

Six Crimson Cranes, by Elizabeth Lim. This was an excellent retelling of a fairy tale, set in a vividly imagined culture. The characters are wonderful and the mythos is fascinating. I highly recommend reading this!

A Cup of Silver Linings by Karen Hawkins. This is the second book in the Dove Pond series, and it’s a s magical as the first one. The small town setting is so cozy and comforting, and the characters are so believable I feel like I know them personally.