Recent Reads – Show us your Books November 2017

Yay!! Another month of reading gone by and some more great books to chat about. Linking up as always with the wonderful Steph and Jana 🙂 Unfortunately I had a few sort of “meh” books this month, but also a few amazing books to redeem those ones. I made my way through a bunch of Netgalley books but then I accidentally (oops) requested a few more, so I’m no further ahead really. Haha. This post is going to be a long one, but my main recommendations are in this first part! 🙂 I think it had been awhile since the last link up.

The best books I read this month:

Beach MusicBeach Music by Pat Conroy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was sweeping, intense, beautiful, sad, emotional, interesting, and unlike anything I have ever read. I had no idea what to expect out of it but it really covers a range of genres and is quite well written. I did not read it quickly, and I often didn’t seek it out at the end of a long day, but when I got closer to the end, I absolutely could not put it down. This is a book that is meant to be savoured and thought about, in my opinion, There was a lot going on with a lot of different characters but I didn’t have any problem keeping it all straight. It was wonderful if you are in the mood for a book of its length and depth.

Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes EverythingReading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I knew I would like this book, but I didn’t realize how much MORE I would want to read about personality after finishing it. I find this kind of thing endlessly fascinating, although I know it’s not for everyone. I think it is the psychology major in me, maybe? I also kind of secretly want to get certified in MBTI administration, which is pretty close to my career field anyway…so I might jump on that chance someday 🙂

I both read and listened to this. Listening to it was wonderful because I am used to Anne Bogel’s voice from her podcast and I like it. It was also great to have it in print to refer to the types she was talking about and make notes. There’s so much more that I am dying to learn about my family and my children and my husband after reading this book, and I can’t wait to dive in. I really think that learning about personality is beneficial to all relationships including those at work as well – so that was a good reminder.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely FineEleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was incredible. Eleanor’s character is so fun to read, and her observations on the world around her are fascinating. What happened to her was endlessly tragic and when it was all revealed, I found myself quite emotional and also quit impressed with her coping strategies. Such a good book.

ArtemisArtemis by Andy Weir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book’s publication date is today so you’ll be hearing a lot about it in the coming weeks if you’re into book buzz at all! It took me awhile to get into this book, but once the action picked up, I was quite interested in what would happen to Jazz and the city of Artemis. There were a few twists that I definitely didn’t see coming and I finished the last half of the book in one night. Mark Watney in The Martian is still one of my favourite characters of all time, but Jazz was pretty good too and it was fun to read a book like this one with a female protagonist who loves science. This was a fun and unique book and I think fans of the Martian will also enjoy this one. I bet the audiobook will be great too – Weir’s writing really does lend itself well to audio.

Thank you to Netgalley and Crown Publishing for the advanced copy of this book
. Thank you also to Goodreads and Crown Publishing for the paperback copy of this which I won through Goodreads!! 🙂

Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #10)Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first novel by Agatha Christie and it will absolutely not be my last. Humorous, interesting, and surprising. The cast of characters was fun to read about, it was the perfect length, and the mystery was not what I expected at all. The basic storyline is about a group of people on a train including the world renowned detective Hercule Poirot. A man is murdered while the train gets stuck in the snow so the murderer is undoubtedly still on board. Hercule Poirot is fascinating to read about and reminds me a bit of Sherlock Holmes, naturally.  Brian and I also had the chance to see the movie on Sunday night and I really liked it too – I had previously not considered myself much of a Kenneth Branagh fan but he sold me on Poirot’s character. The mystery aspect of this book pertains to quite a sad event and if you’ve read it you know what I mean…the movie made that even a bit harder to digest. So well done though. This book is a quick read so if you haven’t gotten to it yet, I’d recommend it – and then message me so we can talk about it because I can’t say much about the plot without spoiling it!

Origin (Robert Langdon, #5)Origin by Dan Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been a fan of Dan Brown’s books for their fast-paced, action-packed, historically interesting plotlines, and this one was quite good. I don’t think it was quite up to the par of the Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons or even Inferno, but I still liked it. I didn’t read it as quickly as usual for some reason, so it wasn’t quite as intense but it was fascinating overall. If you’ve liked other books in the Robert Langdon series, this one is a good addition that raises some interesting questions.

Little Fires EverywhereLittle Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had no idea what to expect out of this book but it was getting positive reviews from everyone I’d heard of so I jumped right in. I get the buzz around it now. This book pulled me out of a bit of a reading slump and I loved it for that. I think I read the second half of the book in one sitting. It was quite the page-turner and aspects of it reminded me of The Mothers although the writing is quite different. It was a very captivating book that raised some interesting questions, and I have found myself thinking about it often since finishing it. Now I am dying to read her first book, which I had been putting off for quite awhile. The characters and pace of this book really made it unputdownable for me, and I’m sure most of you already have this on your TBR because it has been everywhere lately.

A Thousand LettersA Thousand Letters by Staci Hart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this in one sitting and loved it. I enjoyed the Persuasion aspects of it, and I will absolutely be seeking out more books in her Austen adaptations series. I think this was the first adaptation of Persuasion that I’ve read and I wish there were more!! The story really lends itself well to retellings, in my opinion. Parts of this were absolutely heartbreaking and made me teary. Beautiful writing. Thanks Kristen for the recommendation!!!

A Quiet Life in the Country (Lady Hardcastle Mysteries #1)A Quiet Life in the Country by T E Kinsey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I listened to this book while I was running and working on Halloween costumes, and it passed my time quite happily. The audiobook was very well done and Lady Hardcastle was an enchanting character. I don’t think the mystery aspect was quite up to par with other mysteries I’ve listened to, but like I said, it was still a pleasurable listening experience and I might seek out the other books in the series when I am in the mood for a cozy mystery.

Other decent books: 

Pride and Prejudice and MistletoePride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I couldn’t wait to read this book since it combines two of my favourite things, Christmas and Pride and Prejudice, and the book itself delivered on those two premises even though I didn’t find it OVERLY Christmassy. It was a bit confusing that Darcy was a girl and “Lizzie” was a man, but it worked on some levels. There were a few very funny parts and a few cute parts in this book. Overall, not a bad festive retelling of one of my favourite pieces of literature but I still prefer Eligible over most other adaptations:)

The Austen EscapeThe Austen Escape by Katherine Reay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the first Katherine Reay novel I’ve read and I truly didn’t mind it. It’s maybe a 3.5 stars for me. I think really the writing was just kind of weird. I don’t know how to describe it but it wasn’t altogether favourable because of that. Parts of it were really fun. Parts of it felt completely disjointed though and I don’t think I really got invested until about halfway through the book. That being said, it was fun, and I enjoyed the ending too even if parts of it felt a bit rushed to the resolution. Although like I said, not altogether weird, just kind of up and down.

If you like reading about Austen characters (this is a tiny bit like Austenland in its storyline), this one is worth the read but it’s not at the top of the list for Austen fans either.

Thank you Netgalley and Thomas Nelson for the advanced copy of this book.

It Started With GoodbyeIt Started With Goodbye by Christina June
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It had been a bit since I’d read a YA book and I had completely forgotten that this was a slight Cinderella retelling, so that was kind of fun to figure out as I was reading. Parts of this felt a bit contrived to me (would the stepmother actually get away with that, really?), but I liked the SK parts and the friendships and the stepsister development. This book was fun and cute and reminded me of Tell me Three Things, which I adored.

Thank you to Netgalley and Blink for the review copy of this fun YA book.

The Royal Wedding (Crown Jewels Romantic Comedy #2)The Royal Wedding by Melanie Summers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another fun addition to this series about modern royals. Highly readable and cute and just what I wanted for a little escape.
Thank you Netgalley and Buoni Amici Press for the advanced copy of this book.

One Step Away (Bedford Falls, #1)One Step Away by Sydney Bristow
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

This book had a few cute moments (I enjoyed the librarian career part!), but it was overly predictable and a bit too much for me. I think Damon and Kelsey’s story might be a bit more interesting, and that’s the next in the series but I’m not in any rush to pick it up. Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced copy of this book.

Dark Horse (Whitehorse, Montana: The McGraw Kidnapping, #1)Dark Horse by B.J. Daniels
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was a bit disappointed to learn partway through this book that it was actually a trilogy! I was quite interested in the mystery of the kidnapped twins. I found the romance to be totally unbelievable but cute nonetheless…just extremely unrealistic. The writing was fast-paced and kept me interested. I even went so far as to pick up the next in the series at the library, read about 40 pages of it and said, nope…I just don’t care anymore. haha.

Thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin Intrigue for the advanced review copy of this e-book.

TL;DR: I recommend Little Fires Everywhere, Beach Music, Origin (if it’s your thing), A Thousand Letters, Artemis, and Murder on the Orient Express (the book AND the movie, but the book first! :)) If you like anything to do with personality typing, I highly recommend Reading People too.

What have you been reading lately?
I’m hoping to read a few holiday books this month and get through a few more Netgalley books too. I’m currently reading The Hate U Give and Wishtree by Katherine Applegate (almost done that one). Hoping to start on A Curious Beginning sometime this week.

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