Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Reading Wrap Up // November 2017

November was an awesome reading month for me. I felt like I was knocking down book goals left and right, while also reading some books that have been on my list for quite a while! To see what books I loved, disliked, and passed on this month - check out the video above or just keep on reading!

I read six books in the month of November. One of which, Column of Fire, I had been working on since September (!!!) - what a sense of accomplishment to finally finish that book and its nearly 1,000 pages! In total I read 2,890 pages this month - which comes out to an average of 96 pages a day - although, for the record, I listened to a good chunk of "A Column of Fire" which accounts for half of the pages I read this month. Below are the books I read, a quick review, and a video link to a 60 second book review if I created one for that book!

They Both Die At The End
by Adam Silvera

goodreads // amazon // library 

I was so excited to read this book when it became available at my local library. I don't read YA very often, but I am always excited to hear about a YA book that everyone is loving. Unfortunately, this was not that book for me. There were moments when I really enjoyed the author's writing, but for the most part this book just didn't work for me. Both of the main characters are dying, that very day, and yet the book fell flat emotionally, a lot of which I credit to the idea of Deathcast. Deathcast is a service imagined in the book that contacts you the day that you are going to die to give you a heads up. I had a really difficult time buying into the idea of that, particularly because while the service isn't real to me, it also didn't feel very real in the book, either. I do want to read other books by this author, because I enjoyed his writing in parts and I am curious to see if I would enjoy a book of his without Deathcast overshadowing the story. Click below to check out a 60 second book review I created for "They Both Die at the End" by Adam Silvera.

Lab Girl
by Hope Jahran

goodreads // amazon // library

This book had been on my TBR list for WAY too long, and I am so glad that I read it. I have a serious soft spot for non fiction memoirs, and this one was just such a pleasing read. Hope's writing is beautiful but also hilariously frank and I really enjoyed that balance. I was surprised by how many quotes I wrote down from this book. "Lab Girl" also has a lot of literary references in it. One of my favorite chapters was about Hope's time working in a hospital where she prepared IV bags of medicine. In the chapter she weaves her experiences working there and her relationship with her coworkers with quotes from "David Copperfield" by Charles Dickens. It was brilliant and that chapter alone made the entire book worth reading in my eyes. I do think that some background in science, or an interest in plant life, will help you enjoy this book as well!

Paris for One
by Jojo Moyes

goodreads // amazon // library

I was thrilled when the publisher of Paris for One, Penguin, offered to send me a copy in exchange for an honest review. I absolutely loved "Me Before You" as well as "After You" and I am so excited that there is a third book coming to the Louisa Clark story in January of 2018! "Paris for One" is a collection of short stories that reminded me why I love Jojo Moyes's writing so much. All of the stories were easy to get into without being too fluffy. My favorite was definitely the lead story which takes up a good chunk of the book, "Paris for One". I loved the character in this story especially, much like me, she isn't a risk taker or adventurous, but she is put into a difficult position and learns so much about herself along the way. Click below to check out a 60 second book review I created for "Paris for One" by Jojo Moyes.

Column of Fire
by Ken Follett

goodreads // amazon // library

I finally finished it! I am terrible about reading, and finishing, anything longer than 500 pages, and even books in the 400-500 page range give me trouble sometimes, so to finish this book which is nearly 1000 pages, that was exciting! Unfortunately, the book itself was pretty dull. i really enjoyed the other two books in this series, which considering they are of a similar length is saying a lot about me as a reader - they already had a huge hit against them for being so long. Those other two didn't feel as history heavy as this one did. There were huge sections of this book that felt like they were right out of a textbook. Which on the one hand was probably good for me because my knowledge of the late 1500's and European history definitely expanded, but it wasn't a pleasant reading ( or listening) experience.

The City Baker's Guide to Country Living
by Louise Miller

goodreads // amazon // library

I hadn't heard of this book previously, but when Penguin offered to send me a copy in exchange for an honest review I was intrigued by the premise. This book follows a woman named Olivia who leaves her job in Boston as a pastry chef after an embarrassing fire incident,  and lands a job in small town Vermont with the help of a friend. Considering that most of the books I read this month seemed to revolve around some much heavier topics, "The City Baker's Guide to Country Living" was a welcome change. It is bright and light and comforting. This book reminded me a lot of the much loved Lifetime Christmas movies, but with less of the cheesy acting, and of course, no commercials ; ) This isn't the kind of book I often read, but if you are looking for a solid chick lit option, this is a great one to pick up! Click below to check out my 60 second book review of "The City Baker's Guide to Country Living" by Louise Miller!

The Kitchen House
by Kathleen Grissom

goodreads // amazon // library 

I read "The Kictchen House" after hearing about it from April at Getting Hygge With It. Check out her channel here, and I can absolutely understand why she loved it so much, I did too. Most of it, at least. I found the book to be unputdownable, and really enjoyed the story and characters. I liked the way that the author handled the more violent aspects of the time. The things that happened to the slaves and the main character, were terrible - but they never felt like they were done for shock value. They were stated and moved on from in a way that gave them weight without feeling like it was too drawn out in the story. Overall this book won me over, until the last twenty pages. Let me start by saying, I know what I am about to say is a little petty, and it definitely just hit a subject I am a little sore about. I am also going to try and be as vague as possible, but there might be some light spoiler, so just be warned. BUT, for the last half of the book Lavinia has a love interest that she isn't able to be with for one reason and then another. This man goes on and gets married to another woman, and towards the end of the novel his wife is pregnant. At several points it is mentioned that she has very swollen hands, feet, legs, and that she is very worried about her health because her mother died from a similar condition while she was pregnant... SO she obviously has preeclampsia. And as a reader I felt really conflicted about how the author wanted me to feel in that moment, or the momentum that it felt like the book was building towards. I had a hard time celebrating that Lavinia and this man would likely end up together after his wife died from preeclampsia. I myself had preeclampsia and it was one of those rarer moments when reading that a book just hit too close to home and made me upset. Has a book ever done that to you before? Let me know below in the comments!

The Accusation
by Bandi

goodreads // amazon // library

I read "Th Accusation" after hearing about it on Mary's channel "Happily Ever Esch. I am fascinated/ horrified by North Korea, so this book was like instantly on my TBR. And I am glad I read it, BUT it was also really hard to read. And not in the way that North Korean stories are, yes these are difficult conditions described but the majority of the characters in this book are living in major cities in North Korea and aren't prisoners, which is the typical story I am familiar with. It feels strange even assessing the writing in this book, I mean Bandi snuck this book out of North Korea, but it really was just hard to follow and obviously missed out on an editing process that it would've greatly benefited from, but that also seems kind of beside the point. It was an experience to read it, and really it made me just want to let him know that we see you, you know we hear you, we aren't fooled. I got the impression reading that the author felt as though we were being fooled by the perfect exterior appearance of North Korea because he went out of his way so frequently to point it out and to show how false that appearance truly is for the citizens there. Click below to check out my 60 second book review of "The Accusation" by Bandi!

At that was my reading for the month of November! Have you read any of these books? I'd love to chat with you about them in the comments below! Let me know what you read in the month of November, I'd love to get some recommendations as well!


  1. I recently added Lab Girl to my TBR, so glad to hear it's a good one! I still have to read Column of Fire, too.

  2. I was listening to a podcast a few months ago, and the people on it were talking about Lab Girl. It sounds like a great book. I’m glad you liked it.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  3. So glad you enjoyed Lab Girl! It's also been on my TBR for far too long :)


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