Let’s dig in to some reviews for the books I read in November, shall we? Favorite book this month was Wanderlove, while my least favorite was probably Almost Perfect.
85. Almost Perfect by Susan Mallery (2 stars)
I just didn’t enjoy this book at all. The story premise felt a bit weak and I couldn’t relate to the main character (I found her very whiny). The story involves a woman who comes back to her hometown after being away for many years. She has to come face-to-face with her past, which involves letting an old high school flame know he is a father. This is such an overused plotline in romance novels and I am really over it. It’s just not okay! I found little to like with the main character because of this. I was left wanting more.
86. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller (4 stars)
This was a really, really good read. The writing is a bit simplistic, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. Donald Miller writes directly from the heart, he doesn’t need big, eloquent paragraphs or pretty phrases. It’s just the bare bones. He’s vulnerable and honest and I felt such a kindred spirit in him. I felt like I understood God just a little bit better after reading this book. It’s just a really great read about Christianity and spirituality and the struggles we face. It’s a book for anyone, really.
I wish I had bought this book for Kindle because I spent a lot of time transcribing quotes to my iPhone’s Notes app. This one was my favorite: “I will love God because he first loved me. I will obey God because I love God. But if I cannot accept God’s love, I cannot love Him in return, and I cannot obey Him. Self-discipline will never make us feel righteous or clean; accepting God’s love will. The ability to accept God’s unconditional grace and ferocious love is the fuel we need to obey Him in return.” (pg 86)
87. Baby-Sitters on Board! by Ann M. Martin (4 stars)
If I were to rate this as an adult, I would probably give it a generous two stars. But it’s not written for adults, it’s written for kids. I think I was in third or fourth grade the first time I read this book, actually! So, on a elementary-grade reading level, it’s a solid four stars. It’s very outdated and some of the things that happened made me itchy (like 13-year-old Claudia roaming alone in the Bahamas…) and quite frankly, it bored me a little because there were so many different plots happening at once and I didn’t find myself fully invested in any of them. But it was still fun to read and experience.
88. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard (5 stars)
I am quickly becoming a believer in the YA genre. At least in the YA romance genre. This was a really well-written novel that included a lot of depth and character development. All of the characters were just very real, with honest emotions and feelings and problems and triumphs. I loved them all, but I loved the main character, Bria, the most. It’s a bit of a travel adventure story, of Bria trying to get over a breakup and do something completely out of the realm of ordinary. There isn’t anything I can say that I didn’t love about this novel! It’s more than just a cute romance, it’s also a story about self-discovery and getting out of your own way to do things that scare you.
89. Someone’s Baby by Dani Sinclair (4 stars)
I read this in the space of 24 hours – an actually well-written Harlequin romance novel! Imagine that! The premise was a bit far-fetched, but the story still gripped me from beginning to end. I felt so invested in the characters and their love story.
90. Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani (3 stars)
I have such a writer crush on Adriana Trigiani and the way she writes. She has a true talent, and she draws you into her world. This book was set in 1950s New York and it was the perfect setting. I loved Lucia, because she was brash and brave and easily likeable. She made some stupid decisions, fell for the wrong boy, but throughout it all, she was discovering herself and just exactly what she wanted from her life. It was an easy book to set down, though, and it never fully grabbed my attention like I wanted it to. I think that’s just me personally, because it’s not a bad book by any means. I think most people would enjoy it, because the writing is phenomenal and the characters are wonderfully written.
I was really hoping I would get more out of this book, but it just didn’t do it for me. I don’t think I was the target demographic, it seemed to be more suited towards older previously married women. I bought the book on Kindle and it was almost $9 so I forced myself to read the entire thing, though I’m sure I would have abandoned it if I had gotten it from the library. There were some interesting tidbits that made me think and I do love the message that singleness is not a condition to be cured. There were a few quotes that really spoke to me:
“Wasting energy wishing for something you don’t have while ignoring all that you do is a vicious mental trap.” (pg. 67)
“It’s a leap of faith to face the full reality of our single situation and being able to take it all in. We leap like that when we live with the precariousness of being single, the heartache, the uncertainty, and the loneliness, and we take the leap from doubting that love is coming to trusting with all our heart and soul that is is. Doubting that love is coming makes us uneasy and nervous. Knowing that love is coming fills us with joy.” (pg. 187)
“A wonderful life doesn’t hinge on whether or not you have a mate; it depends on your attitude toward what’s possible.” (pg. 195)
92. Undeniably Yours by Shannon Stacy (3 stars)
This was a pretty cute contemporary romance, about a one-night stand that ends in a pregnancy. It had the perfect amount of humor, seriousness, and that hint of ridiculity that happens in romance novels. My only problem was that the main character, Beth, got on my nerves with her incessant need to keep Kevin, her baby’s father, at arm’s length, even though he hasn’t done anything to show he’s nothing but all-in with her. I feel like I didn’t understand why Beth was the way she was… perhaps a stronger back story was needed. Still, a wonderful light read and I’ll probably check out the other books in the series.
93. These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen (4.5 stars)
Sarah Pekkanen found herself a new fan with this novel! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing was fantastic, the characters had depth and believability, and I could barely put this book down for anything. It followed the stories of three girls: Cate, Renee, and Abby, roommates who live in New York and are all going through something different and life-changing. Abby’s story really gripped me the most, though I know it might turn some people away. I just felt like it was very honest and raw. The ending felt a bit rushed, and I wouldn’t have minded another 50 or so pages to dig in deeper to it, but all in all, a great read!
94. The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski (3 stars)
This was the December pick for my book club and I think I gave it a very generous rating. One of the main problems I had with this novel was the fact that it needed a few more rounds of edits. There were so many grammatical errors that it took my focus away from the story. While I enjoyed the story for the most part, it got a little raunchy and the author threw in this weird climax that didn’t make much sense when coupled with the rest of the story. There was very little foreshadowing leading up to it, so it felt like writing whiplash. All that said, I did find myself invested in the characters and hoping they would find a happy ending somehow.
Books read in November: 10
Books read in 2013: 94
Have you recently found a new author whose writing you love? Please share! I’m always looking for new authors to check out.