November was a pretty excellent month for reading! I really loved just about every book I read and wound up reading 8 books in total, to bring my yearly total to 86 books. So, now I know I will break 90 books read, which is a feat! I haven’t hit that number in a few years. This month, my favorite book was Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake. (Fun story: on a whim, I downloaded this title to my Kindle to read on my cruise and when I came back to work, my coworkers had generously gifted me with a copy of the book, as well as an adorable tote bag that has a portion of the novel printed on it. They were bummed they didn’t manage to find a book I hadn’t yet read, heh, but I was so excited because I loved the book so dang much that it’ll be fun to carry the words around on a tote!)
Let’s dive into the reviews!
First Comes Love by Emily Giffin (★★★☆☆)
This was not my favorite novel from Giffin, but it was a good one. It explored how deep a loss can affect a family, even if the loss happened fifteen years ago. I didn’t love how contentious the relationship between Meredith and Josie was, and I found Meredith to be so incredibly unlikable that I didn’t care for her storyline at all. But I think the novel does a good job at tackling the subject of grief and how it changes a family.
Show No Mercy by Cindy Gerard (★★★★★)
This was my third reread of this novel and I loved it just as much as all the other times I read it. Gabe and Jenna are two characters who are so easy to like and root for. You just want Gabe to let Jenna in to his life, and you want Jenna to “tame the bad boy.” (Trope-y, I know.) It’s fun, it’s fast paced, and it has a pretty startling conclusion.
My first Agatha Christie novel! I read this for my work book club and we all raved about it. I found the first 100-150 pages to be a little slow, mostly because there were so many characters to keep track of. It was such a fascinating premise: ten people are summoned to a private island by a man they don’t really know and once they all arrive at his house, they start getting killed one by one. It’s like a game of Clue! There’s no doubt that Christie is a phenomenal writer and I can totally see why her novels are so popular and beloved. I kept trying to figure out the “whodunit” but I couldn’t, and I was super surprised by the ending.
This book destroyed me the first time I read it, and even though I knew what was going to happen this time around, I was still just as devastated. The final 100 pages are just tough to get through. Why did I put myself through this misery again? The story. The story is just so good and I still have so much love for Harry. I know what’s coming in the last book of the series, and I’m trying to prepare myself.
10% Happier by Dan Harris (★★★★☆)
Dan Harris writes in such an easy, relatable way, which made this whole book really fun to read. It’s a book about meditation and mindfulness, but it’s coming from a skeptic’s point of view. Really, nobody would have ever expected for Harris to ever go on this journey, and it’s only after he has a panic attack on national TV and can’t find beneficial ways to control his anxiety that he embarks on it. Skeptics of meditation and mindfulness will really enjoy this book, I think. One of my favorite quotes:
“‘What you need to do,” [Eckhart Tolle] said, interrupting me this time, and speaking with uncharacteristic brio. ‘Make the present moment your friend rather than your enemy. Because many people live habitually as if the present moment were an obstacle that they need to overcome in order to get to the next moment. And imagine living your whole life like that, where always this moment is never quite right, not good enough because you need to get to the next one. That is continuous stress.'” (p. 67)
I’m not even sure why I requested this book on Overdrive – maybe I’m just obsessed with women in comedy memoirs? – because I’m not a huge fan of Amy Schumer. Her humor is a little too vulgar for my tastes, so I went into this book a little apprehensive. I was pleasantly surprised to end up liking it. I mean, it doesn’t compare to Bossypants or Yes, Please or Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, but there were quite a few great essays in this book. When Amy decided to get real and personal, and left out the vulgar comedy bits, that’s when she was at her best. I think she has an important message to share, and I think it’s worth picking up this book, as long as you can handle plenty of talk about penises and vaginas.
Melting the Ice by Jaci Burton (★★★★☆)
This was probably one of my favorite novels by Burton, and I was glad for the chance to read it nearly uninterrupted while on my cruise. It was sexy and heartfelt and had a male lead that made my heart go pitter-patter. I also really loved the female protagonist. I can get easily annoyed with female protagonists in romance novels, especially ones that are underdeveloped, but I felt that Carolina was really fleshed out and fun to read. I think the dark moment of the novel was a little silly and too easily solved, but overall, a very solid novel from Burton.
I’m so glad I finally read my first Sarah MacLean novel, after hearing her books raved about by book bloggers. I am a convert and cannot wait to start making my way through her entire backlist. I felt that MacLean nailed down the right verbiage and the right setting, something I feel isn’t always present in historical romance. She really did her research and it made for such an authentic read. And, maaaaaan, did I love Callie. She was so spunky and fun and vulnerable and brave. I loved every minute I spent with her story and was so happy when she got her happy ending. Swoon, swoon, swoon.
NOVEMBER BOOK STATS
- Number of books read: 8 (2,931 pages)
- Format breakdown: e-books (5), physical books (3)
- Genre breakdown: romance (3), fiction (1), nonfiction (2), mystery (1), fantasy (1)
- Number of diverse reads: 2 out of 8 (25%)
- Where I got my books from: Overdrive (5), library (2), friend (1)
- Money spent on reading this month: $0.00
What was the best book you read in November?