It’s November! This month is packed with fun things: Dutch’s third annual “Running of the Weiners” race, the Turkey Trot (I think this is my seventh or eighth year doing it!), Thanksgiving, my birthday, and a fun road trip to Savannah. Woo!
Today, I wanted to take the time to review the books I read in October. I finished six books this month, bringing my total books read to 72. Since I’m obviously going to blow past the goal I set in January to read 75 books this year, I decided to bump up my goal and set it at 90. I’m a little behind (two books) to make that goal, but we’ll see if I can somehow manage it!
This month, my favorite book was Ugly Love and my least favorite book was To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.
1. How to Rope a Real Man by Melissa Cutler – 3 stars
This was a sweet romance novel, and is the third novel in Cutler’s Catcher Creek series. As almost all romance novels are, it was fairly predictable, but I think Cutler do a good job with throwing some unique twists and turns to get to the ending. The romance aspect was steamy, but I think the overall plot of the novel was a little underdeveloped, which dropped my rating to three stars.
While I love Melissa Cutler’s writing, I think I prefer her romantic suspense novels more than her contemporary romance novels.
2. The Marine Next Door by Julie Miller – 3 stars
This was a fairly typical Harlequin suspense novel. There was an engaging mystery, a sweet romance, and a precocious kid who made my heart melt. The mystery was creepy enough to keep me on the edge of my seat the whole novel. I knew things would turn out fine, but it was quite nerve-wracking until I reached the conclusion! I would have liked a little more passion from the romance – it seemed understated – but all in all, a good read.
3. Between Sisters by Kristin Hannah – 3 stars
Usually, I love Kristin Hannah’s novels because I find they have so much depth and character development. She really makes me feel something for the characters, and become super invested in their stories. For some reason, this novel didn’t have the same flow. I found the romance in the novel to be lackluster and really unbelievable. It fell flat and rang false to me.
While the novel starts off slow, it picks up about 60% of the way in, and then Hannah throws in a crazy plot twist that turned the book on its head. It was heartbreaking, in a sense, but also uplifting and I think if the romance had been better developed, it would have brought my rating up to four stars. I did like the development between the two sisters, even if I didn’t find either of them super likable. Not that characters always have to be likable, but in character-driven, heartfelt books like this, I think they do need to have redeeming qualities that make you root for them. In the end, though, I did find myself rooting for these sisters, which speaks to their personal development throughout the novel and Hannah’s writing.
All in all, a good novel but not Hannah’s best.
I’ve been listening to the Freakonomics podcast for 6+ months now, and I finally downloaded this book from my library to read. I liked it, but didn’t love it. The writing style felt a bit jumbled at times, and I had to read many paragraphs two or three times to comprehend what point the author was trying to make. (Which made me feel kinda dumb – ha!) I thought the different topics that were posed were unique and something I would never have thought to ponder myself. Some topics: why do drug dealers still live with their mothers? Did legalizing abortion have anything to do with the decrease in crime in the 90s? Was The Weakest Link racist? How important is naming your child for their future success in life?
It’s not a page turner, but it was a fairly quick read (I think it’s less than 200 pages) that made me sit up and go, Hmm.
5. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover – 5 stars
I am quickly becoming a Colleen Hoover fan. She writes new adult romance and I’m just in love. With her writing, her characters, the depth of the emotions. She’s top notch, and this novel wasn’t any different. Was it predictable? Absolutely. But when I read romance novels, I’m not concerned with something being “too predictable.” All romance novels follow the same formula and when a romance novels does not follow that formula, readers feel jipped.
It was a hard story to read at times, because one of the characters has gone through a life-changing event that forever alters his world. But there was also humor, steamy sex scenes (and I do mean steamy!), and a beautiful love story developing. I was rooting for these characters throughout the whole novel. It took me 24 hours to read the entire book because I couldn’t put it down for anything. I know Colleen Hoover isn’t for everyone, but she’s definitely becoming one of my favorites.
6. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – 2 stars
I was really let down by this book. I had seem some good reviews, so I was expecting a fairly lighthearted YA love story. Was it lighthearted? Yes. But I really have so, so, so many issues with this book. My biggest issue was the main character and her voice. She was not a believable 16-year-old. If I had to guess, I would have put her around 12 or 13. This read more like a middle-grade novel than YA. The characters were so lackluster and underdeveloped, there was really no plot at all, and the ending was super dissatisfying.
This is not a book I would recommend.
How many books did you read in October? When was the last time you were let down by a book?