78. Force of Nature by Suzanne Brockmann (5 stars)
Every time I finish a Suzanne Brockmann novel, I experience severe book hangover. I don’t want to read another book. I don’t care about other books. I just want to dive back into the world she created for me, again and again and again. This novel is one of my favorites from hers and if I could give it more than 5 stars, I would. This one is where Jules & Robin finally get their happy ending, though it’s fraught with a lot of issues. This book has drama, mystery, intrigue, humor, love, intensity, violence, and, as always, a happy ending. I love Brockmann’s books because her voice is so distinct and unique. Each character she creates seems completely real and alive and whole. She doesn’t follow the typical conventions of writing and it always feels more natural that way. This is the way character’s talk and think and feel and do. It’s not stilted or cheesy or awkward. It’s honest and authentic. Another fabulous read from her. I never get tired of her books.
79. Cowboy Comes Back by Jeannie Watts (2 stars)
A very cheesy romance novel and I felt so apathetic about this novel that I actually hoped the characters wouldn’t get together at the end. The writing was fine, but I didn’t believe in the characters or them falling in love. I always have low expectations for my Harlequin romance novels, but this one just really fell flat.
80. The Bungalow by Sarah Jio (2 stars)
Oy. This review is not going to be pretty. I have really enjoyed the two novels I’ve read from Jio, but this one was a disappointment. I spent most of the book knowing the two characters weren’t going to get their happy ending (it’s quite apparent from the book synopsis), so I felt myself trying to not get attached to either character. I didn’t want to fall in love with them, or their story, because it was going to come to an end. And this isn’t the place where I say I did fall in love with them regardless, because I didn’t. I found the story a bit contrived, the characters a bit stilted, and the whole plot just ended up making me angry. All in all, not one of her better books.
81. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay (5 stars)
This was the October pick for book club, due to a recommendation of one of our members. I had heard great things about the book and was really happy that I “had” to read it! In this novel, something terrible has happened to the main character (Nastya) but we, as the readers, don’t know what it is. But it has crushed her, broken her, and now she doesn’t talk. At all. She has moved in with her older sister and starts attending a new school. It’s here she meets Josh, who ends up being her savior, her rock, and the first person she deigns to speak to in over a year. Throughout the story, bits and pieces of what happened to Nastya are revealed, and as they are revealed, you see Nastya slowly to start to repair herself. It’s part-mystery, part-love story, part-coming of age.
The writing is incredible, as is the character development. And the ending is just perfect. It’s not neat ort tidy, but you can tell Nastya is going to be okay. A phenomenal read and one I highly recommend!
82. A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans (3 stars)
This book follows Rachel Held Evans for a year, as she attempts to live out biblical womanhood as literally as possible. I have had this book as “to be read” for a long time and finally had the chance to read it this month. I was intrigued by the concept and was interested in someone such as Evans – more liberal than most! – taking this on. I felt she would give a more honest take than someone who may be more conservative. There is a lot of criticism surrounding the book and I don’t think all of it is unfair or wrong, some people do make very valid arguments. But I’m not going to delve into those, as they get a little too deep into Christian theology for my tastes.
For me, this book was pretty good. It was engaging and Evans writes in a way that makes it easy to follow along. I even laughed out loud a few times – something that I rarely do! I do wish there was more practical application and more depth to the writing. I felt as if the author just stayed above the surface the whole time, without really digging into her emotions and her feelings. I also think I was at a disadvantage reading this, as a single girl, than as someone who is married because there was a lot I couldn’t relate to. All in all, though, an intriguing read on the role of womanhood throughout the Bible, and what it means to be a Christian woman today.
Oh, look. Another Suzanne Brockmann novel and another five stars. My reviews are getting boring because how many different ways can I talk about how much I love this series? Because I love it so, so much. This book was a bit different, more love story and less thriller. (The thriller parts felt a bit weak, to be honest. But I’m not holding it against her, because I still loved this book so much.) It was the story of Robin and Jules, their wedding, and everyone getting together to celebrate them. One of my favorites in the series!
84. Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner (2 stars)
This book was a waste of my time. I’m sorry to be so harsh but it’s just true. It is the sequel to Good in Bed, a book I reviewed over two years ago, and I held off on reading this book because I had heard it wasn’t good. But I was stubborn and still decided to read it. Bad decision. The plot was slow, the characters unlikeable, and a horrible ending that was unnecessary and made me visibly angry. I really can’t say much about it, because I don’t want to give away things that happen, but I really would not waste your time on this novel. This is not one of Weiner’s better books.
Books read in October: 7
Books read in 2013: 84