Monday, November 2, 2020

October 2020 Book Review

 Happy November! We are entering my favorite time of the year, and it's my favorite post of the month, yippee!

Yay! It's time to talk about books! I read 10 books this month and enjoyed most of them immensely. I'm at 85 books for the year, so I'm a little head of pace for my goal of 100 books this year. I'm glad to have a little bit of breathing room!

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway - This story focused on 3 siblings who were all adopted/in foster care after their mother couldn't care for them and them meeting each other for the first time as they are each going through some big live events of their own. Man, this story was really great! I loved each of the siblings and couldn't put the book down. The ending gave me such warm feelings, I was tearing up and smiling all at the same time.

Truths I Never Told You by Kelly Rimmer - Well shit. This book GOT TO ME. It was absolutely fantastic and gut-wrenching all at the same time. It was our BFBC inaugural pick, and Natasha picked an amazing book for great discussion. At the same time, it was a HARD book to read. It was a multi-generational story about women in a family and just about every aspect of women's reproduction was covered. The character development was top-notch, the plotline was really engaging, it felt so raw and read, overall it was excellent, excellent, excellent. HOWEVER, I would say it has several trigger warnings - postpartum depression is a huge part of the plotline, and it also covers abortion, so read at your own risk!

A Curse So Dark and Lonely and A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer - Erika recommended another great fantasy series! After The Court of Thorn and Roses, I was eager to check this one out. I didn't think it was as strongly written, but I really liked the characters, stories, world built, etc. There's a 3rd one coming out in 2021, and I'm really excited because where the second one ended has me really angry at some characters right now!

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt - Drew and I read this together over the past month or so...and I have to say I didn't love it. It's set in the early 20th century and Winnie is frustrated in her prim and proper family and then she meets the Tuck family who drank water from a magic spring and can't age. Given the chance to drink the magic water, will she? Would you? I thought the idea of the story was great {and I've seen the movie MANY years ago and liked it} but the writing style of the book wasn't great for me. I thought it was a little difficult for Drew to understand what was going on and the author took 2 pages to say what could have been said in a paragraph. I say go watch the movie.

Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard - I was gifted this book in my work book exchange that we do before the holidays every year, and you guys know I struggle to read physical books, so this sat in my room for a while. With a goal to read more physical books this year {and reduce my growing pile of books!}, I finally picked this one up, and it was SUCH a delight! It's a memoir about a woman who married a Frenchman and their life in Paris, and it focuses a lot on food. It was so engaging, tender, witty {I had several LOL moments}, warm...I had all the feels. It was also fun because each chapter ended with recipes. Now I'm not much of a cook, but if you are that would definitely be an added bonus.

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith - This was the latest Cormoran Strike novel, and man, these just keep getting better and better. J.K. Rowling knows how to write a book whether it's a fantasy story geared towards kids or an adult mystery series about a grumpy detective! I love Cormoran and his partner, Robin, found this crime to be very interesting {a 40-year unsolved disappearance}, and the character development, especially Cormoran and Robin's friendship, is very strong. If you haven't read this series, you totally should!

His Only Wife
 by Peace Adzo Medie - Such a fun read! Afi gets married to a man to appease his mother - because the mother doesn't like his girlfriend. What could go wrong? I loved this little slice of life in Ghana and absolutely thought Afi was a kickass character!

The Giver of Stars
 by JoJo Moyes - Oh my stars! JoJo Moyes does it again! I knew nothing about the Packhorse Library program in the late 1930s started by Eleanor Roosevelt, so I loved learning a little bit about the program {getting books to people who lived in rural parts of America, and in this story specifically Kentucky}. I also thought this was a really strong character story and loved the women depicted. I had such strong emotions feeling for them! There was 1 plotline towards the end that got a little long for me, but overall it was a great read, and it was another one where I closed the book smiling with tears in my eyes.

The Room on Rue Amelie
by Kristen Harmel - I ended the month with some WW2 historical fiction. I was going to say I seem to be slowing down on my WW2 stories, but this was my 6th one of the year, so maybe not! Ha! This story followed Ruby, an American woman who married a Frenchman and moved to Paris in the late 1930s and what happens to her as she ends up helping downed pilots as a part of the Resistance. I love learning history through these historical fiction stories, and while I don't feel like I learned anything especially new {the escape route storyline was covered a good bit in The Nightingale, and I've read several other books set in Paris that explore the Nazis treatment of the French as well as the rounding up of Jews - this is especially covered in Sarah's Key}, I loved the characters in this story and the plot was really engaging. It was a little far-fetched in a couple of places but not to the point that I didn't want to finish it, and by the end I was on the edge of my seat needing to know what happened. It's a bit of a bittersweet ending, and it wouldn't be a story about WW2 without some loss, but I thought it was a really great book.

Drew is continuing to enjoy the Magic Treehouse series, so we are reading another one together - one of the Merlin Missions. I think these are great books for early readers, and I'll be curious how long she enjoys them. Trent was over them by this age I'm pretty sure, but she still seems to like them!

Trent and I are reading a new book together that we checked out at the library last week. It is a struggle to get him to try new books, but when I told him a 12-year-old really liked this book {Mix and Match Mama's daughter...I didn't say it was a girl} he was willing to give it a try. And it's so adorable! This is a series about 5 siblings, and we are really enjoying it - he is even laughing out loud at parts, which I love. It's a series, so I really look forward to reading more.

I read a lot of great books this month that could have easily been my favorite...if not competing against a book written by J.K. Rowling! Cormoran Strike for the win!!

I started a book my Mother-in-Law gave me and laughed out loud in the first paragraph, so I've got high hopes for November. Happy reading!


Erika said...

Oooh excellent month of reading!! I'm gonna have to add to my TBR list!

Natasha said...

You read some great books this month. Once my library account is unlocked (ACK), I will have to put some holds on books.

Emily said...

I LOVE books that are plotlines & food combined (Save Me the Plums, Padma Lakshmi's memoir, etc) so I'm definitely adding "Lunch in Paris" to my list. "Far From the Tree" sounds great as I love heart-warming books like that. Interesting about Magic Treehouse because Aaron was really into them long ago but now has no interest while some girls his age still like them; do you think they appeal more to girls than boys?

Kathryn Bagley said...

Have you introduced T and D to the Boxcar children? omg I loved those books in elementary school! Far from the tree sounds interesting and your WWII book (the last one-I'm terrible with remembering names).