Monday, October 1, 2018

September 2018 Book Review

I have no idea what happened this month, but I started reading and couldn't stop. I read THIRTEEN books. When I look at the list and see the books I read at the beginning of the month, I can barely remember them, ha. This is a pretty mixed bag of books - some fluff, some really serious and thought-provoking books, some pretty typical for me and some not. I know anyone who reads this post will find something they'll like - it was a great month!

The Address by Fiona Davis - 2 connected stories 100 years apart...we follow Bailey as she gets back on her feet after getting out of rehab and moves in with a cousin, Miranda, who lives in The Dakota to redecorate her apartment and discover with Bailey the story of Miranda's great-great-grandfather who was murdered in that very apartment. I really enjoyed this book! Often when I read a book that switches back and forth, I have a hard time getting invested from the get-go in both stories {I usually slog through the 'old' story for a while}, but this one captivated me from the start. And I never guessed the ending so that was also a fun surprise!

The Mothers by Britt Bennett - This was our book club selection for the month which resulted in some very heated conversations and also some very deep conversations, so you know it was a good choice. This was definitely not a book I typically would have picked up, but I'm glad I did. It's the story of how an abortion by one young girl can change the path of her own life and the other people in her life and the ripples that can follow for many years to come. Heartbreaking and hard to read at times. I didn't love the ending but was so intrigued the whole way through.

16th Seduction and The 17th Suspect by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro - I hadn't read a Women's Murder Club book since I was pregnant with Paige, and I thought both of these were good. The series lost steam in the middle but the last handful have been good. These are easy-to-read, shorter books where I like the characters, like the crimes, like that they get solved in each book. Definitely not anything to set the world on fire, but I will keep on with the series.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang - A friend from book club gave me this book, and it was such a unique tale! Weylyn was orphaned as a child and raised by wolves and might be able to manipulate nature? We read about Weylyn's life from the point of view of the people he meets/mystifies along his life's journey. A very unique and enjoyable story!

I'm Still Here by Austin Channing Brown - Wow. This book was so powerful. Austin writes about being black and being a black woman in the world today. It was such an eye-opening read for me to think about the way she views life. There were points where I almost wanted to get indignant as a white person, like 'It isn't really THAT bad!' but by the end of the book, I had to realize it really is and really made me vow to help our generation and the next do better.

After the War is Over by Jennifer Robson - This was the 2nd Jennifer Robson book I read {I read Goodnight From London in March} and I realized after starting it that it's part of a trilogy and this is book 2. BUT it didn't ruin anything to not have the first book because each story is independent, there are just overlapping characters. This book is set in the years right after The Great War. Charlotte was a nurse during the war and wants to go back to her life from before the war but finds that hard to do. Her best friend's brother, Edward, is an Earl and is suffering after being a POW, and she wants to help him, but she's also secretly in love with him. It was everything I love in a book - set in England, deals with the aristocracy, related to one of the World Wars, has a love story - it was basically perfect. {grin}

Moonlight Over Paris by Jennifer Robson - This is the 3rd book in the trilogy {don't worry, book 1 is on my nightstand} and follows the girl who was jilted by Edward in After the War is Over who decides to go to Paris for a year to attend art school and to escape the disdain from the Aristocracy after being dumped. While there she meets an American journalist, Sam, who has his own demons leftover from the war. Basically Part 2 of Allena's favorite type of book, LOVED it.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah - Holy crap was this book good! I basically had seen Trevor Noah's face and knew he was the host of The Daily Show but knew nothing about him. He's from South Africa and being born during Apartheid as a mixed-race child {called Colored} was illegal. This book was so fascinating- he took such horrific topics - racism, extreme poverty, lack of education, abuse - and made them funny. His way of looking at the world is amazing, and I was really sad when this book was over. My favorite story is probably the one about his friend Hitler {yes, that's his name} - if you had told me I'd be laughing so hard at a story about a guy named Hitler and something that happened in a Jewish school, I'd have never believed you. I am now a huge Trevor Noah fan and have watched some of his stand-up, and he's just so funny! 

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center - This is one of those 'chick-lit-but-a-little-deeper' books. Margaret should be having the night of her life - she just got engaged after all - but instead she is in the hospital after a plane crash. How she comes to terms with the accident, the aftermath, her recovery, her family...everything is a really, really good story. A bit predictable but not in a bad way. The ending was cheesy but again not in a bad way. I will definitely read more by Katherine!

Leah On the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli - The follow-up to Simon vs. The Homo-Sapiens Agenda - Emily warned me that it wasn't as good, and I'm glad I had that warning going into the book. Leah annoyed me to no end and had I not loved Simon and this world a lot, I'm not sure I could have finished it.

The Widow by Fiona Barton - Sort of a thriller but not one that's trying to be super twisty which I think made it better! OF COURSE the descriptions said 'If you liked Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train you'll like this' which I don't think you should say about EVERY thriller ever written - it's getting old publishers! Jean's husband just died {hence the title} and the story follows her, a reporter, and a police detective and goes back-and-forth from the present to 4 years earlier when said husband was accused of kidnapping a little girl. Did he do it? What did Jean know? Will she tell all? This was a pretty straight-forward story {there was 1 small twist which I did guess pretty early on} and I really enjoyed it. It could have been much harder to read {it's about kidnapping and child predators after all}, but I thought the author did a really good job of creating this story without being salacious about it. 

Paris For One & Other Stories by JoJo Moyes - JoJo Moyes is a pretty solid writer - I really like the way she writes and enjoy her characters. Paris For One is about Nell who goes to Paris alone because her boyfriend stands her up. I really think she could have made this one a full-length story, I thought it was so cute! The other short stories were all about the length of a chapter and were a mix of sad, funny, silly glimpses into random lives. I didn't like all of the stories, but they were so short it was fun to read them all and several were ones that I could have read more of.

Now I dare you to tell me there's nothing there that you could enjoy! Happy reading!


Erika said...

Alright I added 4 from here (sorta) to my to-read list: The Address, Beasts, and then the first two of that Great War trilogy. I'll add the third if I like the first two, hahaha. :) How to Walk Away and Born a Crime were already on my TR least, so I'm not counting them right now, but just FYI. 13 books in one month is incredible- way to go!!!

Emily said...

A great month of reading! I put Beasts and Born A Crime on my library list. I’m glad you liked The Address (Loved the ending) and I’m Still Here (from that book I already view things differently in my daily life). Agreed on Leah; such a meh follow up to such a good book.

Anonymous said...

I just read The Address, too! I liked it! She has two ther books in a similar vein - The Dollhouse & The Masterpiece. Both were good. - AP

Kathryn Bagley said...

After the war is over looks good! and the address!

Natasha said...

I'm so glad you liked The Address. I really enjoyed it. And thanks for reminding me of Born A Crime. I'm going to put it on hold as soon as my library website comes back up. Argh -- I hate it when it's out of commission.