Thursday, December 1, 2016

What I Read in November


I didn't get much reading done during my trip to Peru in mid-November, but I still managed to make it through nine books, including two YA reads. It was yet another good month on my bookshelf; no duds in the bunch!  

And before we get into my reads, just a quick note that today is my favorite day of the month: Book of the Month Club's book reveal day! Use my referral code to get three months for $30, plus a BoTM tote. I'm obsessed & know you will be, too.

Now, onto it. And tell me: What are you reading? 

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

This was a good enough read, but I really wanted to like it more than I did. When a sleeping infant disappears from her crib one night, her parents are the main suspects. What will the secrets they're hiding from one another reveal? It was a fast-paced story, but the writing felt elementary: short sentences, a lot of action but very little emotion. I probably wouldn't pick up another book by this author if this is her usual writing style. ★★★★☆

Evelyn, After by Victoria Helen Stone 

Still not sure how I feel about this BookBub buy, which some Goodreads reviewers have characterized as a "psychological thriller." I think it's more along the lines of the women-finding-themselves genre, set to the tune of a mystery. Evelyn learns that her husband, a renowned psychiatrist, is having an affair with one of his patients, a local teacher, & that together, they've committed a terrible crime. Evelyn is conflicted between healing & pursuing revenge - & ultimately does both. ★★★★☆

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

It took me just three hours to finish this YA novel about a teenage girl with a rare illness, which is equal parts family drama, angsty love story, & "Whoa, OK" twists. It was a little unrealistic, but that didn't keep me from enjoying the characters of Madeline, who's allergic to the outdoors, Olly, the next-door neighbor she loves from afar, & Carla, the nurse who's cared for her her whole life. It's also peppered with diary-style doodles drawn by Yoon's husband, which I loved. ★★★★☆

Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of BTK, the Serial Killer Next Door by Roy Wenzl, Tim Potter, Hurst Laviana, & L. Kelly 

A real uplifting read, right? I know, but I've had a longtime interest in serial killers (less creepy than it sounds, I swear). This was an incredibly written account of a decades-long hunt for BTK killer Dennis Rader, & the telling of the story is a collaboration - as was the case, in many ways - between Kansas journalists & investigators. It was difficult to read, of course, but a fascinating one. ★★★★★

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero

Proving that she's way more than just a pretty Hollywood face, this Orange is the New Black actress puts pen to paper to tell the devastating, painful story of her family's real-life immigration struggles. When she was 14, Guerrero's parents were deported to Colombia, leaving her - a born-and-raised Bostonian - to grow up fast &, eventually, to try to take on the broken system that failed her family. Well-written, spunky, heartbreaking, honest, inspiring... a real must-read. ★★★★☆

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Dunbar is one of 10 black students to attend a previously all-white high school in Virginia; Hairston is the daughter of the bigoted editor of the local newspaper. When they're paired together for a school project, they have to face their differences & rethink their belief systems, & then, plot twist: They begin to fall in love. This is a really out-of-the-box look at racism, queerness, hatred, love, fairness, & a whole host of other serious topics wrapped up in one really well-done YA novel. ★★★★☆

Girl Underwater by Claire Kells

Another YA book, this one about a college swimmer who is one of five survivors of a plane crash in the Rockies. I started to read it on the flight home from Peru & then thought better of it! It was so well-done, so gripping - it flashes between Claire's days trying to survive & her time at home trying to recover - but I found the ending so disappointingly lacking that it colored the whole story for me. ★★★☆☆

Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica

I read & (mostly) enjoyed Kubica's debut novel The Good Girl in April, so I was eager to try her next book. It was strangely compelling even though I found it, at times, to be overwritten & rambling (& the main character to be a total idiot). Kubica has a way with words & such a way with cliffhangers; this book literally kept me reading until hours past my bedtime because I just couldn't put it down until I knew how it ended! ★★★★☆

Before He Kills by Blake Pierce

This book needed a better editor, as I spotted multiple typos while reading, but the story itself was well-written & entertaining enough. It's the first in a new mystery series featuring 25-year-old ingenue Detective Mackenzie White, & while much of it felt predictable & a little bit trite, it was compelling enough, again, to keep me up at night to see what came next. For $4, I may buy the next book in the series. ★★★☆☆

Comment to tell me what you're reading, then add me on Goodreads to keep in touch & see what I've read in months past.

Please note that my "What I Read in..." posts include Amazon affiliate links to the titles I discuss. If you buy a book using one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of commission. Please don't feel any obligation to use these links, but please also don't judge me too harshly for including them.    
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