This month my goal was to read few authors from my TBR list who always make me feel a tad guilty that I haven’t read them yet and whatever other books caught my fancy. Without intending to do this, I selected all-female authors, which felt especially right after the results of the election. Ultimately, it became a celebration of women who give voice to a group who is still sadly considered less-than by some, but never by these ladies.
Girls Just Wanna Write … and Be Read
A little change-up today as there will be no loved, liked and loathed categories this month. I recommend all the books I read in November.
You Oughta Know … These Authors
I constantly see these authors praised and added their books to my TBR. And kept adding their books to my TBR. Now I actually know what all the fuss is about regarding these lovely ladies. I’ve organized them from most loved to liked.
One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
Book Description: Jess’s life is a mess: an absentee husband, a bullied stepson and a genius daughter who needs to get to a Math Olympiad. To the rescue: A selfish tech millionaire whose house she cleans.
Book Review: Some of you are probably wondering why I didn’t choose Me Before You as that is undoubtedly her most famous and highly praised book. And that is exactly the reason why. It’s been built up to almost Godly like proportions in mind and there was no way it could live up to it, so I chose a different book. And I loved it! I absolutely understand why people love her writing. The characters are delightful, flawed humans and I loved every single one of them, including Norman, the farting dog. I laughed, I cried and I hugged the book afterwards. I’m still going to wait to read Me Before You, but only because I’m not in the mood to be an emotional, snot-nosed wreck right now. Moyes, however, is definitely going on my must-read list.
To Read or Not To Read: Read it. It’s a funny yet pointed look at wealth.
The Lake House by Kate Morton
Book Description: Detective Sadie Sparrow stumbles upon the Edevane estate and starts investigating the toddler’s disappearance from decades past.
Book Review: I very much enjoyed this novel and Morton’s writing style. You can tell she is someone who plots her stories very carefully. It definitely made me think about the choices (and secrets) we keep and how they affect not only ourselves but those around us in ways we might not expect or want. At the end, a piece of the story fell into place in a manner that would normally make my eyes start twitching in annoyance but not this time. I just smiled, which shows how much Morton made me care enough about the characters to forgive a little contrivance.
To Read or Not To Read: Read it. It’s not a fast-paced story but an engaging one that I couldn’t put down. I definitely plan on reading more Kate Morton books.
All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner
Book Description: Blogger Allison Weis lives a charmed life but her growing dependency on prescription drugs threatens the well-being of her family.
Book Review: Weiner wasn’t originally on my list but my library did not have any books by Taylor Jenkins Reid that were on my TBR. So I picked Weiner instead and asked Jana (yup, our hostess with the mostess) for a recommendation. She, of course, led me to a great book. I loved how I both rooted for and regularly wanted to smack Allison and those are my favorite kind of characters. She was raw and real. She was in deep denial about her addiction and blind to how she was hurting the ones she loved most. Recovery didn’t happen quickly or easily, not was forgiveness granted immediately. And that too was real.
To Read or Not To Read: Yes. Addiction stories sometimes hit a little too close to home because we all have problems that we don’t handle well, even if we’re not turning to prescription drugs.
Still Life by Louise Penny
Book Description: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache investigates a mysterious death in the quaint town of Three Pines, home to many interesting characters and potential suspects.
Book Review: I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Inspector Gamache and his merry band of investigators, minus Nichol. Girl lacks more self-awareness than a real Housewife. I assume she has some point to the series that eventually pays off, but she was a drag on the story. The flip side is Gamache is great, Three Pines is full of colorful characters, and I have a new series to enjoy.
To Read or Not To Read: Yes. There is a reason you see Louise Penny and Inspector Gamache in some many Show Me Your Books posts: they are good.
The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty
Book Description: Ellen is a professional hypnotherapist who longs to meet a nice guy, but be careful what you wish for as her nice guy comes with a stalker whom she has already met.
Book Review: I expected to rate Liane Moriarty the highest when I started this little experiment. Obviously, I was wrong. This is by no means a bad book, nor is Moriarty a bad writer, but it didn’t meet my expectations — mostly because my expectations were wrong. The premise intrigued me and I kept expecting something crazy to happen to veer the book into darker territory. It never happened. (I do think her more recent books tend to be more that way). Just like the title says: this is a love story. I thought she was being sarcastic. News flash: she wasn’t. I found the characters to be generic and everything bad that happened was right as rain by the end. I like happy endings but earned happy endings.
To Read or Not to Read: Sure, especially those seeking more of a straightforward romance story. For all my complaining, this is not a horrible story but not a great story when you expected something deeper and more thrilling. Every time Patrick got annoying or whining or angry I thought now he’s going to kill his stalker! Woot! Woot! Those thoughts felt rational while reading, but I now feel like a jerk as I type them. So there you go: I am a jerk reader who likes it when bad things happen to characters. I also like it when they prevail too.
Girl Power Books
These books features some pretty kick-ass woman whether they’re falling in love or saving the world. Or doing both. We women are great multi-taskers.
The Reader by Traci Chee
Book Description: Sefia hunts for those responsible for her father’s murder and her aunt’s kidnapping using an odd rectangular object her father was hiding.
Book Description: The idea of a world where people don’t read (they don’t know how) appalled this avid reader. There was a certain amount of set-up in this book, which wasn’t bad but it isn’t until the last third where things start moving into place. I like Sefia, who like most YA protagonists has endured a lot, yet remains a strong, young woman. She doesn’t have the chip on her shoulder the way Katniss did, but she does have the same grit and determination. And what reader doesn’t love someone who teaches herself how to read and write, with her first words being: “this is a book”.
To Read or Not to Read: If you love YA and fantasy (magic exists in this world), then yes! I really like where this series appears to be heading.
Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen
Book Description: Nine women are connected by one special black dress that changes their lives.
Book Review I borrowed this book pre-election and almost returned it unread because I wasn’t in the mood for “fluff” afterwards. And boy, am I glad that I read it. The idea and execution reminded a bit of Love Actually, although the people really don’t connect (much) beyond the one dress, but it leaves you with that same feel-good high. I needed to be reminded of the power of love and how it connects everyone, regardless of skin color, religion, sexual orientation or age. I only wish we could have spent a bit more time with the Saudi Arabian sisters.
To Read or Not to Read: Yes. This is a fluffy, feel-good book that occasionally surprises you with some sharp insight and depth. This is a great book to read if you are traveling over the holidays and want a good book that will have you smiling and in good spirits by the time you reach your destination.
Who Runs this World? Girls Do!
And don’t you ever forget it! Next month, I’ll read my normal mix books without a care about the gender of the author but this was a grand experiment. It makes me deeply satisfied to see so many phenomenal women writers who write about strong, flawed woman who are more than Mary Janes or damsels in distress. They lead, love and kick butt.
And never forget …
I am a dangerous creature. How about you?