Nov 28, 2018

November Book Reviews

Happy almost December, friends! I read 6 books this past month and I can't wait to share them with y'all! 2 were unputdownable, 1 was a complete shocker,  1 was an oldie by a favorite author, and 2 I really didn't care for...can you guess which is which??

Let's jump into my November book reviews:

(Didn't care for it)
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Lisa Jewell's newest thriller, Watching You. Thank you so much, Atria Books, for gifting this thriller to me. This one comes out in December and it's been on my radar for a long time! I was so excited to read this one because Lisa Jewell is one of my favorite authors. Her last book, Then She Was Gone, is one of my favorites of the year, but oh man I didn't like this one. In fact, it's probably my least favorite by her. I read it at the beginning of the month and as I'm writing this 20ish days later, I'm struggling to even remember what it's about...that should tell you something! I just didn't connect with this book. I thought there were wayyyy too many characters and that took away from the plot. I think this one needs to be read in one sitting because it’s confusing having to remember which character is which if you read it over a long period of time. 

Here's what it's about:
As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.

One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…

(Didn't care for it)
After that disappointing Lisa Jewell, I could feel a reading slump coming on, so I thought a YA contemporary was in order. That used to be my go to genre when I needed something light and quick. You'd Be Mine by Erin Han had a gorgeous cover (not important, but kinda is, right?) and it sounded like When It's Real by Erin Watt, which was my favorite read of 2017, so I decided to pick up this ARC that I had from Netgalley. Y'all, I was really disappointed in this one too. I didn't connect with any of the characters and the romance was lacking for me. Not a fan of this one!

Here's what it's about:
Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things. 

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen. 

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk. 

Erin Hahn’s thrilling debut, You’d Be Mine, asks: can the right song and the perfect summer on the road make two broken hearts whole?

(An oldie by a favorite)
By this point in the month, I was 0 for 2 and the reading slump was in full swing. I turned to Lauren Layne to pull me out and she did just that! Lauren Layne is my favorite romance writer and I have saved some of her books for rainy days like this month when I need a sure fire book to get me back on track. Isn't She Lovely is one of her earlier books and it was a really sweet and cute story that had a swoon worthy meet cute. I really enjoyed this book. Not my favorite of hers, but so so good! Seriously, if you've never read a Lauren Layne book, change that immediately! 

Here's what it's about:
Stephanie Kendrick gave up her whole summer to ace her NYU film school screenwriting course, so she's pissed to be stuck with a preppy, spoiled frat boy as her writing partner. Then again, with her piercings, black-rimmed eyes, and Goth wardrobe, Stephanie isn't exactly Ethan Price's type, either. He's probably got his eye on some leggy blonde with a trust fund... or does he?

As the summer scene kicks off in the Hamptons, Ethan is desperate to make his snobbish mother forget the pedigreed girl who broke his heart. While Stephanie's a stretch as a decoy, the right makeover and a pastel cardigan just might do the trick. She may not love the idea of playing Ethan's brainless Barbie girlfriend, but the free rent and luxurious digs make a tempting offer. So does the promise of a ready-made screenplay idea inspired by their charade.

But when Stephanie steps into Ethan's privileged world, the "acting" begins to feel all too real. The kissing and touching that were intended to fool the Hamptons crowd wind up manipulating "them." And Stephanie faces a question she's too afraid to ask: Is Ethan falling for the real her or for the dolled-up princess he wants to see?

I'll admit, when I requested an ARC of this one, it was because of the cover. How gorgeous is this cover?? And then I realized the author is the same woman who wrote On the Island, which I read years ago and LOVED. I could not put this one down! Words cannot express how much I loved this book. I wasn't expecting the ending at all because I didn't pay attention to one key detail that was throughout the book and I'm so glad I didn't because that made the ending so much more impactful. I loved the way the author handled the main character's autism. I felt like it was done really well. I highly recommend this book!

Here's what it's about:
Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people's behavior confusing, she'd rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.

Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game--and his heart--to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.

Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She's living the life she wanted as a librarian. He's a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins

I picked this thriller as my November pick for Book of the Month and goodness gracious, this was an exciting book! I read this one in a day and a half. It was the perfect book to pick up during Thanksgiving break. I couldn't wait to figure out how it ended. 

Here's what it's about:
On their first date back in law school, Natalie and Will Clarke bonded over drinks, dinner and whether they could get away with murder. Now married, they’ll put the latter to the test when an unchecked danger in their community places their son in jeopardy. Working as a criminal defense attorney, Nat refuses to rely on the broken legal system to keep her family safe. She knows that if you want justice…you have to get it yourself.

Shocked to discover Nat’s taken matters into her own hands, Will has no choice but to dirty his, also. His family is in way too deep to back down now. He’s just not sure he recognizes the woman he married. Nat’s always been fiercely protective, but never this ruthless or calculating. With the police poking holes in their airtight plan, what will be the first to fall apart: their scandalous secret—or their marriage?

(A complete shocker)
I finished the month with Liane Moriarty's newest book, Nine Perfect Strangers, which was also our book club pick for #lalalifebookclub for November. I was real worried about this one, y'all. It has gotten a lot of mixed reviews and I didn't have much luck with her last book, Truly, Madly, Guilty. This one had a lot of characters and it was LONG (almost 500 pages) BUT I absolutely LOVED it, and I was so shocked at how much I loved it! I was fully prepared to DNF it because I thought it was going to be a dud, but I ended up loving it and thinking about it long after I finished it. Soooo good!

Here's what it's about:
Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? In Liane Moriarty’s latest page-turner, nine perfect strangers are about to find out...

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

Combining all of the hallmarks that have made her writing a go-to for anyone looking for wickedly smart, page-turning fiction that will make you laugh and gasp, Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers once again shows why she is a master of her craft.

So that's what I read this month. I'd love to hear what you read or if you read any of these!

Check out my other book reviews this year:

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