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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Books of November 2016

Happy last day of November! Life slowed down a bit – or maybe my books got fluffier – but I was able to maintain a quicker reading pace. My last book of the month took eons, but I'll let it slide because it was somewhat entertaining (more below).

This month was full of ups and downs. Personal ups: work slowed down and I had more time than normal to relax, our house is clean and decorated for Christmas, we went on a mini trip to Indianapolis, I ran through several parks, we met up with friends, and Thanksgiving was lovely. The downs of this month were related to news: post-election politics, the OSU attack earlier this week, and the Tennessee fires. Sometimes it's tough to balance your own lovely life with the bleak news of the world without feeling too selfish. I'm not sure this is an appropriate intro for my monthly book post, but there it is...

Anyway, on to the books I read:
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What Light by Jay Asher
Review: 4 / 5
It's been a long time since I've read a normal, non sci-fi or scary missing girls YA novel. To compare it to something else, this felt similar to a Sarah Dessen book. It was a nice Christmas-y setting without being over the top cheesy. The main character was grating at times, but honestly, what teenager isn't? I didn't love this, but I obviously liked it enough to read it in one day. I think it's more of a 3.5, but I'll round up because I want the author to keep writing books. ;)

Replica by Lauren Oliver 
Review: 4 / 5
This book had an interesting structure: you can read Lyra's story, then Gemma's (or vice versa), or you can read them each one chapter at a time. I went the chapter at a time route so the story would be fresh in my mind. I liked the concept of this one. I'm not 100% sure about the ending and would have liked to hear more from Gemma's parents, but you know, I really appreciate that this wasn't another YA trilogy. I suppose there are similarities between this and other sci-fi stories, but I think it would make a good movie or even a show.

P.S. Grrrrr since I read this it's been changed to "Replica #1" on Goodreads which means it is, in fact, a series. 

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
Review: 4 / 5
As always, Telgemeier's books are beautifully illustrated and this one is no exception. The theme is a bit odd for me after her memoirs and Drama, but I went with it. It was a heavy background for a story about ghosts, and I'm not sure I suspended disbelief or understand how Maya will end up, but I respect the author's path. Unfortunately, there are several negative reviews on Goodreads that make me wonder if I'm uninformed and should be offended by this story (using Day of the Dead as a basis). I'd be curious to see what others think.

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson 
Review: 4.5 / 5 
I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. 

I enjoyed this mystery/thriller and would have finished it sooner had I the time. It moved quickly and I appreciated the storytelling structure. I feel like some authors set themselves up for failure with symmetrical chapters from multiple narrators, but this was a a nice variety with the omniscient narrator following various characters over different timelines. I thought the mystery unraveled nicely, and while I wasn't completely shocked in the last third, it was a solid story. One of the best novels I've won in a Goodreads giveaway. 

Review: 2.5 / 5 
I didn't know who this guy was, but his book was a nominee for the Goodreads best of 2016, so when I saw it at the library in Indianapolis, I picked it up on a whim. It only took a few hours to read and I loved the artwork at the beginning of each chapter. 

I don't know if you need to read his first book to love this, but I was able to get a decent grasp of this guy after a few stories. He's a YouTube star and "director." I enjoyed his last essay about ignoring critics and doing your thing. Unfortunately his "thing" is not my jam, but it obviously works for lots of teens/true millennials, so you do you, Shane. 

P.S. A blurb on the back compared him to David Sedaris. Not yet, but if he works on his writing, maybe someday!

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
Review: 3 / 5
Technically, this was well-written and well-researched, so I'll give those elements a 5. But it took me forever to get through. It went fast when I actually read, but I found myself avoiding it. In fact, it's now overdue from the library. 

Regardless of my laziness, it is a good book, but there was something missing. I kind of felt the same with The Host. Clinical tone, one-dimensional characters, with hyper-realistic details related to the main character's field of study. Say what you will about Twilight, but I flew through those books because I had to know what would happen. (The last few movies sucked, by the way.) I never felt that urgency with this book. It's been compared to the Bourne Identity and I get it because that was another book I found pretty lifeless and dry. And like BI, I think this would make a better movie or even TV series. 

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As always, these reviews were taken from my Goodreads. For past months, click here.

What's the last book you read?
What are you looking forward to reading? 


  1. I like to listen to books when I run. I'll check my library for a couple of these books. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I need to start listening to books during runs again. I have been on a podcast kick, but I'm running out.


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