November Reads and Reviews
TGIF! It's been a few months since I've shared some book reviews, and most of that is because I got into a bit of a funk. Nothing was really clicking with me so I just took a little break (you can see some of the duds at the end of this post, as well as the ones that pulled me out of my slump). Well- in November I officially got back in the groove and read some GREAT books! I hope you pick up some good suggestions, and let me know what you're reading in the comments. Happy reading!
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife. You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen's The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage - and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
This was such a fun and exciting book to read, with a really unique structure at the beginning (no spoilers since this is the whole premise of the first half but woah). Sarah and Greer have such a great writing style to me (I also really enjoyed "You Are Not Alone"), and I just devour their books. I like how they give you just enough details to think you know what's going on, but it's all to mislead you. There were so many twists during this book, up until the very last page. There were no slow parts of the book for me and I loved every chapter.
My Rating - 5/5
Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory
Vivian Forest has been out of the country a grand total of one time, so when she gets the chance to tag along on her daughter Maddie’s work trip to England to style a royal family member, she can’t refuse. She’s excited to spend the holidays taking in the magnificent British sights, but what she doesn’t expect is to become instantly attracted to a certain private secretary, his charming accent, and unyielding formality.
Malcolm Hudson has worked for the Queen for years and has never given a personal, private tour—until now. He is intrigued by Vivian the moment he meets her and finds himself making excuses just to spend time with her. When flirtatious banter turns into a kiss under the mistletoe, things snowball into a full-on fling.
Despite a ticking timer on their holiday romance, they are completely fine with ending their short, steamy affair come New Year’s Day. . .or are they?
Cute book to get me in the cozy spirit, but a bit too predictable for me. Not enough drama or other story lines (slight spoiler- I thought there would be a backstory with Julia or one of the ex-spouses but NOTHING). Good book though with very likable and sweet characters- not too raunchy which is how I like my romance novels but a little bit boring overall. I've heard that the other books in this series are better, so I might try one of those next.
My Rating - 3/5
You Had Me At Hola
After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez.
After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had.
With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.
I don't usually read romance novels, but I somehow had two back to back! This was completely different than the other book and I really enjoyed it. There were actually two love stories wrapped up in one- the main story centers on a telenovela picked up by a Netflix-esque company. The stars have great chemistry together but have their own reasons to not develop a relationship. Meanwhile- the characters they're playing on the show are divorced but brought together professionally. Both stories were really engrossing and I loved the characters, as well as all the Spanish that was sprinkled throughout! Really cute (and at times steamy) story- if you like romance novels you'll love this one.
My Rating - 4/5
The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda
Arden Maynor was just a child when she was swept away while sleepwalking during a terrifying rainstorm and went missing for days. Strangers and friends, neighbors and rescue workers, set up search parties and held vigils, praying for her safe return. Against all odds, she was found, alive, clinging to a storm drain. The girl from Widow Hills was a living miracle. Arden’s mother wrote a book. Fame followed. Fans and fan letters, creeps, and stalkers. And every year, the anniversary. It all became too much. As soon as she was old enough, Arden changed her name and disappeared from the public eye.
Now a young woman living hundreds of miles away, Arden goes by Olivia. She’s managed to stay off the radar for the last few years. But with the twentieth anniversary of her rescue approaching, the media will inevitably renew its interest in Arden. Where is she now? Soon Olivia feels like she’s being watched and begins sleepwalking again, like she did long ago, even waking outside her home. Until late one night she jolts awake in her yard. At her feet is the corpse of a man she knows—from her previous life, as Arden Maynor.
Really great thriller- the writing was excellent and kept me on the edge of my seat and turning pages quicker than ever. I loved the suspense of piecing together what happened the night Olivia was sleepwalking, and adding more mysteries and weirdness along the way. A little disappointed that there were a few loose ends by the end of the book, but such a huge twist that I did not see coming (I think the author purposefully left out a lot of information so we would be blindsided). Overall a really good thriller and a quick read.
My Rating - 4/5
The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi
One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover the lifeless body of her son wrapped in fabric on the welcome mat. The story of that child, Vivek Oji, is the story of two families from disparate cultures who came together in a time of upheaval, and of Vivek’s struggle to be true to a self whose spirit and longings defy conventional expectations. Raised by a privileged, distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, fugue states that disrupt all connection between self and surroundings.
As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women resettled in the area. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand his friend's escalating crisis—the mystery of Vivek’s behavior gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of transcendent freedom.
This book took me on an emotional rollercoaster and was one of the most intense books I've ever read. Even though this is a shorter book, it was almost impossible to put down, with so much detail (every single word had a purpose) and a story told from multiple points of view that just captured you from the very first chapter. The story is a celebration and tragedy of a person who wanted to express themselves fully, and the friends who helped them while still needing to hide it from their family and society. This is SUCH a good book- one of my new favorites that I've ever read.
My Rating - 5/5 +++
Since I haven't done a book roundup in a while, here are a few more quick reviews of books I've read in the past few months-
The Mothers by Brit Bennett- 5/5
Another book written by The Vanishing Half author, and I actually liked this one way more. Amazing story and writing- covers so many themes beautifully.
One by Sarah Crossan - 4.5/5
Very quick-reading story told in free verse about conjoined twins who have to get surgery to separate. Intense story and unique writing style, but very compelling.
Tweet Cute by Emma Lord - 4/5
Sweet love story about classmates whose families own restaurants- lots of problems arise! Lots going on in the story but easy to follow and really cute book.
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite - 3/5
Interesting book (title gives away what it's about) set in Nigeria. Dark comedy with really short and succinct chapters that move the story along super quickly.
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel (did not finish) - 1/5
Tried to get into this story, but it was so convoluted with different time lines and stories that didn't seem to go together at all. Disappointed because it had good reviews- seems to be very hit or miss.