November Reads and Reviews

This was a great month of reading for me! This might be the most books that I've ever read, and while not all of them were hits I really enjoyed the variety. I'm looking forward to getting into more cozy books with Christmas right around the corner, so if you have any recommendations I would love to hear!

By first- let's see what I read in November-


Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant — and that her lover is married — she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son's powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations.

Richly told and profoundly moving, Pachinko is a story of love, sacrifice, ambition, and loyalty. From bustling street markets to the halls of Japan's finest universities to the pachinko parlors of the criminal underworld, Lee's complex and passionate characters — strong, stubborn women, devoted sisters and sons, fathers shaken by moral crisis — survive and thrive against the indifferent arc of history. 


I absolutely loved this book and learning about the history of Korea/Japan through the lens of an epic family story. There were so many incredible parts to the story and characters that I really connected with, but had to take off one star because it just felt like too much by the end. I think each "book" could stand on its own and would be better as a trilogy for each generation to really enjoy it and take it all in. I felt like I was transported back in time and really loved reading this!

My Rating - 4.5/5



Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why--or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man's touch--and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes.

Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he's determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather's last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.


This was such a fun and easy read! So many twists and turns and puzzles kept the pages flying. Already waiting for the next book because (spoiler) you don’t really find out any answers in this book and instead find out what we’ve been searching for the whole time is the wrong thing. That kind of made the book frustrating, but I just want to keep reading. I think there's also a third book in the series, so hopefully the second won't just be a throw-away! The characters were great even if their conversations were a little awkward and cringy (they're all teenagers but talk soooo formally and always address each other Mr. and Ms.... why?!). Also loved a glimpse into the filthy rich life!

My Rating - 3.5/5



The Switch by Beth O'Leary

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen's house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She'd like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn't offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen's romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another's shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn't as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect - and distractingly handsome - school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

Such a sweet book- it felt like a big hug to me. Books by British authors just feel so charming to me and this was no exception. Lovely characters, lively plot that switched between Eileen and Leena (honestly liked Eileen's story line much more) and the sweetest relationships that developed. Made me smile and want to drink a cuppa the entire time to really get in character. Cute!

My Rating - 4/5



They'll Never Catch Us by Jessica Goodman

Stella and Ellie Steckler are only a year apart, but their different personalities make their relationship complicated. Stella is single-minded, driven, and keeps to herself. Cross-country running is her life, and she won't let anything get in the way of being the best. Her sister Ellie is a talented runner too, but she also lets herself have fun. She has friends. She goes to parties. She has a life off the course.

The sisters do have one thing in common, though: the new girl, Mila Keene. Both Stecklers' lives are upended when Mila comes to town. Mila was the top runner on her team back home and at first, Ellie and Stella view her as a threat. But soon Ellie can't help but be drawn to her warm, charming personality. After her best friend moved away and her first boyfriend betrayed her, Ellie's been looking for a friend. In a moment of weakness, she even shares her darkest secret with Mila. For her part, Stella finds herself noticing the ways she and Mila are similar. Mila is smart and strong--she's someone Stella can finally connect with. As the two get closer, Stella becomes something she vowed she'd never be: distracted.

With regionals approaching and college scouts taking notice, the pressure is on. Each girl has their future on the line and they won't let friendships get in their way. But then, suddenly, Mila goes out on a training run and never returns. No one knows what happened, but all eyes are on the Steckler sisters.


So disappointed I didn't get into this book. I loved that it centered on a high school cross country team and appreciated how it really got into the mindset of competitive runners. Besides that though- I found it to be pretty cheesy and the dialogue to be cringey. There were definitely good parts and the ending was ok (with some holes that were frustrating) but overall wouldn't recommend. I was especially annoyed that there was a big mystery throughout the book and we never got a true resolution about it.

My Rating - 2/5




Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

When Sarah meets Eddie, they connect instantly and fall in love. To Sarah, it seems as though her life has finally begun. And it's mutual: It's as though Eddie has been waiting for her, too. Sarah has never been so certain of anything. So when Eddie leaves for a long-booked vacation and promises to call from the airport, she has no cause to doubt him. But he doesn't call.

Sarah's friends tell her to forget about him, but she can't. She knows something's happened--there must be an explanation.

Minutes, days, weeks go by as Sarah becomes increasingly worried. But then she discovers she's right. There is a reason for Eddie's disappearance, and it's the one thing they didn't share with each other: the truth.


I borrowed this book because one of the podcasts I listen to has a book club, and this was the November pick...or so I thought. Ends up that I picked up the wrong book (they were reading "Ghosts"..which is about the same thing). There were parts of it I really liked, but then the plot got so unbelievable and felt like they were just throwing in everything to try to make it more interesting. I ended up kind of skimming the last few chapters and was happy when I was done. I mostly just kept reading to figure out what happened to Eddie, so once that was over I should have stopped.

My Rating - 1.5/5



That Summer by Jessica Weiner

Daisy Shoemaker can’t sleep. With a thriving cooking business, full schedule of volunteer work, and a beautiful home in the Philadelphia suburbs, she should be content. But her teenage daughter can be a handful; her husband can be distant, her work can feel trivial, and she has lots of acquaintances, but no real friends. Still, Daisy knows she’s got it good. So why is she up all night?

While Daisy tries to identify the root of her dissatisfaction, she’s also receiving misdirected emails meant for a woman named Diana Starling, whose email address is just one punctuation mark away from her own. While Daisy’s driving carpools, Diana is chairing meetings. While Daisy’s making dinner, Diana’s making plans to reorganize corporations. Diana’s glamorous, sophisticated, single-lady life is miles away from Daisy’s simpler existence. When an apology leads to an invitation, the two women meet and become friends. But, as they get closer, we learn that their connection was not completely accidental. Who IS this other woman, and what does she want with Daisy?


Just like the other book I read by Jennifer Weiner (Big Summer)- I went into this book thinking it was about one thing and having that completely flipped about 50 pages in. The "twist" was pretty predictable after meeting all of the characters, and it fell flat for me. Besides Diana, all of the characters felt one dimensional and just like cheesy caricatures (especially Hal and his dad...ugh. Worst characters I've ever read in a book). Overall it kept my attention and was a fast read (and I loved reading about Diana's Cape Cod life) but wouldn't recommend it.

My Rating - 3/5



linking up with Steph & Jana to show my books!

Comments

  1. I'm intrigued by the switch. Love your photos too, books in the wild is my favorite.

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    1. Thanks!! Decided to switch things up this month :)

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  2. I really liked Ghosted - it was not what I expected at all. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it.

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    Replies
    1. I think I was just thrown off since I grabbed the wrong one!

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  3. I loved The Switch and Pachinko and very intrigued still by the Inheritance Games. I also really liked Ghosted and have heard good things about Ghosts too lol

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    Replies
    1. I think you'll like Inheritance Games! I'm just waiting for the sequel to be available at the library :) Maybe I'll give Ghosts a try now!

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