November Reads and Reviews

Good morning! I'm early for once to share my monthly books, and I had some interesting picks. I got out of my usual genre a bit and delved into the world of fantasy which was fun- but also had lots of romance as well. There were some hits and misses, but mostly I'm just excited for December and some more holiday books! Here's what I read this month-


Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Carrie Soto is fierce, and her determination to win at any cost has not made her popular. But by the time she retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Grand Slam titles. And if you ask Carrie, she is entitled to every one. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father, Javier, as her coach. A former champion himself, Javier has trained her since the age of two.

But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning player named Nicki Chan.

At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record. Even if the sports media says that they never liked “the Battle-Axe” anyway. Even if her body doesn’t move as fast as it did. And even if it means swallowing her pride to train with a man she once almost opened her heart to: Bowe Huntley. Like her, he has something to prove before he gives up the game forever. In spite of it all, Carrie Soto is back, for one epic final season. 

I don't know how I feel about this! As a huge tennis fan, I thought I would like this more, but it kind of read like a fan-fiction version of Maria Sharapova's memoir (mostly her grit and determination with her father coaching her at the start of her journey and being ice cold around competitors) mixed with Serena's comeback this year. Everything was pretty predictable and I didn't find the writing all that great (some of the dialogue was so unnatural..."I need you to do my greatest work. I am a sculptor. And you are the finest piece of clay I could ever work with."...ummmm???), and I also found Carrie to be really one-dimensional and super unlikable. But-it was definitely a quick and easy read that I flew through. This would make for a great plane book because you don't really have to pay attention much and it's very engrossing, but missing the magic of her other books for me!

My Rating - 3/5


Always, in December by Emily Stone

Every December, Josie posts a letter from her home in London to the parents she lost on Christmas night many years ago. Each year, she writes the same three words: Missing you, always. But this year, her annual trip to the postbox is knocked off course by a bicycle collision with a handsome stranger--a stranger who will change the course of Josie's life.

Josie always thought she was the only one who avoided the Christmas season, but this year, Max has his own reasons for doing the same--and coincidence leads them to spending the holiday together. Aglow with new love, Josie thinks this might be the start of something special- Only for Max to disappear without saying goodbye.

Over the course of the next year, Max and Josie will find that fate continues to bring them together in places they'd never expect. New York City. Edinburgh. The quiet English countryside. And it turns out, Max had every reason to leave and every reason to stay. But what does fate hold for Josie and Max as Christmas approaches again?

I thought this was going to be a sweet lighthearted Christmas book and it ripped my heart out! Such a sad book full of heartbreak and missed chances. I loved the relationships in it but it also frustrated me so much when you find out what happens (which is pretty obvious from the clues left but still didn’t prepare me for it). Don’t read this if you’re in a vulnerable mood but if you need a good holiday cry it’s great!

My Rating - 4/5


The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

This was my book club pick of the month, and I was really excited to read this after hearing so many great things about it! I did really like the book, and especially the unique premise. Addie was such a unique character, and I like how she adapted to her "curse". The only things I didn't like about this book were that it felt too long and parts of it just dragged, and I also wasn't a fan of her relationship with Luc!

My Rating - 4/5


Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan

Nora Hamilton knows the formula for love better than anyone. As a romance channel screenwriter, it's her job. But when her too-good-to work husband leaves her and their two kids, Nora turns her marriage's collapse into cash and writes the best script of her life. No one is more surprised than her when it's picked up for the big screen and set to film on location at her 100-year-old-home. When former Sexiest Man Alive, Leo Vance, is cast as her ne'er do well husband Nora's life will never be the same.

The morning after shooting wraps and the crew leaves, Nora finds Leo on her porch with a half-empty bottle of tequila and a proposition. He'll pay a thousand dollars a day to stay for a week. The extra seven grand would give Nora breathing room, but it's the need in his eyes that makes her say yes. Seven days: it's the blink of an eye or an eternity depending on how you look at it. Enough time to fall in love. Enough time to break your heart.

Very quick and easy read- would be perfect for the beach or any vacation. Was not at all realistic to me, particularly the conflict portion of the book, and a bit too cheesy (also didn't think the writing was that great) but overall a nice brain cleanse! 

My Rating - 3/5


A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas


When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a terrifying creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she knows about only from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not truly a beast, but one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled her world.

At least, he’s not a beast all the time.

As she adapts to her new home, her feelings for the faerie, Tamlin, transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But something is not right in the faerie lands. An ancient, wicked shadow is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it, or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

I picked up this book because this series always seems to win the Goodread's Best Fantasy every year. I didn't want to start in the middle to check off the book for 2021, so I went for the first in the series and I'm so glad that I did. I'm not a fantasy reader but really enjoyed this. It was a little tough to get into at first and learn the lingo, but once I understood what was happening I flew through this! I think this is a good beginner fantasy book because the main character is a human, and everything seems pretty realistic (in a fantastical world). Plus- the romance part of it was top notch!

My Rating - 4.5/5


In a New York Minute by Kate Spencer

Franny Doyle is having the worst day. She’s been laid off from her (admittedly mediocre) job, the subway doors ripped her favorite silk dress to ruins, and now she’s flashed her unmentionables to half of lower Manhattan. On the plus side, a dashing stranger came to her rescue with his (Gucci!) suit jacket. On the not-so-plus side, he can’t get away from her fast enough.

Worse yet? Someone posted their (entirely not) meet-cute online. Suddenly Franny and her knight-in-couture, Hayes Montgomery III, are the newest social media sensation, and all of New York is shipping #SubwayQTs.

Only Franny and Hayes couldn’t be a more disastrous match. She’s fanciful, talkative, and creative. He’s serious, shy, and all about numbers. Luckily, in a city of eight million people, they never have to meet again. Yet somehow, Hayes and Franny keep running into each other—and much to their surprise, they enjoy each other’s company. A lot. But when Franny’s whole world is turned upside down (again!), can she find the courage to trust in herself and finally have the life—and love—she’s always wanted?

This book was fine- it was easy to get through and really transported you to New York City. But- it felt so juvenile to me! The conversations, the inner dialogue- it all just read like a YA book. I also didn't really get much chemistry from any of the characters, and felt like there was just a little too much going on. It was fine, but I wouldn't recommend.

My Rating - 2.5/5


Audiobooks

Stuck with You and Below Zero by Ali Hazelwood - These two are novellas in a set of three that follow a group female friends all in the STEM field. They're quick and easy to read and have lots of steam!

One Day in December by Josie Silver - This was another book club selection. I actually read it last year so I just listened on audio book. Great Christmas read! (you can find my full review here)

Comments

  1. I was laughing as I read this because it is clear to me that we have very divergent views on books. Maybe you're like my book opposite and whatever you like I won't and vice versa. I actually listen to a podcast where there's a guy like that and I just go watch or listen to whatever he doesn't like!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh No! What books did we disagree about??? Now I'm curious!!

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