November Book Reviews

Another month down, another set of books! I didn’t think I’d read as many this month as I did in October, but it looks like I came pretty close. If you’re new here, here’s how the ratings work.

Ratings

I use the Goodreads rating scale of 1-5 stars. I know sometimes it’s hard to stick to only 5 options…lots of times we want half stars!! But, half stars make things messy. My ratings tend to be on the somewhat conservative side, so keep that in mind. Also keep in mind that a 3 star rating doesn’t mean a book is bad. Generally, I choose books that I expect to enjoy (don’t we all?). If I do enjoy them, then they’ve met my expectations…so I give them a 3. Anything lower than 3 didn’t live up to my expectations, and anything above 3 exceeded them. I’m generally not looking for certain writing styles or plot lines or technical aspects. If something stands out (for good or bad), I’ll comment on it, but in general technical aspects won’t be the sole influencer on my rating.

Any questions on my ratings? If so, just ask, and I’ll try to clarify!

And now, on to the books!!!

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

3 starsThis is another one of those “give me a medal for finishing” books because it’s quite the commitment. It had been on my list for a while – Jimmie read it, and he watches the show, and I figured I might as well see what all the hype was about. Friends, if anyone can tell me what the hype is about, please do. I mean, I liked this….but it wasn’t anything special. It kept my interest, but frankly, it was hard to follow for about 400 of the 800+ pages. If I hadn’t had Jimmie to talk to about it, to clarify things that confused me, I don’t know that I would have finished it. I’ll probably read at least the second book though, because I do want to know what happens to a few of the characters.

All the Light We Cannot See

1 starThis book. THIS.BOOK. Ugh. I can’t even.

Ok, so seriously. This was our November/December book club book. I had the bright idea that we should read a National Book Award finalist. So we picked this one. For the life of me I can’t figure out why it has such a high rating on Goodreads (it’s like 4.2!!!!). It took me WEEKS to read this book. I had to stop and read fluff in the middle of it. It was so bad that we pushed our book club back 2 weeks so everyone could finish. Normally, 500 pages would take me roughly a week of reading easily, not rushing. Ugh. Even with moving the meeting, this one should go on the abandoned shelf. I didn’t finish it, though I got 65% of the way through….reading literally 15-20 pages a day for weeks because that was all I could handle. I tried. I really, really tried. So I’m counting it as read.

I have to say, I’m glad it didn’t win.

Woof at the Door (Call of the Wilde #1)

4 stars It had been a while since I’d read a cozy mystery, and I kind of got on a kick for them. I was also struggling to get through the book club book, and needed something light. Woof At the Door was perfect! I love cozy mysteries because they’re lighthearted, fun, and you pretty much know what to expect. This one was even better than I expected. The characters were likeable, and I loved the animals! The basic premise is Grace is able to telepathically communicate with animals. A Doberman witnesses a murder, so of course Grace has to play sleuth. A fun story, and I’m excited to read the next book in the series!

Sprinkle with Murder (Cupcake Bakery Mystery, #1)3 starsLike I said, on a kick. It took me about 6 hours to read this, and only because I took a break in between. Mel owns a cupcake bakery. When her best friend’s fiance dies with one of Mel’s cupcakes in her hand, Mel becomes a suspect. Obviously she’s innocent, so she has to find the real killer. Food+murder+slightly annoying female sleuth = classic cozy mystery. I loved all the cupcake mentions in this one – and the recipes at the end! Not a bad cozy, but not a stellar one either. Honestly, Mel and her friend Angie are pretty irritating at times. In truth, this one probably should have been a 2.5, but since I don’t do halfs…3 it is.

Love and Lists (Chocoholics, #1)

3 starsI read this because I really wanted to read the second one – Passion and Ponies. Isn’t that an amazing title? But I’m one of those people who refuses to read out of order….ever since reading that horrendous 2nd Twilight book. Shudder. I’m still not over that. Anyway. Love and Lists was actually really cute. Not as funny as the description makes it sound, but it was still amusing. And it was a quick read. Cheesy predictable love story, what more can you ask for?

101299

3 starsI started this in September, but because it was my “lunch break” book, it took me a while. The first thing I have to say is that if you’re at all squeamish, stay away from it. Right off the bat you’re confronted with a rather…heavy….relationship between Hannah (who’s in her 30s) and Michael (who’s 15). Frankly, it’s messed up, but that’s the whole point. As the book progresses, it becomes a novel about two people in Nazi Germany, and the aftermath.

Based on the way this got started, I wasn’t sure what I’d think of the rest of the story. However, as I read it, I came to appreciate it. The book is beautifully written, and has a lot of great talking points in it. I think it’d be great for a book club, especially since it’s a short read. This isn’t a light read by any means, but definitely one I’m glad I read.

Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea

1 starI’ll be honest here. I knew nothing about Chelsea Handler (still don’t), had never heard/seen her stand-up, and really didn’t have a clue what this book was about. I read it because the title mentions vodka. And I like vodka.

Not a good reason to read a book.

Maybe I’m in a funk, maybe I’m grumpy, but I did not find Chelsea Handler the slightest bit funny. I found her arrogant, annoying, and just plain offensive. And not in the “wow I can’t believe she said that but it’s really funny” kind of offensive way. I gave up after 80%, which normally would feel like quitting, but honestly felt like a win.

Book of the MonthThis month was easy. Unfortunately. I read some duds – it’s been a while since I’ve had a couple really bad books in a short period of time! Game of Thrones was good, but in the end, there was a clear winner:

 Woof At the Door

What books did you read this month? Any keepers?

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