Quick Lit: November 2018

I know, I know. It's sad that I'm just now reviewing books from November 2018, but let's hope that I'll never get this far behind again. A girl can dream! I read 30 books in November, and I've written mini reviews for 13 of them in today's post. At the end of the post, I briefly mention the other 17 books. As always, check out the Quick Lit linkup that's hosted by Modern Mrs. Darcy for more reviews and recommendations.

THE SCORPIO RACES BY MAGGIE STIEFVATER – I've loved The Scorpio Races ever since I first read it in 2012. "It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die." I had that opening line rattling around in my head and decided to re-read this to start off November. I love Sean and Puck so much, and Thisby feels like a real place. I'm sad that I can't visit this island of myth and mystery! The atmospheric setting + the gripping horse race + the blossoming romance + the quotable writing all add up to an excellent read, and I'm So Obsessed With It.

STRANGE THE DREAMER BY LAINI TAYLOR – I have no idea why I didn't read this book the minute it came out! Taylor's writing is lyrical, and the world is so creative. It gets off to a slow start off, but I couldn't put it down by the end. One of the things I love most is how deeply invested I was in the characters! They come alive with Taylor's words, and I was so swept up in their dreams and nightmares. I enjoyed the exploration of heroes vs. monsters and how that paralleled themes from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. I am, of course, So Obsessed With It.

MUSE OF NIGHTMARES BY LAINI TAYLOR – After the dramatic end of Strange the Dreamer, I couldn't wait to pick up the sequel! I love that these books are a duology. The richness of the world deserved more than one book, but the story stayed tightly plotted and paced because it didn't span three. Taylor surprised me at multiple points in this story, and I loved the new characters. It expanded the world even further and added so much depth to the themes. But my favorite part was the small nod to her DOSAB series. ALL THE FEELS. I'm So Obsessed With It.

THE DINNER LIST BY REBECCA SERLE – I saw this one all over bookstagram for a while and couldn't resist the pull of Audrey Hepburn. "If you could have dinner with five people, dead or alive, who would they be?" You might know your answer, but what if it actually happened? That's the  intriguing premise of this book, and I wish I'd enjoyed the execution of it more. The heroine's list was so uninspired! I liked the book at first, but I got tired of it the longer it went on. It's more drama than comedy, and I wasn't invested enough in the characters to care. I'm So Okay With It.

WE ARE ALL MADE OF STARS BY ROWAN COLEMAN – This was a random Goodwill find, and I liked the summary enough to give it a try. There was a lot going on here – a soldier with PTSD, a young woman with cystic fibrosis, a nurse writing last letters for her patients, and neighbors unexpectedly drawn to one another – and I've found that I can only remember bits and pieces of it. I know the story played out pretty predictably, but I did like it was sweet without getting too sappy. I So Liked It while reading, but it wasn't the most memorable book for me.

THE CRUELEST MONTH BY LOUISE PENNY – The more I read in the Inspector Gamache series, the less I like it... And I don't think it's supposed to work that way? I keep hoping that I'll love these as much as bookstagram does, but I haven't gotten there yet. I love Gamache and his family, but the town of Three Pines is just so weird! And while the mysteries are usually intriguing, this one was my least favorite of the ones I've read so far. I'd say I tepidly So Liked It because of the Gamache elements, but I will give up on this series soon if I don't get more invested.

GIRL IN THE BLUE COAT BY MONICA HESSE – I have read a lot of WWII fiction, and this one just didn't stand out for me. The heroine was so unlikeable, and I couldn't understand her motivation at all. She changes by the end, but why? I can appreciate the desire to tell "a story of small betrayals in the middle of a great war," as the author writes in her note at the end, but the way it was done just didn't work for me. The ending got confusing, too, and I felt like it was trying too hard to be surprising. But it was fast paced and readable, so I'm So Okay With It.

FANGIRL BY RAINBOW ROWELL – I bought this in an Audible sale a while ago and decided to give it a listen in November. When it came out in 2013, I loved that it was set in college. That felt so different from most of what I'd read in YA! Alas, I still feel like that setting is so underrepresented. This was a fun listen, though I don't know if I love it as much as I once did. I still don't like the fan fiction excerpts, though I do love that Cath writes it. She isn't always my favorite, but I still swooned over Levi. The scene where she reads aloud to him? HELLO. I So Loved It

EVIDENCE OF THE AFFAIR BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID – Since this novella was free for Kindle, I decided to give it a try! I hoped that it would reignite my TJR love, but I wasn't crazy about it. Written as a series of letters between a man and woman who discover that their spouses are having an affair with each other, it was a quick and interesting read. But I wasn't invested in the characters at all! Their friendship progresses quickly, and I found it a little hard to believe. Maybe due to the format? I didn't enjoy where the story went either, so I'm just So Okay With It

ALL FALL DOWN AND ALL ACES BY ELLIE MARNEY – Though the first book in this series didn't quite live up to my expectations, these two won me over! I loved that the second book made me love a character I'd previously hated, and the romance just worked so well for me. The mystery was better, too, and had more tension. So I was excited to go right into the third, and it didn't disappoint. I think it was my favorite of the three because the couple was just too adorable! I loved the sneaky moments and the swoony ones. Both books get a So Enjoyed It from me!

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE BY LAINI TAYLOR – I decided to re-read this via  audio because Strange the Dreamer made me long for more of Laini's writing. I love how re-reading can make me fall more in love with a book, and that's what happens when I re-read this series. The characters, the world, the story, the creativity – it all just works so perfectly. It makes me emotional every time, too, even though I know what's coming. And I've probably said it before, but narrator Khristine Hvam brings this story to life in the best way. I'm So Obsessed With It.

NIGHT OF CAKE AND PUPPETS BY LAINI TAYLOR – When this novella came out in hardcover, I bought it right away. I loved the idea of an illustrated version! Though I listened to the first book on audio, I re-read this physical book so that I could finally explore the art. And while the book itself is wonderful, the illustrations aren't my favorite. They're just so odd! I know that fits the book and world, but the style just isn't to my taste. But that's okay! Overall, I So Loved It and highly recommend reading this delightful backstory for two precious characters.

As you can probably see, I haven't reviewed all 30 books in this post. I thought about splitting this post into parts, but the other 17 books were all historical romances. And honestly, they have all started to blend together a little bit in my mind. So, I decided I'd just do a brief recap of those books instead because it was easier: 

I read five books by Tessa Dare: The Governess Game and then the Castles Ever After series. All five books hovered between So Liked It and So Enjoyed It. They've got Dare's distinctive sense of humor and get too cheesy for me at times, but they were fun. I don't think I'd re-read them, but I can see why Dare is a favorite for so many.

On Kelly's recommendation, I picked up The Hathaways series by Lisa Kleypas and So Loved It overall. All five were so enjoyable, though I liked last best and the fourth the least. I think Kleypas excels with sibling dynamics and that's what I'll remember most about this series. Each book makes you love this family more!

When I finished that one, Kelly suggested trying Sarah MacLean's Love by Numbers series. Each book felt about 100 pages too long, but I was rooting for the heroines as they defied convention. I'd give the series a So Liked It. Then, I flew through MacLean's Rules of Scoundrels series and So Enjoyed It. The first two were closer to Loved and the last two were Liked, so Enjoyed is where it averages out. Once again, they all felt a little long but I loved the the camaraderie between the four owners of the gaming hall. That setting was so memorable, too.

What have you been reading lately?

1 comment

  1. I love that you basically went on a historical romance binge last year! The Hathaways series is delightful and I really enjoyed it (but not as much as The Wallflowers). And I haven't reread The Scorpio Races in years, but I do love that book and still consider it my favorite Maggie book!


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