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Quick Lit: November 2020 (Part 2)

It's the second installment of my November mini reviews! I read 14 books total, reviewed eight in Part 1 yesterday, and am sharing the other six books in today's post. You'll notice I was on a mystery kick...


HRH: SO MANY THOUGHTS ON ROYAL STYLE BY ELIZABETH HOLMES – I don't follow Holmes on Instagram, though I am familiar with her popular "So Many Thoughts" feature. This is a beautiful book and I read it quite quickly, but I did expect more fashion commentary and less royal biography from it. I liked the way the book had a section dedicated to each woman, but the structure within each section didn't really make sense. The text became repetitive, referenced outfits that weren't pictured, and just broadly focused on each woman's style. I want more than surface-level thoughts! It read like it was written by someone who is a fan of the royals but isn't necessarily knowledgeable about fashion. But I still So Enjoyed It and will love seeing it sitting on my coffee table.

A TRICK OF THE LIGHT BY LOUISE PENNY – This was a good addition to the series, though not the most memorable for me. I don't always love being in Three Pines because I find its inhabitants completely insufferable, but it they didn't buy me too much here. I don't always connect to the discussions about art in Penny's books, which is probably my biggest complaint about this specific one. However, I did enjoy some of the relational strain and developments that certain characters went through. I think that worked in the book's favor and kept me hooked when I might have otherwise felt a little bored. When I finished this one, I was excited to pick up the next because I could tell Penny was laying the foundation for some pretty big revelations. Overall, I So Enjoyed It.

A CUBAN GIRL'S GUIDE TO TEA AND TOMORROW BY LAURA TAYLOR NAMEY – I'm always curious to see what Reese's Book Club will choose each month, even if I don't always read them. But when I read the summary for her most recent YA selection, I had to buy it immediately. A book combining food and England? That's a recipe for success! And thankfully, it turned out to be as adorable as I hoped. The setting was perfect, the baking left my mouth watering, and I loved the heroine's Cuban roots. The romance was so cute, but I appreciated the friendships and the familial relationships, too. It was my favorite kind of contemporary – cute but with depth as the heroine dealt with grief over several losses. I So Enjoyed It and can see myself re-reading it, too! 


THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY BY LOUISE PENNY – Of all the books in the series, I was least looking forward to this one. The fact it's set in a monastery in the wilderness of Québec that became famous for monastic chants just didn't appeal to me. Thankfully, it was more interesting than I'd expected – mostly because the increasing tension between Gamache and other detectives was so compelling. The mystery surrounding the death of the choir director didn't interest me, and I thought the monks seemed a little interchangeable. Also, Penny seems to love art, poetry, and music, and sometimes I roll my eyes at the way her characters talk about those subjects. I'm a little bit like Beauvoir in that sense! Overall, it was better than I anticipated, but not a favorite. I So Liked It.

HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN BY LOUISE PENNY – Ahhh, my favorite Gamache book yet! Even when I was the most unsure about whether I'd stick with this series or not, I was always curious about the hints of corruption within the Sûreté. With this installment, Penny finally delivered on the storyline that's been building from the very beginning. I couldn't put it down! The mystery in this one was interesting in its own right, but it was the high-stakes search for answers within the police force that had me racing to the end. I am so glad I stuck with this series and got to experience this story! I've always loved how Gamache is a principled leader who chooses kindness, even when it's mocked or misunderstood. This book was such a testament to his integrity, and I'm So Obsessed With It

THE LONG WAY HOME BY LOUISE PENNY – I will admit that this book was a bit of a letdown following the emotional high of the previous one. There were a variety of factors at play that led to that feeling. First, I have never cared for Clara or Peter, so I wasn't excited about the prospect of a book where they were the central characters. Second, I didn't love that the crime wasn't introduced until the very end. Yes, there's a mystery from the beginning – where is Peter? – but it wasn't a question I cared to have answered. And finally, the pacing was rough. It dragged on and on, and much of the story felt repetitive. Pretentious conversations about art bore me! Give me more Gamache and Beauvoir, please and thank you. Penny's writing was still lovely, so I will tepidly say I So Liked It.

What have you been reading lately?

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