What I Read in November

Hey fellow book lovers! It’s that time where I review and share what I read for the past month. At this point, I’m at 103 books of my 100 book challenge for 2020. This is mostly in part to audiobooks. I’ve read about 12 books in print with no assistance from audio. The remainder of the books I read about 50% and listened to about 50% of the book. Nonetheless, I’ve been entertained and informed this year.

what I read

If I found a line noteworthy or it grabbed my attention, I’ve noted it here with the review.

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson I’ve read another Swanson book and have more of his books on my TBR list. I listened to this one completely on Scribd.

Years back, bookseller and mystery lover Malcolm Kershaw compiled a list of the genre’s most unsolvable murders, those that are almost impossible to crack – which he titled “Eight Perfect Murders” – chosen from among the best of the best including Agatha Christie’s ABC Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, Ira Levin’s Death Trap, A. A. Milne’s Red House Mystery, Anthony Berkeley Cox’s Malice Aforethought, James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity, John D. Macdonald’s The Drowner, and Donna Tartt’s A Secret History. An FBI agent comes knocking on his door one day looking for information about a series of unsolved murders that look eerily similar to the killings on Mal’s old list. Mal begins to do his own investigations in order to protect himself and some of his personal secrets unravel. This book came across as a bit dark and moody to me, but it is still an interesting psychological thriller. 3 stars.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah- Ahh, another Kristen Hannah book to love. I read this one on Kindle. If you loved Where the Crawdads Sing, you would love this one. Set in 1974 Alaska, Leni (13) has moved with her parents to remote Alaska so her dad can escape the dark cloud that follows him from the Vietnam war. Her mother is hopeful that without the stresses of the mainland and city, he will be restored to the man he was before. Unfortunately, the Alaska winters and darkness are too much for him. This is a story of survival, community, coming of age, mother/daughter bonds, and family violence, all carefully woven together. 5 stars

“In the silence, Leni wondered if one person could ever really save another, or if it was the kind of thing you had to do for yourself.”

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni I have read Dugoni’s crime thrillers and love them, but this is a different genre. A coming of age story so to speak, in which the main character, Sam Hill suffers from ocular albinism. His eyes have no color and appear red. His mother insists he attend a private Catholic school and fights against discrimination to get him in. The only African American kid in his class becomes his best friend. Sam tells his story from childhood to adulthood and how he finds meaning, purpose and God’s will in his life. This book addresses discrimination, race, bullying, and religion through fiction. 5 stars

“Our skin, our hair, and our eyes are simply the shell that surrounds our soul, and our soul is who we are. What counts is on the inside.”

I Wish You Happy by Kerry Anne King I read and listened on Kindle Unlimited. Rae find’s it easier to rescue animals than to have relationships with people. One day Rae’s car crashes with a cyclist, leaving the rider fighting for her life. After discovering the crash was a suicide attempt, Rae invites the victim— Kat—into her home to stay as she has no where else to go. Soon, Rae finds herself opening up to friendship and the possibility of love with Cole, the crisis worker assigned to Kat’s case. Part funny/ part serious. 4 stars

“Everybody is important; everybody is responsible for their own path, their own happiness. But we are still responsible to each other. To each other, mind. Not for each other.”

Beach House for Rent, #4 Mary Alice Monroe Cara rents out the beach house and a new character is introduced, Heather Wyatt. Heather suffers from anxiety but begins to discover herself and heal while sketching shore birds for her commissioned stamp art job. Cara suffers a tragedy and wants to return to the beach house. Heather won’t end the lease early so they become roommates. It was fun to have a new character in the series and a mention of characters from the Summer Girls series in this book too. 5 stars

Beach House Reunion by Mary Alice Monroe #5 Cara returns to the beach house again after living away for a few years and undergoing some major life changes. Her niece Linnea joins her for the summer after her college graduation and finds herself and love while at the beach house. Linnea’s father and family suffer some rough times but make some major progress in overcoming and not repeating the past. I enjoyed the development of the family unit and the growing up of certain characters. 5 stars

The Clause in Christmas by Rachael Bloome I finished this one on December 1 and would ordinarily wait until next month to share it, but since it is a Christmas setting, I’m sharing it now for those looking for a good holiday story. This is adorable! So much that I’m now hooked on reading the whole series. Cassie inherits a cottage from her estranged grandmother. There is a catch. She has to complete a Christmas calendar of activities to receive the inheritance. The bad news is Cassie hates Christmas and has never celebrated. The good news is that there is a handsome attorney assigned to oversee her compliance and assist with the activities. Not only does Cassies’s heart change, but she is instrumental in changing the hearts of others.

“Who knew something as simple as a topiary draped in lights and colorful baubles could evoke such an emotional response?”

Read if you have time

I don’t have any real criticism of these books in this category, but I didn’t love them and would not make them a priority if I had to read them again.

The Way to A Man’s Heart- Debbie Macomber A waitress and a professor meet and strike up an unlikely romance. I didn’t find much depth to this story, but it is a clean romance. 3 stars.

An Island Christmas by Nancy Thayer– I listened to the audio version. A Christmas wedding story set in Nantucket. Light hearted and has the potential to be funny at times, but too much was put into the adoption of a cat who turned out to be a major issue when the family all gathers for the holidays and the wedding. The meddling mother is also trying to thwart the wedding. I don’ like cats or meddling mothers/mother-in-laws so that’s probably why this wasn’t a favorite for me. 3 stars

Non-fiction

Blackout: How Black America Can Make a Second Escape from the Democrat Plantation by Candace Owens

I discovered this book through Tanya. I had not heard of Owens before but was curious about what she had to say. Candace Owens addresses the many ways that Democrat Party policies hurt, rather than help, the African American community, and why she and many others are turning right. If you believe every thing the media tells you, you probably won’t like this book. If you have an open mind, please read. After all of the recent happenings and all of the media hype over certain events, Candace’s voice was refreshing. Many of the issues she addresses are not just issues for the black community, but for all Americans seeking to maintain independence. 5 stars

100 Days to Brave Annie F. Downs An excellent daily devotional covering 100 days. I started in August and finished up in November. A great devotional for growing stronger and braver in your Christian walk. 5 stars

If you have time/interest

Miracle Morning for Writers: How to Build a Writing Ritual Hal Elrod I love the original Miracle Morning book and hoped to glean something that would help me get into a better routine for writing blog posts, but I’m not anymore motivated to write than before I read it. 3 stars

Creative Guide to Journal Writing: How to Enrich Your Life With a Written Journal by Dan Johnson I found this one on Scribd. I’m interesting in developing a journaling habit, but I didn’t find much of substance here. 3 stars

Linking up with Show Us Your Books.