Tuesday, October 27, 2020

October Reads

 It's here: my October reads post! I read 5 books this month....a much anticipated new novel, a horror book, a look at modern American life and the anxiety it causes, a sweet feel good read with an odd premise, and a cute chick lit read about family ties. How's that for an assortment?? Reading is for every season but I do love a good cozy fall reading sesh.....anyone else?! 

Here we go! 

1. The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult: Guys, I love my Jodi books. I've read nearly every one of hers and so I was thrilled when this one came out. I'm sad to report that it fell a bit flat for me. This book has a scattered timeline going back and forth between the main character's time in Egypt and her time in the US working as a "death doula." The information about the human body during death and preparing for death were a bit hard for me to read. Having up close and personal experience with death, obviously, certain things can be a bit triggering. This was for me. I liked all the descriptions of Egyptian stuff but this book was overall really jumbled and the metaphor of the "two ways" was sort of overdone. There's "Land" and "Water" chapters (2 ways) and the main character is pulled between 2 different realities for her life (another 2 ways). Also all the talk about death and the verge of death references is, you've guessed it, another crossroads and "2 ways." I am hoping Jodi comes back strong with a new book based on social issues, which I believe is where she really shines. 

2. Home Before Dark by Riley Sager: This was such a great book to read in October. This was a spooky ghost story with a very clever format. This book features a book within the book. The narrator explores the backstory of her father's successful horror book about her haunted childhood home and throughout her story, we are given glimpses into her father's book. I really loved reading both books at the same time. The whole time you're wondering---was the ghost story all made up? Or is it real? Without spoiling anything, the answer is, a little bit of both. This was a scary read and it was highly entertaining. 

3. Welcome To The United States of Anxiety by Jen Lancaster: I have read every single one of Jen Lancaster's books, starting when I was in high school, and meeting her at a reading in college in 2007. She typically writes humor based on her life and her work is whip smart and makes me lol. HOWEVER, this book did not fit into that category. Technically I suppose this book would still be considered humor, but it's so different from her other stuff that I was a bit disappointed. Jen's thesis is that the world is so chock full of situations that make us anxious that we were never meant to live this way. Yep. I'd agree. But....so what? There's a lot of facts and figures and while I appreciate Jen's transformation from a stauch conservative to much more liberal views, there's not much meat to this book. There's a ton of facts and figures but we're left with this notion (in my words) that I typed into my notes as I read "The needle for what's ideal is always changing so chill, sis." Umm, ok, thanks. I really hope Jen keeps writing but she goes back to her David Sedaris level vignettes. 

4. Anxious People by Fredrik Backman: This book was a DELIGHT. I chose this as my September Book of the Month pick and I am so glad I did. Backman is best known as the author of A Man Called Ove. This book also takes place in Sweden and the writing style is very similar to that book. A few things to note: The premise of this book is strange: a group of people at a house showing are taken hostage after a failed bank robbery attempt. The book dives into the lives of those together through flash backs of what brought this random assortment of people together in the first place. The cons: It took me a while to get into this book. I was pretty confused at first. I also hate the title and after reading this book, I chose a new one, "The Bridge" that in my humble opinion would have fit so much better. The pros: The twist toward the middle of the book got me good. I love when that happens! I really loved the way all the characters in this book are connected. This was such a wonderful feel-good read. It's a bit offbeat but very sweet. 

5. Always The Last to Know by Kristen Higgins: I saw this book at Target recently, added it to my library hold list, and it arrived just in time for Fall Break. This book was great. It's about 2 very different sisters (a wealthy/famous architect juggling panic attacks and raising her 2 daughters and a carefree art teacher with a love for big city life). They gather at their small Connecticut town after their father's injury requires him to need full time care. In the middle of it all is the mom, Barb, unhappy with her life and trying to decide the next steps to take. This book is told from the points of view of every member of the family. There's tender moments, romance, comedy, family secrets, small town charm, and more. I really liked this "chick lit" book.

Only 2 reading months left in 2020! 

Savor Your Sparkle,


Here are all my 2020 reads with stars by my faves: 

 1. The Confession Club by Elizabeth Berg

2. The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
3. *Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak
4. Over the Top by Jonathan VanNess
5. *Teach Like Finland by Timothy D. Walker
6. The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield
7. *Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
9. *Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
10. Finding Chika by Mitch Albom
11. The Sundown Motel by Simone St. James
12. *Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan
13. The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters
14. *Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
15. *True Crime Addict by James Renner
16. The Ingredients of Us by Jennifer Gold
17. You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
18. Rushing Woman's Syndrome by Libby Weaver 
19. Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
20. The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
21. *On the Bright Side by Melanie Shankle
22. *One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
23. The First Time by Colton Underwood
24. Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston 
25. *Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
26. *The Paris Hours by Alex George
27. The St. Francis Society for Wayward Pets by Annie England Noblin
28. *The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup
29. Girl Logic by Iliza Schlsinger
30. *Harry Potter and the Half Bloos Prince by JK Rowling
31. *Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crossley
32. *Happy and You Know It by Laura Hankin
33. The Honey Don't List by Christina Lauren
34. Ghoster by Jason Arnopp
35. All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
36. *One to Watch by Kate Stoyman-London
37. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by JK Rowling
38. One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus
39. *Stand All The Way Up by Sophie Hudson
40. *The Lies That Bind by Emily Giffin
41. Here for It by R. Eric Thomas
42. *A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler
43. The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton
44. Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman 
45. *The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine
46. *An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
47. Open Book by Jessica Simpson
48. That's My Son by Rick Johnson
49. Hungry Heart by Jennidfer Weiner
50. *The Night Swim by Megan Goldin 
51. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
52. *27 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand
53. *The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi
54. Beach Read by Emily Henry 
55. The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult
56. *Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
57. The United States of Anxiety by Jen Lancaster
58. *Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
59. *Always the Last to Know by Kristen Higgins 

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