December 13, 2016

November Books

#58 Summer Secrets by Jane Green D+

Emily Giffin called this book "Gripping and powerful".

That should've been my first clue.
The first 1/3 pulled me in well enough. It was an interesting story to start had potential. But then it just got boring. The end was annoying. It ended with a few sentences that equated to "off to live my wonderful life!" and sounded like a conclusion a 7th grader would come up with. I feel that it got lazy toward the end.
This is my second Jane Green book and will probably be my last. I thought maybe it'd be a good story and it just really wasn't.

Jane Green used the word delicious at least 6 times in reference to a person.
I can't abide by this: "...joining my delicious daughter in the kitchen..."
Her use of the word delicious is why I'm probably done with her books. I just can't get past it.

#59 Forever Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid B-
I hate that I liked this book. I knew it'd be kind of depressing but I was in the mood for that a few weeks back so I finally pulled the trigger on the audio version. It took me awhile to finish because it was, literally, that depressing. I could only listen in small chunks. I, again, liked it and simultaneously hated it. I don't know what this means. It was well-written and the structure of going back and forth kept me interested enough. My favorite by Reid is still Maybe in Another Life, so I'd start with that one.
There's something very satisfying about having read everything by an author though, and now I'm all caught up on TJR.

#60 Sins of the Father (Rose Gardner Novella 9.5) A
I cannot even with this series. I love it. My coworker and I were gushing about it one day when someone asked for a book recommendation and later I was like, "Hey, I think we scared her...".

#61 Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist C+
I wrote a review on Goodreads if you're interested. I must have been feeling thorough that particular day. Long story short: she has a very prosey way of writing that is completely lost on me. I don't read for prose. I read for a-ha moments or stories. I found some really good snippets that I highlighted and saved.

I couldn't identify with this so she started to lose me: I am an extrovert, through and through, and a deeply loyal person. (page 103)
And then: In our little tribe...(page 152). Tribe is synonymous to clique in my mind. I've been a part of tribes and I've been on the outside of tribes. I don't like the word, but this is just my opinion.

But there was good stuff too: ...that warped idea that if there's fruit, it must be God's will (page 152) or I'm finding that I get a little charge of energy from knowing exactly what I love and what I don't, and being clear about the two. I'm more inspired by a near-uniform, a narrow set of parameters that make me feel most like myself (page 181).

Sometimes I also feel like I'm not the intended audience for Niequist's type of writing. There were no moments of me exclaiming "me too!" because I'm not an extrovert and I'm not particularly outgoing and I don't really believe more is more. I've spent my adult life designing time for this "quiet time" that she is seeking throughout the book. My personality does not fit what she is describing herself to be so I didn't get as much out of it as a Type A Obliger might. I think of myself as a Type B Upholder.

#62 The Valentine by Denise Grover Swank D
This was a novella, but I'm counting it. It was a follow-up to the second book in The Wedding Pact series and focuses on Blair and Garrett. I cannot stand Blair and the continuation from The Player to this book was so evident...six months of marriage has not changed Blair. When she said she hasn't been sleeping because Garrett's been away on business for four days (horrific), I almost put it down.
In the end, it was only like 70 pages and I read it quickly but I didn't enjoy it very much. If you loved The Wedding Pact series, this will just annoy you because the story isn't long enough for Blair to endear herself to you in the same way she did in The Player.
Also, if you loved The Wedding Pact series, try Only You....super good.

#63 Not Quite Dead by Lyla Payne (A Lowcountry Mystery #1) C+/B-
When I finished the above-mentioned Rose Gardner novella, this came up as a recommendation. And there's like ten books in this series. I do love a good series, so I thought I'd give it a try. This one was free on Kindle, so go for it if you're even a little bit interested.
It's about a woman moving back to her hometown after dealing with a failed engagement. She sees ghosts and it takes place in the south. There's a teeny (very small) bit of Sookie Stackhouse to this story. That was my immediate connection. But it fit really well into the same genre as Rose Gardner. I will definitely read the second one but I don't know if I'll continue on. We'll see. This was good enough for me to at least want to try more. 
As a stand-alone, I'd give it a C+, and as a part of a series, a B-. 

#64 Daring Greatly by Brene Brown B-
So a lot of what I got from this book was a repeated from The Gifts of Imperfection. I can't remember if I heard this though:

Don't mind my Picmonkey graphic.

How true! I see "hustle" as a negative connotation, not as a "Oh, I'm working hard and succeeding" descriptor. If there ever was a hustle, scheme, or plot, it was perfectionism, right?


Also, I read the very short guide about setting morning routines: What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkamp, and then I followed it with What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend. It does make me want to read her book 168 Hours, which these two are based on, but I won't count them as real books because they were about 30 minutes each to read.

This is my Did Not Finish list for November. It's a long one.

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
I liked Kate's part of the story but couldn't get into Amelia's and all the texts and emails and online posts were boring. Would I have finished it eventually? Yes. But it was a library book.

The Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Also a library book. I just didn't care. I liked it when I was reading it, but I never wanted to pick it up. And I skimmed a few parts but then thought I might be missing something important so I just gave it back. Which is kind of sad, because I was over halfway through when I gave up.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
I cannot, for the life of me, get into a WWII book these days. I've tried a lot in the last year, but I'm burnt out on the genre altogether. Would I have finished it eventually? Yes, but it was a library book. There were a few very good paragraphs and sentences that stuck out to me so I think Cleave is good at writing. This book just wasn't for me right now.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier 
I was bored.

Linking up with Jana and Steph, and Modern Mrs. Darcy!


  1. I've been slowly slogging through Rebecca on audiobook the past couple of months, which is saying a lot since the version I have is only about 4 or 5 hours long. lol. Commonwealth went back to the library unread for me too.

    1. Oh and I forgot to mention that I felt similarly about Forever, Interrupted. I loved Maybe in Another Life though! One True Loves is my favourite by her, I think...and it might be because it was my first sip of the TJR koolaid. haha.

  2. Giving up on books is still a fairly new concept for me, but it's kind of liberating! I had 2, not 4, but that was still a lot for me in one month.

  3. I utilized the audiobook version of Reconstructing Amelia and I remember getting so confused with all the texts.

    I have One True Loves by TJR up next on my TBR. I loved Maybe in Another Life and have often considered rereading it.

  4. I read summer secrets and I think it was one that I literally skipped through a lot just to say I got through it, ha!

  5. I really disliked Summer Secrets too- it was the second Jane Green book I've read and hated, so I'll probably never pick up anything else by her. I've never heard of the Rose Gardner series, but now I really want to check it out! I had wanted to read Present Over Perfect before it came out, but I haven't really heard anyone love it. I've had Commonwealth from the library twice and somehow managed not to get to it both times! It's back on my hold list again and hopefully third time will be the charm!

  6. i haven't read summer secrets, only a couple of jane green books and she's definitely not a favourite of mine.
    forever interrupted is my least favourite of TJRs and I don't know why. i thought i'd be a sobbing mess (freaking amazon/hallmark/subaru commercials make me cry!!) but i wasn't.
    i still haven't read the second for rose gardner. it's on my kindle, so eventually i'll get to it.
    good for you for quitting those 4 books. i suck at quitting books. Rebecca was on my list for years and i think i finally took it off because i don't think it's for me at all.

  7. Lazy endings are the worst- I had a book this month that was FANTASTIC until the end and then it just drifted into "Oh it all worked out okay."

  8. "I hate I liked this book"... that made me laugh. You like what you like ;)
    I am high fiving you for not carrying about finishing books you just cant get into - you have inspired me on that!

  9. I can't stand "delicious" in reference to people almost as much as I can't stand "sexy" in reference to food. Like, really? Does that food have literal sex appeal? Are you literally sexually attracted to your food? Because that's what sexy means.

    I need to start quitting books I'm not enjoying. I'm usually just too stubborn so I at least skim the rest of it but it is kind of a waste of time.

  10. "delicious daughter" is definitely weird and would turn me off. I can stand "delicious" used in reference to a person but not your daughter. I'm really bummed because my library has very slim pickings when it comes to Taylor Jenkins Reid and I've heard so many good things about her. I really enjoyed Rising Strong by Brene Brown and put Daring Greatly and the Imperfections book on my TBR but when I read their book descriptions, they all seem very much the same.

  11. I have a hard time staying engaged in books these days, I try so hard and I fail.

  12. I liked Jane Green when I was like 23. Her books have steadily gone downhill and now just bother me. I re-read one of hers that I loved when I was like 23 and it was horrible. I obviously have just gotten better taste in authors.

  13. LOL. I thought it was hilarious when you said Emily Giffin's praise should have been your first clue about not liking a book.

  14. thanks for sharing! sorry you didn't really LOVE that many books in your reading this past month.


  15. I liked Reconstructing Amelia. I read Summer Secrets a long time ago, so don't remember much about it. Looking at Goodreads I liked some of her earlier books, but I haven't read anything of hers in a long time. You have me intrigued by the Shauna Niequist. I am a huge introvert, but also fall into the Type A, Obliger category so I may find this book interesting.

  16. I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't like the whole 'hustle' concept. I also struggle with 'tribe', mostly because I think it dances the line of cultural appropriation, why can't you simply have a close group of friends? I don't think there needs to be a brand or pop culture reference associated with the people who you share your life with.

  17. I LOVE Laura Vanderkam!!

    I have many thoughts and feelings on the word "hustle". Most of them are not very nice.

  18. I have been wanting to read Daring Greatly but now second guessing it if its mostly a repeat of Gifts of Imperfection (which I really liked but don't necessarily want to read agin)


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