Hello, dearest readers! I took a blogging hiatus for Thanksgiving last week, and I hope y’all had a wonderful time celebrating. Now that November has come to an end, I’m back and ready to share my November review wrap up with y’all!
I didn’t get as much reading done this month as I anticipated, but that’s okay. I already reviewed Murder on the Orient Express, so here are my other reviews for the month:
TRULY MADLY GUILTY by Liane Moriarty
First and foremost, thank you so much to the publisher for sending me a free copy of this book after I won it in a giveaway! This story follows three couples who get together for a barbecue, but what happens at the barbecue alters their lives and relationships in ways no one saw coming.
Unfortunately, this book didn’t do it for me. The chapters alternate to before, during, and after the barbecue, but it was a good 250 pages before we got to what happened. They alluded to the barbecue so much before revealing the events, and I wanted to scream JUST TELL ME. What was meant to add to the mystery ended up being a source of frustration. I was so sick of hearing about it, but not being told anything. I appreciate an air of mystery, but I wish I would’ve gotten pieces to put together instead of vague references, but no clues. When I finally found out what happened, I was underwhelmed. With all the allusions, I was expecting to be more shocked.
I also felt like the beginning could have been whittled down. I appreciate character development, but if it had been more concise, I would’ve gotten to the barbecue more quickly. Connecting to the characters was another issue. I kept forgetting who was married to whom, and I didn’t connect personally to their stories. Strangely enough, my favorite character was Harry, the crotchety elderly neighbor. He was a minor character, but the one chapter told from his POV made me empathize with him and understand him. I wish I’d had a similar reaction to the other characters.
Once I passed what happened at the barbecue, the story did pick up, so I was glad about that. I enjoyed the second half much more than the first half. I knew to expect a slow beginning, so I’m glad I was prepared for it, and I’m told some of Moriarty’s other works might be more to my taste. With that in mind, I might pick up another one of her works to see how it compares. Overall, this one fell flat for me, but as mentioned, I did enjoy the second half more, and I appreciate the free copy from the publisher!
RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard
I was in the mood for a fun young adult fantasy, and I got exactly what I was looking for with RED QUEEN. This story is set in a world where people are split by blood, Red and Silver. The Silvers wield incredible powers which enable them to suppress the Reds, who are normal, powerless people. The Reds are enslaved to the Silvers with no foreseeable way to change their fates.
Mare Barrow, a Red girl, discovers she has Silver powers. This is unheard of, so the Silver royalty hides her identity as best they can, claiming she’s a Silver child who was adopted by Reds. Mare is forced to live in the palace, where she is betrothed to the prince so the royal family can keep her under their control. What they don’t know is Mare is working with the Red Guard, a resistance group fighting for justice. While Mare pretends to be a willing member of the Silver world, she’s fighting for the people she knows and loves. But it’s not long before Mare is swept up into lies, betrayal, and a fight for her own survival.
I’d heard good things about the story, so I picked up the audiobook. I’m usually not an audio book person, but I really enjoyed that experience with this story. The reader was engaging, and she made me want to keep listening. RED QUEEN was exciting and full of all the elements we know and love in YA, but with fun, fresh twists.
ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr
Surprise, I read a World War II histfic this month! I know y’all are shocked. After how much I loved LILAC GIRLS and THE NIGHTINGALE, I was told I’d love this book, too. Once again, bookstagram did not let me down, so I saved the best review for last.
This story follows two children whose paths cross during World War II. Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a French girl whose father is the lock master for the Museum of Natural History. She went blind when she was six. Her father built a wooden model of the city so she could memorize the layout with her fingers. When the war breaks out, her father must protect a valuable jewel from the museum–or he could have been given one of the replicas, but he must treat it as if it’s authentic. He and Marie-Laure flee to stay with her uncle in Saint-Malo, and he builds her a model of the new town. But when her father disappears, it’s up to Marie-Laure to figure out where he hid the jewel and how to keep it safe from enemy hands.
Meanwhile, in Germany, Werner Pfennig grows up in an orphanage with his sister. He becomes enamored with building and fixing radios, and his skills eventually earn him a position as a Resistance tracker. These skills lead him to Saint-Malo. When his path crosses with Marie-Laure’s, he recalls a time when technology was a wonder and not a weapon. He must decide if he’s going to continue wielding his craft as a means of destruction.
It’s easy to see why this novel won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The writing style is absolutely stunning, the story is deep and complex, and it’s one I read slowly to ensure I absorbed every meticulously crafted detail. The author spent ten years on this work, and it shows. It’s an absolutely stunning piece of art.
So there’s my November review wrap up! I’ll be honest, I don’t have high hopes for December’s wrap up having many more books than this one, but we’ll see how I do!