Tuesday, December 13, 2016

What I Read: November

How is it December already?! I can't believe we are in the last month of 2016. I have the week after Christmas off and I'm counting down the days. Also, we just booked our Christmas/my 30th birthday trip in January and I'm anxiously waiting for that to roll around. I'm excited to go on a new adventure with Errol. We're flying into Vegas and then road tripping to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Zion and Bryce Canyon. If you have any recs, send them my way!

On to the books!

Loved It:

I didn't know what to expect with this book and I loved it. It had the perfect mix of nerdy linguistics and action. Imagine if you could control people just by saying a word; that certain words contained enough power to kill someone. The story wasn't linear but it also didn't flip back and forth between time periods. It unfolded in a way that told you bits of the story and it wasn't until the end that it all connected. Some people might not like that but I didn't mind it and thought it added to the story. I totally loved Emily and wanted more.
A short but interesting book. I was shocked by the ending. I thought I had it figured out. Historical fiction is my jam and this did not disappoint. I know basic Russian history so I enjoyed learning more about the Tsar and his family. 
Alice is one of my very favorites. I will admit I was disappointed upon opening my Amazon package and seeing how slim the book was. I knew it would be over too quick. But I was happy to see that she was back to her old storytelling. Her latest books have been more historical fiction based but Faithful reminded me so much of her "original" works. I fell in love with Shelby and the evolution of her character. Something about her just resonated with me and it didn't hurt that she was an animal lover. The postcards and how everything happens for a reason.
Gamache #9 - Audio
I'm just so in love with this series. I listened to Beautiful Mystery earlier in the month and that was just so-so for me but this one, ugh! It was just so good. I don't want to say too many things but Rosa, Ruth, Beauvoir and the awesome-ness that is Gamache.

Liked It:

 What a totally fucked up book. I'm just totally shocked and appalled that no one, especially a medical professional, caught on to what was going on. The author was completely alone. If the foster kids get taken away because the place is not fit to live, how can you allow the biological children to stay there? Mothers like Gregory's make my skin boil and the bad part is they don't even know they are doing anything wrong. Part of the book reminded me a lot of Glass Castle in the way the mom and dad were so self involved that the kids were just bystanders. 
Gamache #8 - Audio
This is one of the series that took place away from Three Pines and those ones tend to not be my favorite. I miss everyone in Three Pines. This one took place in a remote monastery and it was really hard for me to keep all the monks straight while listening. It's also where things start to come to a head between Beauvoir, Gamache and Francuir (no idea if I am even remotely close on that spelling!). The whole thing with Beauvoir and Gamache is just breaking my heart. It's hard not to want to just shake Beauvoir and be like wtf are you doing?!
I don't typically gravitate toward essays or short stories but this has been on my list for awhile. Keegan's writing is good and I loved the title essay. Some of the stories were depressing but it could also be because you know the writers fate. I liked that it was split up between fiction and non. I enjoyed Cold Pastoral, Stability in Motion and I Kill for Money.

Leave It:

 I was disappointed with this book. I know it was made into a tv series and I've enjoyed some of Perrotta's other books but man, did this book drag on and on. I do like his writing but the story lost me. The whole book was pretty lack luster and pointless. 
Another personal development book assigned at work. I didn't think much of what Tracy said was inventive. Parts of the book were contradictory. Some of the tricks I already implement because they seem like common sense, like prioritizing your to-do list. It did make for good discussions at work. 

Poll: when you make a to-do list, do you write it down or use an electronic version either an app or something like Excel or Outlook?

Love It:Faithful & Lexicon and always Gamache
Leave It: The Leftovers

Life According to Steph


  1. I can't talk enough about how much I loved Faithful! It was so "Alice" and she just hit it out of the park with the characters and story!

  2. I'm totally on the Faithful train with you and Jen. Absolutely one of my favorite reads of the year. Beautiful.

    I have a very hard time reading books like Sickened. I usually just don't. Our foster system and child welfare systems in general are so F'd right now.

  3. I've yet to read an Alice Hoffman book. Faithful looks like a good place to start.

  4. I have Faithful on hold at the library but I probably won't get it for awhile. It sounds so nice. How the Light Gets In was one of my favourites in the whole series - I liked The Beautiful Mystery too but I agree that I like the Three Pines setting better for the most part.

  5. Sickened reminds me of a Child Called It and the subsequent books from Dave Peltzer. They're hard to read.

    I write my to-do list down.

  6. Faithful is my TBR already and your review makes me want to go track it down now! :D I'm just joined the Inspector Gamache fan club and read Still Life last month. Lexicon sounds intriguing and I'm adding it to my TBR. I have a really hard time with books like Sickened. They are important and need to be read, but I always have so much rage afterwards. I'm also old school and write my to-do list down. Granted, I always misplace it. But there you go! :D

  7. I have a paperback copy of The Kitchen Boy that I got back in college and I'm pretty sure I just picked it up randomly at a bookstore and I don't think I've ever heard anyone talk about it. I've never read the entire thing, but your review backs me want to pick it up again. I have the first Gamache book on hold from the library right now and am really excited to read it!

  8. Gamache is on my list! I'm waiting for the first one from the library, and then I may like it enough to binge the rest...who can say what will happen :)

  9. Lexicon sounds really intriguing ... I'm going to add it to my list!

    I've never read anything by Alice Hoffman, but Faithful seems to be getting quite a few rave reviews. I think I may have already added it to my list, but if not, I will today.

    Sickened sounds like the type of nonfiction I enjoy. Well, not ENJOY (given the subject matter), but you know what I mean. I like books that make me feel some sort of emotion, and obviously a book like that makes me feel a LOT of things. I'm adding it as well.

    I've seen that Marina Keegan book of essays pop up from time to time. I think I'll add that one to my list as well. Short stories and essays aren't always my favorite thing, but sometimes I'll get in the mood for them.

    That sucks that The Leftovers wasn't good. I've only read Little Children, but I absolutely LOVED that one. I wanted to read more of his books at some point, but I won't make this one a priority.

  10. I loved The Opposite of Loneliness -- I preferred the first half though, the fiction stories she wrote, as opposed to the ones she made up.

    -- Dara || www.peoniesandhoneybees.com