What I Read: October & November

The last two months have been quite the whirlwind for our family. I didn’t have a chance to post my October book reviews at the end of the month due to being in the hospital for 4 days with a kidney infection and a rupture in my kidney. [Sounds like fun, huh??]

So anyway, I’m back to posting my reviews for the past 2 months, but in December I plan on getting back to my monthly book reviews! 

But the fun news is because this review covers 2 months I have a whopping SEVEN books to share with you!! All of which I really liked! 

Caraval & Legendary by Stephanie Garber

[Note: clearly, these are two separate books, but they’re in a trilogy and I read them back to back, so it’s easier to just review them together.]

Ok, if you like series such as The Hunger Games, Divergent, Twilight, The Selection, etc, you will LOVE this series!!!! I could NOT put it down, I wanted to know how each book would end up SO badly. The only bad thing about this series is having to wait until MAY for the 3rd book, Finale, to come out!! 

I don’t want to give anything away, but these books are about two sisters, Scarlett and Tella, and their involvement in a game called, [you guessed it,] Caraval. This game is run by the mysterious, wealthy Legend, whose identity is the biggest mystery of all. Caraval is about Scarlett’s journey, and Legendary is about Tella’s journey, but you will love both sisters in both books. 

Seriously, if you choose to read any books in this post, read these! They’re so fun, so good and so mind twistingly maddening! [In a good way!] My sister-in-law, Emily is currently reading Legendary and it’s so fun to receive texts from her throughout, reminding me of all the ways I kept thinking one thing, only to be convinced of the opposite being true on the very next page. So so good!

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

My friend [and co-book nerd] Becky has been telling me to read this book for like a year, and I’m so glad I finally listened and read it! [Thanks Becks!] This is both such a sweet and heart wrenching book, but one you will be so glad you read. In true Picoult fashion, you won’t be able to put it down, written with such emotional depth. But you’ll also come away from it having learned a ton about the subject matter. 

This book is about the Hunt family, specifically Jacob Hunt, who has Asperger’s Syndrome. Jacob is obsessed with crime scenes, and knows just about everything there is to know about splatter patterns, finger print analysis and everything else regarding forensic analysis. He even shows up at crime scenes [uninvited] and helps the police solve crimes understanding evidence they hadn’t seen yet. But when one murder makes Jacob look more guilty than helpful, his mother, Emma will do everything to make the police understand the hallmarks of Aspergers, and the misunderstandings surrounding the syndrome. 

If you liked Love, Anthony, then you’ll also love this book. It’s a really, really good one!

The Dry by Jane Harper

Whew this book. This was my book club’s pick for October, and it was a great one. It’s suspenseful, and twisty and turny in the best ways. Just when you think you know a character, a new aspect of them comes to light. You’ll meet Aaron Faulk, who is called back to his hometown by a cryptic letter sent to him from his childhood best friend’s father. Aaron is a detective, and he heads home to attend the funeral of said childhood best friend, Luke. It seems that Luke has murdered his wife, 6 year old son and then killed himself, and even though Aaron never wanted to go back to the town he grew up in, he heads there to answer the letter and help with the investigation into Luke’s apparent murder/suicide. 

I don’t want to say anything else, but The Dry is a quick read and a good thriller. AND it’s coming out as a movie starring Eric Bana! 

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

This was the November choice for my book club, and although it was very different from The Dry, it was still a great read. I absolutely loved Ng’s previous book, Little Fires Everywhere, when I read it back in June, so I was excited to read another one by her. And although I would definitely say I enjoyed LFE better, this was still a good one. 

I will say, if you like closure, and books ending in happy red bows, this is not the book for you. It’s a tad depressing, as it surrounds the apparent suicide of Lydia Lee, the favorite daughter of Marilyn and James Lee. The book digs into the perspective of each character in the Lee family, including Lydia’s other two siblings. It takes place in the 1970’s, addressing a lot of prejudice and racial issues.

It’s definitely not a feel-good book, but if you like books with emotional depth and family dynamics, this is a great read that will keep you thinking even after you turn the final page. 

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Ok, I really contemplated whether or not to include this book, because it’s very rated R, and to be honest, I didn’t want to be judged for having read it. I read it based on recommendation that I would fall in love with the characters, and it was worth the read, if I could bypass the more explicit scenes. So I just want to give that warning so you aren’t shocked if you read it, but also say the characters were very lovable and I’m still glad I read it. 

In The Kiss Quotient, you’ll meet Stella Lane, an econometrician who comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases. She also happens to be on the Autism spectrum. So when she realizes that if she wants to get past her fears of a relationship and the fact that french kissing makes her feel like a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish, she will need help- from a professional. 

She hires an escort named Michael Phan, and offers him a lot of money to teach her all things bedroom related. And although the book is centered on this part of their relationship, it was still fun to read about how their relationship grows outside of the bedroom. 

So again, if you can handle bypassing sex scenes in a book, then I’d say it’s worth the read, but if you prefer to stay away from books that may make you blush, I’d stay away from this one. 

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

And last but not least, this book was our book club’s December pick. It was a very different and unique book, but one I found myself really, really loving. It’s basically about the question of: what 5 people living or dead would you like to have dinner with? Well, when Sabrina arrives at her birthday dinner just expecting her best friend, she finds herself at a table not only containing her best friend, but also three significant people from her past and AUDREY HEPBURN. [If you like Audrey Hepburn, this will especially be a fun read!!] 

Again, I don’t want to give too much away, but the book goes back and forth between Sabrina’s very unexpected birthday dinner, and her relationship with her ex-boyfriend. As you read, you’ll discover there are very significant and important reasons why all five people are at her birthday dinner. 

Now, of course reading this book makes me wonder who would be on my list?

  1. My husband [obvi.]
  2. My Pop-pop, who’s been in Heaven for almost 13 years. 
  3. My other grandfather, Papa, who’s been in Heaven since I was 2, but who everyone loved, so I’d love to get to know him, even just over a short dinner.
  4. Audrey Hepburn, I know, I know…copycat, but she really is one of my very favorites!
  5. Savion Glover or Gregory Hines, famous tap dancers, so I could have them teach me all the things tap. [I used to tap dance, and it’s still a huge passion of mine, I just currently have no outlet for it.]

Runners up: Jane Austen, my 5 best friends from home, just so we could have a dinner out together ;) or Julia Roberts. 

If you asked me on a different day, I could probably list off 10 other people I’d choose, but it’s definitely a fun thing to think about! What about you? Tell me in the comment section who your 5 people would be, or go check out my Instagram stories and tell me there: @mrsjenngrand.

Past Book Reviews: