Books I Read October 2019

by - Friday, November 22, 2019

Oh boy, I'm so far behind on this post. So let's get to it I guess.

I read a whopping 11 books in October. That's a ton-- even for me. I mainly blame the fact that I had bronchitis for two straight weeks and couldn't leave my house.

This pic is of a used book sale at a book festival I went to in the spring.

4 Stars

Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow
This book was good, though hard to read because of the material it covered. It covers how Farrow broke part of the Harvey Weinstein story and how NBC News tried to prevent the story from ever getting out. I thought the first part of the book that covered the early reporting was a bit slow. The book really picked up though when Farrow started diving in to the NBC cover up and everything they tried to do to stop his reporting. To hear it from Farrow's perspective was kind of mind-blowing.

Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller
What struck me the most about this book is how unreliable all of the narrators were. There were three main characters brought together one summer by a wealthy American to document the grounds of a dilapidated mansion in England. Frances is deeply self conscious and finds herself incredibly uncomfortable around the more outgoing Clara and Peter. As the three get to know each other over the course of their work, you as the reader never know who to believe as the story twists and turns. I tore through this wanting to get to the end to see what would happen.

The Marriage Clock by Zara Raheem
This was a fun and easy read that follows an Indian woman in her late 20's as she tries and fails to find a husband. She feels intense pressure from her family and eventually makes a pact with her parents that if she doesn't find a husband in three months, they can arrange a marriage for her.

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
I've become such a fan of Helen Hoang and her books that feature main characters that are on the autism spectrum. She does a beautiful job of showing the depth of her characters as they grow and evolve over the course of the book. In this story, the main character's mother goes to Vietnam to hold a competition to find his wife. She brings a young, determined woman back to the U.S. to live with her son for the summer in the hopes that they will fall in love. This book follows what happens that summer as the two characters try to adjust to each other.

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth
Sally Hepworth's books are fast and fun reads, and this one leaves you wondering at every turn how Lucy's mother-in-law actually died. The story opens with Diane's death and jumps back and forth in time so that by half way through the book just about everyone has a motive for wanting Diane dead. The ending wasn't what I expected.

Verity by Colleen Hoover
This was much darker than Colleen Hoover's other books. But similar to her other books, this one sucked me in and I couldn't put it down. The main character, Lowan, is asked to step in and become a co-author on a very popular series of books after the series' original author suffers a debilitating injury in a car accident. Lowan plans to spend a night at the author's house digging through her research so she can start the work, but creepy things start happening and Lowan begins to question if the death of the author's two children and her own accident are more than coincidences.

3 Stars

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth
I really enjoy Sally Hepworth's books, though I didn't find this one quite as compelling as some of her others. This book follows the story of a woman with early onset Alzheimer's. Her family puts her in a Rosalind House to ensure that she has someone to care for her. While there she meets Luke, another patient with early onset Alzheimer's. The two begin to develop a relationship, but as their memories fade they can't remember much in their day to day or easily communicate with each other. In the meantime their families are struggling with determine what is the right level of care.

The Half Life by Jennifer Weiner
A short (and not so-sweet) story from Jennifer Weiner about Piper, a consultant with a troubled marriage, whose travel plans get interrupted by the volcanic eruption in Iceland. Instead of taking off for Paris, she finds herself stuck in the airport lounge figuring out the next steps in saving or not saving her marriage. This was a fast and easy read, and a nice break for me mentally from the heavier book I'm in the middle of right now.

2 Stars

The Restaurant Critic's Wife by Elizabeth LaBan
This book follows the story of Lila Soto, the poor woman who is married to a restaurant critic. Her husband in this book is completely insufferable and treats Lila like trash. They've moved to a new city for his job and he refuses to entertain a conversation about her going back to work after having kids or even making friends with others in the neighborhood because he's worried he will be recognized and his career will be ruined. Basically he's a controlling jerk and I'm confused why Lila stayed with him. I kept hoping at some point they'd get to a better place, and maybe they sort of did, but this book made me too mad for too long to even appreciate that.

Normal People by Sally Rooney
This book just did not do it for me. I know it's gotten amazing reviews, but I felt such antipathy toward the two main characters that I couldn't get invested in their stories. This book was depressing and frustrating and honestly, there were many times I just wanted to give up on it. I especially couldn't stand Marianne and the way she refused to stand up for herself in any situation.

1 Star

How Could She by Lauren Mechling
Man this book was not for me. It's about three women trying to navigate life, their careers, etc. Basically based on the premise it sounded like a book I'd like. But the three main characters were horribly unlikeable and pretty much interchangeable. Plus nothing happened. The only reason I even finished it was because I was out of town without a lot of other options. Skip this.

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