This month was a 50/50 batch. I read one sci-fi, two fiction, one YA and picked and chose my way through and oldie but goodie poem book. Here we go.
- She Walks in Beauty – I found myself reaching for this poem book throughout November. I’ve read it countless times through before but I like to come back to it every now and then when I’m looking for a little inspiration. Curated by Caroline Kennedy, She Walks in Beauty has different sections for nearly every emotion including falling in love, making love, breaking up, family, marriage, work, solitude, growing up, death, friendship and life itself. 5 out of 5 stars.
- The Fate of the Tearling – Ooooooook so I had an ARC of TFOTT that I read a few months back and have been DYING to review ever since I devoured it in two sittings. I am a huge fan of the entire Tearling series that started in 2014. I cannot sum up the entire series as that would take a very very long post to cover, but I will say that Kelsea is one of the most fascinating and complex characters I’ve read in a very long time and I do not say that lightly. In most sci-fi fantasy novels it is very easy to get wrapped up in the typical plot twists and turns that most authors choose to take, especially those that revolve around the “lonely quirky girl becomes queen and needs to save the kingdom” type angles. Kelsea is none of these things. She is strong, fierce, extremely intelligent, selfless to a fault and is literally described as “plain” which almost never happens. After waiting with bated breath for the final book in the trilogy I have to say I was extremely disappointed with the ending. **SPOILERS: In the end Kelsea, gives up everything to save the kingdom (which she does) but is left with nothing for herself. While I am all for selfless sacrifices for the greater good, I can’t help but be disappointed that we finally got a female heroine who isn’t in the “box” yet she still can’t get the big win at the very end. Storytelling, world building and visuals are A+ as always from Erika Johansen but I am left wishing for a different outcome for Kelsea after being so impressed with her journey and choices throughout the first two books. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
- Commonwealth – Commonwealth was one of the best books I’ve read in a long while. It truly felt like a story while reading through the many layers and characters that make up the novel. Commonwealth takes place over the course of 50+ years and follows two separate families that converge after a mom and a dad marry each other (second marriage for both) and later divorce. The book follows not only the parents, but their six children as well as they grow up and experience everything under the sun. I love reading about people’s lives and experiences, ordinary and otherwise, so I really enjoyed Commonwealth all the way through. 5 out of 5 stars.
- The Wonder – The Wonder was my Book of the Month choice for October. If I’m being completely honest, it took me a solid week and a half to trudge through this one. I couldn’t get into the plot and it moved so incredibly slow over the course of 300 pages that I was praying something interesting would happen just to keep me awake. The Wonder revolves around a little girl in rural Ireland in the 19th century who claims she has been chosen by God to live without food. First of all, I hardly ever ever read books with a religious twist in them just because I got my fill with twelve years of Catholic school. While I finally did finish this book, it didn’t pick up pace until the last 70 pages and by then I was just ready to get it over with. One thing I did enjoy about the book was learning a little bit about Florence Nightingale and her troop of nurses. 3 out of 5 stars.
- Heartless – Heartless has been on my list of “to-read” for MONTHS. I am a huge fan of Marissa Meyer (author of The Lunar Chronicles aka a futuristic fantasy take on the fairytales) and could not wait to hear her version of Alice in Wonderland. Heartless doesn’t actually tell the story of Alice, but rather the origin story of the Queen of Hearts. In Heartless our leading lady is Catherine (Cath), a girl who desires to live her dream of running the best bakery in Hearts. Throughout Heartless we meet the ridiculous king, a charming joker, the Cheshire cat and best of all, we get to see what the land of Hearts is really like. The ending was expected as we all know how the Queen of Hearts turns out, but this book isn’t about the ending, it’s about the journey. 4 out of 5 stars.