Books I Read in November

 I spent November clearing off my bookshelves and book bins from all the books I had on hand so that I could spend all my time between Thanksgiving and Christmas reading Christmas & holiday themed books.  This is something I started a couple years ago and I find that it helps keep me in the holiday spirit... though I find it a bit harder to find new holiday books to read each year!  I think I mostly had a good month of reading as I flew through most of these books.. will any make it onto my favorites list though?  I'm just not sure.  



1. Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult-- OH I was so relieved to actually LOVE this book!  While there is quite  bit of talk about bees and honey; it is secondary to the main story.  Olivia is a beekeeper living on a farm in New Hampshire with her teenage son Asher.  Asher is dating Lily but when Lily turns up dead, Asher is the prime suspect.  Told in two parts from both Olivia's and Lily's point of view this books takes us through the trial and all the way back to the day Asher and Lily met.  I love how it focuses on all the secrets people keep; even from those they love. 


2. One Bad Apple by Sheila Connolly-- A cute little murder mystery that takes place on an apple orchard. Meg has just recently moved into an old house her mother inherited from some distant relatives with the intent to fix it up and sell it.  Meg finds herself learning about the orchard that came with the house, the town politics, the development plan that is in the works for the town (unknowingly headed by an old flame), and trying to make friends.  But all goes awry when her former flame is found dead and buried in her new septic tank. Now Meg is working hard to figure out who did it and clear her name as the #1 suspect on the police's list. 


3. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid-- Such a FUN read!  I'm pretty sure out of the 3 TJR books I've read this was my favorite.  When movie star Evelyn Hugo requests a tell all interview about her life she picks an unknown reporter named Monique Grant.  Talking openly about her life and how she managed to wrack up 7 husbands in one lifetime, Hugo keeps very little back.  But as Evelyn's story winds down it has an unexpected intersection with Monique's own life and Monique is left grappling with feelings of anger, betrayal, and even more questions. 


4. Going Rogue; Rise and Shine Twenty-Nine by Janet Evanovich (A Stephanie Plum Novel)-- Oh I just LOVE this series and always read these books in just a day or two.  In this latest novel, Connie, the office manager of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds goes missing and Stephanie gets a phone call from the kidnappers asking her to return a rare coin that Vinnie took as collateral from a recently murdered man.  Stephanie can't find the coin and the search for it brings her on a wild goose chase all the way to Atlantic City.  With the help of Lula, her grandmother, and even Joe Morelli's crazy grandmother Bella this was a laugh out loud, nail biting adventure. 


5. One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid- This was the sweetest story! Emma marries her high school boyfriend in her 20's. They have the perfect live traveling and exploring the world but right before their one year anniversary Jesse go missing in a helicopter accident and Emma has to learn how to live without the love of her life. Years later and in her 30's she finds herself falling in love again with an old friend, Sam.  Emma believes this is her second chance at love... until Jesse returns and Emma must pick between her husband and her fiancĂ©e. 


6. Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo-- I am always drawn to thrillers even though they make me so jumpy and I kind of hate but then also love to read them.  Kate is working as chief of police in a small town in Ohio after having grown up in the Amish community there.  That combination of Amish roots and big city crime investigator will come in handy when a body is discovered in the snow one winter morning.  The body reminds Kate of others that turned up when she herself was just a young girl.  Determined to catch the killer before he has another victim Kate must betray her family, her Amish background, and expose a secret she has kept buried for years. This was such a good book and I just could not put it down once I reached the half-way point.  I am thrilled to discover it's the first book in a whole series! It reminded me a bit of JD Robb's Eve Dallas series but set in the present day and in Ohio.



 7. Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult-- Oh I just KNEW I should not have read this book! LOL.  I avoided it because I knew it dealt with Covid-19/ the pandemic and I knew I was just sick of hearing all about it after living through the last few years BUT a certain someone assured me that the pandemic was only a small part of the story and... I heartily disagree. I think it was 95% of the story with a cute little side story about the Galapagos thrown in.  Definitely wasn't a fan.. might I have liked it more if it dealt with an unknown/ unnamed virus?? Maybe?  I did have a hard time relating to all the talk of fear and washing down takeout foods and not touching the mail for days--- as we never did any of that. We also never felt isolated or saw much change in our daily routines since my husband kept right on working and my boys and I kept right on homeschooling.. Anyway, mostly I was just bummed that this book was not anything like I thought it was going to be. Diana and her boyfriend are heading to the Galapagos Islands just as the pandemic is about to hit NYC.  He's a resident and is needed at the hospital but urges her to go alone. Her trip is pretty much a disaster and Diana finds herself questioning everything about her life.  The book then takes a rather unexpected turn and I think that's the part that fascinated most people but having been a psychology major in high school I've already learned quite a bit about the unexpected ways our brain works and that's really all I can say without giving away major plot keys. 


8. Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing; A Memoir by Matthew Perry--  I found this book hard to put down.  Hearing about Matthew Perry's struggle with drugs and alcohol in his own words was really powerful.  Though I was amazed at just how awful his self- esteem was (and still seems to be!).  Quite a few times he mentions how others around him have no trouble with drug and alcohol abuse but I beg to differ-- I think there are different levels of abuse and he seems to gloss right over that or not even notice it.  It was hard to read at times and he nearly died a number of times.  I think this would be a great book for family members of addicts too as he really does try to explain how his addiction just seems to take over despite how hard he's fighting it. 


9. A Place to Land by Lauren K. Denton-- A very enjoyable, if a bit slow moving, story.  Violet has been taking care of her sister Trudy long before she stopped speaking.  Now in their 60's and contentedly living together while running an art store with all of Trudy's craft projects their world is about to change.  Maya, a young teenager struggling to make it on her own stumbles upon the sisters and they take her under their wing.  Frank, Violet's old flame, is back and Violet finds herself pulled towards him even knowing that the secrets between them will always keep them away. Then the boat surfaces and present and past collide as old secrets begin to surface with it.  It was intriguing and the relationship between the two sisters is quite sweet. 


10. Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber-- This was a cute little Christmas story that I read in a day. Both Dash and Ashley need to get to Seattle but all the flights are booked and when they realize that the last car the rental agency has is up for grabs they reluctantly agree to ride to Seattle together but neither one could have any idea how crazy the ride was going to get.  With a roadside puppy, a slew of FBI agents after them, and a crazy mechanic it was a pretty adorable story that had me both chuckling and rolling my eyes.  I can definitely see why it was made into a movie back in 2015. 


11. A Nantucket Christmas by Nancy Thayer-- I just love Nancy's books and they never disappoint.  One year I swear I am going to make it to Nantucket for their Winter Stroll. It sounds so fun!  This book was really sweet. It's Nicole's first holiday with her new husband and she's so excited to celebrate. Her husband's grown daughter is coming with her family and though Nicole and Kennedy (her husband's daughter) don't get along the greatest, Nicole is determined to make it a wonderful Christmas for all. 



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Comments

  1. 7 Husbands and a Nantucket Christmas are two of my faves! I am going to read Matthew Perry's Memoir next- thanks for sharing your list- great reading month!

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    1. I've really had a pretty great reading year. It was hard to go back and pick my favorites this year.

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  2. It sounds like you read some great books. Your recaps make me want to read a couple of them. I used to read Jodi Picoult but haven't in years. I would not want to read her book that centers around Covid but the other one you mentioned sounds good. I have read at least one TJR and liked it so I will check out the ones you read and liked.

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    1. I only "discovered" TJR during the summer and have been slowly picking up more of them to try. So far the only one I didn't really like was Daisy Jones but I'm not a huge band follower/ music loving/ groupie kind of person and that's how the story read.

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    1. I loved the mystery aspect of Mad Honey and trying to figure out what happened before it was revealed.

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    1. I really enjoyed that; reminds me a bit of the Christmas book I'm reading now where the woman is ghost writing and interviewing a man about his life (though I'm thinking his life won't be nearly as entertaining as Evelyn's!).

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  5. I really liked Wish You Were Here despite having misgivings about reading it because of Covid. Who told you it was a small part of the book? LOL

    I also enjoyed Mad Honey - that felt like old school Jodi Picoult to me.

    Evelyn is a favorite, as is the Kate Burkholder series. I've read them all.

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    1. I can't wait to dig into the Burkholder series after the new year! Believe it or not one of our librarians told me that Covid was as predominant in Wish You Were Here as bees and honey were in Mad Honey; just a cute little side story that had nothing to do with the main story plot! I haven't seen her yet to tell her I heartily disagree.

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  6. So many good books here. Did you see the Matthew Perry interview? I feel like your review was really good and summed up what I was feeling about the interview too.

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    1. Yes, I did watch the interview AFTER I had read the book.

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  7. I read that Jodi Picoult book Wish you Were Here too. And I was surprised by her overall reaction to the entire time (and still...did you read that?). But she certainly can knit together a wonderful story. I didn't see the second half coming at all which I thought was surprising.
    XOOX
    Jodie

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    1. Yep, I did... and felt pretty much the same! She does have some really great works but lately I find her books have become more hit or miss for me whereas they used to be surefire loves for me.

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  8. I love the Linda Castillo kate Burkholder series. I always read the new ones when they come out. Most of them have been great mysteries!

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    1. I love a good mystery and I am so glad to have found this new series to sink into!

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  9. I loved the Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and also love the Christmas Stroll books by Nancy Thayer (I love anything she writes). I haven't seen this one so I'm going to have to hop on my Libby and see if it's there! I'm currently reading a couple of books by Alice Hoffman, another favorite author!

    https://marshainthemiddle.com/

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    1. I don't think I have ever read anything by Alice Hoffman; I'll have to check out her books.

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  10. I want to read The 7 Husbands book by TJR. It looks like you had a great few weeks of reading! I was hoping to say that as well, but it's not been a good month of reading for me. I've quit too many books to count! I'm going to finish the two I'm reading now, hopefully, and call it a year and move onto non-Christmas books that I'll include for my January.

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    1. Oh that is a bummer; I hate when I run into a series of books that I'm not enjoying at all.

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  11. Thanks so much for the reviews Joanne! I found several I'm going to put on my list. I am a big Janet Evonovich fan, and have read most of her books, I need to get back to reading her!
    Jenna

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  12. What a great selection of books.
    I really fancy reading the Matthew Perry one. x

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    1. I must admit I am watching Friends with my boys right now and I see what he means about his fluctuations in weight (and I do admit to being curious about it at the time!). His book really does explain a lot.

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    2. I didn't mind Mad Honey but thought there was far too much information included about bees. I'd felt the same about her previous book that included a lot of detail about Egyptology. I love the Janet Evanovich / Stephanie Plum series as well. I've not read Seven Husbands... but read TJR's latest Carrie Sotto is Back and enjoyed that.

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    3. Yeah, I didn't even make it through her Egypt book!

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  13. Hi, Joanne- Thank you for linking up with What's On Your Bookshelf. I especially appreciate your Christmas-themed recommendations as I would love to sneak a couple more of these in before the end of the year. The only book on your list that I have read is Matthew Perry's memoir. I agree that it was very difficult to read at times. I also agree that there were some things that seemed to be glossed over. Although it was not my favourite book, I do believe that it could be helpful for friends/family members of addicts re: how addiction can take over despite how hard it's being fought against.

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    1. I've read another 1/2 dozen Christmas books in December so far; it is a fun way to keep my Christmas spirit alive... which can be a real struggle as I always tend to lose it towards the end.

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  14. I liked Wish You Were Here, it was a fascinating ""flip". I read most of the Matthew Perry autobiography, it was serialised in a paper, but I didn't feel much sympathy for him. Thanks for the other book suggestions, will add to my list.

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  15. Nice reading month. I used to read Jodi's books all the time - it's been awhile now though!! Thanks so much for linking up with me.

    Lauren @ www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  16. That is quite the mix this month. Jodi Picoult is an author I've never really been into - I think she deals with too many issues that I find uncomfortable to read about and often when I read I don't want to be challenged, I just want to escape. As you know December is all about festive reading for me too. Thanks for linking up.

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    1. I like some books that are challenging and make me uncomfortable to read about (I think it's the psychology major in me!) but then I usually read others alongside those types of book that are lighter and more fun and more of an escape.

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  17. Hi Joanne a great mix this month including some Christmas books. I have a hot and cold relationship with Jodi Picoult but I do enjoy Janet Evanovich. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and being part of the #WOYBS monthly link up. I look forward to you joining us again in 2023 for our monthly #WOYBS where we share our love of books. Best wishes for the Festive Season and Happy Reading in 2023. x

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    1. Thank you! Janet Evanovich is one of my favorites; her characters always make me smile.

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  18. Hi Joanne, thanks for joining us with another great selection of books. I have a few that I might like to read that are on your list, The Seven Wives for one. It's always interesting to see what others are reading especially at this time of the year. I've not been one to read Christmas books usually but this year I've read one or two to help get in the mood! All the best for Christmas and the New Year and hope you'll join in again in 2023.

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    1. Thank you! Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year too Deb!

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  19. I LOVED Evelyn Hugo! Such a great read! And yes, Matthew Perry's book was so hard to read but also hard to put down. I've known all of the details for years since his sister is married to my cousin, but reading about his journey in his own words was really tough. His sister was actually here visiting us when she got the call that he was in a coma and it was so scary. I was devastated. He's always been one of my favorite actors since I love Friends so much. I was so glad he survived and I pray that he can stay sober this time.

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  20. I enjoy TJR -- my favorite from her so far is "Daisy Jones and the Six." I would like to also explore her other works.

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    1. I did not enjoy Daisy Jones but I really liked the other TJR books I've read so far.

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