Book Reviews–November 2017

I often post short reviews of books I’ve read in my personal social media pages, as I love to share my passion for books with others.  I’m listing the books I’ve read each month here on this blog, with my thoughts on each as well as whether I’d recommend them to others.  I do have an eclectic taste in books, and will choose books based on my mood, or what’s going on in my life that week.  (Most, if not all, of the books below include links to the Kindle store on Amazon, and the page numbers reflect the number of Kindle pages).  I hope you enjoy this series on my blog!

Book #1:  The Things We Wish Were True

The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen (Length: 290 pages).  I really enjoyed this book!  This novel explores the neighborhood goings-on surrounding a community pool one summer.  There are a few darker themes (ie, child abduction) but they truly make for better (and stronger) character development.  This novel is a truly fast read, and the two mystery elements in the plot really make this hard to put down.  Definitely recommend!

From the publisher:  

In an idyllic small-town neighborhood, a near tragedy triggers a series of dark revelations.

From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house.

Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel.

During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?

Book #2:  The Bookshop on the Corner 

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan (Length: 368 pages)> I adored this book!  The protagonist opens a little mobile bookshop in Scotland (she’s English) so it combines both travel and books . . . what’s not to love?!  There are so many cute, funny and snarky lines of dialogue (ie, the dog having a bar code) that made me LOL at times.  This is categorized as a romance (my least favorite genre) but it’s not too cutesy or sappy.  This is a fun, quick read and definitely worth checking out! 

From the Publisher:

Nina Redmond is a librarian with a gift for finding the perfect book for her readers. But can she write her own happy-ever-after? In this valentine to readers, librarians, and book-lovers the world over, the New York Times-bestselling author of Little Beach Street Bakery returns with a funny, moving new novel for fans of Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop.

Nina is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more. Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile — a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.

From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

Book #3:   Between the tides

Between the Tides by Patti Callahan Henry (Length: 358 pages).  The premise of this novel involves the protagonist returning to her childhood home, and the scene of the death of a family friend/neighbor’s child.  This is technically a mystery in the sense of long-held secrets are revealed through the course of the novel.   I really enjoyed this!  It’s well-written, with a strong, beautifully-illustrated sense of place.  There is a bit of romance, but it’s not sickly sweet.  

From the Publisher: New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan Henry portrays a woman burdened by the past—and the choices she must face to break free of it—in this emotional, engaging novel.  Nine months after her father’s death, Catherine Leary still hasn’t fulfilled his last wish: that she scatter his ashes in the Seaboro River in South Carolina.  The scene of a childhood tragedy that forced her family to move, Seaboro is the last place Catherine wants to see again.  But on the evening of her thirtieth birthday, her father’s young colleague—whom she once dated—pays a visit…

Hoping to stop Forrest Anderson from exposing her family’s secrets, she travels to her once-beloved Lowcountry town and embarks on a poignant trip into the past…a journey that might lead her into a new life of love, forgiveness, and self-discovery.


Book #4:  Glass Houses

Glass Houses by Louise Penny (Length: 376 pages).   I am OBSESSED with Louise Penny and her Three Pines series.  (I may do a separate post on my all-time favorite books and series–this will definitely be on the list.)  This particular novel is Louise Penny’s 13th Three Pines/Armand Gamache novel, and it’s definitely in my top three favorite of this series.  There are two separate plot lines that converge in an explosive finale.  I adore Penny’s character development and rich dialogue.   This installment really highlights some strong female characters, which I appreciate!  Definitely start with Penny’s first novel in the series (Still Life), but don’t get thrown off by the slow start . . . that book picks up about halfway through.

From the Publisher:  When a mysterious figure appears in Three Pines one cold November day, Armand Gamache and the rest of the villagers are at first curious. Then wary. Through rain and sleet, the figure stands unmoving, staring ahead.

From the moment its shadow falls over the village, Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec, suspects the creature has deep roots and a dark purpose. Yet he does nothing. What can he do? Only watch and wait. And hope his mounting fears are not realized.

But when the figure vanishes overnight and a body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to discover if a debt has been paid or levied.

Months later, on a steamy July day as the trial for the accused begins in Montréal, Chief Superintendent Gamache continues to struggle with actions he set in motion that bitter November, from which there is no going back. More than the accused is on trial. Gamache’s own conscience is standing in judgment.

In Glass Houses, her latest utterly gripping book, number-one New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny shatters the conventions of the crime novel to explore what Gandhi called the court of conscience. A court that supersedes all others.


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