Monthly Wrap-Up: October 2016

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Hello fellow bookworms! October was a busy reading month for me. I finished 18 books: 1 graphic novel, 1 celebrity memoir, 9 romances, 2 mysteries, 1 play, 1 biography, 2 fiction, and 1 YA. Even I can hardly believe this. Plus, after months of only publishing Top Ten Tuesday posts, I also have a review up – The Griffin of Darkwood!

For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne
I’m a big fan of enemies to lovers story. It’s about two neighbours – Heather, a wedding planner and Josh, a former wall street manager turned musician – who butt heads because their opposing schedules keep Heather awake at night. The argumentative nature of their relationship is really cute. Almost like foreplay 🙂

The Conjoined by Jen Sookfong-Lee
Two teenage girls – Jessie and Jamie Cheng – are found at the bottom of foster mother Donna Campbell’s freezer after her death. Donna’s daughter, Jessica, a social worker searches for answers. Some of which really surprised me. Overall, it was an interesting read. The characters are well-developed, the pace was good, and thoroughly disturbing.

The Lovers by Rod Nordland
They are known in America and around the world as Afghanistan’s version of Romeo and Juliet. Two young teenagers, Zakia and Ali, meet and fall in love on neighbouring farms in Afghanistan. The lovers are met with many obstacles – her family’s fierce objections, Ali’s hesitant trust of Rod and his colleagues, the shelter’s agenda (that Zakia escapes to), and the couple’s lack of money. If you’re interested in educating yourself about Afghanistan’s treatment of women this book is for you.

Kim’s Convenience by Ins Choi
This play follows first generation Korean immigrant, Mr. Kim, who owns Kim’s Convenience store in Toronto’s Regent Park. By the time I read this, I was a couple episodes into the TV adaptation on the CBC. Both are equally hilarious, yet somewhat stereotypical of the Korean experience (in my opinion). When I saw the first trailer, I assumed that the show was being a little disrespectful. However, if you read the play, the TV adaptation is trying to stay as authentic as possible.

The Mating Season by Laurie Horowitz
Super short romance novel The Mating Season is about “bird nerd” Sophie Castle who gets her dream job filming a documentary on birds. However, she stumbles across some issues with her drop-dead gorgeous cameraman, Rigg, who is resentful to be sent on this particular job. My only criticism is that I wished it was longer.

The Griffin of Darkwood by Becky Citra
Will Poppy is a 12 year old with a wild imagination. After his mother dies unexpectedly, he is forced to live with his only living relative, Aunt Mauve. She moves them to Sparrowhawk Hall, a castle located in a small village. There he makes friends and tries to connect the dots about the Griffin of Darkwood and how that relates to him and his family. The pacing is a little slow for my taste, but the mystery was interesting and the children were fearless detectives. As you’ve probably guessed, it’s meant for middle grade children.

Completing the Pass by Jeanette Murray
Former childhood friends, Carrington and Josh are reunited for her father’s release from the hospital. Josh is “The Backup” quarterback for the Santa Fe Bobcats but has recently been promoted. Carrington returns to her hometown to care for her father. They decide to go on fake dates to appease their mothers. The story was predictable but I still liked it because it’s a sports romance!

Searching for Perfect by Jennifer Probst
This is book two in the Searching For series. Kennedy Ashe, social director for Matchmaking agency Kinnections takes hot mess Nate Ellison Raymond Dunkle under her wing. Nate has a dismal track record with women, always says the wrong thing (but we’ll blame his playboy brother), and wears stained clothes. The more time they spend together, the more they try to deny the undeniable attraction towards each other. After falling in love with the first book in the series, I wanted to find out if the second would live up to the first. It did.

Room by Emma Donoghue
Room, an old shed, is the only home five year old Jack has ever known. He and his Ma have been held captive and haven’t seen the light of day for years. They eat, sleep, and play in the enclosed space and when Old Nick pays late night visits to Ma, Jack sleeps in the wardrobe. I watched Room in theatre last year. The acting by both Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay was incredible and the storyline was never dull. I wish I had read the book first because Old Nick’s oppression and violence depicted in the book lost its power on me. Maybe it was the casting, but I didn’t find Old Nick’s presence to be as domineering as it probably should have been and that influenced my reading of the book. FYI, in my opinion the film was just as good as the book.

Searching for Someday by Jennifer Probst
This is the first book in the Searching For series. Kate Seymour and her two friends, Arilyn and Kennedy formed Matchmaking agency Kinnections. The company relies on Kate’s inherited ability to sense a romantic connection between two people. When Slade Montgomery accuses Kinnections of being a scam, he ends up signing himself up to be proven wrong. What they didn’t expect was that they’d fall in love or Kate would suffer the consequences. The powerful connection that Kate and Slade possess is the kind of relationship I want.

As I Descended by Robin Talley
Based on an adaptation of Macbeth, Lily and Maria have summoned spirits to destroy Acheron Academy’s golden child, Delilah Dufrey. Delilah is Queen B and expected to win the Cawdor Kingsley Prize, a full scholarship to the school of her choice. However, the darkness that Lily and Maria summon with their Ouji board predicts that Maria’s dreams will come true – that includes winning the Cawdor Kingsley Prize. Soon the darkness takes over the school causing multiple fatalities and blurring reality. Shakespeare will always be a classic but As I Descended is an interesting alternative for teens.

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad
Lizzie was raised in her version of Hell (aka Mississauga) where there was nothing to do. As a teenager she would compare herself to her pretty friend (Mel), let her skinny friend (China) do her makeup, and chat anonymously to older men online. As an adult she meticulously counts calories and pushes herself to exercise but still needs validation from her mother, her husband, her friends. Since 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl is nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, I assumed I would fall in love with its commentary on America’s unhealthy obsession with body image. However, Lizzie’s constant self-doubt and comparison to her “pretty” and “skinny” friends grated on my nerves. Maybe it just hits too close to home and I saw a little of myself in Lizzie and that was terrifying.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
My recommendation is not to read this as an ebook. It will ruin the experience. Schumer has about 30 footnotes per “diary entry” and that drove me bonkers! Also, towards the end of the memoir the epub malfunctioned so I couldn’t finish it. It’s silly to me that I read this last month and I can’t remember what it’s about. This was my main thought: Why is it that I find books written by comedians are never as funny as their stand-up?

Defending Hearts by Shannon Stacey
Farmer Gretchen Walker is determined to save her family’s farm. Renowned photographer Alex Murphy needs a place to stay while he captures Stewart Mills High School and town’s comeback. Living under the same roof is difficult because they try fight the attraction they feel for each other. Gretchen is reluctant to ruin their newfound friendship and worried that he’ll decide to leave on another photo expedition. I definitely want to finish the series.

The Protector by Jodi Ellen Malpas
Won this in a Goodreads giveaway! A shady businessman hires ex-military turned bodyguard Jake Sharp to protect his daughter Camille Logan. Both have troubled pasts that eventually come back to haunt them. What I loved is that they are both strong characters determined to get what they want.

Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas adapted by Troy Little
😬😬😬 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has been on my TBR list for a long, long time. Since university, anyways. The graphic novel seemed the perfect way to get a taste of what the memoir would be like. The craziness of Hunter S. Thompson’s lifestyle portrayed were really disturbing to me. I’m on the fence about keeping the memoir on my TBR. Any thoughts?

See Me by Nicholas Sparks
Unfortunately, I was really bored. Didn’t DNF because it’s Nicholas Sparks, but I wish I had. He used to have the magic touch and I loved his earlier romances.

Searching for Always by Jennifer Probst
The fourth book in the Searching For series is about matchmaker/counsellor Arilyn and hot-headed officer, Stone Petty. He’s unhappy to be attending mandatory anger management classes and she’s upset that he’s not taking her suggestions seriously. Resentment turns to lust turns to love. If I haven’t made it clear before, this series is one of my favourite romances.

What has your reading month been like? Have you read any on my list? And do you have any recommendations?

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Monthly Wrap-Up: October 2016

    • Thanks! Reading 18 books in one month surprised me. I don’t think I’ve ever read that many books, even when I was a teenager or university student (and I was reading way more then).

      Like

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