October 2019 Novel Ideas: 34 Quick Book Reviews

The Ultimate List of Beach Reads 1 1

It’s officially Fall which means it’s prime reading season. Who wants to venture out in the cold when you can cozy up on the sofa with a warm beverage, fuzzy socks, and a good book? I know my reading always increases at this time of year. I clocked over 20 books in total for the month and officially hit my Goodreads Challenge goal for 2019 (clocking in at 125 books read!) I read some outstanding books this month including Three Women, Strange the Dreamer and Christmas Shopaholic. As you can see from just those selections, October 2019 Novel Ideas spans many different genres. With 34 quick lit reviews, we can help you find which books to add to your to-be-read list and which ones to pass on.

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Kirsten’s Stack

we met in decemberWe Met in December by Rosie Curtisir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=208de6210a3319e43bb858eb70ca6eab& cb=1572203015353

Thanks to Netgalley and William Morrow Books for my copy. All opinions are my own. I got a chance to read We Met In December before it comes out next month and I loved it. I listened to Christmas music the whole time and generally got in the mood for my favorite time of year. This charming love story gave me One Day in December vibes because of its friends-to-lovers Christmas plotline. I could see this book being made into a Hallmark movie- it’s got all the right ingredients and the perfect dose of romance and finding yourself. Looking for a heartwarming Christmas tale? Pick this one up when it comes out 11/5! 3.5 stars

Twice in a Blue MoonTwice in a Blue Moon by Christina Laurenir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=d8ea154ea9284b9274bd6dc664fbc26f& cb=1572217764061

Thanks to Libro.FM and Gallery Books for my review audiobook. All opinions are my own. Omg. Is it possible for me to give this book all the heart eyes? 😍😍😍 This was my first ever Christina Lauren book and I don’t know how I’ve held out for this long. I mean… have I been living under a rock? Sam was Tate’s first love when she fell for him on her 18th birthday trip, but he exposed her in the worst way possible. Now a big-name actress, the last person she expects to see on-set is the man who broke her heart. UGH. I loved it so much. It gave me all the feels!!! Second chance romance novels are just made for cozy fall night -especially when they are set on a farm!! Ok. Done cheesing, but you should totally read this one, guys! 4.5 stars.

The Afterlife of Holly ChaseThe Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Handir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=cc2eaff7525858fbf5cbcf9c2e02814e& cb=1572217705006

I’ve read Cynthia Hand’s previous books and really enjoyed them, so when I learned that she had written a Christmas novel, I was all in. This YA book was quite clever as a modern retelling of Dicken’s classic. 17-year-old Holly was visited by the ghosts of Christmas because she was a total scrooge. But she woke up unaffected by the visit and died shortly thereafter. Now she has to work for Operation Scrooge as she tries to help other poor scrooges like herself. She’s been the ghost of Christmas past for 5 years now but this year is different…this year something changes…and it might just be her! 3.5 stars.

Three WomenThree Women by Lisa Taddeoir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=1f12dfa705fc46cdf4bb1a6f4709980c& cb=1572217655776

This book was utterly enthralling. I had heard mixed reviews of this book going into it but I think I figure out where the love/hate comes from. This book has a lot of graphic sex in the form of statutory rape, affairs, and swinging partners. The scenes are graphic but not designed to titillate the reader like a 50 Shades book…but rather to explain why the women felt the way they did. Why they felt power, or love, or understanding in the sexual encounters. So it feels very voyeuristic on some level because it’s so deeply personal. As I said, I thought it was outstanding but I can so easily see how it is not everyone’s cup of tea. 5 stars.ir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=56f516c9e3d245fa7ad92d097cf02763& cb=1572217592458

Christmas ShopaholicChristmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsellair?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=c385ef7808bd7d405c759477ef2000a6& cb=1571438695784

Thanks to Netgalley and Dial Press for my copy of this book, all opinions are my own. Omg with this book, ya’ll. I read the first book in the series a million years ago and I never kept up with more than a few books in the series. Still, I love Christmas, so I obviously jumped at the chance to read this book. After I read a different Xmas book earlier this month, I was nervous going into this read, but Becky Branson, née Bloomwood, did not disappoint! I found myself gasping, laughing, and crying numerous times during this book. Were the scenarios over-the-top? Absolutely. But I loved every page. I forgot just how enjoyable Becky’s antics are and her antics about motherhood actually clicked with me on a new level as a reader. Her heart-of-gold and Luke’s understanding of who she is, still give me all the gooey feelings though. If you are looking for a good Xmas book, I highly recommend this one!!! 4.5 stars.

Look Both WaysLook Both Ways by Jason Reynoldsir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=229ee752f68dbf72c87668928afabcb2& cb=1572217543347

Thanks to Libro.fm and Atheneum for my advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own. I thought this middle-grade novel was a wonderful look at the problems facing young people. Each chapter is a different narrator telling a different story about their walk home from school addressing issues like crushes, bullying, sick parents, and more. Each tale gives you a glimpse into the minds of the children in the neighborhood – the funny, the sad, and everything in between. I finished it in one sitting and immediately told Jackie to give it to her son. I can’t wait to give this to my boys one day.

Where to BeginWhere to Begin by Cleo Wadeir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=7344924af1217ea3fba7173ed51f330d& cb=1572217482934

Thanks to Atria for my copy of this book. All opinions are my own. I finished this searing and insightful book in about an hour. It features Cleo’s Ted Talk, a few poems, and some short stories designed to empower the reader to start changing the world NOW. I loved the focus on changing how we as individuals approach the problem because change really does start one person at a time. Whether you need her wisdom to overcome a personal struggle or something as momentous as climate change, the words have equal merit. I found my self pausing numerous times to reflect on little nuggets of truth I found in her writing. This is a book that will live on my bookshelf for years to come. I think I’d like to read it every New Year to remind me of my inner strength and help me set intentions for my life. If you are looking for a powerful pep talk to get you tackling life’s biggest challenges, this is the book for you.  I’m truly honored to have received it. 5 stars.ir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=143c7d8e46ede7529cad6ca3f0732344& cb=1572217362946

strangethedreamerStrange the Dreamer by Laini Taylorir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=0b8a3d1c13fbc6f80b1412e870fea72d& cb=1572217284869

I’m not usually a huge fantasy reader, but I’d heard such wonderful things about this book that I had to give it a try. The world-building in this book was incredible. Each detail and person was so vividly described that I felt as if I had been to the city of WEEP before. The ending left my heart pounding. What a cliff-hanger!! I immediately put myself on hold for the next book in the duology. I can’t wait to head back into this world next month. 4 stars.

This ManBeneath This ManThis Manir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=7021cd5b6068c8515a918bfc408f5411& cb=1572217204691 and Beneath This Manir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=bb7800dae43643f276a069042d8bd7d4& cb=1572217199378 by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Looking for your next 50 Shades style book-boyfriend? Let me introduce you to Jesse Ward. He’s rich, handsome, controlling, and an ace in the sack. His love story with Ava is all cliches and “central Jesse Cloud 9s” and I was totally into it. Look, sometimes we need a little fluffy palate cleanser and This Man is the perfect book series for that. Seriously it’s 50 shades 2.0 minus the kinky parts (well mostly.) 3 stars

Mr. Dickens and His CarolMr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silvair?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=a3668ebb57761e7523c583b54337b9e9& cb=1572217041968

Charles Dickens’s latest book is a flop and he needs money. Christmas is around the corner and he’s become someone of a grump when thinking of all the expenses coming his way. He decides to take his publishers up on their offer to finance and Christmas novel but he can’t seem to get inspired. A chance meeting with a young woman helps give him the inspiration he requires to write his classic tale. I liked the story, but I kept getting worried about a possible cheating scandal which I really wasn’t looking to read. It did not go in the direction I thought which made me feel much better and ultimately had me giving it back .5 stars for a total of 3 stars.

The candymakersThe Candymakers by Wendy Maasir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=0c56d75bc0d880810f7c5e5f7baaebd1& cb=1572216967282

Prior to our trip to Candytopia, I decided to read this book with my boys. It was a lovely take on life at a candy factory and felt almost like an updated version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 4 kids are competing to win a candy-making contest to have their creation mass-produced. We all loved it so much that we’ve just purchased the next book in the series to read in November! 4 stars.

35106178. SY475Belgravia by Julian Fellowes.ir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=38656babd3394c0f4a64c4925ac34c45& cb=1572216859893

I read this as research for our Downton Abbey Book post. It wasn’t quite the same as Downton because of the lack of details about the “downstairs” staff, but the story of the changing aristocracy certainly resonates with Downton. I loved seeing how the world was changing at the time and the merchant class was rising in esteem. Of course, there was a Downton style happy ending that left me satisfied too. 3 stars.

The Exile by Diana GabaldonThe Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldonir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=584823028a4175db6c3bae0333aa78be& cb=1572216832687

I was so, SO excited to read this book, so you can imagine my disappointment when it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I thought it was going to be a retelling of Outlander from Jaime’s viewpoint but it wasn’t. It was more about Murtagh, some of Jaime, but really Claire wasn’t in it nearly as much as I was expecting. Also (no I’m not spoiling because it happens in the first few pages) as a die-hard fan I was shook that Diana would tell us that Murtagh saw Claire come through the stones! 2.5 stars.

512WQiY3mKL. SX330 BO1204203200When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleetonir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=05d230e92a33c089b328963aaa03c64a& cb=1572216754209

I adored Next Year in Havana when I read it last year, so I was thrilled to be able to read When We Left Cuba. The story of Beatriz’s life as a spy during the Cuban Missile Crisis was quite compelling. It was so interesting to see how the Cubans felt about America’s involvement or lack thereof during the time. The love story was compelling and realistic in my opinion, though I know others who didn’t love it at much as the first book. I breezed through it quickly and happily. 3.5 stars.

american Princess

American Princess by Stephanie Marie Thornton

We all know I love a good Royal Readir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=1a0e73d681fc3833dc35802c783662c6& cb=1572282815195 but I don’t usually get to read a book about American royalty. We may not have an actual royal family, but dynasties like the Vanderbilts, Carnegies, Kennedys, and Roosevelts serve as good replacements. This particular story is about Alice Roosevelt, daughter of our 26th president, Teddy Roosevelt. This historical fiction novel covers her life from the moment her father became President to her second breast cancer surgery. And what a doozy of a life she led! I couldn’t help wondering how her antics would have been perceived had she lived in today’s society. I read it in a few days and adored it! 4 stars.

Jackie’ s Stack

possession the mediumThe Medium  and Possession (Emily Chambers Spirit Medium #1 and #2) by C.J Archerir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=7a4b0182e7b295e4efcf8a31a7b34067& cb=1572381047299

These are such a guilty pleasure for me.  They are quick, easy books with a little bit of paranormal activity and not a lot of substance.  The books are really fun with a little bit of action and a little bit of romance as well.  What do you do when you fall in love with a ghost? 3.5 stars

the furiesThe Furies by Katie Loweir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=5326168260e6c9b6258e947681edf54e& cb=1572391223666ir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=cb3feb8c0c3be625fb22f9f500781860& cb=1572381125285

The prologue begins with an extremely creepy first-person narrative of a teacher recalling the murder of a 16-year-old girl at Elm Hollow Academy.  The girl is found dressed and posed upright swinging on a swing.  The image was so utterly disturbing, I was immediately intrigued.  The recollection of the murder is told with so little remorse that the teller of the story seems to be borderline psychotic. The book is told in four parts and is well-written; however, there were parts of the story that lost me.  I never got a real sense of the characters. They seemed to bleed into each other and seemed like caricatures of what teenagers should be like.  While I usually love a YA with secrets and magic, love and death, mystery and revenge, I found myself skimming parts that seemed superfluous to the plot.  3 stars

Ten Thousand DoorsThe Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix. E Harrowir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=a4ec9bb7c363c186f60dc3a42e384f44& cb=1572381177393

I’ve never read a book quite like this and I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised. The writing is subtle, the plot is driven by character and intrigue rather than action-packed suspense.  It has a feel of historical fiction about it that lovers of this genre may love this book as well. When January is seven years old, she stumbles upon a door that leads her to a different world.  When she is reprimanded for lying about the door, she eventually forgets about it until she finds the book “The Ten Thousand Doors of January” years later.  January becomes intrigued and the real story begins.  The story alternates between the story of January and the book.  The concept is such a fun way to narrate the plot. At times, the plot moved a little bit slowly as one storyline stopped and another began in the alternating chapters.  While I did like the way this was done, at some points, I felt that it slowed the story down a little too much because it took time to concentrate on the alternate plot.  Overall, I really liked this book.  Thank you so much to NetGalley for my copy of the book. 4 stars

charlottes web full color by e b whiteCharlotte’s Webb by E.B Whiteir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=7329032b5df158476b973b8495350d4b& cb=1572381288299

I read this book with my daughter and fell in love with it all over again.  It is wonderful and sad, beautifully written and the perfect book to teach kids about the value of friendship.  I forgot how poetic the language was in this book and was so happy to be able to see the joy of this book through my daughter’s eyes. 5 stars

ir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=647d2a6988d98f639e208ef4b4ce090b& cb=1572381420735

unpregnantUnpregnant by Jenni Henricks and Ted Caplan

When 17-year-old Veronica finds out that she is pregnant, she knows that she needs to get an abortion.  Somehow Jenni Hendricks and Ted Caplan have written a funny book that deals with complex issues like abortion. This YA fiction is a book about love, loss, and friendship that will tug on your heart as it brings you back to those dreaded teenage years (or assures you that you are not alone if you are still loving it). I read the book in a day and a half. It was easy to read and hard to put down.  Thank you to Bookspark for my copy of this book.

White bird

White Bird: A Wonder Story by R.J Palacioir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=122c6e6a48fa1fcb15eb2ef3245d49e2& cb=1572381641076

This graphic novel came my way through my local bookstore and it was a beautiful surprise for me.  I loved Wonder.  The story was told beautifully and with compassion.  I wondered if I would be disappointed with how a story about the holocaust would translate into a graphic novel and whether the story could be told with an equal amount of compassion. Happily, I was not disappointed at all.  I absolutely loved this book.  It is so poignant and powerful with a message of kindness that is so relevant for today.  5 stars

The mermaid and Mrs. HancockThe Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

I’m not sure where to start but that is about as far as I got in this book because I did not finish it.  I do not take leaving a book unfinished lightly but, in this case, it could not be avoided. Even though I tried listening  and reading , after two hours of listening and 75 pages read, I still don’t know what it was about other than what was on the front flap.  After fighting with myself to read this book, I had to stop. 1 star

 Current Obsessions

This month our obsessions are headed firmly into cooler weather territory. I’ve been wearing my new satin pajamas from Target on repeat. So luxe and comfortable! I’m seriously considering getting these thermal ones as well. At less than $25 it’s such a great way to pamper myself at the end of long, cold days.

Jackie has been having an obsession with these amazing Harry Potter inspired outfits.  This Hedwig cardigan is beyond adorable and this Hogwarts tulle skirt adds the perfect touch of whimsy to any outfit.  And just because we don’t want to leave the kids out of the pajama kick we are on, these PJ’s are sure to brighten any kids day! PS They glow in the dark.

Jackie and I have also been listening to TONS of Libro.fm books. Basically its the same service as audible except it supports your local indie bookstore instead of Amazon. We list out the full details as it compares to audible here.

34 Quick Lit Reviews for the hottest new books - Three Women, Where to Begin, Lock Every Door, Twice in a Blue Moon, Look Both Ways and more. Fast reviews to help you decide what to read next -- and what to pass on.

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