Month Count: 3 texts, 2 audiobook, 5 total
Year to Date: 49 texts (2020 updated goal – 50), 16 audiobooks, 65 total
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The Return by Nicholas Sparks was my Audible credit this month and I specifically went out hunting for something to entertain me on the roadtrip I had with my daughter. It was actually my first Nicholas Sparks book, and probably will be my last.
I don’t mind the movies they have made out of his books. I know they’re predictable, but whatever! When I need to force out a good cry, I watch and rewatch the Notebook and sob away my worries. However, there’s a big difference between watching a two hour version of his books and listening to a nine hour reading of his book. **SPOILER** Actually, not a spoiler because all of his books are the freaking same: vets, cancer, love, and loss. Blah blah blah… This wasn’t any different.
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate was lent to me by a coworker, Ashly and came with a warning that it wasn’t a light and fluffy book, but it was worth the read. I’m not scared of a dark novel, and this was a great mix of “dark enough” to be disturbing, but heartfelt enough to keep you tethered.
In a nutshell, a family of children rich in love but not in wealth are basically kidnapped and stolen from their parents. They’re lied to, manipulated, abused, and worse and end up being adopted. Before We Were Yours is beautifully written and I loved that I didn’t know where it was going to go. I’ve mentioned before that I always try to predict the twists and turns, and I couldn’t with this one. The absolute worst part was reading Lisa’s excerpt at the end about Georgia Tann. While her story is made up, it has enough basis in historical fact to be *probably* terrifyingly accurate. Unfortunately, it probably has mostly a better story than I bet any of those children actually had in real life.
The Book of Joy: Finding Lasting Peace in a Changing World by Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Audible was definitely a great fit for the times. I started The Book of Joy over a year ago but I just couldn’t focus and it wasn’t the right time. On my way back from a road trip early on in the month, I pulled it up and started from the beginning and found it really appropriate for things I’m going through and feeling lately. I’m not religious in particular, but I do practice yoga, much of which aligns with or was derived from Buddist teachings that Dalai Lama studies. I found that I have been able to transform reactions recently and become less volatile with my temper. I’ve been coupling this with increased meditation and yoga practice, and trying to be more self aware. Look, if there has ever been a “changing world” that we need to cultivate joy and happiness in, and focus on our resilience as a society, it’s definitely now.
If you’re struggling to focus, or finding yourself reacting to things with a much more hair pin trigger, like myself, maybe give this one a read or a listen. The narration is beautiful, which always helps, but the messages are much more important. I imagine if I had the book in hand, I’d have notes scribbled all over and sections highlighted for reference.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab in three words: WORTH THE HYPE.
Incredible book! Absolutely worth the hype! Addie makes a deal but deals always have a price. She’s too stubborn to give in that easily; however, and figures out how to survive. Three hundred years of practice with her curse, then suddenly Henry throws a curve ball. I’m doing it absolutely no justice. Read this one. It grabbed me and still has me enthralled. I also loved that it could have ended earlier but I was so grateful that there was plenty more book to read… ugh – so great! Are all of her books this good??
Going from one of the best books I’ve read this year to one of the worst. The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews. I honestly picked it up on clearance at B&N because the cover looked so amazing and the synopsis sounded good. Huge disappointment.
The High Tide Club was a club formed by a couple of rich white girls who vacationed at each other’s family’s beach homes and went skinny dipping during full moons or something cliche like that. They had one black friend who was basically one of the white girl’s slaves. They treated her as though she was one of their friends, but you can really tell this was written by a rich, southern, republican white woman.
Of course a scandal happens when these four women are late teens/early adults and they turn the High Tide Club into a secret keeping society. Decades later and after a half a century of “fall outs” between them, Josephine wants to reconcile on her deathbed. Of course this brings the secrets bubbling up to the surface and of course “scandal” in the 2010’s is nothing like what it was in the 1940’s.
It was very outdated, overly predictable, and incredibly boring. I could skip paragraphs and not miss a beat of the plot. Entire chapters could be removed and you’d probably have a more substantiated book. Do yourself a favor, if it’s on your TBR list or on your bookshelf waiting to be read, donate it to Goodwill or something. Move along, and don’t bother!
Well, it wasn’t a record breaking month by any means, but I’m proud of the few books I keep sneaking in when I have time. I already have a few picked out for November. What did you read this month that you loved?? What could you have done without (LOL!)?