Books: September / October Reviews

I continue to average 2-3 books a month (mostly listening).   I enjoy listening while walking the dogs, working on a home improvement project, or folding clothes.

and... I remain in awe of the bloggers/readers who ready five or more books a month - how do you do it?!!

Have you read any of the books below? I can't pick a favorite from the list below, I enjoyed them all.

Reviews in this post: 4
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Why I picked it: I'm a fan of the author, I really enjoyed the dark fictional story Girls in Trucks and am drawn to her writing style.

I'm not one to read a lot of YA, but decided to read this book based on the author's name.

Synopsis: When her free-spirited mother dies in a tragic accident, sixteen-year-old Alexandria Lee is forced to leave her West Coast home and move in with a wealthy grandmother she's never known in Savannah, Georgia. By birth, Alex is a rightful if unwilling member of the Magnolia League-Savannah's long-standing debutante society.

Alex is the first in decades to question the Magnolia League's intentions, yet even she becomes entangled in their seductive world. The members enjoy youth, beauty and power...but at what cost?

Quick Take: Confession... I really enjoyed this book!  So much so that I expect to read the next book in the series.  Crouch writes about two different worlds, live on a commune vs a southern debutante life, teenage life issues, boys... all mixed up with a sprinkle of magic.

Rating: 4 stars
Source: Library (audio)
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Why I picked it: I'm a huge Gilbert fan, my favorite book of hers is Committed.  I think about this book often, mostly about life in other countries, and the way we see marriage today vs a hundred years ago.

I was excited to read her fiction.

Synopsis: An enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery.

The Signature of All Things soars across the globe—from London to Peru to Philadelphia to Tahiti to Amsterdam, and beyond. Along the way, the story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad.

But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who—born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution—bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas.

Quick Take: If you know me you know I love good writing, Gilbert is a lovely writer.  Over 500 pages, I read this book in a week and found myself looking for time to sneak in a page throughout the day.

Loved the character development, the plot moved at a good pace.

Recommend for book club?  Probably not, I don't think there's enough to discuss/explore with a group.

If you enjoy historical fiction, you will love this one.

Rating: 4 stars
Source: Review Copy
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Why I picked it: I picked this one solely on a book blogger's recommendation.  She loved it.

Synopsis: "My darling Cecilia, if you're reading this, then I've died...." Her husband had not intended that she read the letter until after his demise, but Cecilia's curiosity betrayed him. The unsettling words that she read forever changed the life of this once contented wife and mother; yet this well-intended posthumous missive also becomes the spur that enables Cecilia to connect with two other women recently pushed towards crossroads.

Quick Take: Life got in the way while reading this one, causing me to read/listen over a few weeks.  I didn't love the plot twists and wasn't surprised by the ending.

Recommend for book club? Yes, there is a lot to discuss. It's an easy read with dark subject matter.

Rating: 3 stars
Source: audio
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Why I picked it: My Omaha book club read this one.

Synopsis: Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.

Quick Take: I enjoyed the first half, it was over the top, fun, and the story made me laugh at times. The second have was a little far fetched, or maybe it's that the story became serious.  I didn't love this one but understand why so many are enjoying it.

Recommend for book club? Yes, it's mostly absurd, funny and your group will have a good conversation.

Rating: 3 stars
Source: audio

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