It’s time again for my new monthly wrap-up. It’s quite a list this month, so let’s get started… here’s what I read in November:
Silent Night, by R.L. Stine
I know I read this as a kid, though I didn’t remember much as I re-read it twenty years later, nor was I overly impressed. It makes me curious to re-read some of the other Fear Street books, the ones I remember as being favorites, to see if they all feel this way after all these years or if this just wasn’t a great one.
(This is my next ITW Must-Read; look for more on it later this week.)
The Eyes of the Dragon, by Stephen King
This is a really great story. It’s told in what I think of as a traditional storyteller’s style, with a lot of asides and comments made directly to the reader. It’s a style that doesn’t always work for me, but here it fits perfectly. I’m not all that well-versed in fantasy so I can’t comment on how it might stand up to similar books… all I can say is that I really enjoyed it.
Extraction, by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
This short story starts innocently enough, but of course, coming from the collective minds of Preston and Child, it takes a rather disturbing turn. The novels featuring Pendergast’s brother Diogenes are some of my favorites in the series, and I really like getting to see the two of them as children. Hoping these authors will release more short stories like this one.
Noah’s Rainy Day, by Sandra Brannan
I’m at a handicap, not having read the previous books in the series. I never felt lost, but I just didn’t connect with the characters or care about their relationships. As for the story, there was very little mystery, only a question of when the investigators would put together everything the reader already knows. Noah was the one redeeming part of this book. I really did love reading from his point of view… but the rest of it just didn’t do anything for me.
White Fire, by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
I wasn’t a huge fan of the Helen Trilogy, and I was unsure of this one in the beginning because Pendergast seemed to be very much on the periphery of the story… but in the end, I didn’t have to worry. There’s plenty of Pendergast to keep things feeling familiar, and I liked exploring his relationship with Corrie. I was amused that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes played such a key role in the story, considering that Pendergast is so much like Holmes himself.
(read my full review here: White Fire)
King and Maxwell, by David Baldacci
It’s been a while since I’ve read the others, but there’s a little more banter here than I remember, and I have to wonder if it’s because the series has been adapted for television. Intentional or not, there was just something about it that felt off. There’s not much growth for the main characters, and I wonder if I’d care about them if I weren’t already attached. Not the best in the series, but still an entertaining read for fans of the series.
(read my full review here: King and Maxwell)
Divergent, by Veronica Roth
The start to another YA dystopian trilogy, but I found myself more invested in this one more quickly than The Hunger Games. I thought the pacing was great, it was fun to see a future version of Chicago, and I liked that most of my big questions were answered by the end of the first book. Looking forward to seeing where this one goes.
Insurgent, by Veronica Roth
This wasn’t nearly as compelling a story as in Divergent. The major conflict here continued naturally from the first book, but a lot of the minor, more personal conflicts just felt contrived and didn’t do much for the story, in my opinion. The final revelation was a great one (though not entirely unexpected), and I’m definitely looking forward to see how it all ends.
Death Dangles a Participle, by E.E. Kennedy
Cozy mysteries have never really appealed to me, but I saw the title of this one and couldn’t pass it up. Unfortunately, it just served as further proof that this isn’t my type of book. There was nothing about it that put me off, exactly, but nothing that pulled me in either. If it weren’t such a quick read I wouldn’t have bothered finishing it.
(read my random-read unreview here: Death Dangles a Participle)
The Fifth Assassin, by Brad Meltzer
This book hardly qualifies as a DNF, since I’d barely started it and shouldn’t have picked it up to begin with. I’d already DNF’d Meltzer’s The Inner Circle, the first in this series. I figured I’d give him another chance since he’s the type of author I should really enjoy, and this particular conspiracy looked like a good one… but a few chapters in, I realized this wasn’t just another story with the same characters, but a direct continuation, and probably not worth trying to get into.
The Virgin’s Lover, by Philippa Gregory
I like most of Gregory’s historical novels, but I found this one hard to get into at first. Normally I prefer a third person narration, but with these I’ve come to expect first, so I was thrown to suddenly be watching everything from a distance. Once the story got going, though, it was hard not to get wrapped up in it… even knowing from history that it couldn’t end well for anyone.
Silent City, by Alex Segura
This was a NetGalley ARC, which I don’t usually DNF. I gave up on this one partly because the file was a .pdf, not an .epub, which makes it harder to read… which certainly isn’t the author’s fault, but there wasn’t anything in the first few chapters compelling me to read further. In a different format, I might have been more willing to give it more of a chance. But it’s on the shorter side (170 pages), so the fact that it didn’t grab me right away isn’t a great sign.
Petroplague, by Amy Rogers
A very Crichton-esque thriller with a fascinating and chilling premise. The book reads like a disaster movie… not always the strongest storytelling (to be fair, neither is a lot of Crichton), but the constant tension and excitement makes up for its weaker moments. Overall it was quite enjoyable.
(full review coming soon)
Allegiant, by Veronica Roth
This still wasn’t as good as Divergent, but I thought it was great as a conclusion. I love that we got to learn the history and what led to the world being the way it is, something the more curious part of me finds missing in many dystopian novels. At times it almost feels like there’s too much going on, that the world is suddenly too big for the story, but all in all I enjoyed it.
What was your favorite book last month?