Wednesday, 30 November 2016

A Month in Books - November 2016

I hadn't initially thought that November was outstanding month of book reading but, looking back to write this post I see I was wrong. I mostly awarded three or four star ratings so goods and very goods rather than five star wows - although there are two of those! - but I did have a good run of indie author reads including two travel memoirs, a great mental health YA novel, an interesting self help guide and another thought-provoking Joss Sheldon novel. There's also a Christmas classic and thrilling Scandi-crime fiction.
If you read all the way through to the end of this post, I'm running a giveaway for my last read of November!



Four Chambers by John Henry Winter

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Winter was inspired to write this novella by quantum physics and his boom explores the idea of disparate events being connected in tiny and unexpected ways. It is cleverly done and I needed to read slowly (for me) so as not to miss any hints that were later shown to be important connections.


A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I have seen several theatrical and film versions of A Christmas Carol over the years, but hadn't actually read the book since childhood and that was probably an abridged version. I loved rediscovering this timeless classic and thought Dickens' portrayal of London and her people must be pretty much impossible to top!



The Last Hotel Room by Sean McLachlan

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I have been impressed with all my KindleScout reward books so far and The Last Hotel Room was no exception. McLachlan evokes various aspects of life in Tangier, Morocco, and also explores the predicament of Syrian refugees trapped in poverty within the city.


Berta La Larga by Cuca Canals

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This young adult novel reads like a myth or a fairytale and it is great fun. Very Spanish in style, it tells of poor Berta who is supposed to have magical powers but seems to only be possessed of great height. However when she falls in love with a postman from the hated neighbouring village, her powers are unleashed to devastating effect.



Road To Nowhere by Jim Fusilli

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I bought this audiobook from Audible a few years ago, but for some unknown reason it wouldn't download so got forgotten about until now. It's an odd crime thriller, well narrated but with a strange premise that I couldn't completely get behind. I did like the female characters' portrayal although our 'hero' is depicted in too enigmatic a way for me to understand him.


London Overground: A Day's Walk Around The Ginger Line by Iain Sinclair

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I had been looking forward to reading this one as I like urban history, long distance walking and trains. However I was disappointed. There were some sections which were interesting, but much of the book is Sinclair's reminiscences about his own arty and literary friends and it came across to me as too pretentious.


The MacKinnon's Bride by Tanya Anne Crosby

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

If you are a light romance fan and have never heard how Scottish people really speak then you might well like The MacKinnon's Bride. It's light and pretty predictable and I did quite enjoy the quick read. The interspersed 'historical language' is very odd though!


Wasp Days by Erhard von Buren

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It took a while for me to get into this book and I don't think it is one that would appeal to a wide audience. Essentially an elderly man reminiscing about his life, I was interested in historical Paris and in a journey he took to China.


Until Thy Wrath Be Past by Asa Larsson

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A great charity shop find and, as soon as he finished reading, Dave was straight on to Amazon to buy another mystery in this series! Perhaps not completely believable, but go with the flow for an exciting read.


Three Days In Damascus by Kim Schultz

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Another perspective on the refugee crisis, Schultz's newly published memoir recounts her long-distance relationship with an Iraqi man stranded in Syria.


March by Geraldine Brooks

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One reason I chose to read Little Women recently was because I knew I had this audiobook awaiting me. It fills in a story of Mr March, the girls' absent father, during the American Civil War and in his younger years. I particularly liked how Brooks weaves her novel around the original.


I Am The Ocean by Samita Sarkar

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Canadian Sarkar spent a month travelling in America alone and this memoir recounts both her physical experiences and her spiritual growth during her journey. Her Hare Krishna faith is an important aspect of the book.



The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Another great charity shop find! We had already seen the film of this book and, unsurprisingly, there is a lot more to the novel although the film keeps very closely to its source material. I was fascinated by the portrayal of a Maori New Zealand community.



The Little Voice by Joss Sheldon

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Newly published last week, this first person narrated novel explores how we condition our children and asks whether what is considered to be best for our society is damaging its members. This is the second of Sheldon's books that I have loved and he has joined my favourite author list!


Your Flight To Happiness by Toni Mackenzie

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

This self help guide to emotional resilience uses the author's former career as an air stewardess as its hook and includess useful exercises and mindfulness ideas, most of which look fairy easy to implement.


Turkish Gambit by Boris Akunin

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Disappointing historical fiction because there wasn't enough period detail for my tastes. The book is set during the Russo-Turkish War of the 1870s and does have a nice spy story mystery, but the characters aren't all particularly well developed.


And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini 

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

A bit of a sprawl of a novel, I didn't think this book had a strong enough structure and it lost direction during the second half. It's still good, but I think not a patch on Hosseini's first two books.


My Friends Are All Strange by M C Lesh

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Newly published in October this year, Lesh has written an insightful YA novel of a teenager trying to cope with her disintegrating mental health. This book is suitable for older readers too and I have a copy to give away on Literary Flits this week. (The post publishes itself at noon today).

Eighteen books later, that's all my November reads and I am set to start on December's delights! I know I have one Christmassy novella lined up and it comes with a Blog Tour giveaway for you to enter. There will be a witchy fantasy story with a giveaway too and I am wondering whether to take the plunge and start The Luminaries. I can't keep being intimidated by its brickness forever!

2 comments:

  1. Wow you've had such a productive November! I hope you have a wonderful December, Stephanie! I'm excited to hear your thoughts on the Christmasy novella you'll be reviewing!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

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    Replies
    1. The novella is Mistletoe At Moonglow by Deborah Garner. I've enjoyed one of her books before so fingers crossed this one is as good!

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