November Wrap-Up

Happy December 1!

The weather here in Southern Ontario has been up and down all month, and December is starting much the same way November did, with a big winter storm. Bad for trying to get my Christmas shopping in order, but great for starting another month with a good boost to my reading / blogging.

So November by the numbers…
Total Books Read: 15
Total Books Finished: 12
Did Not Finish (DNF): 1
To be Continued in December: 2
Total Pages Read: 4070
Average Pages Per Day: 135

This was the first month I ever “read” via audio book… I will do a separate posting on how I feel about that experience. The purist in me felt that I was cheating by reading via audio book, but it is an easy way to get a few more books in a year. The following tracks my reading by media type. Hard-copy books (blue), E-Books (beige), audio book (grey).

A brief summary (no spoilers) and rating for all the books I finished in November, 2019 is below:

The Infernal Devices Series – Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess – Cassandra Clare

I gave this series 4.5-stars as a whole, with Clockwork Angel being my lowest rating at 4-stars and Clockwork Prince being my highest at 5-stars. Clockwork Princess falls somewhere in between, as it had some of the absolute best moments of the series, and some of the usual let-downs as things finally wind-up. Shortly after completing The Mortal Instruments, I purchased The Infernal Devices, however my heart just wasn’t big enough at the time to embrace a new Shadow Hunter series.

Blame – Jeff Abbott

This was the first book read in my “Random Book from the Library” ongoing challenge. I’ve always liked the idea of finding a gem in the rough that I’ve NEVER heard of by just randomly picking a book from the library shelves or by starting at “A”… This book embraced both.

The story was much more compelling than I thought it would be, about a girl suffering from amnesia after having killed a close guy friend in a car accident. The story is largely about a calamity of events as the story of what happened that night starts to unwind.

I haven’t read a lot of books with an unreliable narrator, but this one was compelling in that she was so obviously unreliable in that you often were pretty sure that maybe she was stringing you along.

I gave this books 3.5 stars. Wasn’t entirely in my wheelhouse of books I like to read, but it was definitely an enjoyable trip into the less-frequented library shelves.

Zen-Sational Living: A Simple Guide to Finding Your True Self and Maintaining Balance – Sheila M. Burke

I don’t know what I expected of “A Simple Guide” with such an incredibly complicated title, but this book was disappointing. Usually I’m all-in on some good living zen advice, but maybe I just wasn’t feeling the topic this month or maybe this book really wasn’t that good. It took me a few tries over the past few years to get into it, and I’m pretty sure I only finished it this time through sheer will-power. I gave it 2 Stars.

The Art of Woo – Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas – G. Richard Shell

Once again, maybe I’m just too into fiction right now to really appreciate a good non-fiction book… Or maybe it’s because I tried to do this one via audio book… Either way, this book I just could not keep paying attention to and eventually I called it as my first DID NOT FINISH of the year. No rating.

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked – Adam Alter

This was the one exception this month to my non-fiction slump. I really enjoyed this book, although I’m concerned that maybe instead of scaring me away from the addictive behaviours it cautions, it actually drew me in more, with my new advances in blogging and instragram. Oh well, it was an interesting read and a good book overall. 3 Stars.

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight – Kimberly Jones

This was the first book that I finished as an audio book. At first I had a real difficulty with hearing the book in voices different than the ones in my head (cue mental health check), but I went for a long drive one day and found that with absorbing a big enough chunk at one time, the story held my interest. A decent story, but I do think that I may have liked it even more if I had read it instead of listened to it. 3 Stars.

Roar: Thirty Women Thirty Stories – Cecelia Ahren

This being the second book in my “Random Book from the Library” series, I wasn’t sure what to expect about this collection of short stories. But I LOVED IT! It was fantastic… By the halfway point I thought for sure this was going to be one of my favourite reads of the year. Unfortunately by the end I either got bored of the rah-rah-feminism vibe or the stories started to decline in quality and at the end of the day, this only got a 3.75-Star Rating.

Carve the Mark – Veronica Roth

This was the only re-read of the month. When I picked this book to re-read, I actually thought it was a different book, but 50 pages in I was pretty invested and decided to finish this series again. It’s not the most wonderful YA Fantasy book I’ve ever read, but the romance is pretty cute and I did enjoy this departure from some of the other materials I read this month. I gave it 3 Stars on the re-read. I seem to recall that the end of the series was disappointing so I’m mixed on getting back into book #2.

Get Your Sh*T Together: How to stop Worrying About What You Should Do So You Can Finish What You Need to Do and Start Doing What You Want To Do – Sarah Knight

Wow… that’s a mouthful. I didn’t even realize how long that title was. No need for a recap because that says it all.

I really enjoyed this book, which was the third book I finished in audio format. I think it’s the author who is also doing the reading, which is really fun. So much better than the other two audios and it really felt more like a podcast or just talking to someone (says something about my vernacular).

Anyways, this was a good, solid book and has interested me in trying the audio version of her other book “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck”… I’ve read that one, but I think hearing her cadence will be even better. 4 Stars.

I Hate Everyone… Starting with Me – Joan Rivers

This was the third installment in my “Random Book from the Library” series. I thought it might be a light, enjoyable read and I was right. It was fine, but not quite as funny as I had hoped. 3 Stars.

Wonder – R.J. Palacio

This was my second re-read of the month, and my first “Reading What the Kids Are Reading” book. My daughter read this book and watched the movie 2 years ago and I don’t know if I finished the book along with her or lost interest part way through.

It was a fine story, but fiction geared to that age group is maybe just not my thing. I don’t have the same “outrage” response that some of my other mommy peers do. 3 Stars.

A Book So Good… You Don’t Want to Finish It

There is nothing better than that story that captivates your heart… It’s even better if it’s part of a series that can keep you emerged and entranced for books at a time. The world in which you’ve found a home, the characters which you consider family, the storyline that you are so invested in that you forgo sleep and basic needs to consume faster than you ever thought possible. Only to hit that point when you realize….

This story is going to end…

Most recently that series for me has been “The Infernal Devices” by Cassandra Clare. Currently I’m about 3/4 done the last book of the series, and I am so excited to see what happens in the end… and yet so dreading the end of the series and so not wanting to waste a single second of the experience, that this last bit of book is taking FOREVER. I only read this book when I know that no one is around to disrupt me and when I’m sure I can get at least a chapter in. So many lesser books have come and gone and been marked up on the Goodreads big board in the meantime that anyone who doesn’t know me would think that I wasn’t really into it.

So this post will be updated occasionally, as I find those rare gems of a book / series that are just too good to finish. If any of my readers have similar experiences or recommendations, please leave them in the comments.

In the meantime, I think I can get infinitesimally closer to the end without actually reading the last page, so I’d better sign off and find a quiet corner to sneak away to.

November TBR

Well it’s almost halfway through November and I realized I haven’t yet released a November TBR…

On the plus side, that means that I know a few books that I will for sure get through this month. To kick it off, the following books were completed already this month:

  • Zen-Sational Living: A Simple Guide to Finding Your True Self – Sheila M. Burke
  • Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) – Cassandra Clare
  • Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) – Cassandra Clare
  • Blame – Jeff Abbott (random book project)

On the negative side, that means that we are quickly running out of time to finish all the books / projects that I’ve got started in the works for November. The following books I hope to have completed by the end of the month:

  • Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) – Cassandra Clare
  • Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked – Adam Alter
  • Wonder – R.J. Palacio (kid co-read)
  • Carve the Mark – Veronica Roth (re-read)
  • Roar – Cecelia Ahern (random book project)
  • One (1) additional book to be selected at random from the library for Random Book Project (yet to be selected)

Goodreads 2019 Reading Challenge Status: 14/20 as of November 12 (note: challenge started in June).

Yesterday we got an unprecedented amount of snow for this early in the season. Terrible for driving, but great for trying to get some reading and posting in.