November was a great reading month for me—I hit my 2020 reading goal of 72 books! As such, I am now trying to get to 80 by the end of the year; we’ll see if we can do it. I was able to finish seven books this month, including two I read by the fire over the Thanksgiving holiday—I am looking forward to doing the same when I’m at my parents’ house again for Christmas. I’ll report back in December’s roundup, and I’ll also share my top books of the year.
While we are on the topic of reading, I really enjoyed this Wall Street Journal article on how Barnes & Noble is pivoting to a more localized approach in an effort to stave off competition from Amazon. I thought the behind-the-scenes look into their strategy was really interesting and a very sensical way to differentiate.
As is custom on these posts, I wanted to call out that I’m part of a program where Random House will send me some of their new titles each month. I’m under no obligation to post about any titles I receive, so I really can tell you my own opinion (good or bad!) about them. I’ve starred the books Random House sent me for free below. I’m so lucky to be sent books and that’s not lost on me!
You can always follow along with what I am reading in real-time over on Goodreads—feel free to friend me there!
SAY YOU STILL LOVE ME // K.A. TUCKER
Piper Calloway is a 29-year-old executive at her dad’s multi-billion dollar real estate development firm. Piper lives in a swanky downtown apartment with her two best friends and her life is pretty much all tougher, except she would love to find “the one.” Every other chapter, the story flashes back to 13 years ago, when Piper spent a summer at Camp Wawa, where she ended up having a summer fling with another counselor, Kyle. In the present day, Piper notices a new security guard at her office and realizes it’s Kyle, the same guy from all those summers ago. The only problem? He doesn’t even seem to remember her name.
Would I recommend it? I really enjoy K.A. Tucker books—but I definitely think the Wild series is the one you should start with! This was still a great read, but probably my least favorite of the ones I’ve read by her.
THE SWITCH // BETH O’LEARY
Leena is an overachiever and on the verge of a mental breakdown. Her boss forces her to take a two-month sabbatical from work—no email, no cell phone, just a true vacation. When she realizes circumstances are perfect, she convinces her grandma, Eileen, to switch places with her for two months. Leena will live in her grandma’s tiny village and Eileen will head to London to live with Leena’s flatmates. Stepping into each other’s lives isn’t as easy as they thought it would be—and both women find themselves at a crossroads in their lives.
Would I recommend it? I really wanted to like this one, but I just couldn’t get into it! I know a few people who read it and really enjoyed it though, so don’t let my negative review sway you if you’re interested in reading it.
HEART BONES // COLLEEN HOOVER
Beyah just graduated high school and is a few months away from heading to Penn State on a full ride when her mother dies of an overdose. With a landlord who kicks her out and no money to her name, she has no choice but to call her dad for help. He buys her a plane ticket to Texas where he spends the summers with his wife and her daughter. When Beyah arrives, she’s in a world of wealth and privilege, and not wanting pity or questions, decides not to tell her dad or his new family about her mother’s death. She wants to have a quiet summer, but her new next door neighbor, Samson, throws a wrench into that plan. Samson is her exact opposite—he comes from a family of wealth and privilege. As they’re summer fling builds into something more, Beyah finds herself in over her head.
Would I recommend it? I’ll read anything Colleen Hoover writes—she is an amazing author. My favorite of hers is still It Ends With Us, but I really enjoyed this one. There was a lot of great character development and the plot kept me guessing at points.
BULLS ISLAND // DOROTHEA BENTON FRANK
Betts hasn’t been back to the Lowcountry in nearly 20 years. She’s now a New Yorker and an executive who is handed the most important job of her career. The catch? It requires her to work with her former fiancé, JD Langley, a wealthy Charlestonian, who is in charge of the redevelopment of Bulls Island, and island she loved as a child, into a planned community.
Would I recommend it? My best friend Emma recommended this book to me and I am so glad she did—it was a really cute read and I loved that it was set in the South Carolina Lowcountry!
THE BOOK OF TWO WAYS // JODI PICOULT*
Dawn is on a plane when the flight attendants tell everyone to brace for an emergency. As her life is flashing before her eyes, she doesn’t think of her husband and her daughter—she thinks of Wyatt Armstrong, the man she last saw 15 years ago in Egypt. Dawn survives the crash and the airline offers to buy survivors a flight to wherever they want to go. The obvious option is for Dawn to go home to her family. The other option is to head back to Egypt to reconnect with Wyatt and revive her research on The Book of Two Ways—the first known map of the afterlife. As the story unfolds, Dawn’s two possible futures play out side by side.
Would I recommend it? Yes—this was beautifully written and I also learned a ton about ancient Egypt. My favorite Jodi Picoult book, however, remains Leaving Time.
JINGLE ALL THE WAY // DEBBIE MACOMBER*
Everly is an overworked real estate developer and her boss insists she take the whole month of December off. A vengeful assistant books her on a rustic cruise in the Amazon instead of the luxury cruise her boss promised her. Everly is horrified to realize she will be spending two weeks without Wifi. The ship’s naturalist, Asher, promises her a good time—and with each passing day on the boat, Everly realizes he is making good on his promise.
Would I recommend it? This was a cute, mindless holiday read—but there are definitely better books out there, so I wouldn’t seek it out. If you’re looking for a great holiday read, I loved One Day in December!
THE TWELVE DATES OF CHRISTMAS // JENNY BAYLISS
Kate is 34 and ready to find love. She lives in a small English town where there aren’t that many men she hasn’t already met, so she lets her best friend set her up with a dating agency that promises to help singles find love for the holidays. They arrange a series of 12 dates with 12 different men for Kate. Each of the dates she goes on is more disastrous than the last, and the whole town—including her childhood friend, Matt—is keeping tabs and crossing their fingers Kate finds love.
Would I recommend it? I really enjoyed this one—it’s definitely predictable, but if you love cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies, this will be right up your alley.