October 2019 Book Reviews | On the Daily EXPRESS

10/8/19

October 2019 Book Reviews

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Welcome to my October 2019 Book Reviews! This month I got back into nonfiction a little after a hiatus. Also, I read a few shorter "Kindle Singles" so it looks like I read more than I felt like I did. The combined total reading time of the last three books in the graphic below would be about the length of any one of the other books. Not that anyone's asking for an explanation, but there it is! Here's a look at my selections this month followed by my reviews.


Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben
Basic Plot: Napoleon's girlfriend disappeared on the same night that his twin brother was killed in a suspicious accident in High School. Fifteen years later her fingerprints are found at another crime scene and Napoleon goes looking for answers.
Read Via: Kindle
My Verdict: Enjoyed. The basic plot was interesting enough to keep me going through this book, along with the fast paced, engaging writing style. I will say the main character was kind of a cocky d-bag, and that wasn't my favorite. He wasn't a terrible person overall, but I like someone to root for, and I didn't quite have that with this book. I guess I was just rooting for the truth to come out in the end, which it did so I was satisfied enough. All things considered it was an entertaining, easy read so I don't regret the selection.

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
Basic Premise: Humans are terrible at reading and understanding other humans.
Read Via: Audible
My Verdict: Recommend. As usual, Gladwell has a unique way of presenting information we thought we understood, then turning it on its head by giving us another way to look at the facts. He focuses primarily on high profile, familiar with from the news: Jerry Sandusky, Amanda Knox, Larry Nassar and Bernie Madoff to name a few. If you need a trigger warning for books: consider yourself warned. There was more detail than I ever knew (or wanted to know) about some of the sexual abuse cases. It was difficult to hear at times, but presented with a clear purpose, not just to be salacious (in my opinion). One of the critiques I saw in several Amazon reviews was that Gladwell offers a problem but no real solution. I think that's valid, but to me, the point is to get people to acknowledge the problem and start the discussion. It's not something one person can solve on its own. I do recommend it but prepare yourself to be frustrated in parts. e.g. I was bothered by the way Gladwell presented the Brock Turner case...it didn't quite line up with my understanding of the story. And maybe I would have felt the same about other cases if I were more familiar with them, but all in all it was still good food for thought.

What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon
Basic Plot: A woman goes to Ireland after the death of her beloved (Irish) grandfather to explore her family roots. She gets much more of an adventure than she bargained for on this trip, traveling to Ireland in a different time altogether.
Read Via: Audible (Free with Kindle Unlimited)
My Verdict: Enjoyed. Truthfully, I don't expect much from "free" books at this point but this one was actually pretty good! It was a bit slow getting started and I almost quit, but I just did not want to go to the trouble of finding a new "free" book so I kept listening. Well, that and the fact that I did enjoy the narrator. Once it got going I had no trouble finishing it. The story reminded me very much of a PG (sometimes PG-13) version of Outlander, except in Ireland instead of Scotland, of course. It did get a little heavy/boring with the history details from time to time, but there was enough character and story development included to hold my interest to the end. I hesitated to "spoil" the time travel element in the intro but it does happen early in the book (first 10% at least) and it's central to the plot, so I decided to keep it. Plus, some reviewers said there were "magic" elements, which is essentially true as far as time travel, but beyond that element it's not a magical/fantasy story.

Ten Drugs by Thomas Hager
Basic Premise: This book is a history lesson of how we got to now as it relates to the ten drugs that had the biggest impact on humanity.
Read Via: Audible
My Verdict: Recommend (if the subject interest you). Is this a fast-paced thriller? Absolutely not. But I learned a lot, and that's exactly what I wanted going into it. The narrator was enjoyable and the author did a really great job of presenting the information in an "entertaining" way 90% of the time. This is nonfiction, of course, but even though it's history, it's not as dry as a standard history book. It's also not quite as conversational as something by Malcolm Gladwell, for comparison. I'd place it somewhere in between those two. All in all a solid read, and it sparked my interest to read and learn more on the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry. If anyone has recommendations for something written for the average person (i.e. not a medical industry professional) send them my way!

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting
Basic Plot: Kailyn is an attorney whose work puts her into an uncomfortable situation with her former college nemesis slash former actor and teen heartthrob.
Read Via: Kindle
My Verdict: Cute Cute. If you're in a reading funk, this would be a great book to break out of it. It's a fun, easy read. Sure it's kind of predictable, but that's what I expect out of this genre. The characters didn't annoy me and the plot kept moving at a good pace so I'd say yes, recommend if you want something light and fluffy.

Hello Darkness by Sandra Brown
Basic Plot: A popular radio host gets a disturbing call about a possible crime being committed. Police investigate whether it's real.
Read Via: Kindle (Free with Kindle Unlimited)
My Verdict: It was Okay. I believe this is one of Brown's earlier books and it shows. She's definitely grown as a writer. This was cheesy in parts and introduced new characters kind of late in the book, which I generally dislike. Especially when there were already plenty of characters from the get-go. If you have KU and want something reasonably entertaining, this is not bad. Otherwise I'd say skip it.

The Magpies by Mark Edwards
Basic Plot: A young couple moves to a new flat in London thinking they'll befriend their new neighbors, but things quickly go south.
Read Via: Audible (Free with Kindle Unlimited)
My Verdict: It was Okay. I enjoyed The Retreat by this same author, but didn't like this one quite as much. The suspense wasn't very strong, and a lot of the story was just going through the day-to-day life of the couple. I like the writing style of the author, and that was what got me through the book. When it finished I was bit disappointed with the resolution. It wasn't a cliffhanger, but I wasn't satisfied, either. For a free KU audiobook it's fine but I wouldn't recommend it otherwise.

A Murder of Magpies and The Last of the Magpies
Basic Plot: Jamie tries to get on with his life but can't get over what happened in his London apartment back in "The Magpies."
Read Via: Audible (Free with Kindle Unlimited)
My Verdict: Go ahead and finish the series if you read the first book. I'm putting my review for these two books together because they're both short stories (total listening time of roughly five hours combined) and a continuation of the first book. I listened to them back-to-back and they sort of run together in my mind, so I can't even review them separately anyway. Much like the first book, it wasn't an amazing read, but it kept me entertained enough that I was able to wait for my next batch of Audible credits instead of buying more by listening to these.

The Sisters by Dervla McTiernan
Basic Plot: A young, inexperienced Irish attorney (or barrister as they say) gets thrown on a murder case at the last minute with no background info and no help from her superiors. As she researches the case, she gets help from an unexpected source.
Read Via: Audible (Free with Audible Membership)
My Verdict: Enjoyed. My only real complaint with this book is that it was really short (3 hours - most novels are 6-12 hours), and I would have liked more character and story development. But for a short story it was well done and entertaining. I would definitely read another by this author, and apparently this is a prequel to another one of her books, so I may try that. Also, Audible is now offering two free Audible Original selections every month and this was one of mine for September. Otherwise I likely wouldn't have found it or used a whole book credit for it on my own.

Quick Picks:
For quick recommendation without the specifics of what I did/didn't like, here are the books from this month that I'm likely to recommend to friends and family in real life:
Don't Let Go 
*Talking to Strangers 
What the Wind Knows 
*Ten Drugs 
Meet Cute 
The Sisters 

This month was tough to narrow down. I don't think any of my fiction reads were amazing OMG must read! But I enjoyed all of those pretty well. The nonfiction books (*) actually stand out to me more than the fiction, though but I  know that's not everyone's cuppa!

Current Reads + Up Next:
I'm currently reading Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid on Kindle and enjoying it. I actually just finished Inside Out - Demi Moore's memoir last night but didn't have time to write the full review, update the graphic, etc. in time for this post. But I found it totally fascinating and will be reviewing and recommending it next month. Chanel Miller's memoir Know My Name is out now so I'm planning to start that today.

Can't wait to hear what you've all be reading or which books from this month you'll be adding to your list! As usual I'm joining Steph & Jana for Show Us Your Books so head on over there if you need more recommendations!


CONVERSATION

24 comments:

  1. Know my name is also on my TBR and I want to read all of TJR's books, I need to check which ones I have left. Added all your reqs to my TBR list.


    xo
    Pinksole

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    1. Same - eventually I will read all of TJR's books! Even the ones I didn't like as much for one reason or another...I still liked her writing and was entertained.

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  2. I'm 15 books behind on my Goodreads goal this year and need to step it up! Meet Cute might be a great way to get me going! Ten Drugs sounds really interesting and so does The Sisters!

    Jill - Doused in Pink

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    1. Meet Cute is a fun and easy read! Definitely don't start with Ten Drugs if you're in a reading slump. Ha!!

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  3. I read this post, that is the good information for me. I search a lot of time for the topic you made. but don’t collect any good information for that. I am very happy because I’m so glad to get it. honest to say Actually it’s good for me. If you need more please visit our page : Wimbledon driving school

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  4. I didn't love Meet Cute but I know a lot of people did! I think I just expected more out of it than what I got. Malcolm Gladwell's new book sounds extremely interesting. Oh I LOVED Maybe in Another Life - I hope you enjoy it!!

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    1. Just finished "Maybe" and I really liked it. Such a fun concept. Luckily I only expected fluff out of Meet Cute so I think it delivered on that. I admit I judged it based on the cover. And title! LOL!

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  5. Its rare that I read your posts without having read any of the books. We have such similar tastes. Im adding quite a few of these to my list!

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    1. Yay! Can't wait to see what you read this month. :)

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  6. I’m going to add Meet Cute to my TBR. I absolutely loved Maybe in Another Life, as I love all TJR books!!! Hope you’re enjoying it!

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  7. Ooooh I did not know Dervla McTiernan had another book! I just finished The Scholar, which is the 2nd in her detective series (The Ruin is the first), and I loved both of those. Absolutely going to check out this one while I wait for the 3rd in the other series to come out. And I'm currently in the middle of Talking to Strangers. I don't read a lot of nonfiction or listen to many audiobooks, but I love podcasts - so I think this audiobook formatting and presentation is excellent. And I agree - some of it is hard to hear, but it absolutely gets important conversations going.

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    1. Double oooooh - now I see The Sisters is the prequel to The Ruin. Got to get my parents to download this on Audible now... since I totally just piggyback on their account :)

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    2. Oh I'm glad to hear you like Dervla McTiernan! I just ordered The Ruin based on your comment. :) Good idea to keep Audible in the family! Haha.

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  8. Meet Cute has been on my reading list for a while, and since I am in a reading funk it sounds like now is the time to break it out! I'm dying to read Demi Moore's memoir, so I'm glad to hear that you recommend it!

    Just sayin',
    Karly
    https://www.whatkarlysaid.com

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    1. It's a great memoir IMO - I'll be curious to read any reviews that DON'T like it to hear why!

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  9. I must have missed that Coben. I'll check it out, I read all of his.

    You're the second mention of Demi's book. I've heard a lot of buzz about it but only you and one other link up person have read it so far, both enjoyed it.

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    1. It's pretty new but I got it as soon as I could - no regrets! I think at some point all get to all of Coben's - so far he's pretty reliable for me.

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  10. I had looked into What the Wind Knows before but was worried it could be hokey. I LOVE Outlander, but after you read that, other similar books are kind of a disappointment. Good to know this is worth reading!

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    1. Keep in mind it's been years (maybe a decade??) since I read Outlander, so it helped that it wasn't fresh in my mind. If it was a recenet read for you, I'd give it some time so you aren't comparing them too much. :)

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  11. Don't know how I missed Don't Let Go, since I've read most of Harlan Coben's books! Just added it to my to read list. Talking to Strangers sounds like an interesting read.

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  12. Noting Meet Cute for the next time I need something fun and mindless.

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  13. I really want to read Talking to Strangers; it sounds fascinating. I'm curious what you thought about Demi Moore's memoir.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingsstarsmag.net

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  14. I can't believe I almost missed this! I always enjoy your reviews. So, just returning from Ireland I feel like What the Wind Knows will be on my list! It's time for me to start stalking the library!!
    xo,
    Kellyann

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