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by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I'm discussing different book genres/categories. Each day, I will give a few details about the...

November 26, 2018

November's Reading Round-up #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber

Books received in the mail this month
We are almost to the end of 2018 and I've already reached my reading goal of 100 books. I'm now hoping to read 120 before the end of the year. I didn't read quite as many books in November as I did in October, but it was still a good month. Since last month I read a ton of ebooks, and not many review copies, I tried to focus on my print pile and review copies this month. Let's see how I did.

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I read/listened to 10 books this month. Five were in print, 1 was an egalley, and 4 were audiobooks. Of the 10, five books were for review. So I did pretty well on my goal of reading more review copies and more in print books.

I picked up these adorable bookends (and a warm hat) at Holiday Vendor Market.
I put together my annual Book Buying Guide which is the best books I read this year. This year many of them published this year, but there are at least a couple of older titles on this list. Since I listened to many more audiobooks this year, I added a separate category for the audiobooks I recommend.


In print...

Edge of Yesterday
Edge of Yesterday by Robin Stevens Payes
I had trouble getting into the story. There is a lot of information spouted about quantum physics and then there is the constant vocabulary lesson. Seriously, 8th graders should know how to use a dictionary if they can't decipher the meaning from the text so the author shouldn't need to define the words within the text. I also had trouble with the plot. It felt jagged. This book is basically just background information; the real story seems to start in the next book. I received a free book for an honest review. Read my full review.

When thirteen-year-old geek-girl Charley Morton decides to build what she believes is Leonardo da Vinci's design for a time machine for the middle school science fair, she has two thoughts in mind: to win first prize and to travel back in time to meet her idol, Leonardo. Her goal: to find out how the Renaissance artist, engineer, scientist, musician, anatomist, and inventor managed to do it all.

Buy Edge of Yesterday at Amazon

Da Vinci's Way
Da Vinci's Way by Robin Stevens Payes
This book was a little better than book one, but the story was still too choppy for my liking. And it is a bit too thin on the plot as well. And why was the story recapped at the end? Can an 8th grader not retain major points of a story from the start to finish? That's hard to believe given that the book is 129 pages (and there are a few pictures) - there is a sneak peek of the next book. I received a free book for an honest review. Read my full review.

In this second book of the Edge of Yesterday series, Charley Morton, girl inventor extraordinaire, is determined to hack time. When her model for a time machine accidentally ignites, Charley's sent whirling back 500 years, coming face-to-face with her Renaissance idol, Leonardo da Vinci. It's a perfect scenario for the Renaissance-girl wannabe. Until the news: Her mother is gravely ill. Charley must get home! Can she reverse-engineer time travel . . . and what future will she encounter if she succeeds?

Buy Da Vinci's Way at Amazon

Time's Convert
Time's Convert by Deborah Harkness
As good as I expected it to be. Pretty much every character from the All Souls trilogy is mentioned or shows up in this book. And while it is mostly focused on Marcus's past and Phoebe's transformation, there is still plenty of focus on Diana and Matthew. Diana is still the first person narrator in the story. Read my full review. A friend loaned me the book.

On the battlefields of the American Revolution, Matthew de Clermont meets Marcus MacNeil, a young surgeon from Massachusetts, during a moment of political awakening when it seems that the world is on the brink of a brighter future. When Matthew offers him a chance at immortality and a new life free from the restraints of his puritanical upbringing, Marcus seizes the opportunity to become a vampire. But his transformation is not an easy one and the ancient traditions and responsibilities of the de Clermont family clash with Marcus's deeply held beliefs in liberty, equality, and brotherhood.

Fast-forward to contemporary Paris, where Phoebe Taylor—the young employee at Sotheby's whom Marcus has fallen for—is about to embark on her own journey to immortality. Though the modernized version of the process at first seems uncomplicated, the couple discovers that the challenges facing a human who wishes to be a vampire are no less formidable than they were in the eighteenth century. The shadows that Marcus believed he'd escaped centuries ago may return to haunt them both—forever.

Buy Time's Convert at Amazon

An Everyday Mama Finds a Passionate Life
An Everyday Mama Finds a Passionate Life by Olga Pyshnyak-Lawrence
I met this author at a couple of local festivals this year. She is a local author me. So even though I'm not a Mama I thought I would give it a read. Also, it is Nonfiction November so I thought I it would be the perfect time to pick it up. The author gave me a free copy of the book. Read my full review.

Living with passion is not just for the select few. You were created to pursue your dreams, share your talents, and express the authenticity of who you are.  This is a true story about an everyday mama who finds a passionate life. It is a story of her triumphs and challenges, setups, and setbacks. A story of hope, determination, and happiness. Follow her journey as she embarks to discover the best of her life. Learn what it takes to live on a level designed for you by God. This book is for the mama who is not afraid to want more out of life, who wants to leave a legacy of influence, joy, and inspiration to her children and the rest of her family.

Buy An Everyday Mama Finds a Passionate Life at Amazon

Evil is Always Human
Evil is Always Human by Eddie Whitlock
This is another local author. He is also the librarian that is in charge of the post-apocalyptic book club I go to. I liked the writing. I don't usually like Southern fiction, but I thought I would give it a try anyway. I think people who like historical southern fiction will like the book. A free book was provided by the author. My full review will post on Thursday.

If you're inclined to Southern gothic, this is the book for you. Narrated by the oldest son of a family of Georgia sharecroppers in the early 20th century, the story evokes the chilling truth that neither good nor evil manifests itself until it comes into possession of the hands, feet and heart of humans. If you shivered reading the stories of Flannery O'Connor, you will when reading the work of this new Georgia author as well.

Buy Evil is Always Human at Amazon

In Audio...

Montana Cherries
Montana Cherries by Kim Law
I enjoyed the story of Dani and her family. I liked the theme of coming to terms with your past in order to determine your future. The audiobook was well done. This was a Prime free ebook with Audible narration. 

After her mother’s tragic death, Dani Wilde had no choice but to abandon her dreams. She left Columbia University and returned to her family’s Montana cherry farm, intent on being a maternal figure to her brothers. Now the kids are grown, and it’s finally her time to fly. Her sights are on New York City, and nothing will stop her—not even an old flame with gorgeous green eyes.

Celebrity photographer Ben Denton hasn’t seen Montana in years—and hasn’t spoken to Dani since “that night” so long ago. When he discovers he’s a dad to a four-year-old—and the child’s mother refuses to care for her—Montana and the Wilde farm spring to mind. The orchard is the only place that’s ever felt like home, but will the warmth of the Wilde family be enough to help Ben figure out how to be a father?

As the Wilde family gathers for the yearly cherry harvest and Dani struggles to figure out what she really wants in life, she discovers the shocking truth about her own mother—and learns that following her heart may lead her to her dreams after all.

Buy Montana Cherries at Amazon

The Promise Between Us
The Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White
This story really sucked me in. I've been wanting to try a Barbara Claypole White book since my review Susan is always raving about them. I wasn't disappointed. I did think so many of the characters having mental health issues was a bit over the top. Even though the narrator added accents I sometimes had trouble telling the characters apart when they spoke. This was a Prime free ebook with Audible narration. 

Metal artist Katie Mack is living a lie. Nine years ago she ran away from her family in Raleigh, North Carolina, consumed by the irrational fear that she would harm Maisie, her newborn daughter. Over time she’s come to grips with the mental illness that nearly destroyed her, and now funnels her pain into her art. Despite longing for Maisie, Katie honors an agreement with the husband she left behind—to change her name and never return.

But when she and Maisie accidentally reunite, Katie can’t ignore the familiarity of her child’s compulsive behavior. Worse, Maisie worries obsessively about bad things happening to her pregnant stepmom. Katie has the power to help, but can she reconnect with the family she abandoned?

To protect Maisie, Katie must face the fears that drove her from home, accept the possibility of love, and risk exposing her heart-wrenching secret.

Buy The Promise Between Us at Amazon

Welcome to Wishing Bridge
Welcome to Wishing Bridge by Ruth Logan Herne
I try to keep everything Christmasy to after Thanksgiving but this winter novel sounded good and I needed something to listen to the last few days at work before the Thanksgiving break. While Christmas and New Year's Day occur in the novel, it is not a holiday romance. There is a bit of romance, but it is more about family. I really enjoyed it. It was a Prime free ebook with Audible narration.

Kelsey is on her way to a life do-over. And it’s not the first time. Abandoned by her drug-addict mother as a teen, she landed in a foster-care group home where she experienced faith and community—and met her best friends, Jazz and Theadora. The trio stuck together like sisters and vowed to make their lives mean something.

Now Kelsey’s pushing thirty, and her life has taken a wrong turn. Pregnant and alone after loving the wrong man, she’s on her way to making another life-changing decision when a wicked blizzard strands her outside the sleepy town of Wishing Bridge.

After being rescued from a snowbank by handsome cop, she’s embraced by the welcoming village, but she still feels upside down. Fortunately, her frantic SOS brings her besties rushing to help sort things out. They soon find that Wishing Bridge has as many secrets as Kelsey does—and she’s connected to it in ways she couldn’t have imagined.

Buy Welcome to Wishing Bridge at Amazon

A Beautiful Poison
A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang
A really great mystery. I was shocked by who did it. There were times where I forgot it was a mystery as there wasn't much in the way of suspense. But the characters were interesting and I liked all the historical references. This was a Prime free ebook with Audible narration.

ust beyond the Gilded Age, in the mist-covered streets of New York, the deadly Spanish influenza ripples through the city. But with so many victims in her close circle, young socialite Allene questions if the flu is really to blame. All appear to have been poisoned—and every death was accompanied by a mysterious note.

Desperate for answers and dreading her own engagement to a wealthy gentleman, Allene returns to her passion for scientific discovery and recruits her long-lost friends, Jasper and Birdie, for help. The investigation brings her closer to Jasper, an apprentice medical examiner at Bellevue Hospital who still holds her heart, and offers the delicate Birdie a last-ditch chance to find a safe haven before her fragile health fails.

As more of their friends and family die, alliances shift, lives become entangled, and the three begin to suspect everyone—even each other. As they race to find the culprit, Allene, Birdie, and Jasper must once again trust each other, before one of them becomes the next victim.

Buy A Beautiful Poison at Amazon

In ebook...

All the Lives We Never Lived
All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy
It took me a while to get into the story. The first third of the book took some time to get through, the next two-thirds read a bit easier. I received an advance copy from Netgalley. Read my full review.

So begins the story of Myshkin and his mother, Gayatri, a rebellious, alluring artist who abandons parenthood and marriage to follow her primal desire for freedom.

Though freedom may be stirring in the air of India, across the world the Nazis have risen to power in Germany. At this point of crisis, a German artist from Gayatri’s past seeks her out. His arrival ignites passions she has long been forced to suppress.

What follows is her life as pieced together by her son, a journey that takes him through India and Dutch‑held Bali. Excavating the roots of the world in which he was abandoned, he comes to understand his long‑lost mother, and the connections between strife at home and a war‑torn universe overtaken by patriotism.

Anuradha Roy’s All the Lives We Never Lived is a spellbinding and emotionally powerful saga about family, identity, and love.

Buy All The Lives We Never Lived at Amazon

In print...

My most liked #Bookstagram post

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

Linked to It's Monday! What are you reading? at BookDate and Monthly Wrap-up (with giveaway) at Feed Your Fiction Addiction.

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  1. You have a nice selection of books, several that tempt me. Thanks for sharing, and here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

  2. I have not read any Harkness yet. Enjoy!
    My post is here:

  3. Nice assortment of books. I read mostly on my Kindle these days with an occasional print book thrown in for variety. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  4. I am another book raver about Barbara Claypole White's books - I have loved all the ones I have read of hers.

  5. I am happy that you enjoyed the Barbara Claypole White book.

  6. Congrats on hitting your reading goal! I’m hoping to reach 100, but I’m currently 3 books behind. Have a great week!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  7. All your books are new to me. Have a good week. My weekly update

  8. Congrats on reaching your goal this month. Those bookends are adorable, it's hard to find cute bookends these days. I have this book by Deborah Harkness, I've been holding off on reading it until I read A Discovery of Wishes books. Have a lovely week.

  9. It's great that you read a couple of books by local authors, Donna! Books are great for communicating across great distances, but I love it when local writers and readers discover each other as well :)

  10. I haven't read any of your November books, but you certainly chose diverse genres and that's how I like to read too. November I read middle grade and YA contemporary, YA science fiction, middle grade fantasy, adult nonfiction, and many picture books.

  11. Congratulations on reaching your goal, that's so exciting! Here's hoping you can hit 120 by the end of the year. :) And I LOVE that beanie, it's super duper cute! I practically live in mine out here whenever I'm outside and haven't seen that combo of colors locally. Love it!
    Jen @ Star-Crossed Book Blog