Sitting down to reflect on what I read last month and it seems unreal it’s December already. This year has passed in a Covid fuelled blur. In a year where everything felt scary and bleak I have rekindled my love for reading. Books are not only a hobby for me but an escape as I know they are for so many of us. With that in mind, here are my November reads:
Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber.
This short story follows Ashley a graduate student living in California and her journey home to spend Christmas with her family in Seattle. Unable to get a flight back home she opts for the rental car, the only issue Dash a former intelligence officer has his eyes on the car too. Luck is on her side as Dash is also heading to Seattle, they decide to share the ride and this is where their journey truly begins in more ways than one.
I really loved this short novel, it was so cleverly written and kept me engaged throughout. I certainly started off my Christmas reads on a high this year.
Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce
Set in 1940 London, Emmy is doing everything she can for the war effort, she dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent a dream she had all but given up on until she sees a chance to get the perfect job, or so she thinks, at the London Evening Chronical. There she works as a typist to Mrs. Bird, an advice columnist with very strict rules on what she will and will not advise on but Emmy’s conscience won’t let her ignore.
I really enjoyed this novel, getting a glimpse into what women’s live were like during the war was fascinating. Whilst the men were fighting on the battlefield women too were fighting their own battles back home. Overall a great novel, well written, gripping and engaging throughout.
After the Fire by Will Hill.
“The things I’ve seen are burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade. Before, she lived inside the fence. Before, she was never allowed to leave the property, never allowed to talk to Outsiders, never allowed to speak her mind. Because Father John controlled everything—and Father John liked rules. Disobeying Father John came with terrible consequences. But there are lies behind Father John’s words. Outside, there are different truths. Then came the fire.”.
I really enjoyed this novel, the blurb didn’t give much away which is why I chose to copy it for you all to read above, but I liked that I was going into the book learning new things with every page. I had no clue where the story was going or what would happen, it was full of twists and turns, and so well researched that it felt real. The only reason I gave this 4/5 instead of 5/5, was because there were pages I sped through more interested in getting to the more juicy ones.
No One Here Is Lonely by Sarah Everett.
Meet Eden, a typical teenage girl on the crisp of adulthood, she had her best friend Lacey and the guy she’s had a crush on forever, Will. When Will dies, and Lacey and Eden begin growing apart she finds solace in “In Good Company” a digital service offering AI companions fuelled by the audio uploaded by it’s users, one of them being Will. Although he’s not here anymore she can call up the line any time and here his voice, even talk to him as if he was.
I honestly didn’t know how to feel about this one, it was a great original idea, but I must admit I found it a little creepy. I also grew frustrated with Eden as the novel went on. However I did enjoy it overall, and I think it taught me some things I didn’t know about grief too.
Another Cup of Christmas by Jenny Kane.
Set in the cosy Pickwicks café in Richmond we follow those who work their as they prepare for a Christmas fundraiser to help support the hospital that helped their cook and part-owner Scott when he was injured in an accident. Waitress Megan is in charge of organising the event alongside Nick the ward administrator, so far they’re co-workers but could they be more?
This was a lovely short story, full of all the good things, and by that I mean food, Christmas and romance. It was a very short read at 65 pages long but it didn’t feel rushed and was full of character.
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen. M. McManus.
Set in the small town of Echo Ridge, where Ellery’s aunt went missing at seventeen, and just five years ago the homecoming queen was killed. An outsider Ellery moves to the town to live with her grandmother, but it’s a town filled with secrets, some more deadly than others.
I have really enjoyed other novels by this author so I had high hopes for this one, sadly I just couldn’t get into it, I didn’t find the plot particularly engaging but the authors strong writing style helped me see it through.