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Recent Reads #10

Monday, November 9, 2020

After what felt like the longest reading drought ever, I'm finally back with some book recommendations! I picked up several books at the end of the summer/early fall that either I just couldn't get into or ended up being subjects that I did not expect and had to give up on.

My goal is to read 40 books this year and I'm at 32. I think I'd be much closer, but I seriously put down 5-6 books in the last few weeks. I'm going to try to kick it up a notch since we've got 2 months left! That's a book a week!  😮

I'd love to hear what books you highly recommend in the comments below! Help me reach my goal! For now, here are a few of mine:

1 Star = Hated It -  2 Stars = Didn't Like It -
3 Stars =Liked It - 4 Stars = Really Liked It - 5 Stars = Loved it

The Vanishing Half

Plot: From Goodreads: The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect?

What I Liked: Super interesting premise, especially in a time when race is a big topic. Read it in one sitting! 

What I Didn't Like: So, I'm writing this review in November, and I read this in August. And I can't remember anything about this book. I remember liking it a lot, but that's all I've got. Which is a review in itself-enjoyable but forgettable? 

Rating: 4 Stars

Quote: Sometimes who you were came down to the small things. 

The Guest List

Plot: From Goodreads: On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead.

What I Liked: GREAT mystery that totally kept me guessing. Lots of little details sprinkled throughout and you have to pay attention! This is a slow burn with lots of points of views, so I highly recommend the audiobook to keep it all straight. Loved the setting too.

What I Didn't Like: Definitely rated R. This is not a book you can recommend to just anyone because of the amount of language and icky details. 

Rating: 4 Stars

Station Eleven

Plot: From Goodreads: Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end.

Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band’s existence. And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed.
What I Liked: If you loved the Hunger Games as a teen/young adult, this book is like the grown up version of that. It's feels futuristic, but totally possible at the same time.  Took me two days to read!

What I Didn't Like: Just a suggestion, but maybe don't read this during a pandemic! I had no idea that's what the premise was until I started reading it and I will admit that was a bit unsettling. (Kind of like the time I watched Titanic before we went on a cruise..) 
I wasn't a huge fan of all the points of views. I think it can be done really well, but this was too many POVs and I'm still not sure they tied together seamlessly. 

Rating: 4 Stars (Would have been 5 but one of the points of view felt like a waste of time and I still don't get it.) 

Quote: Survival is insufficient. 

The Last Train To Key West

Plot: From Goodreads: Everyone journeys to Key West searching for something. For the tourists traveling on Henry Flagler’s legendary Overseas Railroad, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to forget the economic depression gripping the nation. But one person’s paradise can be another’s prison, and Key West-native Helen Berner yearns to escape.

The Cuban Revolution of 1933 left Mirta Perez’s family in a precarious position. After an arranged wedding in Havana, Mirta arrives in the Keys on her honeymoon. While she can’t deny the growing attraction to the stranger she’s married, her new husband’s illicit business interests may threaten not only her relationship, but her life.

Elizabeth Preston's trip from New York to Key West is a chance to save her once-wealthy family from their troubles as a result of the Wall Street crash. Her quest takes her to the camps occupied by veterans of the Great War and pairs her with an unlikely ally on a treacherous hunt of his own.

Over the course of the holiday weekend, the women’s paths cross unexpectedly, and the danger swirling around them is matched only by the terrifying force of the deadly storm threatening the Keys.

What I Liked: This was a lovely, easy to read book! A book you can recommend to just about anyone. It's got romance, mystery, danger, and lots of Florida. I love historical fiction in that it often teaches me something I didn't know before. I had never heard of the bonus army and I enjoyed reading about Flagler's railroad. We have some family history in the Keys as well as in road/railroad construction in that time period so that felt familiar. 

What I Didn't Like: I have two complaints. The women in this book run from bad men to good men, which is nice, but it's also nice for them to save themselves, ya know? And the second is that everything gets tied up into a perfect little bow at the end. I was totally rooting for everyone to end up happy, but something felt too perfect about this one. 

Rating: 5 Stars (totally loved it despite my 2 complaints.) 


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Hi friends! I'm Kristen, and this is the Life and Style of an early 30's Floridian living the Best Life Ever, with her husband and three pugs. Runner | Avid Reader | Small Shop Owner

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