2020 Reading Challenge – What I Read in November
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.
– Clyde Watson
Oh what a month! I’ve found these last few weeks really tough. Lockdown second time around seems to have been harder for everyone, and it was frustrating that the two weeks prior to lockdown, we were in isolation anyway due to all being struck down by the dreaded Covid. But we’ve tried to make the most of things, I’ve been trying to build my strength back up after being ill, so I’ve taken Evie out in the running buggy, and we’ve gone on long walks most weekends, exploring gorgeous woodlands and parks around us.
I hit a bit of a reading slump, especially at the beginning of the month as I had no energy for anything, but luckily I seem to be out of that now! I’m currently reading Barack Obama’s A Promised Land which is absolutely fascinating! I did manage four books in November though…
The Whisper Man (Alex North) ⭐⭐⭐
Fifteen years ago, a serial killer known only as ‘The Whisper Man’ wreaked havoc on the sleepy village of Featherbank.
But with the killer behind bars, the village is now a safe haven for Tom and his young son Jake to make a fresh start.
Until another boy goes missing. It feels like history is repeating itself.
Could the killer still be out there – and can Tom protect his son from becoming the next victim?
I loved the first half of this. I thought the tension was well built, there was an almost supernatural element to the story that I thought was well done, and I was really invested in Tom and Jake’s story. As it went on however, it felt more like a story about fathers and sons, rather than a terrifying murderer, which wasn’t what I was really expecting. The characters were generally well developed, but as the story went on, I found myself not overly bothered about who the killer was, and I realised I was putting it down more and more.
I think my main issue was that it was trying to do too much, and I didn’t feel like it gave enough thought to individual plot lines, so I wasn’t able to feel fully invested for too long.
Why Mummy’s Sloshed (Gill Sims) ⭐⭐⭐.5
The fourth book in the Why Mummy series. Ellen’s two kids, Jane and Peter, are now teenagers and she’s trying to get them through their exams and keep herself afloat – while making sure her wine glass is always full.
I really enjoy this series, I think Gill Sims writes really well and I’ve always found the books really funny. I think if I’m honest, the first two in the series (Why Mummy Drinks and Why Mummy Swears) were my favourite, they felt more relatable and I would genuinely laugh out loud at them. Why Mummy’s Sloshed is still funny, though felt a little more repetitive. The ending was very predictable, though this isn’t a bad thing, I was wanting a happy, heartwarming ending! It’s the perfect, light-hearted lockdown read.
Last Tang Standing (Lauren Ho) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Like all good Chinese children, Andrea Tang is doing her best to fulfil all her mother’s plans for her life: she’s on track to become partner at a top law firm in Singapore, she has an apartment in the right postcode and a boyfriend who is husband material.
But those plans are unravelling fast: there’s a new lawyer out to steal her promotion, her perfect boyfriend is now her perfect ex-boyfriend and the last single cousin in her family just got engaged, leaving her exposed to romantic meddling…
This was a really fun, enjoyable read. I found it a bit of a slow burner, especially as I was 99% sure I knew where it was going so there were some points I wanted it to hurry up and get there, but I loved getting to know Andrea and her friends. The book does deal with some tougher issues, including race and adultery which keeps it grounded, but it’s generally light-hearted and funny. I really like Ho’s writing and I think she makes the characters feel very real.
This Time Next Year (Sophie Cousens) ⭐⭐⭐.5
When Minnie meets Quinn at a NYE party, it’s clear that they’ve got nothing in common – except for the strange fact of their being born in the same place at the same time on New Year’s Eve. A crazy coincidence, but not a reason to pursue a friendship, and definitely not an excuse for Quinn to hope for something more.
Quinn and Minnie are from different worlds, so why do they keep bumping into each other? And why is it that each frustrating interaction somehow seems to push their lives in the right direction? Could it be that instead of clashing, their different outlooks might complement each other?
Perhaps now is the time for them to finally come together…
This book actually took me by surprise. I’m not a huge fan of rom-coms but I really enjoyed this. The story jumps between 2020 and previous New Year’s Eves. While it was fairly predictable, and I have to admit, there are a few eye-roll moments, there are some absolute gems in this story – I was genuinely shaking with laughter at a few moments.
Have you read anything good this month?