Every Book I Read in November 2018 | Reading Wrap Up

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In an effort to share all of my read books with you, good and bad, I’ll be posting a wrap up at the start of each month. Without further ado, here is my November Reading Wrap Up!

Here’s what you’ll find in this post:

I’ve categorized each of the books I read last month by final verdict: Buy It, Borrow It, or Skip It. Here’s a little breakdown for you:

  • Buy It: Books I read last month that are totally worthy of being added to your shopping cart.
  • Borrow It: Books I read last month that were good fun and worth a read, but maybe not worth your money.
  • Skip It: Books you shouldn’t bother reading at all.


VERDICT: Buy It

East of Eden
John Steinbeck
10/10 ♥
Verdict: Buy It

Without a doubt one of Steinbeck’s finest works. A sweeping family saga set in the Salinas Valley which captures the heart of every man and conquers the question of good versus evil. Prophetic, and a times spiritual, East of Eden offers a timeless examination of the human condition. This is a work too epic in scale to be easily described in a few sentences. I will just say this: read it. 

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Stillhouse Lake
by Rachel Caine

9/10 ♥
Verdict: Buy It

A solid mystery-thriller that checks all the boxes! Rachel Caine knows how to rope you in from the first paragraph and create consistently enjoyable suspense from start to finish. A woman on the run from her murderous ex-husband will do whatever it takes to protect not only herself, but the lives and well-being of her two children. When their cover is blown, warrior mom Gina Royal must decide if she will keep running or turn to face her enemies head on. Reading Stillhouse Lake is pure fun. You’ll be on the edge of your seat by the end!

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The One
By John Marrs

9/10 ♥
Verdict: Buy It

Black Mirror twists meet a tryst of doomed love stories. The author was able to accomplish more in this one novel than many others can accomplish in ten. The concept? Dynamite. The execution? Unforgivably flawless. Prepare to have your heart broken more than once. John Marrs is not afraid to “kill” your darlings. He holds no punches. The premise is simple: in a reality where your one true love can be found via DNA match, what will happen to the long-held rules of romance? Of marriage? Of heartbreak? Within this paradox, John Marrs explores the stories of several star-crossed lovers with near-perfect execution.

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How Succesful People Lead
by John C. Maxwell
8/10 ♥
Verdict: Buy It

Whether a blossoming entrepreneur or a time-honored businessman, any work on leadership by John C. Maxwell is sure to satisfy. In this rendition, John explores the power of influence in leadership, how it’s created and how it’s maintained. He offers practical, thoughtful, and motivational advice for any self-development business book reader.

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Great Leaders Ask Great Questions
by John C. Maxwell

8/10 ♥
Verdict: Buy It

Read any of John C. Maxwell’s numerous books on leadership for a strong foundation in success, not just in business but in your family and community lives as well. In Good Leaders Ask Great Questions John discusses the importance of inquiries in your leadership journey. Thoughtful chapters outline the very questions John has asked, and continues to ask, himself over his successful career. He also shares some of the most important questions that have been asked to him and of him, sharing how they made a difference in his own leadership style. John C. Maxwell is a must-read for anyone in a leadership position.

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The Adventures of Robin Hood
by Roger Lancelyn Green

8/10 ♥
Verdict: Buy It

The perfect hero story, the kind that rarely gets written anymore. It is the mirror of a different world, a different time that will leave you craving more. It turns out chivalry is not dead, at least when you’re reading a Robin Hood novel. It’s romantic, traditional, at times unexpectedly humorous, and in the end it doesn’t fail to tug at your heartstrings. This book peaked my interest in the myth behind the man. I found it a wonderful first foray into the legend and lore of Robin Hood. However, it is difficult for me to fully recommend this particular edition due to the spelling errors and the repetitive nature of its middle chapters. However, it does achieve a certain introductory goal for those readers curious about the lore itself and looking for a simple doorway in which to get started.

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The Pearl
by John Steinbeck

8/10 ♥
Verdict: Buy It

More of a short story than a true novel, The Pearl is a fable into the question of good versus evil. It explores the corruption of man through greed and knowledge, using the simple lifestyle of natives juxtaposed against the darker and more dangerous world that colonizes around them as an allegory for good versus evil. An important and interesting work for any Steinbeck fan coming in at just over one hundred pages.

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The Rule of One
by Ashley Saunders + Leslie Saunders

7/10 ♥
Verdict: Buy It

A fast-paced, action-packed dystopian with the irreplaceable bond of two twin sisters at its center. In a near-future society the Rule of One reigns supreme, families are allowed only one child. So, what happens when two twin sisters are born in secret? How long can they keep up their charade? The perfect quick read for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent. Though you may wish for more development, the action and irrefutable imagery still satisfy.

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Stranger Things: A Behind-the-Scenes Companion Guide
by The Duffer Brothers with Gina McIntyre

7/10 ♥
Verdict: Buy It

This Stranger Things companion guide is a beautiful, well-constructed addition to any fan’s hoard. It’s well-worth getting if you feel the same kinship to Stranger Things that has captured the hearts of so many around the globe. Del Rey certainly deserves an award for external design, though the writing itself left more to be desired. The contents capture fan interest and will make you appreciate the scope of Peak TV work, with all its cinematic quality, and how it is changing the visual stories we tell.

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Verdict: Borrow It


Universal Harvester
by John Darnielle
6/10 ♥
Borrow It

A hopeful, if melancholic, tale surrounding the simultaneous comfort and claustrophobia of small town America. At a glance, Universal Harvester is a small novel set in the simpler decade of the 1990’s where the discovery of strange spliced clips hidden on the VHS tapes at a local video store forces a group of townies to search for answers. It sells itself as a eerie, menacing story, but don’t be fooled. In reality it offers much more depth. More literary fiction than horror, this is not a book that will satisfy every reader. Be considerate if you choose to pick up this little novel, understanding that it’s not for the casual reader but rather requires a great deal of introspection.

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Are You Sleeping?
by Kathleen Barber
5/10 ♥
Borrow It

The father of two twin daughters and husband to a manic depressive wife is murdered in cold blood in the kitchen of his family home. It comes to light that he had been having an affair with a neighborhood woman, a wife and mother herself, whose son is ultimately convicted for the murder. Now, more than a decade later, a true crime podcast is reexamining the case, claiming the man convicted may have been innocent all along. Sold as a mystery/thriller, but in actuality a somewhat dull suburban-family drama. The pacing was mild, the mystery satisfactory, yet it didn’t offer anything strong enough to truly grip its reader.

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VERDICT: Skip It
 

A Separate Peace
by John Knowles
3/10 ♥
Skip It

John Knowles has a poignant voice and style to his writing, yet the core of this wartime novel about a group of adolescent boys at a private school falls flat in plot and pacing. While the themes within are grandiose and worthy of study, the methods Knowles uses to explore them lack any true appeal. I found a few sections and sentiments begrudgingly worthwhile. However, I could not ignore the drudgery, the unwanted effort, that it took to get through this book.

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Under My Skin
by Lisa Unger
2/10 ♥
Skip It

The premise of this book, a woman struggling to remember what happened in the days after her husband’s murder, is in itself very promising. I was excited by the description and by the numerous accolades on the back cover. From the beginning to about 1/3 of the way through it was fine enough, yet it didn’t quite grab me. I hoped that it would continue to build and have me hooked by the end. Alas, it did not. Instead, the writing quickly sank into a quagmire of confusing chapter structures, inadequate timelines, foggy descriptions, repetitive arcs… you get the idea. This was my first Lisa Unger and it will be my last.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this November reading wrap up! What book did you most enjoy last month? Leave me a comment below and let’s chat about it!

Read last month’s wrap up – “Every Book I Read in October 2018

READ NEXT: Every Book I Read in August – Rated // 2018
READ NEXT: Every Book I Read in July – Rated // 2018
READ NEXT: Big Woods Book Review: A Satanic Panic Thriller from May Cobb

Like a book on this list? Save it to your TBR on Pinterest!

 

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Bex Skoog

Bex Skoog

Bex Skoog is the creator of the 'Out of the Bex' website, a guide to a more thoughtful life through books and simple living. If she had three wishes they would be for teacups to never empty, to possess an unending supply of classic films, and have access to the world's greatest libraries. Bex lives in Virginia outside of Washington D.C. with her husband and hundreds of stray books.

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