23 December 2019

Books - November 2019

While it felt like Thanksgiving came late this year, I'm still not sure what I was doing for most of November. December has felt more frantically busy, but I've still read more books already this month. Weird. 

I finished seven books in November. Here they are, with summaries from Amazon.

Nash: The Official Biography by Nash Grier and Rebecca Paley

I always have a soft spot for biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs because reading for me is always about the people. Sometimes the people are the characters, but in these types of books, they're real people. I like hearing about their lives.
When he was still in high school, Nash Grier had no idea his life was about to change—forever. With the launch of the popular Vine app came the beginning of Nash’s career as a viral social media sensation. Now, in his official biography, the twenty-one-year-old digital media phenomenon shares never-before-told stories about life behind the camera. From growing up as a regular kid in North Carolina, to finding his calling as a top social media tastemaker, to landing leading roles in major feature films, to being a millennial ambassador for top brands, to using his platform to promote change, to leaning on the love and support from his fan base when the going gets tough, this is the story of a how Nash found his voice—and how readers can find their own.
I read this one for Books I Think You Should Read and my full 3 out of 5 stars review is posted there.

All Fired Up by Lori Foster

While this was a pleasant enough read at the time, I have to admit I had a hard time remembering it more than a month after I finished it. After a quick review, I remember it as a fun part of the Road to Love series, about the Crew brothers and how they found love.
Charlotte Parrish has always wanted a certain kind of man: someone responsible, settled, boring. Bad boys need not apply. But when her car leaves her stranded and a mysterious stranger with brooding eyes and a protective streak comes to her rescue, she can’t deny how drawn she is to him. In town searching for family he’s never met, Mitch is everything she never thought she wanted—and suddenly everything she craves.

Finding his half brothers after all these years is more than Mitch Crews has allowed himself to wish for. Finding love never even crossed his mind…until he meets Charlotte. She’s sweet, warmhearted, sexier than she knows—and too damn good for an ex-con like him. But when his past comes back to haunt him, putting Charlotte—and the family he’s come to care for—in danger, Mitch isn’t playing by the rules. He’s already surrendered his heart, but now he’ll risk his life.
I gave this one 3.5 out of 5 stars on Books I Think You Should Read.

Mama Hissa's Mice by Saud Alsanousi

I picked this as one of my favorites for November. It was a fascinating read about life in Kuwait, and was actually banned in Kuwait for four years. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars on Books I Think You Should Read.

Growing up together in the Surra section of central Kuwait, Katkout, Fahd, and Sadiq share neither ethnic origin nor religious denomination—only friendship and a rage against the unconscionable sectarian divide turning their lives into war-zone rubble. To lay bare the ugly truths, they form the protest group Fuada’s Kids. Their righteous transgressions have made them targets of both Sunni and Shi’a extremists. They’ve also elicited the concern of Fahd’s grandmother, Mama Hissa, a story-spinning font of piety, wisdom, superstition, and dire warnings, who cautions them that should they anger God, the sky will surely fall.
Then one day, after an attack on his neighborhood leaves him injured, Katkout regains consciousness. His friends are nowhere to be found. Inundated with memories of his past, Katkout begins a search for them in a world that has become unrecognizable but not forsaken.
Snaking through decades of Kuwaiti history well into a cataclysmic twenty-first century, Mama Hissa’s Mice is a harrowing, emotional, and caustic novel of rebellion. It also speaks to the universal struggle of finding one’s identity and a reason to go on, even after the sky has fallen.

Day Zero by Kelly deVos

This is just the first book in the Day Zero Duology. A girl's disaster training becomes the way to her survival and that of her family when everything turns to chaos. This book got 3 out of 5 stars from me on Books I Think You Should Read.
Seventeen-year-old coder Jinx Marshall grew up spending weekends drilling with her paranoid dad for a doomsday she’s sure will never come. She’s an expert on self-heating meal rations, Krav Maga and extracting water from a barrel cactus. Now that her parents are divorced, she’s ready to relax. Her big plans include making it to level 99 in her favorite MMORPG and spending the weekend with her new hunky stepbrother, Toby.
But all that disaster training comes in handy when an explosion traps her in a burning building. Stuck leading her headstrong stepsister, MacKenna, and her precocious little brother, Charles, to safety, Jinx gets them out alive only to discover the explosion is part of a pattern of violence erupting all over the country. Even worse, Jinx’s dad stands accused of triggering the chaos.
In a desperate attempt to evade paramilitary forces and vigilantes, Jinx and her siblings find Toby and make a break for Mexico. With seemingly the whole world working against them, they’ve got to get along and search for the truth about the attacks—and about each other. But if they can survive, will there be anything left worth surviving for?

The Power by Naomi Alderman

I waited a while for the e-borrow on this one from the library. It was recommended on some blog or other for those who liked The Handmaid's Tale (and I love that - dystopian fiction is sort of my jam).

All this to say, I really enjoyed this book. While I'd only give it 3.5 out of 5 stars, that was not because of the general premise. The book is written as a man's submission for a book. In his notes with his publisher, they both wonder at how ridiculous a world would be with men in charge.

The stories in The Power look back at the lives of a few women in the years since women were found to have an electrical charge in their body. The women can use their charge in different ways, all of which make them more powerful than men.

The official synopsis:
All over the world women and girls are discovering they have the power. With a flick of the fingers they can inflict terrible pain, and even death. And with this small twist of nature, everything changes drastically.
Ambitious and provocative, visceral and page-turning, award-winning author Naomi Alderman's THE POWER at once takes us on a journey to an alternate reality and exposes our own world in bold and surprising ways.
My biggest amusement from the feedback on this book is that most of the male reviewers didn't like it. Go figure.

Net Force: Dark Web by Jerome Preisler

Wow! Tech can be hard to write about understandably. I'm not tech-y, but thought I understood a lot of the tech scenarios in this book. They were explained clearly. I'm sure this is the first of a series, though, as there were a lot of unanswered questions and loose ends by the end of the book.

I wish this book had focused a bit more on just a few characters, instead of some of the brief intros of the experiences of some, without making them an actual character in the storyline. I kept reading in hopes of more characters tying together, but they didn't. 
By the end of the book, I had a few favorite characters, who I'd expect to see in a follow-up. I'll certainly keep an eye out and still want to hear more of the story, but was a bit disappointed with the lack of closure in what I read in this book. I'd give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Official summary:

The number-one threat to our nation's security is in cyberspace. The new US president wants to tackle the urgent problem head-on and launches a top secret line of defense: Net Force. But before the organization can be announced, the country is hit by an unprecedented, two-pronged terror attack.
Not yet empowered by Congress nor embraced by a dubious intelligence community, still untested, unproven and officially unnamed, Net Force's elite group of cyber experts and field operatives must lead the fight against the ongoing waves of hacks while tracking down the mastermind. Their failure could mean global catastrophe. Success may lead them to become the highest-level security agency in the United States.
A story that seems ripped from tomorrow's headlines, Net Force: Dark Web relaunches one of the most prescient thriller series at a time.

Christmas from the Heart by Sheila Roberts

I originally reviewed this one in this post.

This was a great Scrooge story. Livi Berg runs a local charity, Christmas from the Heart, who makes it their goal to provide a great holiday to those who may struggle to make ends meet. When the evil Guy Hightower of Hightower Enterprises cancels the company's annual donation, she doesn't know what to do.

Luckily, she's distracted when a hot guy's fancy car breaks down just outside of town. Livi and the mystery man (who says his name is Joe Ford) soon find themselves thrown together and enjoying a chemistry they don't expect. But what if Joe Ford isn't who he says is?? Uh-oh! Hijinks!

Actually, my favorite part of this was the great description of their big annual fundraiser night, which includes a fun barter table where the local business trade their services for things like home-cooked meals by old ladies. Doesn't that sound so fun?!? While the story seems a bit improbable (the dude broke down with a wallet full of hundred-dollar bills so he never needed to pull out ID or a credit card), I enjoyed the read and gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Official summary:
Sometimes you need to look beyond the big picture to see what really matters
Olivia Berg’s charity, Christmas from the Heart, has helped generations of families in need in Pine River, Washington, but this year might be the end of the road. Hightower Enterprises, one of their biggest donors since way back when Olivia’s grandmother ran the charity, has been taken over by Ebenezer Scrooge the Second, aka CFO Guy Hightower, and he’s declared there will be no more money coming to Christmas from the Heart.
Guy is simply being practical. Hightower Enterprises needs to tighten its belt, and when you don’t have money to spare, you don’t have money to share. You’d think even the pushy Olivia Berg could understand that.
With charitable donations dwindling, Olivia’s Christmas budget depends on Hightower’s contribution. She’s focused her whole life on helping this small town, even putting her love life on hold to support her mission.
When Guy’s Maserati breaks down at the edge of the Cascade foothills, he’s relieved to be rescued by a pretty young woman who drives him to the nearby town of Pine River. Until he realizes his rescuer is none other than Olivia Berg. What’s a Scrooge to do? Plug his nose and eat fruitcake and hope she doesn’t learn his true identity before he can get out of town. What could go wrong?

1 comment:

siteseer said...

I’m impressed. Especially getting through books that aren’t really your jam. I really struggle with that and won’t start another book until one is finished.