November is Nordic Noir month but despite that, I read a couple of books that don’t fit the category. While in an ideal world I would solely read Nordic Noir thrillers yearlong, I had other books that needed my attention. So these are my November 2023 book reviews.
I finally snatched a library copy of The Girl in the Eagle’s Talons, so technically that’s a reread, but all the other books on the list are new to me.
Let me get started with the November 2023 book reviews at once.
The Girl in the Eagle’s Talons by Karin Smirnoff
If you read my initial non-review of the advanced digital copy, then you know I was very disappointed by the formatting. So I promised myself that I would read a physical copy of this book before I made up my mind about it. I don’t want editing issues to bias my opinion of it. SInce it is my favorite series ever, I had to give it my all.
November 1st – I just finished reading the physical copy, and I must say it doesn’t contain all the formatting issues that the digital copy had. Although it doesn’t compare to Larson’s writing, I find Smirnoff has a unique style I can relate to. Her cleverness can be noticed with the contemporary references and acute political knowledge she possesses.
She creates Svala, Lizbeth’s niece. She possesses the same intellectual superiority that makes them both very interesting characters. I would love to see her grow into an adult and see what she can accomplish.
How do I feel about Smirnoff’s writing, you might wonder? While I can’t say I love her style, I was still happy the series continued.
But as I previously mentioned, I feel that it’s time to leave it here. No one can compare to the original author of the Millenium series, so why keep trying to push it? It is very hard, if not impossible to replace Larson’s unique style, so please stop giving us hopes that an author can measure up. They do their best, don’t get me wrong, but they will never possess the qualities the original man had.
Royal Coconut Beach Lunch Club by Diane Bergner
Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
After struggling to get through this book for months, I decided to finally push through and give it a go. I must say, if it wasn’t a Netgalley copy it would have been a dnf for me.
Having read the author’s accomplishments, I expected a lot more substance from her. She is a very well educated, successful woman, but her debut novel seems to be written by a rookie. I’m not sure what genre she was going for, but it wasn’t a mystery nor a literary fiction novel.
It contained lots of fluff, and all the characters lacked depth. For intelligent, independent, career-oriented women, their dialogue was very superficial.
I guess if you’re looking to lose yourself in a book without getting too involved, give it a go. But otherwise, you can probably skip this one.
Time Out by Sean Hayes
This is a cute young adult coming out story. It has some mixed reviews on Goodreads, but I thought it was well done.
The book wasn’t too politically correct, rather an honest fictional story that many young adults who are trying to come out can relate to. It contained some drama, a little bit of humor, along with a tad of heartbreak. While I’m aware it is a work of fiction, it felt as if I knew the characters personally, and got pretty attached to them by the end of the book. I think it’s a great depiction of the reality young people that are different from the mold live with every day.
I recommend this book to a younger demographic, but readers of all ages can appreciate this easy-to-read coming-of-age story.
Spare by Prince Harry
As a former fan of the Royal family, I thought the two brothers were so privileged growing up. Yes, for sure, they never lacked for anything growing up, but this memoir opens our eyes to how we misperceived the way things actually were growing up as a Royal.
Prince Harry, or should I say former prince, tells his heartbreaking story of his life. From losing his mother as a young boy to meeting the love of his life, Meghan Markle.
His story is not all roses and butterflies, as most of us believed it to be. It is actually heart wrenching and it made me shed a few tears. Told with raw honesty and a sense of despair, this young man is not what we thought him to be. He’s a man who’s still suffering from the injustices he had to endure since the loss of his mother. He tells readers how broken he felt all of his adult life, and how the press mistreated him and his wife since day one.
If you are curious at all about the misperception we have for the Institution, then by all means pick it up. Harry shows us a glimpse of what reality was like for him and all members of the Royal family at some point.
The Quiet Tenant by Clemence Michallon
A decent debut novel, this thriller is an easy read told from three different points of view. It was very engaging and the writing on point. Although I enjoyed the story and the delivery, the ending felt a little rushed and left me unsatisfied.
Nonetheless, a solid debut from an author who shows potential. I listened to it on audio, and it was an entertaining way to spend a few hours. I’m looking forward to the author’s future works.
The List by Yomi Adegoke
The List is an ok debut novel from a talented writer. I had no real issue with the book, I simply did not like most of the characters. They all seemed shallow, too much into themselves, and did not have enough depth to them.
But the writing was quite good, actually. The story line, while being very contemporary and poses a real dilemma, was not that interesting. The ending fell a little flat for me as well. I was expecting to be wowed with this book, but it disappointed me.
A solid three stars, but nothing to rave about. Great for someone who is looking for a light read they can easily breeze through.
The Ice Coven by Max Seeck
If you think I liked the Witch Hunter, then I loved this second installment in the Jessica Niemi series.
In this second book, Jessica has a few new obstacles to overcome. She lost her boss and mentor Erne, and she’s struggling to keep herself functional and sane. Her new boss has it out for her, which makes things rather on the difficult side at work. The murder case and two disappearances her team is working on seem to be tied to a cultish group, which makes her nightmares she had last time get worse.
The twists and turns in this book seem even better than in the debut novel, and they kept me on the edge of my seat. WIth a satisfying ending, i am very much looking forward to the next installment in the series, The Last Grudge.
Mercury by Amy Jo Burns
This debut novel from Amy Jo Burns is a family saga that is centered around the Joseph brothers who are all different, yet their bonds are unbreakable.
Strong on character development, the complex, complicated relationships are beautifully written.
They each play a role in the family: Baylor, the first born, is the strong one. Waylon, the middle brother, is the responsible one , and Shay is the baby of the family. But the dynamics of the family changed when Marley came to town. Although she tried to get in the matriarch of the family’s good graces, she never felt that Elise loved her.
The book contains a few interesting themes, such as perceived society roles and identity crises.
All in all, I loved this book, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a well built story with complicated family dynamics.
Thank you to Celadon books and Amy Jo Burns for the opportunity to participate in this read along.
Under the Influence by Noelle Crooks
It was an ok debut that kept me engaged throughout. Very entertaining, Under the Influence is a great play on words that gives you a great glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes in the life of an influencer.
Did I expect more from it? Yes, I did, but I’ll admit that I at least learned a few tips about how to improve my social media presence. So at least there’s that.
The novel included lots of backstabbing and unstable relationships, where everyone is out to advance their situations. Pretty much what happens in real life, but it still left me with a sour taste in my mouth. I am most likely the wrong demographic for this type of novel, but a younger generation will surely enjoy this fast-paced book.
Thank you Netgalley, Simon and Schuster Canada, and Gallery books for my advanced digital copy for review.
This sums up my November 2023 book reviews.
I thought I would also finish Black Ice, my Nordic Noir read along for the month of November, but stay tuned for its review next month. Overall, it was still a decent month reading wise, so i can’t complain. How was your reading in November?
As per usual, I’d like to hear what you’ve been reading, so drop your comments in the box below. Until next time, keep reading fellow bookworms.