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For the Love of Reading: September 2023

Now that it’s October, let’s take a look back at the books I read in September.

Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Of all the various storylines and themes encompassed in the Outlander series, my favorite is always Jamie and Claire at home and this one fits that bill perfectly. They are settled in North Carolina and the Revolutionary War is on their minds but not yet impacting their lives much. There are various characters and family members they interact with and it’s all just the stuff of daily life which is very comforting to me. There’s plenty of drama and excitement but the foundation of their lives feels strong in this one and that’s what I like best.

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was enjoyable enough but really could have used better editing. First, I struggled with how to categorize the book. It’s not thrilling enough to be a thriller, not mysterious enough to be a mystery, and the characters themselves are stereotyped and one dimensional. Second, the two separate timelines (one in the present and one moving backwards from the present) didn’t really work that well. The “big reveal” came too late to do anything for the plot and instead just felt like a gotcha moment instead of actually developing the characters. Finally, for all that it felt tedious, the ending felt rushed and cliché, and utterly unsatisfying. Recommended for fans of Picoult but otherwise you can skip this one.

Homecoming by Kate Morton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Homecoming is what I consider a typical Kate Morton book . . . the plot is intriguing and pulls me in right away and then the pacing slows to a crawl and I find myself anxious to be done. There’s a lot of good qualities to this one . . . a shocking crime, a dual time line, and vivid settings. There was also a twist that I didn’t predict until (almost) right before it was revealed. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it, because I did, but it felt too long and drawn out at times. Recommended for true Kate Morton fans and for others who have time to indulge in a book without being annoyed that it’s a tad too long.

The Lost Ticket by Freya Sampson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a delightful and heartwarming romp through London, set mostly on a double decker bus route. It’s full of likeable and realistic characters and the shifting points of view make it very engaging. It’s about resilience and starting over, friends that become family, and accepting people for who they are. It’s a fast read and I highly recommend it for when you need a story that will make you smile and fill you with love and hope.

Amazing Grace Adams: A Novel by Fran Littlewood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Do not pick this up expecting a lighthearted tale of a mother seeking to reconnect with her daughter on her 16th birthday. Despite the descriptions that call it witty and poignant, it’s a dark and sad tale, full of trauma and complex emotions with a back story that will break your heart. The unraveling of the main character, told over the course of a single day but with flashbacks to two different timelines, made me uncomfortable and anxious. There were times when I think Littlewood was going for humor but the overall mood was so frenzied and chaotic that instead of lightening the story, it just felt more desperate. Recommended for what it is: a rather catastrophic tale of loss and grief with just the tiniest glimmer of hope at the end.

And that’s all I read in September. I hope you found something here you think you’ll enjoy, too.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. The Amazing Grace book was a Read with a Jenna PIck. She touted it as a funny book. I don’t think she even read it!

  2. Funny that I have never read anything by any of these authors!! I’m not into Outlander, so I will skip that one. Sort of hard to believe I’ve never read anything by Kate Morton. I bought “The Secret Garden” when it came out in paperback (x number of years ago) and it is still sitting on a bookcase shelf in my bedroom. Periodically I pick it up to read and then something else shinier and brighter grabs my attention – LOL.

  3. I had Grace Adams on hold until I read your review and then quickly canceled it. That does not sound like my kind of book!

  4. I still have to finish Tell the Bees — I started it back in March and have been ignoring it for the past six months! I appreciate your reviews; it’s just as helpful to know which books I can skip as it is to know which to add to my TBR list.

  5. Interesting titles, Carole — but probably . . . not my books. 😉 I always appreciate your thoughtful reviews – AND that you read such a wide range of literature! XO

  6. I loved Bees; I read it twice. Once for plot, and then once to just enjoy my people.

    Can’t remember if I’ve recommended Tom Lake by Ann Patchett. I read it in August, I think? September’s big finish was Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, and it is pointedly on point.

    Now I can turn my Kindle back on to wifi and let the library suck its books back while I get new ones!

  7. What an eclectic mix! I hope you were reading about Jamie and Claire the two days you had to yourself camping … they sound like perfect company! (as opposed to the dark, sad mother/daughter tale – yikes!) and The Lost Ticket is a new-to-me title that sounds delightful. Thank you!

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