I just checked to see what I read in November. It was a very bad reading month for me. I only finished three books. I think that is a record low for me. I didn’t love the books I did read. I need to be better about quitting books I’m struggling to read. I’m struggling with one now. but I keep reading. I need to stop. My state of mind is still not in a place where reading is easy and reading books that don’t compel me to read grinds me to a halt.
I have adjusted my reading goal down to 90 books for the year. Still better than last year, but below my 100 I hit every year before that.
Here are the ones I did finish.
1. The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik
This is the sequel to A Deadly Education. It is now senior year for El, Orion, and their group of friends. Graduation is looming. Graduation is a fight through monsters to the door out of the school. Few ever survive. The group works to make sure they make it out.
I loved the first book in the series. It was interesting and different and I couldn’t wait to read the next book. I was disappointed in this one. It seemed like page after page of the build-up to a final 30 pages or so of the exciting graduation day events. Not much happens in the middle of the book. And the middle of the book is relatively long. My daughter, however, said she liked the book and she is closer to the target audience.
I would still recommend the series. I have high hopes for the next book given the ending to this one.
2. The Judge’s List by John Grisham
This is a sequel to The Whistler. Lacy Stoltz still works for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. A woman comes to her with circumstantial evidence that a sitting judge is a serial killer who is killing people for revenge for past slights. The woman’s dad was allegedly victim number two. Lacy decided to do her own investigation before going to the police.
This is the second Grisham book in a row that I found disappointing. I don’t think Lacy is a compelling enough character to warrant a sequel. I don’t care about her relationship with the FBI agent nor her relationship with her brother who drops in to talk about money. The killer was boring. The book was stuffed with unnecessary filler. The story plods along. One more dud and I might have to drop Grisham from my list of authors I always read.
3. Tonight We Rule the World by Zach Smedley
Tonight We Rule the World tells the story of Owen in two parts. Present-day following the revelation that Owen was sexually assaulted by a classmate and the recent past via Owen’s journal entries. Owen is on the spectrum and has never had many friends when he meets Lily, an aspiring writer, who helps him find his voice. With Lily, Owen finds first love and a group of friends. The events following the assault could bring all of that crashing down.
This was not an easy book to read, but it was very good. In addition to the assault, Owen has to deal with the reaction of his dad, a veteran dealing with PTSD, and how this reaction affects his family. A lot of trauma in this book. I was shocked at the reveal of the assailant but loved how Smedley dealt with the issue. I would recommend it, but with the warning that it is not a light, easy book.