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  • Writer's pictureChristine

October 2023 Book Reviews!

It's time for my monthly summary of all of the books I've read! If you've been following me for a while, you'll know my tastes in books is all over the place. I'll read pretty much anything. And I do that, because I never know when I'm going to find a book I really like that's outside of the normal genres that I lean towards. This month I definitely found a couple that I really liked and was a bit surprised by.


So, take a look at what I've read in October. Maybe you'll find a new favorite! Leave me a comment or send me an e-mail and let me know!


And if you are on Goodreads, be sure to follow me to find out what I'm reading real time. To follow me, click here.


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Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand


I have tried several of her books, and I just can't say that I have liked any of them. And this one is probably on the bottom of my list. It just went on and on and seemed to go nowhere. Once again, the characters are really not likeable. Just no cohesive plot at all. Two out of five stars.


To purchase the book from Amazon, click here.


Sugar Creek by S.C. Karakaltsas


I really enjoyed this book. The story takes place in a rural town in Australia. The story goes back and forth between Ellen in 1948, who is a young woman who comes to town to meet up with her fiancée who works in the sugarcane fields, and Dana in 2000, who is a young doctor who is hired by the town's mayor to be the new GP. As the story unravels about experiments and testing the military did in the town in the past, we learn how Ellen and Dana's stories intertwine. Excellent story telling. The book kept me engaged. The characters were easy to like and well developed. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. Four out of five stars!


This book will be released on November 20, 2023. To pre-order your copy from Amazon, click here.


A City On Mars: Can We Settle Space, Should We Settle Space, And Have We Really Thought This Through? by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith


This is a really fun and interesting pop science book. If you are into space and the idea of humans eventually settling on the moon or another planet, this book is for you. It looks at some really interesting issues that humans would have to deal with - everything from physical to psychological issues, reproduction, water, food, laws, etc - in an informative but easy to understand way. The authors are very witty, which makes this book a lot of fun, and not some boring, highly technical book. I received an advance copy of this book, and am writing an honest review. Four out five stars!


To purchase this book from Amazon, click here.


How Far To The Promised Land: One Black Family's Story Of Hope And Survival In The American South by Esau McCaulley


I really enjoyed reading Esau's memoir. It's beautifully written. You can sense the emotions that the author goes through, as he tells his and his family's story as a Black family trying to survive in the south. It's also a story of forgiveness, as the author wrestles with his relationship with his father. While it's a short read, it takes you through all sorts of emotions. Definitely recommend! I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. Five out of five stars!


To purchase this book from Amazon, click here.


The Broke Hearts (The Broke Hearts, #2) by Matt Mendez


This one started a bit slow for me. I struggled a little bit to put the story together at first, and place all of the characters. It goes back and forth between past and present, and I didn't quite get that at first. But about halfway through it fell into place for me and I was hooked on the story. So hooked, that I finished it in one evening. Touching story and great characters! I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. Four out of five stars!


To purchase this book from Amazon, click here.


Homeward by Angela Jackson-Brown


I thought the concept for this book and the story itself were great. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and while I tend to read mostly books from the WWII era, the 1960's and the Civil Rights Movement era are also something I enjoy reading about and learning more about. However, I had two main problems with this book. First, there was a lot of unnecessary narrative. For example, the author kept describing what characters were wearing, like we were supposed to pay attention to their fashion. When we should have been focusing on the fact that Rose was preparing to be the first Black person to try to register to vote in Georgia in the story, why did we need to know what she was wearing? It just seemed odd. Second, Rose's character seemed so juvenile. I understand that the author was trying to show how Rose went from being scared and unsure, to wanting to fight, but she never really developed the character and made her come across as so naive, that it didn't play well. So, not a bad read, but a bit disappointing based on what it could have been. I received an advance copy for free, and am providing an honest review. Three out of five stars.


To purchase a copy of this book from Amazon, click here.


The Ruin Of The Watcher by Collings MacCrae


I'm a big fan of thrillers/mysteries. I thought this was a great story, and I really loved the focus on the characters and the fact that they were not your "typical" characters. I did find the book a bit hard to follow at times. It took me a little bit to figure out all the backstory, but I think now that I've figured it out, it will make it easier to follow future books in the series. The story just seemed to jump around a bit, although I know some of that had to do with the author's desire to get across Fox Argall's personality and quirks. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. Four out of five stars!


To purchase this book from Amazon, click here.


Poem Of Stone and Bone: The Iconography Of James W. Washington Jr In Fourteen Stanzas And Thirty-One Days by Carletta Carrington Wilson


I'm going to start my review with the caveat that this book wasn't quite what I thought it was going to be, and is not in my sweet spot of topics I am interested in. So, it's hard for me to give it a totally fair review. This is a book that I would picture being sold in a museum or at the property of James Washington Jr, where the author's installations were located. It is a beautiful book and definitely captures the creative process of the author. It was difficult for me to follow though, not being familiar with Washington and his work. In fact, the last essay in the book was an excellent short summary of Washington's life, and I think if that would have been placed at the beginning of the book instead of the end, it would have helped immensely. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. Three out of five stars.


To purchase this book from Amazon, click here.


Bartleby & Me: Reflections Of An Old Scrivener by Gay Talese


I was a bit torn by this book. I loved the concept of writing about people that are overlooked. As an example, when the author was assigned to write a story about Frank Sinatra, he decided to tell Sinatra's story by telling the stories of those in Sinatra's entourage. The book almost gives you a "Humans Of New York" vibe. But where I felt the book went astray is that the author would be telling a story about someone, and then seemed to just go into a totally different direction with no warning. So it all just felt a bit broken up to me. I received an advance copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. Three out of five stars.


To purchase this book from Amazon, click here.


The Reinvention Formula: How To Unlock A Bulletproof Mindset To Upgrade Your Life by Craig Siegel


I feel like I'm in the minority here and will get roasted by fans of the author, but I just didn't care for this book. I wasn't familiar with Craig Siegel, but he evidently became quite popular a few years ago with his CLS website and podcast. While I think there were some good tidbits in the book and some motivation, I just don't gel with his style. I also feel like the writing was tough to get through. Lots of long, run on sentences that jumbled everything up. I received an advance copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. Two out of five stars.


To purchase this book from Amazon, click here.


My Rogue To Ruin (The Wild Wynchesters, #4) by Erica Ridley


I thought this was a really cute story. A little bit of adventure. A little bit of romance. This is one of several in a series about the Wynchester siblings, but can be read as a standalone too. I received an advance copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. Four out of five stars!


To purchase this book from Amazon, click here.


So that's a wrap on the books I read in October. I hope you find a book or two that you would like to read. I'd love to hear from you if you check any of these out. Happy reading!


What books do you recommend I read next? Let me know! Comment below or e-mail me at tips2livebywriter@gmail.com.


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