What I’ve Been Reading Recently: November 2021 Reviews

It’s been another month where I read so MANY books, but don’t write MANY book reviews, oops. Instead of sharing multiple mini reviews or full length reviews about the books I’ve read in November, I’m instead going to be sharing some thoughts of each of them here (similar to wrap-up posts from June & July this summer). While I’ve definitely enjoyed the books below (yes, some more than others) I’ve definitely have been in a mini reading slump/trying to find books that will give me the same feels as two of my FAVORITE recent reads, Ghosts by Dolly Alderton (my first book in November and the Bad on Paper Podcast pick this month) and The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood (I am so looking forward to Ali Hazelwood’s novellas coming out next year! – I think I’m going to wait for the print bind-up). 

My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan My Oxford Year had been one of those staple contemporary romance books I knew I needed to read, especially since Julia Whelan is everyone’s favorite audiobook narrator (she’s narrated most of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books & so many others!). The book follows twenty-four year old Ella, an American woman who is on a Rhode Scholarship at Oxford for the year. Ella is so looking forward to Oxford life, until she mets a smart-mouthed local at a pub….who ends being Ella’s literature professor, James.  I do admit it took me some time to really get into this hate-to-love romance (sometimes I struggle with British-set books and some dialogue/conversations) & I feel weird admitting that I didn’t really settle into this one until we learn about James’ news. The book definitely takes on a sadder and more serious tone & plot about halfway through (tw for terminal illness), and Ella and James’ relationship/romance felt rushed compared to the plot. I did like the setting and the academic side of things. I’d read this one if you favor contemporary romances that deal with more plot and serious storylines instead of a fluffy romance.  My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Always, in December by Emily Stone – There’s always a new line-up of holiday/Christmas books every year, and I had been seeing Always, in December everywhere. The book’s plot summary reminded me more of Sophie Cousens’ This Time Next Year more than similarly-titled One Day in December (the book’s front blurb is actually by Josie Silver!), following our main protagonist, Josie, and the man she meets during the week of Christmas, Max, during the holiday and over a series of chance encounters over the next year. Listen, I always LOVE a good Christmas-set book and the cover of Always, in December SCREAMS Christmas… but it definitely was not very holiday-y. The most amount of Christmas we do get is during Josie and Max’s first time together as they spend the holiday together, since Max’s flight to NYC to see family has been canceled and Josie likes spending Christmas alone, as her parents both passed away on Christmas years ago. Coincidentally, (without spoilers) the book actually takes on more similar tone to My Oxford Year – I had heard that the book had a sad twist and while I now see the foreshadowing throughout and didn’t see it exactly coming, the twist didn’t feel very fitting to the story? My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games #2)by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – Like so many other readers, I’m addicted to Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ Inheritance Games series. This sequel definitely upped the stakes even more and brought on a few more twists about the Hawthorne family and Avery’s connection to Tobias Hawthorne’s fortune. Since The Hawthorne Legacy is book #2, I don’t want to give away spoilers, but if you’re looking for a fun & addicting YA series, pick this one up (even though I’m kind’ve sad we have to wait until August 2022 for book #3). My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Paradise Series: Winter in Paradise, What Happens in Paradise, & Troubles in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand – It’s not secret that so much of my reading in 2021 has been categorized by Elin Hilderbrand. I had been saving her Paradise series for the fall/winter and even though I’m “trying” not to rush through her books, I binged all 3 books in the series between October & November. Winter in Paradise and the other two books don’t take place in Nantucket, but instead St.John, as our main protagonist, Irene, and the events following her husband’s mysterious death involving a helicopter crash and a woman Irene has never heard of. Similar to Elin Hilderbrand’s other books, the books follows a wide cast of characters, including Irene’s adult sons and locals on the island that are also involved in the mystery. The series is definitely more mystery than Elin’s other books, but it still had the same relationship and romance development as her other books. I loved the St.John setting – it made me want to book a vacation there ASAP.   My Series Rating: 4.5/5 Stars 

 

Mom Jeans & Other Mistakes by Alexa Martin – I’ve really enjoyed Alexa Martin’s Playbook series, following the girlfriends/partners of a fictional NFL team, so I knew I had to pick up her first standalone book, Mom Jeans & Other Mistakes. The book is definitely different than her sports romances, following best friends Jude and Lauren who decide to fulfill their childhood dream of moving in together. What they didn’t expect to come along with their move was Lauren’s five year old daughter, Adelaide, a custody battle between Lauren and her ex, & Jude’s social media fame as an influencer and very complicated relationship with her mom. I really appreciated the book for its focus on female friendship, but the book tries to tackle a lot between discussions on motherhood, parenting, social media/influence fame, alcoholism, race, toxic family relationships, romance, and much more that ultimately all didn’t come together super well. My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

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What books have you been reading in November? Any that I should pick up? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Share in the comments! 

 

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