November 2022 Books #AmReading

So, we have reached the end of November. That means one more month left of this year! 😱

I know it is going to be a busy month. November always is, with parents’ evenings at school and preparation for the festive season. But I wonder what I end up reading?

As I start the month, I have NO ARCS on my list (bar the first book I am reading this month, but I started that on the 30th of October, so it doesn’t count! 😜), but you know me. I find it hard to say no… Still, my existing TBR is full enough to keep me going for a while. Here goes!

Update to the above statement: it is the 4th of November, and I finished that ‘last arc’ and now have two more on there, at least!

Update #2 on 20th November… I give up… you can see I read at least 7-8 arcs… 🙄

Update #3 – 24th November… I have read all the arcs… will I accept any more before the end of the month??

I managed 15 books in the end, and exhausted the ARC list, too, so my TBR began to get some attention!

People Change by Sara Jafari
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve not read Sara Jafari before, but she has been on my radar for a while, so it was great to get a chance to read one of her books.
Shirin is a British-born Iranian woman living in London, supposedly living her dream. She is working in publishing, which she always wanted to do, with plenty of friends and a potentially busy social life.
A blast from her past is at one of the parties she attends.
Kian is a guy she last saw ten years ago when they were both teenagers and at school in Hull.
Is it good to meet someone from a time when your life was not so great?
There are many loaded issues within the story, as Shirin and Kian get to know each other once again and open up about things they never had the chance to as youngsters.
The side story about racism and prejudices in workplaces adds extra spice to the story.
An interesting read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 2nd February, 2023

Single in the Snow by Helen Whitaker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great Christmassy feel-good read, without the need to get over slushy! (Though, can you ever get over-slushy at Christmas?)
Jen is a girl about to hit thirty, ricocheting from relationship to relationship, trying to mould herself into the perfect fit because she doesn’t want to end up alone.
After the last break up, her best friend convinces her to take some time out, find herself, and be alone to experience life for at least six months.
A pre-booked trip to Canada ends up being less satisfying coupledom and more a time to reflect on her life and what she really wants.
She does find out, but not before there are a whole load of shenanigans and new folk to meet! A job at a high-end ski resort in Whistlers gives her plenty of food for thought.
And then there was Art. He is a troubled ex-Olympian with a heartwrenching backstory of his own and a journey of recovery he needs to tread.
The way their stories entwine makes it a moreish read.
Now I kinda want to go and see slopes with the fresh powdery snow, but I’d be sat in a little cafe, with a hot chocolate, watching the daredevils on skis and snowboards!
There were some great characters, including Rob and Snowy, her first friends as she arrives in Whistler, and ooh, there was one to hate… Eduardo!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 17th November, 2022

Happy Place by Emily Henry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Boy was I excited to be able to dive into another of Emily Henry’s books, and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I sat here this rainy Sunday and finished the whole book!
The story is about a group of friends about to hit an end note on an important part of their friendship, namely a specific place they all go to every year, which won’t be available to them much longer.
But it centres around one couple, in particular, Harriet and Wyn. From the off, there was an unwritten rule that you didn’t date your friends, or things would go weird if it ever finished.
They were the first couple of the group to break that rule, and now, they are desperately trying to hide the fact that it didn’t work out, so everyone else can have a good time together.
The whole group of friends were an excellent bunch, and the way Henry has woven in the intricacies of long-standing friendships and a second-chance romance is just brilliant.
Oh, and I want to go to a Lobster Festival, too, now. (And I don’t even eat seafood!)
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin General UK – Fig Tree, Hamish Hamilton, Viking, Penguin Life and Penguin Business for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 27th April, 2023

Zen Queen by Kirsty McManus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My first Kirsty McManus book and I read it quickly.
A fun story about a woman who is sent to Japan on a work assignment that goes horribly wrong. However, there are glimmers of hope.
There is plenty of culture to read about, both modern and traditional. Japan is a pretty crazy place from what I read. And the characters our heroine meets there, from her colleagues to friends, to the wonderful Japanese man who literally adopts her, are all great.
I wish the romance could have stretched out more at the end. It felt a tad rushed when a little more build-up would have been great.

The Vibrant Years by Sonali Dev
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I chose this as my Amazon Prime First Reads book for the month, as I have read a good few of Sonali Dev’s books, and I’ll be honest, I do love her Bollywood style of writing!
The Vibrant Years is not a romance but more of a Women’s Fiction, a contemporary story based around the lives of three generations of women from one family; Bindu, the confident, sexy 60-something grandma, or Binji as her granddaughter calls her; Aly, the 40-something ex-daughter-in-law of Bindu who has a strong bond with her ex-mother-in-law, and Cullie, the extremely intelligent 20-something granddaughter.
There is a secret Bindu is hiding. Something she has hidden since her late teens. This secret is threaded throughout the book, with short quotes from an old journal.
Dev has covered a lot in this book, looking at the conventional ways of thinking and expectations put upon both men and women, the stigmas attached to certain jobs, and the way thinking has begun to change over the decades that span the three main characters’ lives.
They all end up going on dates as research for a new app Cullie is trying to design and end up finding more than love as they stumble from disaster date to disaster date.
It took me a little while to get into the story, but once I did, I was eager to know how the secret would unfold to the cast of characters, as we, the readers, are made aware of the ‘shame’ Bindu feels for her past, earlier on in the book.
There is a feel-good factor to the book once things unravel and settle back into a more favourable pattern, and overall, a good read.

Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir of Food, Fat, and Family by Rabia Chaudry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is a really interesting read that combines the effects of culture and attitudes regarding eating and size.
We all know that in order to feel happy, we should be able to accept ourselves as we are and be healthy, no matter what our size.
This memoir by Rabia Chaudry shows how she found herself in a vicious cycle of eating, growing, distress, criticism, self-loathing, then eating again, and so forth,
The attitudes of certain cultural societies state you should be fair and lovely like the cream says, and tall and slim to get a good match in marriage.
We are not all built like that.
Rabia was fed, and fed, as that’s what her parents felt they should do, and when they realised they didn’t know how to reverse the effects of overeating, they continued to indulge because that was all they knew,
Food and our Asian culture are knitted together so strongly that it can be hard to separate the two.
It was fascinating and quite emotional to read Rabia’s journey, and how she fought her demons, but equally, how she failed several battles before winning the war.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for an ARC.

The Christmas Wish by Lindsey Kelk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love me a Lindsey Kelk book, and this was no different!
The Christmas Wish is a surreal love story where our heroine, Gwen, finds herself reliving Christmas Day like a Groundhog Day moment. She doesn’t know why, but each day relives it to see what she can change to get back to normality.
Through her repeated days, she comes to understand more about her family and their wants and desires, as well as many meetings with a person who might or might not be that special someone, but more importantly, she learns important lessons that will affect her own life and future.
I loved this story and sped through it in a few hours.
Gwen’s relationship with her cousin Manny was fantastic, and I loved Granny!
Even Pari, Dev’s dog, had a short but incredibly sweet role in the story.
A great festive read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins, UK, for an ARC.

Pretty Evil by Zoe Rosi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, my days!
When asked whether I may be interested in reading an ARC of Pretty Evil, I read the blurb and thought, “Why not? Sounds like an intriguing read.”
Well, intriguing is perhaps not quite the word to describe it.
Hugely dark and (excuse my language, but) bloody fantastic!
Camilla, our protagonist, is a woman with a past that is ingrained so deep within that it’s almost hollowed out any other emotion in her body.
Wronged as a child, growing up, and abused as a young woman, she casts herself in the role of vigilante for womankind, wreaking havoc, and her version of revenge, upon unsuspecting predators
I found myself strangely aroused, a bit disturbed, and definitely sympathetic towards the woman with what appeared to be no emotion but whose heart is beginning to feel again.
Laced with sex, gore, and all manner of suspense, I was kept on my toes, reading the book almost in one sitting, and I truly didn’t predict the ending, either.
What a dark, kinky web the author has weaved…
You definitely kept this reader guessing!
Fab read. I can’t wait to get my hands on another book by Zoe Rosi.
(I first read this book under its previously released title, Predator, by Zoe Caldwell. It has been published by Amazon Publishing, and the tweaks and editorial changes have made it an even sharper story.)

Releasing 19th January, 2023

The Family Reunion by Karen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my first Karen King book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
A fantastic story filled with the twists and turns you’d expect in any family, however, the twists and turns are HUGE!
Mary is a widowed mother of two, and she decides to try and find a daughter she had, that no one else in her life knows about.
Couple that with two weary children, with secrets of their own, then the addition of this new member of the family, and there are plenty of fireworks!
I won’t say too much, because if I do, then what is the point in you reading, but OMG, the epilogue!
I was gripped by the story and couldn’t put it down!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for an arc.

Releasing 23rd January, 2023

Not That Kind of Ever After by Luci Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are days when you want an easy-to-read book with some laughs and a few quirks.
Well, this was just the kind of book I needed today.
A fun from com about a young woman who is tied deeply to her best friend, and the time has come for them to go their separate ways as the friend is moving in with a partner.
Bella has relied on Ellie since childhood as her one. Not in any romantic sense, but just that person who is her life support, who keeps her going, and Ellie has always been there for her, along with her twin brother Marty. She still is, but her attention is now divided between Bella and her boyfriend, Mark.
Bella wants to find ‘The One, too, but no amount of fairytale chasing seems to give her any results. There are no Prince Charmings out there in London.
But a chance comment about letting herself loose and enjoying the moment has her mimicking fairytales as she heads on dates that end up having no chance of a happily ever after, but they give her satisfaction in other ways.
The ending made me smile.
As I mentioned before, it was an easy read, a fun read and something you don’t have to think about too hard!
Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.

Releasing 14th March, 2023

Falling Hard for the Royal Guard by Megan Clawson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I do love books where I can picture the setting because it is local to me, and this was a perfect example.
Maggie, our heroine, lives in the Tower of London. Lives there. Yup, I didn’t even know people lived there!
She lives in special housing for the Beefeaters, one of whom is her father.
She works at the ticket booth, a job she never thought she would be still at, all these years later, and she finds herself the butt of her colleagues’ jokes as the clumsy, lumbering red-haired girl who can’t even get a date.
But fate changes for her when she bumps into someone she thought was a lamp post, and he ends up being someone she spends plenty of time with as friends.
Maggie tells Freddie historical stories of the Tower of London, complete with ghost tales, and he introduces her to parts of the Tower that were out of reach, seeing as he is a part of the Royal Guard.
As she slowly lowers her barriers with him, she can feel there are parts of his life he is hiding, which she finds out most shockingly.
A great cast of characters, including the different Beefeaters, the rest of Freddie’s troop, and the ravenmaster, with her cryptic yet apt words of wisdom.
I read it in a day. really enjoyed it!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books for an ARC.

Releasing 27th April, 2023

The Word Is Love by Florence Keeling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, I loved this book! The word definitely is LOVE!
I was excited to travel back to Weddington to read more about Lucy and her horses and, of course, about how love falls into her life.
There were a great number of twists to the plot, but all helped it make it a book I didn’t want to put down!
Lucy and Max have pretty much grown up together, working in Lucy’s family business after her father passed away.
He’s that older brother figure…
And you have Lucy’s mum who wants her girl to settle down with the right kind of monied chap who will ensure her girl won’t ever want for anything.
Put it this way, you sure have to kiss or date a few frogs before finding your Prince Charming, and Lucy managed to find a real toad!
It was a great read, and I’d love to know if there is more coming from the Weddington Crew!

Roommaid by Sariah Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What happens when you’re the daughter of a rich family, but you refuse to do what your parents want, so you get disowned, and your trust fund comes to a halt?
Why, you find an apartment share to live in, with a roommate hotter than the sun, and promise to o all the housework, despite never having done a domestic chore in your life!
That’s what happens to Madison, our newly poor teacher heroine.
For all the comforts of Tyler’s apartment, she can’t feel comfortable around him because he is so attractive, and one of the rules of living together is no crushes or emotional feelings towards one another… because he doesn’t have time for that.
But he does have a gorgeous dog called Pigeon, who Madison falls for, too.
Seriously, families can be manipulative, and it seems the arranged marriage culture between the high and mighty to strengthen business bonds is not just for us Indians! Who knew it was still occurring in the West?
An easy read with a few twists to keep you on your toes, but ultimately a feel-good read.

The Paid Bridesmaid by Sariah Wilson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another easy romance read by Sariah Wilson.
I am sure I have read something similar before, with the paid bridesmaid idea, but the storyline was different.
Rachel operates a business providing Bridesmaids to brides who are lacking in the friend department or who have too many people to choose from, so hiring someone seems the easiest option.
She’s on an extremely special job, in Hawaii, at the moment. A week-long sponsored extravaganza for a famous influencer and her beau.
Thing is, her NDAs mean that she can’t be honest about anything, from why she’s doing what she does, to acknowledging her feelings.
Because there’s a rather cute guest there, who she’s close to risking everything for, only he thinks she’s someone different.
The story was cute, and it was a quick read. Predictable, but the happy ending you want, albeit with a few drunken relatives, crazy exes and other twists thrown in!

A Magical Christmas on the Isle of Skye by Jodie Homer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was lucky enough to win a copy of A Magical Christmas on the Isle of Skye, and I read it with joy.
Emilia and Harry are best friends with a bit of a booty-call relationship, but nothing more.
Then Emilia, one drunken News Years’ Eve, calls a TV psychic, who sets off a train of events that makes them question whether there should be more to their connection.
A Christmassy Groundhog Day-style story as the two main characters realise things aren’t right but don’t know how to put it right.
Help from Psychic Alice and the magic of the Fairies on the Isle finally gets them to the conclusion they weren’t sure what the right one was at the start.
A fun, quick and easy read with likeable characters. I’d love to visit a magic Isle one day… looking forward to more from Homer and the cast of this book.

So, tell me what you have been reading, and what caught your eye from the above!

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. OIKOS™- Art, Books & more
    Dec 04, 2022 @ 21:06:58

    Thanks a lot for all these great recommendations and the presentation, Sis! Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Alejandro Ayala
    Dec 01, 2022 @ 14:21:39

    Nice post, congratulations!!!

    Liked by 1 person


  3. beth
    Dec 01, 2022 @ 09:01:23

    you were busy! this sounds like a great mix –

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Marje @ Kyrosmagica
    Dec 01, 2022 @ 08:26:04

    Great books and reviews. Nice one, Ritu x

    Liked by 1 person


  5. Andie Untamed✨
    Nov 30, 2022 @ 22:19:50

    WOW, Ritu! I wish I could read as fast as you.. Thank you for sharing your reviews!
    I am currently reading The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama.

    Liked by 1 person


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