The flurry of December’s Debatable Reindeer vs Penguin sidelined my usual attention to reviewing previous monthly reads. Here’s the scoop for November:
Pilgrim’s Progress by Gary Schmidt
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Pilgrim’s Progress is a classic appreciated for its allegory of the walk one makes in faith and belief. It would be difficult to improve upon it, yet Gary Schmidt creates a version for contemporary audiences that deserves noted acclaim for keeping the original message intact while providing a more approachable format.
Barry Moser’s agreeable, stunning watercolor illustrations aptly and deftly accompany Schmidt’s retelling.
Appropriate for middle readers, yet probably more appreciated by adults who remember the original Bunyan version.
Nowhere to be Found by Emily Thomas
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Irresistibly drawn to series that combines creating a library in a renovated house plus a cozy mystery. An enjoyable, undemanding read that combines Christian values with a well-paced plot.
Whisper by Lynette Noni
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
This is one of those books that is so captivating that finding a place to bookmark for the night is difficult. Best to start earlier than later in the day.
The first 100 pages are spellbinding. Jane, as in Jane Doe, a young woman is being held prisoner in a secret facility. She suffers silently because she refuses to speak to anyone. This is not only because of sheer determination, but because JD is afraid to do so. In her case, words do have power.
The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
It’s a quick, quiet, uneventful cadence of vignettes with the theme of a grandmother and her young granddaughter circumnavigating each other’s quirks while living on an island for the summer. Being Finnish in original intent changes some of the dynamics of the characters, yet the bond between the adult and child holds well.
The Shattered Tree by Charles Todd
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Written by a son and mother team, this is #8 in an ongoing series about Bess Crawford, a nurse who likes to solve mysteries.
An intriguing idea to have a WWI nurse solve a tangled mystery involving a wounded soldier of dubious identity. Unfortunately, the plot becomes muddled with confusing details such as too many suspects with similar names, and the device of Bess, the protagonist, running around annoying people with her questions while healing from her wounds received at the front. The mystery itself proved intriguing, yet the solving was drawn out
much too long. The characters are agreeable and the writing is accomplished enough to look into other books in the series at some point.
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
One problem with experiencing the movie before the book is that so many book scenes become overlaid with cinematic scenes. Clare is Rachel McAdams and Henry is Eric Bana while I read and I’m annoyed when the author changes things up character and plot wise. Then again, she had it all mapped out first. Lesson: read the book first.
Review wise: interesting beginning, muddled middle, and melodramatic ending. Not a romance book fan, and without the time traveler gimmick this would not have kept my attention, as the plot device of a woman constantly waiting for her ideal man to return to her is a metaphorical irritation after awhile.The swearing and sex scenes detracted instead of added to the plot. At one point the characters ask if their sex life is normal. Well, if you have to ask…
Alba, their daughter, makes it worthwhile to finish out the ending. I’m rooting for a sequel with Alba working out her own time traveling agenda.