What I Read- November and October 2023

Hi friends- catching up on my book reviews for everything I read the last few months! The last two months of the year were very dragon filled with reading Fourth Wing and Iron Flame and then holiday books in December. I also read The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store which was named on many top books of the year lists- it did not disappoint and was one of my personal favorites too. I also listened to two great audiobooks. I’d love to know if you’ve read the Fourth Wing books yet and if you were as addicted to them as me!

Fourth Wing and Iron Flame Unless you haven’t been on social media in the last few months, I’m sure you’ve heard of the Fourth Wing series. When I say I was addicted to these books, it is kind of an understatement.  A little bit Hunger Games, a little bit Game of Thrones, a little bit Divergent with some romance. Fourth Wing is the first book and follows Violet Sorrengail as she embarks on life in the Dragon Rider Quadrant to become a dragon rider. Just to enter the quadrant, several candidates fall to their death- telling a bit about how ruthless the process of matching with a dragon is. I started Fourth Wing a week before Iron Flame came out- just by chance and it was perfect because I could roll from one book to the next. These books are LONG, but if you haven’t read them I think they would make a great winter activity!

The Christmas Orphans Club I’ve enjoyed following Becca Freeman on Instagram for a while and feel like she is a bit of a “friend” after listening to her podcast so was very excited to read her book. The Christmas Orphans Club did not disappoint and was a heartwarming story of friendship set in New York City during Christmas time. Hannah and Finn connect in their college dorms on Christmas one year and so begins the Christmas Orphans Club. After moving to New York City, they add new friends Priya and Theo to their club. Floating between the present and flashing back to Christmas of the past, The Christmas Orphans Club tells the story of friends that become family with a little bit of romance as well. A fabulous holiday read- but read it any time!

Wreck The Halls- If you’ve read any of Tessa Bailey’s other books, you know this is a romance book so keep that in mind before you pick it up. Melody and Beat’s mothers were an extremely famous rock duo, but after a messy band break up during their pregnancies, they’ve never seen each other again and Melody and Beat have only met once. Despite that, Melody has thought about Beat for years after their teenage meeting. So when he contacts Melody with a producer about doing a live stream reality show about getting their mothers back together for a reunion concert, Melody surprises herself and decides to do it. The sexual tension is real between Beat and Melody and it is all on camera. Besides the potential reunion concert happening on Christmas Eve, the story isn’t overly holiday like so I’d say you could read any time you want an easy romance. It wasn’t my favorite romance of all time, but the book was entertaining.

The Heaven & Earth Grocery StoreThis book was high on my list to read before the end of the year after it received many “top book” awards and I loved it so much. The novel starts with a skeleton being found in a well in Pottstown, Pennsylvania in the 70s with the police wondering who the skeleton belongs to. The story then flashes back to 1920s and tells the story of the people living in the Chicken Hill neighborhood of Pottstown, the poor section of town where immigrant Jews and African Americans lived side by side. A fixture of Chicken Hill is The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store managed by Miss Chona, a Jewish disabled woman who grew up in Pottstown and now serves the local community despite their skin color or religion. When an orphaned deaf African American boy is being looked for by the state, Chona and his Uncle Nate devise a plan to hide him. I felt like I honestly forgot about the skeleton in the first few pages of the book because of this story that I was completely engrossed in and then I’d randomly remember and think who’s skeleton is that? This book was very beautiful and powerful and also the ending was so satisfying. Highly recommend this read!

What I Listened To- Audiobooks of The Month:

Extremely Online: The Untold Story of Fame, Influence and Power on the Internet- As someone who considers social media their job and has had this blog for the last (almost) ten years, I found this book by journalist Taylor Lorenz very interesting. It details different internet and social media trends over the last several years and I was struck by how things can stay the same despite platforms changing- such as current creators frustrated by the Instagram algorithm compared to prior creators frustrated by Vine. I think this book would be most interesting to you if you care about social media and trends or work in social media of some sort.

Among The Bros: A Fraternity Crime Story This book was a WILD ride! I was completely sucked into this true story of fraternity life at the College of Charleston and the multi-billion dollar drug ring that was run by students and fellow fraternity brothers. Ranging from stories of pledging and weekend parties to homicide investigations and Atlanta rappers, I could not get enough of Among The Bros. If you like non-fiction books that read like stories, I’d highly recommend this- just prepared to be a bit shocked. This audiobook is in my favorites of the year for sure.

What books that you recently read would you recommend most?

xoxo, Jenna

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.