Carly Reads Here | November

I only have three books in this post, which is probably not a bad thing because I have more lengthy reviews for two of them. One of them being probably the worst book I've read all year, and another one that is easily in my top 5 books of the entire year- how's that for balance? Linking up with Steph & Jana for Show Us Your Books.

Today Will Be Different | This was one of my most anticipated books of the fall and unfortunately it left me really disappointed. I read Bernadette (also by Semple) at the end of last year and remember enjoying the writing and voice, but not being totally crazy about the storyline, so when I read the synopsis for Today Will be Different I was really excited. It's told over a single day in the life of Eleanor who swears today will be different and she won't be such a mess. Sadly the story didn't quite achieve a level of momentum that held my interest and I found myself bored and honestly have already forgot just about every detail. 

It Ends With Us | I've only read one other Colleen Hoover book and it wasn't my favorite, but I liked it enough to really want to read It Ends With Us, especially because it has over 4.5 stars on Goodreads with over 35,000 ratings! The tagline is, sometimes the one you love is the one who hurts you the most.

I hate to be critical but this book was not for me... I found it cringeworthy over anything else, from the dialogue to the descriptions and the foreshadowing. The characters had zero depth-- I didn't know if I was going to make it through another second if I had to listen to Lily mention that Ryle was a neurosurgeon or comment on what he was wearing one more time. Their love story was weak and the dialogue didn't seem remotely realistic... and when you don't buy into the story or the characters, that makes it really hard to care... even about tough topics.

Through all the shallowness, the book focuses on domestic violence and abusive relationships. I appreciated the afterward when Hoover talks about how personal the story is to her, and I think it's important to raise awareness to domestic violence, but I personally did not care for the writing, the story, or any of the characters. I've come to the conclusion that I'm one of the few people who are not a huge fan of Colleen Hoover. If you've enjoyed her other books, I'm sure the star rating and outstanding reviews are going to be more of your speed. 

Homegoing |  This book took me an unusually long time to read and I'm not sure why because I loved every bit of it and it was amazingly captivating. It was the October choice from the Beyond Words Book Club, and I didn't know too much about it before reading it, other than that it had received a lot of praise. I also knew it was about two half-sisters- one who is sold into slavery and the other one marries an Englishman. When I started reading it I assumed it was going to switch back and forth between their two storylines, but after the third chapter I consulted the table of contents and realized it was a new POV with every chapter so I went back and read the entire synopsis and realized that it's a generational story. So it's kind of like a new story in every chapter and I was continually amazed at how Gyasi could make me so invested in every new character in so few pages. It's a weird feeling to want a chapter to end because you're anxious to see what comes next, but to feel sad at the same time because you want to continue with the character you're currently following. I really can't do the book justice, but highly recommend to everyone.
We believe the one who has the power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history, you must always ask yourself, whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too.  [yaa gyasi, homegoing]
What books are on your radar to read before the year is over? 

34 comments

  1. Hmmm that is a bummer about It Ends With Us. I have it on my TBR and now I am not sure I even want to read it because when an author has a character repeat shallow things like that it gets on my damn nerves!!! Homegoing sounds intriguing though. I will add it to my list.

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  2. Homegoing is on hold for me at the library so I'm going to read it as soon as I get it! That excerpt is powerful!! That's disappointing about the Semple book - I also enjoyed Bernadette and was hoping to enjoy this one but I have heard mixed reviews.

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  3. oh bummer about today will be different. it's on my kindle. i'm sure i will get to it eventually. it ends with us was on my list, because sometimes her books are what i need even if they aren't very good.. but i didn't know it was about domestic violence, and unfortunately that's not something i can normally stomach.
    homegoing sounds interesting. added it to my list!

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  4. OK - I want to read Homecoming now - I had not heard of that.
    The other two? That bums me out - I've been wanting to read them both - but keep hearing especially about Today Will Be Different that its not that great. I had sophmore slumps

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  5. Bad or unrealistic dialogue makes a book a non-starter for me. I need to have some element of reality when I'm reading a story about people. If it doesn't feel like something remotely real, all I can think of is "wow, this is a badly written book" rather than letting myself get carried away in the story--and the latter is the whole point of reading!

    Disappointed to hear that the Semple book wasn't a win; I just heard about it and was planning to add it to the list.

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  6. Homegoing is on my radar but I keep avoiding it. Not really sure why.

    I'm sad re: Today Will be Different because I am so looking forward to it.

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  7. I did not like Bernadette so will probably pass on the new Maria Semple book too.
    I might have to read Homecoming although I'm sure it will drive me crazy not knowing what happens to each character after their chapter is up!
    The book I'm most looking forward to this fall is the latest by Tana French in the Dublin Murder Series, The Trespasser.

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  8. Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I have seen many great reviews about Homegoing so I may just have to add it to my list! Have a great day!

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  9. That's two great reviews for Homegoing I've read today. Can't wait to read it!

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  10. ahh I'm in the middle of reading, It Ends with Us, right now. I totally see your point and frustration with the characters now that you mention it, but I have to say that book has still captured my attention so far. I'm interested to see where it ends even though I know my guess is pretty good!

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  11. I love that quote from homegoing, adding it to my TBR, asap. It sounds amazing and hard and will give me lots of feelings. I was excited about Today Will Be Different but have seen a lot of lackluster reviews, so going to pass. That really bites about it Ends with Us. Abuse is such an important topic but I can't stand shallow characters with no depth either. They make it very difficult to care about such an important topic that we do need to shine a light on.

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  12. Homegoing is on my TBR so hard...I keep hearing amazing things about it. It sounds like something I will love...can't wait to get to it!

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  13. Thank you for your honest reviews, it's always a bummer when a book you were looking forward to ends up being a total flop. So glad Homegoing picked up for you after a slow start, definitely the fun and exciting side of reading <3
    Green Fashionista

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  14. Too bad about Today Will Be Different. I loved Bernadette, but then I read her other book, This One is Mine and it was terrible. I want to give Today Will Be Different a chance, but I dunno...

    I've seen Homegoing all over the place, but I didn't actually know what it was about, but now I'm definitely intrigued! It was actually at the thrift store the other month, but again, I didn't know anything about it (I just recognized the cover) and so I didn't pick it up. Wish I had now!

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  15. Today will be different seems as if it would be right up my alley. Man, books in general are so subjective, because I could potentially read it and love it...or not...but I won't know unless I try. Homegoing sounds really good.

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  16. I keep seeing Homegoing everywhere, and now I know why! It was a book club pic! I kept thinking I had already commented, lol.

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  17. I agree whole-heartedly with everything that you said about Homegoing! I didn't want a chapter to end because I wanted to know more about that particular character, but at the same time I wanted to find out what was going to happen next. It's definitely one of my favorites of the year! That's such a bummer about It Ends With Us! If I can't stand the characters though, that's a sure sign that I'm not going to love the book either.

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  18. Homegoing is on my list. I had it from the library, but I didn't get to it before it was due and people were waiting, so I didn't renew it. I'll get it again soon :)

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  19. Homegoing is definitely a book I will read.
    I've read two Colleen Hoover books and enjoyed both, but I am not one who feels like I need to gobble up everything she's ever written. Plus, the last one I read was one of those right time, right book moments. I needed something a little light, without much depth.

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    1. Which CoHo books did you read? I enjoyed November 9th. Didn't care for It Ends With Us.

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  20. I liked Bernadette so I'm sorry to hear Maria Semple's other book is a letdown. Homegoing sounds promising though, I should give that a read!
    Great reviews, as always!

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

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  21. Today Will Be Different never had any momentum for me. The "in one day" thing left nothing but lots of flashbacks it seemed.

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  22. I've read 2 Colleen Hoover books: First I read November 9th and really loved it. Then I read It Ends With Us and didn't care for it at all. When I read that it was based on her own life, I kinda understood why the storytelling was flawed and weak - it can be hard to tell such a personal trauma - but I agree with your analysis. The love story was sufficiently developed and the references to Kyle's appearance and job just showed how weak Lily's character was and how much she needed her father's love and validation.
    I'll try another Hoover book though. November 9th was too good not to.
    https://runwright.net/2016/11/05/full-house-reading-challenge-completed/

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  23. Too bad about Today Will Be Different.

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  24. Today Will Be Different was SO BORING. I wasn't a fan at all. I do like Colleen Hoover, so I might give that one a chance.

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  25. I can't wait to read Homegoing! It sounds really good. I loved It Ends With Us, but I totally get your comments.

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  26. Today Will Be Different keeps popping up in my audiobook suggestions. From what you've described it sounds interesting enough. Perhaps I'll give it a listen.

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  27. I loved It Ends With Us and have loved all of Hoover's books that I've read. I have Today Will Be Different on hold at the library. I don't have huge expectations for it though since I wasn't a big fan of Where'd You Go Bernadette?

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  28. Your reviews are seriously like my holy grail when it comes to what I decide to read. Love your honesty girl!

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  29. I have one Colleen Hoover book and I haven't read any by her previously so I've been staying away from it. I guess one of these days I'll have to give it a try and see if I enjoy her writing. I borrowed Homegoing from the library and at the time couldn't get into it. I think I might have to attempt it again!

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  30. I've also only read one Colleen Hoover, and for some reason I'm hesitant to read more.

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  31. I have heard that about Today will be different.. bummer. :( It ends with us didn't sound like my type of book. Homegoing sounds really powerful though. :) At least you liked one of these! :) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  32. I've never read any of Colleen Hoover's books, but I know I have at least one on my "To Read" list. I don't know that her stories are really for me in general, but I'm willing to give her a chance. This book, however, just sounds awful. Cheesy and/or unbelievable dialogue is enough to ruin an entire book for me. And when an author is trying to handle a sensitive, important topic, it's even worse ... You want to like it and care about the characters, but you just can't.

    I don't know how I've missed Homegoing, but I'm adding it to my list today! I probably won't get to it for a while, but I don't want to forget about it. It sounds amazing.

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  33. Oh no! I just got It Ends With Us, I was pretty pumped to read it, but you're like the 4th blogger I've read today that hated it... :-(

    -- Dara || www.peoniesandhoneybees.com

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