Recent Reads: November

I’ll give you all fair warning. This month I have mostly read novels in the general genre of romance, so if that’s not your thing then please feel free to stop reading now! 

In general reading related blather, I’ve been really enjoying reading from my Nook again. In a strange way I’ve actually found it easier to read from whilst travelling around than listening to an audiobook. Anyway, this is me enjoying the scenery of Paris whilst reading…

A Beginner’s Guide to Acting English – Shappi Khorsandi ***** ¦¦ This memoir is written by comedan Shappi Khorsandi, whose stand-up I’ve enjoyed for a while now. The book tells of her early life and focuses around her experiences of moving from Tehran to the UK at the age of 4. She also retells some experiences of other family members, which are pretty shocking in some parts. This book manages to toe the line between serious and funny extremely well. It’s not a laugh-a-minute book but that’s ok – it’s charming, wry and insightful instead. I’d highly recommend this.

Ransom – Rachel Schurig *** ¦¦ Here we go with the first of the ‘romance’ books. This book pleasantly surprised me, as I was expecting it to be a bit rubbish. There were definitely some tropes it fell into a little easily, but the characters were interesting enough to persevere with. The book centres around Daisy who has fallen out of touch with her male best friend Daltrey, due to some hard times she’s going through. Coincidentally, just as they fall out of touch is when Daltrey hits the big time with his band, the other three members of which are his brothers. The narrative switches from first person Daisy to first person Daltrey, which keeps things refreshing. It’s not highbrow literary work but it’s an entertaining page turner with nothing too stressful in it, so it suited me.
Release – Rachel Schurig **** ¦¦ So I decided to buy the next book in the series, seeing as I’d enjoyed the first. In fact, the second was even better, which never happens. The book deals with Reed, one of Daltrey’s older brothers, and Paige, and picks up after the first book leaves off. I found Reed and Paige a bit more relatable, or at least a bit more likeable, than Daisy and Daltrey. I’m now reading the third book in the series so consider me a convert.
Forbidden Surrender –  Priscilla West ** ¦¦ I received these three Priscilla West book from Netgalley in exchange for a review. This is your typical good intelligent girl falls for millionaire bad boy story, which did show some promise to start with. However, then the plot points and dialogue started to veer towards the ridiculous and the main character started making some fairly silly decisions. Also, it’s quite racy in bits so not something to read somewhere where someone might be looking over your shoulder! And then it ended on a cliffhanger which made me a bit annoyed.Secret Surrender –  Priscilla West * ¦¦ So onto the next book. In this book, any promise that the first one had to turn out decent basically vanished. It became clear that the best friend character was purely a narrator figure, whose dialogue served to point out the obvious to any dense readers. And then she exits stage left. The main character’s decisions went from questionable to totally unrealistic. It became a little Twilight-esque with tropical islands, and then *spoiler alert* a totally obvious accidental pregnancy was set up for the next book. Another cliffhanger ending.

Beautiful Surrender –  Priscilla West * ¦¦ Really I’d say these three books counted as one. So we pick up the tale which has descended into the realms of total improbability, such that when the final dramatic cliffhanger happens I just don’t really care. The characters are all so unrealistic. The worst part happens at the end, where the main character’s concerns for the character flaws of her millionaire bad boy (which were annoyingly executed too, via a classic misunderstanding) all apparently vanish ***because of the baby***. And they live happily ever after as a family. Argh!

So if you’re someone who’s ok with the whole romance thing, I’d say give the Ransom books a try. For anyone else, I definitely recommend A Beginner’s Guide to Acting English.

What have you read this month?


Life According to Steph




  1. Kerri Taylor
    10th November 2015 / 14:20

    i don’t hate a little romance, i’m not gonna lie. the inner romantic in me sometimes takes over the mild romantic pessimist 🙂 that first one looks awesome – i love anything related to the UK so it’ll be added to my list 🙂

    xoxo cheshire kat

    • 10th November 2015 / 21:55

      I know, I go in phases with it too! Luckily I had a good experience to go along with the bad one so all is not lost. A Beginner’s Guide to Acting English is a very interesting book all in all, I hope you enjoy it.

  2. 10th November 2015 / 14:43

    I’ll definitely add the Ransom books, and I’ve seen the Priscilla books all over the “Most Requested” on Netgalley but I think it’s because they’ve been available forever. Yuck. Glad I didn’t waste my time with them.

    • 10th November 2015 / 21:56

      Phew, you have more sense than me! I just went straight to the top of the list and figured that if they were there they must be good……… Well safe to say I’ve learned my lesson! I hope you like the Ransom books 🙂

  3. 10th November 2015 / 15:49

    I’m definitely not a romance books reader but every once in a while, I’ll try one so I like these posts for a frame of reference when I do go to pick one.

    • 10th November 2015 / 21:57

      I’m not normally either, but sometimes it just seems to fit the bill. Luckily I had a good experience to go along with my bad one so I’m not totally put off yet…

  4. 10th November 2015 / 15:54

    don’t you know a baby fixes everything in a bad relationship?! lol. i have seen those books around but have no desire to read them, good to know i had the right idea. added the ransom books though because sometimes romance is exactly what i’m in the mood for.

    • 10th November 2015 / 22:02

      Oh yeah totally. Those magic babies. Ugh it’s just such a lazy cliché and I hate it! Your instincts were quite correct, good on you. I was not so wise. The Ransom books are a little ridiculous but generally a good harmless read.

  5. 10th November 2015 / 16:36

    The thing I like most about the romance books is that someone usually has an unimaginable amount of money. Millionaires abound!

    • 10th November 2015 / 22:04

      Ha! You’re so right. All of the romance books above were positively bristling with millionaires. Millionaires at every turn! Falling in love all over the place! Just like real life.

  6. 11th November 2015 / 00:41

    I’ve read some romance books but not a whole lot lately. The Ransom series sounds really interesting though, and sometimes you just need those light and fun reads!

    • 16th November 2015 / 18:41

      It’s actually quite good! I’ve now finished the 4th (I think) book and they’re beginning to grate a little, but still generally positive. As you say, sometimes that’s just what you need!

  7. 11th November 2015 / 03:46

    I love a good romance so I’ll check out Ransom.

    • 16th November 2015 / 18:41

      I really hope you like it!

  8. 12th November 2015 / 12:49

    Shame that the ‘Surrender’ books weren’t as entertaining as you hoped, but good you gave them a go! 🙂

    I’m currently browsing my book case for a couple books to take with me to Melbourne tomorrow – not sure if I should go with an old favourite or one of the (many!) I haven’t had time to read yet, haha!

    Away From The Blue Blog

    • 16th November 2015 / 18:42

      Exactly. Nothing ventured, etc!

      I hope you managed to find something good for Melbourne, depends on what type of trip you’re doing I think. If it’s busy or in any way stressful then I’d personally go for an old favourite, but if there’s any opportunity to get stuck into something then definitely something from the to-read-pile!

  9. Jen
    16th November 2015 / 21:06

    I am definitely slacking on the reading front, I read so much for school that it leaves little desire to read anything else.

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