Books I’ve Recently Read | October Edition

Posted 6 October, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 19 Comments

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What I've Been Reading Lately



Packing for Mars

Title: Packing for MarsAuthor: Mary Roach
Audio Narrator: Sandra Burr | Audio Duration: 10 hr, 28 min
Published: 2010 | Pages: 334 | Genre: Non-Fiction
Rating: Fascinating and…not so fascinating

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: Everything you wanted to know (or didn’t) about what it takes to head up into the great space frontier. Roach discusses everything from what it takes to be a great astronaut, the first animals in space, sex and food and voiding in space. While the information is always informative, Roach approaches her subjects with a bit of humor and tongue in cheek to make them entertaining enough for the masses. Her footnotes are my favorite parts of her books.

Bottom Line and Recommendation: Confession – I almost gave up on Packing for Mars at the halfway mark of this relatively short audiobook. I found that I didn’t necessarily care about some of the details she was sharing about what it takes to go up in space. Thankfully I didn’t give up because I found the last chapters (on sex, voiding, and food–thankfully not all together) to be the most fascinating essays. I really enjoyed Stiff by Roach and plan to listen to more of her books.


drums of autumnTitle:  Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) | Author: Diana Gabaldon
Audio Narrator: Davina Porter | Audio Duration: 44 hr, 54 min
Published: 1996 | Pages: 928 | Genre: Fiction/Series
Rating: Hopefully this is just a transitional book

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: No need to read any of this if you haven’t already read Outlander. If you haven’t read Outlander, um…what are you waiting for? Now…Divert your eyes!

But in short, Jamie and Claire are making a home in the Americas. Meanwhile Briana and Roger, back in the 1960s, have discovered some horrifying things about the past. A whole lot of drama and a bit more time travel happening in this book.

Bottom Line and Recommendation: As with any of the Outlander books so far, there are moments of excitement and moments of droning on and on–and maybe there is a little bit more of that in this installment than the others, but I think because of some of the things that needed to happen in the series, this book acts as a transition piece. At least I’m hoping so. But in super short, I spent most of the book annoyed with the characters–it seemed as though their flaws all really shone in this book and I was not impressed with Jamie at all. In better news, I listened to about half of the book narrated by Davina Porter and absolutely adore her narration. I’ll definitely continue with a read/listen combo in the future!


The Girl on the TrainTitle: The Girl on the TrainAuthor: Paula Hawkins
Published: 2015 | Pages: 325 | Genre: Fiction/Thriller
Rating: Fast-paced pageturner containing terrible people

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: Rachel takes the same train to and from London each day and imagines the secret lives of the people whose homes she passes on the train. Though one day her voyeurism takes a step further when something goes amiss in one of the homes that has her special attention. Told through three women’s eyes, The Girl on the Train is a face-paced thriller ala Before I Go to Sleep and Gone Girl.

Bottom Line and Recommendation: When I chose to read The Girl on the Train, I was looking for something that would immediately pull me in and hold me captive until the end. Mission accomplished. Did I love it? No. But it was a quick read and I loved the alternating points of view (even though there was very little difference in each of the voices of the three women involved). The characters are sad and miserable in multiple ways and the voyeuristic plot made me feel uncomfortable, but this was one time when I chose to shut down my brain and just go along for the ride. And what a ride it was!! People seem to love or hate this book–where do you fall?


Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

I also recently finished Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (fabulous, especially on audio) and The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo (entertaining but convoluted). What’s been on your nightstand lately? 




19 Responses to “Books I’ve Recently Read | October Edition”

  1. I listened to Stiff on audio and loved Roach’s approach to such an odd topic, so I’ve had my eye on Packing for Mars. Glad to know some parts aren’t that interesting. We’ll see if I get to it.

    And – Girl on the Train…I loved the psychological aspect to it, but guessed the ending early on, so wasn’t that happy with the thriller part. However, I wrote a spoiler discussion post aways back and there are some very interesting theories about what Hawkins was doing in the comments section. Stuff that I’ve never really heard discussed among bloggers. Check it out!

  2. Kay

    I’ve read 1 of these – The Girl On The Train. Didn’t love it – thought I disliked it a lot – think I dislike it less as time passes. Felt sorry for Rachel, but also so, so frustrated with her self-destructiveness. I’ve read Outlander twice…and then never continued. And that may be where I leave it. LOL

  3. Diane

    I like Girl on a Train – Rachel was a piece of work LOL and I loved the audio of Everything I Never Told You. Happy October Reading

  4. I just read The Girl on the Train too. I really enjoyed it; although I was predisposed to do so because I was so stinking happy to be reading for pleasure. :) Stiff is still the best book by Mars hands down.

  5. I read Girl on the Train earlier this year. While I thought the book was a page turner and written very well, like you, I didn’t enjoy reading it. There was not one likable character in the book. Maybe Rachel’s roommate. Other than that, everyone was terrible. And it was horrific to see the carousel of terrible decisions Rachel kept making throughout the book. I’m glad I read it, but I don’t really recommend it to anyone.

    • I know exactly what you mean Pax and that’s how I felt about Gone Girl as well–glad to have read it but can’t really recommend it because it’s also so awful on many levels. But it certainly seems that these books sell (movies, too). After I’ve finished a book like this, I’m always a bit grateful for my quiet little life. LOL!

  6. I read and loved The Girl on the Train. I’ve been often tempted to pick up something by Diana Gabaldon, and from what I’ve read from other bloggers, too, I think I must…at some point.

    Love your photo at the top of the post!

  7. I don’t know that I loved The Girl on the Train, but I did like it…it wasn’t as good to me as Gone Girl, which I did love, despite the unlikable characters. The story to me was too good. This one? Not as much.

  8. Meg

    Sounds like Girl on the Train is an audio I need to request from the library! I missed the Gone Girl boat, but goodness knows I’m up for anything that promises to grab and hold my attention until the end! I can go on crazy rides with nasty characters as long as the plot really grips me.

  9. I cannot wait to see what you think of the rest of the Outlander series. Book 4 was where things started falling apart for me. Davina’s narration makes the later stories tolerable, but only just. Now, I just read them to make fun of them. Mercilessly.

    I really need to read/listen to Mary Roach. I have plenty of Audible credits. I should use them for her stuff…

  10. I did read The Girl On the Train and I’m actually surprised at how much I enjoyed it given that I usually don’t get into over-hyped books but I guess I went in with low expectations! ha… Not my favorite read of the year but I am glad I read it.

  11. I have to confess that I liked the first Outlander book but don’t really feel the need to read the rest of the series. I know that makes me some sort of weird reader. Are you planning to read all of them??

  12. I liked The Girl on the Train. I thought it was kind of neat. I don’t normally read books like that so it’s probably one of the reasons I really enjoyed it. Did you make the pumpkin in your picture????