Me: wow November was a bad reading month for me. I only read 13 books.
Henry, murmuring: ohmygod.
However! Most of the books I read ranged from ‘pretty good’ to ‘great’ so I’m not complaining.
I don’t usually gravitate toward romances but I had been hearing great things about this and honestly needed something that I could listen to while going on walks. I’m very particular on which kind of books I can listen to without also having the print copy, and this was one definitely falls into the easy to follow along category. I latched onto it immediately. The main guy had a very Luke (of ‘s Diner fame) vibe to him, totally surly but you know there’s gonna be a warm mound of cotton-candy mush inside of him.
Also, the premise was FUN: the two main characters are both published authors and happen to be residing in neighboring beach houses for the summer while writing their next books. January is a writer-blocked romance author, Augustus writes literary fiction.
They challenge each other to swap genres and really that’s all you need to know.
The one thing I thought was ill-fitting was the cult sub-plot. Augustus had originally been writing a book about a real life cult and takes January on some investigative interviews with him but it didn’t really drive the plot.
I dunno. I love cult shit but every time it went down that road it felt like I was reading an entirely different book?
Overall though I thought this was just a really sweet book and I LOVED the tension between the two!
I had no idea what this was about when I ordered it from the library but it ended up being a really excellent domestic thriller about a couple who finds out their two-year-old was actually switched at birth with another couples’ and what ensues is a truly frustrating and chilling fight to keep their child.
I’m always down for a good thriller and this one did it for me.
3. The Night Swim – Megan Goldin
This book is set in a small east coast seaside town where a high profile rape trial is going on. A popular true crime podcast host travels to the town to record her podcast and while she’s there, she begins receiving anonymous messages asking her to help solve the 20-some year old murder case of another girl who was raped there.
The chapters go back and forth between real life and the podcast, which was cool. I thought this book was interesting and pretty well-executed but it left me feeling…empty. I didn’t really connect much with anyone and I don’t think this is a book I will remember. But! I never felt like DNFing and I was definitely interested.
4. The Kind Worth Killing – Peter Swanson
Oh shit this book was a real trip! Every character WAS SO UNLIKABLE but that was the point and it didn’t turn me off from the book at all.
Basically, some dude meets some broad at an airport lounge and after several drinks, says he caught his wife cheating on him and airport broad is like let’s kill her.
Tons of twists, perspective shifts, and wonderful pacing.
Also, a lot of REALLY SHITTY PEOPLE lol.
5. When No One Was Watching – Alyssa Cole
Ok listen. Alyssa Cole is a Black romance novelist and this is her first foray into the thriller genre, and let me tell you: I AM A FAN and I hope this isn’t her last.
In this book, we follow two alternating perspectives: one of Sydney, a young Black woman struggling to save her tight-knit Brooklyn neighborhood from the rapid onset of gentrification; and Theo, a white guy who recently moved to the community with his Lululemon-personified snob of a girlfriend.
Strange shit starts happening in the community, neighbors begin disappearing, and Sydney starts to investigate. It’s similar to Get Out in that it’s the very social commentary of the thing that makes it scary.
I thought it was extremely smart and well-written, the psychological tension had me reading with my shoulders scrunched up, and I just wanted everyone to be OK. I loved that each chapter ends with transcripts from the community message board – it added a bit of levity while making me feel connected to the community.
Also, Theo’s girlfriend was a first class white cunt.
Before I picked this one up, I kept seeing people whining about how this was erroneously marketed as a thriller but guess what, it’s all white people saying that about a book that uses gentrification, racism, and prejudice as the driving force behind the plot, so I guess that went over a lot of heads…
I would 100% recommend this for any thriller lover who is looking for a fresh take. *chef’s kiss*
YOU GUYS, A KPOP NOVEL WRITTEN BY A FORMER KPOP IDOL FROM ONE OF MY FAVORITE GIRL GROUPS, GIRL’S GENERATION? Yes puh-lease.
The premise isn’t really that ground-breaking – a Korean American teenager moves to Korea in order to become a kpop trainee at one of the biggest agencies and gets majorly bullied by the other girls. Jessica has definitely hinted that she used some of her own experiences in this and it really sounds like this was her way of getting to write her story without doing a full-blown tell-all, which she evidently is legally prohibited from doing. It was definitely a tea-spill hidden behind the guise of “fiction.”
Also? Jessica is a great writer! This looks like it’s the first book in a series so I’m definitely looking forward to supporting her future releases.
7. Goodnight Beautiful – Aimee Molloy
One of my favorite booktubers did a reading vlog featuring this book and she was like HOLY SHIT THIS MIGHT END UP BEING A FIVE STAR READ for the first half of the book and then she quickly changed her tune and ended up giving it a very hateful 2. She kept saying that it blatantly rips off another, way more popular, thriller but she couldn’t name it because it would be a big spoiler so of course I was like WELL NOW I HAVE TO READ THIS even though she gave it a 2. Curiosity, cats, etc etc.
But yeah, the first half has a twist that’s like WTF and I was feeling it big time, but then the thing that the booktuber was angry about happened and I knew then exactly what she was talking about and I was like, “THIS IS REALLY DUMB AND LAZY.”
That first twist though, it really got me, and it’s shame that Aimee Molloy so freely used this other SUPER FAMOUS novel from a SUPER FAMOUS author to carry the plot. I mean, that book is even mentioned several times as a hat tip! So weird. Maybe it works for other people, but it just came off as so unoriginal (I mean, clearly!!!) to me.
That being said, I didn’t regret reading it. I still had fun with it for the most part until it got fucking dumb!
And this concludes Part 1 of my November recap. I still have an additional 6 books to shittily review, so brace yourselves.
I keep hearing all the great things about When No One Is Watching. Gotta get my hands on that one. The other thrillers sound good, too. Don’t beat yourself up about 13 books — I think I read a pathetic 3 in November.
Nah, I’m not beating myself up – it’s just a joke in my house that I read so much, that 13 seems like a “low” number, lol.