Hello and welcome back to the Erin Can Read Bookz show. In this episode, we’ll be recapping the second half of March which I can’t even remember anymore, but here we go!
9. Charming as a Verb – Ben Phillipe
I apparently gave this a 4 but after having some time to let it simmer, I think it was more of a 3. Main dude Henri is trying hard to get into Columbia because he hasn’t yet realized that this is really his dad’s dream. Meanwhile, his school nemesis who also lives in his building blackmails him into helping her become more “social” because one of their teachers wrote her a college recommendation letter that mentioned her lack of social skills. Yadda yadda yadda, you know the drill. Of COURSE there is a conflict and I don’t want to give it away but it gave me so much anxiety and also has me dreading the college application process which is fast-approaching since freezing Chooch in a block of ember to keep him a smol child did not work.
10. Writers & Lovers – Lily King
Completely blown away by this book. Legit gave a shit about the main character. Rooted for her so hard that I gave myself a headache. The writing IS SO RAW AND BEAUTIFUL. We’re following Casey, who I believe is in her early 30s, mourning the recent death of her mom, drowning in debt, working an emotionally abusive and toxic job as a waitress in some fancy restaurant in Boston, all while struggling to write a novel. There were parts of this book that gave me a visceral reaction, and by the end, I just put my head down and cried. Like C-R-I-E-D. Not because it was depressing or tragic, per se, but just…it was so real and I FELT THAT. I just want Casey to be happy, you know?
Also, this takes place in 1997 and it gave me strong pre-mumblecore vibes. I could picture it as an indie movie starring, I don’t know, Parker Posie or Hope Davis.
This book was totally my style.
11. Elatsoe – Darcie Little Badger
This book was all over Booktube and it sounded interesting – it’s set in a world where the supernatural is present and known and our main character Elatsoe is tasked with solving the murder of her cousin and I liked that her parents were involved too! I thought it was cute and the dialogue was sweet and snappy and even made me laugh a few times, but I was also kind of bored. I think I would have loved this a lot if I read it as a young teen though! The ghost dog was e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.
We get a lot of Native American mythology taught to us in this, which was interesting. Also, the main character is a 17-year girl who is asexual and I think that is fucking amazing. But at the end of the day, I was just the wrong demographic for this book.
12. Too Good to Be True – Carola Lovering
Oh shit this hooked me from the start and I was so excited about it! I love books with multiple narratives, especially when it’s not immediately clear how everyone is connected, and one of the narratives was even set in the past so that was extra intriguing!
I have a pretty low bar for domestic thrillers because I don’t really go into that genre expecting to be blown away by the writing. I just want to be entertained! And this one did entertain me, until the last quarter. I absolutely hated how it ended. It was so unbelievable (and I know, most thrillers are super far-fetched!) but this one was even far-fetched in the way some of the characters reacted to/handled the conflict. I really just didn’t buy it at all.
Also, I pretty much hated everyone in this book, so I really didn’t care who came out on top.
13. Memorial – Bryan Washington
We’re following two guys, Mike and Benson, who are at a crossroads in their relationship. The book is split into two parts: Mike’s POV and Benson’s POV. It’s uncomfortable, sad, sometimes light-hearted, but by the end of the book, I was kind underwhelmed. I don’t necessarily need novels to be wrapped up nicely with a bow and a gift tag by the last page, but this one was just kind of like…pointless to me? I really really really loved Mike’s mom who visits from Japan, and the quiet relationship she forms with Benson while Mike is back in Japan spending time with his dad. I really thought that that part of the book would have been my favorite, because I love when books are set outside of the US, but Memorial just didn’t leave a lasting impression on me and I am sad because I really expected to LOVE IT LOVE IT.
14. The Project – Courtney Summers
After obsessing over Summers’ last book, Sadie, I was highly anticipating the release of The Project. SADLY, it was a dud for me. The writing itself was wonderful – Summers is a fantastic writing – but the characters and story just wasn’t it, sir. And I was shocked by how bored I was because it was about A CULT and one girl trying to save her older sister from their hold on her.
The cover is pure art though, isn’t it??
15. A Pho Love Story – Loan Le
This is a very modern Romeo & Juliet retelling: the son and daughter of two rival pho restaurants meet in high school and fall in love, but have to keep it a secret from their families. Turns out, the rivalry predates the restaurants and the reveal was actually my favorite part of the book because the adults were fascinating characters and I would LOVE to read a spin-off featuring both sets of parents!
This book was just really cute with perfectly placed dollops of heaviness, Vietnamese culture, and LOTS OF FOOD DESCRIPTIONS so get a snack ready before you sit down with this one!
16. They Never Learn – Layne Fargo
A book about a female serial killer? OH HELL YES. Told from dual POVs, this was wonderfully fast-paced, infuriating, with a twist I wasn’t expecting. Super entertaining and a quick read. I was so happy I ended the month on a high note and it also gave me a much-needed booster shot of GIRL POWER.
Funny that you liked “They Never Learn” because you and I are generally on the same page with our tastes. I won this as an ARC and I liked it for about half the book. Then it just got ridiculous for me.
I am currently reading an ARC of “Find You First” by Linwood Barclay, about this millionaire dying of a genetic, debilitating disease. The first problem is, back in the lean years, he sold sperm. The second problem is, someone is knocking his progeny off. It’s starting off slow, but this author’s books are usually good.
I just added your other books to my TBR. Happy weekend!
Awesome! Glad you had fun! Guess what! I am fully vaccinated as of Friday! But ugh…these side effects are going to kill me. Fever, sore arm, headache…the things I do for loved ones and strangers alike.
Yessss! Brian that’s awesome! Well, not the side effect part! I’ve been hearing from a lot of friends that the second one is so bad so I already requested some time off work after my second one, just in case!
Thank you for caring about keeping people safe! <3