I don’t have an intro.
But I guess that was my intro.
See last month’s review of the Miranda July book I read, but subtract one star because: short stories.
I had never heard of this book, nor this author, but I needed something to listen to while tromping around the ‘hood and this came up as recommended on Scribd. Dude, it was good! A domestic thriller/mystery, great pacing, kept my attention. Would recommend to you, just like Scribd did to me.
You know I love me some translated-from-Korean thrillers and word about this one had been spreading like wildfire on the bookish webs because suddenly everyone is on my level now with Korean stuffs. This wasn’t bad, but also a tad disappointing I guess because of all the hype. It’s about the murder of a high school girl and at times I was kind of confused because the chapters switch narrators and timelines. I would say it’s more of like…suspenseful literary fiction. I gave it a three.
Also a three for me because it was UNNECESSARILY LONG – like over 500 pages with tiny type. It’s basically like reading an entire season of a dramedy about an extended family and honestly it was just too much. Too many characters. Borderline annoying dialogue. Only two characters in the book were even slightly compelling to me and I enjoyed the tension of their relationship but then the end is soooooo unsatisfying. And one of the characters had an eating disorder and I’m not going to lie, I was pretty triggered. This one got so much love and hype from some of my favorite Bristish Booktubers and I’m kind of shocked.
It was entertaining enough but I don’t feel inspired to pick up anything else by this author.
5. Reprieve – James Han Mattson
I thought I would love this. A haunted house/escape room in the 90s? Fuck yeah. But again, no compelling characters and I was kind of bored.
6. The Hawthorne Legacy – Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The problem with me and book series is that by the time the next book comes out, I can’t remember anything from the first book. So, I was lost through nearly the entire first half. There are two many Hawthorne brothers to keep track of, and two of them are basically the same person in my mind. But it’s still a fun read, I like the mystery/puzzle-solving aspect of it, and there’s a love triangle that held my interest. But the real star of the show is that goddamn book cover. Ye-ow-sah.
7. All Her Little Secrets – Wanda M. Morris
Dude. This was EXCELLENT. (OMG that’s literally what my Goodreads review was and I didn’t even realize that until after I typed this, lol.) And this was a DEBUT? 4 stars from me, Sam. Loved our main girl in this and was screaming at times. Trying to get Henry to read it – you should read it too!
8. True Crime – Samantha Kolesnik
Trash. I gave it one star because Goodreads doesn’t allow for NO STAR ratings. This was just “how much shock value can I stuff into a novella?” and it failed. This was not interesting, entertaining, or even slightly well-written.
9. When I Am Through With You – Stephanie Kuehn
Actually hated this. Not a single likable character and then it turned into a survival story which I dislike so I guess this is on me for not knowing more going in. It was so boring that I kept forgetting the main character’s name and then I couldn’t keep the other characters straight. Seemed like too many people and not everyone even mattered, so….if this hadn’t been an audio book, I would have DNFd it but I needed something to listen to on my walk(s) one day when I was off work and didn’t feel like looking for something else.
ALSO, I DON’T HAVE TO EXPLAIN MYSELF TO YOU, MOM.
Just the palate (eye ball?) cleanser I needed after reading back-to-back 1-star books. This was adorable, Korean, and straight-up fun. I wish someone was selling Korean beauty products from their locker when I was in high school! Also, I love reading books written by Korean American authors because they typically will throw in some Korean words and I always know what it is before it’s explained. That’s just a really good feeling. I can’t speak the damn language but I have at least learned some things!
Did we ever learn why this was called House 23? Did we ever care? This was dumb. It started out intriguingly and I was in it to win it, but then it got real dumb real fast and ended up being so unsatisfying. Apparently, most people on Goodreads agree with me on this so I should have probably put some stock in the low ratings before diving into this.
12. Ain’t Burned All the Bright – Jason Reynolds / Jason Griffin
Oof. This one hits hard. Beautiful art paired with poignant text about the last several years in America, during Covid and the BLM movement, my eyes were burning with tears.
This is from the synopsis because it explains it perfectly:
And so for anyone who didn’t really know what it means to not be able to breathe, REALLY breathe, for generations, now you know. And those who already do, you’ll be nodding yep yep, that is exactly how it is.
Yeah, this one really knocked something loose in me.
13. The Cartographers – Peng Shepherd
Um hello, Peng Shepherd. This was MAGICAL and SWEEPING. I never thought I’d care about a book about maps but this had me thinking I was really part of the action. I was IN THIS STORY. I loved every fucking character. I loved the glimpses into the lives of the young Cartographers. I might actually want to learn how to read a map now. (Future Henry is reading this, choking on whatever Hostess product he inhales in the privacy of the FAYGO FACTORY, like “YEAH RIGHT.”)
Five stars for me, Mary.