2022 has not been a good reading year for me. My New Year’s Resolution I think is to start physically going to the library and browsing the shelves again like pre-Covid times. I need to stop relying on Booktube & Goodreads as much.
Anyway, here are my November reads, which feels like it happened so long ago.
I really enjoyed this. The characters were bright and well-written, the dialogue was very trendy. I have been watching Uncoupled and would recommend this book to anyone who is enjoying that or any TV show similar to that. I gave it a 4. Apparently the guy who wrote it also writes for TV, and it felt like it (not in a negative way).
2. Such Sharp Teeth – Rachel Harrison
OK RACHEL HARRISON. I had been dying for this book to come out ever since reading Cackle last year. That book was witch-centric, and this one is her foray into lycanthropia. (Is that a word? The red squiggles under it says otherwise, lol.) While I didn’t love this one as much as Cackle, it still had that Harrison-feel to it. The dialogue is so irreverent and suitable for Lorelai Gilmore to spit across a table at Luke’s Diner.
I loved it and can’t wait for her next one!
3. When I Was You – Minka Kent
I gave this 3 stars but it was a snooze, honestly. I barely remember it.
4 Hidden Pictures – Jason Rekulak
Dude, this was pretty decent! Apparently, it won the Goodreads Award for best horror book of the year. I’m not sure I would go that far (though I didn’t really read very much popular horror this year) but I really devoured it. I love ghost stories that also involve kids, plus this one had a pretty crazy swerve toward the end that had me almost-screaming.
I had the physical book for this one and I’m glad I did because it includes copies of drawings made by the little boy in the book who may or may noy be possessed by a spirit.
I think the reason why I didn’t REALLY love it was because I couldn’t connect well with the main character, the young woman who becomes the live-in nanny for the aforementioned boy. I mean, I was still rooting for her, but all of the characters were just a bit too flat, in my opinion. The story was memorable, the people not so much. Still, I gave this 4 stars, and would recommend it probably just to casual horror fans or people looking for something moderately chilling.
5. White Is For Witching – Helen Oyeyemi
Helen Oyeyemi’s writing is not easy to digest. This is the second book of hers I’ve conquered now, and it really does feel like winning. This probably sounds like I’m leading up to an abysmal rating, but Oyeyemi might actually be one of my favorite authors. She is so WEIRD and scarily brilliant in the way she tells her stories. At one point in the book, I realized that there was a certain thing she was doing to convey the switching of POV between the main people in the book and THE FUCKING HOUSE. The house tell its own side of the story and it’s just…this is the most unique “haunted house” / “ghost story” I think I have ever read. It took me over a week to read this and it’s only 200-some pages, because I have to read her pages slowly in order to understand everything and make sure I don’t miss a thing.
In other words, this is not a beach read. This is a “hunker down during a snowstorm with the phone in another room” fantastical experience.
I am so obsessed with Helen Oyeyemi’s brain.
6. The Shame – Makenna Goodman
This book was so short yet felt like it was never going to end. I don’t even know what it was about. It was so boring.
The first young adult book in A MINUTE that I actually liked. Plus, that cover! The majority of the book takes place at a summer camp where a teenage boy is trying to figure out what was going on with his sister before her untimely death. I needed something “light” to listen to while I was repainting the cat wall and while this ended up being pretty dark, it was definitely riveting and the audio book itself was very well produced – I loved that there were “camp” sounds that could be heard in the background.
Plus, can we talk about that cover? 4 out of 5. I’ll read more from this guy for sure.
8. Palm Beach Finland – Antti Tuomainen
I have been wanting to read some books with Scandinavian / Nordic / Finnish settings and this was the first one on my list that the library had available. It’s not that I thought it was BAD per se, but like….I had no idea what was going on for most of it, and it seemed entirely too long for what it was. The characters were quirky, the setting was exactly what the name of the book implies – some tacky Florida-themed beach resort in Finland that the property owner was desperate to have take off. It’s just one folly after another, with accidental murders left and right, a Dumb & Dumber petty criminal duo who cause hijinks to ensue every time they’re together. It wasn’t BAD but there were numerous times when I was like, “OK let’s speed this shit up.” I couldn’t read very many pages at a time without losing interest.
9. The Remaking – Clay McLeod Chapman
Big shrug. It was OK. It started off strong, I thought, but then I thought it was pretty cheesy. It 100% wasn’t very scary either.
I gave it a 2, apparently. Sounds about right.
I needed something short and light to wrap up November and I found this on Scribd. It was fine! Just what I wanted. Nothing deep. I gave it a 3. No strong opinion either way.
I haven’t read any of these!
Here are some I really enjoyed lately. Twenty Years Later by Charlie Donlea. It’s about an investigative tv reporter who tries to clear the name of a woman who was going to be arrested for the murder of an author but did not survive 9/11. The reporter has some stuff going on in her life, too. Two shocking twists at the end I never saw coming.
An Eye For An Eye by Carol Wyer. This is the first in a series about a female DS who is trying to get her career back on track after responding to a mass shooting on a train and suffering from PTSD. There’s a huge twist towards the end that should have been obvious but isn’t and makes everything click into place.
Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Kim. It’s about a young Asian-Canadian matchmaker whose parents make her miserable. She starts her business by matchmaking the elderly. Instead of KPop, she’s obsessed with The Beatles. It’s a cute, funny book and the descriptions of food are mouthwatering.
Sweet Sweet Revenge Ltd by Jonas Jonasson. This was, at least to me, a wildly funny Swedish quirky character book. It’s about this absolute sphincter of a human who is racist, misogynistic, homophobic, right wing, xenophobic art snob who does terrible things until a plot is hatched to teach him a lesson.
I just read Impossible to Forget by Imogen Clark and yes, it’s a feel good book but it isn’t fluff. It’s about these three people who meet at University and are eventually joined by a fourth, Tiger, who become lifelong friends. Now one of them forces the other three to do something they’re not sure they can handle it,even though she knows they can.
Have you read We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker? It came out two years ago and is about a young girl named Duchess Day Radley, the outlaw. In reality, she’s a hero.
The War Librarian is a dual-timeline novel by Addison Armstrong about a female war librarian and her granddaughter, one of the first women in the Naval Academy. They both get brought up on charges and there’s quite the shocking family secret. I don’t recall if you like historical fiction.
Finally, if you have not read Us Against You by Fredrik Backman, hurry the hell up and get your hands on The Winners. It’s by far the best book of the trilogy, but it’s going to tear you apart.
Adding all of these to my library requests!!
I did read The Winners at the beginning of December, one of the few 5-star books I read this year. I started sobbing before anything even happened and am STILL tearing up every time I think about it. Fredrik Backman is a master at writing characters. Obsessed!!