And these were the books:
UGH this was supposed to be “if you like Stranger Things” and like, the 1980s – I dunno. But I did not feel a single 80s vibe from this book, the characters were cardboard, and the writing was cheesy AF. Not scary.
I didn’t realize immediately that I disliked another book I read last year by this same author, so I was nervous. However, this one was 4-stars for me. Two BFFs (the friendship is lowkey strained though) go to Italy for the summer to write their respective books and the villa they rent is the location of a very high-profile murder that took place in the 70s. I loved the 70s-throwback chapters so much, and I thought the characters in this one were better written than Reckless Girls (I think that’s what her other book is called – I don’t feel like looking even though in the amount of time it took me to type this, I could have checked lol ugh who cares). This is one of those times, though, where I wonder if I liked it because the audiobook was so well done, or if the book itself was just that solid? I dunno, it was different and I liked the main character. The ending was….I mean, it’s a bit outrageous but isn’t that why we read thrillers?
3. All Good People Here – Ashley Flowers
OK, does this borrow loosely (heavily) from the Jon Benet Ramsey case? Sure. But is it a motherfucking page-turner? EFF YEAH. I always bring a book with me when we road trip even though I barely end up reading in the car because I’m liveblogging or blabbing away into Henry’s shut-off ears, but this one had me so enrapt that I couldn’t put it down on the way to and from Toronto in March and then I stayed up late when we got home because I had to finish it before going to bed. This entertained me bigly.
4. You Must Remember This – Kat Rosenfeld
OK, I was super into this mystery / thriller. Loved the old family estate setting, the flashbacks to the grandma’s youth, the sardonic banter from the surly uncle. I was fully on board with this book, getting successfully creeped out here and there, until it all kind of unraveled for me at the end. I think I even said, “Really?” out loud. I still gave it a 4 because I really did enjoy my time reading it but the ending was hard for me to swallow.
OK MUCH better than his other book I read, A Child Alone With Strangers. As I read this, it so vividly played out in my mind like a really classy horror movie from the 70s, something akin to The Omen. Basically, this struggling author is gifted an antique desk by his rich wife/gf but UNFORCH, the desk is fucking CURSED big time and all kinds of very violent chaos ensues, and believe me when I tell you that it was written with such intricate detail, that I could feel the pain in my bones. I listened to this on audio during my neighborhood walks and I was involuntarily flinching in public and sucking the breath between my teeth during some of these scenes.
But yeah, total 1970s classy horror movie aesthetic here.
6. A Flicker in the Dark – Stacy Willingham
Megan lent this one to me and our tastes in thrillers are extremely aligned so I knew it was going to be good. She never lends me a dud!
This one was a page-turner and even though I sort of guessed the twist, there was enough other shit / red herrings going on that kept it fresh.
7. A Quiet Life – Ethan Joella
This was a very sweet character study of three extremely different strangers who each recently lost a loved one, and how their lives end up intersecting. It was pretty maudlin, I’m not going to lie, there was no quirkiness, no comic relief really. But it was written beautifully and I cried.
8. I Have Some Questions For You – Rebecca Makkai
FUCK YES. FIVE STARS. MY SECOND MAKKAI, AND BOTH WERE 5 STARS. This was excellent. Dark academia that I can get behind. If you’re an audiobook fan, I would definitely recommend going that route with this one.
One weird thing to note is that I read this right after a Flicker in the Dark, and both books had references to kids crushing fireflies.*
Anyway, don’t waste any more time reading this blog – just go and grab this book as fast as you can.
9. The Golden Spoon – Jessa Maxwell
Eh. Very overhyped if you ask me. A light mystery. Didn’t really care one way or the other.
10. Shoko’s Smile – Choi Eun Young
Hello, this was fine but every time I pick up a book of short stories, I’m like, “Wait, I don’t like short stories.” Somehow I didn’t realize that’s what this was even though it literally says it in the title. Cook on, Erin.
Eh. I kept losing interest and couldn’t keep up. This had the potential of being so great and right up my wino-laden alley, but the delivery was kind of a mess and I cared about no one or nothing.
12. Episode Thirteen – Craig DiLouie
Another one that is best read via audiobook because it’s about a ghost hunting TV show, each character has their own chapters, and the background noise gave me goosebumps even when walking around the ‘hood in broad daylight. Also, there is a song that’s played several times that is FUCKING HAUNTING. It did kind of lose me toward the end because it became very sci-fi-y but I was overall thoroughly entertained and creeped out. No fucking way I could have listened to this alone at night.
13. London Seance Society – Sarah Penner
More like the London Snoozer Society.
OK, that’s all. Just wanted to give you a little break from the NCT Dream content (oh shit, there I go, mentioning NCT Dream again lol).
*(There were also two books that I was reading in tandem last month – one had a DAYS reference, and then as soon as I picked up the second book, THAT ONE ALSO HAD A DAYS REFERENCE IMMEDIATELY IN THAT CHAPTER. Also, two back to back books had a girl character named Riley. That’s all.)
I want to make a longer comment about this post but the very last paragraph struck me. I read this book in which the main character is named Asha Patel and everyone but her parents call her Poppy. Very next book, different author, different genre, one character was a writer of children’s books and one of her titles was Poppy Patel Something Something. (Forgot the whole title). But it was so random.
I love when it happens but it does creep me out a bit!
YAAASSSS, the Makkai is indeed fantastic. Loved this one. Have The Golden Spoon out from the library now.