Books. Let’s get it:
Honestly? I didn’t like the other Alex Finlay book I read and this one was pretty much on the same level. In fact, I can’t even remember reading this now.
Oh wait, I do remember. There were some sincerely annoying characters in this bitch.
2. Funny You Should Ask – Elissa Sussman
Duuuuude. I had taken this out of the library several months ago, DNF’d it without even starting it, but then trying it out later when I saw the audiobook chillin’ on Libby. (Scribd, maybe? Can’t remember.) The premise is that a young writer interviews a famous young actor in a way that leaves the reader wondering DID THEY OR DIDN’T THEY DO IT.
Fast forward a decade or so and she’s asked to write a follow-up. I won’t get into too much but holy shit, I loved this book. It was funny, bittersweet, refreshing, and hopeful. Um, why are my eyes wet right now?!
(Also, can we talk about this cover? I am so hot for the red/pink color palette. If we ever buy a house, I 100% want a Valentine-themed room.)
3. Fantasticland – Mike Bockoven
OK. I liked this premise and REALLY liked how it was told via interviews for a documentary. I listened to this on audio and that made it even better. Basically, there is a huge ass hurricane that hits Florida and a bunch of employees at a popular theme park agree to stay behind for extra pay because the park was built to withstand catastrophes of a certain degree and because of that, rescue teams / the government make this is a low priority area to service. Shit goes awry and since the majority of the people stuck here are teenagers/young adults, it gets very extreme and violent super quick.
There were definitely a lot of body horror parts that made me blanche a bit, but I thought that the story itself was pretty decent. It did get pretty redundant at times though because various people were essentially telling the same story from different angles/perspectives.
I actually finished it in the car on the first leg of our drive to Chicago for NCT Dream so I will probably always remember it for that.
4. The Paris Apartment – Lucy Foley
I think this is the third Lucy Foley book I’ve read and each one has been mid. What am I missing here? Lucy Foley is so popular on Bookstagram but I just haven’t been that impressed yet.
This was your typical “everyone in the apartment building is connected/fishy/sinister” whodunnit. Not the worst I’ve ever read but I also sincerely did not really care about anyone in this book or what the big reveal was going to be. The cover is nice though.
5. What Lies in the Woods – Kate Alice Marshall
I knew this author’s name sounded familiar and it’s because I read a YA novel of hers several years ago, which I thought was just OK. This adult thriller/mystery was much better. I cared about the main character and honestly, the plot can fall apart in a book but if I love the characters, I will still probably end up loving the book. That being said, this was KIND OF far-fetched but the writing was strong and the people felt real to me. Sometimes that’s enough.
6. Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone – Benjamin Stevenson
OK, this was pretty effing great. Sometimes I need a light-hearted, slap-sticky take on a mystery novel and this one did it for me. Charming cast of characters, loved the writing style, quirky and smart. Apparently, this is the start of a series and I think I will have to see it through!
7. Wrong Place, Wrong Time – Gillian McAlister
Typically, I don’t fuck with sci-fi / time travel type shit but this one was pretty compelling to me! The book starts in present day and goes back in time from there, with a WHY that needs to be answered. I was invested, buckled in for the ride. Did I understand all of the time shit? FUCK NO. But it didn’t frustrate me, because the characters and story itself were strong enough to carry me through. There was a solid A-HA moment for me too, which was satisfying.
I think one of the reasons I was felt connected to the main character was because her son reminded me of Chooch a little bit and I was desperate for his actions to make sense.
8. The Lost Night – Andrea Bartz
INTO IT. I really really really liked the flashbacks into the lives of a hipster friend group living in NYC in the early 2000s. The core member of the group kills herself and the rest of the book is about how, years later and after they all had drifted apart, the protagonist of the book starts to realized that she can’t actually remember key elements of the night their friend killed herself.
I loved the music references – it made me so nostalgic – but also this was just so wonderfully written, the story was compelling, there was some humor sprinkled in too so you didn’t get weighed down by the heaviness of the themes. I flew through it and then immediately recommended it to Henry who listened to the audio book in like, one day. He loved it too.
Highly recommend but if you hate it DON’T @ ME.
9. Remarkably Bright Creatures – Shelly Van Pelt
I read one chapter and the voice in my head screamed, “DNF THIS BITCH. THIS IS NOT GOING TO END WELL.” Because one of the characters is an octopus in an aquarium and the first chapter is him telling the readers what the lifespan of his type of octopus is, and how many days he’s been captive in the aquarium. So, you know where this storyline is headed.
But I forged on and I’m…..glad that I did because this was a very sweet story of found family but hoo boy, I finished it right before I logged on to work one day and couldn’t stop doing the “I HAVE BEEN CRYING” full-body shudder / breath hitching.
This was a nominee for the 2022 Goodreads Best Literary Fiction category and I get why.
Ow, my heart hurts just looking at the cover. Fuck.
10. All These Bodies – Kendare Blake
Highschool boy in the 1950s tries to solve the mystery of a midwest murder spree. It was ok. I didn’t realize it was YA when I picked it up and it definitely read as such.
11. People Like Her – Ellery Lloyd
A thriller, at times tongue-in-cheek, about a UK Instagram influencer mom who finds herself on someone’s shit list, BIGLY. It was a fast read and I thought it was pretty OK and entertaining!
12. My Darkest Prayer – S.A. Cosby
Wow, what a disappointment, considering that Razorblade Tears was one of the best books I read a few years ago, a big 5 stars. This was like someone else had written it – or is this the same way Razorblade Tears was written!? I truly can’t remember but hoo boy, this was overloaded with extremely trite and eye-rolly similes. SO MANY WORDS for no reason. Cringey dialogue. Vulgar. Crude. Made me feel like I was reading a book for bros without permission.
The worst part though is that the plot wasn’t solid enough to make up for any of that shit. I TRUTHFULLY DID NOT CARE. There were chunks and chunks of chapters that I totally skipped over – not even skimmed, SKIPPED – because it was like, ‘Oh, OK. Another annoyingly descriptive fight scene.”
I think, no – I know, that I was just definitely not the target audience for this book. Your dad would probably like it. Me? DIDN’T IMPRESS ME MUCH.
Oh and also, it kind of felt like this was a second book in a series. There was one incident that was referenced numerous times throughout the entire book and it made me feel like there was another book out there that I should have read first, I don’t know. But yeah, just really not my cup of tea and also, AND THIS IS PROBABLY AWFUL TO SAY, I didn’t think that the “shocking discovery” was all that shocking? Am I just a terrible person? Maybe.
I was expecting to really like this because there was a funerary / church angle to it, but nope. Big fat nope. Did not enjoy this.