Oh boy, a new year, new books! I set my reading challenge to 75 for this year. I have had less time to read lately and don’t want to add unnecessary stress to my life when reading should be about joy and enrichment and not meeting some arbitrary number, amirite.
I’m going to try to keep these book wrap-ups more succinct from now on because I really fail miserably at recapping and reviewing and unless I feel some strong emotion (whether bad or good), I’m just kind of going through the motions, you know? And is it even valuable to anyone? Smrobably not! So now I’ll just leave the link to the synopsis on Goodreads and drop my rating.
Anyway, I read 10 books. Some more enjoyably than others, for fucking sure.
Four stars! This is apparently the first book in a series so I’ll probably continue reading as others are released. Good slice of life book and the ending provided the warmth I was looking for during these frigid winter mths.
ONE STAR, SK-SK-SK-SKIP IT. This is my second Lapena book and definitely MY LAST. I will not be swayed by Booktubers again! Insufferable, cardboard cut-out character. A cringefest in book-form.
Four stars. Um. Heh heh heh. Heheheheheehehe. Romance is hit or miss with me but this was a motherfucking DELIGHT. It was so smartly written and the characters WERE EVERYTHING. LITERALLY MELTED MY SOUL. Also, even though I’m not a scientist (I mean, I just struggled to even spell it, so…) and not in academia, the main character Olive really resonated with me in a very deep and personal way.
I did find the SEX SCENES pretty cringey but I am super hard to please (lol) in that regard so do with that what you will. But overall, I loved the story and the characters felt real.
FIVE FUCKING STARS. My only FIVE STAR read of the month, actually. And to think that I had DNF’d it several months ago, and here’s why: You know that I like to ping-pong back and forth between a physical book and an audiobook at all times right? Well, I had snagged the audio for this one on Scribd in the fall and thought it would be a good companion to take on my lunch time walks about Brookline. However! – and I feel like an asshole even admitting this – the narrator is Irish or Scottish, I dunno, and I had a really hard time understanding her thick brogue without also seeing the words in front of me. I really hate myself for saying that but there is something about all UK accents that just disagree with my brain. I had one chance in this lifetime to meet Robert Smith of the Cure, my #1 favorite singer of all time, and here I am in this small room doing a meet-n-greet with him, unable to understand anything he’s saying because of his accent.
But I wanted to give it another chance so I got the physical book from the library, and yo. YO. First of all, listen Lucy: any book that starts with a goddamn Pet Shop Boys quote is off to a grrrreat start. And, funnily, there were even several Cure shoutouts in this too!
I dunno how to explain what it was about this that stuck to my ribs like warm, gushy gobs of straight nostalgia, but the writing was chef’s kiss, the pop culture references were smart and snappy, the “Friend group dynamic” was everything I wish I had in my life right now. It made me think back to the days in my early 20s when I used to hang out at McCoy’s with the group of friends I had at that time (Janna is the only one of that group that I kept, everyone was all was TOXIC AF, no lost love there) but it’s not so much the memory of the PEOPLE as it is of that feeling of having somewhere familiar to go, where you walk in with all the confidence in the world because YOU’RE the regular, and these other people can step the fuck out of your way. I dunno, this book struck a chord with me and I rooted so hard for Eve.
Some of the lines in this book made me scream out loud, “I WISH I HAD WRITTEN THAT!” It’s almost like a giant long episode of Friends, but make it darker and British. I need to read every book this broad has written now.
Two stars, and I’m being generous here. WTF did I just read?? This was so implausible and not even in an entertaining way. I was excited to read it because a large portion of it is set in Morocco but it might as well have just been Iowa because I did not get any exotic Moroccan flavor from this AT ALL.
A 2-star snooze.
An aside: the main character’s name is Sammie Lucas, which made me picture Sami and Lucas from Days Of Our Lives, which is probably the only positive thing I have to say about this. I read some 4- and 5-star reviews on Goodreads and heartily disagreed with each one. Book, bye. I should have DNF’d this, honestly.
OK, puritan historical fiction, I see you! Four stars from me! My only issue was that I did have a hard time keeping up with all of the characters but I thought this was brilliantly written and a really solid 17th century witch trial reimagining (though loosely based on actual history). Rebecca West was such a strong and vivid leading character, and I would have definitely wanted to be friends with her had I lived back then and also, thank god I hadn’t lived back then because how fucking miserable. Ugh.
And this review wouldn’t be complete without a FUCK MEN tossed in for good measure.
Wait P.S. how wonderful is that book cover? I’d like to redesign a whole-ass room using that palette, honestly.
4 stars – strangely enjoyable yet extremely uncomfortable. Was recommended to me when I asked the library for personalized recs. Always ask your librarians, people.
P.S. This was set in 1990s NYC, which is evidently something I enjoy in books.
3 stars. Started out very strong and I thought, “Oh goodie maybe I finally found a horror novel that unsettles me” but then it got really boring and stupid 2/3 of the way through. Interesting premise though.
2 Stars. I’m definitely in the minority here but this book just didn’t do it for me. I can’t really pinpoint where it flopped for me, but it felt directionless and kind of redundant at times. It wasn’t that the writing itself was annoying, and even the characters weren’t too bad but there was some disconnect between the story and me, and I really hate that. Really bummed though because this sounded like something that could have been quirky and feel-good, but as it was, I didn’t even cry once! “You can’t spell nemesis with me, sis” is the best thing to come from the whole book.