May 22

Books That Were Good, Bad, and OK: April 2022

Let’s barrel through this quickly. It was a very up and down month.

  1. Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead – Elle Cosimano

Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead (Finlay Donovan #2)

OK, usually my the second book in a series, I start to lose interest, but Finlay Donovan and her sidekick Vero are hysterical and I love how over-the-top these books are. It has a very modern day Lucille Ball / I Love Lucy feel to it. So good. Light, upbeat, and entertaining. This would be the PERFECT beach/airplane read, too.

2. 5 Centimeters Per Second – Yukiko Seike & Makoto Shinkai

5 Centimeters per Second (5 Centimeters per Second, #1-2)

This was OK but I think I just don’t really like manga. Reading in reverse just isn’t my jam.

3. Such a Quiet Place – Megan Miranda

Such a Quiet Place

This was fine. I gave it a three. I wouldn’t recommend it but I also wouldn’t…NOT…recommend it. You know what I mean. A basic thriller. Cannot remember a single character but there also wasn’t anything “wrong” with this either.

4. Heartstopper: Volume 4 – Alice Oseman

Heartstopper: Volume Four (Heartstopper, #4)

You already know: FIVE STARS, A MILLION AND FIVE HEARTS. This graphic novel series has really touched in me and made me feel more emotions than most any other book I’ve read recently, so don’t get caught up in the YA-ness of it all. This installment deals heavily with eating disorders and mental illness and it was done in such a thoughtful and sensitive way.

If you haven’t watched the Netflix series, I highly recommend it. Especially if you particularly are looking for a TV show that doubles as a psychic bear hug.

Also? I read this in the car during our spring break road trip and that vacation was sooooo good so I will always associate these two things with each other now and that makes it even better.

5. How to Kill Your Best Friend – Lexie Elliott

How to Kill Your Best Friend

Very very very far-fetched but who reads thrillers for a dose of reality, you know? I thought this was a pretty entertaining book about a group of friends – who were all on their college swim team, this is somewhat relevant – reuniting at some South Asian island resort (Thailand, maybe? I can’t remember the exact location now) where threats and murder ensue. This was apparently the second book I read by this author, and I liked them both so now perhaps I should make a point of remembering their name.

6. Real Easy – Marie Rutkoski

Real Easy

This book was t-r-a-s-h. Entirely too many characters. Shitty dialogue. Predictable plot. Best thing is the cover but what does that even have to do with the book, you might ask? WHO KNOWS. I urge you to skip this.

Oh, apparently I actually wrote a review on Goodreads:

OK hear me out. The story itself was good, and the strip club setting was interesting. But the writing was unbelievably frustrating – it was jumbled and very “try-hard” at times. Like come on, I don’t give a shit that the Denny’s waitress had husky blue eyes flecked with gold. Get over yourself.

Also, so many damn characters, and most of them were strippers with two names (real and stripper name) so it was extremely difficult to keep them straight. Same with the cops. So many. Who even are you.

Yep. That sounds about right.

7. A Bad Day For Sunshine – Darynda Jones

A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram, #1)

If Lorelai Gilmore was Star Hollow’s sheriff, but Stars Hollow was in New Mexico. That makes it sound like it could be better than it is. I mean, it wasn’t the worst book and I liked how every chapter opened with either a witty phrase from one of the town’s shops’ signs, or a blurb from the police blotter, etc. It really helped back up the “KOOKY TOWN” premise. I liked that it went back and forth between the mom, Sunshine, and her high school daughter who was finding it hard to adjust to a new school having just moved back to Sunshine’s hometown. The characters were quirky and the writing was good but I just wasn’t really into it enough to continue on with the series.

8. Reckless Girls – Rachel Hawkins

Reckless Girls

I gave this a three on Goodreads apparently but my initial reaction when it was time to review this here was one of annoyance and mild anger because I think I actually hated this. It’s an adult thriller but it came off as a bit Young Adult-y at times, like maybe I would have enjoyed this is high school. I was hoping that the secluded island setting would offer a bit of escapism but it just felt suffocating.

9. Fool Me Once – Ashley Winstead

Fool Me Once

Bro. I was a little disappointed when I saw that Ashley Winstead’s follow-up to her debut novel was going to be a romance.  I LOVED last year’s “In My Dream I Hold a Knife” so much, and that was a dark academia / thriller. I picked this up anyway out of curiosity and I am so glad that I did because it was fantastic. Laugh out loud funny, realistic/believable character dynamics and dialogue, and a story that I actually cared about. It was a wild ride and I was rooting for our main character the whole time, in both her romantic endeavors and professional growth. The side characters  were practically punching their way off the pages, the hijinx were hilarious and believable, and the feel good factor was off the charts. My face hurt from all the smiling I did while reading this.

SO GOOD and I am now anxiously waiting to see what Winstead is whipping up next. This broad has written her way into my heart. This was my second 5-star of the month! See?? I’m not *that* picky.

10. The Unsinkable Greta James – Jennifer E. Smith

The Unsinkable Greta James

Wow.  To think that I almost returned what ended up being my THIRD FIVE STAR BOOK OF THE MONTH back to the library before reading it because I was afraid I was running out of time before Asian Read-a-thon started. That would have been a fatal error because this book, despite being set on a cruise to my least favorite place in the whole world – ALASKA, literally cruised its way into my heart. Almost immediately, I had a feeling that this one was going to become a forever favorite and I was right. The writing was fresh, the dialogue was SNAPPY (clearly dialogue is super important to me), and the story itself was a heartwarmer but also a heartBREAKER.

Greta is a somewhat-famous musician, a fact that her dad can’t stand. Greta gets guilted by her brother to take her recently-deceased mother’s spot on an anniversary cruise that her parents had planned with two of their married couple friends. Now they have this floating prison to attempt to salvage their relationship, and it is an amazing process to follow. This book had me straight up laughing out loud on one page and then sobbing like a bitch five pages later. In fact, I kept getting a lump in my throat every time I tried to give Henry a synopsis.

I cannot recommend this enough. It’s fantastic. I need to add more books from this author to my TBR because her writing is totally my style.

 

2 comments

2 Comments so far

  1. Eve May 22nd, 2022 8:18 pm

    The Mason Jar collection in Real Easy basically sums up the value of the whole book. Who wants to read a book one feeling like they’re going to throw up in their mouth the whole time.

  2. Tuna Tar-Tart May 23rd, 2022 1:31 pm

    Yes, you nailed it! *vom*

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