Jun 22

Mother, May I Have Some May 2024 Book Reviews?

  1. She’s Not Sorry – Mary Kubica

Love me a domestic thriller. This was almost a 4. I genuinely did enjoy it but the plot kind of went haywire at a certain point, almost like she had ideas for two books and then decided to smash it together into one. The one storyline was VERY predictable, not connected, and completely unnecessary. But the twist in the main plot was A GOODIE.

2. Funny Story – Emily Henry

OK, if this has been the first Emily Henry book I had ever read, then 5 stars, easy. But, Happy Place is the gold standard, as far as I’m concerned, and this just didn’t quite reach that level. So, solid 4 stars it is. Emily Henry writes the best side characters – every single one has a purpose, an intention, dialogue unique to their personality. I know I have said this before, but once upon a time, I went to college for English writing and this is the snappy, whippy, smart and sardonic dialogue that I used to strive for. You know, back when I “wrote.” Sigh. Emily Henry’s books are such a fun summertime escape for me and I really think that the only thing that would make them better would be if I was reading it poolside. In Wildwood, maybe. Nothing too fancy.

3. Nigh Watching – Tracy Sierra

Remember what I was just saying about Emily Henry’s knack for realistic, smart dialogue? This book ain’t that. It was FINE but also, what. Just a whole lotta gaslighting and WTF is happening now. It starts immediately with a home invasion and I was worried that the entire book was going to be married to this one event – the man searching the house, the mom and two kids hiding in the panic room. But, it does move on to other settings, and there are also flashback chapters.

This might be one of those times where the audiobook ruined the book for me. Narrator’s natural voice was fine but when she started doing other voices it was just annoying. There’s an entire chapter where the main lady’s voice is raspy and SHE DID THIS AWFUL VOCAL FRY-esque thing which was like the nails of influencers circa 2015 on a chalkboard.

Actually the book itself was pretty mid regardless.

4.  The Vacation House – Jane Shemilt

Yooooo. I picked this up on a whim from the library and almost DNF’d it because of a slow start. But man, this caught me off guard how much I loved it. A book about rapists getting their comeuppance. We love to read it.

Really frustrating to see how the victim’s family was completely torn apart while the perps went on to live their best lives, which is so often the case.

5.  Worry – Alexandra Tanner

I mean, one of the characters is a rescue dog named Amy Klobuchar, so that should clue you in to the irreverence that is Alexandra Tanner’s writing. Simultaneously made me glad that I’m not in my 20s living in NYC with a younger sister and also sad that I’m not in my 20s living in NYC with a younger sister. The trials and tribs! A multitude of LOL moments. Loved it. Would watch it if it became a TV show.

6.  Expiration Dates – Rebecca Serle

3.5 – this was a fun concept and quick read! This broad gets a magical slip of paper every time she meets a man that tells her how long the relationship will last, until she meets one where no expiration is given. I enjoyed this more than I imagined – thought it would just be a sappy romp, and I mean – that it was – but it also kind of hit.

7. Rebecca, Not Becky – Christine Platt and Catherine Wigginton Greene

I would have liked this better if I hadn’t listened to the audiobook, I think. This was interesting in that it was written jointly by a Black author and a white author, and centers around a Black female protagonist, and a white female protagonist who is on a constant  mission to prove that she is woke, and while she has all good intentions, it does tend to come off as performative – especially in the eyes of the Black character, whose family has just moved into a wealthy predominately white neighborhood. Lots of thought-provoking discussions on race and prejudice, and many uncomfortable moments as we watch Rebecca Not Becky go above and beyond to make a token Black friend.

But yeah, the audio narration was grating.

8. I Did It For You – Amy Engel

Holy shit, this one was a HOT MESS. 2 stars. Skip it. The “big reveal” was actually so fucking laughable.

Not to shame the Young Adult genre, but I actually had to to doublecheck Goodreads to see if this was YA because it felt like it was written for pre-teens. Nope. This burning sack of dog shit was meant for adult eyeballs.

9. Real Americans – Rachel Khong

Easy 5 stars. Solid. Will live in my head for years to come. I love a multi-generational immigrant saga. My favorite section was the first one though, following Lily, a Chinese American struggling to find her professional footing during Y2K times.

I read “Goodbye Vitamin” by Khong several years ago and that was also a 5-star. I have been waiting for this book since then and it was worth it. She is a phenomenal writer. Also? There is a touch of magical realism in this, as a bonus. Please read this.

(Holy shit, I just started to involuntarily sob as I thought about one of the final chapters, LOL, is the heat getting to me or is it just me being like OH HI I HAVE A HEART.)

10. They Call Us Enemy – George Takei

A graphic novel written by George Takei of Star Trek fame about his childhood days growing up in concentration camps in America during WWII. I cried so much reading this.

11. I Thought You Said This Would Work – Ann Garvin

Two old college friends (grudgingly) reunite on a roadtrip to get back their friend’s dog who was turned over to a shelter by her ex-husband. Oh, and the friend is in the hospital battling her second round of cancer. Aside from the cancer, this was a very silly romp of a book, lots of capers, lots of madcap action, lots of quirky characters picked up along the way. I rolled my eyes a lot but somehow, by the end of the book, I was like JESUS CHRIST and bawled my eyes out. All that silliness did nothing to prepare me, that’s for sure.

12. When Among Crows – Veronica Roth

An interesting Slavic fantasy, very quick read, and very obviously the beginning of a series. I did enjoy it but is 3 stars enough to continue on to the next book? I dunno. I think this might be a case where the audiobook could have enhanced my experience because I read that it’s a full cast, but I didn’t want to wait for it so I just read the physical version. Wow cool story Erin.

13. Hello Girls – Brittany Cavallaro and Emily Henry

A YA Thelma and Louise-ish? It was OK.


OK, I’m out. I got the new Riley Sager from the library today and I am excited to see if I love it or hate it, there’s never an in-between when it comes to me and Sager.

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