Jun 262022
 

Blog, this was the worst / most disappointing Asian Read-a-Thon I’ve had since I started in 2020. I only read 12 books and a lot of those didn’t do it for me. I will make this quick.

  1. The Night Shift – Alex Finlay

The Night Shift

Right off the bat, the readathon was off on the wrong foot. I had run out of time in April to read this book and didn’t want to return it to the library so I flipped through the pages and saw that one of the characters was South Asian. Boom, Asian rep. A stretch, but I allowed it. (He was also pretty much the best character too, in a book full of cardboard cutouts.) The premise of this book sounded awesome (a thriller that starts off at a Blockbuster in the 90s) but the execution was just sloppy. Characters were flat, and I barely remember it at this point. I gave it a 3 on Goodreads but more like 2.5.

Blockbuster deserved better than that.

SO DID THE ASIAN CHARACTER.

2. Grass – Keum Suk Gendry-Kim

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Growing up American with a shitty history curriculum, I didn’t learn about Korean comfort women until I developed my own interest in Korea as an adult and saw firsthand all of the memorials and statues around Korea when I visited. This graphic novel details the true experience of a woman who was sold into Japanese enslavement during the Japanese occupation of Korea and it is, needless to day, harrowing, graphic, infuriating, and nightmarish. The stories of these women need to be heard and this is a good starting point.

This is one of the comfort women memorials we saw in Paju, South Korea.

3. Fiona and Jane – Jean Chen Ho

Fiona and Jane

A series of vignettes about two Taiwanese American friends. I liked some stories better than others but I’m always here for a coming-of-age tale. I loved the cover a lot and of course was happy any time there were Korean references which is pretty much every book nowadays it seems.

4. Tokyo Ever AFter – Emiko Jean

Tokyo Ever After (Tokyo Ever After, #1)

Look, I needed a YA palate cleanser, OK? This book was a delight. Princess Diaries but make it Japanese. I LOVE books that are set in other countries, especially east Asia, and this delivered interesting cultural references and made me want to revisit Japan in a big way.

5. Arsenic and Adobo – Mia P. Manansala

Arsenic and Adobo (Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery, #1)

This was cute but too many characters that I couldn’t keep up with. Best part was the FOOD DESCRIPTIONS and recipes included in the back which I screenshot for Henry lol. I am a big fan of pandesal and it is referenced about a billion times in this book and I am currently craving it.

Also – too many love interests!!

6. An Emotion of Great Delight – Tahereh Mafi

An Emotion of Great Delight

I wish this had been written in chronological order and that we were in the main character’s head a bit less. I loved this author’s last book but this one was kind of a snooze (sorry!!).

7. Popular Hits of the Showa Era – Ryu Murakami

Popular Hits of the Showa Era

YES BITCH. Japanese horror is my jam and this was one of the best books I read in May, and the whole year. It was so gross and violent and HILARIOUS, the characters were wild, the whole book was a dumpster fire in the very best possible way. It was a fucking RIDE. I loved this so much, screamed, “OMFG” numerous times throughout, and then laughed like a maniac when I finished it, like I had just gotten done hanging out with the funniest friend I have. I really felt like I was in this book.

It is very graphic though and there were a few moments when I had to put it down because I was feeling it.

I’ve also read In the Miso Soup by this author which I really liked, and also one of the sickest horror movies I’ve ever seen was based off his book “Audition,” so I have a good track record with this guy and should really try to read more from him.

8. Dava Shastri’s Last Day – Kirthana Ramisetti

Dava Shastri's Last Day

OMFG die already. That’s all, that’s the review. One star, hated everyone.

9. Ayesha At Last – Uzma Jalaluddin

Ayesha at Last

Billed as a modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice and it’s exactly that. I really enjoyed. Main characters that you really felt good about rooting for, eye-opening cultural lessons, and just a GOOD love story. I needed this after that Dava shit show up there. (Also this cover is gorge.)

10. Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning – Cathy Park Hong

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning

Solid five stars. This is a must-read. Part memoir, part history lesson, it’s a beautifully-written collection of essays that every American should read, regardless of race, to have a better understanding of the minor feelings that come with growing up Asian in America.

11. Joan is Okay – Weike Wang

Joan Is Okay

This was a weird, quirky little book. It’s weird to read books that are already referencing COVID, but I thought that this one did it well when that time came. I thought the writing was excellent and definitely need to read “Chemistry” soon.

12. Dial “A” for Aunties – Jesse Q. Sutanto

Dial A for Aunties (Aunties #1)

A bunch of high-strung Chinese-Indonesian aunties trying to cover up a murder, solve an un-related crime, and work a wedding all at once? This book was so slapstick, well-paced, with fleshed-out characters that pop off the pages. It’s so over-the-top and completely implausible, but that was the intent and it works. I will definitely continue on with this series because I need more aunties! (Highly recommend this as an audiobook – the narrator is excellent and brought the aunties to life!)

 

May 222022
 

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.

 

Apr 072022
 

I don’t have an intro.

But I guess that was my intro.

  1. No One Belongs Here More Than You – Miranda July

No One Belongs Here More Than You

See last month’s review of the Miranda July book I read, but subtract one star because: short stories.

2. Inside V – Paula Priamos

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I had never heard of this book, nor this author, but I needed something to listen to while tromping around the ‘hood and this came up as recommended on Scribd. Dude, it was good! A domestic thriller/mystery, great pacing, kept my attention. Would recommend to you, just like Scribd did to me.

3. Lemon – Kwon Yeo-Sun

Lemon

You know I love me some translated-from-Korean thrillers and word about this one had been spreading like wildfire on the bookish webs because suddenly everyone is on my level now with Korean stuffs. This wasn’t bad, but also a tad disappointing I guess because of all the hype. It’s about the murder of a high school girl and at times I was kind of confused because the chapters switch narrators and timelines. I would say it’s more of like…suspenseful literary fiction. I gave it a three.

4. Grown Ups – Marian Keyes

Grown Ups

Also a three for me because it was UNNECESSARILY LONG – like over 500 pages with tiny type. It’s basically like reading an entire season of a dramedy about an extended family and honestly it was just too much. Too many characters. Borderline annoying dialogue. Only two characters in the book were even slightly compelling to me and I enjoyed the tension of their relationship but then the end is soooooo unsatisfying. And one of the characters had an eating disorder and I’m not going to lie, I was pretty triggered. This one got so much love and hype from some of my favorite Bristish Booktubers and I’m kind of shocked.

It was entertaining enough but I don’t feel inspired to pick up anything else by this author.

5. Reprieve – James Han Mattson

Reprieve

I thought I would love this. A haunted house/escape room in the 90s? Fuck yeah. But again, no compelling characters and I was kind of bored.

6. The Hawthorne Legacy – Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games, #2)

The problem with me and book series is that by the time the next book comes out, I can’t remember anything from the first book. So, I was lost through nearly the entire first half. There are two many Hawthorne brothers to keep track of, and two of them are basically the same person in my mind. But it’s still a fun read, I like the mystery/puzzle-solving aspect of it, and there’s a love triangle that held my interest. But the real star of the show is that goddamn book cover. Ye-ow-sah.

7. All Her Little Secrets – Wanda M. Morris 

All Her Little Secrets

Dude. This was EXCELLENT. (OMG that’s literally what my Goodreads review was and I didn’t even realize that until after I typed this, lol.) And this was a DEBUT? 4 stars from me, Sam. Loved our main girl in this and was screaming at times. Trying to get Henry to read it – you should read it too!

8. True Crime – Samantha Kolesnik

True Crime

Trash. I gave it one star because Goodreads doesn’t allow for NO STAR ratings. This was just “how much shock value can I stuff into a novella?” and it failed. This was not interesting, entertaining, or even slightly well-written.

9. When I Am Through With You – Stephanie Kuehn

When I Am Through with You

Actually hated this. Not a single likable character and then it turned into a survival story which I dislike so I guess this is on me for not knowing more going in. It was so boring that I kept forgetting the main character’s name and then I couldn’t keep the other characters straight. Seemed like too many people and not everyone even mattered, so….if this hadn’t been an audio book, I would have DNFd it but I needed something to listen to on my walk(s) one day when I was off work and didn’t feel like looking for something else.

ALSO, I DON’T HAVE TO EXPLAIN MYSELF TO YOU, MOM.

10. Made In Korea – Sarah Suk

Made in Korea

Just the palate (eye ball?) cleanser I needed after reading back-to-back 1-star books. This was adorable, Korean, and straight-up fun. I wish someone was selling Korean beauty products from their locker when I was in high school! Also, I love reading books written by Korean American authors because they typically will throw in some Korean words and I always know what it is before it’s explained. That’s just a really good feeling. I can’t speak the damn language but I have at least learned some things!

11. House 23 – Eli Yance 

House 23

Did we ever learn why this was called House 23? Did we ever care? This was dumb. It started out intriguingly and I was in it to win it, but then it got real dumb real fast and ended up being so unsatisfying. Apparently, most people on Goodreads agree with me on this so I should have probably put some stock in the low ratings before diving into this.

12. Ain’t Burned All the Bright – Jason Reynolds / Jason Griffin

Ain't Burned All the Bright

Oof. This one hits hard. Beautiful art paired with poignant text about the last several years in America, during Covid and the BLM movement, my eyes were burning with tears.

This is from the synopsis because it explains it perfectly:

And so for anyone who didn’t really know what it means to not be able to breathe, REALLY breathe, for generations, now you know. And those who already do, you’ll be nodding yep yep, that is exactly how it is.

Yeah, this one really knocked something loose in me.

13. The Cartographers – Peng Shepherd

The Cartographers

Um hello, Peng Shepherd. This was MAGICAL and SWEEPING. I never thought I’d care about a book about maps but this had me thinking I was really part of the action. I was IN THIS STORY. I loved every fucking character. I loved the glimpses into the lives of the young Cartographers. I might actually want to learn how to read a map now. (Future Henry is reading this, choking on whatever Hostess product he inhales in the privacy of the FAYGO FACTORY, like “YEAH RIGHT.”)

Five stars for me, Mary.

OK BYE.

 

Mar 142022
 

These are the books I read in February. Wow, Lucy. Hold on tight-ish.

  1. My Lady Jane – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

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Historical retelling but make some of the characters able to change into animals. What a quirky little delight. Four stars, thoroughly entertained, laughed out loud numerous times.

2. The Girl In 6E – A. R. Torre

20640318. sy475

Pretty interesting thriller mostly from the POV of a young shut-in / cam girl who purposely keeps herself locked away in her apartment to avoid any inevitable fall-out from her homicidal tendencies. While camming, she thinks she may have made contact with a pedophile about to take his fetish to the next level. The narration had a bit of a Veronica Mars-esque feel to it, and it really drew me in. Although, there was kind of  a lot going on / a bunch of jumping around with timelines and plotlines so it kind of a little confusing at times. But overall, I really enjoyed it and am actually surprised that I haven’t heard more about this, especially considering it’s apparently a series. I told Henry he should read it for the “explicit sex stuff” and he was like, “The what now? You have my attention.”

3. Migrations – Charlotte McConaghy 

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There’s a part about a girl getting attached to a murder of crows that was so relatable and now I’m pissed that my squirrels don’t bring me gifts.

But OK seriously, I almost didn’t pick this one up because it didn’t seem like the type of book I’d be into, but I am so glad I did. Yes, there were parts that supremely depressed the environment/animal lover in me, but the writing was so undeniably beautiful and the characters were well-crafted, that it was more rewarding than deflating in the end. It also had an underlying mystery running through it regarding the events that happened that lead to the main character to be tracking the migration of arctic terns in the first place.

Yeah, this book kind of gutted me but I’m glad I read it. (I literally just said “oof” out loud just now to my monitor as I looked at the picture of the book cover. Sigh.)

4. Five Tuesdays in Winter – Lily King 

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I didn’t know this was a short story collection when I picked it up, but I really love Lily King so I gave it a chance. I think I’d rate this 3.5 stars overall – some of the stories didn’t hold my interest at all – but there were two 5 stars for me: “Timeline” which was reminiscent of King’s Writers & Lovers, and “When In the Dordogne,” which I didn’t want to end – if this were expanded to a full-length novel, I’d be all in! “Hotel Seattle” was also so good.

But now I just want to read Writers & Lovers again.

5. The First Bad Man – Miranda July 

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OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OMG. The library recommended this book to me and I don’t know why I didn’t make the connection at first, but almost from the very first chapter, I was hooked through the lip for the irreverent, insanely inappropriate subject matter of The First Bad Man. Like, I was barking out HA!s by the boatload and then I said to Henry, “You know what this reminds me?! If someone took my old fake “pelv_exam” livejournal and made it into a full-length novel with better writing!” Henry’s response was a throaty, gagging back bile, “Oh….boy.”

And then it hit me! This was written by Miranda July! THE Miranda July who wrote a movie I was OBSESSED WITH  in the early ’00s – You and Me and Everyone We Know.  I excitedly told Henry and he was like, “I do not know wha—” so I cut him off and squealed, “WE CAN POOP BACK AND FORTH FOREVER!”

He just stared at me for a second, taking in my super attractive red and tear-streaked face, choking on a torrent of giggles at the memory of the best line from  that movie, and then he muttered, “Oh. Oh my god” BECAUSE HE REMEMBERED.

It was even my LiveJournal tagline!!!!!!!!

Oh holy shit. Miranda July. Could we be related, maybe? This book was so fantastic yet I don’t think I could recommend it to anyone I know.

Also, she narrates the audiobook and her narration just really adds that special nuance that no would else could master. I will be tucking parts of this book away in the most special folds of my mind.

6. Waiting for Wednesday – Nicci French

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I had really been loving the Frieda Klein mystery/thriller series but #3 left me a bit bored and lost.  That’s all. That’s the review.

7. True Crime Story – Joseph Knox

True Crime Story

Hey  this book was pretty interesting! I was invested until the very end. Cool cast of characters, set in a British college. Also felt a chill from time to time!! Just a real fun true crime mystery that had a great podcast-like audio book so definitely for fans of Sadie. 

8. Love & Other Carnivorous Plants – Florence Gonsalves

Love & Other Carnivorous Plants

The library recommended this to me and I have no idea why, to be honest. This book was low-key was pretty terrible. Also the main character had an eating disorder so trigger warning for that. An inexplicable death happens that honestly just felt hollow and did very little to drive the plot. Just a mess of a book, honestly.

You know what, the more I thin about this, the more I really hate it.

9. The Collective – Alison Gaylin

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Eh. Three stars. Started out OK and then I just got bored.

10. Winter in Sokcho – Elisa Shua Dusapin

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This book cover is everything to me. I love reading books that are set in South Korea because, as the tagline of this website states, my heart is in Hanguk. I could visualize everything in this book so vividly and it made my heart ache.

11. You Have a Match  – Emma Lord

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The “match” in the title is actually referring to a DNA testing site where you get put in the database and can be notified when you match with a relative. It was a pretty nice concept, two sisters are reunited and even though they don’t necessarily like each other, they join forces to find out why their parents kept them a secret from each other for the past 18 years or whatever. Even had a camp setting which was fun, but of course there’s loveline which I just didn’t really buy. I was actually more interested in the two sets of parents’ stories, and what happened to make them have a falling out. Which I guess is what happens when you’re an adult reading a young adult book. JOKE’S ON ME.

***

And that concludes my February book wrap-up! Not the best, not the worst. But HELLLLLOOOO MIRANDA JULY!

Feb 022022
 

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.

  1. Black Girls Must Die Exhausted – Jayne Allen

Black Girls Must Die Exhausted

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.

2. Not a Happy Family – Shari Lepena

Not a Happy Family

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.

Whodunnit? WHOCARES?

3. The Love Hypothesis – Ali Hazelwood

The Love Hypothesis (Love Hypothesis, #1)

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.

4. Just Last Night – Mhairi McFarlane

Just Last Night

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.

Ugh.

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.

5. Who Is Maud Dixon – Alexandra Andrews

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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.

Lame.

6. With Teeth – Kristen Arnett 

With Teeth

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.

7. The Manningtree Witches – A.K. Blakemore

The Manningtree Witches

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.

8. New People – Danzy Senna

New People

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.

9. Where They Wait – Scott Carson

Where They Wait

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.

10. The Guncle – Steven Rowley

The Guncle

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.