November Wrap-Up/Mini Reviews

I read a grand total of three books in November!! So I’m going to turn this post into more of one of my mini review posts than my typical wrap ups!

First book that I read was Bunny by Mona Awad

Bunny

Here’s the synopsis:

Samantha Heather Mackey couldn’t be more of an outsider in her small, highly selective MFA program at New England’s Warren University. A scholarship student who prefers the company of her dark imagination to that of most people, she is utterly repelled by the rest of her fiction writing cohort–a clique of unbearably twee rich girls who call each other “Bunny,” and seem to move and speak as one.

But everything changes when Samantha receives an invitation to the Bunnies’ fabled “Smut Salon,” and finds herself inexplicably drawn to their front door–ditching her only friend, Ava, in the process. As Samantha plunges deeper and deeper into the Bunnies’ sinister yet saccharine world, beginning to take part in the ritualistic off-campus “Workshop” where they conjure their monstrous creations, the edges of reality begin to blur. Soon, her friendships with Ava and the Bunnies will be brought into deadly collision.

The spellbinding new novel from one of our most fearless chroniclers of the female experience, Bunny is a down-the-rabbit-hole tale of loneliness and belonging, friendship and desire, and the fantastic and terrible power of the imagination.

This is probably the strangest book that I’ve read this year and it definitely did not disappoint. While reading this I could see how this book could quickly divide opinions, it is very strange both in the way it is written as well as in the plot. It started off a bit too slowly for my own taste and I almost put it down but ended up deciding to try and stick it out to see if it would turn around. And boy oh boy did it turn around.

The way this book dove into this cult like hive mind was fascinating. Animals within this book aside, I think that was my favorite part. The way it went so quickly from the main character thinking of herself as a singular person to referring to a whole group as the singular person. I don’t even know how to describe it, it was addictive and totally sucked me in. The ending of this book was confusing unfortunately and I wasn’t a huge fan. I found myself getting more bored the more confused I got and while, again, that middle section was stunning I couldn’t help but be disappointed by the rest of it.

I think that if you are interested in macabre stories then this could be up your alley. It is intriguing and a story that is definitely not soon forgotten. As they said in the synopsis, this book is all about the imagination running wild and I have to say that if you read this and let your own imagination just go for it, it’s an even better reading experience. I rated it 4/5 stars!

If you’re interested in picking up your own copy, here are some links:

Amazon (Affiliate Link) // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

The second book I read in November was My Favorite Half Night Stand by Christina Lauren

My Favorite Half-Night Stand

Here’s the synopsis:

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

This is my third Christina Lauren book and so far I have yet to absolutely fall in love with any of their books. I still have plans to read Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating at some point because quite a few people that I share reading tastes with say that is their favorite Christina Lauren book.

I think the only reason that I ever finish not great romance books is because of how easy and quick they are to read. I read this entire book in one go after work one day. This book wasn’t *bad* but I just felt nothing. I wasn’t invested in the characters and was torn on a lot of opinions in this. When it comes to romance, almost the entirety of my rating comes down to the chemistry between the main couple and how invested I am in the outcome of their story. I truly didn’t care what happened to Millie so in the end, I really didn’t care about the overall arc.

The story itself began quite intriguing and I loved the banter and friendship of the group but I didn’t really love how it seemed that Millie was written as a girl unlike other girls who can only be friends with guys. Like don’t get me wrong, I loved the friend group, but I wasn’t a huge fan of Millie. Yes, she was emotionally stunted but I think that her chapters held this a little bit too much and kept me from being invested in her development.

At the end of this I felt that everything tied up conveniently, which is usually what I love in romance, but it was just too convenient. And considering that the gala that was the main driving force for the plot of the book didn’t even occur in the end it just made me feel pretty meh.

There are also a lot of things that I really didn’t appreciate about the romance itself but I don’t really want to air that on here, like I am always one for a good, solid happy ending but coming from someone who was once in an extremely similar situation to this… Happy endings don’t normally happen. I was frustrated and emotional and really just didn’t like this book as a whole. I rated it 2/5 stars.

Since I tend to be in the minority in rating Christina Lauren books, you can check it out for yourself:

Amazon (Affiliate Link) // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

The final book of the month was The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware.

The Turn of the Key

Here’s the synopsis:

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

This is the second Ruth Ware book I’ve read and once again, the atmosphere that she can create in a book is stunning. Unfortunately, I thought the plot was very basic and while there was a twist that I didn’t really see coming, most of this story was predictable and dare I say boring? I felt that the ending was far too abrupt and when I realized that I had hit the acknowledgments page I literally said, “wait, that was it?” It felt like there were too many loose ends and not enough closure and while I’m all for an open ended story, this wasn’t open ended in a way that made sense. Yes, things were concluded but I found myself wanting more.

I wasn’t a fan of any of the characters and I think that’s the problem that I have with the two Ruth Ware books I’ve read so far. I quite enjoy the atmosphere, but the characters fall flat which leaves me disappointed in the story as a whole. The technology aspect of the book was almost completely pointless which I was kind of sad about because I was hoping for an even more evil DCOM Smart House story but it was a pretty cut and dry thriller. When people pitched this as a thriller with technological themes I was pumped and let me say that if that’s what you think this book is, it’s not. The technology in this could be completely taken out and the story would be the exact same.

In the end, I also got a lot of Lock Every Door vibes from this book so I couldn’t help compare it to that, which is one of the few thrillers that I’ve absolutely loved, so I’m not sure if that also played a part into the lackluster feelings I had for The Turn of the Key but it could be. In the end, I enjoyed this more than The Death of Mrs. Westaway so I rated it 3/5 stars but at this time I don’t think I’ll be reaching for any more Ruth Ware books any time soon.

And now the links, in case you, unlike me, are a fan of Ruth Ware books:

Amazon (Affiliate Link) // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

And with that, I am finished with my wrap up for November!  Pretty lackluster but always happy to share my thoughts.

August Reading Wrap Up: 2019

August was a pretty good reading month! In general it was a very busy month and I’m surprised that I read as much as I did! Now that I’m back in school my reading has already slowed down but I’m hoping that I can pull out some decent posts and reviews for September.

If a book has ** next to it, that means the book was an ARC that I received from NetGalley or the publisher in exchange for my honest review 🙂

100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons**

100days

2/5 stars

You can read my full review here. It’s a shame such a beautiful cover was given to such a disappointing book. I had such high hopes but it really let me down.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai**

trs

5/5 stars

Y’all… Alisha Rai announced her next book in this romance world a few weeks ago and I shrieked when I saw the tweet. I CAN’T WAIT. The Right Swipe was so good and so heartwarming and it just made me feel all the feels. Such a diverse cast of characters and a kick ass main female lead. I found this book incredibly relatable to my own views on love and relationships and I highly recommend picking it up!

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno

35230420

5/5 stars

I was really pleasantly surprised by this book. It made me feel full and sentimental. It’s full of magical realism and family and friends and feelings. I highly recommend it. Great LGBT+ representation and while it surrounded a dark topic I felt that it was all handled well and the book was just beautiful in the end. So unique and engrossing.

(TW: Rape)

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Bloodlust and Bonnets by Emily McGovern

40680980

4/5 stars

This was available on NetGalley and it’s by the creator of one of my favorite webcomics (My Life as a Background Slytherin) so I had to get my hands on this. It was hilarious!! So satirical about romance tropes and plots and I found myself laughing out loud on numerous occasions through the whole course of reading.

The only reason I docked a star was just because the pacing and plot was not always easy to follow. I got confused by the characters multiple times and there were some cases where I had absolutely no idea what was going on. Not really sure if this was the intention or if that’s just a result of it all.

Still loved it though and this comes out on September 17 if you’re interested in checking it out for yourself!

Preorder links: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

51737

5/5 stars

Working on collecting all of Sarah Dessen’s books and rereading them as I go. I actually changed my rating from the first time I had read this book to now. Originally I had rated it 3 stars because I didn’t like the main character. Now though, I could see the reasons why I was frustrated with the main character but I think Dessen wrote this book really well with how Macy dealt with grieving and healing.

I’m pretty sure these will always be my favorite YA contemporaries. This is a good story about learning how to be yourself and make decisions that are good for you and not just following what others want for you.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

What You Did by Claire McGowan**

McGowan-WhatYouDid_55x825.indd

3/5 stars

So I completely forgot that I had gotten approved for this on NetGalley and ended up borrowing it from Kindle Unlimited. At least I realized after the fact and submitted a review on NetGalley *face palm*.

Anyways, this was a really average domestic thriller. The characters were beyond frustrating so if you can’t look past the idiotic choices that people might make because they’re trying to preserve themselves then this might not be the book for you. There were two parallel timelines and also the perspective changed at seemingly random increments and those aspects seemed completely unnecessary. The overall plot started off really strong but went downhill to the point where I was kind of skimming to get to the end. It was really predictable but I say that about almost every thriller I read.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

41837243._SY475_

5/5 stars

I did it. I found a good thriller (I’m referencing this post when I say this). Also I wanted to say that apparently I lied in that post because I was going through my Goodreads the other day in order to come up with recommendations for another post I’m working on and I rated a Gillian Flynn book five stars? I need to go reread that now to see what I was so hyped up about with that.

So this book was so gripping and while I figured out aspects of it over the course of the book there was one point that literally BLEW MY MIND and I flew through the rest of the book after that. I stayed up until almost midnight on a weeknight to finish this and while I highly regretted that at work the next morning it was so worth it.

If you’re looking for a book with a good twist, pick this one up and give it a try. This also had really great pacing and I never felt like it dragged which is an issue I’m having with so many thrillers I’ve read.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

The Poison Garden by A.J. Banner**

43706721

3/5 stars

This book was zooming straight for 2 stars until I got to the ending. This was another pretty standard domestic thriller. While I think that if you’re well versed with the genre you might not enjoy this as much, if you’re new to thrillers I think that you could enjoy this.

The Poison Garden comes out on October 22 and I’ll be posting a review around that date where I go in depth with my thoughts for this.

Preorder links: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

graceling

5/5 stars

This is still my absolute favorite book and it was quite an emotional reread. My best friend and I were actually together while I was reading this and she was rereading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and we basically both just sat there reading passages of our books back and forth to each other.

You can check out my post about my reread here.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

The Queens of Animation by Nathalia Holt**

33832019._SY475_

4/5 stars

This book comes out in October and I got an ARC from NetGalley and honestly I was so excited when I saw that I was approved for it!! I absolutely love Disney and some of my favorite non-fiction books involve learning about women’s roles in big industries from the past.

My only issues with this came from confusion of the timeline but I’ll be posting a full discussion closer to the release date. If you’re interested in learning more about the history of women working in animation then I would highly recommend picking this up. I learned so many things and I was surprised at just how much work went into animation back in the day. It’s just amazing what went into those old Disney movies.

Preorder links: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Rebel Girls by Elizabeth Keenan**

37021699._SX318_

1/5 stars

This book made me want to chuck my computer out the window so much. I don’t want to say that I hated the book… But I kind of hated this book. This book could have been groundbreaking in the YA community because it completely surrounds the topic of abortion which is a really heavy topic as of late but this missed the mark on numerous occasions.

I’ll be posting an in depth review with spoilers in it once this book is released. And I will say that while I can see why people would like this, I just think that it pushed the wrong messages unknowingly. Oof, just thinking about this is getting me heated. Writing my full review is going to be tons of fun. I’ve been avoiding it because I don’t want to get angry again.

Preorder links: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

rwrb

5/5 stars

I really needed this reread. Also this second time around I realized that I have a lot of issues with Alex? But also I relate to him a lot so I’m just leaving my rating at 5 stars because I don’t think his opinions and actions are outrageously bad for his age.

Here’s the link to my original review of this!

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository

I also did a whole post where I did mini reviews of five poetry collections which you can find here. The five books featured in that post were the ones I’ve inserted the covers of below and all my thoughts and ratings about these are in my post which I’ll link again here.

 

 

And with that, I want to know what you read in August. Anything you loved? Anything you hated? What are you looking forward to reading in September?

A Thrilling Post: Why Can’t I Read Thrillers and Love Them?

I have a love-hate relationship with reading thrillers. I continue to consume them but none of them really thrill me. I’ve found with a lot of books that readers claim to have “shocked” them I go into them expecting the same thing only to be extremely underwhelmed because I guess the twist ending before it comes close to happening. One big example of this was when I read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (shockingly I never once got spoiled on it despite waiting so long to read it). I guessed the ending long before the actual ending but I still enjoyed reading the book nonetheless.

I’ve been picking up a lot of thrillers recently in the hopes of finding something that will actually wow me. I’m not sure how well this will end up going though. It seems by the end of every thriller I’ve read I find myself trudging along and just waiting for it to be done. I’m not sure why I’ve been in such a thriller/horror kick but I kind of think it’s just my anticipation for fall and Halloween… JUST GET HERE ALREADY SPOOKY SEASON. (Though I’m really not excited for winter but I genuinely cannot wait for fall).

I’m starting to wonder if I just go into thrillers with too high of expectations or if I’m just letting my pessimistic viewpoint of the books I’ve already read turn me off from new books too early. I think that one thing that really gets to me with this genre is that it’s typical with other genres for books to follow patterns. With thrillers following the same patterns, however, they become far too predictable for me.

One thing that I’ve begun to do when picking up thrillers is not reading a description. I’ve started doing this with a lot of books but especially with thrillers because if I know too much about the plot I start trying to pick out the loopholes and the whodunnit way too quickly instead of just allowing myself to be immersed in the story.

The main thing that I’m going to take from reading all the thrillers that I plan to is that despite the fact that in the end they don’t always impress me they’re still good. There are very few thrillers that I get all the way through and genuinely hate. If I do hate it there was most definitely something objectively wrong. A lot of thrillers are messy with unreliable narrators and I’ve come to accept that those things are just part of reading these types of books. For a while it was so hard for me to not get so incredibly frustrated with how idiotic some of these characters act until I forced myself to feel the fear and unease that they feel and realize that for the most part, they aren’t thinking straight.

If you have any recommendations of thrillers you think I should read, leave me a comment so that I can add them to my list! I’ve got a lot that I’m planning on working through and I’d love to have more.

In addition to reading a lot of thrillers, I’ve also been watching a lot of thrillers and I’d like to recommend two to you now.

The first is called The Endless:

Overall I found this movie really well done. It was very trippy and I already want to watch it again.

And the second is called I Am Mother:

This one is a Netflix original and I just watched it the other night and holy cow it genuinely fucked me up because robots and AI are one of my biggest fears and this entire movie played into that. I highly recommend.

So far this month I’ve read three thrillers and I’m already deciding which one I want to read next so expect to see a lot from this genre in my wrap up at the end of the month! Maybe I’ll be able to talk about something that wows me!