I’ve been quite inactive with my monthly summary posts and instead of catching up, I decided to just have one “massive” review. Well, it’s not going to be truly massive since I actually read less than I usually do. I had quite a lot of personal things going on May through August but still ended up making my way through the assigned 4 ARCs for those months and 5 other books. September and October brought a few readathons helping me gain some momentum. I reviewed 3 ARCs and read 6 other books in September and reviewed 2 ARCS and read 5 other books in October. I know this is so little compared to what I normally read in one month but life is what life is and I won’t stress over this. Of course, I am still battling with some books that I started such a long time ago but I’ll make it through them eventually 🙂
Books read: 25
Books listened to: 0
Total pages read (includes “pages” from audiobooks): 7864
Parable of the Sower (Octavia E. Butler) ♠♠♠♠
My first Butler book was Kindred – which to this date is still one of my all-time favorite books. I had heard a lot of good things about the Earthseed series and just had to check out. Parable of the Sower is filled with poetry, beautiful language contrasting deep despair and unfairness, as well as courage and friendship, and yes even love. It made me think. This was a slow book, but I think it had to be that way.
I recommend this book/series if you’re looking for a philosophical approach to sci-fi mixed in with a lot of poetry about the human condition.
A Spark of Light (Jodie Picoult) ♠♠♠
Honestly, I don’t remember much from this book and that should tell you everything. Per my Goodreads review, I was interested in the story but take that with a grain of salt now.
I am not sure I can recommend this book at this time.
Wilder Girls (Rory Power) ♠♠♠ and 1/2♠
Deliciously weird and very feminist with one of the best covers I’ve ever seen. I enjoyed this book and think it would make an excellent book club read. I can see why it is being compared to Lord of the Flies but I wished it would’ve been even more strange. In my opinion, the author should’ve taken it way over the top with this! The feministic undercurrent makes this novel super special though. I do think this warrants a re-read for me. Check out my full review here on my blog or on Goodreads.
I recommend this book because FEMINIST HORROR.
No Matter (Jana Prikryl) ♠♠♠♠
Poetry! I’ve been trying to expand my poetry collection and widen my knowledge. This collection combines very personal emotions with cityscapes and manmade successes. It’s an interesting contrast and Jana Prikryl did something very special here. Check out my full review here on my blog or on Goodreads.
I recommend this collection because everyone should experience this stark contrast between straight-cut lines and coldness of architecture and your own personal complex emotions and how they affect each other.
Ever Alice (H.J. Ramsay) ♠♠♠
Oh, Alice! We all know I love everything and anything related to the Wonderland tales. Sadly, this reimagining didn’t hit the mark for me (check out my full review here on my blog or on Goodreads). Ramsay switches back and forth between Alice and the Red Queen but both very painfully linear characters. We had boring versus paranoid, respectively. Ramsay could’ve done so much more with this story.
I recommend this book if you enjoyed Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Things You Save in a Fire (Katherine Center) ♠♠♠♠
Color me surprised by this one! This wasn’t your usual romance novel (check out my full review here on my blog or on Goodreads). It had depth. It had a message. And it had complex characters. All in a setting of hot firemen and new beginnings.
I recommend this book if you’re itching for some romance with a bit more substance.
We Were Liars (E. Lockhart) ♠♠♠♠♠
Another surprise novel! This is kind of a slow burner read. The characters were complicated. Some were despicable but all were relatable. The plot is interesting and twisty. The author takes you through tragedy and despair, through laughter and friendship, and through the complications of the human condition without sacrificing advancing the story. The novel is beautifully written and has an air of timelessness.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a pinch of poetry mixed with a lot of heartbreak in a character-driven setting.
The Girls Next Door (Jack Ketchum) no rating
What a disturbing tale! I can’t even rate it because I was horrified and appalled (which I assume is one intention of the author, so 5 spades there) but because it felt more like an eye-witness report, and thus was way too real, I don’t want to give this a high score. The novel is based on a real-life tragedy and I shouldn’t like it as much as I did because of that. Humans can be so gruesome and depraved. This book makes you lose faith in humanity over and over again.
Should I recommend this book? Probably not.
Well Met (Jen DeLuca) ♠♠♠
This novel is a run of the mill, quite standard chick-lit romance. The characters were somewhat flat but the story itself was entertaining. There were some nerdy parts I could relate to but there were also a lot of things that just fell in place way too perfectly. Such is not real life!
I recommend it for anyone wanting to escape reality and dive into a world full of bows and happy endings.
The Curse of the Dead-Eyed Doll (Thomas Kingsley Troupe) ♠♠
A Key West haunted doll story should’ve entertained me to no end. Sadly, that wasn’t the case (check out my full review here on my blog or on Goodreads). I really loved the author’s take on the hauntings of the Stanley Hotel but this most recent book doesn’t compare to Trapped in Room 217. I was quite bored reading The Curse of the Dead-Eyed Doll. Nothing seemed to be happening and I couldn’t follow the emotional turmoil of the protagonist. Yet, I am still happy this book exists as I truly want horror to become accessible to all ages.
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read and support middle-grade horror.
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë) ♠♠♠♠♠
Jane Eyre took me a while to read. For no other reason than me getting distracted with life or other books. I loved Brontë’s heroine and her journey.
I recommend this book to anyone who is a little bit into classic lit and a little bit into Gothic female leads.
Christmas in Vermont (Anita Hughes) ♠
I do not recommend this book.
Lesath (A.M. Kherbasch) ♠♠
Another hit and miss (check out my full review here on my blog or on Goodreads). If the author wants me to feel confused and not know what’s going on that is a state I really enjoy. But it needs to be done with purpose. In contrast here, Kherbasch’s writing and story progression were just simply strange in the worst way. It felt disorganized and lazy. It felt aimless. It was at times so chaotic that I lost all sense of direction and thus didn’t care one bit about any of the characters or their journeys. I couldn’t get into the imagery as the author would abruptly stop describing a location and switch to another. The inner monologue was almost indiscernible from actual dialogue. There is a good kind of feeling lost and then there is this.
I do not recommend this book.
The Chronicles of the One Trilogy (Nora Roberts) ♠♠♠ and ♠♠♠♠
I received the last book in this trilogy for review and thus had to get going on reading this series. Book #1 seems like an almost word-for-word retelling of Stephen King’s The Stand. It’s disappointing, to be honest. And worse, it’s not even clear why it was necessary for the story development to just straight up copy the storyline of The Stand. Roberts’ does a fantastic job incorporating the magical and the folklore. She creates relatable characters and shines at writing about interpersonal relationships. That’s the only reason why book #1 kept me engaged. Book #2 was a lot better for me, although I read reviews by others saying it also copies the plot of another book. I cannot speak to that. To me, this story was about the coming-of-age of a young witch who is destined to lead a revolution. I enjoyed learning about the protagonist and much of the book felt like an epic fantasy novel. I am glad Roberts is branching out from the romance genre with this series but I hope she will be more original from now onward. I am about to read the final book in the installment. So stay tuned for that review.
I recommend this series if you want to read something with less romance by Nora Roberts.
Wytches (Jack Snyder) ♠♠♠♠♠
Based on volume 1, this promises to be a great graphic novel series. The illustrations create an amazingly creepy atmosphere. Snyder’s motivation and personal experiences to write this story make it even more special. This is dark and gruesome. This is imaginative. This is sadly too short!
I recommend this graphic novel to you if you’re looking for a quick read full of witches, darkness, and fear.
Six Stories (Various) ♠♠♠
The cover is misleading in that the stories are not by Stephen King. He curated them as part of a contest. I enjoyed some of them and found others boring. Overall, this felt more like creative than scary.
I recommend this collection if you want to support indie writers.
Suee and the Shadow (Ginger Ly, Molly Parks) ♠♠♠♠
This was so cool! The concept of a shadow becoming its own entity is fascinating and creepy. The illustrations were fun and fit the bill. I cannot wait to read the next installment.
I recommend this graphic novel for enthusiasts of the creepy and weird. This is for all ages but technically middle-grade.
One by One (D.W. Gillespie) ♠♠♠
This novel has some good and some bad parts. The beginning and end were just sort of meh. The middle, however, did something that rarely happens – I was genuinely frightened at times! This book is best enjoyed knowing as little as possible about it. It is better if you can’t figure out the twists. Check out my full review here on my blog or on Goodreads.
I recommend this to anyone who is looking for a family thriller.
The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy (Nora Roberts) ♠♠♠♠♠, ♠♠♠♠, and ♠♠♠♠♠
This is a classic Nora Roberts trilogy. It has Ireland. It has magic. It has love. The plots are exciting and the couples are fun. Book #2 was my least favorite but still received 4 spades. Overall, this is one of my favorite Roberts’ series.
I recommend this to you if you have, like me, a penchant for Ireland and folklore.
Ten Things My Cat Hates About You (Lottie Lucas) ♠♠ and 1/2♠
Predictable and a bit boring. Also, there were no TEN reasons why the cat hates the dude. There was also not enough cat! Check out my full review here on my blog or on Goodreads.
I don’t want to recommend this book unless all you care about is reading about a peculiar cat.
The Girl in the Red (Christina Henry) ♠♠♠
This is my first Henry book that left me feeling a bit disappointed. I love the story of Red Riding Hood and we all know I love Henry’s retellings of fairytales. Yet for this one, she deviated so much from the original that the only things in common were a red hoodie and her goal to make it to her grandma’s cottage. There were too many clichés, the plotline itself was kind of boring, and the characters were in a way quite flat. I did enjoy that the story was dark and the protagonist was kind of a badass though. It needed more wolves though, actual wolves, not metaphors for them.
I recommend this to anyone who likes a dark retelling of a classic tale.
The Stranger in the Woods (Michale Finkel) no rating
This is another book that I just can’t rate. I feel icky liking it. The author seems a bit predatory and definitely intrusive. The book itself feels voyeuristic. But the story of Chris Knight is fascinating and unique. I am drawn to the idea of emerging myself in nature and foregoing a traditional life. Knight most definitely took it to an extreme but his choices are relatable. The ruggedness of Maine made this book even better. I love the quirkiness and strangeness of Mainers and that definitely shone through. Yet to get all this on page, Finkel repeatedly trespassed people’s comfort zones and ignored their explicit wishes.
I recommend if you’re curious about Chris Knight’s story, just read the Wikipedia entry on it.