First third mini reviews

Hello, everyone! Because I suck at reviewing, have barely written a full review in what feels like months, and have a backlog of reviews dozens of books long, I thought I’d start doing periodic mini reviews of the books I have yet to review. If, while writing these reviews, I have a lot to say, I’ll put it in it’s own blog post and do a full review.

So, these posts will be a collection of the books I have yet to review in the past few months. Hopefully, it will push me to actually write a review for each book, even if it’s really short.

Also, I’m going to try to put some mini reviews on my bookstagram, so go follow that if you want to see them as well!


Key

  • (📚) = owned prior to 2020
  • (🇨🇦) = Canadian author
  • (🌾) = Indigenous author
  • (📖) = on TBR prior to 2020
  • (🎶) = audiobook
  • (🆓) = from the library
  • (✨) = favourite

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Fall On Your Knees by Anne-Marie MacDonald (📚, 🇨🇦, 📖): 4 stars

This book is one of my mom’s favourite books and has been (literally) staring at me my whole life. It was very, very slow, has almost no plot, and is 100% a character study. Luckily, I enjoyed most of the characters and ended up enjoying this overall. The last 100 pages are the best. There is a f/f romance in those 100 pages. Also it takes place in Cape Breton, which is where my mom is from, so that was cool. It had a lot of history about that area, which was cool to learn about.


Wilder Girls by Rory Power (📖,🆓): 4 stars

This book really worked for me in a lot of ways. The plot was super interesting: an all-girls boarding school gets infected with a weird virus and are isolated on an island. Amazing. The characters were super interesting and I really enjoyed them. I liked the plot twists a lot. The aforementioned setting worked really well. I liked the dual perspectives and thought it really worked. But, there was just something about the writing style that didn’t click for me. I don’t really know what it was. It wasn’t poorly written, it just didn’t work for me. Parts of it were kind of choppy and, in my opinion, didn’t always work. It was also a little too vague in parts and I wanted a little more clarity. I did love the open ending, though. There were just some points of information that could have been clearer.

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The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline (📚, 🇨🇦,🌾,📖): 4 stars

I really liked a lot of this book. I am very here for Indigenous-based dystopians. I think it worked really well for getting across the messages the author wanted to convey. I loved the interweaving of Indigenous traditions in the story. I enjoyed the characters and thought they were super strong. The story was great and really interesting, and probably my favourite part. My one issue is very petty: for the entirety of this book, the characters are marching north. They march north for give years. It would not take five years to march NORTH from TORONTO. Unless this was a misunderstanding on my part, but I don’t think it was because the leader of the group doesn’t like staying in the same place for too long. So these characters spend five years marching North from Toronto and never get where they’re going? Idk, it just bothered me. I still think about it. THAT BEING SAID, I really, really enjoyed this book and cannot recommend it enough.


Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (📚, 📖,): 4.5 stars

  • The Husband Stitch: 5 stars; amazing, flawless, perfect, everything I want out of a short story. Tied for favourite of this collection.
  • Inventory: 5 stars; I just loved this one so much. It was tailor-made for me. I would read an entire novel in the style of this short story. The other one that’s tied for my favourite (but I think this one might be a bit more favourite).
  • Mothers: 3 stars; I think I maybe just didn’t understand this story. I definitely want to go back and reread it (lol sike, will not be reading a story about mothers for a while).
  • Especially Heinous: 3 stars; super interesting, but got repetitive and tiring to read.
  • Real Women Have Bodies: 3.5 stars; really enjoyed this story, it just wasn’t my favourite.
  • Eight Bites: 5 stars; this was sososo interesting and I really loved it.
  • The Resident: 3.5 stars, I think; I thought this story was super interesting and terrifying in a quiet way. I really enjoyed it, but also didn’t? Not sure my thoughts.
  • Difficult at Parties: 4 stars; I loved a lot of this story and didn’t like other parts. But the parts I liked outweighed the parts I didn’t like.

Average: 3.6 apparently, but I’m giving this overall a 4.5 stars. The stories I rated lower were ones I rated lower because they didn’t work for me. But, they were all, honestly, flawlessly written and plotted, so I think this deserves 4.5 overall.

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Vita Nostra by the Dyachenkos (📚, 📖): 4 stars

This is potentially the weirdest, but also most creative book I’ve ever read. I don’t think I’m smart enough to fully understand it, but I still enjoyed it, if that makes sense? I really enjoyed the main character. The story was expertly told and the Dyachenkos are very good with words (unlike myself, apparently). I particularly thought the pacing was brilliant; it was slow when Sasha was struggling, so we were struggling with her. It was slow when she was slow. It was fast when she was moving quickly. It was a really brilliant way of telling the story. I’m honestly not sure whether I’ll be reading the sequel or not. Potentially, but also this one took me forever to get through, so I’m not sure.


Middlegame by Seanan McGuire (🆓,): 5 stars

Do you ever read a book and think, “wow, this was tailor-made for me”? Because that’s how I felt about this book. Everything about it worked for me and I loved everything. The writing, the story, the plot twists, the characters, the mystery. I loved the multiple timelines aspect. I loved the reveals. I loved that characters. I loved the settings. I loved how it was told. I cannot recommend this book enough.

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Bunny by Mona Award (🇨🇦): 4 stars

It’s been a few days since I finished this book and I’m still not sure what I think about it. Was it entertaining? Yes. Was it interesting? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Was there a good setting and good characters? Yes. BUT was it really weird? Yes. In a way I didn’t necessarily understand? Also yes. So I guess my thoughts are this: it was very interesting, decently written and entertaining, but I understand none of it. I also think it was trying to make a point about female friendships, and it either didn’t make that point or I completely missed it. Sorry this review was not helpful the slightest.


Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice (📚, 🇨🇦, 🌾,📖,): 4.5 stars

This book is fantastic! It is incredibly slow, ominous, and tense. The story is fantastic and all too real. I loved that it took its time setting up the characters, the band, and the band politics. Those made a really interesting backdrop for the story. I loved the elements of Rice’s Indigenous heritage that were included. It was really simply written: Rice’s prose is beautiful or flowery and reads somewhat juvenile at times, but also really worked for the story. Flowery, beautiful prose wouldn’t have worked with this story, and the simplicity of the writing added to the overall ominous feeling. My one complaint is that the beginning was maybe a bit too slow. There was not a lot of action for the first 90% of the book (stuff happens, it’s just not action-packed), and then a lot happens in the last 10% in rapid succession. On the one hand, it worked for the story. But, it also made this short book a fairly slow read. That being said, I cannot recommend this book enough.

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Favourites from this list I recommend the most

  • Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
  • Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
  • Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

These all honestly have the potential to be in my top ten of the year. They were all brilliant in their own way.


Upcoming reviews

  • The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz: 1 stars
  • My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russel: 4 stars
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel: 5 stars
  • 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami: 4 stars

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So, those are mini reviews for the books I read these past four months! Have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? Do you plan on reading any of them? Let me know!

Ally xx


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8 thoughts on “First third mini reviews

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