Hello, pals and gals! This year, I have been writing mini reviews for all the books I read to force myself to write something about each book I read. At the end of four months, I’ve been doing these round-ups of reviews. I’ve been really enjoying this and feel like it’s really helped me write longer reviews for other books.
But anyway. Without further ado, here are some mini reviews of books I’ve read since May!
Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood: 4 stars
I enjoyed this book and thought it was interesting. I really enjoyed the different perspectives, even if it bounced around a little. I enjoyed the side characters and how real they felt. I thought the story was really interesting, and very heartbreaking in the end. My only complaint was really that the book was a little simply written. That’s not a bad thing, it just read a little juvenile at times, even when Sally was a bit older, which, contrasted with the heavy topics, didn’t always work. I did, however, appreciate how un-gory and un-violent this book was. Even though terrible things happen to Sally and are apparent and alluded to, they’re never described in detail, which I appreciated. I’d definitely recommend this book if you’re interested in kidnappings and crimes but don’t really like detailed descriptions of bad things.
Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak: 4 stars
I ended up really enjoying this book. If you like slower, not action-packed but still tense thrillers, I think you’d enjoy this one. If you liked Social Creature by Tara Isabelle Burton, you’d probably enjoy this one as well. There’s just something about two female friends fighting that, when written by a woman who understands women, is really intriguing to me. I really enjoyed the dynamic between the characters and how it evolved as their careers and personal relationships evolved. I enjoyed all those personal relationships. I liked the thriller parts of it. I really liked the setting of a newsroom and thought it was super interesting. Overall, this was a really solid read and I’d definitely recommend it.
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan: 4 stars
I really enjoyed this book and thought it was a super solid debut YA fantasy. The world-building was really well-done and managed to strike that balance of fantastical enough to be interesting but similar enough to ours that we didn’t need a ton of additional information. I did think something of the additional information was provided via info-dumps, but I also think that info-dumps can be hard to avoid in certain books. It was also super well-written and avoided being flowery or over dramatic. I loved the characters, the friendships, and the relationship. I love all the female representation in this book. All the woman are so interesting and complex, and it was really well done. The handling of sexual assault was also done really delicately and realistically, and I really appreciated that. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
Big Water by Andrea Curtis: 3.5 stars, rounded to 3
This was a super short, quick book, and overall, I really enjoyed it! Nautical disasters have always interested me (we all went through a Titanic phase, right?), so it was interesting to read about one that happened somewhere I know. My family used to rent a cottage on Georgian Bay, and I never knew that something this disastrous happened out there. It was also really funny reading about places I know: the characters describe Owen Sound as a really sophisticated town, whereas now it’s this tiny town with like a bakery and three restaurants. They describe Bloor Street in Toronto as “practically a country road”, whereas Bloor is currently in the middle of downtown Toronto. So that was fun. The writing was fairly simple, but did border on overdramatic sometimes. The characters were pretty good and their development was great, especially considering how short this book is. The story, like I said, was super interesting. Overall, I think this is a really solid short novel, and if you’re looking for more books about nautical disasters (?), I’d recommend this one!
The Stone Collection by Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm: 3.5 stars, rounded to 3
Like all short story collections, I loved some stories and didn’t love others. My biggest issue with this collection compared to others, however, was the overall tone. For most collections, the tone is relatively the same: all the stories are heavy or funny or have similar elements. There’s usually some theme to them. I didn’t get that with this collection. Some of the stories were really, really hard-hitting. Some of them were really light and inconsequential. Some were more exploratory and slightly magical. Some were completely grounded in reality. I found the lack of consistency made it hard to connect with this collection. I loved the hard-hitting stories and thought they said a lot of important things. I enjoyed some of the lighter stories, and also thought they said important things. But they didn’t seem to fit together, which I struggled with. All that being said, though, this collection was really well-written. Each story was well-developed, even the really short ones. There were a lot of great, important topics explored. I just wish there was more consistency with the tone. But I definitely recommend it.
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler: 5 stars
WOW this book. I completely understand why Butler is so highly regarded. This book was fantastic. It was so well-written. The idea was so creative and innovative. The setting and characters were so fantastic and well-developed. I loved getting glimpses into Dana’s regular life. I loved everything about this book, and am finding it hard to say anything more than “wow” about it. I highly recommend it to everyone.
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour: 4.5 stars, rounded to 5
I got really, really attached to the characters in this book. Like, very attached. They definitely drove this story for me. The plot was also pretty interesting; I think messy family and kind-of-friends-kind-of-lovers relationships are always interesting. The settings of this book were also great. It was really well-written and I loved the sapphic romance. I ended up loving this book more than I expected to, and I highly recommend it.
Blood is Another Word for Hunger by Rivers Solomon: 3.5 stars, rounded to 3
I don’t have a ton of thoughts on this short story, honestly. It was interesting and well-written. I liked the concept and the idea. I thought it was really well-developed for a short story. I’m super interested in reading more of Solomon’s work now. But ultimately, it didn’t leave a lasting impression on me. So I’d recommend it for sure, but don’t think I’d reread it, you know?
You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle: 3.5 stars, rounded to 4
I also enjoyed this fun little romance. It was dumb but entertaining, which is all I wanted. My biggest issue was that Hogle didn’t fully commit to the idea. This book was pitched as a couple who both want out of their marriage trying to get the other to withdraw first. And it starts out like that, but at one point, the love interest is like, “I’ve been trying to get you to fall back in love with me the whole time”, when he very clearly wasn’t. So that made the narrative incohesive at times. But, I’d still recommend this if you want a fun romance.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara: 5 stars
I really, really enjoyed this book. If you like true crime, I cannot recommend it enough. McNamara is so thorough in her research, and her writing is so compelling. My one complaint is that I wish she had been a little clearer on the timeline of everything that happened. It was kind of confusing, especially listening to the audiobook, trying to keep track of the time period we were in and what was occurring. But overall, I loved this.
So, there are the books I’ve read these past few months! Have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? Do you plan on reading them? What’s the best book you’ve read the past few months? Let me know!