I try to read a lot of books. Goodreads might be one of my favorite forms of social media. Except it’s not really social and it probably means I’m a loser. You should have seen me doing those summer reading programs through the library as a kid. I won so many free In-N-Out burger coupons courtesy of all the Nancy Drew books I read, it was insane. Anyways, what was I saying?
I pledged to (do my best to) read at least 50 books this year, so I’ve decided to leave little reviews of the ones that I read in uncomfortable positions in my bed over the coming months. And while some months may have ten books and some may only have one, good books are hard to find and I hope this gives you some ideas.
I typically like to buy and own the books that I read, but that shit gets expensive. So I’ve done my best to move past the one time I found a smushed booger in a library book and have recently decided to go back to my roots: the public library. Don’t you dare get these on Audible.com. I swear to fucking God.
Disclaimer: I pretty much only read fiction. Romance/drama and mystery/thrillers are my go-to genres. Maybe I’ll branch out. Probably not though.
By Jessica Park
Goodreads rating: 4.03 stars
I went into this book with pretty high hopes, many of which weren’t met. The story follows college student Allison, who is essentially your run of the mill “damaged” protagonist. She’s pushed outside of her comfort zone and forced to interact with actual humans (scary!) one afternoon when she’s dragged into a social experiment where she has to sit and maintain eye contact with, wouldn’t you know it, a super hot guy named Esben Baylor for 180 seconds. I find myself weirdly appreciating the idea behind this- what would you see in a stranger during the three minutes of subconscious empathy that comes as a result of resolute eye contact?
Because Allison is soooooo quirky and antisocial, she totally doesn’t know that he’s essentially a famous social media star and perfect in every single way. Seriously. The guy doesn’t have a single flaw. It’s annoying. Anyways, their whirlwind romance where Allison has to ‘learn to trust’ and ‘let someone in emotionally’ basically cures her anxiety. Love is wild, am I right?!
While this novel was a romance, the relationships that really shine in this book are the ones between Allison and her best friend Steffi, and the one shared between Allison and her sweet adoptive father Simon. Those two bonds were what bumped my rating up to three stars.
The Chalk Man
By C.J. Tudor
Goodreads rating: 3.87 stars
I love murder mysteries. I really, really do. And well… this one was okay. This was Tudor’s debut novel, and I do have to give her a pat on the back not only for the easy-to-read writing style, but also for the original ideas intertwined into the story. The book bounces back and forth between 1986 and the present day (in a fairly non-annoying way), slowly but surely giving the reader insight into what has conspired between that fateful day back in the ’80s, and now.
As preteens, Eddie and his friends would ride their bikes around Stranger Things-style and leave each other secret messages in the form of chalk figures that they would draw outside one another’s houses. It was all meant to be a fun way of communicating, until chalk figures that none of them claimed to have drawn end up leading them to a dismembered body in the woods. Flash forward to 2016, when all of the now estranged friends end up receiving a letter in the mail of a single chalk man, forcing them to confront and truly figure out what went so horribly wrong in 1986.
So, this all sounds great, right? I was IN. However, there was more than one occasion that the story seemed to drag on and on. I felt pretty detached from all of the characters, to the point where I almost didn’t give a shit who killed who. While there was both a twist and big reveal, it ended up being pretty anticlimactic. This has been a pretty hyped up new release, and while it wasn’t bad, you can definitely find better thrillers out there. A prime example is…
By Rachel Caine
Goodreads rating: 4.11 stars
I absolutely inhaled this book and immediately ordered the sequel. Stillhouse Lake had all of the components you look for in a good thriller. An eerie setting, gruesome twists, and an abundance of characters who you so badly want to trust and yet can’t actually bring yourself to.
Gina Royal was the stereotypical happy-to-be-submissive housewife and mini-van mom until one unfortunate evening when she arrived home to see that a drunk driver had accidentally driven through the front of her house. “You spend any time in the garage?” An oblivious Gina is asked by Mr. Intimidating Policeman. After explaining that no, that’s her husband’s workshop, Gina is promptly shown the inside of her garage, which to her absolute horror is filled with the body parts of tortured young women. This is how Gina finds out that her husband is a serial killer. Forced to change identities and relocate to protect her family from internet trolls and vigilantes convinced that she was a co-conspirator in the crimes, newly invented Gwen Proctor is determined to keep her children safe. But when a dead body shows up with her jailed ex-husbands MO, she might be forced to go to some extremes.
The pace was quick and consistent, with clues that were just vague enough to keep you guessing while still giving you everything you would need to come to your own conclusions if you’re paying close enough attention. To me, that’s something to truly be appreciated.
That being said, I found myself piecing the clues together at the same time as our protagonist, making the experience all that much more enjoyable.
Forget the serial killer ex-husband. The person you really don’t want to fuck with in this novel? The badass single mom that’ll do anything to protect her kids.
By Emma Chase
Goodreads rating: 4.17 stars
Firstly, I feel like I should clear the air here. I’m not one to judge a book by it’s cover (just kidding, I totally am a little bit, but who isn’t?) but this cover was BAD. At least 50 Shades of Grey was a little bit more discreet. I bought this one over Amazon, solely because I was too ashamed to go out and buy this… in public… Honestly, I’m embarrassed to have bought it at all. I WAS DECEIVED BY THE HIGH RATINGS, OKAY? Which, while we’re on it, what the hell? Where are these people that gave this book five stars? Send me your location. I just want to talk.
Henry John Edgar Thomas Pembroke, Prince of Wessco, is a huge piece of shit. If you don’t already hate him for his vomit-inducingly long name, you’ll definitely hate him for his poor excuse for wanna-be playboy behavior. He’s supposed to become King or whatever, but because he’s, as I aforementioned, a huge piece of shit, he signs up for an American television show where twenty hot and semi-important girls fight to be his Princess or Queen or… whatever, no one really cares. Sound familiar? It’s literally royal Bachelor minus Chris Harrison. Oh my God… do I… miss… Chris Harrison? It’s that bad.
Anyways, the girl who catches Prince POS Henry’s eye? A contestants sister. Her name is Sarah Mirabelle Zinnia Von Titebottum (Again with the long name! This is the Devil’s work.) Also, her last name is TITEBOTTUM. Let that sink in. I really don’t think I need to say any more.
That’s all I’ve got for you for the month of January. If I had to recommend a single book for you to read out of these four, I’d definitely go with Royally Matched so that we can shit on it together.
In all seriousness, pick up a copy of Stillhouse Lake. February has a pretty solid line up so far, including Stillhouse Lake‘s sequel, Killman Creek. So make sure to keep an eye out for that! Well, I’m off to the library! (I’m not.)