💩 = Hot Garbage 😢 = I shed a tear
😭 = I ugly cried 🍆 = Some steamy scenes (Rated R)
💎 = A gem 💘 = Warmed my heart
👻 = Scary! 🤢= Gross
😍= Swoon-worthy love-story 🚩= Red Flag!
It was a rough reading month! Honestly, I think that I’m still recovering from A Little Life (it’s unclear if I will ever fully recover. I only read two books in the first two weeks of the month, but luckily things turned themselves around over the last couple of days, and I finished a couple of really great reads.
Flock by Kate Stewart ✨/5
I hated this book. Truly hated it. I found it through Tik Tok (when will I learn to stop trusting book recs from there).
It’s the story of this girl who moves to a new town where her rich but estranged dad owns a calculator factory. She moves in with him but has to work in the factory during the day. Then she meets this guy at the factory, and they start a romance. He has a raven tattoo, and so do all his roommates. He went to MIT and is very mysterious. And here is where my biggest mistake came in. I thought this book was a fantasy. I was waiting for this guy to reveal that he was a vampire, that he could turn into a raven, maybe he was a fallen angel. He was just a regular guy. This is not a fantasy book, which that misunderstanding is 100% on me. But this book is so boring, and the ending is stupid.
I thought about DNFing it about halfway through, but all the Goodreads reviews said it gets really good at the 75 to 80% mark, so I persisted. Unfortunately, it does not get really good. I read all of the After books last year, and those were significantly better than these; at least Hardin and Tessa interesting sometimes.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
I wanted this book to be a five-star favorite read, but it just wasn’t. I thought it had all the ingredients that I would love: dark academia, secret societies, interesting magic, well-developed characters, but I didn’t fall in love with the book. I didn’t totally vibe with the main character. It’s 100% a me-problem, not a book problem, and even though I didn’t have a super-strong emotional connection to the book, I still enjoyed reading it.
Ninth House follows this girl, Alex, who can see ghosts as she takes over this position as overseer of the secret societies at Yale (who are doing actual magic and rituals). She has a troubled past and struggles with all aspects of her life, both magic, personal, and academic.
It was also very heavy. Bardugo uses this book to tackle some really tough topics like sexual assault and wealth and privilege in the American education system.
Gild by Raven Kennedy ⭐️✨/5
When will I learn to stop taking recommendations from Tik Tok? Apparently never. This book was confusing…? I didn’t completely hate it, but also, it was pretty bad. It tells the story of a gilded concubine of King Midas. A lot happens in the book, but also I cared about none of it. I likely won’t be reading the next book. Warning, it does have a very graphic rape scene, so be aware of that.
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell ⭐️⭐️✨/5
Ugh! Another fantasy that just fell flat! Again the premise was interesting, and I enjoyed most of the characters, but I was bored! Esta has magical abilities to move through time, and she is sent back in time to steal an object that will allow magic to be free in New York again.
House at the Bottom of Lake by Josh Malerman ⭐️⭐️/5
The premise for the book is in the title. These two teens found a full house at the bottom of a lake. The house seems strangely untouched and undamaged by the water it rests in, and the mystery of the place enamors the kids. The book is really well-written, and the tension throughout the book left me on the edge of my seat, but there seemed to be no pay-off in the ending.
The Ivies by Alexa Dunne ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨/5
I read this YA Thriller in an evening! It was a nice change of pace from the traditional domestic thrillers I’ve mostly been seeing. I loved the setting, an elite boarding school, and how it explored the crazy world of elite college admissions. It was an enjoyable read!
A Touch of Malice by Scarlett St. Clair ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Last month I read the first two books in this series, and I think I underplayed how much I enjoyed them. Are they a little trashy? Yes. Do they have the emotional capacity of a teaspoon? Yes. Is every conflict solved with Persephone and Hades having sex? Yes. But it’s a great time. Sometimes it’s nice to read a book about hot people in love who can solve all their problems in a couple of pages.
Hello Girls by Emily Henry & Brittany Cavallaro ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
My quest to read Emily Henry’s books is almost done (all I have left is When the Sky Fell on Splendor). She co-wrote this book with Brittany Cavallaro (who wrote the Charlotte Holmes series), and I absolutely loved it. Why is no one talking about this book? It’s fantastic! It follows these two best friends as they run away from home. Winona is fleeing her abusive weatherman father, and Lucille is leaving her life in poverty and her drug-dealing brother. They get into all sorts of messes along the way. It is fun but also explores the deep intimacy and love between friends. It’s so good! Second favorite Emily Henry book (so far) after Beach Read.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
This book is a cup of homemade chicken noodle soup and a hug. It warmed every inch of my heart. It reads like a children’s book in the best way. It feels like a Wes Anderson movie. It’s perfection. It follows Linus, who is a caseworker for magical orphans, as he is sent to an island to check on a highly classified orphanage. Linus is all about rules and objectivity, but as he meets the children on this island and their caretaker, he can’t help but fall in love. It’s so so good. A new favorite!