Recent Reads #4

11/16/2020


Well, it's been a hot minute since I did a Recent Reads post, huh? I fell so behind in doing this series, and then it become extremely daunting so I kept saying "it's future Anne's problem". I'm my own worst enemy. So, expect two wrap-ups this week and then let's all hope that I get better at this in future. Welp.


Distant Shores

by Kristin Hannah (slight spoilers)

Elizabeth and Jackson Shore married young and raised two daughters. But when the girls leave home, Jack and Elizabeth find themselves in a relationship that has lost its spark. In their suddenly quiet house, they both begin to wonder about the roads not taken. When jack gets his dream job that Elizabeth doesn't quite fit into, she instead ventures to the place she's always seen as home and begins to rekindle her artist passions. I love a good Kristin Hannah book (except True Colors, let's never mention that one.) This one was.. okay. I really enjoyed Elizabeth's side of the story and it was beautiful to watch her revert back to the woman she wanted to be. Jack's story however was just uncomfortable. Cheating on Elizabeth with a girl who could be the age of their daughter, acting like a right ass to his friends, drinking too much, and yet still finding the time to be a misogynist pig toward his wife. I couldn't root for them as a couple and yet that's where the story ended. I turned the last page with a horrid taste in my mouth. 


Mexican Gothic

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, socialite Noemí Taboada heads to a distant house in the Mexican countryside in a bid to save her. But when she arrives her cousin is barely speaking and her family-in-law seem to be hiding a dark secret. This book was the ultimate modern day gothic horror. It read like a classic while still having strong feminist themes. The moment I finished it, I gave it 4 stars. But the more it's sat with me, the lesser excitement I feel towards it. It was.. okay. I've already forgotten names, plot twists, and the overall story which makes me think it'll be an entirely forgettable book for me. A shame, I admit. Don't let this put you off reading it as I'm sure so much of the hype surrounding it is warranted. It just didn't mesh well with me. Was it because I was in the midst of a reading slump when I picked it up? Maybe. Reader problems, ay?

 

Playing With Fire 

by L. J. Shen

Grace Shaw and West St. Claire are the exact opposite of eachother. She is the strange girl from the food truck with a badly scarred face and he is the mysterious underground fighter who is known as the hottest boy in town. She is invisible to the world. He is the town's beloved bad boy. She is a reject. He is trouble. When West thrusts himself into Grace's quiet life, she scrambles to figure out if he is her happily-ever-after or tragic ending. In the best way possible, this read like one of those really great FanFiction's you used to discover at 11pm and stay up all night reading. It was a whirlwind of a time with so many plot turns that it felt like I was actually on West's motorcycle (because of course he rides a motorcycle). I enjoyed their relationship and found both characters to be believable. The unnecessary conflict that naturally arises in every smutty romance book annoyed me as usual, but I get that the author needed to include it to get the characters where she wanted them. All in all, a solid book that I had a hoot reading. (I buddy read this with my friend Maria, go follow her bookstagram @m.is.reading)


Felix Ever After

by Kacen Callender

Read my full review for Felix Ever After HERE


Survival Lessons 

by Alice Hoffman

I did not know what to expect from this tiny book that is technically a self-help guide. I found it at a 'take a book, leave a book' stand and picked it up solely because I knew the author. This under 100 page book made me cry multiple times. With a mix of advice, memoir pieces, childhood memoires, recipes, and beautiful illustrations, Survival Lessons is a beautiful mixed media book that will reach right into your soul and rip it out. I learned so much about Alice Hoffman as a person from this and I loved the chapters talking about her relationships with both her mother and her grandmother. If you enjoyed Wild by Cheryl Strayed or Year Of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, read this. So very beautiful.


The Selection, The Elite, The One

by Keira Cass

Check out my whole review of the trilogy HERE


Faithful

by Alice Hoffman

After reading Magic Lessons and Survival Lessons, I was on a streak of giving Alice Hoffman novels 5 stars so I naturally picked up the last Hoffman book on my TBR. Shelby Richmond survived a crash that put her best friend in a coma. That starts a chain of events in her life that leaves her broken. Can she fix her life before she loses everything? The first half of this novel was.. I'm not going to lie.. boring. But the second half really picked up and etched itself onto my heart. This is a story about growth, change, and accepting love. The writing was beautiful. The cover is beautiful. I gave this a 3 star rating but it's definitely worth a read. Like everything that Hoffman writes, this is memorable and truly worth the read. 


Fledgling 

by Octavia E. Butler 

A 53-year-old vampire in the body of a 11-year-old (roughly) black girl, wakes up with no memory in a village that has been burnt to the ground. Finding a human who offers her a home, blood, and sex (yuk) she begins a journey of finding out who she actually is. You know when you're 20% through a book and your brain tells you to DNF but you don't and it's a huge regret? This book was just.. weird. I stuck with it because I absolutely adored Kindred by Octavia E. Butler and wanted to read more by her. Not only was the last half of this book so incredibly boring (court room stories in fantasy should be banned) but the sexual relationship between the main characters seemed so problematic to me. At one point he even says that he wanted her from the moment he saw her, but at that time he thought she was a literal child..? Ew. No. It seems so weird. I may write a full review discussing all my problems with this novel, but yes, I gave it 1 star and wouldn't recommend. Even the writing fell short.


Autumn 

by Ali Smith

This is the first book in a seasonal quartet written by the truly wonderful writer Ali Smith. I got this out of my library because Lauren Wade on Booktube so often raves about these novels. The author has been on my 'To Read' list for awhile now but I was always afraid that I'd be too dumb to understand them as they are very much written for the time of publishing. Autumn focuses heavily on Brexit and the way that the UK could so easily change for the worse in regards to how the British treat immigrants. I was surprised at how easily Ali Smith's writing flowed, I read the entire novel in one sitting and often felt emotional. Did I always understand? No. But not in a confusing way, more in a Sylvia Plath way. I found Ali Smith's writing very reminiscent of Plath's (a favourite of mine) and I instantly put myself on hold for Winter, the next in the series. 


DNF: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

by Karen Joy Fowler

Rosemary Cooke's life fell apart when she lost her sister Fern. Now in college she's muted herself from others and her family. When her brother comes back into her life, she hopes to finally get the answers about what happened to her lost sister. I had to DNF this at the 76% mark. It was such a tedious book with absolutely no direction. I tried switching from the audiobook to the physical to see if it held my interest more, but nope. It was just as boring. Rosemary was a bland protagonist and her family were instantly forgettable. Her one "friend" was bitchy in that 'I'm just being my pixie-dream-girl self' way. I ended up skipping ahead to see where the story went and it was just as I had guessed from the beginning. Save yourself the boredom and don't pick this up.


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