If you follow me on my other bookish social media (instagram and litsy: @ weeziesbooks), you know that I have been in a pretty awful book slump for the last two months. I didn’t keep up with what I read in June (but it was abysmal, trust) and July stalled out really fast. I only read three books in July. Three. 3. I’m reeling, y’all.
In my defense, not that anyone ever has to defend their reading… or lack thereof, this summer has been hectic. My two oldest godkids both played travel ball this summer (which is thankfully OVER), Dad and I have traveled and done some sightseeing, and I’ve been adjusting to new medication. Not exactly the right combination for reading.
I’m hoping with Autumn fast approaching that I’ll be able to amp up my reading again and get back to what I love.
This month I read:
THE FOREST QUEEN by Betsy Cornwell. I received an ARC of this from HMH in exchange for an honest review. This book was a showstopper for me. I picked it up early one morning and didn’t put it down until it was finished. There’s just something about the plot and the characters that hooked me in really early, and the pacing of the story was so on-point that it never lagged enough to break my immersion in the story. There were a lot of things in this story that I deeply appreciated- the romance that didn’t overwhelm the story, the female friendships, the talk of how having a baby/not having a baby was a woman’s choice, and the element of the “found/created family”. I think without these things, this could have been another bland retelling but Cornwell did a fantastic job of writing a feminist novel that stayed true to a time period when women were little more than property and were often pitted against each other. If you are a reader with delicate sensibilities, I think it’s fair to warn you that there are some really troubling scenes in this book that include: descriptive animal abuse/animal death, descriptive suicide attempt, themes of incest, rape, descriptive childbirth, and descriptive scenes of death/decay/decomposition of humans. 4/5
BEFORE I LET GO by Marieke Nijkamp. I received an ARC of this via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I love thrillers, mystery, suspense, and books that use a little magic to move the plot along. I thought BEFORE I LET GO would smash all of those things. Unfortunately, it just seemed to sort of nudge and run away, leaving me feeling a little disappointed. While the premise of the book was interesting and had a lot of promise, the execution fell flat. As a reader, I’m used to suspending disbelief in order to appreciate a story but this one had glaring plot holes and characters that just behaved the way no actual human would. Without giving too much away, I couldn’t believe that Corey never once wondered to herself or asked anyone why they suddenly believed what they believed about Kyra. In the 7 months she was gone, what changed? How did everything begin? It felt like the author was trying to do too much for her writing ability. She tried to create a creepy town, a mysterious death, friendships, and then threw in “I’m asexual, she’s pansexual, and those two boys are gay”. I love Queer literature when it’s done right, but the quick “I’m asexual because I don’t like to kiss” almost made me quit reading this book. This just wasn’t a satisfying read. I’m generally ok with being left with questions but when the questions are “Why wouldn’t she tell her mom that someone tried to murder her??”, I have to shake my head. 2/5
THE MERCILESS by Danielle Vega. I’m pretty sure I reviewed this book at the beginning of the year and it’s just as fantastic as the first time I read it. Filled with petty girls, murderous girls, religion, and demons, this hit a deep craving for a frightening read. I’m in love with Vega and how she sets the atmosphere for her novels (I also loved SURVIVE THE NIGHT) and I can’t wait to finish the rest of this series.
And that’s it for July! Here’s to hoping August treats me a little better.