Review: Mad Honey

Mad Honey
Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I know for a lot of people there was a major twist in this story. That wasn’t the case for me because I had read books by both of these authors and I had a reasonable way to guess the twist. Putting that aside, this book was one of my favorites of this year. I know a lot of people complained that it was “all the issues” but I didn’t think that way. Life is complicated, many people are experiencing a lot of these issues at once and none of these are issues for a novel, they are part of real life. Abuse, divorce, bullying, meanness, parenting struggles, and identity. All of these are way more common than we might wish they were. The relationships and experiences in this book all felt real to me and were handled with so much tenderness. I loved every single moment i spent with it.

View all my reviews

Review: Ana Takes Manhattan

Ana Takes Manhattan
Ana Takes Manhattan by Lissette Decos
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the story of Ana who is filming reality-tv shows about love and marriage while she’s trying to figure out her own journey with love. She takes a bunch of bad turns but eventually grows and finds her own way.

What made this book trickier is that Ana’s not a super-likable character. She’s pretty judgmental and even though you know it’s because of her fear, it becomes hard to feel compassion for her after a while. Her best friend also seemed like not the best character, to be honest, and it’s hard to tell why they are so close. The author tells us this often and has one or two examples of why but I didn’t find it believable. I did love Richard but there wasn’t enough of his character development in the story for me to get to know him enough.

In the end, it was an enjoyable and quick paced story but likely not one that will stick with me.

with gratitude to Forever (Grand Central Publishing) and netgalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Review: The Drift

The Drift
The Drift by C.J. Tudor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel has three stories, all of which take place in a snow storm. A bunch of students are stuck in an overturned coach. Several adults are stuck on a stopped cable car. And several guards/caregivers are stuck in their workplace while the generator is flaking and causing unexpected side effects.

It all takes place in a futuristic time when there’s a virus that has infected much of society and this world is deeply dystopian. This novel was creepy and gory in many parts. I could almost feel the cold and the eerie moments viscerally.

I don’t usually read horror but CJ Tudor’s books are an exception because of the character development that’s interwoven in the fast-paced plot that keeps you on your toes. I was able to guess the twist on this one but it still didn’t stop me from avidly turning the pages.

with gratitude to Random House and netgalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review

View all my reviews

Review: Our Missing Hearts

Our Missing Hearts
Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love Celeste Ng’s writing. I love her character development, I love her quiet but affecting stories. This novel, for me, didn’t have enough of the depth of her others but it was still deeply touching and one of those stories that stays with you because of how deeply it rings true even though it’s dystopian. I am so grateful for authors like Celeste Ng.

View all my reviews

Review: A Map for the Missing

A Map for the Missing
A Map for the Missing by Belinda Huijuan Tang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A beautiful and touching story about family, expectations, hopes and dreams and the cultures we grow up in. The way our paths diverge and how that can impact what we think of ourselves and others. The way we never see our own and others’ realities but make our own versions of that. Siblings and parenting play a huge role in this touching and deeply affecting story too.

View all my reviews

Review: The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything

The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything
The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything by Kara Gnodde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book started out slow for me. It took me a while to understand and like Mimi and Art. But once I did, I fell madly in love. I thought the book did a great job making the reader experience Mimi’s confusion about Frank and balancing her own happiness with the need to take care of her bother.

Even though there are bits and pieces of this story I could criticize, overall I really loved it. It explores deep meaningful topics like family, parent’s death, connection, love, trust, safety, friendship, fear and loneliness. There’s so much depth and beauty to the real characters here.

with gratitude to HarperCollins and edelweiss for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Review: The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything

The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything
The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything by Kara Gnodde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book started out slow for me. It took me a while to understand and like Mimi and Art. But once I did, I fell madly in love. I thought the book did a great job making the reader experience Mimi’s confusion about Frank and balancing her own happiness with the need to take care of her bother.

Even though there are bits and pieces of this story I could criticize, overall I really loved it. It explores deep meaningful topics like family, parent’s death, connection, love, trust, safety, friendship, fear and loneliness. There’s so much depth and beauty to the real characters here.

with gratitude to HarperCollins and edelweiss for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Review: The Atlas Paradox

The Atlas Paradox
The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Meh. For me, this was somewhere between 2.5 and 3 stars.

I read and enjoyed the Atlas Six and was looking forward to the sequel. I really enjoyed learning about each character and their backstory and the world building in the first book. Unlike many, the lack of explanation of the magic or the wordiness didn’t bother me in the first book. There was enough character building and enough plot to keep the book engaging and moving.

Neither of those things were true in the second book. The characters aren’t changing or growing. The plot was mostly nonexistent. Enough that it’s hard to tell the point of this book. Maybe it was just a filler book before the third one, but even then, it would have been better to have the book be half as long, move some of the plot points forward and get the readers ready for the conclusion instead of making us slog through a 400-page book that doesn’t really go anywhere.

I like these characters and find them interesting, especially when they interact with each other (as opposed to pontificate on their own) but this book just didn’t stand up on its own enough to hold my interest. Here’s hoping the third one does.

I will add that the audio is fantastic. A full cast makes the experience come alive when differentiating between the characters but it still wasn’t enough to save this book, for me.

with gratitude to Macmillan Audio and netgalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review

View all my reviews

Daily Joys

Daily Joys – 279

COVID boosters, flu shots and rest. Grateful.

Daily Joys

Daily Joys – 277

Quiet. Tired.

Daily Joys

Daily Joys – 276

Walking, taking a bath, slowly moving towards reset.

Daily Joys

Daily Joys – 275

Took a long walk and a long bath and grateful.