A Bookworms Bookshelf

 

I have a book hoarding problem, they're pretty much taking over my entire house. Sometimes, when I'm not drowning in uni work I manage to actually read them. And when I do finish them, I usually have some pretty strong feelings related to them and y'all are gonna hear about it.

 

You may see the occasional gif to give more accurate representation of my thoughts.

 

Goodreads

Saints and Misfits

Saints and Misfits - S Mahmud Ali

My problem with this book was the same problem that I had when I read Not the Girls You're Looking For. There wasn't really a plot to the story, it just started seemingly in the middle of something without really cluing you in on what was happening and you just had to piece it together along the way. It's not really clear what the main plot or conflict is you just kind of have to take a guess until everything happens at the end.

And unlike Not the Girls You're Looking For, this protagonist didn't really have any personality. Even now I couldn't tell you what personality traits she had or what interests she had because she was that dull and two-dimensional. It was the exact opposite of trying too hard to not be like other girls (which complete side-note but,,,,,,this is not a personality trait).

To be honest, most of the characters fell flat, to me they didn't really have any depth to them or more than one quality. Even Farooq, who is the monster, isn't much of a character and you'd think he would be considering he haunts Janna throughout the entire book. Don't get me wrong, he's a creep, but there's not really any further information on why he is the way he is, there's no complexity to him.

And lastly, it got boring, like it's easy to rip through because it's short and the writing style makes it easy to digest, but it's still boring. By the time I was on the last hundred pages, I had started skimming.

Puddin'

Puddin' - Julie Murphy

Normally I'm not a big fan of reading stories told from the point of views from two different characters, mostly because the characters end up sounding so similar that I usually can't tell who's point of view it is if I forget. This was, thank God, not the case this time.

Millie 
Millie was a ray of sunshine, she was so positive, and it was honestly refreshing to see a character like this. Not that there aren't positive characters in fiction, but Millie did it in a way that was practical and real and didn't grate on your nerves. Because you're in her head you can see her thought process and how much effort and energy it takes for her to be this positive all the time especially considering the people she deals with and the kind of treatment she gets.

I love the way that the topic of weight and fatness and the stereotypes that people have about those things affect the everyday lives of folks who are fat. The little things that people don't think have any effect you see through Millie that they do and the kind of resentment that can build up over time when you have to grin and bear it.

I thought Millie's relationship with her mother was a great aspect of the story to look into and the miscommunication that the two experience and how it affects her relationship. And I could relate to what it feels like to have that kind of relationship with your parent, to follow orders for so long that your parent kind of stops hearing you at some point until things blow up and they have to.

Millie was a very real character, she had her hopes and her dreams and her feelings and I love that you get to experience the learning process with her as she learns about asexuality and what that means for her friend and about different types of struggles.

I think my favourite thing about this book was the amount of diversity that was present which was great because it's reflective of the world that we live in. It was very reflective of something I saw online a while ago that went, "If there's no reason for all of your characters to be white and straight then they don't need to be." And I love that the author explored that just because you were part of one minority group didn't mean you were excused from having prejudiced thoughts or being discriminatory of other minority groups. We love intersectionality.

Callie 
I could relate to Callie, personality-wise. She had a lot of negative aspects to her like she was vindictive, rigid, high-key an asshole, a little self-centered, and a little superficial and shallow. And it took me a minute to admit to myself that I had those qualities as well.

I liked seeing Callie's character arc because she managed to maintain the essence of who she was as a character while also showing growth as a person. She was a little bit much to handle in the beginning, even I found myself thinking, "Ok sis, maybe take a nap and calm down."

And I'm sure literally every single person I'm friends with has had the same thought about me multiple times.

I'm doing a worse job of describing Callie but I can't really put it into words and I think it was because I connected to her so much that I just get it. Almost everything from the way that she behaved and reacted to things was somewhere along the lines of what I would say or do when confronted with the same situation.

There was one particular situation that stood out and was impressionable on me. At one point Callie prints out and distributes posters all over her school some secrets about several members of what used to be her dance team and I had found myself in pretty much the same situation at one point this year (minus the dance team and the vandalism etc).

Unlike Callie, I had the sense of mind in time to not go through with that decision. But it was interesting to me to see exactly what my consequences might have looked like if I had, how I would've made that person feel, and most of all, the regret that I no doubt would have felt if I had gone through with it. And the lesson that you shouldn't act on things when you're high on anger and adrenaline and have skewed details.

And what also really stood out to me is when Millie said to Callie that she chooses to be the way that she is and that she didn't have to. And it's true, because while Callie is a good person, she's not a nice person or a kind person, for her it's a choice that she has to actively make and I got it.

It's just been a really long time since I've read a character that I've understood on such a deep and personal level that it's actually left me in awe I'm not gonna lie. And if you can't relate to either of these characters, maybe you'll have some understanding that you didn't have before.

Save the Date

Save the Date - Morgan Matson

My thing with this book is that I enjoyed it, and it was fun.

But it was also kind of stupid.

This is the most suburban white picket fence, white family thing that I have ever read in my life which isn't necessarily a bad thing but if you're trying to relate to people and be realistic, it seriously narrows down your audience. 

What I Did Like 
I liked the family bond that everyone in the book had. I love how close all of the siblings were, I loved the dynamic that everyone had and that a whole damn circus was living in this house in preparation for this wedding. Because it felt real, it felt realistic, it's a vibe that I understand because I also come from a big family and it feels exactly like this.

The banter was nice, I loved that everyone was jumping in and involved in the wedding planning and trying to make it a success. With the dysfunction that has been my life this year, I guess it was just nice to read something that was the opposite or at least not nearly as serious as my own.

The Rest of It 
This family is essentially what it looks like when you experience literally zero adversity in life. I found Charlie to be kind of annoying and childish and immature and unrelatable. She's upset that her parents are selling their house, she's a bitch to her brother's girlfriend, and she's kind of an ass to her brother who's been distant from their family for good reason.

And I understand why she's like this, she's experienced literally zero hardship in her life. She hasn't really developed the skill of how to appropriately respond to situations and allocate her energy accordingly. And while I strongly agree that suffering isn't a contest and that your pain is valid even if it's not as bad as what someone else is going through ...

Charlie just needed to fucking get over it, imma be real. She just had to suck it up and move on.

Who cares that your parents are selling the house? You'll still have somewhere to go to when you're not in school, like I get it, I missed the places I used to live in as well, but I got over it after like a week or two. And considering that she clearly comes from a wealthy upper-middle class family who can afford her tuition no problem, I was pretty irritated that she would take the opportunity to see as much of the world as possible for some shitty college close to home because she can't let go.

And this girl was just so hung up on her and her siblings behaving the way they used to when she was younger. I just don't understand why she has such a difficult time of adjusting to growing up and having her own life. Like even her friend pointed out that Charlie had no fucking friends. She's so stuck on this that she is a total bitch to her brother's girlfriend. Charlie goes out of her way to exclude this girl from conversations and activities and only realizes at the end that this girls feelings are justified.

I get wanting to be close to your siblings but I just don't understand why she would go to this extent. The girlfriend was nothing but gracious and made every attempt to be useful and liked and Charlie was just being mean because she had the audacity to be dating her brother. What 18-year-old behaves like this.

And then Charlie expects her brother to apologize to their mother for something that their mother did wrong so they can all go back to being a happy family. She completely disregards her brother's feelings and makes no attempt to understand why he was so upset, all she cares about is that they all fit into whatever happy image she has in her head. She's so mad at her brother and constantly makes him the villain when she literally doesn't give two shits about him.

And it was just irritating because I didn't realize people like this existed out there. I know Charlie is only 18 but the way she reacts and handles things you'd think she was 12. And it really made me realize that whatever trauma I've experienced sucked but at least I came out of it with the ability to cope with shit instead of ending up like the protagonist.

But Charlie aside, it was fun.

In Bed With a Highlander

In Bed with a Highlander - Maya Banks

This made me want to kill myself.

This was the kind of romance book I was looking for when I originally started reading in this genre. Oh my God it just gave me such a headache to make my way through. 

The characters were so annoying, I feel like the men all share the same personality? It's like they take turns using it? Why did they all think being gruff with a bad temperament was a personality trait? There was a whole lot of manhandling for some reason, and everyone kept speaking down to all of the women in this book.

Mairin,,,,,was so fucking annoying and so incredibly stupid, HOLY SHIT. She has literally no idea what's going on around the clan or how things work and takes it upon herself to start dealing with problems that she knows literally nothing about. This is a spoiler but I don't even care because it was just that stupid, but she literally tried to solve a dispute over a horse by using the King Solomon situation in the Bible. And then she was surprised when it didn't go according to plan, which it obviously wouldn't with a dumbass plan like that. She's meant to portray like a strong woman who has a mind of her own or something of the sort,,,,,but she's literally just a pain in the ass and stupid as hell.

What offends me the most is "the plot." It wasn't there for most of the book, like nowhere to be seen, there just needed to be something driving it forward. And the book just kind of dragged on to be honest.

And if I have to read 'Tis, 'Twas, Lass, Aye, Daft, and Nay one more fucking time, I'm going to shoot myself. I'm certain Scottish people use more than those 6 words when they're speaking.

The Duchess Deal

The Duchess Deal - Tessa Dare

I've been wanting to read romance novels for a long time, mostly because I know the majority of this genre is an absolute mess. So you know, I was ready for this to be absolutely terrible but also highly entertaining. I was doing it for the culture if you will.

And I can't believe I'm saying this, but, this was actually kind of good?????

Don't get me wrong, it's no Jane Austen, it's probably not even historically accurate but I'm no expert on English history so bother me it did not.

I thought it was witty and funny, the banter between the characters was really enjoyable and made it easy to read. I liked the characters, it was everything I wanted in a romance, not gonna lie. If this was on AO3, it would get all the kudos. Was it insta love? Yeah, probably but for once it didn't bother me,,,,,because that's kind of the expectation you have when you go into a romance novel ya know.

I think the best part was that it didn't take itself too seriously, everything about this gives the feeling of it's just meant to be fun and easy to read. Would I read this again, hell yeah. Would I go out and buy my own copy: sure I would. So all in all, not too disappointed with my first true romance novel that I've ever read.

Invisible

Invisible - Carla Buckley

This book was essentially Erin Brokovitch in novel format except Erin Brokovitch was way more interesting and clever than this book.

There's nothing inherently wrong with this book it just,,,,,,wasn't interesting or anything new. Like I said, Erin Brokovitch already exists.

The characters were pretty stupid and I don't really think they had all that much depth to them. Peyton was a bitch for literally no reason, especially to Dana, but to everyone in general. She repeatedly uses retard to describe a character who has schizophrenia which was just what really did it for me. Like she was pretty bad before but that was honestly like the last straw honestly fuck you bitch you have communication issues and relationship problems with everyone.

Not even sorry that she fucking blew herself up in the end. Speaking of that, what the fuck even was that, I don't even understand why she blew herself the fuck up like what did that do bitch? What did it achieve? I just don't get it like whyyyyyy would you blow yourself up?????

And everyone in the book was like oh I wonder why she doesn't have friends, and Dana is all she's an independent thinker. No she's a fucking bitch. That's why she ain't got no friends. That's it. Probably has some superiority complex as well. There's no mystery here. It's because she's a bitch.

Frank also had shits for brain. Dana is telling this man they found zinc caused renal failure in mice in a paper written by Chinese researchers and he's all "wElL THat'S miCE," yah no shit they're not going to give human beings renal failure on purpose. It's unethical. THERE'S A REASON WE USE ANIMAL MODELS FOR RESEARCH. AND THEY'RE NOT CHOSEN WILLY NILLY.

Dana was honestly just trying her best, I'll give her that, she wasn't a terrible main character. Kind of bland, but not terrible.

The foreshadowing was so heavy-handed that even I picked up on it and I never pick up on anything ever when it comes to mysteries.

The plot also dragged on for so long, I couldn't help but lose interest. I don't know if all thrillers are like this where you just follow the character throughout their day every day but that's what I'm encountering. I don't think thrillers are meant for me this stuff is just dry as hell, nothing ever happens. So yeah, nothing inherently wrong with this book, I just wasn't a big fan. 

Honestly, just watch Erin Brokovitch don't bother with this.

Beautiful

Beautiful - Amy Reed

This book made me feel bad for the kind of negative review that I gave the last book I read because in comparison to this raging dumpster fire, the last book was straight Shakespeare. I actually kind of miss reading The Earth, My Butt, And Other Big Round Things.

I just,,,,,,I don't even know where to start with this. It's just,,,,,,,,so bad.

 

I guess let's start with the characters??????? I think the one thing that's really standing out to me in this book that there is no explanation for why Cassie does the things that she goes. Right off the bat, the first things she does at her new school is get involved with the fucked up kids and it's never really explained why. There's absolutely no backstory to explain away any of what she is feeling or doing. Like why? Why is she doing all of this stuff? Why is the first thing that she does is do acid and have sex with boys way older than her? Why does this 13-year-old act like she's 25? 

Why. Why. Why. Why.

We never learn. The rest of the characters weren't even worth mentioning because they all had one personality trait and it was the same trait.

The plot????? There wasn't even a plot to begin with, nothing gets really solved in the end, it just kind of ends with the death of Sarah. I would feel bad for spoiling it but this book isn't good and I don't want anyone to put themselves through the torture of reading this. But seriously, there was no plot. It was horrible. It's just Cassie doing messed up things for seemingly no reason. Is that what kids are like these days? They weren't this way when I was this age but maybe I just wasn't in with that crowd of people and I didn't know. Anyways the stuff that happens is absolutely buck fucking wild.

Literally the first 30 pages into this book the main character is on acid and is getting fingered by some guy who's 17????? And then it just spirals from there and she's doing coke and Ritalin (which alarms me even more after what I learned in class about it) and sleeping pills. I think she stopped just short of heroin?

I didn't even like the writing style of this there was just nothing to like. Literally why does this fucking book exist, whomst at Simon and Schuster read this manuscript and was like we should definitely publish this? Who, I wanna know. No offense to the author but what on earth could have compelled her to fucking write this absolute dumpster fire of a "novel"?

I know I read some of her other books but I'm frankly surprised at the high rating I gave them since the content was pretty similar to this book and I'm tempted to revisit them and see if I feel any differently but I'm also too scared to go back.

I was way too harsh on the last book I read.

The Earth, My Butt, And Other Big Round Things

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things - Carolyn Mackler

I was so hyped for this book because with a title like that you've just GOT to have a really good story go with it, right? And I was kind of disappointed.

First off, y'all I just really don't think I'm in the proper mindset to fully enjoy books that handle topics like this (weight bias, fatphobia, rape etc.) and I think that's what's influencing the next thing I'm going to say: if you've read one book through the perspective of a fat girl, or on depression etc., you've read them all.

Which sounds really harsh but let me explain things. Mental illness manifests itself in people in different ways, it shows itself in behaviours that we wouldn't even consider as being a symptom of a bigger problem unless we were talking to a professional. So then explain to me why we see the same thing being represented in literature over and over and over and over again. It's the same internal dialogue and behaviour when we know that it looks different in every person.

"But these authors aren't experts, they don't have knowledge on this stuff."

THEN TALK TO A PROFESSIONAL AND LEARN. If you're gonna publish a book about the topic, it's your job to do your research!!!!!!

But anyways, moving onto the actual content. There wasn't anything bad about the book in all honesty, it's just, I've read the exact same character in at least a dozen other books. I will say, for someone who's mother is a psychologist, Virginia's mom is unbelievably stupid and clueless. How do you go all the way through your PhD and learn absolutely nothing about eating disorders, or orthorexia etc.?

What I did appreciate about the book was the character development that Virginia had in the last few pages of the book as she finally realized that it didn't matter what anyone else thought about her and that she didn't need to be trying to get the approval of her parents when they did nothing but mistreat her.

I think the last few pages were really good in terms of showing what being confident in your own body can do for you and for the relationships around you and not giving a shit about other people.

But yeah, long story short, it was decent but nothing special.

The Walled City

The Walled City - Ryan Graudin

This book was so,,,,,underwhelming????? That's the only way that I can think of putting it, I don't know if it was just me but I was expecting something completely different from what actually happened. I don't even know what exactly I was expecting it just wasn't, that.

In terms of writing, there wasn't anything terrible about the writing itself or the style. It wasn't purple prose or anything, it was suitably descriptive it's just the content itself. I'm not gonna lie it was pretty boring until the last maybe 100 pages of the book and by that point, I was already skimming but I got the general gist of what happened.

I think my biggest problem with this was that the suspense dragged on for too goddamn long. It should not have dragged on until deadass the middle of the book before we found out what the fuck Dai was talking about with his angst and stuff. THAT'S TOO LONG FOR A BOOK THAT IS PAINFULLY SLOW AND BORING.

Stuff simultaneously happens throughout the book with also absolutely nothing happening at all,,,,,if that makes any sense. I know that there were some things that went on but they lacked lustre and didn't really stand out from the other parts of the story. Everything was pretty much treated in the same tone as everything else so even if something was important it wouldn't stand out in your memory when you thought back on it.

The romance was stupid it has no solid foundation, it wasn't really based on anything necessary for a relationship? Everything happened literally just because Mei Yee was pretty which just further goes to show how far pretty privilege will get you in this world.

And the thing is, there was a story being told one hundred percent but I don't feel as if I read a proper story. I see the beginning, the climax, and denouement and all that good stuff, but it doesn't actually feel like I read a novel, it reads like someone's really boring diary.

I know Hak Nam was based on Kowloon Walled City and as I'm sure the history of Kowloon Walled City is interesting, I feel like the content of this story would've been better if it had just been a collection of stories from people who had actually lived in Kowloon City instead of the fictional story that the author actually created.

And I think probably the biggest thing that affected my reading of this book was that I'm just not really in a heavy mood to be dealing with the content that was in this book, especially considering the current political and social climate and how content such as prostitution and rape are being handled in modern times. I just feel so drained from reading news article after news article every day of another woman stepping forward with how she was raped that I just don't have any left to deal with it in a book.

So all in all, it's not a terrible book, I'm just not in the reading mood for it at the moment (and even if I was in the mood for it, I don't think my opinion would change all that much, it's just not my type of book).

Reading progress update: I've read 16 out of 525 pages.

The Unexpected Everything - Morgan Matson

Mdkgkgkg everyone knows Vector Marketing is a pyramid scheme apparently I can't believe they got mentioned in this book.

Skinny

Skinny - Donna Cooner

This wasn't bad but this also wasn't,,,,,,great. I had a lot of problems with this book so let's get started shall we.

 

 

The characters in this book didn't have personalities. The one trait that they all had in common was that they all seemed to hate fat people and then some other characteristic to define their entire being. The only one who had any sort of depth was Rat (which wasn't saying much because everyone else was as deep as a kiddie pool).

Ever was actually,,,,,kind of a bitch. I mean I get it, she kind of gets a pass I guess because of the fatphobia but she was just a huge bitch. And really self-centered, this girl constantly thought everyone was out to get her and maybe there are a lot of big-bodied folks out there who also feel this way, I don't know, I can't speak for a group I'm not a part of, this is just the way it came across to me. I would say she thought everyone was making fun of her but everyone,,,,,was being quite verbal about it so I can't say she was being paranoid. The one person I couldn't forgive her being an asshole to was Rat because this man did nothing but put up with her bullshit and chauffeur her around and she had the audacity to yell at him and develop an attitude after she lost a few pounds (and even before her surgery).

And the characters in this that had all of 2 personality traits and were asshole suddenly developed more traits like halfway through the book? Briella was literally such a bitch to Ever for most of this book constantly fat-shaming her and getting her to do her homework and doing absolutely nothing to understand that she was being a raging bitch.

And then all of a sudden she's nice and defending Ever when someone calls her lard?????? This doesn't make any sense like you basically shamed your sister into getting surgery.

And what was even more infuriating was that after the surgery Ever refused to exercise,,,,,,but also kept complaining about not losing enough weight like GORL. 

Not to mention Ever kept glorifying Jackson and was still stuck on the way they used to be when they were children. This girl kept asking him about things they used to do when they were children and he didn't remember any of it, and for good reason because they were, ya know, nine?????? Even I don't remember what the hell happened when I was nine. (But also at the end he did remember the stuff they did as kids so I don't know what narrative the author was going with). And also it was kind of creepy, imagine someone you haven't spoken to since you were children asking you about shit you liked and thought when you were nine, it's not just me who finds it weird right?????

What I guess I did appreciate about this story was the acknowledgment that weight is complicated and that someone can do everything right and still not lose any weight. Everyone wants to act as if losing weight is a simple matter of eating right and exercising but not all bodies are built the same, not all bodies store fat the same or metabolize it the same. There are over 100 factors that interact in over 300 different ways to control weight. Being skinny doesn't automatically mean that you're healthy in the same way that being fat doesn't mean you're unhealthy (I could go on and on I feel very strongly about this).

And lastly, I think probably my biggest problem with this book is that it kind of seems to be selling the message that gastric bypass surgery will fix all of your problems (even though I'm sure that's not what the author intended) and forgets to acknowledge the psychological impact that comes with it. Ever's biggest problem in this book wasn't her weight, it was the way that she thought of and saw herself and the fact that she was having an auditory hallucination. What this girl needed was a therapist to help her through her self-esteem issues and borderline anorexic issues. Ever was literally hearing voices and at the end of the book, she had a physical manifestation of her hallucination, WHAT SHE NEEDED WAS A THERAPIST.

Reading progress update: I've read 278 out of 378 pages.

Bright We Burn (And I Darken) - Kiersten White

OH MY GOD SHES PREGNANT WITH MEHMEDS CHILD

The Way You Make Me Feel

The Way You Make Me Feel - Maurene J. Hinds

If there's one thing I can say about Maurene Goo with confidence is that her writing improves with each book that she publishes. Since You Asked was decent, not great, but it wasn't the worst thing out there. But with every book her writing gets better, it's more show and less tell, the flow is better, the pace is better, the characters get more developed.

This was a light read and I went through it fairly quickly considering I had school and seven other books I was reading at the same time. I really liked the pace of the story, I felt it went by fast enough that it didn't drag. The writing was decent but I think the main focus of this is the characters.

Clara Shin is not a very likeable character in the beginning. I'll admit she got on my nerves, I wouldn't have been friends with pre-character development her. But there are also plenty of people like her out there so while I wasn't a fan of hers at the start, it was okay. She didn't really care about other people, or think her decisions through, she constantly did things in an attempt to seem cool even though she didn't realize it at the time. She was constantly acting out and getting into trouble.

Her character development throughout the book was my favourite thing, I guess you could kind of call it a coming of age story? Her character development was all very natural and a direct result of the environment that she found herself in. For once she actually stopped and listened to her arch enemy and got to know her and understand her. The bonding that Clara had with Rose made her realize that being genuine and not caring about what people thought about you was better than constantly doing something to be cool. She finally realized how tiring it was to constantly distance herself from everything and act as if nothing bothered her and that it was okay to get excited about things and be sincere and vulnerable. And she finally realized where all of her need to cause trouble came from and talked to Rose about it and sorted it all out with her.

The ending where she realized that she didn't want to be like her mom was really good despite the fact that it was pretty rushed. She became a lot more sympathetic and understanding and mature. So yeah, character development was everything.

I also really liked the relationships in the book and how they evolved. It was obvious that Clara had more in common with Rose than with her actual friends and that Rose was a lot easier to be around than her usual goon squad (which I agree were pretty annoying, I felt like I was babysitting toddlers sometimes). I liked the friendship between Rose and Clara and how it grew to be healthy from their initial hatred of each other. 

I liked the romance with Hamlet too, there was no beating around the bush with it but it progressed so nicely and the two of them were so sweet around each other. Hamlet is just in general a really nice guy, he was a perfect example that guys who are ACTUALLY nice guys don't finish last. He was kind for the sake of being kind, he was genuine because there was no point in trying to please people or impress people. When you grow up being the disliked kid, one good thing comes out of it sometimes and it's the realization that you can't please everyone so you might as well do what makes you happy. He was honest and open about his feelings with Clara. And I especially liked how him telling Clara that he loved her (spoiler I guess) was handled. Clara admitting that it's not something that she can say because it's not something that she fully understands or has experienced towards anyone except her dad.

So overall, it was really cute, a light read, and I definitely recommend it.

(I also didn't realize the scene where Clara cooks vegetables or something on the same surface that she cooked bacon was such a big deal, and by big deal I mean to the point of people being triggered. I get disliking Clara because of it, especially because in some cultures and religions pork isn't eaten for various reasons but I thought the getting triggered bit was a bit of a stretch. Then again I'm not an expert on triggers or what kind of experience a person would have to be triggered by reading about something being cooked on the same surface of pork without it being washed. Obviously every person is different and if that's enough for you to hate the whole book then like so be it and all but,,,,,,,it also happens all the time in real life without any of us knowing it.)

The Hanging Girl

The Hanging Girl - Eileen Cook
I thought I was going to like this because I enjoyed With Malice so much,,,,,,but,,,,,,,this came nowhere near to being as good as With Malice was.

I finished reading this book literally two days ago and I've already forgotten most of what happened this is how forgettable this book is first of all.

Since I've already forgotten most of the book, I'm finding it hard to articulate what exactly annoyed me so much about the book, all I have is this distinct feeling that I just didn't like it.

I thought the mom of the main character was really stupid, it honestly came as no surprise that she had Candi when she was a teenager. For someone who puts so much effort into their appearance you'd think she'd at least be able to buy the right shade of foundation from like Maybelline or something. Half of the characters present didn't even serve any purpose to the story like Candi's best friend Drew, or that girl at the end who she thought murdered Paige. They literally served almost no purpose to the story, if you took out Drew it would only slightly change some of the stuff that happened and maybe cut down ten pages from the book.

Candi was so annoying and I get that she has anxiety and all that jazz,,,,,,,,but her New York problem literally could've been solved if she had been honest and just been like I'm poor, I can't go. And then Drew yelled her and basically implied that Candi wanted to be poor and that she was choosing to be poor,,,,,which was so fucked up like people don't choose to be poor. It's like impossible to save for anything when you're poor because there's always something that comes up that you gotta spend your money on but this is a different rant for a different thing so moving on.

And then the ending pissed me off like the last ten or so pages because it was literally,,,,,,so stupid. It hinged on one teeny tiny fact that was BARELY even connected to Candi realizing who had actually killed Paige. The author was literally reaching to make a connection with the explanation that she gave. I gave the biggest gotdamn eyeroll because it just felt so lazy.

With Malice was better, don't bother with this.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway

The Death of Mrs. Westaway - Ruth Ware

I had some really high hopes for this book because I heard so many things about it and it was hyped up to my knowledge,,,,and I was kind of let down. I expected something that was a lot more suspenseful and had a different tone than the one that was in the book. I don't know how to describe but what I expected wasn't exactly what I got.

My biggest problem with this book is that it's really slow and really boring. I got to the 160 page mark,,,,and nothing of note had happened except for Mrs Warrens being a right pain in the ass. Nothing really picked up until the last 68 pages or so.

I get that the purpose of the slow build was for the big reveal and to real shock us, and believe me, shock me it did. But I think it missed that mark of being just the right pace. I had to keep making myself read this because it was a library book and it has to go back soon. And you really have to make yourself keep reading because this book is just exhausting to get through.

By the time I hit the 280 something page mark of the copy I had, I said fuck it and just skimmed most of what I had remaining and I don't think I missed much. Obviously the juicy stuff I slowed down and read properly but the rest of it, I just didn't care. I spent the entire book hearing about Hal's worries and concerns that by the end I just didn't care about what her next concern was going to be.

And I feel like the bit in the summary made it sound like the entire family was bonkers or serial killers or something when it was really only two people, everyone else was just kind of,,,,,a normal dysfunctional family.

I will say this though, the plot twist at the end, it was wild. My heart started beating so fast I went into fight or flight mode, I'm in the middle of an adrenaline crash as we speak. It was good. It was the only reason I gave this 3 stars.

Pacing aside, the writing was fine, I'm not great with punctuation so if there were any mistakes with it, it completely escaped me. And because of that plot twist ending, I'm gonna go ahead and say that the characters were pretty dang good too. I liked the tarot card reading element of the story since it essentially is the ticket to solving the entire mystery and you don't even notice you've been given the hints the entire time until you get to the end.

Not the Girls You're Looking For

Not the Girls You're Looking For - Aminah Mae Safi

I was really hoping that I would like this book, unfortunately, it seems that I did not. I was really excited to read it because it focuses on a Muslim girl and her life, which you don't see a lot of in YA fiction. But it just let me down in pretty much every area.

I'm not going to lie to you, I knew pretty much right off the bat that I probably wasn't going to like this book. It starts off with no beginning, in fact, when you first start reading the book, it reads as if you picked up in the middle of a book as if it was the continuation of a sequel. There's no easing you into the stories or the characters, it just starts in the middle of something and keeps on going. Like I finished the book and honestly, I still don't know what the hell even happened or anything about these characters.

There's no plot in this book, at least none that I could see. I know it's a coming-of-age story but there should've been at least something to push the story along. The closest thing that came to a plot was I guess the string of parties everyone kept going to. I know that for some stories it's not the plot that carries it forward but the characters but to be perfectly honest, this didn't have great characters or even interesting ones to keep it moving or to keep you reading.

Moving onto the characters which was my biggest problem and why it took me so long to get through a book that would've normally taken me half a day. I didn't like any of them, they were all assholes and uninteresting, and I pretty much knew nothing about them and I still don't. In fact, I even question why Lulu and her friends are even friends. From what I could tell, they had nothing in common, they were constantly judging each other and trying to put each other down. They never listened to reason.

And most of the problems seemed to come down to simple miscommunication and I hate to tell you this but if your entire story is hanging on some simple miscommunication that can be easily fixed ... then your story probably isn't that good. There, I said it.

Lulu is so like, up her own ass that I just don't get her. Every interaction she had with her love interest at the start of the story was so baffling because he was being portrayed as being the bad guy or being offensive and half the things he did weren't even that bad. Like I get why the "you're not like other girls" thing is bad and a terrible pick-up line but a simple "no thanks" would've sufficed and she could've just gone on her way. But instead, Lulu literally drags that small line on for 2 pages and for what? It was so unnecessary, it was such an overreaction to something that wasn't that big of a deal.

Or she goes to a Battle of the Bands type of bullshit and he asks her "oh are you a fan of the band?" and she literally????? gets so mad????? and for what??????? She takes it as him trying to mock her or provoke her into proving that she's a "real fan" which is literally not what he's doing, he's just asking if she likes the band. Like Lulu is constantly accusing this guy of being an asshole but as far as I could see, she was the asshole in literally 99% of her interactions with everyone. And she kept describing him as looking confused when he was talking to her, and for good reason, because she was taking the conversation in a completely different area than where it was headed and the poor guy was just tryna follow along.

The only thing James, her love interest, did that was actually kind of yikes was take her to see belly-dancing because she was Arab.

Lulu is literally just so antagonistic for no reason over E V E R Y T H I N G. It's really hard to sympathize with a character who is constantly victimizing herself and making everyone else out to be like some kind of idiot who isn't as woke as her. And the funny thing is, she just makes an ass of herself every time because she thinks she's so much better than everyone else, the Ramadan incident being exhibit A.

Sis barely knows any Arabic, hears the word whore in a sentence half of which she can't even translate, and assumes it's about her mother like shut up. Your relatives, assholes they may be, can not only swear at you in Arabic and English but probably like 2 other languages as well, meanwhile you refuse to even tell people how you feel in English, sit down.

Her friends were just so????? I don't even know how to put it but like I said, I don't get why they're friends. I would say they're realistic but other than their interactions with each other, I literally don't know anything about them or their families or their interests, nothing. They're all also assholes in their own right.

Let's start with Audrey who's literally the worst person in this book. 

This girl always has something to say about not only Lulu's sexual activity but literally everyone else like you're an alcoholic at the age of, what, 16? I really don't think you're in any position to be judging someone, get off your high horse. And at the end she comes crying to Lulu like no fuck you, you're a terrible person goodbye.

The only thing that was irritating about Lo was the fact that she was trying to fuck the racism out of Scumbag Luke or something like for someone who has her head set straight like she does, I literally didn't get this one lapse in judgement from her. It just made no sense from what I understood about her character. And then at the end of the book, she's crying because Scumbag Luke turned out to be a scumbag like literally everyone said he was. She even knew that he was a racist, homophobic asshole, it wasn't a mystery, it was a well-known fact throughout the book. So did I feel sorry for her? No.

Next.

Emma, didn't do anything, she honestly might as well have not even been in the book because she literally contributed almost nothing, she only served as some sort of plot point because she's gay, but other than that, she didn't need to be there.

To conclude, is this book worth reading? Not really. I'm just glad I borrowed it from the library instead of buying it.

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