Mini-Reviews: The Silent Patient, The Great Alone, The Holdout, and Beach Read

mini-reviews

I’ve noticed lately that I’ve been reading a lot more adult fiction. It’s not a conscious decision and I’m not sure why it’s happening, but I’m going with it! Here are a few of the adult fiction books I’ve been reading lately.

The Silent Patient

I’d heard so much buzz about this book before I picked it up for a book club. Even with all the buzz, though, I really didn’t know what to expect. This book ended up being a little more detective-y than I had anticipated. It was almost as if Theo was conducting some kind of criminal investigation. I wished he’d stayed in his lane a little bit more and that there was more to the interactions between him and Alicia. The author did a good job of making virtually every single male character suspect. Perhaps because of that, I actually didn’t love Theo as a character and especially as a narrator. In the end, I understand why the story was told the way it was, but I’m not sure how I feel about the whole “twist”. 3.5/5

Order: Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle

The Great Alone

I picked up this book because I’ve been meaning to read something by Kristin Hannah FOREVER. After reading this, I’d probably read her again, but she’s not an author who I would binge her entire backlist. Her books are long, heavier, and slower paced than something I would typically want to binge read. That being said, this book is so well-written. The setting of Alaska comes alive in this really unforgiving way. After reading this, you’re getting a big “NOPE” from me re: living in Alaska. Throughout this book I had a really uneasy feeling. Part of it was the tension involved with Leni’s dad, but I honestly think a big part of it was the setting itself. I was surprised at how far the author took the plot. The story kind of just keeps going beyond when I would expect it to conclude. I’m not totally sure how I felt about the ending. Parts of it felt a little too clean to me and I would have liked a bit more open endedness. I also had a big question about what happened with Leni’s grandparents, but maybe that’s just me. 4/5

Order: Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle

The Holdout

The story sucks you in really fast, but I wished that I had a summary of the case right off the bat. Just like a news clipping at the beginning would have been perfect, I think. I wouldn’t say that I loved Maya as a character, but with that being said, we know she didn’t kill Bobby so I was really invested in her figuring out who actually did. This story took many unexpected turns and I thought that was reflected in the ending as well. I liked that we were given answers, but some things don’t feel all the way resolved. There was a resolution to Bobby’s death, though, and I thought it was plausible. The way the book was written was interesting as well. We got flashbacks with different jurors and I thought all of the changing timelines actually kept the story moving along instead of bogging it down. It was really interesting that the author showed how people remember things differently from how things happened or how others recall the same events. Overall, a pretty good “mystery” with insights into the legal system and what it’s like to be on a jury. Also, I love this cover. It’s so simple and I love it. 4/5

Order: Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle

Beach Read

Okay, I think everyone’s been saying this but I’ll just reiterate–this book is NOT as light as the cover would make you think. January and Gus are both dealing with some pretty heavy things. So though they do find love, they have to get through the other stuff first. With that being said, right off the bat I found January to be extremely likable and the chemistry between her and Gus was great. You really just root for them to make it work. And with their history, I also imagined where their lives could have ended up had they gotten together in college (though that line of thinking wasn’t really explored in the book). A couple of critiques: I wish that January’s dad had been a little more present somehow. Maybe his letters could have been sprinkled throughout the book? Or we could have gotten flashbacks from his perspective? My only other critique is that “olive” was used a few too many times to describe Gus’ complexion. It just kept popping up and I didn’t feel like it was necessary. Ultimately, I thought this book ended on a happy and uplifting note. Fingers crossed that Emily Henry decides to really write the book January was working on because I would TOTALLY read it. 4/5

Order: Paperback | Kindle

June 2020 TBR

This month we’ve got some of our local libraries opening up. They’re doing reduced hours and services and all that, but it’s a sign that things might be returning to normal soon-ish.

monthly tbr

Let’s see how this month goes!

What are you guys reading this month? Let me know in the comments!

May 2020 Wrap-Up/TBR Update

I’ve felt pretty good about this month! I’ve read a few great books and some new ones that I was excited about.

monthly tbr

Also read/reading:

Books finished this month: 10
Books currently reading:
2

Overall TBR:

TBR at the beginning of the year = 296
TBR at the beginning of May = 308
Books added to TBR = 14
Books read/deleted from TBR = 4
Total on TBR now = 318

How did your reading go this month?

33 Best Book Deals for 5/28/20: Grant, Infinity Son, The Poet X, and more

Book Deals
As of this posting, all of these deals are active, but I don’t know for how long!
Less than $1

The Seventh Sun by Lani Forbes

Less than $2

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan

And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness

Intercepted by Alexa Martin

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

Grant by Ron Chernow

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

True Grit by Charles Portis

Less than $3

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

The Twin by Natasha Preston

Rebel by Marie Lu

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maureen Goo

The Lady of Sing Sing by Idanna Pucci

Infinity Son by Adam Silvera

Moment of Truth by Kasie West

The Upside of Falling by Alex Light

Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness


Recommended from this post:

ARC Review: The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant [6/2]

Nina is the Black Cat of the Thieves Guild–there’s nowhere that she can’t break into. When the notorious Tiger sets his eyes on her father’s ward, Ettie, Nina will do whatever it takes to save her from him. In revolutionary France, this Les Miserables retelling brings Eponine into the spotlight.

I’ll be honest, I’m not super familiar with the original plot of Les Mis. I saw the movie when it came out, so I know very vaguely what’s going on, but I didn’t know enough to recognize what all is changed in this book. I think it may have been a more enjoyable read if I did know a little more? But maybe it would have been the same. It felt like maybe there were some times when I was supposed to be able to anticipate what might happen next, but I couldn’t do that.

I liked Nina as a main character. Her motivations were very clear and I felt like she was pretty consistent. I did think it was a little overkill to have three guys falling over themselves for her though? Just one would be enough, thanks. I liked Ettie as well and almost wish we’d gotten some more from her. She had really great development as a character and the Ettie at the end of the book is miles away from the Ettie at the beginning (in a really good way).

The plot itself was confusing to me at times. Obviously the driving plot is that Nina is trying to save Ettie from the Tiger, but the way certain things happened wasn’t always super clear. I missed one of the time jumps too I think because all of the sudden Nina was talking about how she’d been a cat for a few years when I thought it had only been a few days. I really liked the concept of the guilds and Lords, though. I wish I had been reading a physical copy instead of an eARC so I could keep referring back to the pages at the beginning that listed all the guilds and key players.

Overall, I thought this book was good and I did feel like it helped fill the Six of Crows shaped hole in my heart. I can’t say if Les Mis fans will especially like this one, but I thought it was good and I haven’t seen any other Les Mis retellings out there. I’m definitely looking forward to where this series goes.

Preorder: Hardcover | Kindle

Overall Rating: 3.5
Language: Mild
Violence: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Mild

Note: I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Taylor Jenkins Reid Mini-Reviews pt. 2

A little while back, I went on a TJR binge and can now say that I absolutely love her and her writing and will definitely be keeping tabs on any of her new releases. I already posted a few minis, but I there were still a couple I hadn’t read when I published those. I think I’ve read all her books at this point? But let me know if I’m missing any.

Forever, Interrupted

This book is absolutely heartbreaking. Every time we go back to the present timeline after being in the past is so hard. I loved Elsie’s relationship with Ben and TJR really helps the reader to be invested in it even though we know it’s not going to last very long. I absolutely LOVED Ana and thought this book from her perspective would have been really interesting too. One critique is that I didn’t love how Elise and Susan’s relationship was portrayed. I felt like I wanted a little more of it and I also wanted Elsie to reciprocate a bit more. Perhaps that was the whole point though…that Susan was helping Elsie through it. But I still felt like there was a lot of taking on Elsie’s end and not much giving. Overall, I really enjoyed this one. 4/5

Order: Paperback | Kindle

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

This book and Daisy Jones have so much in common from the perspective that they’re both historical fiction novels with hyper-realistic characters. They both show a darker side of a glamorous industry as well. Just like Daisy Jones, it was hard to believe that Evelyn Hugo and other characters in the book are not real people. I thought Evelyn herself, while not entirely likable, had a really fun voice that made this book a smooth read. I know a lot of reviewers have been critical of Evelyn as a character, but I think she’s an antihero of sorts. I also think it’s important to remember that Evelyn the character is less important than Evelyn the idea. She’s meant to represent Hollywood and how women have had to change themselves to “make it”. This book is a commentary more than anything else. I only had one small issue with the book regarding a plotline in the end that involved Monique. I won’t give any spoilers, but if you’ve read the book, I think you’ll know what I’m talking about. I just don’t really see how it added to the story? I feel like the book would have been just as strong if it was only about Evelyn. I guess that part just went over my head.

Overall, I liked this book quite a bit as well though I’m more partial to TJR’s contemporary romance type books. With that being said, looking at the premise for her next book, it seems like she might be heading down this path of historical fiction without looking back. I welcome that too. 4/5

Order: Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle

Rereading Twilight as an adult

It was always my plan to reread Twilight this year, but with the Midnight Sun announcement I thought I’d better do it sooner rather than later to avoid long wait times on a hold list.

Rereading Twilight

I remember the first time I saw Twilight. My older sister had checked it out from the library and I remember reading the cover flap. I don’t remember what my immediate thoughts were, but it was during the period of the time that I read many of my sister’s library books without her knowing in the middle of the night. Regardless of when I ended up reading it, I loved it. I loved the entire series though I was never Team Edward or Team Jacob (I was Team Jasper). Since then, a lot of criticism has come out regarding the Bella/Edward relationship. I was too young at the time to recognize any potential abusive situations so I was really curious how the books might read as an adult.

So here I am rereading the books over 10 years, a husband, two degrees, and a kid later. I am in as different a stage of life as I could possibly be from when I first read these books. First, I just want to talk about the writing. I found the first person narrative to be really grating. I’ve read other books that were narrated in the first person that didn’t seem so self-absorbed. I didn’t particularly enjoy being in Bella’s head that much. It was also clear to me that Meyer was trying to write in this really lush and descriptive way, but it doesn’t come off smoothly. Her descriptions end up bogging down the entire story. Honestly, I would love to take a red pen to these books because I think that we could cut out about 200 pages from EACH BOOK (probably 300 from the last one). Especially in the last book, I just noticed that it took FOREVER to get through the story. There were so many pages and chapters where nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. We get this huge internal monologue about nothing and when the character comes back to the present, five seconds have passed. It was just so infuriating, especially in the last book when I just wanted to be done.

The plot itself isn’t bad. It’s not a bad story by any means (despite the love triangle). I actually do find this entire community of vampires to be interesting. In the later books it gets more into vampire history and I thought that part was different and perhaps could have been expanded on. It just didn’t need to take as much time as it did.

Characters…this is ultimately where I feel the books really suffer. As a kid, I think I remember liking both Jacob and Edward fine. Bella was just okay for me, even back then. With this reread though, I realize that all of these characters are AWFUL. Bella is extremely codependent. She goes from an over-reliance on Edward to an over-reliance on Jacob. She also has this recurring problem of underestimating the paranormal creatures in her life. Or perhaps it’s less an underestimation of their skill, but an overestimation of their willingness to die for her? Anytime one of the groups (vampires or werewolves) decides to go fight someone, she has this freakout because she thinks everyone is going to die and it’ll be her fault. It’s such a complete overreaction and she does it time and time again. It’s infuriating. Obviously, they’re going because they think they can win–maybe give the paranormal creatures (who you really know nothing about) a little more credit, Bella.

This time around, I can definitely see that Edward is super controlling. In Eclipse, he literally is trying to tell Bella who she can be friends with. She has to ask his permission to do anything and it drove me crazy. It’s also super creepy that he crept into Bella’s room to watch her sleep. That will never not be creepy. He doesn’t start treating Bella as any sort of an equal partner until like…the end of Eclipse. He’s also terrible at communicating with her (as in, he doesn’t).

Jacob is hotheaded and not at all respectful of any of the choices that Bella makes unless he completely agrees with it. My jaw was literally on the floor when Jacob sexually assaults Bella not once, but TWICE. And he thinks he did nothing wrong! He sort of apologizes? But in a way that’s clear that he would definitely do it over again.

And now…the relationships. Bella and Edward quickly jump into being “in love” when “in lust” is more like it. What is their relationship based off of? Nothing of substance, that’s for sure. Bella can’t control herself when they kiss and if that’s not the definition of “in lust”, then I don’t know what is. Even as a kid, I remember being really confused by Bella’s physical overreactions. Later on in the series, Bella finds that she’s actually in love with BOTH Edward and Jacob. I know she’s supposed to be really mature for her age (even though she doesn’t act like it), but I just have a hard time seeing how a teenager could be truly in love with both Edward and Jacob to the extent that she seems to be. It’s just too much.

Lastly, let’s talk about Renesmee. Now, this part of the plot was a tad more of a stretch for me. Why does Renesmee grow and develop so fast? No one knows. On a side note, let’s talk about her name. Renesmee Carlie–the ultimate name mashup. So cringe. The cringiest of the cringe names. So bad. But back on topic, because of her quick development, I had a really hard time keeping an image of her in my head. Does she look like a toddler but act like a ten-year-old? Or is she just like…a mini ten-year-old? On another note, I didn’t love her interactions with Bella. Or rather…I didn’t love Bella’s interactions with Renesmee. I remember this from before as well–Bella never reads like a mom to me. Especially now that I AM a mom, I feel like Bella reads more like an older sister or something. There’s so much internal monologuing about literally everything else, but I just don’t feel from Bella what it’s actually like to be someone’s mom.

Overall, this was a very interesting experience and I’m glad to be done with it. I can safely say that I will not be rereading these books ever again and I have no interest in picking up Midnight Sun. Twos across the board.

Have you read or reread the Twilight series as an adult? What were your thoughts?