Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
This is my second Backman book and I loved it. There’s something about the way he writes that is really enjoyable to me. The characters weren’t completely likable, but that was the whole point. Each character had depth and none of them were what they seemed at first glance. I liked the way that Backman played with expectations. I thought I had everything figured out, but the way he gave the reader just a little bit of information at a time made me realize that I was only thinking what he wanted me to think. Overall, I found this book thought-provoking and emotional with some laugh out loud moments as well. 5/5
House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas
So many pages. And so many characters and organization names it was hard to keep everything straight. I feel like I still don’t know half of what’s going on and I just read 800 pages of it. Also, I think that last line before the epilogue was supposed to be really epic and impactful but…I haven’t read her other series’s so I think I’m missing something. Anyway, it’s fine. World-building feels clunky. Character motivations aren’t clear. Overall, just too much going on (much too many pages). It’s fine. 3/5
Good Rich People by Eliza Jane Brazier
Honestly, I didn’t hate this. The characters are all terrible and parts of it feel far-fetched, but I’m so far from the world depicted that who can even say what’s plausible? I thought Lyla’s internal struggle throughout was well done. She doesn’t exactly redeem herself, but it was nice to see her being differentiated from Graham and Margo. Demi was an interesting character and I actually liked her narration better than Lyla’s even though Lyla had more of the book. The ending was well-played in its ambiguity. 3/5
To Marry and to Meddle by Martha Waters
A continuation of the series and I think Emily might be my favorite protagonist so far (until Sophie’s book comes out, fingers crossed). I liked her dynamic with Julian as they were both pretty straightforward with each other. It was nothing groundbreaking plot wise, but still enjoyable. I liked the resolution between Julian and his parents as well but wish his siblings had gotten more screen time. There were a couple of moments where a chapter would end with some pressing realization, but then the next chapter would start with “a few days later” and I’m left going “How has this information not come out over the course of a few days?” Minor quibble though. 3.5/5
Cover Story by Susan Rigetti
I ACTUALLY did not see that twist coming. It had me flipping back pages and pages and putting clues together that had been RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY FACE. I felt a little foolish, but in the end I think the twist was masterfully pulled off. I’m not going to say I liked Lora as a character, but she was sympathetic and it was hard not to feel for her as she got taken in by Cat. And I could definitely see all the ways this was inspired by the Anna Delvey story (I’d listened to a podcast about it a while back). Overall, this was a light thriller that, while not scary, definitely had its tense moments. 4/5
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
I’ll be honest, I didn’t LOVE Feyre as a character. I always have trouble with protags who find themselves in a new environment and then blatantly disregard everything they’re told/advised by the people who are actually from that environment. Feyre’s actions on Fire Night had me wanting to bang my head against a wall. I liked the tasks element of the book, but it almost felt like it should have been a completely separate book. The reader is rushed through it so the ending feels especially sudden. I also thought the riddle was pretty obvious.
The retelling element of it was interesting…if a bit corny at times (Tamlin showing Feyre the library was completely unnecessary). Honestly, I just started this series after finishing the second Crescent City book because I felt like the last chapter had no impact without me having read this series first. And I didn’t want to be confused in the third book with the inevitable crossover.
Overall, would I recommend this series? Not especially. But I’ll probably continue reading just so I understand context for the third CC book.
Tl;dr – This book is fine. As far as fairytale retellings go, it’s fine. Feyre kind of sucks, but I’m just reading this series for the Crescent City tie in (probably not worth it). 3/5
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
This book is SO LONG and yet very little happens I feel like. I liked getting to meet a new cast of characters, but didn’t feel like we got to know them all that well despite the plethora of pages. Plotwise, I’m left wondering throughout most of this book how much of it was planned from book 1. Are we….are we being gaslighted by SJM? I feel like I did after reading the last Hunger Games book. The end result cheapens all the things that happened previously imo.
Also, she used the word “bark” “barked” “barking” about fifty million times with not a dog in sight. Again, I will continue this series, but just because I know that she’s tying this one together with CC and I feel like I need to have the context.
Also also, that ending re: Lucien is just a big “wut”. 3/5
The No-Show by Beth O’Leary
Honestly, this book was kind of off to a rocky start for me. A lot of time is spent making Joseph Carter seem like a really scummy guy and then when everything is revealed we’re just supposed to let all those feelings go? With that being said, I really did like Siobhan, Miranda, and Jane as characters. They were all really different but equally enjoyable. Which made it hard because it feels like they’re competing with each other throughout the whole book and it’s like you have to pick a favorite (Miranda). Anyway, not exactly what I was hoping for, but better than The Road Trip for sure. 4/5
The Devil’s Music by Nathan Page
Al and Rachel? Yeah, I ship it. This book was less mystery-heavy and starts to dive a little more into the Montague twins’ past. I continued to enjoy the characters and thought it provided a good backdrop for talking about mental health. 4/5
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
More barking (though not as much as in book 2 luckily). And I’m getting really confused about all the “retellings”. Like…now we’re getting Bible retellings? V confusing. But anyway, this series continues to be fine. However, I do not understand why authors keep using the word “bemused” to mean amused. I understand the lexicon changing etc etc. But. Technically “bemused” means confused. AND WHAT IS SO WRONG WITH THE WORD “AMUSED” ANYWAY. IT MEANS EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY AND THE WORD YOU’RE CHOOSING TO USE MEANS SOMETHING ELSE SO I DON’T GET IT. Anyway. That’s a rant that I have every couple years or so.
I liked that the relationship between the sisters was more heavily emphasized in this book. I’m always here for a good sister relationship. I didn’t love how their dad ended up playing into the story but…it’s whatever. I also don’t love the weird tangled relationships between Mor, Azriel, Elain, and Lucien. Obviously Mor is who she is and can do whatever she wants, but it just feels like unnecessary drama.
Also, what’s up with all of the character names being so similar? I had a heck of a time telling Tamlin, Tarquin, Thesan, and Helion apart. And Hybern is a guy, but also a people? So when Hybern “shows up” I was always confused for a couple pages.
Lastly, these books are fine character and plotwise but I always come away feeling like so many conversations or descriptions or action sequences were too long. This book could easily be trimmed by 200 pages (or more) imo. 3/5