I had such a good reading month, I didn’t love everything I read but I didn’t dislike any of the books either. Even the 3 stars I would recommend because I had a good time reading them. So I’m counting it as a win!
Here are my (very extensive) thoughts on the books I read this month:
The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher (4 stars): I really liked this, it made me feel so much dread, there were so many creepy and disturbing things in this book, and the wait for something bad to happen was anxiety-inducing. I appreciated that the two main characters were not idiots or foolishly brave, they were complex, interesting characters. The only thing I had a small issue is that the “chase” at the end dragged a lit bit.
What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher (4.5 stars): This was a quick read, it kept me engaged and the ending was really satisfying, which is hard to in short horror books. It wasn’t scary, but there were a few unnerving moments.
The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (4 stars): This is a quick read and a very interesting book. As always, Silvia Moreno-García manages to include important topics and conversations in this book, I appreciated that it portrayed misogyny and it addressed the way forced labor was performed by indigenous people in Mexico during the nineteenth century. Also, really liked the setting and how atmospheric this was, and the fact that Moreno- García presents us with flawed and complex characters who make the wrong choices and who are not the type of character that appears in novels often. The concept of this, the way it reimages The Island of Doctor Moreau but sets it in Mexico and the twist of that storyline were all incredible. Overall, I really enjoyed this and it kept me interested even if I wish I was a bit more invested in the story while reading it.
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (3.5 stars): It took me a long time to get into this, mainly because the main character was so confused in the beginning that it made it hard to connect with him and he changed bodies so often and most of the people that he had to live as were terrible, so I didn’t feel invested in the characters. I even contemplated DNFing this, but after a while, the mystery was so interesting to me that I really wanted to find out what was going on and I ended up feeling invested in the story even if I was not invested in the characters.
Ruby Fever by Ilona Andrews (4 stars): This book was a good finale for this trilogy, I couldn’t put this down, I found it really entertaining and I loved finding out how everything wrapped up. As always, the world and magic systems in this series are fantastic, it has a super compelling cast of characters, I love the family dynamics and the romance between Catalina and Alessandro was also really good. I wish it was a bit less action-packed, there were mini-action scenes happening all the time because there were like a thousand minor villains and a lot of storylines needed to be wrapped up, but overall I really enjoyed it.
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (4 stars): I had such a hard getting into this book because the beginning is confusing and nonsensical but not in a whimsical way, instead in a very dense and scientific way and I just found that to be a bit boring. Nonetheless, a little before the halfway point when the mystery of this world starts to be revealed, I started to really enjoy the story and feel very fascinated by it. The mystery, the different people involved, the history behind what’s going on, all of it is very intriguing and entertaining to read about. After things are revealed to the reader, it was a bit frustrating to see Piranesi stumbling in the dark but he eventually discovers the truth and the story gets even better from there. The speculative elements of the story mixed with a very scientific and philosophical approach to them make the concept feel very unique and interesting.
Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood (4.5 stars): While it took me a little bit to get into this, I was sold on it once the characters started to interact more about 60 pages in. I loved the characters, seeing them slowly bond and clear up misunderstandings, how much Levi adored Bee, the chemistry and tension between them, and the smutty scenes. The only issue I had with this was the over-the-top ending that seemed like something taken out of an action movie that came out of nowhere.
Don’t Go Baking My Heart by N.G. Peltier (4.5 stars): This is the best representation of the grumpy/sunshine trope I have read. At first, they were a bit frustrating, especially the hero. Still, throughout the book the character development of the two main characters was outstanding and it ended up being really easy to root for them. The chemistry, tension, and slow development of their relationship were all great. Also, the steamy scenes were great.
The Godparent Trap by Rachen Van Dyken (3 stars): I have mixed feelings about this. The hero in this book is such a jerk to the heroine, and while he was grieving, she was also grieving and she wasn’t a jerk, and he started being mean to her since before everything happened and the explanation for it didn’t completely work for me. Nonetheless, once he stopped being a jerk, I actually liked the romance, it was really sweet. I also really enjoyed the relationship between the main characters and the two kids, that part was sweet and the way parenthood was depicted felt very realistic. Unfortunately, the steamy scenes weren’t that steamy.
For Butter or Worse by Erin La Rosa (3 stars): This is truly a hate-to-love story, these two characters really hate each other at the beginning and I appreciated that. Nonetheless, while the main characters had a lot of chemistry and I could understand the physical attraction, I felt like they went very quickly and without reason from hating each other to being comfortable and vulnerable with each other, which didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Also, the very public apologies and grand gestures are not something I like in my romance, and even less so, if it’s done without talking to the other person about the issues first. But beyond all that, I have to admit that I did enjoy the cute and romantic moments and the steamy scenes were good. I also appreciated the anxiety rep, the fake dates and “fake” PDA, and the way this used google searches and tweets, which worked really well to see the reaction of the public to their romance.
An Impossible Impostor by Deanna Raybourn (3.5 stars): It took me a long time to get into this, mainly because there was no mystery for the first half of the book. The mystery mentioned in the synopsis gets solved really quickly and then the real mystery started around the 50% mark. So not a lot happens in the first half. The second half of the book was a lot better, I was interested in the mystery and I liked that the main characters had some personal stakes in it, which I felt was something missing in the previous book in the series. Also, I really liked Veronica and Stoker as always, even if I wanted a bit more Stoker in this book. The final bit with all the angst between them was really good. I’m excited about where their story is going next.