Books I Read in 2020
#164 - Rose Madder, by Stephen King
- Mount TBR: 141/150
Rating: 3/5 stars
Although I haven’t read the rest of The Tearling books, I do not believe it is necessary to enjoy this fabulous prequel. This story is steeped in interesting culture and political intrigue and I found it absolutely fascinating. I could barely put it down to sleep last night. I recommend this for fans of fantasy, particularly in a unique world with dynamic characters.
And thanks to Netgalley for this ARC!
Warning: this will be full of ranting
I just finished my 8th Book this 2020. And it is called “Why We Broke Up” by Daniel Handler and illustrated by Maira Kalman. And I just finished it literally 10 minutes ago. And I am feeling all sort anguish right now. And I am mad too.
I’ve been eyeing this book for a long time now but I never really bought it. Good thing I found a thrift version, and it is even a hardbound! The story is about a girl named Min Green who is writing Ed Slaterton a “break up letter” and giving back all the things she collected throughout their relationship. Each item, she tells the story. And it all adds up to why they ended the relationship. That sounds really interesting to me.
It was formatted a bit different because the whole book is one long letter. It is funny, the way Min narrates things. Also makes you want to jump in the end to cheat yourself in knowing the whole real reason why they broke up. And that exactly the biggest plotwist of the book.
This book made us fall in love with Ed Slaterton only to laugh at us in the end. He was so sweet. Oh girl. The way he tried to “fit in” in Min’s world. The way they fought together when everyone thinks they are just two parallel lines to each other, never gonna make it.
I was so convinced that there is something more serious or maybe, Min is just too paranoid. That the broke up is not Ed’s mistake. Because I knew he loves Min. All the times he said he did. When Min said she’s keeping the tissue with his scribbles, he wrote it. He did.
Did he really love Min? All those things did not make any sense. Why Ed? Why?
When it came down to the rose petals, I feel like Ed broke my heart too. I have to stop reading for 10 seconds to digest what was written in the card. Who it was written for. I was so mad. And heartbroken. Why Ed Slaterton? WHY? I never felt so bretrayed by a guy in a book. I don’t think I will be able to move on for a good week.
The thing I want right now is to talk to someone who had read the book and discuss how we got broken by this. How it made me realize that I am never a good judge of character. That somehow, I always like the bad guys. I hate it. I hate it.
And also, I am in desperate need of Ed’s version of the story. Why he did what he did. Did he really love Min? Is it really possible to do those things to someone?
But I am out of luck because it seems that there is no sequel for this. I heard there should be a movie adaptation starring Hailee Steinfeld but I dont know what happened to it. Was it released? Got cancelled?
Anyway, I just want justice for Min’s heart please. Mine too. (I actually debating with myself whether should I read the fanfic of Ed’s version of the letter or I am just going to hate him forever.)
(End of spolier)
That was a good read. Frustratingly good.
*cries in Min Green*
Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuinston Review
No matter who you are, no matter your religion, race, sexuality, gender, family situation, socioeconomic status, you feel accepted by this book, in my opinion at least. And to add, this is the best LGBTQ+ novel that I have ever read, but on top of that, it might be the best romance novel I’ve ever read.
Alex and Henry are delightful characters to read: never boring, not perfect (because they’re human), innately good and kind, and most of all, so truly loving of one another that it is impossible not to root for them.
I loved the author’s writing, particularly Alex’s character development. I liked him at first, but once I got to know him more and see his emotions, I loved him. One of my favorite things about him is that he makes lists; I make lists to try to get a handle on situations when I feel out of control, and when I heard Alex did that, I completely related.
I also adore the side characters: I love the supportive sisters, Bea and June, and I love Nora’s role as the First Family’s best friend. I love Pez, too. I like how he offers a bit of comic relief at some points but you can see why he’s best friends with Henry, because he is just as caring. And I TOTALLY CALLED IT with Shaan and Zahra. I loved that.
But most of all, my favorite part of the story was how Alex, over time, unraveled Henry’s character. I don’t know if I would call it character development, because I think Henry was who he was the entire time, but it was so magical to get to discover it with Alex, and watch Alex discover himself along the way. I wanted to protect them both the whole time; their love is so pure and a total reminder of everything good in this world.
Overall, this is a novel about love and finding oneself. About family, too, and learning to be proud of who you are. It’s a novel about fighting for who you love, and the life you want to live, against all odds.
I loved how in Alex and Henry’s emails, they used famous quotes form historical love letters. Quite honestly, even though they’re fictional characters I think some of Alex and Henry’s love letters include quotes that can be used as the “famous love letter quotes” they both used. I think they certainly made, “History, huh?” and will go down as inspiring examples of what it means to love another person in that dreamy, all-consuming way.
READY PLAYER ONE - BOOK REVIEW or INEVITABLE RANT?
It’s, like, baby’s first 1984?
Today, I review J.K. Rowling’s The Ickabog. Get ready for cute illustrations, numerous murders, and my kitties growling off screen!
✨ we’re reviewing ‘the invisible life of addie larue’ by v. e. schwab on this month’s episode so go read it to avoid spoilers when you listen!
So it isn’t really a book review because it’s fanfic but I hold @annerbhp s Changeling/ Armistice series in such high esteem I had to express my thoughts. This fic and this writer is well loved among ginny fans but I put off reading it for about a year, not taken with the idea of a Slytherin Ginny. I am so glad I caved and read it.
The Changling series is Ginny as you have never seen her before, all the smarts, strength and power of book Ginny turned up to 11 and placed in an impossible situation. She is sorted into Slytherin and the series follows her through her Hogwarts years, and her career and relationships afterwards with lots of focus on her sixth year and the choices she makes to keep the people around her safe. It is an incredibly powerful read about an incredibly powerful woman, and it centres women in everything, especially in the first installment. The plot itself does not stray too much from canon but it is everything you wish JKR had considered including a secret society of women, real LGBT representation and an in-depth look at how the division of the houses affected the children who were part of it on both sides.
I go back and reread this fic whenever I need a little motivation to pull myself together, it was empowering and eye opening in a way I’m not even sure how to describe. I don’t read much fic, and was never a fan of shipping but this work smashed through all my misgivings in the first chapter to give me what is hands down one of the best things I have ever read.
I didn’t know that this is technically the second book in the Paige Northwood series until I began reading but I can confirm that you definitely don’t need to have read The Silent House before reading this one. Although many of the characters are the same, it’s a new story so you can happily dive straight into this harrowing thriller.
Paige is a freelance BSL interpreter and she is sworn in to help the police with a strange, unsettling case. Five deaf teens and a group of staff from Lincoln School for the Deaf set out on a camping trip to Normanby Hall but 15-year-old Leon has gone missing during the night. The search for him results in a murdered teacher and very few suspects, who all have an alibi. Can Paige help the detectives solve the case before more blood is spilled?
We’re told Paige’s story towards the beginning of the book. She is a selfless, courageous woman who simply wants to help whoever she can. To me, it felt like she had always lived for other people rather than herself, which is something that a lot of women can relate to. Paige has suffered an incredible amount of hardship just before the action of this book takes place and I was nervous for her, jumping into such a complex, dangerous job so soon afterwards.
The case itself involves quite a lot of people and so I pretty much suspected everyone at some point. The other four teens who went on the trip seem to have a collective secret and I knew that something very sinister was happening. However, Pattison was very clever about shielding it because the pieces wouldn’t quite slot together for me. I must say that I thought the other kids had more to do with it than they actually did and although I did suspect the actual culprit in passing, I never gave them any serious thought. I’m not sure whether this is clever writing or whether a few more hints would have been needed to have that ‘oh, why didn’t I see it?’ moment at the end.
There is some seriously dark subject matter dealt with in this book, so trigger warnings for mental abuse and grooming of teens are needed. Both of these things are central to the plot and add to the trauma of what’s really going on but I can certainly see how anyone who has experienced either of these things could be deeply affected by their prominence. Silent Night delves into a few of the very real horrors of the world and it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that I was pretty shaken.
Paige also talks about how abuse victims (especially females) are perceived. This rings very true and this is an attitude that simply has to change in our society. I like to think that #MeToo has done a lot for the credibility of women’s stories but I know that there are still some people who refuse to take much notice until they know both sides. This kind of abuser sympathising behaviour is quite often internal too, so of course it’s easy to see why so many women feel afraid of talking about their experiences as a victim.
I’ve never read a book set so firmly in the deaf community and I really enjoyed that aspect of it. I learnt a lot about sign language and the different ways that deaf people communicate and I really appreciated it. The fact that these horrific events were happening within a disabled, vulnerable community really upped the ante on catching this perpertrator and I think that was a lot of what really drove the plot forward.
Silent Night is a pulse-racing, truly shocking thriller that will consistently keep you guessing. With likeable characters and plenty to think about, it’s a mystery that keeps its pages turning and will leave you wholly distrustful of almost everyone.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a cute unique rom-com and I couldn’t wait to curl up with this one.
Kate Turner has long given up trying to find her perfect romance. She is happily settled into her career as a designer for Liberty and enjoys a quiet life in the small commuter town of Blexford, where she grew up. But when her best friend Laura signs her up to a dating agency, she finds herself embarking on twelve dates over 23 days, leading up to Christmas. Surely she’ll find her soulmate amongst these eligible bachelors?
Kate is a genuinely lovely person and this made it really easy to root for her and wish her happiness. On her second date, she is matched with a man who is still very hung up on his ex and she encourages him to call her. Throughout her dates, she meets men who have various issues with people from their past and she does everything she can to help them. I went through all of her emotions with her and that’s one of the most magical things that authors can do with their protagonists.
There are a few descriptions of Blexford that made me stop and simply enjoy the village for what it is, in all of its winter glory. I grew up in Bromley, which I think is very close to where Blexford is supposed to be, so I couldn’t help but inject some of my own memories into what those South London towns are really like in December. It held a special, cosy quality for me and I have to thank Jenny Bayliss for that.
Kate’s mum is a free-spirited woman who enjoys trotting around the world after unsuitable men. I pictured her as a much less endearing Moira Rose-esque character and it made me like Kate even more for somehow managing to not inherit any of her mother’s qualities. I’m not sure whether I was supposed to feel any sympathy for her mother at any point but I definitely didn’t. I can only assume her presence was included to boost Kate’s character.
I would love a spin-off novel focusing on The Knitting Sex Kittens. I have a special love for books that feature communities of older, eccentric people and I know that there are more than a few fantastic stories amongst these women. I wanted to see more of them in this book, so if they could eventually have their own, that would be even better!
Ultimately, like many festive romances, the book follows Kate’s journey to realising that she has been closing herself off from love but realising that actually what she really needs was always right in front of her. Her childhood best friend Matt runs The Pear Tree Cafe in Blexford and Kate’s relationship with him may appear to be sibling-like to the untrained eye but it really isn’t. They bicker constantly but there’s a strong sexual tension running underneath it. I knew from the very beginning that Matt was who she was supposed to be with and of course, with this being a Christmas rom-com, I had no doubts it would eventually transpire.
The Twelve Dates of Christmas is a smile-inducing, cosy, festive blanket that requires copious amounts of hot chocolate and gingerbread to accompany it. It’s a Hallmark movie without the atrocious acting, so if you’re looking for a wonderfully written, perfectly predictable romance, you’d be hard-pushed to find a better one this year!
‘Because that’s what people in love do: they protect the hearts of those they love, even if that love will never be returned.’
Today’s video is my review of City of lost souls by Cassandra Clare ❤❤❤
Alright, alright, alright… this novel is quite promising.
Secret identities, world-building, superb magic system, royal arranged marriages, steady semi slow-burn romance, and diverse characters. What more can a reader ask for? And despite the instant love gag, minor scenes between Adraa and Jatin that made me want to pull my hair out, and the somewhat slow pacing that made this a dragful read (maybe it’s just me?)—this was an incredible debut and a must read for 2020.
So will I read the sequel? Hell yeah. Adraa and Jatin, the hero and the villain of Belwar that choose to stand and be together, will rise again and I am more than ready to ride along and see where their journey takes us.