Updated: Sep 23, 2022
okay, I'll workshop my titles a little more... but anyway, here's a list of books I've read this month...
Book 1: Batman, Volume 6: Graveyard Shift by Scott Snyder
About the book:
In the wake of the death of his son Damian, Batman is in danger of losing his humanity. However, the foes of this grief-ridden Dark Knight mean to strike him when he's at his weakest. Has Batman's worst foe become... Bruce Wayne?
Plus, three pivotal chapters from the epic ZERO YEAR storyline! From the critically acclaimed, New York Times #1 best-selling creative team of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo comes the next genre-defining graphic novel in their monumental run.
Collects: Batman #0, 18-20, 28, 34, and Annual #2
Over the course of last year, I made the conscious decision to read more graphic novels. For the longest time, I figured I wasn't cool enough to get into comics or graphic novels (the same insecurity went for video games). Anyway, I decided to start with characters I know I already liked and I took a stab in the (comixology) dark and I dove into the Scott Snyder Batman 2011 series and immediately fell in love.
I like the way Snyder envisions the Batman cast of characters. I had delusions of grandeur about what my first book of the year would be and ended up putting so much pressure on it. In the end, I decided to go back to something fun and quick to alleviate the pressure I was putting on myself. (if only I knew how to do that in other aspects of my life)
Book 2: Every Last Secret by A. R. Torre
About the Book
Welcome to the neighborhood. Watch your husband, watch your friends, and watch your back.
Cat Winthorpe has worked hard to get what she has: a gorgeous home; social standing; and William, her successful, handsome husband. Then a friendly new couple moves into the estate next door. While cautious, a good neighbor like Cat greets them with open arms and warm hospitality.
Neena Ryder isn’t a fellow lady of leisure. A life coach with off-the-rack dresses, personal issues, and a husband who hasn’t delivered, she’s anxious to move up in the world. This beautiful new town is a step in the right direction. It’s also making Neena aware of what she doesn’t have. Namely, William. When Neena’s infatuation escalates into obsession, it’s just a matter of eliminating a few obstacles to get the life she wants. The life next door.
As Neena’s secret fixation grows, so does her friendship with Cat. But beneath their cordial interactions is a wealth of temptations, secrets, and toxic jealousy. For both women, the desire for a perfect life can turn perfectly dangerous.
I used my kindle unlimited subscription to listen to this audiobook. It was the perfect book to listen to while doing some household chores. The book was equal parts mystery and rich neighborhood drama. Admittedly, in the beginning, I was uncertain if I'd like the book. I found myself drifting away through parts of the beginning, thinking it was just another story about a sordid affair between rich people. I mean it was but it had some twists in the end that made it worth the listen.
Book 3: We Belong by Cookie Hiponia Everman
About the Book
A novel-in-verse, that weaves an immigrant story together with Philippine mythology.
Stella and Luna know that their mama, Elsie, came from the Philippines when she was a child, but they don’t know much else. So one night they ask her to tell them her story. As they get ready for bed, their mama spins two tales: that of her youth as a strong-willed middle child and refugee; and that of the young life of Mayari, the mythical daughter of a god.
I think my biggest mistake was listening to this as an audiobook. As a Filipino-American, myself, I was excited to listen to this book and hear familiar myths. While the book was an interesting way to intertwine Filipino culture and a story of a mother's journey to America, I don't think I found it using the right medium. The story interspersed a lot of Tagalog and Taglish and, while I understood all of the Tagalog words, I kept wondering if other people reading or listening to the book would also understand. By the end of the audiobook I found there was a glossary of terms for non-Tagalog speaking people to reference.
Ultimately, I think the storyline was a bit clunky at times. I know the book was aged for Middle Grade readers but, given that context, it felt like the author aged the project in that way because there were middle grade characters and not because the content was appropriate.
Book 4: The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
About this book
From the author of the contemporary classic When the Emperor Was Divine, a tour de force about a group of women brought from Japan to San Francisco in the early 1900s as mail-order brides.
In six unforgettable, incantatory sections, the novel traces their new lives as “picture brides”: the arduous voyage by boat, where the girls trade photos of their husbands and imagine uncertain futures in an unknown land . . . their arrival in San Francisco and the tremulous first nights with their new husbands . . . backbreaking toil as migrant workers in the fields and in the homes of white women . . . the struggle to learn a new language and culture . . . giving birth and raising children who come to reject their heritage . . . and, finally, the arrival of war, and the agonizing prospect of their internment.
Once again Julie Otsuka has written a spellbinding novel about identity and loyalty, and what it means to be an American in uncertain times.
Did Not Finish: Admittedly, I picked this book thinking it would be a quick read and the rawness of the content made it something heavier than I had intended for the time. I did not DNF the book because I didn't like it... I DNF'd the book because I was not ready for it. Maybe one day I'll revisit...
Book 5: Mrs. Rochester's Ghost by Lindsay Marcott
About this Book
In a modern and twisty retelling of Jane Eyre, a young woman must question everything she thinks she knows about love, loyalty, and murder.
Jane has lost everything: job, mother, relationship, even her home. A friend calls to offer an unusual deal—a cottage above the crashing surf of Big Sur on the estate of his employer, Evan Rochester. In return, Jane will tutor his teenage daughter. She accepts.
But nothing is quite as it seems at the Rochester estate. Though he’s been accused of murdering his glamorous and troubled wife, Evan Rochester insists she drowned herself. Jane is skeptical, but she still finds herself falling for the brilliant and secretive entrepreneur and growing close to his daughter.
And yet her deepening feelings for Evan can’t disguise dark suspicions aroused when a ghostly presence repeatedly appears in the night’s mist and fog. Jane embarks on an intense search for answers and uncovers evidence that soon puts Evan’s innocence into question. She’s determined to discover what really happened that fateful night, but what will the truth cost her?
Another Kindle Unlimited listen. This one a little more disappointing. To me, the book read like a modern retelling of a gothic novel and, while I love gothic literature, it felt like this book was severely lacking. the book was predictable in the worst ways. The plot was mostly forgettable and the parts I remember are so similar to other books I've read that it kinda blurs away.
Book 6: The Perfect Poo by M. J. Edwards
About this Book
EXPERIENCE SATISFACTION LIKE NO OTHER.
Have you ever needed to go so bad it hurt? And when you finally went, how did it make you feel?
Good? Of course it did, don’t be afraid to admit it.
Stella Stipsi hasn’t been to the bathroom in so long, she’s forgotten just how good a satisfying poo can be.
Until one day, she lays one out that makes her feel so alive, she realises something that exhilerating must have a higher purpose. It must be here for a reason.
Because when you have the perfect poo, our emotions can get the better of us. Or could it really be true love?
Follow MJ Edwards on Twitter @MJEdwardsAuthor
Dear Lord... I don't even know where to begin. I don't even know how to explain how I got here. One of my closest friends, Ji, and I have been wanting to do our own mini book club and we decided this is the year to do it! In one of our long FaceTime chats, we identified we never got along to reading romance novels and so we decided to populate our list with all kinds of books... including this one. She had heard of this book through one of the YouTubers she follows and we both were so curious and so ... here we are.
Good news: the book was only 40 pages. Bad news: it was the longest 40 pages of my life.
Imagine this: You ask a 12 year old boy to write a love story for an English prompt and he decided to be cheeky (pun intended, always). I won't spoil the book too much (in case there is someone who wants to read this), but thankfully, it is not erotica, just weird love story between a woman and her sh*t.
Book 7: For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten [Wilderwood Series #1]
About this Book
The first daughter is for the Throne. The second daughter is for the Wolf.
For fans of Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale comes a dark fantasy novel about a young woman who must be sacrificed to the legendary Wolf of the Wood to save her kingdom. But not all legends are true, and the Wolf isn't the only danger lurking in the Wilderwood.
As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose-to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he'll return the world's captured gods.
Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can't control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can't hurt those she loves. Again.
But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn't learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole.
The author has provided a list of content warnings here.
a curious way to retell several fairy tales in a different way and it hooked me right away. I was really sucked into the characters and the lore of the Wilderwood. There were moments where I felt the magic workings were shoddy but those moments were sparse enough for em to be able to ignore it. I was disappointed the sequel is not out yet but I have already preordered it! I hope I'm just as excited about For the Throne as I was about this.
Book 8: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang [The Kiss Quotient #1]
About this Book
A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick. Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases—a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old. It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice—with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan—from foreplay to more-than-missionary position... Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...
Borrowed through Libby.
Another book through the wandering into me and Ji's romance venture... I've got to say, I am genuinely surprised by how much I liked this book. Aside from not thinking I was cool enough to read graphic novels, I am ashamed to admit, I thought I was too cool to read love stories and let me say... I didn’t anticipate being as invested in the story as I had been. There were moments where the prose seemed clunky and seemed a bit awkward but i think it added to the characters involved. Michael is the epitome of the female gaze and, while it was slightly off putting at first, i couldn’t help but love him in the end.
Maybe it’s because the week I read the book felt so chaotic, but the book was a calming way to carry me away from the day. I was so annoyed with myself for enjoying it as much as i had and i think a lot of that has to do with my own vulnerabilities and maybe that’s why i find it so much easier to get lost in a murder mystery that feels comforting in my own slew of mild chaos than confront the softer things i would want.
overall it was a fun read and i learned a lot about myself in the process. i think i’ll continue with the series :)
Book 9: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
About this book
In this entrancing novel “that speaks to the Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in us all” (Kirkus Reviews), a legendary film actress reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
“Heartbreaking, yet beautiful” (Jamie Blynn, Us Weekly), The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is “Tinseltown drama at its finest” (Redbook): a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it costs—to face the truth.
Reread! TikTok has been swarming with this book and a friend of mine from college recently read it for the first time and in that moment I ached. I wanted to be able to read it for the first time. But alas... Either way, I think it had been enough time for me to forget enough of the plot to revisit the book and to fall in love with it again.
So that's where I'm starting 2022. admittedly, I feel like these reviews were a little clunky and I think that has a lot to do with kinda sorta forgetting how I felt about the books. I partially decided to start this blog to avoid this. I realized last year when I was doing my one hundred [books] of solitude, that there were so many instances that I was reading just to hit my goal and not truly consuming the art. this is my accountabili-buddy.
I am going to try to write my review as soon as I can after I've read and i'm going to try not to overthink it and not to burn myself out with overachieving. I'm going to allow myself to enjoy what I'm reading and then properly digest it.
I hope you'll continue to join me in my quest.
Currently, I'm in the midst of reading Shadow Rider (for the "Walmart-esque romance novel" part of our challenge) and oh man it is.... something... but I'll get to that soon.