September was a surprisingly busy month for me. My job became all-consuming for a little while in order for me to get a promotion I’d been after which drastically changed my daily life; I went on a week-long family vacation to Tennessee; and my witchy aesthetic girl gang started spending more time together. It was a complete whirlwind of a month, to say the least. I’ve had hardly any time to dedicate to my hobbies with how crazy things have been.
Unfortunately, that meant reading often got put on the backburner. I did read the Splintered Series by A.G. Howard, and honestly managing to read seven books this month in spite of everything else I had going on is still impressive for me. I actually read both of my Book of the Month picks in the month I got them! I only read one of my three books for my monthly book club, but four of the seven books I read were ones I own that I can check off the towering list that is my tbr pile, so overall, it was a good reading month!
I decided to do mini reviews with all the books I read this month, because while some were terrible, some blew me away, and some were tucked cozily right in between, I didn’t feel I had enough to say about each of them to warrant their own separate reviews.
I’m sure I sound like a broken record, but Stephen King books are pretty hit or miss for me. I’d heard lots of good things about this one, so when I stumbled across it at a book sale, I knew I had to get it.
I was drawn into the storyline immediately and found the characters to be incredibly drawn out and realistic. Had the story stayed focused entirely on the kids in the institution, I probably would have never put it down. Unfortunately, I found some of the scenes, especially the big action-packed ones at the end of the story, to be a bit of a letdown. They just didn’t hold the same strength as their counterparts. I also found the political talk to be a bit much. There’s a way to slam politicians in a story while incorporating them into the story arc, but King wasn’t subtle in the slightest, and most of the time his remarks felt oddly placed and unnecessary.
Genre: thriller, horror, science fiction
This was my first book by Lesley Pearse, and I unfortunately didn’t understand the hype. My first big letdown was that the summary made me think the story was going to go one way, and instead it went somewhere completely off track that didn’t make much sense. I assumed WWII would be more prevalent in the story and that would be the cause of the rift between the two friends; instead it was a personal issue, and the war was just happening casually in the background of their drama. As someone who enjoys WWII stories with some romance thrown in, I was disappointed by this.
I guess I’m just not sure what the point of the story was. It’s not exactly a war story, and while there’s a romance subplot, it adds very little substance and doesn’t take off until the last 20 pages. Verity and Ruby’s relationship is built and deteriorated so rapidly that I never felt they truly had the bond they were supposed to. Another thing that bothered me was how easily Ruby was pushed off and Verity became the main character. Her life was generally more dull than Ruby’s, and I would have loved to see Ruby’s growth instead of reading about Verity.
Genre: historical fiction, romance
Rock Paper Scissors was my Book of the Month pick, and it was a complete whirlwind mindfuck. The story is told in alternating perspectives from the husband and wife on a remote getaway, but the real meat of the story is in the letters written to Adam as the couple celebrates their anniversary each year. Here we learn all the backstory to who these people really are and discover how truly turbulent their marriage is.
I wasn’t expecting this book to pull me from my reading slump, but it completely cured me. It has just the right elements to make it chilling and disturbing, but it’s so engrossing you can’t help but binge-read it in one sitting (maybe or maybe not until 3am but I really wouldn’t know about that). Each chapter is littered with clues and teasers for the truth, and every chapter after only scratched the surface of what was about to unfold. I won’t give away any spoilers, but I’ll say I absolutely did not see any of the plot turning out the way that it did. I hadn’t even finished the book before I wanted to go back and reread it to see everything I had missed the first time. This is definitely a thriller I could talk about for ages, and I cannot recommend it enough.
Genre: thriller, mystery
The Neighbor’s Secret was also part of my BOTM box, and I’m mad at myself for choosing it. This is not a thriller, as it’s marketed. There’s no suspense. This is a book about women in a book club who have drama in their lives. The “suspense” part is that someone has been vandalizing their town. At the halfway point, I started skipping chapters and skimming to finish, because I just didn’t care about the daily lives of these characters. I shouldn’t need a chart to keep track of which character is which. They were all so one-dimensional and similar that it felt impossible to keep track of them, and I often got them confused for one another. I found myself zoning out a ton by this book, and I would just keep turning the pages, knowing I was never actually missing out on anything. When I discovered who the vandal was, I was surprised purely because it didn’t make any sense.
I very, very rarely give books one-star reviews anymore, but this one absolutely deserved it.
Genre: thriller, mystery, contemporary