A quick review and rating of the last 5 books I read and a look into my TBR list

All the Missing Girls
Author: Megan Miranda
Publication Date: June 2016
Genre: mystery, thriller, fiction
Method: hardback, lent from a friend

Review: Gotta be honest, kinda disappointed in this one. I loved the concept of the story told in reverse and quite liked the effect that had – having to keep the events and important details in order when presented backwards was a little tricky but a fun, challenging element. Like many other readers and reviewers, I felt like I had an absurd amount of questions lingering in me after finishing the book, but not in a good way. There were too many loose ends, too many things left up to interpretation, and the conclusion just felt too improbable given the lack of character development and involvement in the story line. Excellent review by Abby of Crime By The Book linked here.

Red, White, and Royal Blue
: Casey McQuiston
Publication Date: May 2019
Genre: romance, contemporary, LGBT, fiction
Method: digital copy via TPL

Review: Someone else’s review only said “so cute I cried” and like, same girl, same. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this book, given that reading romance is relatively new to me, but I was so pleasantly surprised. I laughed out loud numerous times at the banter between Alex and Henry. I don’t know that I have ever smiled so much while reading a book. This story so easily transported me right back to high school, to a time and place of self discovery and uncovering young love. So I wholeheartedly agree – so cute I cried.

The Night Swim
Author: Megan Goldin
Publication Date: August 2020
Genre: mystery, thriller, suspense, fiction
Method: hardback from BOTM subscription

Review: Cons outweighed the pros for me on this one. The star feature was the three different perspectives and storytelling formats: from a third person perspective, from the main character’s perspective via podcast transcription, and from a supporting character’s perspective via letters. That’s about where the list of ‘pros’ ends. It was a slow start for me, there was missing punctuation, improper/uncommon use of the term ‘physiotherapist,’ and an entire sentence was more or less repeated on page 255 – someone did edit this book, right? Oddly enough, I was surprised to read in the acknowledgements this statement by the author: any mistakes in this novel are my own, either deliberate or otherwise, because fiction is, after all, fiction. Excuse me, what? Yes, this story dove into heavy topics like sexual assault, rape, and consent, and yes I was rather surprised by the climatic reveal, but I can’t look beyond the glaring formatting and editing errors, I just can’t let it go. It’s a 3 from me.

Normal People
Author: Sally Rooney
Publication Date: April 2019
Genre: fiction, contemporary, romance
Method: digital copy read on NOOK

Review: What is up with writers creating such unlikable characters? Page after page I just kept feeling more and more frustrated with the yo-yo-ing relationship of the two main characters, Marianne and Connell. I’m still new to reading more contemporary works and romance but this didn’t impress me. And maybe that says more about my personal taste in literature rather than the excellence of the storytelling and the author. I did, however, watch the trailer for the Hulu mini series and my interest peaked, I’m curious to see how this plays out on screen. Overall, not my cup of (Irish breakfast) tea.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Author: Heather Morris
Publication Date: January 2018
Genre: historical fiction, romance, World War II
Method: paperback, borrowed from TPL

Review: I’ve always found learning about WWII and the Holocaust to be overwhelming – aside from the obvious trauma, horrific behavior and abuse of power – in school it was always hard for me to keep everything straight with so many countries and dictators involved. Even having read my share of books about WWII throughout junior high and high school, this book touched on topics I’d never even considered were happening in concentration camps e.g. sexual abuse and rape from those in power, but even more tame forms of disobedience like smuggling goods and bartering with civilians. I’m glad to have read this story, there is so much to learn and uncover regarding WWII and this was an eye opening jump in. Other books on my TBR list related to WWII include The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, and I’d like to re-read The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.

Reads On Deck: books I have physical and/or digital copies at the ready

Until tomorrow, Meryn


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