Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall (★★★★☆)
Somewhat reminiscent of You, Our Kind of Cruelty is told entirely from the male POV, and (spoilers), the boy is not alright. The story’s unreliable narrator is Michael Hayes, who pens the suspenseful tale of how he lost the love of his life, Verity, all while desperately trying to win her back. Written “in a mad spurt of anger at the continued injustices perpetrated against women in our so-called civilized society,” Hall’s compulsively readable thriller will have you screaming about the importance of actually listening to women.
The Favorite Sister by Jessic Knoll (★★★☆☆)
I was super excited to dive into The Favorite Sister, which is a murder mystery/thriller that follows the stars of a reality show centered around successful businesswomen. Especially since I had heard such good things about Knoll’s debut novel Luckiest Girl Alive. Unfortunately what I got was frustratingly slow plot, extremely unlikable women with unbelievable secrets, and chapters that are way. Too. Long. Womp womp.
When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger (★★★☆☆½)
The third book in the Devil Wears Prada series follows fan favorite Emily — as well as two new POVs you’ll care slightly less about — and will have you wondering, “Why is there more than one book again?” This time around the action takes place in the suburbs of Greenwich, Connecticut, and seems to be under the misguided impression that all women only need two things to be happy: a slamming body and offspring. Emily deserved so much better.
Deadly Class Vol. 1: Reagan Youth (★★★★☆), Deadly Class Vol. 2: Kids of the Black Hole (★★★☆☆½), Deadly Class Vol. 3: The Snake Pit (★★★★☆½), and Deadly Class Vol. 4: Die for Me by Rick Remender (★★★★☆½)
Set in the 1980s at a school for assassins, the first four volumes in the Deadly Class series features an ultra violent story line, with the occasional trippy drug sequence thrown in for good measure, as well as super fun artwork. Inspired by author Rick Remender’s time in high school, but bumped up to the next level, you will definitely want to read the first three volumes before you start the faithful — and well done — SYFY adaptation. While things start off sort of slow, the action really ramps up in volumes three and four. Get ready for some serious twists … not to mention one hell of a body count.
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain (★★★☆☆½)
I finally got my hands on Anthony Bourdain’s first memoir and found it to be a mixed bag in terms of content. I was definitely more interested in Bourdain’s stories of international travel and tales of kitchen hi-jinks and less into the super detailed, “Here’s what you need to be a professional chef” tips. I was even less into the “kitchen is a terrible sexist place, but that’s just the way it is” commentary. Although it should be noted that Bourdain did address and apologize for this lackadaisical attitude in 2017.
Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner (★★★★☆½)
Full of adorable friendships and an equally adorable romance, Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee follows two besties/B-horror movie hostesses who share the best of the worst in horror with their public-access TV audience every Saturday night. Quirky, weird, heartwarming, and sad all at the same time, Zentner’s novel will bring you to tears (both kinds)! While a little over the top at times, that’s definitely part of its charm. Come for the horror movie references, stay for the strong female friendship.
If, Then by Kate Hope Day (★★★★☆)
If, Then is my favorite kind of contemporary novel: one with a twist. On the surface it’s pretty slice of life stuff … if you ignore the fact that the residents keep getting glimpses of a much happier parallel dimension. From a woman mourning her recently deceased mother, to a couple on the brink of divorce, and a new mom trying to navigate motherhood, If, Then explores the lives of an interconnected community living in the shadow of a supposedly dormant volcano, all while posing the possibility of a multiverse.