My Year in Reading: Cassie-la’s March 2019 Wrap Up

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (★★★★)

Flynn’s debut novel is a somewhat predictable thriller starring damaged narrator Camille Preaker, a journalist who returns to her hometown — and her even more damaged family — to report on a missing child and a recent child murder. Super dark and incredibly disturbing, Sharp Objects is not for the faint of heart. Trigger warnings for cutting, suicide, child murder, animal abuse, child abuse, and pretty much everything in between.

Vox by Christina Dalcher (★★★★½)

Described as The Handmaid’s Tale for a new era, Vox takes place in a horrifying near future where women are limited to 100 words a day. Similar to Atwood’s tale, Dalcher’s America turns downright dystopian when it’s taken over by an ultra religious political party, with women quickly losing the right to work, read, or own property. While a little rushed toward the end, I had a hard time putting down this cautionary tale, which draws very obvious parallels to our current political climate.

the mermaid’s voice returns in this one by Amanda Lovelace (★★★★)

The third and final poetry collection in the women are some kind of magic series is here, and comes complete with individual poetry from 13 of Lovelace’s peers. While I enjoyed this collection — which once again delves into Lovelace’s painful past — I found it to be the weakest of the three, with the witch doesn’t burn in this one, followed closely by the princess saves herself in this one being my top two.Read More »

My Year in Reading: Cassie-la’s February 2019 Wrap Up

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.

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My Year in Reading: Cassie-la’s December 2018 Wrap Up

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker (★★★½)

This super original novel — Walker’s sophomore follow up to The Age of Miracles — explores a mysterious illness that quickly infects residents of an allegedly cursed college town in California, trapping the infected in a perpetual state of sleep. With a premise that’s as intriguing as her first novel (if you’re not in the know, it’s set in a world where the earth’s rotation begins to gradually slow down), it’s no surprise that I was immediately hooked. Pick up The Dreamers for the unique story, stay for the beautiful prose.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson (★★★★½)

True crime enthusiast Stevie is determined to solve the decades-old murder and kidnapping at the prestigious Ellingham Academy boarding school. With a story that alternates between the present day and the events of 1936, when Albert Ellingham’s wife and daughter were kidnapped, Johnson’s new series is a fun-page turner full of a lovable cast of weirdos and several intriguing mysteries to solve. The only downside? The book ends on a major cliffhanger that will leave you wanting so much more.

My Boyfriend is a Bear by Pamela Robin (★★★★)

Much like Hot Tub Time Machine, you know exactly what you’re getting with this graphic novel. Starring a cutesy girl named Nora who happens to be dating a bear, My Boyfriend is a Bear is a surprisingly adorable story with even more adorable artwork from artist Cat Farris. A little weird at times (for obvious bear on human reasons), this graphic novel may be a metaphor for prejudices and the way that opposites attract … but also might not be a metaphor at all? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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My Year in Reading: Cassie-la’s June 2018 Wrap Up

The Elizas by Sara Shepard (★★★½)

Sara Shepard’s latest adult novel is a thriller that features some of my favorite writing mechanisms, including an unreliable narrator and a story within a story. Unfortunately, like the majority of Shepard’s young adult novels, there is a heavy reliance on doubles (no more doppelgangers or twins ever again, please!), and the novel doesn’t get really interesting until about a third of the way through … before completely losing the plot again shortly thereafter.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows (★★★½)

Historical fantasy meets alternate history in this much happier and way more fantastical re-imagining of the life of Lady Jane Grey (AKA the Nine-Day Queen). Told by the trio now known as the Lady Janies, My Lady Jane follows book-loving Jane Grey, who lives in a world where some people can turn into animals. Unbeknownst to Jane, she’s going to be named next in line to the throne by her dying cousin, and she’s about to be married off to a man who is sometimes a horse. Sure it’s super wacky, but it’s also really funny and charming.

Frostblood by Elly Blake (★★★½)

I had a lot of trouble with the first 75% of Frostblood. Despite being blessedly fast-paced (the only thing that kept me going), the beginning of Blake’s book has a predictable plot that I’ve already read a million times over. Spoilers: the magical girl who can control fire is going to be the chosen one who falls in love with the attractive yet damaged man who can control ice. Thankfully, all that turned around when I got to meet the real villain of the story. Thanks for saving this entire series evil frost king!

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