The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North

LOVE. Love. LOVE. Love. LOVE.

There are those books, few and far between, that I feel speak to and for the heart of me. Books that make me feel represented. Understood. Included. A Prayer For Owen Meany is meaningful to me bc it gets to me on levels other books don’t even approach. TSAOH falls into this category.

It’s brilliant. The writing is gorgeous. It’s a social commentary, a thriller and a work of philosophy. There’s a story (by story I mean actions moving a plot in a certain direction), but the story isn’t the story. The thoughts are the story – the feelings. The growth.

The plot – (ha. I won’t do this right – I promise). People can’t remember Hope. Once she leaves your sight she leaves your memory. Hope exists outside of society – with all the good and bad that entails. Who are you without the framework of human interaction? Who are you without relationships or rules? And there’s this app that creates the perfect you. Diet tips, financial tips and life tips. Hope (amorphous and other) faces off against a conglomerate – a thing designed to make you the “best” you.

The writing is odd. Introspective. Jangly. At moments so sad I had to put it down – had to walk away. I’m excited to read more by Ms North – and perhaps to read this book again. I think it may be even better on a reread. I’m not sure the last time I felt this connected to a book – this moved by it.

I’d tell you this book was perfection…but no. 😉

Ps – I feel like the cover and the book do not match at all. This book is dark as hell. Sad. Lonely. It made my soul ache. The cover is almost romancey – sort bright and girly. Nothing like the book at all. I hate that. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover and all that…

Challenge by Amy Daws

Unexpected goofy fun! Love!!

It started off a little rocky (it prolly took me 20% to really get into this), and it had annoying moments, but overall I loved this one.

Indie is a young doctor. Camden is a footballer. An injury brings them together. Their relationship gets a silly start. And then they had issues that felt believable – and left them both likable. There was pursuit (yesssss!). Puns. Emotional anxiety. Family issues. Nothing crazy. Nothing OTT. They were both so damn adorable – I wanted to pinch their little cheeks.

I read over 100 pages in my nerve-inducing thriller today. This book was everything I needed to take the edge off when I couldn’t handle that first book for another second.

Taking Chances by Molly McAdams

It’s just one of those things that’s so ridiculous i love it. No joke – i could list 10 reasons off the top of my head why i should hate this book. But this thing defies logic. I grinned like the Cheshire Cat through this thing (even at parts that i KNOW were meant to be sad – they were just too awesome to be upsetting).

story line – naive chick falls for 2 dudes immediately upon arriving at college. Antics ensue. So much drama. But the writing is really simple (and full of grammatical errors. and missing indications of changes in time/place) which saves the book. It just feels like it doesn’t take itself seriously – and therefore neither did i.

I’m going to call this a case of “right place right time.” I’ve just read so many damn intense ridiculous books that felt like they were trying to yank my feels through my nose. This thing had the subtlety (and hilarity) of an elephant on rollerskates. I read nearly the entire thing in one sitting bc i could not put it down. The drama went up up up and so did my happy.

Objectively is this thing worth 4 stars? Negative, Ghost Rider. Subjectively though? It made me a happy reader – a la Mystery Science Theatre 3000. 😉

The All-Star Antes Up by Nancy Herkness

Nothing new. Nothing exciting.

The problem arises, after reading over 1000 books in the last few years, of finding books that make me sit up, pay attention, or care. For the most part they run together, and I have to use GR to remember what I have and haven’t read. At this point in my reading career a book has to be weird, intense, insane, or fucking magical to stand out. Unfortunately this book wasn’t any of those things. I’d be willing to wager that in 3 weeks I forget that I ever read it.

Neighbors by Stylo Fantome

So. I’m gonna just put it out there – this book has a twist. But I didn’t realize it was a twist bc it’s super obvious from the beginning of the book. The entire book seemed strange and off bc I knew this thing. And it made the relationships super duper awkward. And when I got to the end I learned that I wasn’t supposed to know this. But I’m not sure why it was made so glaring. I can’t say what I would have thought of the book if I hadn’t known how stupid Katya is – or that her relationships are lies. Knowing what I knew it wasn’t very good though. And it was a relief when it was over. Sort of like your dining companion having a huge piece of lettuce in their teeth but you don’t know them well enough to tell them. You’re trying not to stare, running your tongue over your teeth, shifting in your seat – uncomfortable. Yikes.

The Devil’s Web by Mary Balogh

This one is tough to review. The story was deep, thoughtful, full and serious.

Madeline and James met in a prior book. They didn’t like each other much. Circumstance throws them together repeatedly to make bad decisions about one another.

The book takes place over roughly a year or more. The relationship grows and crumbles and changes. James is mean – for a reason. Madeline is likable, but she lets him get away with some annoying shit.

As always I loved the side stories. And all of the series was neatly tied up here. I may later decide this was a 4 star read, but some of James’s behavior left a bad taste in my mouth. Still adore MB for characters that are so incredibly vivid – this book felt real for me.

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

I’m being generous with the 3 stars, but 2 stars feels mean for a book that’s so pathetic. It’s hard to say what I would have felt about this book had my expectations not been so high. Readers have a lot of love for this story – and I had big hopes.

Plot – mope. Mopey mope. Self-indulgent prattling and moping. Plot twist. Dickery. Mope. Mope. Merp.

Fallon was one whiny chick. Ben was a dude. The premise was super interesting. I didn’t hate the writing. I made no connection with this book, and as a result I giggled at some moments that were likely intended to be dramatic and intense. But come on.

I was say this – CoHo is the thing so many romance writers want to be. While she doesn’t have the lightest of hands – she is far more deft than most of the blunt, boring, over-sexed, too-dramatic sob-fests calling themselves romance books.

So if you wanna read some Eeyore shenanigans and you’re really ready to suspend reality then go for it. It’s easy to read in one sitting, and it’s absolutely worth an afternoon.